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Posted April 11, 2010
The crowd is the enemy of truth; to know the truth is to live the truth as an individual; the way to salvation is to stand alone before God. In standing alone before God, a person becomes aware of God and then sees himself as he really is: inadequate and helpless to change. Each person should therefore aspire to Christian individuality in "fear and trembling."
Because we are helpless to change, we need God. "To need God is nothing to be ashamed of, but is perfection itself.... A human being is great and at his highest only when before God he recognizes that he is nothing in himself" (ch. 8 -- To Need God is Perfection).
"God," according to Kierkegaard, is "a subject to be related to, not an object to be studied or mediated on. Because God is spirit, he exists only for subjective inwardness... to know God means to resort to God, not by virtue of objective deliberation, but by virtue of the infinite passion of inwardness" (ch. 15 -- Two Ways of Reflection).
Faith isn't something we should try to understand through reason; faith is something we should live through an inward passion. When we try to prove God's existence, we lose sight of him, because it is only through personal, inward transformation that we can ever hope to see God.
We find God by reaching for the highest sphere of existence--the religious sphere. The religious sphere "includes but transcends" the other two spheres: the aesthetic and the ethical.
To be moral, we must aspire to the religious sphere. To do this means to stand alone before God in order to recognize that we are helpless without him in our struggle against the world's will for us. We thus see ourselves as we really are: nothing without God, sinful, inadequate, and helpless to change that without him.
Kierkegaard has been called "incomprehensible" by some, but Provocations, compiled and edited by Charles E. Moore, condenses and clarifies much of his work in such a way that it becomes difficult not to digest. The overarching message becomes clear: to become truly Christian, we must not admire Christ, but we must instead follow Christ. And this is what it means to live the truth as an individual, because Christ himself IS the truth exemplified in an individual human life.
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