One of my favorite philosophers, Soren Kierkegaard
, is the featured article of today on Wikipedia
For a man who lived in the 19th century (b.1813 – d.1855), some of his ideas are still surprisingly relevant today, especially his critiques of modern Christianity
- that the church has become too secularized and politicized (becoming a corrupt tool of the state), that Christianity has become hollow through popularization (many people who claim to be Christian are neither serious or sincere about their faith, rather they're Christian because "everyone else is"), the development of "lazy" Christianity within church congregations (people not taking responsibility or initiative for cultivating a relationship with God), etc.
I guess not much has changed in about 150 years, eh?
Some good quotes by Kierkegaard:
- "Boredom is the root of all evil - the despairing refusal to be oneself."
- "During the first period of a man's life the greatest danger is not to take the risk."
- "How absurd men are! They never use the liberties they have, they demand those they do not have. They have freedom of thought, they demand freedom of speech."
- "People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use."
- "I feel as if I were a piece in a game of chess, when my opponent says of it: That piece cannot be moved."
- "I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations - one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it - you will regret both."
- "It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important."
- "The paradox is really the pathos of intellectual life and just as only great souls are exposed to passions it is only the great thinker who is exposed to what I call paradoxes, which are nothing else than grandiose thoughts in embryo."
- "The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins."
- "There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know as how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming."
- "To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself."
- "Trouble is the common denominator of living. It is the great equalizer."
- "It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey."
- "When you read God's Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, 'It is talking to me, and about me.'"
- "Just as in earthly life lovers long for the moment when they are able to breathe forth their love for each other, to let their souls blend in a soft whisper, so the mystic longs for the moment when in prayer he can, as it were, creep into God."
- "The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays."
- "God creates out of nothing. Wonderful you say. Yes, to be sure, but he does what is still more wonderful: he makes saints out of sinners."
- "Old age realizes the dreams of youth: look at Dean Swift; in his youth he built an asylum for the insane, in his old age he was himself an inmate."
- "Once you label me you negate me."
- "One can advise comfortably from a safe port."
- "Patience is necessary, and one cannot reap immediately where one has sown."
- "Life must be understood backwards; but... it must be lived forward."
- "Listen to the cry of a woman in labor at the hour of giving birth - look at the dying man's struggle at his last extremity, and then tell me whether something that begins and ends thus could be intended for enjoyment."