Monday, January 22, 2007

Swimming thoughts.

I've been reading some Kierkegaard for the past couple of days and I'm lost in it. When I read these passages I feel like I almost understand what he is saying, and at the same time, I feel I'm missing it. Also, sometimes after I read it, I'm not sure if he saying something brilliant, or just relatively bland statements regarding Christianity wrapped up in confusing and intelligent diction and wording. So I've been reading it over and over again, and I'll let you in on some of the excerpts that either represent the most to me, or confuse me the most, or do both. I'd love to hear your thoughts. The section of the book is called "Christ the Offense."

--There is nothing new in Christianity in such a sense that it has not been in the world before. If such were the case, Christianity would be plainly recognizable aesthetically: novelty by novelty--and again everything would be confused.

--for in relation to the eternal a novelty is indeed a paradox. Lumped at random with other novelties, or annulled by the affirmation that among all novelties it is the most remarkable, it is aesthetic.

--Nature is, indeed, the work of God, but only the handiwork is directly present, not God. Is not this to behave, in His relationship to the individual, like an elusive author who nowhere sets down his result in large type, or gives it to the reader beforehand in a preface? And why is God elusive? Precisely because He is the truth, and by being elusive desired to keep men from error.

--Such a man might perhaps even know the system by rote; he might be an inhabitant of a Christian country, and bow his head whenever the name of God was mentioned; he would perhaps also see God in nature when in company of others who saw God; he would be a pleasant society man--and yet he would have been deceived by the direct nature of his relationship to the truth, to the ethical, and to God.

--In relation to the absolute there is only one tense: the present. For him who is not contemporary with the absolute--for him it has no existance. And as Christ is the absolute, it is easy to see that with respect to Him there is only one situation: that of contemporaneousness. The five, the seven, the fifteen, the eighteen hundred years are neither here nor there; they do not change Him, neither do they in any wise reveal who He was, for who He is is revealed only to faith.

--There is a difference between truth and truths, and this difference is made especially evident by the definition of truth as being, or it is evident from the fact that a distinction is drawn between the "way" and the final decision, what is attained at the end, the "result."

--the fact that at a given time there have lived thirty generations which have followed the way alters nothing in the situation of the next generation or every individual in it who much always begin over and over again at the same point at the beginning of the way in order to follow it. So there is no occasion or opportunity for triumphing; for only he who was followed the way to the end could triumph, but he is no longer in this world, he has gone up on high, as Christ also was the way when He ascended up to heaven"

So there you have it. The one thing I do recognize hints at in a couple of these posts is what I was taught when I was in school, about Kierkegaards idea of "the eternal paradox", if I remember correctly. It was the idea that God is a paradox because he is eternal and at the same time he is thought of in a contemporary manner, and his life on earth is thought of in temporal ways. So these passages are thought provoking, and to me. Confusing as shite. I love Kierkegaard exactley for this stuff here.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Michelle said...

Oh wow. you know, i just started The Secret Message of Jesus, not nearly as confusing as this, but anyway, its all extremely interesting.

--Such a man might perhaps even know the system by rote; he might be an inhabitant of a Christian country, and bow his head whenever the name of God was mentioned; he would perhaps also see God in nature when in company of others who saw God; he would be a pleasant society man--and yet he would have been deceived by the direct nature of his relationship to the truth, to the ethical, and to God.

I could be interpreting this completely wrong. Chances are I am, after all Im only 16 and I make stuff up as I go along. But I take from this the idea that its possible to have a religious connection with God through other people who know Him, you gain and beenefit from them and are at your closest to God when with others who are close to Him. While this is a good thing, this man is missing his direct relationship with God. When he is alone, when he speaks to God by himself rather than in a church service or with others, he is lost. He is more about the visual, the outer shell, the top layer of closeness to God - he is able to convince others he is close to Him through his actions and by following "the rules" (bowing his head, etc). But he has no personal relationship, no true understanding of what God means to him and him alone, and how to interact with Him on a one to one basis. Does that make any sense? haha. It makes perfect sense in my mind, and not so much on paper. Thanks for posting this! It was very interesting to read!

6:25 PM

 
Blogger Zach said...

I think you are right Michelle. Although, I think while it shows the value of a personal relationship with jesus, it also warns against becoming comfortable in what can become a stagnate routine of the "rote." people can become very complacent in what doing what is "expected" of a "christian." The complacency and the comfort can become a barrier to actually pursuing TRUTH, the all encompassing essence of Jesus in the world, in science and in art. Logos, Ethos, Pathos..all of it. God's greatest creation is you, and me...and we have our minds and our hearts to explore the essence of growth in spirituality, in knowledge, in awareness. the evolution of you as a being which exists in the context of the whole.

8:01 PM

 
Anonymous Michelle said...

Very very true. your reply really helped me fill in the blanks, I could tell I only had a certain amount of understanding of this haa. People comforming to what is "expected" of a "Christian" is exactly what I see as one of the biggest problems in religion today.

5:37 PM

 

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