Right now, it frustrates me to have people just assume that I believe, or even to be around people whom I fairly or unfairly believe just assume, the following things:
Kierkegaard speaks to my deepest self when he says:
The simple man who humbly confesses himself to be a sinner–himself personally (the individual)–does not at all need to become aware of all the difficulties which emerge when one is neither simple nor humble. But when this is lacking, this humble consciousness of being personally a sinner (the individual)–yea, if such a one possessed all human wisdom and shrewdness along with all human talents, it would profit him little. Christianity shall in a degree corresponding to his superiority erect itself against him and transform itself into madness and terror, until he learns either to give up Christianity, or else by the help of what is very far remote from scientific propaedeutic, apologetic, &c., that is, by the help of the torments of a contrite heart (just in proportion to his need of it) learns to enter by the narrow way, through the consciousness of sin, into Christianity.
A camel passing through the eye of the needle, indeed! It is so clear–am I not rich in every imaginable way?
Christ offended the rich young ruler when he told him to sell all his possessions… Kierkegaard’s point is that it was very natural and reasonable for him to be offended while the disciples were not when Christ called them.
Assuming I am even able to recognize the offense in my case (which is a point in favor of the rich young ruler–he knew what Christ meant for him), what will I do? Will it be the offense that moves me (“Go, sell all your possessions”) and sends me away, as it did the young ruler? Or will it be the invitation (“…and come follow me.”) that moves me and draws me in? It seems that being a Christian just is getting over the offense somehow, having faith in spite of it–and the richer/wiser we are, the more easily we are offended, therefore the harder it is to have faith.
For me, I hope it is the invitation I ultimately embrace, in spite of the offense. But I am realizing I cannot take this process for granted, neither its outcome!
Here I am, beginning finally to uncover my weakness, to see that I am truly weak; I am in awe of it!
Here’s a page from Kierkegaard that really struck me today (which is about every other page, normally…but this one stands fairly well on its own). It’s from Training in Christianity, and it’s section f, entitled, “The misfortune of Christendom”.
I was thinking with Pavi and Kennedy this morning about doubt. Pavi brought up the question of, what are the real foundations / reasons / motivations for doubt? The question came out of a realization we shared, which was that, as much as we interact with atheistic philosophers and scientists and hear all these reasons that God does not exist or religion is a purely social construction or whatever, we’ve never really felt convinced by these things.