The Weight of Inwardness

March 8, 2008

“It is not a lack of content that gives rise to arbitrariness, unbelief, mockery of religion, but lack of certitude.”

“It is not my desire to use big words in speaking about the Age as a whole. However, you can hardly deny that the reason for its anxiety and unrest is because in one direction, “truth” increases in scope and in quantity – via science and technology – while in the other, certainty and confidence steadily decline. Our age is a master in developing truths while being wholly indifferent to certitude. It lacks confidence in the good.”

“Without inwardness, an adherent of the most rigid orthodoxy may be demonic. He knows it all. He genuflects before the holy. He is ceremoniously flawless. He speaks of meeting before the throne of God and knows how many times to bow. He knows everything, but only like the person who can prove a mathematical proposition when the letters are ABC, but not when the letters are DEF. He is nonetheless anxious, especially whenever he hears something that is not exactly the same as his belief.”

(Soren Kierkegaard)

I don’t know whether it’s my twisted mind or that the unconvential nature of the gospel means that it must be presented in unconventional ways, but Kierkegaard’s often dense and even bizarre philosophising feels much more natural to me than the pontifications and explication of, say, the kind of folks they quote on Of First Importance. Who knows what God will say of either when the veil is at last lifted.


9 Responses to “The Weight of Inwardness”

  1. Danny Slavich Says:

    I think that Paul would say that the veil has been lifted (1 Cor 3).

    I don’t think it will be a surprise to you, Ben, that I find OFI much more uplifting and God-honoring.

    Wasn’t Kierkegaard just trying to find a way to have faith in the phenomenal realm? Is that the faith described in the Bible?

  2. Ben Says:

    Sorry, wrong metaphor.

    1 Corinthians 13:12

    As far as I can tell, Kierkegaard was trying to understand Christianity as God intends it to be understood by Christians, which should be the goal of any theologian.

    I don’t know, after posting this I went and read through OFI again, and I don’t know, the quotes seem so lifeless to me. Every time I read Kierkegaard I feel like I understand God better, learn more. Every time I read an OFI quote, I feel bored.

  3. Ben Says:

    Yeah, I don’t really see “faith in the phenomenal realm” (though I’m not 100% sure what you mean by that) as an accurate descriptor of Kierkegaard’s thought.

  4. Lee Says:

    I like both!

  5. Ben Says:

    Yeah, it’s probably just a personality thing.

  6. Ben Says:

    I liked the one they had today from Cornelius Plantinga — the Christian life is not about bad news but about good!

  7. Lee Says:

    Look at you, reading OFI 🙂

    I like that quote, too – I’ve read a few quotes from CP recently, and I really like what I’ve read so far…


  8. Ben Says:

    No, see, I do read it, and usually I hate it. I just thought I would let people know that I read one that I thought was good. Seems like we were talking about CP not too long ago … ?

  9. Lee Says:

    Yes – Danny quoted him (or quoted someone who quoted him). After that, I ran across a quote from him in When Sinners Say I Do (we’re using it in a couples’ Bible study – it’s very good!) which I also really liked…

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