January 2007

I promised you some links on Kierkegaard and K.E. Løgstrup in order to shower some light on how modern Danish theologians actually take the critique of religion very seriously in their arguments.

Following is a brief description of the main points these two fellows are making in adherence to the debate on this site. But the gist of it all is to give all of you an idea that just because we are a bunch of atheist in here doesn’t mean that our arguments are unholy or heathen in any way. It is important to note that both these guys, Løgstrup and Kierkegaard, along with others of note (from Europeans Bultmann and Barth to Americans Paul Tillich and Don Cupitt) are believers, but they accept that the bible or their religious beliefs CANNOT say anything definite about the world we live in. Everything will in the end be human interpretation. Following, we are unable to say anything about god or Creation or miracles etc, based on holy scripture of any kind! As believers you havde to rely on faith alone, WITHOUT PROOF! That doesn’t mean that you can’t derive morals or ethics or whatever from the bible – but it will always be a subjetive understanding!!!

The only conclusion is that the dominant form of Christianity in Scandinavia and Northern Germany is truly agnostic. This touches on the ongoing debate on this site about the definition of agnostics and atheists. A lot of people insist that atheism is a faith in nothing – an active choice. But if religious faith takes a modern standpoint, like with Kierkegaard and Løgstrup, atheism is nothing but the lack of faith. Faith, says the two theologians, is paradoxical (I’m sure we all agree) in that it is belief without proof or promise of proof. That is the definition of faith. Atheism, says Kierkegaard, is simple the inability in a person to have faith in something that is eternally distinct from the palpable human world. Kierkegaard says further (in Fear and Trembling – Great read: http://home.ddc.net/ygg/etext/fear.htm) that if you are a true believer, you are able to undertake the leap of faith (Yes that is Kierkegaard’s invention) without questioning its purpose, and you will receive all the world in return from god. (he uses the example of Abraham and Isaac) An atheist on the other hand will not be able to kill his only son without hesitating a bit and then thinking that it seems a bit crazy, and is as such left alone in the world, with noone to comfort him. Being a believer is hard as hell according to Kierkegaard.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kierkegaard – Attack_upon_Christendom_.281854.E2.80.931855.29


Whereas Kierkegaard describes Abraham as a true heroic believer, Løgstrup is, 100 years later, looking for a way for ordinary people to keep their faith in the face of secularisation. The answer, he believes, is to be found in an ethical interpretation of Christianity that is based not so much on the bible as on the way we express the message of the bible in our daily lives. This may sound utterly boring, and at first glipse it sounds like a fancy way of saying “behave yourselves and then god will like you! But what Løgstrup says, is that since we cannot say anything about god or the afterlife or anything remotely metaphysical, we have to look at ourselves. He concludes that we do NOT behave ethically because some god or other tells us to, but because we agree that that is the best way to do things. This means, he says, that whatever the bible says about good ethical behavior is NOT the voice of god or Jesus, but the words of ordinary people puppeteering god or Jesus to say these things in order to lend them some credibility.

What is left for the theologians to do is then to consider how this ethical behavior is represented in the Christian dogmas, its history and culture, but the important lesson from Løgstrup is that all the believers out there, be they Christian, muslim og Rastafarian cannot lay claim to good behavior. A point I have heard echo on this site often, and which I have now tried to give you a theologian’s word for.



Unfortunately there isn’t much on Løgstrup out there in English, but if you want more his major work Metaphysics has been translated and should be availabe!

Posted on January 30, 2007 at 11:38 pm by ideclare · Permalink
In: Uncategorized

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  1. Written by Maxx26
    on October 22, 2009 at 2:26 am
    Reply · Permalink

    We should thank him for showing the kids that real rock stars aren’t assholes. ,

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