Sunday, February 15, 2009

Edward Mooney on Kierkegaard and what we think we know...

"...we should not rush to judge what "Christianity" might mean, either in general or for Kierkegaard. Evaluations need time to take their appropriate shape. It is too easy to know in advance that Marx would make us Communist, that Hegel is an Idealist, that Dostoevsky sides with the Russian Church, that Nietzsche proclaims "God is dead." To take early comfort from these "facts" distracts us from what lies beneath these easy words: critiques meant to unseat our ruling presumptions, disturb our categorical schemes.

As a good student of Socrates, Kierkegaard begins with a skeptical challenge: We only think we know what ethics, or faith, or Christianity mean. The world of Christendom is not a world of faith. But as the language of ethics and faith is common coin, the Socratic task is to strip us of the illusion that we know what this language purports. How easy - yet how absurd - to take from this prodigious writer an evening's entertainment, perhaps, some tidbit to add to our conversational repertoire! In the bargain, we can leave our convictions comfortably intact!"

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