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[Kierkegaardian] Re: Attack and Celibacy

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  • roncriss
    ... Christendom but ... Mark, Kierjegaard certainly had a very narrow view of Christendom. I believe he considered it that portion of Christianity which had
    Message 1 of 12 , Jan 10 1:04 PM
      --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Tindall" <mbtin@t...>

      > It would seem to me that there are plenty in the realm of
      Christendom but
      > perhaps Soren also has a narrow view of Christian.
      > Is 'Attack on Christendom' available on line in English anywhere?


      Kierjegaard certainly had a very narrow view of Christendom. I
      believe he considered it that portion of Christianity which had
      compromised with the world. I found the following excerpt
      from "Attack" which expresses some of his differences. I was rather
      surprised to note his similarities with Leo Tolstoy and Tolstoyanism.
      For example the emphasis on non-resistance and the recommendation of
      the very un-Lutheran state of celibacy. Remember, Luther was the
      fellow who got the nuns, monks and priests to break their vows of
      celibacy. But, as SK rightly suggests, the preference for celibacy
      was Scriptural. Jesus, John the Baptist, even St Paul, were all
      celibates. Paul recommended celibacy as the highest state:

      1 Corinthians 7
      8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them
      if they abide even as I.
      9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to
      marry than to burn.

      He was merely backing up Jesus' command:

      Matthew 19:12
      For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's
      womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and
      there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom
      of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.

      I would suggest that SK got his opinion of sex from Scripture rather
      than any Puritan influence.

      Here is the excerpt from "Attack" I promised:

      Soren Kierkegaard
      Excerpt from Attack Upon "Christendom" (1854-1855)

      [Translation by Walter Lowrie, as excerpted in Robert Bretall, ed., A
      Kierkegaard Anthology (New York: Modern Library, 1946), pp. 455-458.]


      True worship of God consists quite simply in doing God's will.

      But this sort of worship was never to man's taste. That which in all
      generations men have been busied about, that in which theological
      learning originated, becomes many, many disciplines, widens out to
      interminable prolixity, that upon which and for which thousands of
      priests and professors live, that which is the content of history
      of "Christendom," by the study of which those who are becoming
      priests and professors are educated, is the contrivance of another
      sort of divine worship, which consists in--having one's own will, but
      doing it in such a way that the name of God, the invocation of God,
      is brought into conjunction with it, whereby man thinks he is assured
      against being ungodly--whereas, alas, precisely this is the most
      aggravated sort of ungodliness.

      An example. A man is incilined to want to support himself by killing
      people. Now he sees from God's Word that this is not permissible,
      that God's will is, "Thou shalt not kill." "All right," thinks
      he, "but that sort of worship doesn't suit me, neither would I be an
      ungodly man." What does he do then? He gets hold of a priest who in
      God's name blesses the dagger. Yes, that's something different.

      In God's Word, the single state is recommended. "But," says
      man, "that sort of worship doesn't suit me, and I am certainly not an
      ungodly man, either. Such an important step as marraige [which, be it
      noted, God advises against, and that that not taking this "important
      step" is the important thing] I surely ought not to take without
      assuring myself of God's blessing. [Bravo!] That is what this man of
      God, the priest, is for; he blesses this important step [the
      importance of which consists in not doing it], and so it is well
      pleasing to God"--and I have my will, and my will becomes worship,
      and the priest has his will, he has ten dollars, not earned in the
      humble way of brushing people's clothes or serving beer or brandy at
      the bar; no, he was employed in God's ervice, and to earn ten dollars
      in that way is--divine worship. (Bravissimo!)

      What an abyss of nonsense and abomination! When something is
      displeasing to God, does it become well pleasing by the fact that (to
      make bad worse) a priest takes part who (to make bad worse) gets ten
      dollars for declaring that it is well pleasing to God?

      Let us stick to the subject of the wedding. In his Word God
      recommends the single state. Now there is a couple who wants to get
      arrried. This couple, of course, since they call themselves
      Christians, ought to know well what Christianity is--but let that
      pass. The lovers apply to--the priest; and the priest is bound by an
      oath upon the New Testament which recommends the single state. If
      then he is not a liar and a perjurer who in the basest manner earns
      paltry dollars, he must act as follows. At the most he can say to
      them with human sympathy for this human thing of being in love, "My
      little children, I am the last man to whom you should apply; to apply
      to me in such a contingency is as if one were to apply to the chief
      of police to inquire how one should comport oneself when stealing. My
      duty is to employ every means to restrain you. At the utmost I can
      say with the Apostle (for they are not the words of the Master), yes,
      if it comes to that, and you have not continency, then get
      together, 'it is better to marry than to burn.' And I know very well
      that you will shudder inwardly when I talk thus about what you think
      the most beautiful thing in life; but I must do my duty. And for this
      reason I said that I am the last man to whom you should apply." . . .

      Christianly one must say that precisely the fact that the priest
      takes part is the worst thing in the whole affair. If you want to
      marry, week rather to be married by a blacksmith; then it might
      perhaps (if one may speak thus) escape God's notice; but when a
      priest takes par it cannot possible escape God's notice. . . .

      What every religion in which there is any truth aims at, and what
      Christianity aims at decisively, is a total transformation in a man,
      to wrest from him through renunciation and self-denial all that, and
      precisely that, to which he immediately clings, in which he
      immediately has his life. This sort of religion, as "man" understands
      it, is not what he wants. The upshot therefore is that from
      generation to generation there lives--how equivocal!--a highly
      respected class in the community, the priests. Their métier is to
      invert the whole situation, so that what likes becomes religion, on
      the condition, h owever, of invoking God's name and paying something
      definite to the priests. The rest of the community, when one examines
      the case more closely, are seen to be egotistically interested in
      upholding the estimation in which the priests are held--for otherwise
      the falsification cannot succeed.

      To become a Christian in the New Testament sense is such a radical
      change that, humanly speaking, one must say that it is the heaviest
      trial to a family that one its members becomes a Christian. For in
      such a Christian the God-relationship becomes so predominant that he
      is not "lost" in the ordinary sense of the word; no, in a far deeper
      sense than dying he is lost to everything that is called family. It
      is of this Christ constantly speaks, both with reference to himself
      when he says that to be his disciple is to be his mother, brother,
      sister, that in no other sense has he a mother, a brother, a sister;
      and also when he speaks continually about the collision of hating
      father and mother, one's own child, etc. To become a Christian in the
      New Testament sense is to loosen (in the sense in which the dentist
      speaks of loosening the tooth from the gums), to loosen the
      individual out of the cohesion to which he clings with the passion of
      immediacy, and which clings to him with the same passion.

      This sort of Christianity was never--no more now, precisely no more
      than in the year 30--to man's taste, but was distasteful to him in
      his inmost heart, mortally distasteful. Therefore the upshot is that
      from generation to generation there lives a highly respected class in
      the community whose métier is to transform Christianity into the
      exact opposite.

      The Christianity of the priests, by the aid of religion (which, alas,
      is used precisely to bring about the opposite), is directed to
      cemeting families more and more egotistically together, and to
      arranging family festivities, beautiful, splendid family festivities,
      e.g. infant baptism and confirmation, which festivities, compared for
      example with excursions in the Deer Park and other family frolics,
      have a peculiar enchantment for the fact that they are "also"

      "Woe unto you," says Christ to the "lawyers" (the interpreters of
      Scripture), "for ye took away the key of knowledge, ye entered not in
      yourselves [i.e. into the kingdom of heven, cf. Matthew 23:13], and
      them that were entering in ye hindered." (Luke 11:52.)
    • roncriss
      ... varying ... obscure. Mark and Cielo, I would recommend SK s Diaries and his Upbuilding Discourses for his straight opinions. Anything he wrote under a
      Message 2 of 12 , Jan 10 1:08 PM
        --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "Mark Tindall" <mbtin@t...>
        > cielo wrote:
        > I find him very difficult to understand in some books and open to
        > interpretations. His indirect communication is sometimes totally

        Mark and Cielo,

        I would recommend SK's Diaries and his "Upbuilding Discourses" for
        his straight opinions. Anything he wrote under a pseudonym cannot be
        considered to be his own opinion. He wrote thos works in an effort
        to, in effect, trick his audience into Christianity.

      • roncriss
        ... existentialism. i think unconsciously he didnt know he was setting a trend already. and a lot followed. he is a theist existentialist and his thoughts are
        Message 3 of 12 , Jan 10 1:18 PM
          --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, cielo <annacoelum@y...> wrote:
          > also something remarkable about him..he's the forerunner of
          existentialism. i think unconsciously he didnt know he was setting a
          trend already. and a lot followed. he is a theist existentialist and
          his thoughts are what also gave way to the non-theistic ones... i am
          so absorbed with his melancholy... man why did he really broke that


          I believe he broke that engagement for two reasons. First, he
          thought that scripturally speaking, celibacy was the higher state:

          1 Corinthians 7
          8Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to
          stay unmarried, as I am. 9But if they cannot control themselves, they
          should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

          Secondly he saw suffering as a crucial aspect of the Christian life:

          Romans 8:17
          Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co­heirs
          with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we
          may also share in his glory.

        • roncriss
          ... Kierkegaardian ... Welcome back Willy! ~Ron~
          Message 4 of 12 , Jan 10 4:11 PM
            --- In kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com, "Will Brown <wilbro99@y...>"
            <wilbro99@y...> wrote:

            > Hi Ron, I have found my way back and am ready to do the
            > again. I'll look through the last few posts and add a comment or so.
            > ----willy

            Welcome back Willy!

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