Monday, May 25, 2009
By Richard E. Noble
Soren Aabye Kierkegaard has a dubious fame as a philosopher. Most biographers do not consider him a philosopher at all, and, in fact, he did not consider himself to be a philosopher. He loved and idolized his father. His father, a retired wholesale grocer, was a deeply religious man. Soren is a chip off the old block. His claim to fame seems to be his notion that belief in God required a 'leap' from reason to faith, or from the 'absurd' or ridiculous to the sublime. That there was a God and that this God could be made into man, he considered to be absurd. But belief in the absurd is what God requires of the truly faithful. God was absurd, and Life was painfully disgusting, and rightfully so.
"Though a crime I came into existence against God's will. The fault, which in one sense is not mine, even if it makes me a criminal in God's eyes, is to give life. The punishment is to give life. The punishment fits the fault: it is to be deprived of all joy of life, to be brought to the supreme degree of disgust with life."
So, life is a curse to be endured for the sake of eternity. Life and its miseries, pain and death, is a sort of boot camp for heaven. Enduring the boot camp of Life makes you fit to be one of God's eternal Marines. Life is insane and torturous. God, His Son, and His Church are absurd, but acceptance of the insane and belief in the face of absurdity is what endears the human being to his heavenly Father and guarantees him an eternity in paradise. If belief or faith was logical and rational then what would be the big deal about having faith? ... Blessed are those who see the true and the real, but have the wisdom to deny that it is so ... Faith.
On a personal note the Kierkegaard Family had a deep secret - a secret which kept young Soren from marrying the love of his life. One Biographer, Copleston, says that the secret was that Pop had lost his temper one day out on the back forty and cursed God. This slip of the tongue had from that time on caused profound guilt and the belief that God now looked upon them with disdain. A later biographer, Ben-Ami Scharfstein, says that the family secret was most likely venereal disease, and that young Soren's problem was most probably erectile dysfunction. Pop had confessed to Soren that he had on occasion slipped into a Brothel and he may have contracted something that he then transferred to his wife and children. Soren's mother and three of her children all died within the space of a couple of years, and Soren and his brother Peter feared that they may also die young, or possibly go mad.
I hate to be so crude, but from the little that I have read about Soren thus far, I think that his fear of madness was unfounded. He was already as nutty as a fruit cake and obviously didn't even know it.