W. H. Auden on Pascal’s “wager” and Kierkegaard’s “leap”

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“It is,” Newman observed, “as absurd to argue men, as to torture them, into believing.” However convincing the argument, however holy the arguer, the act of faith remains an act of choice which no one can do for another. Pascal’s “wager” and Kierkegaard’s “leap” are neither of them quite adequate descriptions, for the one suggests prudent calculation and the other perverse arbitrariness. Both, however, have some value: the first calls men’s attention to the fact that in all other spheres of life they are constantly acting on faith and quite willingly, so that they have no right to expect religion to be an exception; the second reminds them that they cannot live without faith in something, and that when the faith which they have breaks down, when the ground crumbles under their feet, they have to leap even into uncertainty if they are to avoid certain destruction.  (The Living Thoughts of Kierkegaard, W. H. Auden, Introduction p. 17)

BMC @ Manifest Propensity, 2013

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“Vision” – by Peter Hammill (On “poetic love” with Soren Kierkegaard & C. S. Lewis)

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A simply beautiful and amazing song (video & lyrics are posted below) by Peter Hammill, from an earlier time, way back in 1971. I do not wish to diminish the song (which should become more clear as I proceed) but if we were to analyze what is the factual basis in reality for such love what would that basis be? It would be found to be a moving example of what Soren Kierkegaard called “poetic love.” Continue reading

Soren Kierkegaard on “equality in loving” which is the love that can change the world – “Works of Love” 9 (preferential love, part 2)

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In this post we will consider Kierkegaard’s positive view of the duty of loving our neighbor. Continue reading

Love as inexhaustible, indescribable, unfathomable – Soren Kierkegaard

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“These are reflections on the works of love – not as if hereby all love’s works were mentioned and described – far from it, not even as if a single one described were described once for all – God be praised, far from it! That which in its vast abundance is essentially inexhaustible is also essentially indescribable in its smallest act, simply because essentially it is everywhere wholly present and essentially cannot be described.” Autumn 1847  S.K.

(From Works of Love, Author’s Preface)

“From whence comes love, where does it have its origin and its source; where is the place, its stronghold, from which it proceeds? Certainly this place is hidden or is in that which is hidden. There is a place in a human being’s most inward depths; from this place proceeds the life of love, for “from the heart proceeds life”…

…The hidden life of love is in the most inward depths, unfathomable, and still has an unfathomable relationship with the whole of existence. As the quiet lake is fed deep down by the flow of hidden springs, which no eye sees, so a human being’s love is grounded, still more deeply, in God’s love. If there were no spring at the bottom, if God were not love, then there would be neither a little lake nor man’s love. As the still waters begin obscurely in the deep spring, so a man’s love mysteriously begins in God’s love.”

(Works of Love, pp. 26-27)

BMC @ Manifest Propensity, 2013

Soren Kierkegaard on “Keeping the two commandments” – “Works of Love” 8 (preferential love, part 1)

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“Just because Christianity is the true ethic, it knows how to shorten deliberations and cut short prolix instructions, to remove all provisional waiting and preclude all waste of time. Christianity is involved in the task immediately, because it has brought the task along. There is, indeed, great debate going on in the world about what should be called the highest good. But whatever it is called at the moment, whatever variations there are, it is unbelievable how many prolexities are involved in grasping it.”

“Christianity, however, teaches a man immediately the shortest way to find the highest good: shut your door and pray to God – for God is still the highest.  And when a man will go out into the world, he can go a long way – and go in vain –  he can wander the world around – and in vain – all in order to find the beloved or the friend. But Christianity never suffers a man to go in vain, not even a single step, for when you open the door which you shut in order to pray to God, the first person you meet as you go out is your neighbor whom you shall love. Wonderful!” (Soren Kierkegaard, “Works of Love” p. 64.) Continue reading

Soren Kierkegaard’s “Works of Love” 5 (Self-love: part 2, improper self-love)

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In this post I present an excerpt from Soren Kierkegaard in which he presents some examples of persons that fail to love themselves with proper self-love. This is perhaps one of the best ways to demonstrate how “natural” self-love is inadequate as a basis for neighbor-love, while also falling short of proper self-love. Continue reading

Soren Kierkegaard’s “Works of Love” 4 (Self-love: part 1)

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In 1847 the Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard publish his “Christian reflections” on “the works of love.” I have come to believe that Kierkegaard has been largely misunderstood, misrepresented, and therefore ignored by many Christians, to their own detriment. So for these reasons, and due to my own interest in what he has to teach about the “works of love,” I will be presenting a series of meditations as I read through this book. Continue reading