Kierkegaard and the leap to faith.
I’ve decided that the only way to understand religion is in terms of what Søren Kierkegaard called the “leap.” (CUP, p 340) He never used the term “leap of faith.” I’m still struggling with Kierkegaard. My post is a series of comments on some important ideas of his. There are others.
I am particularly interested in the religious implications of his earlier works, those not explicitly Christian. When people refer to Kierkegaard as the first existentialist, it is to these earlier works that they refer.
One influence on my decision to study Kierkegaard was reading some of Reinhold Niebuhr’s sermons, prayers, and religious essays (2015). Far from being a “Christian realist,” as I may have portrayed him here, Niebuhr was first of all a man of faith. But what does this mean?
Truth as subjectivity
It means that through an act of “imaginative reorientation,” one chooses to see the world as gift, and Christ as our savior, because doing so makes life more meaningful. Reasons can be given, but the world as gift and Christ as savior becomes a reality by acting as if it were so. This is what Kierkegaard means by “truth as subjectivity.”
Truth is not just a proposition. Truth becomes a way of life. This is exemplified in Christ’s claim that “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Christ not only claims to teach the truth; His life is the truth (Evans, p 62). Our lives can never be the truth, but we can seek to make the ideals represented by Christ’s life and teachings our own, in so far as this is humanly possible. In this way faith becomes a reality.