Though Christian, Kierkegaard is considered to be the father of existentialism, the school of philosophy that puts the individual and his emotions, thoughts, responsibilities and actions at the center of its considerations. As Ken tells us, Kierkegaard’s influence extends to both secular philosophers like Martin Heidegger and John Paul Sartre, who were so popular in radicalizing the 1960s, and theologians like Karl Barth and Emil Brunner.
In other words, Kierkegaard played a crucial role in shaping the way people thought throughout the 20th century.
To understand him, it’s important to understand how he understood God, which Ken helps us to do. For Kierkegaard, God was utterly transcendent, and “an infinite qualitative difference” separated God from humanity.
While Kierkegaard believed that God became incarnate, he felt the incarnation didn’t do much to bridge the gap. Instead, it provides Kierkegaard with the basis for putting what he calls “absurdity” at heart of his definition of faith.
For Kierkegaard, faith isn’t a way of knowing or an act of trust in God’s goodness and love for us. Instead, it’s a belief and trust in the “strength of the absurd.” By “absurd,” he means that which contradicts reason.
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Also see From Romanticism to Existentialism
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