Kierkegaard on Practice in Christianity (SMPT Topic?)

In October there will be the annual meeting of the Society of Mormon Philosophy and Theology at Brigham Young University.  The topic is “Doers of the Word:  Belief and Practice“.   The topic motivated me to review Kierkegaard’s short work, “Practice in Christianity“, and I wonder if a Mormon take on this essay could work for a paper.

To give some of the highlights, Kierkegaard speaks of faith coming in opposition to the possibility of offense at Christ as the God-man.  This offense can come in two forms, one at the loftiness of Christ, the other at the lowliness of Christ.  If one starts out accepting the God who is Christ, they may be offended at the lowliness of the life of Jesus.  Additionally if one is familiar with the mortal condition of Jesus, the may be offended at the loftiness of Christ as the Son of God.

The bulk of the Kierkegaard essay seems to center on the risk of those who center on the loftiness, and turn into admirers rather than imitators of Christ.  They distance themselves from the object of Christ, and mostly speak of observations or personal remarks regarding the Savior.  Kierkegaard suggests we should instead be imitators or followers of Christ, and treat Christ as the subject rather than the object.  Thus, Christ has ears to hear and eyes to see if we are genuinely following Him in imitation worship rather than admiration worship.  Thus Christ becomes the prototype who is lowly enough to be imitated, yet lofty enough to bring all mankind unto Him.

I think this essay would resonate with most Mormons, with the exception of Kierkegaard rejection of the kinship between God and man.  Thus I feel that Mormonism makes an even stronger case for imitation, and thus practice in Christianity.  If I were to pursue a paper on this, I would try to persuade the audience that Kierkegaard was right about imitation worship in Christianity, and that Mormonism, which embraces the kinship with Christ makes an even stronger case.  And that such imitation is the basis for religious practice.

I welcome any comments or thoughts on such an effort.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Kierkegaard on Practice in Christianity (SMPT Topic?)”


  1. 1 jamiejourney August 16, 2015 at 11:18 am

    I love the idea of distinguishing and emphasizing imitation worship and kinship over adoration. The only suggestions I would give is to broaden your research base to include more than one author (just Kierkegaard) on the subject. It almost lends itself into a “faith vs works” subject, as works involve imitation. Engineering vs. science … as an engineer, you know the vast chasm between “good in theory, but in practice….” Math 21:28- two sons parable is a good adoration vs. actually trying to do the work parable I think. What a fun conference to go to, I’m jealous!!

  2. 2 Eric Nielson August 16, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Thanks Jamie, although I am not sure I will submit a paper, or attend at this point.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Bloggernacle



I'm a Mormon.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 346 other followers

The Author

Archives

Blog Stats

  • 166,444 hits

%d bloggers like this: