Kierkegaard Got It Right

Soren Kierkegaard, sometimes called “the Father of Existentialism,” was a philosopher who attempted to appeal to both secular and religious readers.  Kierkegaard was the only philosopher who got it right.

Born on May 5, 1813, in Copenhagen, Denmark, Kierkegaard was never politically correct.  He typically was not sensitive to others.  He was not liked by Scandinavians or, for that matter, by anybody else.  He believed in God, but Catholics, Protestants, and other believers turned against him.  He was an existentialist, but other existentialist philosophers spurned his writings.  Yet, Kierkegaard got it right.

It is like the story of a judge who made a ruling that neither the plaintiff nor the defendant liked.  The judge smiled and said, “Well, since nobody likes my ruling, that means I made the right decision.”

Kierkegaard champions our individual freedom in making choices over the religious or secular establishment’s restrictions on your decisions.  Your unification with God will not be assisted by a priest or minister or policeman or government employee.  It will be a one-on-one meeting of the minds.  You will become one with God only within yourself.

Your attendance at church and your giving to the church will carry no value into the afterlife.  You will carry nothing on this journey of death except what is within you.  And according to Kierkegaard, God must be your guide on this road, otherwise you will be lost.

Kierkegaard had two primary steps.  First, know yourself.  If you know yourself, you will be a strong individual who can resist the temptations of life.  Second, know God.  Only God has experienced everything and can assist you through the chaos of the afterlife.

It is important to know yourself inwardly and subjectively.  Know your weaknesses.  Pride must become humility.  Be independent, but humble in your individualism.  The highest goal in subjective ethics is to be humble.

Then let God inside your subjective self, thus allowing an objective spirit to enter your body.  This creates the synergy of subjective and objective reasoning.  The combination of a priori and a posteriori makes for perfection.

Once you let God enter your soul, your independent spirit will be lifted up to new heights.  This combination completes the person.  God’s objective, empirical knowledge is the final piece that finishes the jig-saw puzzle.  The highest goal in objective ethics is to become one with God.

Subjective consequences for your poor choices in life will be handed out by your conscience, but objective consequences will be administered by your Creator.



Our Right to Oppose an Oppressive Government

The American Revolution, which was the crucible for the thinking of our Founding Fathers, clearly allowed citizens to rise up and oppose an oppressive government, in that case England.  Revolution certainly is not an action to be taken lightly, but in a case of last resort, it would be a viable option for Americans to select if their federal government had overstepped its bounds and was headed in the wrong direction.

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.—That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,—That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness…

Without entering the debate of whether a state can secede from the union, we can state simply that Americans have the right to revolt and abolish the government that has become destructive of our rights to liberty and the pursuit of happiness and we also have the right to institute a new government that will protect our freedom of speech, religion, press, and all the other freedoms that we are heirs to from our original government.

There is no question that our current federal government is too big and bureaucratic, but that by itself does not justify a revolution.  However, the type of government that it has become may well give us pause in allowing it to continue.  Our government has become a socialistic form of government.  Again, this standing alone does not justify a revolution.  However, it is the combination of socialism with totalitarian domination that is the real danger to our way of life.

There have been moments during America’s great history when socialism lifted us out of the Great Depression and got us back on our feet and provided for the elderly and needy.  And even though the Affordable Care Act has generated much push back from Americans, it is not a reason for revolution.  But it is part of a new federal government culture that is growing by leaps and bounds, eroding and in many cases eliminating the guaranteed rights provided to the states and citizens by the ninth and tenth amendments of our Constitution.

You can think of our current socialistic federal government as a cancer that is progressing in stages.  At some point in time, this cancer will have to be cut out and removed or it will kill our democracy, independence, freedom, and any rights of states or citizens.  So, it is not a question of will we need a revolution; it is only a question of when we need to take action as states and citizens to abolish the federal government and start all over again.

Peer Pressure in the Wrong Direction

Our friends don’t always give us good advice and many times push us in the wrong direction.  We may receive better advice from our parents, but may not realize it until we are parents ourselves.  The problem with friends is that they are primarily motivated to make their lives better than your life.  If you do well, they may be a bit jealous, so don’t count on too much support.  In fact, you may find that you have been sabotaged by friends who couldn’t stand your success.

Yet, peers are very important to us as we reach the adolescent stage.  We want to be members of a gang or clique.  We want to be accepted in a group, but at what cost?  We may have to give up our independent identity and conform to the group norm.  And that applies to most any association, whether church group or criminal gang.

And once you pass the test to be admitted to that gang, your life will belong to that group.  You will be owned by that association.  Your thoughts and actions will be controlled by the pack.  There have been many examples over the years where individuals could not believe what they did in out-of-control mobs.  The Germans did not understand why they supported Hitler.  Peer pressure exerts tremendous mind control over individuals.

So how do we interact with others without succumbing to peer pressure?  Perhaps the best way is to always think independently of others.  I remember in law school, we set up study groups to prepare for exams.  The study groups got out of control when they started cutting cases out of the library law books so that other students would not have those cases to study.  Always keep your moral compass handy when you are around these groups.  It will point you in the right direction when they are attempting to lead you down the wrong path.

Why is peer pressure so important to you?  Just remember that you will have a better life without following the group.  Groups head in the wrong direction about 90% of the time.  That’s because their decisions are rarely based on study and thought.  Typically, emotions and intuition lead the pack.  Always keep your head when others are losing theirs and blaming it on you.

And always ask why before doing anything.  If the justification for the action is “just because we can” or “why not?” then you better rethink the action.  I remember when I was in a fraternity, the active members asked me to join them in an act which would physically harm the pledges.  I asked them “why?” and they told me because we had always done it.  I told them “no” and was almost blackballed out of the fraternity.  But it taught me a lesson about people.  Many times you will have to go against the grain in order to do the right thing.  But it is always worth it.

In God We Trust

I have always been an independent Christian.  I never had many Christian friends because most of them aren’t really Christians.  Most Christians that I have met over the years go to church on Sunday as a social gathering and then sin without remorse the entire next week.

I only have met a handful of them who actually want to discuss the Bible and even fewer who venture into controversial areas like how many heavens there are and how difficult it actually is to enter the second and third heavens.  See 2 Corinthians 12:2 re: three heavens, and Matthew 7:14 re: the difficulty in finding heaven.

So, how can such an independent pioneer ask you to turn your life over to God?  How can I say that you should trust God, letting the Holy Spirit enter your body and take over your soul?  How can I ask you to give up your independence?

Well, it is quite simple.  If you don’t, when you die, you will be lost.  Think of death as a journey into an uncharted wilderness with obstacles at every turn.  How could you take such a journey without a guide?  I would be one of the first to try it on my own, but I know the consequences are horrific if I do so.  God is the only tour guide that you can trust to steer you through the chaos of afterlife.

When you die, if you are still thinking, then you may find yourself in a dark place with no illumination.  You need a guide to provide the light so that you can find your way.  An eternity of dark, damp chaos would not be a fair price for retaining your independence.  Initially, you might think that you can find your way, but after long hours of searching for a way out, your soul would probably hallucinate and create nightmares with your worst phobias as the leading villains.

If you were afraid of high places, you would find yourself teetering on a ridge high in the Andes.  If you feared tight places, you would find yourself wedged headfirst in a restricted sewer tunnel with no room to breathe.  If you were afraid of being buried alive, you would find yourself inside a stuffy coffin buried deep under the earth.  And these agonizing nightmares could go on forever.

That’s why you need a guide… a guide you can trust.  That would be God.  You will have to give up your independence and turn the steering wheel over to Him, but in God you can trust.