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.