Kierkegaard Still Has Followers
A modern day Kierkegaard in the making? Here’s an interesting story about a self-professed Christian who has become frustrated with organized religion, specifically the organized religion of the right. He wrote a book about it, suggesting that Christianity in its modern form is too oriented towards herd-thinking (my term, not his) and a “go-along-to-get-along” (his words) mindset.
It’s an interesting piece, and it has mild-to-moderate Kierkegaardian (probably more mild) themes in it. I do wonder if the basic overall criticism that he has — that authentic cultivation of spirituality is incompatible with the ‘country-club’ style pushed by organized (or perhaps rather “socialized”) religion — could be equally leveled at the right and the left. His piece thus contains two criticisms: one against the modern herd-based nature of Christianity, and the other against a specific herd, the right (which he thinks is too xenophobic, particularly). Miller is probably a bit more interested in the second criticism than the first (where the first is more Kierkegaardian).
Kierkegaard would be very sympathetic to the first charge, and probably a bit to the second too. But, to be fair, Kierkegaard would surely argue that the herd of the left, to its demerit, removes much of the “fear and trembling” aspect of faith by inserting in a Hippie Jesus who is so “all embracing” that the religion runs the risk of dilution. On the other hand, however, is the too discerning Xenophobe Jesus on the other side, one that Kierkegaard might argue is more interested in rigid conformity to codes and creeds than anything else. So he’d be happy to hand out disapproval on both sides.
I wonder what people make of these particular criticisms? From an Existentialist point of view, I’m more interested in the first one, though: Has the organized “go-along-to-get-along” nature of communal Christianity deprived it of any possible authenticity? Has it really just become a social club of sorts? Is that the function of religion? Just to do “what one does”?