Kierkegaard's Constant Christianity
Soren Kierkegaard has been known to be the father of Existentialism. Perhaps he is but from some of his later work I assert that he is the father without ever having been the pupil. The text comes from his work "The Point Of View For My Work As An Author". In the second part of this very small essay the title reads "The Whole Work of Authorship construed from the point of view that the author is a religious author". Kierkegaards states clearly that "The religious writer must, therefore, first get into touch with men. That is, he must begin with aesthetic achievement." He explains well that his acts of aesthetic work (Either/Or and others) were ways of showing humanity that he, a Christian, is a noble man of artistic skill and writing giftedness. Because of this, he says, he will be able to approach them without being an outsider. At another point of this small essay he states that he held out "Two Edifying Discourses" with his right hand and "Either/Or" with his left and that the people took what was in his left hand with their right hand. Kierkegaard is clearly stating that he valued "Two Edifying Discourses" over "Either/Or" despite the fact that "Either/Or" was much more popular.
Many Christian Theologians believe his work of "Either/Or" to be a full part of Kierkegaard, that Kierkegaard thinks one can be Either Aesthetic Or Religious. I believe his title is meant to convey a lack of personality, an intentional ambiguity. Soren knows full well about the psychology of a human being. Should a man defend evolution from the seat of a scientist there is little fuss. But should he stand between the theologians and the scientists, then the words are lacking connotation. Either/Or lacks an author. When I read something written by Albert Camus I can expect it to be well written and Existential. When I hear someone speak from the Gospels I expect it to be important. But should I get a book or essay without a direct relationship, then I have a virgin book. The words lack bias because I cannot know what bias it would be. My decisions and interpretations are then left open to myself. Should I affirm a work by an ambiguous author then I may be against him or with him. I cannot choose a side knowing which side the author himself is on. By doing such a thing the reader is alone and left to make a decision counting the cost of that decision. Beautiful!
Another important example that shows forth his love of Christ over all is his pen-names. The following works by Kierkegaard were under a pseudonym: "Either/Or", "Fear and Trembling", "Repitition", "Philosophical Fragments", "Stages on Life's Way" and others. These works are under his actual name: "Two Edifying Discourses", "The Present Age", "Purity of Heart Edifying Discourses in Various Spirits", "Works of Love", "The Point of View for my work as an author", "The Unchangeableness of God", "Training in Christianity", "Attack Upon Christendom".
Even with Soren Kierkegaard's later writtings about his whole authorship being completely Religious some may say this does not mean he is in no way Existential. Existentialism proclaims the meaninglessness of life and the personal meaning that must be given it. It could very well be that S. Kierkegaard found life to be pointless and then turned to Christianity as his puppet (as Camus says in his 'Myth of Sisyphus') but something about his "Training in Christianity" makes me disagree. Should Kierkegaard truly devalue Christ then all of the religious work aught to have the half hearted pseudonyms. Should he truly be a convert to nothingness then he should be proud of Either/Or, though, as he says himself he holds it in his left hand.