Thursday, June 29, 2006

Kierkegaard on Apologetics

"If one were to describe the whole orthodox apologetic effort in one single sentence, but also with categorical precision, one might say that it has the intent to make Christianity plausible. To this one might add that, if it were to succeed, then this effort would have the ironical fate that precisely upon the day of triumph it would have lost everything and entirely quashed Christianity... To make Christianity plausible is the same as to misinterpret it."

--- Soren Kierkegaard, Book on Adler (59)


Patrik said...

Kiekegaard is spot on of course, if you consider apologetics as trying to prove Christinity in some way, usually from the various Arguments for the existence of God.

However, you can do a different kind of apologetics too, which is to try to counter misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the Christian doctrine. This kind of apologetics avoids falling into the trap Kierkegaard describes. It also respects the right and ability of the other party to make up one's own mind.

Thomas Adams said...

Patrik - You make a very good point. Kierkegaard himself practiced this "different kind of apologetics" in the numerous works in which he elucidated the inner logic and coherence of the Christian faith. But the "logic" he employed was always the mere outworking of revelation, and never an attempt to ground Christianity in the general principles of reason.