Tag Archives: Christ

Søren Kierkegaard’s Christian Discourses: The Care of Poverty

10 Aug

The Christian Discourses of Kierkegaard make up some of his most amazing works in that they are worded in such a way that they have the ability to make the worried man feel better. Poverty is such an issue that is the concern of many people worldwide and the things said in this discourse are only things that can comfort the reader. Having first read this, certain Bible verses come to mind that his philosophy takes root in, and noticing that makes me feel even better about the message Kierkegaard aims to set forth with this discourse.

The discourse begins by saying this care (the care of poverty) is not a care that the bird has. He proceeds to state that the bird lives on heavenly bread that never goes stale. This heavenly bread being what the bird’s liveliness is and that which it only has enough to survive with. Because of the fact that the heavenly bread is scarce and only comes when the bird needs it, the bird has little, and therefore is poor, but the key is in the fact that the bird does not give recognition to the fact that he is poor. Kierkegaard states that the lack of care about the state of poverty in the bird needs to be transferred to the humans that are poor, because we should put trust in the lord concerning what we eat and drink. The bird does not care about his poor state, and nor should we because of the trust we have put in God’s hands. Kierkegaard infers that because of our ability to put all trust in God concerning what we will eat and drink, we are not therefore poor, but we have so many heavenly riches, that we are of the most rich state. Because of all the aforesaid things: “Therefore you should not worry and say: What will we eat or what will we drink?- for all such things the pagans seek”(Kierkegaard). The pagans seek these things because they are not able to have the heavenly riches that the Christian has of putting our trust in the hands of God. Finally the bird is then displayed as being carefree because it is so poor and yet does not worry about it.

There are great verses in the Bible that set forth the same principles, and inspire the reader to trust and love God. “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!  Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition,  with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” and ” I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” -Philippians 4: 4-7 and Philippians 4: 13. These two parts of Philippians are what I use to govern most of my life, and it helps a lot when you are worrying about your life, and are uncertain about the future about what will put food on the table. Kierkegaard and many pastors refer to the bird and ask if the bird (another of God’s creatures like yourself) questions where it gets its food and drink when people are going through rough times. I first heard this when my pastor of my church did a sermon on this part of Philippians and why we should not worry about our lives if we have full trust in God. The bird has heavenly bread because he does not worry about his poor state, and he continuously has food to eat and water to drink. People, being more complex in the head, are prone to worrying about our lives when times get hard. God answers us with those verses in Philippians.  Using the bird and asking us “does the bird worry about where it gets its food? And yet the bird always survives..” is really helpful to people in a state of deep worry. Examining the mindset of the bird and its poor state is key to seeing why God does not want us to worry, and is key in understanding the answer to our worries.

I could continuously preach about how Philippians and the bird are shown to tell us to not worry, but the main proposition in the Christian Discourse Care of Poverty by Kierkegaard is that whatever cares we have based on poverty or other concerns, can be dealt with by putting all of our trust in God and stopping the worry. If we do this we are actually in a state of great riches (heavenly riches that is). It is my opinion however that to confidently put our worries and trust in God’s hands and expect all to work out perfectly, we must have given our lives to God for salvation, be living a righteous life in the eyes of God, and continuously repenting of our sins. We must be doing all of these things or at least trying our very hardest to be doing all of these things if we want our worries and trust to be correctly handled in the cosmos. If we are living a hypocritical life, and not trying at all to be what God wants us to be, and expect that He meet our worries and trust with good things, we are sadly mistaken. We will always sin, and do bad things, but if we are making a conscious effort to thwart sin, and making a conscious effort to repent of the sins, God recognizes it and treats the person well for it. If we are making a good conscious effort in all of these things, we can be confident that our worries of poverty, and that our trust in Him will be handled the best way possible. The verses in Philippians confirm this proposition.

These Philippians  verses in the Bible and Kierkegaard’s Discourse on the Care of Poverty make it known how bad it is to worry obsessively and to not put our trust in anything but ourselves. The verses and the discourse make it known how much of a bad thing it is to worry without trusting in God. At the same time it reveals another reason that God is such a loving and amazing God.  Kierkegaard is amazing for having written these things in a distinct Christian discourse.

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Friedrich Nietzsche The AntiChrist: II – VI

29 Jul

I have previously neglected to read and think about Nietzsche’s philosophy because of his blatant, and criticizing of Christians and the Christian faith. I was recently told by an uncle of mine, that if I am to teach philosophy in the future (which that is the plan), I need to be able to teach both sides. Hearing this, and realizing my unreasonable bias against this atheist philosophy, I understood it was wrong of me to condemn all Nietzschean philosophy, and I started to read the AntiChrist because it addresses my issues with Nietzsche’s philosophy. Forgive me if my opinions further show my adamant bias against atheism. Here are the AntiChrist propositions 2 through 6 (omitting 4)

II

Nietzsche defines the good: everything that increases the feeling of power, the will to power, and power itself in men.  Evil: everything that is based in weakness. Joy: emotion of power increasing, of a resistance overcome. Using these definitions he claims that men are not content in their amount of power, but they have joy and good in claim to more power, and waging war for more power. He claims that people without power are condemned and cast out. He carves out from those without power as the weak and misbegotten leading to the slogan: they should be helped to sink. He lays out all these definitions to carve out the weak as Christianity: “What is the most harmful vice? – pity shown to the misbegotten and the feeble- Christianity” (Nietzsche).  Because he notes evil to be those based in the weak, and he also notes Christianity to be the misbegotten and the feeble so we are able to make the connection that Christianity to him is evil. Before going into my dislike for Nietzsche’s philosophy against Christianity, I want to note upon his definition of the good. The good involves to a smaller extent things based in power, and more on things based in goodness towards others and ourselves, which power more often than not does not correlate with. When one thinks of the good,  power is not what immediately comes to mind. I think of good as Plato thought of it: knowledge, good to others and ourselves (often love). The good is what God wants us to take upon ourselves to benefit all within and around us. Good’s definition is understood as what most everyone else thinks of it as, usually not of power. I can understand that he thinks of Christianity as misbegotten and feeble because little hard evidence endorses it, but faith does, which is something he lacks the intelligence to have. Finally, Christianity is not something that sees or takes pity anyway, so his greatest vice is not one that matters. I totally disagree with his second proposition.

III

The third proposition again slams Christianity when he concerns the form of man that will evolve and rule many of the people. The man he concerns to evolve is the one that: “shall be evolved, shall be willed as having the highest value, as being the most worthy to live and the best guarantor of the future…”(Nietzsche). He concerns what type of man will change into the kind that rules by government and by influence for the future, to hopefully be better. He states that he has seen a similar kind of man to his qualifications, that has faded in and out, and has become high in recgonizance by luck and not by his own choice. Nietzsche states that this man is feared from terror, and aims for man to evolve towards a higher form. He labels this feared man doomed to fail as the Christ type. I understand his conclusion and the connection between the terror instilling/ feared man  and the Christ type because some who label themselves as Christians do not live their lives as so. These hypocritical Christians are hypocritical because they wrongly exercise power, and do things righteous Christians would not do. These hypocrites give Christianity a bad vibe because these are the Christians seen by the mass public, making all Christians look like this hypocrite model of terror. I agree with Nietzsche that the man that emerges out of luck this way and assumes power and instills terror that labels himself with the Christian name  is one that is bad for everyone. Nietzsche makes the connection that because these people that label themselves as Christians probably means that all Christians are like this (power hungry, terror instilling, feared). If Nietzsche really knew the real Christian he would not think this way, and he would know how good real Christians are (and I DON’T mean Nietzsche’s definition of good). I even hate to talk this way because by saying this I say that I do not sin, when really I sin also, just like the power hungry hypocritical Christian Nietzsche talks about. I therefore equalize myself and all other real Christians with this hypocrite and all people in general because in God’s eyes, all sins are equal (and can all be forgiven equally). But the sins of the Christian Nietzsche exemplifies make Christianity look differently from what it really is, making Christianity look bad, leading to Nietzsche’s philosophy in the AntiChrist.

IV (omitted)

V

This higher stronger man taken to his position by will is something Nietzsche wants to occur, but he states that Christianity goes against this strong man, and aims to destroy it. He claims that Christianity employs evil upon everything (evil meaning weakness, and misbegottenness). The biggest and most interesting point in V is when Nietzsche says that Christianity takes sides with the good/weak and feeble by telling people to go against their better instincts, and it eats through reasoning and instincts. The main thing I get from V is that  Christianity telling people to go against their better instincts prevents the rising of a strong man that comes to power by will that evolved into a better man above the rest. First, I do not think throughout these propositions that Nietzsche’s evolved man coming to power through will (the strong man) would be any better in tyranny and terror than the hypocritical Christians. Also, I do not think that a person should come to power by will, because this would lead to tyranny and terror. I just do not see Nietzsche’s picture of the perfect ruling strong man to be any better than the rest simply because being a strong man, he would have the same or even more faults just like everyone else. If he could have given a better definition of this strong man, and explained why he would do better than anyone else, I would find his philosophy about this evolved man better. Second, Christianity causes men to go against their better instincts, this I agree with. The part I do not agree with is Nietzsche’s opinion that men going against their better instinct is bad. We are supposed to have faith enough in God to trust that He knows better about ourselves than we do. He is infinitely bigger than us, as we are infinitely smaller than He. Because of this, going against our better instincts is the best thing to do, as our better instincts are faulty and will more often than not lead us astray. For instance, the Bible tells us to go against our better instincts when it tells us to turn the other  cheek against our enemies. No man in his better instincts would do that, but it always works better for us when we turn the other cheek. Going further in this biblical example, if we turn the other cheek, the enemy declines to attack us further, but if we retaliate against the enemy by striking back, the enemy stricks again back at us, and the conflict does not end, leading to dismal results. Here, going against our better instincts is best, and in instances where we cannot find a reason to do what God says, we have to have faith enough to know that it will work out if we obey God. These beliefs in obeyance of God would seem stupid to Nietzsche but again he was too ignorant and instinct based to understand any of this.

VI

“It is a distressing, a painful spectacle that appears before me: I have drawn back the curtain which conceals the putrescence of mankind” (Nietzsche). By putrescence he means that mankind is putrid because of its decadence, by decadence he means decrease of the mental state specifically by losing the use/the having of instincts.

“I define an animal, a species or an individual as decadent when it loses its instincts; when it adopts and when it even prefers what is injurious to itself” (Nietzsche). Decadent= loss of instincts. Instincts to Nietzsche are what promote survival, good (powerful) things, and other things promoting the wellness of the being. The importance of instincts promote power of an organization for Nietzsche, and the tight organization of that group. Instincts for Nietzsche promote wellness as a being and as any grouped organization.

My opinion is against the importance of instincts. Instincts are what are small unknowing brain tells us what we should do when its knowledge is small in nature and is nothing to be relied on. If we rely on anything it should be God, and we should have faith and trust in Him if we want to preserve ourselves and our eternal destiny. We never lose instinct, but when we stop relying on it, and turn to God is when we actually preserve ourselves. Instinct means nothing for our preservation and wellness.

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