Sunday, November 9, 2008
From "The Journals"
"God creates everything out of nothing -and everything that God will use he first reduces to nothing."
"The only possible exception [to having chosen Christ] would be: that you might have possibly been saved another way. To that he cannot answer. It is as though one were to say to someone in love, 'yes, but might you have fallen in love with another girl'; to which he would have to answer: 'there is no answer to that, for I only know that she is my love. The moment a lover can answer that objection he is eo ipso not a lover; and if a believer can answer that question he is eo ipso not a believer."
"Paganism never gets nearer the truth than Pilate: What is truth? And with that crucifies it."
"The idea of philosophy is mediation-Christianity's is the paradox."
"A man who cannot seduce men cannot save them either."
From "Philosophical Fragments"
"One cannot seek for what he knows, and it seems equally impossible to seek for what one does not know."
"But who is this systematic thinker? Aye, it is he who is outside of existence and yet in existence, who is in his eternity forever complete, and yet includes all existence within himself-it is God."
"And the principle that not only he is in want who desires something he does not have, but also he who desires the continued possession of what he already has."
"If a dancer could leap very high, we should admire him. But if he tried to give the impression that he could fly, let laughter single him out for suitable punishment, even though it might be true that he could leap as high as any dancer ever had done. Leaping is the accomplishment of a being essentially earthly, one who respects the earth's gravitational force, since the leaping is only momentary. But flying carries a suggestion of being emancipated from telluric conditions, a privilege reserved for winged creatures, and perhaps also shared by the inhabitants of the moon-and there perhaps the System will first find its true readers [lunatics]."
"On the contrary, the subjective acceptance is precisely the decisive factor; and an objective acceptance of Christianity is Paganism or thoughtlessness."
"In this way Christianity protests every form of objectivity. It desires that the subject should be infinitely concerned about himself."
"Devoutness inheres in subjectivity, nobody ever becomes devout objectively."
"If one who lives in the midst of Christianity goes up to the house of God, the house of the true God, with the true conception of God in his knowledge, and prays, but prays in a false spirit; and one who lives in an idolatrous community prays with the entire passion of the infinite, although his eyes rest upon the image of an idol: where is there most truth? The one prays in truth to God through he worships an idol; the other prays falsely to the true God, and hence worships in fact an idol."
"In the case of a mathematical proposition the objectivity is given, but for this reason the truth of such a proposition is also an indifferent truth. But the above definition of truth is an equivalent expression for faith. Without risk there is no faith. Faith is precisely the contradiction between the infinite passion of the individual's inwardness and the objective uncertainty. If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe."
"The eternal truth has come into being in time: this is the paradox"
"For without risk there is no faith, and the greater the risk, the greater the faith; the more objective security, the less inwardness (for inwardness is precisely subjectivity), and the less objective security, the more profound the possible inwardness."
"The absurd is precisely by its objective repulsion the measure of the intensity of faith in inwardness. Suppose a man who wishes to acquire faith; let the comedy begin. He wishes to have faith, but he wishes also to safeguard himself by means of an objective inquiry and its approximation-process. What happens? With the help of the approximation-process the absurd becomes something different: it becomes probable, it becomes increasingly probable, it becomes extremely and emphatically probable. Now he is ready to believe it, and he ventures to claim for himself that he does not believe as shoemakers and tailors and simple folk believe, but only after long deliberation. Now he is ready to believe it; and lo, now it has become precisely impossible to believe it. Anything that is almost probable, or probable, or extremely and emphatically probable, is something he can almost know, or as good as know, or extremely and emphatically almost know-but it is impossible to believe. For the absurd is the object of faith, and the only object that can be believed."
"Christianity is no doctrine concerning the unity of the divine and the human, or concerning the identity of the subject and object; nor is it any other of the logical transcriptions of Christianity. If Christianity were a doctrine, the relationship to it would not be one of faith, for only an intellectual type of relationship can correspond to a doctrine. The realm of faith is thus not a class for numskulls in the sphere of the intellectual, or an asylum for the feeble-minded. Faith constitutes a sphere all by itself, and every misunderstanding of Christianity may at once be recognized by its transforming it into a doctrine, transferring it to the sphere of the intellectual. The maximum of attainment within the sphere of the intellectual, namely, to become completely indifferent as to the reality of the teacher, is in the sphere of faith at the opposite end of the scale. The maximum of attainment within the sphere of faith is to become infinitely interested in the reality of the teacher..."
"Neither the bird in its cage, nor the fish on the shore, nor the invalid on his sickbed, nor the prisoner in the narrowest cell, is so confined as he who is imprisoned in the conception of God; for just as God is omnipresent, so the imprisoning conception is also everywhere and in every moment."
"Humility. What sort of humility? The humility that frankly admits its human lowliness with humble cheerfulness before God, trusting that God knows all this better than man himself."
"Passion and reflection are generally exclusive of one another...even he who is lost through passion has not lost as much as he who lost passion, for the former had the possibility."
"He who with quiet introspection is honest before God and concerned for himself, God saves from being in error, through he be never so simple, him God leads by the suffering of inwardness to the truth. But meddlesomeness and noise are signs of error, and signs of an abnormal condition, like wind in the stomach."
From "Training in Christianity"
"In an impermissible and unlawful way people have become knowing about Christ, for the only permissible way is to be believing."
"By degrees, as this came to be accounted wisdom, all pith and vigor was distilled out of Christianity; the tension of the paradox was relaxed, one became a Christian without noticing it, and without in the least noticing the possibility of offense. One took possession of Christ's doctrine, turned it about and pared it down, while He of course remained surety for its truth, He whose life had such stupendous results in history. All became as simple as thrusting a foot into the stocking. And quite naturally, because in that way Christianity became paganism."
"Talent is to be ranked according to the sensation it produces; Genius according to the opposition it arouses (religious character according to the scandal it gives)."
From "Attack on Christendom"
"'Grace' cannot possibly stretch so far, one thing it must never be used for, it must never be used to suppress or to diminish the requirement; for in that case "grace" would turn Christianity upside down."
"But gradually the human race came to itself and, shrewd as it is, it saw that to do away with Christianity by force was not practicable--'So let us do it by cunning,' they said. 'We are all Christians, and so Christianity is eo ipso abolished.'"
"In the magnificent cathedral the Honorable and Right Reverend, the elect favorite of the fashionable world, appears before an elect company and preaches with emotion upon the text he himself choose: 'God hath chosen the base things of the world, and the things that are despised.' And nobody laughs."
"Wherever there is a cause to be promoted, an undertaking to be carried out, an idea to be introduced--one can always be sure that when he who really is the man for it, the right man, who in a higher sense has and must have command, he who has seriousness and can give to the cause the seriousness it truly has--one can always be sure that when he comes to the spot, he will find there before him a genial company of twaddlers who, under the name of seriousness, lie around and bungle things by wanting to serve the cause, promote the undertaking, introduce the idea; a company of twaddle’s who of course regard the fact that the person in question will not make common cause with them (precisely indicating his seriousness) as a certain proof that he lacks
"Up comes a priest, a priest who jumps up whenever he sees a five-dollar bill. And thereupon the priest celebrates the Holy Communion, from which the tradesman, or rather both tradesmen (both he priest and the business man) return home to their customary way of life, only that one of them (the priest) cannot be said to return home to his customary way of life, for in fact he had never left it, but rather had been functioning as a tradesman."
[About Priests] "Their whole business is based upon living off the fact that others are sacrificed; their Christianity is to receive sacrifices. If it were proposed to them that they themselves should be sacrificed, they would regard it as a strange and unchristian demand, conflicting violently with the wholesome doctrine of the New Testament, which they would prove with such colossal learning that the span of life of no individual man would suffice for studying all this through."
"The fact that one believes can be proved in only one way: by being willing to suffer for one's faith. And the degree of one's faith is proved only by the degree of one's willingness to suffer for one's faith."
"No, the proof that something is truth from the willingness to suffer for it can only be advanced by one who himself is willing to suffer for it. The priest's "proof"- proving the truth of Christianity by the fact that he takes money for it, profits by, lives off of, being steadily promoted, with a family, lives off of the fact that others have suffered--is a self contradiction; Christianly regarded, it is fraud."
"Thou plain man! The Christianity of the New Testament is infinitely high; but observe that it is not high in such a sense that it has to do with the difference between man and man with respect to intellectual capacity, etc. No, it is for all. Everyone, absolutely everyone, if he absolutely wills it, if he will absolutely hate himself, will absolutely put up with everything, suffer everything--then is this infinite height attainable to him." seriousness! I say, when the right man comes he will find things thus."