Religiousnessatadistance

In agreement with Climacus, Kierkegaard maintains that 'all religiousness lies in subjectivity, in inwardness, in emotion, in being jolted, in the qualitative pressure on the spring of subjectivity' (BA 104, translation modified). In his view, however, 'most people, in the religious sense, go through life in a kind of absentmindedness and preoccupation' in which 'they never in self-concern sense each his own I and the pulse beat and heart beat of his own self' (103). In other words, they live too objectively, at a distance from themselves, 'as if they were continually out, never at home' (103-4). At most, they become present to themselves only in the past or the future, not in the present, or at least not totally so in self-concern, which for Kierkegaard is the highest task for the personal life and constitutes the highest form of religiousness, since 'only in this way is it absolutely comprehended that a human being absolutely needs God at every moment' (106). To the extent that people have some religiousness and think about it, they have it in the form of a wish, intention, or idea about which they are undecided, not knowing what it is or how and when it is to be used (105, 107). Most importantly, they do not grasp that 'the religious is the one thing needful' in life but consider it to be, among other things, also needful, 'especially for difficult times' (105).

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