This is part 3 of a series, the preceding posts are here and here


Geisler points out that Kierkegaard felt that truth of the absolute was paradoxical, subjective, and required a  “leap to faith,” but denied the necessity of any objectivity to that belief. While the apologist felt this was a profoundly negative place that left a “gaping hole” and left faith defenseless, Kierkegaard obviously understood the powerful nature of a narrative that reveals itself it each person in unique ways through their individual experience. As Geisler himself quoted, Kierkegaard wrote

How much time, what great industry, what splendid talents, what distinguished scholarship have been requisitioned from generation to generation in order to bring this miracle to pass. And yet a little dialectical doubt touching the presuppositions may suddenly arise, sufficient for a long time to unsettle the whole, closing the subterranean way to Christianity which one has attempted to construct objectively and scientifically, instead of letting the problem remain subjective, as it is. – The Historical Point of View

This is ironic on Geisler’s behalf because people have ALWAYS reinterpreted the works of others in a personally meaningful way that has two dichotimous effects:

  1. It reaffirms their own presuppositions, in a self-serving case of confirmation bias
  2. It challenges old  preconceptions and presents a viable alternative which people can adopt

So this is the issue with strict, uncompromising TRUTH (as we presumptively call it). Either we accept it and deny our own fallible understanding, or we deny it and become heretics. Kierkegaard was trying to point out the irrelevance of  locking down the truth on a narrative that is best left ambiguous. Just as the Dunkards of early America understood, who Neil Postman wrote about in Amusing Ourself to Death,  when we write down our truths and understanding and then move to the text as an authority, we both close ourselves to any understanding that might come into conflict with the text and we make an idol of what we wrote, rather than honoring the inspiration that provided it. This is why we fail to acknowledge the true power of a narrative; we get wrapped up in the details. Like a dream, when we reminisce about the story we get stuck on WHAT happened HOW, rather than what the relevance is of what happened. Geisler forgets that a narrative has many explanations, but they can distract us and actually obscure the purposefulness of that message.

Advertisements