Kierkegaard argues that Christianity as we know it today barely relates itself to the message that Jesus preached in the New Testament. Christians are not striving to come closer to the Christianity of the New Testament, he further maintains. I am no Christian apologetic, but I find it necessarily to analyze the veracity of Kierkegaard’s claim.
He maintains that Luther had written 95 theses to show Christianity’s wretchedness, but today only one is necessary— honestly. When we juxtapose the way we are living the Christian life with the one preached in the New Testament, they almost have nothing in common. Official Christianity does not even dare to make clear the requirement of Jesus’ teachings in the new testament because that would bring to light how far removed the two are. We, Christians, live and love in the ordinary human way and so fail to live the extraordinary life that Christianity requires of us.
To illustrate his point, he gives an example. A Christian teacher is paid several thousand dollars as his wages. If we suppress the Christian criterion and assume the ordinary ‘human criterion’, which encourages that a person should have his wages for his work in order to live a respectable life with his family and maintain a perfect life’s standard, then that’s great. However, as soon as the idea of Christian poverty is asserted, several thousand is too high a salary. Christianity requires that when our most basic needs are met, the rest be given to the poor. One can live best the Christian requirement only in poverty (of spirit). It is dishonesty to call ourselves Christian when we so miserably fail to live the Christian requirement. We are dishonest about doing what Jesus requires. We give them our own interpretation according to our own expediency; nevertheless, the way we live is so far removed from the Sermon on the Mount’s requirements. “I will not participate… in what is called Christianity”, Kierkegaard says.
Now how right is Kierkegaard? I believe that the Christian life cannot be reduced to a few critiques. They are people who genuinely try to abide by the teaching of Jesus. Christianity However, it would make Christianity and Christians much more respectable in the world if we actually take very seriously Kierkegaard’s critic. Have you seen how lovable and respectable those who take the Christian faith very seriously are? Not only people respect their sacrifice, they are also attracted to their joy and peace. Religious freedom is being challenged everywhere in the world; perhaps if we take Christianity as Kierkegaard advocated it, no one would dare challenge it since our service would be in so much demands. I must admit as a group, we don’t stand out. We are just like everyone else. There is no way to differentiate Christians and the crowd. We go to their theaters, we watch whatever they want us to watch, we learn what they teach us, and we follow their rules even if they violate our conscience. How do you think the early Christians were able to conquer the world and spread the Word so quickly? It was because they accepted to set a standard tailored after the heart of Jesus— a standard that the ordinary world despised. Of course, that caused them to be imprisoned, mistreated, guillotined and killed, but it also put the world on the path to salvation. Due to our radical examples, the world fell to its knees and asked us for help. Our standards gave meaning to life, put life in right order, and helped put life in perspective.
Today, that standard is lost because we’ve gotten too comfortable over the years. the world has re-conquered the low standard in which it was living before Christianity blossomed. They are winning big time and the powerful force that is Christianity is sleeping. Until we wake up, Kierkegaard’s voice will keep on echoing on our cathedrals, churches, chapels, seminaries, schools, and workplaces. Until then, his voice will continue to resound in our deepest conscience that this Christianity is too far removed from the one preached in the Bible.