"Christendom has done away with Christianity without being quite aware of it "
SÃ¸ren Aabye Kierkegaard
So wrote Kierkegaard around 150 years ago. Kierkegaard is often considered the first existential philosopher but was also very much into Jesus. Christendom refers to a Christian empire that proponents such as Anabaptists claim came into being as a result of the "Constantinian shift. " This term refers to the radical shift that occurred when Christianity went from being an "underground" religion to first becoming Constantine's imperial cult then a sanctioned religion to becoming the one and only official religion of the Roman Empire. Here are some of my favorite Kierkegaard quotes about real Christianity versus Christendom.
"Think now what passion there was in primitive Christianity, without which it never would have come into the world; propose to one of those figures the question, 'Dare a Christian tranquillize himself in this way?' 'Abominable,' he would reply, 'that a Christian . . . should tranquilly keep silent in the face of the fact that God every day is mocked by people pretending by millions to be Christians . . .'" (emphasis mine.)
"The most terrible fight is not when there is one opinion against another, the most terrible is when two men say the same thing -- and fight about the interpretation, and this interpretation involves a difference of quality. "
"People understand me so poorly that they don't even understand my complaint about them not understanding me. "
"People demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use. " (Or, as I would phrase it: a lot of people close their minds before opening their mouths and expect you to bear the costs.)
"Truth always rests with the minority, and the minority is always stronger than the majority, because the minority is generally formed by those who really have an opinion, while the strength of a majority is illusory, formed by the gangs who have no opinion -- and who, therefore, in the next instant (when it is evident that the minority is the stronger) assume its opinion . . . while truth again reverts to a new minority. "
"To be a teacher in the right sense is to be a learner. I am not a teacher, only a fellow student. "
"Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. "
"To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity "
"The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays. "
"Be that self which one truly is. "
"To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself. "