A religious diatribe written from within the Church against the established order of things in a presumably "Christian" land. He lived all his life on his inheritance, using it to finance his literary career. He studied theology at the University of Copenhagen, completing a master's thesis in on the topic of irony in Socrates. At about this time, he became engaged to a woman he loved, but he broke the engagement when he decided that God had destined him not to marry.

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Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Walter Lowrie Translator. A religious diatribe written from within the Church against the established order of things in a presumably Christian land.

Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published April 21st by Princeton University Press first published More Details Original Title. Other Editions 8. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Attack upon Christendom , please sign up. Be the first to ask a question about Attack upon Christendom. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 4. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of Attack upon Christendom.

Jan 05, Lucas Truax rated it really liked it. The primary target of Kierkegaard's charge is the idea that an incorporated church can produce real Christians and promote true Christianity. The Danish idea of Christianity, in Kierkegaard's mind, was similar to the American idea of Christianity. At birth and death, each human being is pronounced decidedly Christian in word, thought and deed, regardless of whether the purpose of t The primary target of Kierkegaard's charge is the idea that an incorporated church can produce real Christians and promote true Christianity.

At birth and death, each human being is pronounced decidedly Christian in word, thought and deed, regardless of whether the purpose of their life between is dedicated to self-promotion and the pursuit of wealth at all costs. Though not making individual judgments except in the case of the bishop the author condemns the general attitude of a supposedly Christian nation full of "knavish tradesman" with "odious" lifestyles who in death become mirror images of Christ and his disciples.

Men are benefiting from wearing the Christian brand, yet espouse none of its virtues. In the life of the bishop there was an expertise at "conjuring tricks performed with great worldly shrewdness", according to Kierkegaard, and this worldliness led to a gross misrepresentation of the church and its principles.

Adding insult to injurious behavior, the late bishop was eulogized by peers as a "witness to the truth" imbuing an attitude of apostle-like reverence towards his life and ministry. The author makes intense objections to the eulogy. Yes, the bishop had one of the "diversity of gifts" ,but up until his death the bishop displayed "an extraordinary gift for covering over the weak side of the Established Church and its frailties" and for "yielding shrewdly I see his point here, obviously not everyone will be Christian, but at the same time his proposal that God had no intention of reaching everyone seems to fly in the face of what's in the Bible regarding the desire that 'all Further, he supplies as evidence several suspect arguments for his view of Christianity's misguided direction.

For example, the author writes that favor with men is an automatic incongruity with Christianity and may in fact be considered evidence against someone's salvation.

Yet it could be that Kierkegaard is arguing against the lack of emphasis on the personal relationship individualism required for salvation versus the herd" in Danish society being automatically granted Christianity at birth by virtue of citizenship status. Later, K expands the idea, stating that "when all are Christians, Christianity eo ipso does not exist" which, balanced against his assertion that Christianity is available to "every one Dec 09, Hannah Smith rated it it was amazing Shelves: ethics-moral-philosophy.

This book shouts at you. He presents Christianity with such a tone of finality that it is very hard to not believe every word he says. As a philosophical text, this work is very strong. Kierkegaard backs up every point with brilliant examples and anecdotes; in a sense he is defending Christianity simply by exhibiting a harrowingly vivid self-knowledge of it.

In the middle of the book, he actually states that he himself is not yet a genuine Christian. He presents two widely respected Danish priests at the time Bishop Mynster and Bishop Martensen , and harshly discredits them as supposed witnesses to the truth. There is a great deal of comedy in this book, which really just serves to show how comfortable Kierkegaard is in his convictions.

This book is a lot to take in, but it seems very important. Contemporary priests, pastors, and anyone in a position of ministry would greatly benefit from this read.

There is something very universal and human about this work. Jul 12, Jay rated it really liked it Shelves: pastoral , theology. Skates along edge of suffering for it's own sake. Neglects doctrine of justification by faith alone. Has a sub-Biblical view of marriage and children. But he has a prophetic voice and overall the book is very helpful. The spiritual deadness of the state "church" goes far to explain how a "Christian Nation" could have participated in the abuses of colonialism.

I read this after it was recommended on Tim Bayly's blog. Quotes: "But the Protestant clergy still continue to have a curious crotchet in th Skates along edge of suffering for it's own sake.

Quotes: "But the Protestant clergy still continue to have a curious crotchet in their heads. Although they have become in their "existence" entirely like men of every other class, who, without exceeding the limits prescribed by civil law, seek to develop what gifts they may have, and thereby strive to attain earthly rewards and pleasures like all the rest, nevertheless at the same time they want to be something more, to be witnesses to the truth.

And this came very clearly to evidence in the memorial address made by Professor Martensen. Therefore a protest should be made as emphatically as possible, people's blood must be stirred, passions set in motion-and that of course can be done only when a man is not afraid of the immediate consequence, that many will become furious at him, which he ought not to fear but to understand as a surgeon understands that the patient will shriek and kick.

I am by nature so polemically constituted that I only feel myself really in mv element when I am surrounded by human mediocrity and paltriness. Only on one condition, however, that I be permitted silently to despise, to satiate the passion which is in my soul, contempt, for which my life as an author has richly provided me with occasions.

But when what has to be attained by preaching and teaching Christianity if an agreeable, a pleasurable life in a position of prestige, then the picture of Christ must be altered considerably. As for "garnishing" no, there will be no sparing on that: gold, diamonds, rubies, etc. No, the priest is glad to see that and makes men believe that this is Christianity. But severity, the severity which is inseparable from the seriousness of eternity, that must go.

Christ thus becomes a languishing figure, the impersonation of insipid human kindliness. This is related to the consideration that the plate must be passed during the sermon and the congregation must be in a mood to spend something, to shell out freely; and above all it is related to the desire prompted by fear of men to be on good terms with people, whereas the Christianity of the New Testament is: in the fear of God to suffer for the doctrine at the hands of men.

For let us not forget that whereas jn one sense Christianity is doubtless the most tolerant of all religions, inasmuch as most of all it abhors the use of physical power, it is in another sense the most intolerant, inasmuch as us true confessors recognize no limit with respect to compelling others by suffering themselves, compelling others by suffering their ill-treatment and persecution.

Well-meaning as he doubtless is, and that's the pleasing part about it, it perhaps escapes his notice that this is rather weak, and he lets himself be deluded by the consideration that in comparison with the prevailing lukewarmness this appears to be something. He on the contrary reads, procures whatever is published, talks about it, declaims zealously And if we succeed in this, we think that when our last hour comes we have special reason for thanking God that we have been spared suffering.

We think that everything depends upon slipping through life happily and well— and Christianity thinks that all that is terrible really comes from the other world, that the terrible things of this world are as child's play compared with the terrors of eternity, and that it distinctly does not depend upon slipping through life happily and well, but upon relating oneself rightly by suffering to eternity.

It is present, all eyes, but it hides itself; precisely for the sake of being able to reveal itself wholly for what it is, it would not reveal itself prematurely; whereas when it reveals itself it is seen that it was at hand, present in even the least event.

For in case the divine justice were to intervene swiftly, the really capital crimcs could not wholly come into existence. The man who in weakness, infatuated by his lust, transported by his passions, but yet out of weakness, took the wrong path, the path of sin- upon him divine justice takes compassion and lets the punishment fall, the sooner the better.

But the really capital criminal—remember now what it was you deplored, that justice was so mild, or did not exist at all! How frightful thou art, O divine justice! Instead of proclaiming the ideals, hey educe what experience teaches, what the experience of all the centuries has taught, that the millions get no further than mediocrity.

Be tranquil, you are like the others, will become blessed like all the others"—a euphemism for: You are going to hell like all the others. But this truth will not produce money, and the other teaching pays brilliantly. If there lives an individual who is not content with, will not be tranquillized by that sort of blessedness, then the whole mass, commanded by the perjurers, turns against him, declares him an egoist, a dreadful egotist, for not wanting to be like the others.

View 2 comments. Jun 29, Bill Taylor rated it liked it. Only if someone is already familiar with SK, should this book be read.

It is not a published work in and of itself but rather the collection of a series of articles he published during the last year of his life. Thus anyone claiming to be Christian simply by virtue of participation in the state church is living a lie, and ministers of this church are the biggest liars of all.

All SK tells the reader is that true Christianity involves suffering and separation from entanglement in the desires of the world. To get any more out of SK requires delving into the voluminous literature he published in the dozen years before his death.


Attack upon Christendom

During his later years — , most of his writings shifted from philosophical in nature to religious. Kierkegaard's theology focuses on the single individual in relation to a known God based on a subjective truth. Many of his writings were a directed assault against all of Christendom , Christianity as a political and social entity. Christendom, in Kierkegaard's view, made individuals lazy in their religion. Many of the citizens were officially "Christians", without having any idea of what it meant to be a Christian. Kierkegaard attempted to awaken Christians to the need for unconditional religious commitment. However, he was also against party spirit in religion as well as other areas of study and system building.


Theology of Søren Kierkegaard

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