In a post earlier this year entitled The Legitimate Use of Aquinas in Apologetics (2014), I drew upon several essential aspects of Thomas Aquinas’ (1225-1274) thought that (I believe) are relevant for a context in apologetics. Furthermore, I do strongly believe that those essentials can be utilized by the Christian apologist to engage not only unbelievers, but also serve as an aid for Christians to be self-reflective with respect to their own faith-based journey. In this post, I wish to invoke a similar vocation with the legitimate use of Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855) in apologetics. However, I do wish to be poignant, as well as careful, with what I intend to take from Kierkegaard.
Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen in their book, Christian Philosophy: A Systematic and Narrative Introduction (2013) make the observation that philosophy has a vital role for Christian missions. As they write:
Increasingly in the West today, Christians are in a minority amid an often hostile culture, and in this situation it is vital that we are able not only to live out our faith but also account for it. We should never underestimate the compelling power of a life lived in Christ and of a conversion narrative, but the credibility of our faith will still depend to an extent on our being able to provide a logical account of it.1
Furthermore, it is this attitude of Christian philosophy being a missional vocation which we may appropriately apply to Kierkegaard. To take an example, in his book The Point of View for My Work as An Author, you are really able to see this notion of “Governance,” where Kierkegaard believed that it was God’s purpose for his life that it should unfold in the ways that it did, that he should utilize the gifts of intellect and imagination that God has given him. As he writes: “To this, every hour of my day has been and is directed.”2