Monday, October 18, 2010

Søren Kierkegaard and Faith Development 2/3

The next level for Kierkegaard is called Ethical Stage:

Here the individual begins to get some real direction in life, and becomes aware of and personally responsible for good and evil, and begins to form lasting commitment to oneself and others. The realization of enduring values – justice, freedom, peace, love, and respect for the moral law within, propel the ethical self forward into a life of responsibility, of caring beyond one’s own immediate interests. By breaking away from enslaving hedonism and conventionalism, life at this level develops a consistency and coherence that it lacked in the previous sphere of existence. Simply put, one discovers that "there’s something more to life than pleasure or being ridiculously good-looking. But there is a catch; there is more to life than ethics and moral duty, and to get stuck here means one risks becoming the judgemental moralist that we all despise. In other words, no one will want to go on vacation with you. In fact moralism is another form of despair…this is so because humans were made for something much more. We were made for life before God. This need for to find the real meaning behind all things drives the spiritual adventurer on to the next level.
There is some resonance here with the critical adolescent stage of Von Hugel or Hagberg's The Productive Life where faith is characterised in working for God. The working out of discipleship is seen through the up take of responsibility and enthused discipleship. This enthusiasm can easily become what Hirsch and Frost label as judgemental moralism. Moving on from this awareness can be painful, staying within this stage of thinking can be painful for others.

Søren Kierkegaard and Faith Development 1/3

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