Truth is not something you can appropriate easily and quickly. You certainly cannot sleep or dream yourself to the truth. No, you must be tried, do battle, and suffer if you are to acquire the truth for yourself. It is a sheer illusion to think that in relation to the truth there is an abridgement, a short cut that dispenses with the necessity for struggling for it.
It was not to save a nation that Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac, nor to appease angry gods... Then why does Abraham do it? For God's sake... He does it for the sake of God because God demands proof of his faith... He was not justified by being virtuous, but by being an individual submitted to God in faith.
Let others mock at you, oppose you, when you are under the influence of any passion; do not be in the least offended with those who mock at or oppose you, for they do you good; crucify your self-love and acknowledge the wrong, the error of your heart. But have the deepest pity for those who mock at words and works of faith and piety, of righteousness; for those who oppose the good which you are doing... God preserve you - getting exasperated at them...
The more one suffers, the more, I believe, has one a sense for the comic. It is only by the deepest suffering that one acquires true authority in the use of the comic, an authority which by one word transforms as by magic the reasonable creature one calls man into a caricature.
During the first period of our lives the greatest danger is not to take the risk. When once the risk has been taken, then the greatest danger is to risk too much. By not risking at first one turns aside and serves trivialities; in the second case, by risking too much, one turns aside to the fantastic and perhaps to presumption.
It requires courage not to surrender oneself to the ingenious or compassionate counsels of despair that would induce a man to eliminate himself from the ranks of the living; but it does not follow from this that every huckster who is fattened and nourished in self-confidence has more courage than the man who yielded to despair.
It is easy to see, though it scarcely needs to be pointed out, since it is involved in the fact that Reason is set aside, that faith is not a form of knowledge; for all knowledge is either a knowledge of the eternal, excluding the temporal and historical as indifferent, or it is pure historical knowledge. No knowledge can have for its object the absurdity that the eternal is the historical.
...it is not the obscure passages in Scripture that bind you but the ones you understand. With these you are to comply at once. If you understood only one passage in all of Scripture, well, then you must do that first of all. It will be this passage God asks you about. Do not first sit down and ponder the obscure passages. God's Word is given in order that you shall act according to it, not that you gain expertise in interpreting it.
So to be sick unto death is, not to be able to die-yet not as though there were hope of life; no, the hopelessness in this case is that even the last hope, death, is not available. When death is the greatest danger, one hopes for life; but when one becomes acquainted with an even more dreadful danger, one hopes for death. So when the danger is so great that death has become one's hope, despair is the disconsolateness of not being able to die.
My life is absolutely meaningless. When I consider the different periods into which it falls, it seems like the word Schnur in the dictionary, which means in the first place a string, in the second, a daughter-in-law. The only thing lacking is that the word Schnur should mean in the third place a camel, in the fourth, a dust-brush.
The present generation, wearied by its chimerical efforts, relapses into complete indolence. Its condition is that of a man who has only fallen asleep towards morning: first of all come great dreams, then a feeling of laziness, and finally a witty or clever excuse for remaining in bed.
It is quite true what Philosophy says: that Life must be understood backwards. But that makes one forget the other saying: that it must be lived—forwards. The more one ponders this, the more it comes to mean that life in the temporal existence never becomes quite intelligible, precisely because at no moment can I find complete quiet to take the backward- looking position.
...it is presumptuous ridicule of God if someone thinks that only the person who desires great wealth chooses mammon. Alas, the person who insists on having a penny without God, wants to have a penny all for himself. He thereby chooses mammon. A penny is enough, the choice is made, he has chosen mammon; that it is little makes not the slightest difference. The love of God is hatred of the world and love of the world hatred of God.
Death induces the sensual person to say: Let us eat and drink, because tomorrow we shall die - but this is sensuality's cowardly lust for life, that contemptible order of things where one lives in order to eat and drink instead of eating and drinking in order to live.
Do you know of any more overwhelming and humbling expression for God's condescension and extravagance towards us human beings than that He places Himself, so to say, on the same level of choice with the world, just so that we may be able to choose; that God, if language dare speak thus, woos humankind - that He, the eternally strong one, woos sapless humanity? Yet, how insignificant is the young lover's choice between her pursuers by comparison with this choice between God and the world.
A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that's just how the world will come to an end: to general applause from wits who believe it's a joke.
Deep within every human being there still lives the anxiety over the possibility of being alone in the world, forgotten by God, overlooked among the millions and millions in this enormous household. One keeps this anxiety at a distance by looking at the many round about who are related to him as kin and friends, but the anxiety is still there, nevertheless, and one hardly dares think of how he would feel if all this were taken away.
The greatest danger to Christianity is, I contend, not heresies, not heterodoxies, not atheists, not profane secularism - no, but the kind of orthodoxy which is cordial drivel, mediocrity served up sweet. There is nothing that so insidiously displaces the majestic as cordiality.
Man is spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is the self? The self is a relation which relates itself to itself... Man is a synthesis of the infinite and the finite, of the temporal and the eternal, of possibility and necessity, in short, it is a synthesis. A synthesis is a relation between two factors. So regarded, man is not yet a self.
The gods were bored and so they created man. Adam was bored because he was alone, so Eve was created. Thus boredom entered the world, and increased in proportion to the increase in population. Adam was bored alone, then Adam and Eve were bored together; them Adam and Eve and Cain and Abel were bored en famille; then the population of the world increased, and the people were bored en masse.
Irony is the birth-pangs of the objective mind (based upon the misrelationship, discovered by the I , between existence and the idea of existence). Humor is the birth -pangs of the absolute mind (based upon the misrelationship, discovered by the I , between the I and the idea of the I .
To defend something is always to discredit it. Let a man have a warehouse full of gold, let him be willing to give away a ducat to every one of the poor - but let him also be stupid enough to begin this charitable undertaking of his with a defense in which he offers three good reasons in justification; and it will almost come to the point of people finding it doubtful whether indeed he is doing something good. But now for Christianity. Yes, the person who defends that has never believed in it.
Irony is a disciplinarian feared only by those who do not know it, but cherished by those who do. He who does not understand irony and has no ear for its whispering lacks of what might called the absolute beginning of the personal life. He lacks what at moments is indispensable for the personal life, lacks both the regeneration and rejuvenation, the cleaning baptism of irony that redeems the soul from having its life in finitude though living boldly and energetically in finitude.