Kierkegaard seems to refute the idea that truth is to be found by objectivity.  For him, ultimate truth will not result from advancing science or accumulating enough external facts.  Truth is to be found from looking within yourself, and acting authentically as an existing being.  Thus, subjectivity is truth.

In doing this, Kierkegaard asserts that one will pass from an aesthetic stage, to an ethical stage, and eventually a religious stage.  The aesthetic basically being a hedonistic, pleasure seeking existence, the ethical being a responsible, duty fulfilling existence, and the religious being a Christian.

Some have questioned the results of this line of thinking, claiming that it leads to an individualistic truth, instead of a universal truth.  Thus, everyone would be going about doing what they feel their inner self is authentically telling them to do, and having a world full of particulars instead of a universal truth.

I did not initially read Kierkegaard that way, and I think my Mormon bias is the reason why.  For me, Kierkegaard is an unashamed Christian (speaking of his view of himself rather than of Christianity as a whole).  I believe he would assert that Christianity is universal, and that the ultimate progress of existence is to be a Christian.  Thus, his religious stage is not just any religion, it is Christianity.  And I believe that he would feel that any other result would come from an unauthentic pursuit, or at least barriers to that pursuit.   I feel this is something of a Mormon way of looking at it, but I would think that Kierkegaard likely felt the same way about his Christianity as I do about my Mormonism.  And I think that we may agree that these should end up being the same thing if we were both authentic in our pursuit.

Again, all this sort of rings true for me.  Mormonism asserts an eternal intelligence as the core essence of who we are.  And that truth is to be found from within – or at least from a spirit communication.  But it is not at all uncommon for us Mormons to appeal to the inner feeling of the spirit as a source for ultimate truth.

But if this intelligence, and our spirit communications, is universal, then the result of the inner pursuit of truth should eventually result in universal (and not particular) truth.  Thus, I do not believe Mormons would have much of a barrier to embracing Kierkegaard’s ideas of subjectivity and truth.  What do you think?

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