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Faith and Philosophy

Volume 12, Issue 1, January 1995

Stephen N. Dunning
Pages 22-39

Love Is Not Enough
A Kierkegaardian Phenomenology of Religious Experience

In a pair of articles published in Faith and Philosophy, C. Stephen Evans argues that Kierkegaard’s pseudonym, Johannes Climacus, understands religious experience as the transforming power of an encounter with the love of God. However, in a book published under his own name, Kierkegaard gives a quite different picture of Christian experience. For Self-Examination makes clear that the reception of God’s love is a rebirth that can occur in the believer only insofar as he or she has died to the world - to all possessions, even to the possession of God’s love. According to Kierkegaard, this “dying to” is the truly transforming experience that characterizes Christian spirituality, and that provides the condition for a life infused with faith, hope, and love.

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