So Kierkegaard repeatedly writes, in The Point of View, “The crowd is untruth”. I have been puzzling over that statement in the last couple of days. Is SK just advocating a form of individualism where others are irrelevant?
I think, as with most of Kierkegaard’s writings, it comes back to his understanding of faith. So let me put it in the way that I have come to see it: faith is living with paradox. The Christian faith (which is a gift of grace) is living with the paradox that the eternal has entered time, that the DIvine has become human, that in Jesus God reveals his love and mercy through suffering. In short, the Christian faith is a living relationship with the Absolute Paradox. Many people live with faith – living with the many paradoxes of life – but they do not live with the Absolute Paradox of Jesus.
So “The crowd is untruth” is another paradox that we live with. I am called to be a “single individual” before God – only I can answer for my life and my choices – but I live within a community that forms me and shapes me. I cannot abdicate my responsibility to someone else but I also cannot overlook that “someone else” has shaped me. I need others but I answer for myself.
In one of the Communion Discoures, SK puts it this way:
At the altar, however, no matter how many are gathered there, yes even if everyone is gathered at the altar, there is no crowd at the altar.Kierkegaard, Søren. Discourses at the Communion on Fridays
Within the community (the “crowd”) every individual is alone with Jesus when they receive Holy Communion. I think that expresses the paradox that the Christian faith calls us to live.
Why all this? (And thank you for getting this far in a rambling post!) I am getting another tattoo. I wanted it to represent SK’s call to be the single individual. A reminder to me! So I have a design that includes the above quote. All as a reminder to me what Jesus calls me to.