Hope, Self-Denial and the Love of God: Towards a Kierkegaardian Perspective on Self-Condemnation-Unto-Death
Few events have the potential to be as destructive for individuals, groups, and communities as suicide. By drawing on the theology of Søren Kierkegaard, this article aims to elucidate a perspective which contains theo-ethical, psychological, and pastoral import for those contemplating, or faced with, the tragic prospect of guiltmotivated suicide. This is principally done by highlighting the nature and centrality, for Kierkegaard, of God’s unconditional and unchanging love in Christ. The pertinent offshoots of this for the present article are twofold: firstly, every individual is, at all times, held in being by divine love; secondly and correlatingly, the task of every human being of conforming his or her will to the selflessness of God cannot be foreclosed—put differently, perpetual love entails perpetual hope. Despite not usually being regarded as a theologian whose work is relevant to public issues, I thus claim that Kierkegaard provides resources for a robust position against individual self execution out of guilt.
Publisher: Australian and New Zealand Association of Theological Schools Ltd
Keywords: Kierkegaard; theological ethics; love; suicide; hope
Research Type: Journal Article