If we approach religion from a merely historical point of view we are—I am quoting Hegel—like clerks in a bank registering other people’s wealth. We cannot study the history of religion in the hope of becoming religious ourselves. What we become is not religious, but learned in the history of some religions.
Soren wasn’t so afraid of sin as he was of the consequences for any individual, like his own father, who at 82 years old couldn’t forget what he had done 70 years earlier, and couldn’t believe he could be forgiven. As far as Regine goes he had good reasons to break off his engagement and explained them in his book Prefaces.
The mischievous sectism of Protestantism will also cease, and with it alienation between father and son, brother and sister. For as soon as the pure teaching and love of Christ, as they really are, are comprehended and consistently practised, we shall realise our humanity as great and free, and cease to attach undue importance to mere outward form.
When Father died, Sibbern said to me, “Now you will never get your theological degree,” and then I did get it. If Father had lived, I would never have gotten it. When I broke the engagement, Peter said to me, “Now you are lost.” And yet it is clear that if I have indeed amounted to something, I did it through that step. Journals VIA8—