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Cornel West and Soren Kierkegaard about Religion

Both Cornel West and Soren Kierkegaard combine existential, religious, aesthetic, and ethical aspects in their philosophical ideas. Nevertheless, their approaches to religion are quite different. This paper will argue that while Cornel West considers religion and faith to be a crucial part of his philosophy and believes that they can bring justice and peace to the world, Kierkegaard’s attitude to religion is less favorable.


Cornel West is a highly regarded scholar in the sphere of religion who believes that religion plays a very important role. According to him, religion is inseparable from the concepts of love, justice, harmony, and happiness. West also criticizes modern churches, which treat religion from the point of “market sensibility.” He claims that “It a miracle that you encounter Jesus in many churches.”

Soren Kierkegaard’s statements about religion are more controversial than West’s ideas. One of the main motifs of his works is the path of a human being to God. Kierkegaard looks at this issue through the lenses of philosophy. He states that moral values and humility can help people become faithful and religious; however, one should never lose his/her dignity and freedom. In addition, Kierkegaard strongly opposes endowing God with a human personality (Sagi, 2000).

Nevertheless, Kierkegaard’s controversial attitude to religion has much in common with West’s ideas. For example, West explains faith as something irrational. He states that a person needs imagination to “create another world” and obtain faith. Kierkegaard also draws attention to this paradox: “As long as I live, I live in contradiction, for life is contradiction” (Sagi, 2000, 31).

To sum up, despite some similarities, Cornel West and Soren Kierkegaard have quite different approaches to religion. West believes that faith might bring love and justice to people, while Kierkegaard’s ideas about God and religion are more paradoxical and controversial than West’s statements.

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