70+ Best Soren Kierkegaard Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and religious author who is widely considered to be the first existentialist philosopher. Profoundly inspirational Soren Kierkegaard quotes will challenge the way you think, change the way you live and transform your whole life.

If you’re searching for inspiring quotes by philosophers that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of quotes from Seneca, powerful Schopenhauer quotes and famous William James quotes.

Famous Soren Kierkegaard Quotes

Father in Heaven! When the thought of thee wakes in our hearts let it not awaken like a frightened bird that flies about in dismay, but like a child waking from its sleep with a heavenly smile. Soren Kierkegaard

It is tragic-comic to see that all this knowledge and understanding exercises no power at all over men’s lives, that their lives do not express in the remotest way what they have understood, but rather the opposite. Soren Kierkegaard

The greatest thing each person can do is to give himself to God utterly and unconditionally – weaknesses, fears, and all. For God loves obedience more than good intentions or second-best offerings, which are all too often made under the guise of weakness. Soren Kierkegaard

The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays. Soren Kierkegaard

People generally think that it is the world, the environment, external relationships, which stand in one’s way, in the way of ones’ good fortune… and at bottom it is always man himself that stands in his own way. Soren Kierkegaard

A fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to warn the public; they thought it was a joke and applauded. He repeated it; the acclaim was even greater. I think that’s just how the world will come to an end: to the general applause of wits who believe it’s a joke. Soren Kierkegaard

I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations – one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it – you will regret both. Soren Kierkegaard

When you read God’s Word, you must constantly be saying to yourself, It is talking to me, and about me. Soren Kierkegaard

The larger the crowd, the more probable that that which it praises is folly, and the more improbable that it is truth; and the most improbable of all that it is any eternal truth. Soren Kierkegaard

Had I to carve an inscription on my tombstone I would ask for none other than The Individual. Soren Kierkegaard

The truth is a trap: you cannot get it without it getting you; you cannot get the truth by capturing it, only by its capturing you. Soren Kierkegaard

The more one needs God the more perfect he is. To need God is nothing to be ashamed of but is perfection itself. It is the saddest thing in the world if a human being goes through life without discovering that he needs God! Soren Kierkegaard

And this is one of the most crucial definitions for the whole of Christianity; that the opposite of sin is not virtue but faith. Soren Kierkegaard

Inspirational Soren Kierkegaard Quotes

A possibility is a hint from God. One must follow it. Soren Kierkegaard

Faith is the highest passion in a human being. Many in every generation may not come that far, but none comes further. Soren Kierkegaard

Dread is a womanish debility in which freedom swoons. Psychologically speaking, the fall into sin always occurs in impotence. But dread is at the same time the most egotistic thing. Soren Kierkegaard

The truth is lived before it is understood. It must be fought for, tested, and appropriated. Truth is the way… Anyone will easily understand it if he just gives himself to it. Soren Kierkegaard

It is modest of the nightingale not to require anyone to listen to it; but it is also proud of the nightingale not to care whether any one listens to it or not. Soren Kierkegaard

The tyrant dies and his rule is over, the martyr dies and his rule begins. Soren Kierkegaard

No one is so terribly deceived as he who does not himself suspect it. Soren Kierkegaard

Truth is not something you can appropriate easily and quickly. You certainly cannot sleep or dream yourself to the truth. No, you must be tried, do battle, and suffer if you are to acquire the truth for yourself. It is a sheer illusion to think that in relation to the truth there is an abridgement, a short cut that dispenses with the necessity for struggling for it. Soren Kierkegaard

Listen to the cry of a woman in labor at the hour of giving birth – look at the dying man’s struggle at his last extremity, and then tell me whether something that begins and ends thus could be intended for enjoyment. Soren Kierkegaard

The difference between an admirer and a follower still remains, no matter where you are. The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in words, phrases, songs, he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, gives up nothing, will not reconstruct his life, will not be what he admires, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires. Soren Kierkegaard

However much one generation learns from another, it can never learn from its predecessor the genuinely human factor. In this respect every generation begins afresh. Thus no generation has learned from another how to love, no generation can begin other than at the beginning. Soren Kierkegaard

It is not where we breathe, but where we Love, that we live. Soren Kierkegaard

My standpoint is armed neutrality. Soren Kierkegaard

Love believes all things and yet is never deceived. Soren Kierkegaard

Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right. Soren Kierkegaard

The thing is to understand myself: the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die. That is what I now recognize as the most important thing. Soren Kierkegaard

A man prayed, and at first he thought that prayer was talking. But he became more and more quiet until in the end he realized prayer is listening. Soren Kierkegaard

Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts. Soren Kierkegaard

The person who surrenders absolutely to God, with no reservations, is absolutely safe. From this safe hiding-place he can see the devil , but the devil cannot see him. Soren Kierkegaard

Christendom has done away with Christianity without being quite aware of it. Soren Kierkegaard

When you say ‘Yes’ or promise something, you can very easily deceive yourself and others also, as if you had already done what you promised. It is easy to think that by making a promise you have at least done part of what you promised to do, as if the promise itself were something of value. Not at all! In fact, when you do not do what you promise, it is a long way back to the truth. Soren Kierkegaard

Take a chance and you may lose. Take not a chance and you have lost already. Soren Kierkegaard

God creates everything out of nothing. And everything which God is to use, he first reduces to nothing Soren Kierkegaard

Love is all, it gives all, and it takes all. Soren Kierkegaard

Wherever there is a crowd there is untruth. Soren Kierkegaard

If you want to be loathsome to God, just run with the herd. Soren Kierkegaard

Do it or don’t do it – you will regret both. Soren Kierkegaard

It is more blessed to give than to receive, but then it is also more blessed to be able to do without than to have to have. Soren Kierkegaard

Amazing Soren Kierkegaard Quotes

You live life looking forward, you understand life looking backward. Soren Kierkegaard

Pain reconciles one to existence. Infinite resignation is that shirt in the old fable. The thread is spun with tears, bleached by tears, the shirt sewn in tears, but then it also gives better protection than iron. The secret in life is that everyone must sew it for himself. Soren Kierkegaard

It is easy to see, though it scarcely needs to be pointed out, since it is involved in the fact that Reason is set aside, that faith is not a form of knowledge; for all knowledge is either a knowledge of the eternal, excluding the temporal and historical as indifferent, or it is pure historical knowledge. No knowledge can have for its object the absurdity that the eternal is the historical. Soren Kierkegaard

It is not the path which is the difficulty; rather, it is the difficulty which is the path. Soren Kierkegaard

Boredom is the root of all evil – the despairing refusal to be oneself. Soren Kierkegaard

Seek first God’s Kingdom, that is, become like the lilies and the birds, become perfectly silent – then shall the rest be added unto you. Soren Kierkegaard

To stand on one leg and prove God’s existence is a very different thing from going on one’s knees and thanking him. Soren Kierkegaard

Knowledge of the truth I may perhaps have attained to; happiness certainly not. What shall I do? Accomplish something in the world, men tell me. Shall I then publish my grief to the world, contribute one more proof for the wretchedness and misery of existence, perhaps discover a new flaw in human life, hitherto unnoticed? I might then reap the rare reward of becoming famous, like the man who discovered the spots on Jupiter. I prefer, however, to keep silent. Soren Kierkegaard

Old age realizes the dreams of youth: look at Dean Swift; in his youth he built an asylum for the insane, in his old age he was himself an inmate. Soren Kierkegaard

A human being is a spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is self? The self is a relation that relates itself to itself or is the relation’s relating itself to itself in the relation. Soren Kierkegaard

Christ did not appoint professors, but followers. If Christianity … is not reduplicated in the life of the person expounding it, then he does not expound Christianity, for Christianity is a message about living and can only be expounded by being realized in men’s lives. Soren Kierkegaard

It is better to try something and fail than to try nothing and succeed. The result may be the same, but you won’t be. We always grow more through defeats than victories. Soren Kierkegaard

Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living. Soren Kierkegaard

And this is the simple truth – that to live is to feel oneself lost. He who accepts it has already begun to find himself, to be on firm ground. Instinctively, as do the shipwrecked, he will look around for something to which to cling, and that tragic, ruthless glance, absolutely sincere, because it is a question of his salvation, will cause him to bring order into the chaos of his life. These are the only genuine ideas; the ideas of the shipwrecked. All the rest is rhetoric, posturing, farce. Soren Kierkegaard

To be a woman is something so strange, so confusing and so complicated that only a woman could put up with it. Soren Kierkegaard

There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true. Soren Kierkegaard

How could it occur to anyone to demonstrate that God exists unless one has already allowed Himself to ignore Him? A king’s existence is demonstrated by way of subjection and submissiveness. Do you want to try and demonstrate that the king exists? Will you do so by offering a string of proofs, a series of arguments? No. If you are serious, you will demonstrate the king’s existence by your submission, by the way you live. And so it is with demonstrating God’s existence. It is accomplished not by proofs but by worship. Any other way is but a thinker’s pious bungling. Soren Kierkegaard

It was not to save a nation that Abraham went to sacrifice Isaac, nor to appease angry gods… Then why does Abraham do it? For God’s sake… He does it for the sake of God because God demands proof of his faith… He was not justified by being virtuous, but by being an individual submitted to God in faith. Soren Kierkegaard

Christianity demands the crucifixion of the intellect. Soren Kierkegaard

I believe that there is a longing in my soul that searches the whole world. Soren Kierkegaard

If you think you understand, it isn’t God. Soren Kierkegaard

The unhappy person is never present to themself because they always live in the past or the future. Soren Kierkegaard

The wisdom of the years is confusing. Only the wisdom of eternity is edifying. Soren Kierkegaard

It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey. Soren Kierkegaard

Hope is a passion for the possible. Soren Kierkegaard

If anyone on the verge of action should judge himself according to the outcome, he would never begin. Soren Kierkegaard

What is a poet? An unhappy person who conceals profound anguish in his heart but whose lips are so formed that as sighs and cries pass over them they sound like beautiful music. Soren Kierkegaard

Why I so much prefer autumn to spring is that in the autumn one looks at heaven–in the spring at the earth. Soren Kierkegaard

People settle for a level of despair they can tolerate and call it happiness. Soren Kierkegaard

During the first period of a man’s life the greatest danger is not to take the risk. Soren Kierkegaard

All the shrewdness of ‘man’ seeks one thing: to be able to live without responsibility. Soren Kierkegaard

A genius may perhaps be a century ahead of his age and hence stands there as a paradox, but in the end, the race will assimilate what was once a paradox, so it is no longer paradoxical. Soren Kierkegaard

People have an idea that the preacher is an actor on a stage and they are the critics, blaming or praising him. What they don’t know is that they are the actors on the stage; he (the preacher) is merely the prompter standing in the wings, reminding them of their lost lines. Soren Kierkegaard