International Journal of Arts, Humanities &Social Sciences

ISSN 2994-6417 (Print) , ISSN 2994-6425 (Online)
Kierkegaard And King: How Does Agapic Love Confront the Dangers of Christian Nationalism?



I. Purpose of the Study: At the intersection of theology, sociology, and philosophy rests the question: How does agapic love confront the dangers of Christian nationalism? While Søren Kierkegaard and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. seem to be unlikely conversation partners, they do share a a profound intellectual commitment to agape and its prophetic voice against Christian nationalism across time and space. This essay juxtaposes Kierkegaard and King’s understanding of Christian love, as they appropriate it to their own respective contexts, 19th century Denmark and 20th century United States.

II. Methodology: This project uses largely a historical approach to research, focusing on theology, sociology, hermeneutics, and philosophy.

III. Main Findings: Kierkegaard’s deep critique of Christendom leaves him doubtful about agape’s capacity to transform a nationalistic state on this side of heaven. King, on the other hand, is much more idealistic in his belief that a Christian state can and should always be able to appeal to its moral ground, even if that ground has become unsteady due to nationalistic fanaticism.

IV. Applications of this study: This project offers a unique perspective furthering interdisciplinary conversations around theology, politics, and race that will enhance not only the academy, but religious institutions as well.

V. Novelty of this Study: The new contribution offered here is a nuanced conversation on the place of the Church and the work of love within historically defined systems of power.