Selections fi'om the Writings of Kierkegaard 231
a Christian by the simple method of letting a royal official give the infant a sprinkle of water over his head, which is the occasion for a family gathering with a banquet to cele- brate the day.
This won't do, was the opinion of "Christendom," for the opportunity ought to be given the baptized individual to indorse personally his baptismal vows.
For this purpose the rite of confirmation was devised â€” a splendid invention, providing we take two things for granted : in the first place, that the idea of divine worship is to make God ridiculous ; and in the second place, that its purpose is to give occasion for family celebrations, parties, a jolly evening, a banquet which is different from other ban- quets in that it â€” ah, exquisite â€” in that it, "at the same time" has a religious significance.
"The tender child," thus Christendom, "can of course not assume the baptismal vow personally, for this requires a real personality." Consequently there was chosen â€” is this a stroke of genius or just ingenious? â€” there was chosen the age of 14 or 15 years, the schoolboy age. This real per- sonality â€” that is all right, if you please â€” he is equal to the task of personally assuming responsibility for the baptismal vow taken in behalf of the infant.
A boy of fifteen ! Now, if it were a matter of 10 dollars, his father would probably say : "No, my boy, I can't let you have all that money, you are still too green for that." But for a matter touching his eternal salvation where the point is to assume, with all the seriousness one's personality is capable of, and as a personality, responsibility for what certainly could not in any profounder sense be called se- rious â€” when a child is bound by a vow : for that the age of fifteen is excellently fitting.
Excellently fitting. Oh yes if, as was remarked above, divine worship serves a double purpose, viz., to render God ridiculous in a very adroit manner â€” if you may call it so â€” and to furnish the occasion for graceful family celebrations. In that case it is indeed excellently fitting, as everything is on that occasion; as is, likewise, the customary bibMcal lesson for the day which, you will remember, begins : "Then