One of the most influential writers/thinkers/philosophers in my life has been the work of Soren Kierkegaard. Ever since I read his work Fear and Trembling in 1999 it has radically affected many of my views.
If you don’t know much about Kierkegaard (he led an amazing and fascinating life), read more here about the Christian existentialist and theologian/philosopher/etc/etc.
One of the reasons that I bring up Kierkegaard is because I came across a phenomenal quote from him in the book by Shane Claiborne, The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical. Shane quotes Kierkegaard here saying:
The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined. How would I ever get on in the world? Herein lies the real place of Christian scholarship. Christian scholarship is the Church’s prodigious invention to defend itself against the Bible, to ensure that we can continue to be good Christians without the Bible coming too close. Oh, priceless scholarship, what would we do without you? Dreadful it is to fall into the hands of the living God. Yes, it is even dreadful to be alone with the New Testament. (pp. 71-71)