kierkegaard faith and reason
Subjectivity is existence, and existence is always particular and unique, never shared or shareable; ‘existential reality is incommunicable’.72. There is evidence from his non-pseudonymous works that Kierkgaard does not consider faith irrational. His humour expresses a comprehensive scorn, seemingly unmellowed by tenderness. Forward movement in faith is also the product of a decision and choice. Such chaos raises suspicion of all the claimants. For Kierkegaard, faith isn't a way of knowing or an act of trust in God's goodness and love for us. Granting that we have attained the ethical level, what do its principles demand of us? This I saw, and I laughed.’36. Human beings were comic to him because they were vain and pompous creatures who, he tells us, kept falling flat and bumping their noses, and when such a creature is splashed with mud or killed by a tile from a roof, ‘I laugh from the bottom of my heart’.37 Indeed there was something irresistibly comic to him about persons confident of the future being killed by tiles from roofs. Religiousness B, as henceforth it is to be called, or the paradoxical religiousness, as it has hitherto been called, or the religiousness which has the dialectical in the second instance, does on the contrary posit conditions, of such a sort that they are not merely deeper dialectical apprehensions of inwardness, but are a definite something which defines more closely the eternal happiness (whereas in A the only closer definitions are the closer definitions of inward apprehension), not defining more closely the individual apprehension of it, but defining more closely the eternal happiness itself, though not as a task for thought, but paradoxically as a repellent to produce new pathos.’ CUP, 494. Now when ‘the knight of faith’ claims that he has had this kind of insight, can we credit what he says? If we absorb the what into the how, if we reduce the acceptance of Christianity to a passionate commitment of the will in divorce from any attempt at objective thought, we are banishing the intellect from religion altogether. The reason for Kierkegaard's revival, I suggest, is his relevance to the position of religion in our time. Hegel believed that when we think or act rationally, a mind to which all our fragmentary minds belong is finding expression through us. In some of his pseudonymous works, Kierkegaa… But whatever form the defence may take—the appeal to principle, to consequences, to conscience, to authority, to ‘inner light’—thought, implicit or explicit, is always involved. The pleasure seeker is soon bored if he tries to squeeze repeated pleasure out of the same things; so he is always trying something new, and often getting burnt for his pains. Kierkegaard denied that Christianity had anything in common with such theories. - 18.104.22.168. Indeed, in the whole wide world there are not to be found two loves who fit each other as do paradox and passion, Christianity and faith.Faith and Reason?Thus, if someone wants to have faith and reason too, well, let the comedy begin. Kierkegaard, Either/Or (London, Humphrey Milford, Oxford Univ. ‘Christianity exists,’ he writes, ‘because there is hatred between God and men.’ ‘God hates all existence.’, ‘To be a Christian means that you will be tortured in every way. A being who is omnipresent could not be confined in his movements to a small area in the eastern Mediterranean. They suggest, though with a force difficult to assess, that Kierkegaard's singularities of thought were less the product of judicial reflection than the by-product of a sick spirit. If the logic he assumes in his philosophy is valid, then the faith which stands at the summit of ‘the stages on life's way’ is meaningless. This he cannot do. 2 Luther died in 1546; Galileo was born in 1564: and the name of Galileo has come to be a symbol of the scientific challenge to the Biblical view of nature. If the flood occurred in historic times, how did the sloth manage to cross the ocean from Ararat to Brazil? Is there any process of thought, philosophic, scientific, or historical, by which we can prove these things to be true? Now he is all set to believe it, and he dares to say of himself that he does not believe as shoemakers and tailors and simple folk do, but only after long and careful deliberation. Nevertheless one can see as soon as Kierkegaard points it out that to the person who contemplates life with detachment, who looks at it, as Carlyle occasionally did, against the background of ‘the eternities and immensities’, a peculiarly rich kind of humour is open. It is the thought of Dante about Beatrice as a person of grace and goodness that appoints his complex feelings about her. For how can decision be an approximation or only to a certain degree? The lecture is remembered for the reaction of Muslims to the Pope's quotation of a thirteenth century Byzantine emperor that they saw as anti-Muslim. The passion of inwardness and objective deliberation are at complete odds with each other. But for Kierkegaard as for Luther, these faculties are corrupt; all the principles laid down by them are open to a ‘teleological suspension of the ethical’ imposed from above; they are subject at any moment to cancellation by ‘the absurd’; and if in the face of such a suspension we retain our old adherence to love or loyalty or even conscience in its natural sense, the charge of immorality is compounded with a charge of impiety. 143–4. How a God of pure love could also be a Moloch was indeed past understanding, but then what right had we to ask that God act intelligibly? Furthermore, the saint or knight of faith, according to Kierkegaard, is a man whose leading concern is not the welfare of others but his own ‘eternal happiness’, a description incidentally that applied to himself. But if by facing the infinite he means that morality is an endless quest, that one no sooner reaches a given plateau than one sees a further ascent lying beyond it, that the road winds uphill to the end, and indeed beyond any end that we see or may hope to see, he is surely right. Where one has bid good-bye to reason and made the prodigious non-rational leap into the rarefied air of paradox, one should presumably say nothing, since anything one did say would have to be said in the distorting accents of the reason one has left behind. Instead, it's a belief and trust in the "strength of the absurd." By "absurd," he means that which contradicts reason. We shall have to part with many cherished Biblical stories and many old beliefs, with all the prized associations, comforting assurances and high hopes that went with them, but we shall at least have kept our integrity of mind. As Kierkegaard puts it, ‘the decisive expression for the consciousness of guilt is in turn the essential maintenance of this consciousness, or the eternal recollection of guilt.… So here there can be no question of the childish thing of making a fresh start, of being a good child again… human justice pronounces a life sentence only for the third offense, but eternity pronounces sentence the first time forever. To depreciate such ‘objective’ and generalised thought as somehow failing to deal with existence is singularly inept. But in active decision or choice we feel the self creatively at work. ‘… Christianity protests every form of objectivity; it desires that the subject should be infinitely concerned about himself.’64 ‘Kierkegaard regarded “the individual” as his own peculiar category so wedded to his name that it would be a fitting inscription upon his grave.’65 Just as it is through individual action that we first really exist, so it is with our own individual life that we are, and indeed ought to be, chiefly concerned. But did it render the events of history completely intelligible? It would be unfair to suggest that the only picture of Deity that Kierkegaard carried in his mind was the picture of a celestial ogre. Press, 1968), 37. The road to the universal lies through the individual. It is not enough to have a good eye for ethical distinctions and values; many moral philosophers of Laodicean record have had that. Even to ask what I am asserting when I say that something exists is subtly to beg the question, since it assumes that existence is a content or character which I can conceive as I do roundness or the colour blue; and it is nothing of the sort. If you have an immediate prayer need, please call our 24-hour prayer line at 800-700-7000.
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