18 - Faith: The Matchless Lack of Logic

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Reply Sat 22 Aug, 2009 02:19 am
18 - Faith: The Matchless Lack of Logic
Page 67 - 69 in P:SWK

Quote:
Can any more absurd contradiction be imagined than wishing to prove that an individual person is God? Now think of proving that! How can you make something that conflicts with reason into something reasonable? You can't, unless you wish to contradict yourself. The so-called proofs for the divinity of Christ that people claim Scripture sets forth - his miracles, his resurrection, his ascension - are not, when you think about it, in harmony with our reason.


Kierkegaard again criticizes the way Danish and German philosophers attempted to prove through the limits of reason alone that Christ is God.
In his day, he had to put up with people who say, "I can go from A to B to C, ergo I have proven that Christ was God!" He responds to such people by saying, "How is it possible to observe the gradually unfolding results of something and then arrive at, by some trick of deduction, a conclusion different in quality from what you began with? Is it not sheer insanity (providing humanity is sane) to let your judgment become so altogether confused as to land in the wrong category?"

For him, categorizing Jesus Christ as such is just illogical, but he asks is believing Christ is God still within the bounds of faith? What is faith but to believe in spite of the lack of empirical evidence? For if there were evidence, would it not be called knowledge? In this sense, one leaps past reason and enters belief.

However, one mustn't forget the distinction between belief/faith and knowledge; it is still very important. For Kierkegaard, one must be wary not to bring belief into the category of knowledge without logic and critical thought. It's what distinguishes the agnostic from the lunatic:

Quote:

Christ's return will be something entirely different, something that can only be believed. That Christ was God incarnate in his lowliness and that he will come again in glory, all this is far beyond the comprehension of history. This cannot be inferred from "facts" or from history, no matter how matchlessly you regard them, except through a matchless lack of logic.


I can honestly say I know some things, but there are also things I just cannot know... :is-it-love:
 
ACB
 
Reply Sun 23 Aug, 2009 06:00 pm
@Victor Eremita,
Victor Eremita;84872 wrote:
Kierkegaard again criticizes the way Danish and German philosophers attempted to prove through the limits of reason alone that Christ is God.
In his day, he had to put up with people who say, "I can go from A to B to C, ergo I have proven that Christ was God!" He responds to such people by saying, "How is it possible to observe the gradually unfolding results of something and then arrive at, by some trick of deduction, a conclusion different in quality from what you began with? Is it not sheer insanity (providing humanity is sane) to let your judgment become so altogether confused as to land in the wrong category?"


If you say "I believe in God", you must have some idea (however vague) of what the word "God" refers to; otherwise it is just an empty utterance. So you should be able to list some general attributes that you think God possesses - e.g. omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, uniqueness. Now, these particular attributes (taken together) are sufficient to define God, because if an entity possesses them all, it is by definition God. So, if you can prove that Christ had all these attributes, you have proven that he was God. (Or, if you can prove the former beyond reasonable doubt, you have proven the latter beyond reasonable doubt.) I am not saying it is actually possible to do so; I am merely saying it cannot be regarded as impossible a priori.

The abovementioned attributes are all clearly understandable concepts individually. Therefore, if the concept of God can be constructed from them, it is untrue to say that it is "different in quality from what you began with". Human beings and God both belong to the category of "beings with attributes", so in this sense God is not in the 'wrong' category.
 
Victor Eremita
 
Reply Mon 24 Aug, 2009 01:24 am
@Victor Eremita,
Quote:
So, if you can prove that Christ had all these attributes, you have proven that he was God.
Kierkegaard just doesn't think this is possible, he argues that God's attributes must be different from human categories:

Quote:

"If God and humankind resemble each other so closely so as to essentially belong to the same category of being, the conclusion "therefore Christ was God" makes perfect sense. But this is nothing but humbug. If that is all there is to being God, then God does not exist at all! But if God belongs to a category infinitely different from the human, why, then neither I nor any one else can start with the assumption that Christ was human and then logically conclude that therefore he was God."
The essence of God is essentially unknowable; as we are limited beings can we truly say we understand the category omnipotence? What does that entail really? Knowing all there is to know... what precisely is that? Kierkegaard just hates us limited beings trying to anthropomorphize God into a category which we can understand; if God was able to be categorized like that, comprehended by limited beings.... "God does not exist!"

(Or in less flamboyant Kierkegaardian prose: An anthropomorphized conception of a God exists)

----
Here's the link to the e-Book where I'm referring to which I am culling quotes from; you can follow SK's argument a bit more:

http://www.plough.com/ebooks/pdfs/Provocations.pdf
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 24 Aug, 2009 04:00 am
@Victor Eremita,
Victor Eremita;84872 wrote:
18 - Faith: The Matchless Lack of Logic
Page 67 - 69 in P:SWK



Kierkegaard again criticizes the way Danish and German philosophers attempted to prove through the limits of reason alone that Christ is God.
In his day, he had to put up with people who say, "I can go from A to B to C, ergo I have proven that Christ was God!" He responds to such people by saying, "How is it possible to observe the gradually unfolding results of something and then arrive at, by some trick of deduction, a conclusion different in quality from what you began with? Is it not sheer insanity (providing humanity is sane) to let your judgment become so altogether confused as to land in the wrong category?"

For him, categorizing Jesus Christ as such is just illogical, but he asks is believing Christ is God still within the bounds of faith? What is faith but to believe in spite of the lack of empirical evidence? For if there were evidence, would it not be called knowledge? In this sense, one leaps past reason and enters belief.

However, one mustn't forget the distinction between belief/faith and knowledge; it is still very important. For Kierkegaard, one must be wary not to bring belief into the category of knowledge without logic and critical thought. It's what distinguishes the agnostic from the lunatic:



I can honestly say I know some things, but there are also things I just cannot know... :is-it-love:



It is not logic that faith lacks. It is evidence.
 
 

 
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