Get Email Updates • Email this Topic • Print this Page
[IMG]file:///F:/Users/JSADAM~1/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image002.jpg[/IMG] Basically I think Kierkegaard's position is that belief in god requires a "leap of faith". God can not be objectively proven and certainly can not be objectively experienced. Kierkegaard also writes passionately about subjective truths and objective truths and the relative value of each in human experience. We tend to attach more value to subjective (aesthetic and ethical) experience. I think faith necessarily entails a degree of doubt ( I am not sure agnostic is the correct term, for agnostic implies a certain degree of neutral indifference which people with faith tend not to have) and faith should also entail a great degree of humility.
One is to interpret what arises according to our conditioning. This is a self-reinforcing dynamic and results in a closed system in which everything is explained, the mystery of life is banished, and no new ideas, perspectives, or approaches to life can enter. This I call belief.
The other is to open to whatever arises, to allow the reactions and stories of our conditioning to arise but not be swallowed by them, to open to the possibility of not knowing, and thus making a place in our experience not only for the mystery of life, but for new ideas and approaches. The willingness to meet experience this way I call faith.
I would have thought that faith not only does not imply doubt, but implies belief. Faith is simply a kind of belief, but a belief without evidence, or even contrary to evidence. Kierkegaard's notion of faith is of the latter kind. He analogies faith to love, and argues that like love, it is blind. (We call it "blind faith" after all). So, like all fideists, he holds that faith implies belief contrary to evidence. He calls religion, "the crucifixion of the intellect". He follows Tertullian's famous dictum or paradox, "Credo quia absurdum est". "I believe because it is absurd". Notice, not, "I believe and it is absurd", but, "I believe because it is absurd". That is, the absurdity of the belief is its justification.
As you yourself have written on numerous occasions, knowledge is not absolute certainty only justified belief. Faith also is not absolute certainty but entails a degree of doubt. There is nothing more dangerous than the individual who is absolutely certain that he knows and is charged with performing gods will (it is I would suggest a form of insanity). The writings of the most influential and successful theologians are often marked by their fears and their doubts as well as their hopes and their faith.
Kierkegaard certainly does not believe that faith implies any doubt, and neither do any of the fideists I have read. Faith is just very strong belief, but without, or contrary to, evidence. Of course, there are degrees of strength of belief, so you may think that weak belief implies doubt. I don't really see why.
One of Kierkegaard's most influential ideas was the idea of the 'Leap of Faith.' The Leap of Faith was his belief of how individuals are to believe in God. Faith is not a decision based on rational evidence. No evidence could be enough to build the total commitment required of a relationship with God. Instead, through faith one makes the decision anyway. Kierkegaard thought that doubt was also an essential part of belief. If one has faith, they will naturally doubt their beliefs about God. As Kierkegaard wrote, "doubt is conquered by faith, just as it is faith which has brought doubt into the world." In "Training in Christianity", Kierkegaard expounded on his thoughts about what it means to be a true Christian. He believed that people can either make Christ their entire existence or not be Christians at all. To Kierkegaard, there was no middle way. Kierkegaard's Christianity was the same as his father's: filled with guilt, suffering, and anxiety. Kierkegaard is known as the father of existentialism (loosely defined, the philosophy of the individual). He placed much emphasis on how individuals are to relate to God and the world. Kierkegaard also challenged conventional ideas on truth. He believed that if truth had to be true for everyone it would be nothing more than a general opinion. He pointed out that some emotional truths are subjective. If a man loves his pet dog, he should not expect anyone else to share that truth. However, Kierkegaard reasoned, that does not mean it is not true for him.
If I am capable of grasping God objectively, I do not believe, but precisely because I cannot do this I must believe.
Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
Is this supposed to be a reply to my post?
Well you left out the most relevant part but yes.
At the very least it would imply that the relationship of faith to doubt in Kierkegaard is not quite as clear cut as your post implied.:perplexed:
Could you explain this more clearly?
Kierkegaard thought that doubt was also an essential part of belief. If one has faith, they will naturally doubt their beliefs about God. As Kierkegaard wrote, "doubt is conquered by faith, just as it is faith which has brought doubt into the world
I am still put off by the term "agnostic," for, by "agnostic," it generates the thought that he possessed no knowledge of this particular belief, when it is actually quite the opposite. "External proof," which I am taking as verifiable truth to others, is not the sole foundation of knowledge and, in the Christian faith, is fairly irrelevant, for it is Christ who calls out and is revealed to us, upon which we either believe or become offended in Him (taken from Practice/Training in Christianity).
His upbringing shows us that he would have been quite knowledgeable of the Scripture and, arguably, would have recalled Hebrews 11:1-3, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible." This is the context of large portions of the incredible writing I mentioned before. Kierkegaard lashed out against the apologists who would compose volumes of "proofs" of the divinity of Jesus and God's existence because it is solely faith, which Christ Jesus demands from man; this was his assurance, knowledge, and hope (the concept of hope was written quite a bit in The Sickness Unto Death). Even if his knowledge was not founded on reasonable answers on the basis of human rationality, he possessed knowledge of God's existence and the necessity of Jesus to the fallen heart of man through faith in said revelation. Again, though, on this, I argue the term being used, for he was certainly not agnostic of God's existence, even in the least.
It is easy to see, though it scarcely needs to be pointed out, since it is involved in the fact that the Reason is set aside, that Faith is not a form of knowledge; for all knowledge is either a knowledge of the Eternal, excluding the temporal and historical as indifferent, or it is pure historical knowledge. No knowledge can have for its object the absurdity that the Eternal is the historical. If I know Spinoza's doctrine, then I am in so far not concerned with Spinoza but with his doctrine; at some other time I may be concerned historically with Spinoza himself. But the disciple is in Faith so related to his Teacher as to be eternally concerned with his historical existence.
." I do not know, I thought it was fairly clear.
Leap of Faith
Easily and by far the most maligned concept from Kierkegaard's oevure, this does not mean that one should be an idiot and believe in irrational things. It does not tell you that I should jump in front a speeding train and expect God to save me or that I can suddenly fly if I jump from the First Canadian Place skyscraper.
A "leap" is a term to denote a sudden change from qualitative states. Kierkegaard's concern was that many Danish and German scholars attempted to reason to the knowledge that the historical Jesus was the eternal God. That a historical Jesus existed, therfore there is a necessary being, God the Father. The vital assumption to this line of reasoning is that it supposes one can reason from contingent truths to necessary truths. Using contingent truths to prove necessary truths is impossible.
A leap, therefore, is required in order to believe necessary truths from contingent truths. Kierkegaard does not encourage or discourage this leap; he only says that it is required to enable believe in something that goes beyond experience and historical truths. It cannot be reasoned to, one must passionately say, based on historical truths, I believe there is God.
A very interesting interpretation Deckard. The fact that Silentio is a biased author with his own quirks does skew the interpretation that some others might have about the topic like Climacus or Anti-Climcaus might have. It's just the way it is that the 19th century history of philosophy goes: Kant-Hegel-Kierkegaard-Marx-Nietzsche, not; Kant, Hegel, Victor Eremita, Johannes de Silentio, Young Man, Johannes Climacus, Anti-Climacus, Kierkegaard, Hilarious Bookbinder, Marx, Nietzsche. LOL