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Faith and Philosophy - Essay Example

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Faith and Philosophy

subject’, and it constitutes a theory concerning the meaning of existence – that is, what it means to exist, and moreover, it represents the activity of faith itself. In this respect, faith is not so much a concept as it is an activity or form of praxis. It is 'extra' philosophical or beyond philosophy in contrast with faith, as a form of praxis. The nature or essence of existence, is for Kierkegaard, ‘paradoxical’ [Kierkegaard 32]. It is paradoxical, because it can be described in two contradictory modes, namely, the finite and the infinite. And, implied by the notion of the infinite, are a number of similar or identical concepts. For examples, concepts such as the ‘eternal’, or ‘continuity’, ‘identity’ the ‘absolute’, ‘god’, and so forth. This paper will first give an analysis of a fragment in Kierkegaard’s within the context of his work titled Fear and Trembling, a work which recounts the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac taken from the Torah or the Old Testament (Genesis), and in brief, it concerns a father (Abraham) who is called upon by Yahweh or God to make a sacrifice of his only son Isaac, which is in turn, a parable which on the surface, concerns God’s testing Abraham’s convictions, courage, faith, obedience, and sense of obligation toward himself or herself. What transpires in this story, is that God calls upon Abraham to sacrifice his only son, and so he proceeds to carry out the task, only to have God or Jehweh stop him at the last moment and tell him that he has proven his ‘faith’ to him. In turn, God blesses Abraham for his faith. Before remarking on Kierkegaard, a brief remark will be made about the biblical story, and that is that it is quite short, and in the Revised Standard Edition (and not the Hebrew), there...
The above passage seems to preclude the possibility of interpreting the previous passage. In other words, although he is “amazed” at Abraham’s actions, he also thinks that it is delusional to maintain that one will acquire “worldly wisdom out of the paradox”. This said, the above passage also qualifies that it is the “outcome” which is where the paradox follows. In other words, the absurdity itself is the ‘whole’ of the story, and the story is a metaphor for existence itself. Thus, an “infinite resignation” is a mode of action, and it is an action that works on the assumption that we cannot know “outcome” of our actions, but that we can have faith in the here and now, and the absurdity. But, it is an objectless ‘faith’. In other words, as Kierkegaard tells this parable, he is not telling this in terms of Abraham having faith in God’s benevolence (which is absurd because the Old Testament God is often a God of wrath) or the outcome of sacrificing Isaac. But, he has faith in the absurd or in paradox, God’s command, and further, he has an infinite resignation toward this as a modality of existing, or “by faith I receive everything”. What Kierkegaard has dismissed, is reason and understanding, and what he has embraced is resignation toward the infinite. By this, it does not mean that he is completely irrational, indeed, it would be difficult to write his books if such were the case, but that with respect to the invariable paradoxes of life he is advocating that we embrace them, or resign ourselves toward them. Finally, it is not God that is the focus, but the paradox of Abraham, and the courage and faith of his actions which Kierkegaard is using to demonstrate his idea of an ‘infinite resignation’ toward the absurd, which has the net outcome of receiving the ‘eternal’. To renounce everything temporal or finite, which is something one cannot acquire (“I cannot get the least little thing that belongs to finitude”), one is in a process of infinitely resigning. As a process of resigning, it is ongoing and seemingly infinite, and as a ‘mode’ of existence, because it is ‘infinite’ it brings forth the eternal through a leap of ‘faith’, and it is in this sense the ‘courage’ of the knight becomes necessary, given the isolation of this decision.  ...Show more

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In the paper “Faith and Philosophy” the author examines historical and cultural reasons, the intellectual strains of nineteenth century that could be described in terms of being in a crisis. Nietzsche’s proclamation concerning the ‘death of god’ became the main them of author’s tool of analyzing this crisis…
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