Essay on Faith in Fear and Trembling by Kierkegaard
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Kierkegaard believes that true faith can only be attained through a double movement of giving up rationality or logic, while at the same time believing one can understand logically. In “Fear and Trembling” Kierkegaard relates true faith to the Knight of infinite resignation and the Knight of faith; in this paper, I will examine this claim and show why Kierkegaard’s analogy is an excellent metaphor for the double movement which is required in one’s quest to attain faith and why.
Kierkegaard’s position on faith is represented with the Knight of infinite resignation and the Knight of faith. The Knight of faith is regarded as the one who believes in that which is absurd. For, he is the knight that is able to believe in the things that are…show more content…
So now, not only is Abraham faced with killing his own son, he is also supposed to still be considered in a religious context to be sacrificing his son. The Knight of infinite resignation sees this contradiction, this logical impossibility, and is aware of how this command defies rationality. This knight accepts that, in this life, his beloved son is going to die and that his hand will be the one to deliver this task. The main point Kierkegaard makes is when he goes on to say that to have faith, one must have experienced both of these stages. One must experience the stage of infinite resignation before being able to attain faith. “Infinite resignation is the last stage before faith, so that anyone who has not made this movement does not have faith” (Kierkegaard 75).
Kierkegaard goes even further on to explain why, “for only in infinite resignation does my eternal validity become transparent to me, and only then can there be talk of grasping existence on the strength of faith” (75). Kierkegaard’s position is made clear, only after one has had to make a decision from a place contradiction, can one truly have faith. Faith is not just blindly going along and believing against rationale just because that is what you have been raised or told to do. He addresses this by describing a young girl, “Thus that of a young girl in the face of all difficulties rests assure that her desire will be
Fear and Trembling is subtitled "Dialectical Lyric." What is the significance of this subtitle?
The answer to this question could be treated with great complexity. The work is lyrical throughout, but particularly in the Exordium and Eulogy on Abraham, where Johannes puts his full literary powers to work. The problemata take on a dialectical form, as they address their given questions through a series of alternatives: either Abraham is the father of faith or he is lost, etc. Johannes proceeds through the problemata like a good Hegelian, setting up opposing pairs and mediating between them. Interestingly, though, Johannes claims at different points in the text that he is neither a poet nor a philosopher. If he is not a poet, what right does he have to claim to write a lyric, and if he is not a philosopher, what right does he have to claim to write a dialectic? It seems he ironically undercuts the very methods he uses to make his points.
What is the significance of the name "Johannes de Silentio"?
Literally, the name means "John of Silence" and it alludes to a character in a Grimm fairy tale who is turned to stone for attempting to warn his master. He is eventually returned to life when the master sacrifices his own children, and then resurrects the sacrificed children. This character thus experiences the repetition discussed in the book of regaining everything he lost. This John, like Johannes, is not a man of silence, but is rather distinguished for speaking up. Perhaps Kierkegaard feared that his warnings against complacent bourgeois life and Hegelianism would be met with a stone-like silence.
Who wants to "go further" than faith? Why is Johannes opposed to this position?
Hegelians want to "go further" than faith, seeing faith as a lower expression of the Absolute Mind than philosophy. Johannes feels that these Hegelians treat faith as something that can be understood by reflecting upon it. He suggests instead that faith requires passion, that one must work toward it. One cannot understand faith by having it explained.
What is the differences between the aesthetic and the religious? What are the similarities?
What reasons does Johannes give to suggest that there is a teleological suspension of the ethical? Are his reasons convincing?
What is the "paradox" that is so central to Johannes' account of faith?
Unpack the concept of repetition. What does that term mean, and what is its relation to mediation and recollection?
What does it mean to say that the ethical is the universal?
What is the significance of the passage about Agnes and the merman? What are we supposed to draw from it?
What purpose does the Exordium hold in the overall direction of the text?