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RE: [Kierkegaardian] Fear and Trembling

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  • Mark Keithley
    I m going to answer your question as Kierkegaard would. Man has one absolute duty and that is to obey God above all else. Gods chosen is the night of faith and
    Message 1 of 13 , May 28, 2003
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      I'm going to answer your question as Kierkegaard would. Man has one absolute duty and that is to obey God above all else. Gods chosen is the night of faith and God raises the night of faith above the universal, so that the rules of the universal(society) don't apply to the night of faith. So according to Kierkegaard we answer to God not society.
      Mark
      Don Anderson <donand@...> wrote:
      [Mark]
      This book shows what could happen when relegion is taken
      to the extreme.

      [Me, Don]
      Are you saying this is Kierkegaard�s point in Fear and Trembling? Would you
      say a bit more?

      Here are my questions for thought.
      Should trust in God only apply up to the point that it conflicts with
      society (the universal that applies to all)?

      Do man-made laws take precedence when they conflict with ones personal sense
      of God�s call to obedience?

      Are we answerable to Society or to God?

      I look forward to your response (and others as well)!

      Don

      -----Original Message-----
      From: kant992003 [mailto:kant992003@...]
      Sent: Monday, May 26, 2003 10:45 PM
      To: kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Kierkegaardian] Fear and Trembling

      Hi guys whats up? To those of you that have read it what do guys
      think of Fear and Trembling. I think that it is a great work of
      philosophy. This book shows what could happen when relegion is taken
      to the extreme. Here's my question is a God that would ask you to
      kill your only son is that God worthy of worship.
      Mark




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    • Don Anderson
      Mark, First of all Kierkegaard understands this story (Abraham) to be about Abraham s faith much more than it is about the nature of God (which no one really
      Message 2 of 13 , May 28, 2003
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        Mark, First of all Kierkegaard understands this story (Abraham) to be about
        Abraham's faith much more than it is about the nature of God (which no one
        really knows). This I think is also true of why the story of Abraham is in
        the OT.

        What you call the "night of faith" is in Kierkegaard called "The Knight of
        Infinite Resignation." I suppose that could also be called "The Knight of
        Faith." Actually Kierkegaard calls this Infinite resignation and faith a
        double movement. They happen together but they are separate in his thought
        as I understand it. In any case Kierkegaard uses the analogy of the medieval
        knight who goes off to fight dragons and save maidens. In doing so the
        knight renounces home and family and all that is dear to him to go fight
        evil and for virtue. He renounces all for something higher. This is Infinite
        resignation and in that moment of Infinite resignation faith happens.

        So the story of Abraham is about Abraham's infinite resignation. In the
        moment of infinite resignation he renounces all that is of this world, all
        that is transitory - even family, friends, and the moral code. He marches
        forth with Isaac towards that mountain. He doesn't have a clue why he's
        going. It doesn't make any sense. He's giving up everything he has counted
        on. But he is resigned. If this is what God seems to want him to do he will
        go towards it. He has put himself totally in the hands of God. NO doubt he
        is thinking something like this. "This is crazy. I don't know what I'm doing
        but I trust that God knows." It sort of like standing with a few of your
        friends behind you and you let yourself fall backwards TRUSTING that your
        friends will catch you. Maybe not "Infinite" but it is "resignation" (and
        faith).

        Now your question "is a God that would ask somebody to kill their only son
        should that God be trusted?" Kierkegaard would answer, I am sure, that
        clearly you have not reached the movement to infinite resignation if you
        must ask that question.

        The real question is "Why would anyone want to make such a painful and
        difficult move as the double move to infinite resignation and faith?"
        Kierkegaard's answer, I believe, would be that it is the only way to gain
        myself and thus to grasp existence. In other words it is the only way to
        find "life at its fullest."

        Now your second question: Here's my question what are the standerds that we
        must meet to be worthy to worship a higher being. Until we know the
        standards that would make us worthy there is no way we could ever know

        Kierkegaard's answer: Make the move of infinite resignation and faith.
        Become a Knight.

        Don
        I'm going to answer your question as Kierkegaard would. Man has one absolute
        duty and that is to obey God above all else. Gods chosen is the night of
        faith and God raises the night of faith above the universal, so that the
        rules of the universal(society) don't apply to the night of faith. So
        according to Kierkegaard we answer to God not society.

        First of all good post, but I do have a response. You're trying to make the
        story pretty. It makes it very clear in Fear and Trembling and in the bible
        that God did ask Abraham to kill his only son. Now you said you take the
        story as "God testing how much trust man can put in him" this is where the
        night of faith comes in. The night of faith causes fear and trembling in
        society because no one can understand why the night of faith would be
        willing to kill his or her only son. The night of faith belives that his
        number one duty above all is to obey God, and that God liffs his chosen
        above society so society rules don't apply to the night of faith. The night
        of faith also believes that to save his son he must kill his son. But I have
        the same question is a God that would ask somebody to kill their only son
        should that God be trusted? Now you asked if we are worthy to worship God.
        Here's my question what are the standerds that we must meet to be worthy to
        worship a higher being. Until we know the standards that would make us
        worthy there is no way we could ever know

        Mark
      • Mark Keithley
        Don are you saying that in Fear and Trembling Kierkegaard doesn t use the name the knight of faith ? Don Anderson wrote:Mark, First of
        Message 3 of 13 , May 29, 2003
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          Don are you saying that in Fear and Trembling Kierkegaard doesn't use the name "the knight of faith"?

          Don Anderson <donand@...> wrote:Mark, First of all Kierkegaard understands this story (Abraham) to be about
          Abraham's faith much more than it is about the nature of God (which no one
          really knows). This I think is also true of why the story of Abraham is in
          the OT.

          What you call the "night of faith" is in Kierkegaard called "The Knight of
          Infinite Resignation." I suppose that could also be called "The Knight of
          Faith." Actually Kierkegaard calls this Infinite resignation and faith a
          double movement. They happen together but they are separate in his thought
          as I understand it. In any case Kierkegaard uses the analogy of the medieval
          knight who goes off to fight dragons and save maidens. In doing so the
          knight renounces home and family and all that is dear to him to go fight
          evil and for virtue. He renounces all for something higher. This is Infinite
          resignation and in that moment of Infinite resignation faith happens.

          So the story of Abraham is about Abraham's infinite resignation. In the
          moment of infinite resignation he renounces all that is of this world, all
          that is transitory - even family, friends, and the moral code. He marches
          forth with Isaac towards that mountain. He doesn't have a clue why he's
          going. It doesn't make any sense. He's giving up everything he has counted
          on. But he is resigned. If this is what God seems to want him to do he will
          go towards it. He has put himself totally in the hands of God. NO doubt he
          is thinking something like this. "This is crazy. I don't know what I'm doing
          but I trust that God knows." It sort of like standing with a few of your
          friends behind you and you let yourself fall backwards TRUSTING that your
          friends will catch you. Maybe not "Infinite" but it is "resignation" (and
          faith).

          Now your question "is a God that would ask somebody to kill their only son
          should that God be trusted?" Kierkegaard would answer, I am sure, that
          clearly you have not reached the movement to infinite resignation if you
          must ask that question.

          The real question is "Why would anyone want to make such a painful and
          difficult move as the double move to infinite resignation and faith?"
          Kierkegaard's answer, I believe, would be that it is the only way to gain
          myself and thus to grasp existence. In other words it is the only way to
          find "life at its fullest."

          Now your second question: Here's my question what are the standerds that we
          must meet to be worthy to worship a higher being. Until we know the
          standards that would make us worthy there is no way we could ever know

          Kierkegaard's answer: Make the move of infinite resignation and faith.
          Become a Knight.

          Don
          I'm going to answer your question as Kierkegaard would. Man has one absolute
          duty and that is to obey God above all else. Gods chosen is the night of
          faith and God raises the night of faith above the universal, so that the
          rules of the universal(society) don't apply to the night of faith. So
          according to Kierkegaard we answer to God not society.

          First of all good post, but I do have a response. You're trying to make the
          story pretty. It makes it very clear in Fear and Trembling and in the bible
          that God did ask Abraham to kill his only son. Now you said you take the
          story as "God testing how much trust man can put in him" this is where the
          night of faith comes in. The night of faith causes fear and trembling in
          society because no one can understand why the night of faith would be
          willing to kill his or her only son. The night of faith belives that his
          number one duty above all is to obey God, and that God liffs his chosen
          above society so society rules don't apply to the night of faith. The night
          of faith also believes that to save his son he must kill his son. But I have
          the same question is a God that would ask somebody to kill their only son
          should that God be trusted? Now you asked if we are worthy to worship God.
          Here's my question what are the standerds that we must meet to be worthy to
          worship a higher being. Until we know the standards that would make us
          worthy there is no way we could ever know

          Mark



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        • Don Anderson
          No, I m not saying that. He *does* talk about the knight of faith, What I am saying and this may be an over-simplification, is that for Kierkegaard the
          Message 4 of 13 , May 29, 2003
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            No, I'm not saying that. He *does* talk about "the knight of faith," What I
            am saying and this may be an over-simplification, is that for Kierkegaard
            "the knight of faith" is no knight. "Knights of faith," which are different
            from faith (which comes from God or in Kierkegaard's terms the infinite)
            must also be renounced because the "knight of faith" is a false knight. The
            only knight we mortals are capable of being out of these two possibilities
            is a "knight of infinite resignation."

            Another way of putting this is "the knight of faith" remains in the finite,
            whiled the "knight of infinite resignation" becomes opened to the infinite.
            At the point of touching the infinite faith comes from the infinite.

            Don

            -----Original Message-----
            From: Mark Keithley [mailto:kant992003@...]
            Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 5:28 PM
            To: kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com
            Subject: RE: [Kierkegaardian] Fear and Trembling

            Don are you saying that in Fear and Trembling Kierkegaard doesn't use the
            name "the knight of faith"?

            Don Anderson <donand@...> wrote:Mark, First of all Kierkegaard
            understands this story (Abraham) to be about
            Abraham's faith much more than it is about the nature of God (which no one
            really knows). This I think is also true of why the story of Abraham is in
            the OT.

            What you call the "night of faith" is in Kierkegaard called "The Knight of
            Infinite Resignation." I suppose that could also be called "The Knight of
            Faith." Actually Kierkegaard calls this Infinite resignation and faith a
            double movement. They happen together but they are separate in his thought
            as I understand it. In any case Kierkegaard uses the analogy of the medieval
            knight who goes off to fight dragons and save maidens. In doing so the
            knight renounces home and family and all that is dear to him to go fight
            evil and for virtue. He renounces all for something higher. This is Infinite
            resignation and in that moment of Infinite resignation faith happens.

            So the story of Abraham is about Abraham's infinite resignation. In the
            moment of infinite resignation he renounces all that is of this world, all
            that is transitory - even family, friends, and the moral code. He marches
            forth with Isaac towards that mountain. He doesn't have a clue why he's
            going. It doesn't make any sense. He's giving up everything he has counted
            on. But he is resigned. If this is what God seems to want him to do he will
            go towards it. He has put himself totally in the hands of God. NO doubt he
            is thinking something like this. "This is crazy. I don't know what I'm doing
            but I trust that God knows." It sort of like standing with a few of your
            friends behind you and you let yourself fall backwards TRUSTING that your
            friends will catch you. Maybe not "Infinite" but it is "resignation" (and
            faith).

            Now your question "is a God that would ask somebody to kill their only son
            should that God be trusted?" Kierkegaard would answer, I am sure, that
            clearly you have not reached the movement to infinite resignation if you
            must ask that question.

            The real question is "Why would anyone want to make such a painful and
            difficult move as the double move to infinite resignation and faith?"
            Kierkegaard's answer, I believe, would be that it is the only way to gain
            myself and thus to grasp existence. In other words it is the only way to
            find "life at its fullest."

            Now your second question: Here's my question what are the standerds that we
            must meet to be worthy to worship a higher being. Until we know the
            standards that would make us worthy there is no way we could ever know

            Kierkegaard's answer: Make the move of infinite resignation and faith.
            Become a Knight.

            Don
            I'm going to answer your question as Kierkegaard would. Man has one absolute
            duty and that is to obey God above all else. Gods chosen is the night of
            faith and God raises the night of faith above the universal, so that the
            rules of the universal(society) don't apply to the night of faith. So
            according to Kierkegaard we answer to God not society.

            First of all good post, but I do have a response. You're trying to make the
            story pretty. It makes it very clear in Fear and Trembling and in the bible
            that God did ask Abraham to kill his only son. Now you said you take the
            story as "God testing how much trust man can put in him" this is where the
            night of faith comes in. The night of faith causes fear and trembling in
            society because no one can understand why the night of faith would be
            willing to kill his or her only son. The night of faith belives that his
            number one duty above all is to obey God, and that God liffs his chosen
            above society so society rules don't apply to the night of faith. The night
            of faith also believes that to save his son he must kill his son. But I have
            the same question is a God that would ask somebody to kill their only son
            should that God be trusted? Now you asked if we are worthy to worship God.
            Here's my question what are the standerds that we must meet to be worthy to
            worship a higher being. Until we know the standards that would make us
            worthy there is no way we could ever know

            Mark



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          • Don Anderson
            Mark and others, What I failed to say is that I am putting this forward as an idea. I don t mean this to be the last word by any stretch. I want to hear from
            Message 5 of 13 , May 30, 2003
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              Mark and others,

              What I failed to say is that I am putting this forward as an idea. I don't
              mean this to be the last word by any stretch. I want to hear from you as to
              what you see here.

              Don

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Don Anderson [mailto:donand@...]
              Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 8:37 PM
              To: kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [Kierkegaardian] Fear and Trembling

              No, I'm not saying that. He *does* talk about "the knight of faith," What I
              am saying and this may be an over-simplification, is that for Kierkegaard
              "the knight of faith" is no knight. "Knights of faith," which are different
              from faith (which comes from God or in Kierkegaard's terms the infinite)
              must also be renounced because the "knight of faith" is a false knight. The
              only knight we mortals are capable of being out of these two possibilities
              is a "knight of infinite resignation."

              Another way of putting this is "the knight of faith" remains in the finite,
              whiled the "knight of infinite resignation" becomes opened to the infinite.
              At the point of touching the infinite faith comes from the infinite.

              Don

              -----Original Message-----
              From: Mark Keithley [mailto:kant992003@...]
              Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 5:28 PM
              To: kierkegaardians@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: RE: [Kierkegaardian] Fear and Trembling

              Don are you saying that in Fear and Trembling Kierkegaard doesn't use the
              name "the knight of faith"?

              Don Anderson <donand@...> wrote:Mark, First of all Kierkegaard
              understands this story (Abraham) to be about
              Abraham's faith much more than it is about the nature of God (which no one
              really knows). This I think is also true of why the story of Abraham is in
              the OT.

              What you call the "night of faith" is in Kierkegaard called "The Knight of
              Infinite Resignation." I suppose that could also be called "The Knight of
              Faith." Actually Kierkegaard calls this Infinite resignation and faith a
              double movement. They happen together but they are separate in his thought
              as I understand it. In any case Kierkegaard uses the analogy of the medieval
              knight who goes off to fight dragons and save maidens. In doing so the
              knight renounces home and family and all that is dear to him to go fight
              evil and for virtue. He renounces all for something higher. This is Infinite
              resignation and in that moment of Infinite resignation faith happens.

              So the story of Abraham is about Abraham's infinite resignation. In the
              moment of infinite resignation he renounces all that is of this world, all
              that is transitory - even family, friends, and the moral code. He marches
              forth with Isaac towards that mountain. He doesn't have a clue why he's
              going. It doesn't make any sense. He's giving up everything he has counted
              on. But he is resigned. If this is what God seems to want him to do he will
              go towards it. He has put himself totally in the hands of God. NO doubt he
              is thinking something like this. "This is crazy. I don't know what I'm doing
              but I trust that God knows." It sort of like standing with a few of your
              friends behind you and you let yourself fall backwards TRUSTING that your
              friends will catch you. Maybe not "Infinite" but it is "resignation" (and
              faith).

              Now your question "is a God that would ask somebody to kill their only son
              should that God be trusted?" Kierkegaard would answer, I am sure, that
              clearly you have not reached the movement to infinite resignation if you
              must ask that question.

              The real question is "Why would anyone want to make such a painful and
              difficult move as the double move to infinite resignation and faith?"
              Kierkegaard's answer, I believe, would be that it is the only way to gain
              myself and thus to grasp existence. In other words it is the only way to
              find "life at its fullest."

              Now your second question: Here's my question what are the standerds that we
              must meet to be worthy to worship a higher being. Until we know the
              standards that would make us worthy there is no way we could ever know

              Kierkegaard's answer: Make the move of infinite resignation and faith.
              Become a Knight.

              Don
              I'm going to answer your question as Kierkegaard would. Man has one absolute
              duty and that is to obey God above all else. Gods chosen is the night of
              faith and God raises the night of faith above the universal, so that the
              rules of the universal(society) don't apply to the night of faith. So
              according to Kierkegaard we answer to God not society.

              First of all good post, but I do have a response. You're trying to make the
              story pretty. It makes it very clear in Fear and Trembling and in the bible
              that God did ask Abraham to kill his only son. Now you said you take the
              story as "God testing how much trust man can put in him" this is where the
              night of faith comes in. The night of faith causes fear and trembling in
              society because no one can understand why the night of faith would be
              willing to kill his or her only son. The night of faith belives that his
              number one duty above all is to obey God, and that God liffs his chosen
              above society so society rules don't apply to the night of faith. The night
              of faith also believes that to save his son he must kill his son. But I have
              the same question is a God that would ask somebody to kill their only son
              should that God be trusted? Now you asked if we are worthy to worship God.
              Here's my question what are the standerds that we must meet to be worthy to
              worship a higher being. Until we know the standards that would make us
              worthy there is no way we could ever know

              Mark



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            • jimstuart46
              For those of you who haven t read it, or have read it so long ago you have forgotten it - The moral of the story – if you sincerely belief that God is
              Message 6 of 13 , Nov 10, 2007
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                For those of you who haven't read it, or have read it so long ago you
                have forgotten it -

                The moral of the story – if you sincerely belief that God is telling
                you to kill a child, then go ahead and do it. To refuse to obey God's
                command to you because the act would be unethical is to show a lack of
                faith.

                Kierkegaard's overall message: Christianity is an offense to those
                individuals of intelligence and good will.

                Jim S
              • James Rovira
                eh, yes and no, Jim S. Abraham, technically, was not a Christian, but Christians still appropriate/identify with him because he was justified by faith
                Message 7 of 13 , Nov 10, 2007
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                  eh, yes and no, Jim S. Abraham, technically, was not a Christian, but
                  Christians still appropriate/identify with him because he was
                  "justified by faith" according to Paul in the book of Romans.
                  Kierkegaard is complicating this identification. What I don't recall
                  are the details of Abraham's faith. My question is, is the problem
                  really a problem with "faith" or with the "ethical"?

                  And I don't recall FT really advocating, simplistically, yeah, kill
                  your son if God commands it. My impression is that it sees blithe
                  Christian appropriation of the story as a simplistic advocacy of a
                  moral horror, and JdS seems to want to complicate this simplistic,
                  complacent advocacy with a renewed sense of horror. THEN
                  appropriation would mean something, would involve decision.

                  That's what I remember, anyway.

                  Origen, Augustine, and many of the very early church fathers grappled
                  with the fact that some of the stories in Scripture were indeed
                  offensive to people of intelligence and good will. Furthermore, the
                  texts of Scripture are somewhat of a mess to those trained in the
                  Greek and Latin rhetorical traditions -- lots and lots of copies, they
                  don't all agree, ugh what a mess. You can read one account in
                  Origen's _On First Principles_ -- it's available online. You can read
                  more in Augustine's Confessions, also online. If you can locate a
                  translation of Origen from the Greek rather than the Latin it'll be
                  much more readable. Their solution -- and the solution that guided
                  Christian thinking until Luther's day, after the invention of moveable
                  type -- was that Scripture "means" on different levels, the spiritual,
                  the moral, the literal. Dante's "Letter to Con Grande Della Scala" is
                  a very compact and sophisticated application of these interpretive
                  principles to his own Divine Comedy.

                  The break with this tradition comes, interestingly, with Luther, at
                  the beginning of the transition from manuscript to print culture.
                  Luther, as I understand him, identified the literal with the moral and
                  the spiritual message and thought if we had a problem with Scripture,
                  that is our problem, not Scripture's.

                  At any rate, seeing something novel in FT on this point is simply
                  mistaken. What FT is doing is confronting a largely -Lutheran-
                  audience with a rather heightened and dramatic presentation of what
                  educated Christians had believed all along until Luther's day.

                  Jim R

                  On Nov 10, 2007 8:57 AM, jimstuart46 <jjimstuart@...> wrote:
                  > For those of you who haven't read it, or have read it so long ago you
                  > have forgotten it -
                  >
                  > The moral of the story – if you sincerely belief that God is telling
                  > you to kill a child, then go ahead and do it. To refuse to obey God's
                  > command to you because the act would be unethical is to show a lack of
                  > faith.
                  >
                  > Kierkegaard's overall message: Christianity is an offense to those
                  > individuals of intelligence and good will.
                  >
                  > Jim S
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