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RE: [Kierkegaardian] Fear and Trembling

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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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