Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Kierkegaard's Concept of Paradox of faith

Kierkegaard's concept of paradox of faith is closely associated with his concept of absurd (often the two denote the same meaning in Kierkegaard's writings). A paradox for Kierkegaard is a situation in which two opposite values or views collide. Faith, for example, is a paradox to Kierkegaard since it favors the individual over the universal, while (Hegelian) ethics says the opposite. Here the paradoxical contradiction is between the ethical and the religious, two of Kierkegaard's three spheres of existence of stages in life. Abraham faced such a paradox when he was asked to sacrifice Isaac, a contradiction between his common ethical duty to his son and his personal religious duty to God.

Kierkegaard thinks that the central category of the religious sphere is the paradox of faith. Jesus for Kierkegaard is such a paradox since he exemplifies the clash between universal reason and subjective devotion. Jesus is also paradoxical since he is at once a source of moral ideal and a redeemer from sin (which is Ideal unattained, see Kierkegaard on Morality). Kierkegaard's philosophy is riddled with such paradoxes that, unlike Hegel's dialectic, cannot be mediated.