Monday, February 2, 2009

Kierkegaard on Faith

I am currently participating in a reading challenge to read a book written by an author from each of the countries involved in the Summer Olympics prior to the 2012 Olympics in London. I am currently reading my Danish author, Soren Kierkegaard. I chose to read Fear and Trembling. I am finding the reading most stimulating as he talks about his conception of faith using the Biblical story of Abraham and Isaac in his work. I love studying the writings of the existentialist authors; Thoreau and Emerson have long been two of my favorite thinkers to study. Following is an thought-provoking quote from the book:

"No one shall be forgotten who was great in this world; but everyone was great in his own way, and everyone in proportion to the greatness of what he loved. For he who loved himself became great in himself, and he who loved others became great through his devotion, but he who loved God became greater than all. They shall be remembered, but everyone became great in proportion to his expectancy. One became great through expecting the possible, another by expecting the eternal; but he who expected the impossible became greater than all. They shall all be remembered, but everyone was great in proportion to the magnitude of what he strove with. For he who strove with the world became great by conquering the world, and he who strove with himself became greater by conquering himself; but he who strove with God became greater than all. Thus their was strife upon earth: there was he who conquered everything by his own strength, and he who conquered God by his powerlessness. There was one who relied upon himself and gained everything, and one who, secure in his own strength sacrificed everything; but greater than all was the one who believed God...[When Abraham left his home to sacrifice his son, Isaac], he left behind his worldly understanding and took with his his faith.
(Kierkegaard, S. [translated by Alastair Hannay]. Fear and Trembling. (1985). London: Penguin Books Ltd.)

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