What is a Leap of Faith?June 27, 2021
In the religious stage, one of the three stages of life, you attempt to develop a personal relationship with God.
“Man begins to exist only in faith.” said Kierkegaard. So, the aesthetic and ethical aspects of life are insufficient. To know God, you take a “leap of faith”, following Kierkegaard’s famous saying. Kierkegaard brings up the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac. God orders Abraham to kill his son Isaac. When choosing to obey God’s command, Abraham is in such a position that he cannot understand, let alone justify, the command. What difference does it make to Abraham whether the action is objectively correct or not? He must make a choice, and in this choice he reveals his values. The only way the action can be justified is surrender to the will of God.
As a result, Abraham must take a “leap of faith.” This leap requires will and belief rather than reason and knowledge. This leap requires what Kierkegaard calls the “suspension of ethics.” If God’s existence were simply a matter of common sense or rational thought, there would be no need for this leap of faith.
Intermediate Note: Kierkegaard hides behind pseudonyms in half of his works. He did this so that his works would not be seen as part of a larger philosophical system. He hoped that readers would read his work as it appeared, without relating it to certain details of his life.
Kierkegaard’s later works often attacked the institutions of the Christian Church. He believed that the necessities of Christian life—going to church, memorizing prayers, obeying ordained moral orders, reading scriptures, etc.—reluctantly, superficially, and routinely fulfilled, are in fact the very antithesis of Christian life. The importance of the “leap of faith” derives from the need for man to have a personal and direct confrontation with the divine. Although Kierkegaard found great solace in the religious life, he argued that organized religion was callous and cold, insensible, and unsatisfying.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook, “Philosophy in All Aspects” Kennet Shouler