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Message Subject Thread for Atheists & Christians - STFU
Poster Handle Don'tBeAfraid
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Kierkegaard's arguement for God explained:
[link to www.kemstone.com]

"When we brush up against the Unknown, Kierkegaard asserts, the Reason may choose at its pleasure what to
place beyond this limit. In most cases, this is God—or whatever conception of God the Reason can conceive.
Yet it is impossible to accept this as proof of God’s existence, as on some level we must always be aware that this
God is merely a conception of our minds, which we have chosen quite arbitrarily to put in place of the Unknown.
Kierkegaard offers another analogy, conceiving of a man like any other man who is also God. He cannot know
this man is God because in order to know this he would have to understand the nature of the difference between
God and man, which is impossible because “the Reason has reduced it to likeness with that from which it was
unlike. Thus God becomes the most terrible of deceivers, because the Reason has deceived itself. The Reason
has brought God as near as possible, and yet he is as far away as ever” (94).

The heart of Kierkegaard’s argument actually comes several paragraphs earlier, in which he points out the only
way to arrive at God across this gap which Reason can not bridge is to make a leap of faith. God’s existence
can not be proven because His existence is uncertain as long as I am engaged in proving it. “But when I let go,
the existence is there. But this act of letting go is surely also something; it is indeed a contribution of mine. Must
not this also be taken into the account, this little moment, brief as it may be—it need not be long, for it is a leap”
(93). Thus God’s existence is founded in our minds not on the basis of logic or reason, but purely on faith, and
what is meant by faith in Kierkegaard’s mind is to let go of the proof and merely believe in God’s existence.

One need not have proof of God’s existence to believe in it—it would in fact be absurd to believe that God will
not exist until we have proof. Most people who believe in God understand that His existence can not be proven,
and many theologians would assert that this is in fact deliberate on the part of God; faith itself would have no value
if belief in God did not require faith but merely an understanding of the logic by which God’s existence can be
conclusively established.

I believe that if all religious people understood their own faith in the sense in which Kierkegaard paints it, it would
do much to eliminate many of the evils that come out of religion. It is not belief in God from which most of the
atrocities committed by the “faithful” over the centuries has sprung, but rather the certainty that they have
believed themselves to have as to the doctrines of their own religion. If they understood that the tenets of their
religion are not established on firm logical grounds but are merely founded in faith—by their own willingness to
believe in spite of the lack of any proof or certainty—they will perhaps be less quick to judge non-believers or
people of other faiths as wrong or worthy of punishment.

So although I have not chosen with Kierkegaard to make this leap of faith, I believe that an understanding of the
nature of a leap of faith is very important and ought to be more widely recognised. As for the inability of God’s
existence to be proven on rational grounds, I agree completely, and credit Kierkegaard with some of the most
forceful reasoning I have encountered to establish this point."
 
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