An examination of existential faith in the writtings of Søren Kierkegaard
Tebbutt, Suzanne K.
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This thesis takes seriously the proposition that existentialism is a lived philosophy. While Descartes' proof for the existence of God initially sparked my interest in philosophy, the insights of existentialism have allowed me to appropriate philosophy as a way of life. I apply the insights of Kierkegaard's writings to my spiritual and philosophy development. Philosophy is personal, and Kierkegaard's writings deal with the development of the person in his aesthetic, ethical and religious dimensions. Philosophy is a struggle, and this thesis, reveals the existential struggle of the individual in despair. The thesis argues that authentic faith actually entails faith. The existential believer has this faith whereas the religious believer does not. The subjectively reflective existential believer recognizes that a leap of faith is needed; anything else, is just historical, speculative knowledge. The existential believer or, the Knight of Faith, realizes that a leap of faith is needed to become open in inwardness to receive the condition to understand the paradoxes that faith presents. I will present Kierkegaard's "Analogy of a House" which is in essence, the backbone of his philosophy. I will discuss the challenge of moving from one floor to the next. More specifically, I will discuss the anxiety that is felt in the very moment of the transition from the first floor to the second floor. I will outline eight paradoxes that must me resolved in order for the individual to continue on his journey to the top floor of the house. I will argue that Kierkegaard's example of Abraham as a Knight of Faith is incorrect, that Abraham was in fact not a Knight of Faith. I will also argue that we should find our own exemplars in our own lives by looking for Knight of Faith traits in people we know and then trying to emulate those people. I will also discuss Unamuno's "paradoxical faith" and argue that this kind of faith is a strong alternative to those who find that Kierkegaard's existential faith is not a possibility.