The Leap of Faith
In his book, Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Soren Kierkegaard talks about the difference between subjective and objective truth. When talking about subjective truth, he compares it to taking a “leap of faith”. This means that you will believe something no matter what, and you don’t need any evidence to back it up. He later connects the “leap of faith” to religion. “Through the “leap of faith,” in which one affirms the proposition that God did exist in time, one is able to enter into a “God-relationship,” and thereby attains “an eternal happiness” (Schacht, 308). I’ll be addressing the question: Should you take “the leap of faith” when it comes to religion?
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It’s ironic when a person seeks to strengthen their faith by searching for objective truth, because in doing so they are destroying the basis for faith. Later in Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Kierkegaard discusses a very interesting question.
“Now let us assume the opposite, that the opponents have succeeded in proving what they desired to establish regarding the Bible and did so with a certainty that transcended their wildest hopes. What then? Has the enemy abolished Christianity” (Landesman, 260)?
In this situation, the enemy that is addressed is an atheist, and they have found evidence against the validity of the Bible. So does this abolish Christianity? Absolutely not. The evidence that they found would not influence a true believer in Christianity. When a person has faith, no amount of evidence can change that faith. “Without risk there is no faith” (Landesman, 267). Having faith in religion is a risk, but it is a risk worth taking.
Blaise Pascal explains why having faith in religion is a risk worth taking in his book Pascal's wager. In the first part of the wager, Pascal compares our knowledge of God to our knowledge of an infinite number. No one really knows the exact value of an infinite number. We do not know if it is even or odd, we just know it exists. “Therefore we may well know that God exists without knowing what he is” (Landesman, 237). Then he goes on to talk about the boundless nature of God, and how he is beyond our comprehension. So, if no human being can comprehend if God exists or not, neither side has a very strong argument. But, it states that you have no choice but to place a wager in the belief of God. You have two choices. The first choice is that you live a life of commitment to believing in God. In this choice you gamble your one finite life for an infinite life of happiness. If you wager correctly you will be awarded with the greatest prize ever given, eternal happiness. And if you lose, the most you will lose is one finite life. The second choice is you don’t live a life committed to believing in God. In this choice you don’t take a risk, and without risk there is no reward. The most you win from this choice is not wasting your life committed to...