Fear and Trembling, Søren Kierkegaard
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Søren Kierkegaard

Fear and Trembling

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In Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard wanted to understand the anxiety that must have been present in Abraham when God commanded him to offer his son as a human sacrifice. Abraham had a choice to complete the task or to forget it. He resigned himself to the loss of his son, acting according to his faith. In other words, one must be willing to give up all his or her earthly possessions in infinite resignation and must also be willing to give up whatever it is that he or she loves more than God. Abraham had passed the test — his love for God proved greater than anything else in him. And because a good and just Creator would not want a father to kill his son, God intervened at the last moment to prevent the sacrifice.
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IF THERE WERE NO ETERNAL consciousness in a man, if at the foundation of all there lay only a wildly seething power which writhing with obscure passions produced everything that is great and everything that is insignificant, if a bottomless void never satiated lay hidden beneath all — what then would life be but despair? If such were the case, if there were no sacred bond which united mankind, if one generation arose after another like the leafage in the forest, if the one generation replaced the other like the song of birds in the forest, if the human race passed through the world as the ship goes through the sea, like the wind through the desert, a thoughtless and fruitless activity, if an eternal oblivion were always lurking hungrily for its prey and there was no power strong enough to wrest it from its maw — how empty then and comfortless life would be!
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