Fear and Trembling Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
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From the perspective of an unbeliever, Fear and Trembling explores the paradox of faith, the nature of Christianity, and the complexity of human emotion. Kierkegaard examines the biblical story of Abraham, who was instructed to sacrifice his son Isaac, and forces us to consider Abraham's state of mind. What drove Abraham, and what made him carry out such an absurd and extreme request from God? Kierkegaard argues that Abraham's agreement to sacrifice Isaac, and his suspension of reason, elevated him to the highest level of faith. He explores more comprehensible alternatives, but in each one Abraham fails the test of faith, thus showing that true faith cannot be explained, understood, or made rational.
His thesis is a compelling counterpoint to Hegel, who maintained that reason was the highest form of thought, and it proved a significant source of inspiration to later existentialist philosophers such as Camus and Sartre.
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|Listening Length||4 hours and 40 minutes|
|Audible.com Release Date||August 24, 2018|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #17,158 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#4 in Agnosticism (Audible Books & Originals)
#8 in Agnosticism (Books)
#25 in Existentialist Philosophy
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As for the two books themselves:
Fear and Trembling:
I remember once taking someone to church who was perhaps religious but not a christian and had went their entire life having never heard the story of Abraham and how Yahweh(God) had commanded him to take his son Issac up a mountain and sacrifice him. I remember the pastor preaching with great admiration about how this great sacrifice was required of Abram, and how without hesitation Abram obeyed God, the person with me just had a look of horror, how could this loving and benevolent God require such a thing from his creation, how could anyone look at this story with anything but horror, this wasn't a story to be admired but to be held with contempt. Of course the story goes right before Abram plunged the knife into Issac an angel stopped him and Abram sacrificed a goat instead (although it seems most atheist books love to mention the fact that Jephthah wasn't stopped, Kierkegaard briefly mentions this, but it seemed to be glossed over).
I've thought since then, how odd it is that people like myself quickly read over these stories and never really think about them or what they mean, how would I react if I heard them for the first time and haven't heard them my entire life. In this book Kierkegaard goes into detail about the story of Abram and Issac, what did Abram say, did he take the blame so Issac wouldn't lose faith in God, what did he tell Sarah (his wife) before leaving, is this ethical. I couldn't help wondering if this book was actually a defense from Soren, did he do the same thing as Abram when he ended his engagement and sacrificed the thing he loved most in the world, was he required by God of this? Did he do the right thing? Overall this book was pretty good although Kierkegaard often went on many tangents which sometimes left me confused as to what point he was trying to make, I'll eventually reread this as I assume this is a book which requires several reads to fully grasp.
The Book on Adler:
The book on Adler was seemed more cohesive and easier to follow. In this Kierkegaard discusses his meeting with Adler, a man who apparently claimed to have a special revelation from Jesus, where Jesus appeared to him and gave him a special message, from that Adler wrote several book (even publishing 4 at once). Its been a couple of months since I read this and I don't remember at all what this special revelation was, what I do remember is Kierkegaard disproving that Adler had this revelation and that Adler even started to doubt this himself. There was a chapter near the end where Kierkegaard discusses what kind of culture allows for this type of thing to be so easily accepted, I couldn't help wondering what he would think if he saw the events of the Word of Faith movement during the last 50 years and heard the stories of Oral Roberts and his 50 foot Jesus commanding Roberts to build a research center, or of Kenneth Hagin and Jesus supposedly telling him how to be prosperous, it would have been interesting.
Soren Kierkegaard is an excellent philosopher, I disagree with many of his points on Christianity, but I understand where he is coming from.
Fear and Trembling is about the sacrifice taken place in Genesis regarding Abraham (whom he calls the father of faith) and Isaac. Soren calls this event a paradox, as well as many other scenarios in the Holy Bible.
This is probably the most important quote from the book:
"Infinite resignation is the last stage before faith, so anyone who has not made this movement does not have faith, for only in infinite resignation does an individual become conscious of his eternal validity, and only then can one speak of grasping existence by virtue of faith."
I love the story of the princess and of Agnes and the merman which can be interpreted as an autobiography. Here Kierkegaard is uses the story of Abraham to aid in his understanding of his relationship with Regine Olsen (his fiance). As far as his "finitude" went, she was Soren's only Love that he is concerned with and he gave her up.
I agree with Kierkegaard on the fact that libertarian free will exists (though I'm open to (compatibilism) , and that we all have choices in life in which we use our freedom in the process of making these choices that we take throughout our lives on Earth.
With the use of Hegel's ethics, Soren comes to the conclusion that the person who lives a morally good life also wishes to be happy in his choice of living this ethical persona that was chosen by his behalf. Now if this choice proves to be not what he thought it would be, then he does not lose heart. This person instantaneously sees his task ahead of himself and that the art is not the wish but to will.
This is indeed a masterpiece in Philosophy, one which I highly recommend.