Posted by ESC on February 28, 2004
In Reply to: Famous phrase posted by D Haak on February 28, 2004
: I would like to know the origin of the phrase
: "leap of faith". Doing a children's sermon tommorow on leap day and would like some insight. Have accessed info on web and have found everything but this one.
: Thanks and appreciate a quick response.
Leap of faith -- metaphor used by the 19th-century Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in his Afsluttende uvidenskabelig Efterskrift (1846; Concluding Unscientific Postscript) to describe commitment to an objective uncertainty, specifically to the Christian God. For Kierkegaard, God is totally other than man; between God and man there exists a gulf that faith alone can bridge... http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=48636
(1813-1855) Kierkegaard developed a philosophy based on the idea of the importance of the individual and individual choice. He objected the philosophy of Hegel in particular because it is so impersonal. Kierkegaard said that is it especially important for people to have a meaningful existence. And meaning, he said, comes from whether or not people sense that their lives have a permanent significance. The problem is, though, that most people believe that their lives have importance only temporarily.
The most important part of Kierkegaard's philosophy are the three stages of personal development: the aesthetic, the ethical and the religious. (these stages corrospond to stages that Kierkegaard experienced in his own life.) The religious stage, according to Kierkegaard, is the most important stage of development.
The problem with the first stage of developement is with a life devoted to pleasure and enjoyment is that these concerns are temporary. Kierkegaard didn't view art as Hegel and Schopenhauer did, as connecting people with a sense of permanance.
He said that if you are aware of the importance of your existence, you will eventually feel dissatisfied with a life devoted to art and pleasure; then your own impermanence and insignificance will fill you with despair. At this point, you can either try to go on living in despair, or you can try to lead a more ethical, responsible existence; the second stage of development. When you start to lead a more responsible existence, you start to introduce an idea of permanence to your life. This sense of permanence is only partial and creates conflict that leads to despair again.
You can only reach the third stage through a leap of faith because there aren't any rational reasons for making this move. You have to make it without any philosophical or conventional religious excuses. This is because what is most important is the truth that only you can know. Making this leap of faith is the way out of despair and it gives you a sense of the permanent significance of your life.
.Faith begins where one knows and has experienced the limitations of rational thought. Therefore, it is a leap into a paradox: I know by not knowing; I believe because I cannot know - but due to this unknowing, I have established a direct and unspeakable relationship with that which is beyond thinking, but which leads me in the relationship.