Callings: Soren Kierkegaard

This week the Honors class focused on post-Reformation writings from the 19th century.  One of the readings was a selection from Fear and Trembling by Søren Kierkegaard.  Fear and Trembling was written under the pseudonym Johannes de Silentio, someone who admitted to not being a Christian, but admired the faith Abraham demonstrated in Genesis 22.  This chapter is a narrative of Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac.  Kierkegaard begins by commenting on the ethical versus religious implications of this story.  For Christians, Abraham’s willingness to kill his only son is called a sacrifice, but in any other setting this would be called murder and have serious legal consequences (Callings 339).  The other main point Kierkegaard pulls from this narrative is the extreme faith and trust in God Abraham demonstrates.  He makes the point that faith is not rational; it requires taking a leap of faith, not knowing where one might land, but trusting that God will remain faithful.  “But Abraham had faith and did not doubt; he believed the preposterous” (Callings 337).

Honors this semester has focused on our different vocations.  This week of Honors touched on vocation, but focused more on calling.  Calling and vocation are closely related because whatever one is called to is an aspect of one’s vocation.  It can sometimes be difficult to determine what one’s calling is and if it is from God.  This is what Kierkegaard described in his writing on Abraham.  Abraham did not doubt that God would remain faithful to His covenant with Abraham even though it may have seemed impossible.  When following one’s calling, it is sometimes necessary to take a leap a faith and following God’s calling, even if the outcome is unknown.

Some of the other Honors students expressed dislike or confusion about Kierkegaard’s writing, but I truly enjoyed it.  I thought it was very thought-provoking and while I did not fully understand everything Kierkegaard wrote, it challenged me to think of the story of Abraham and Isaac differently.  This story has always been through-provoking for me because I cannot imagine how much faith and trust it would take to sacrifice my only child.  I hope God never calls me to do something as challenging as what He called Abraham to do, but I know that no matter how or where God calls me, He will remain faithful.

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