Thursday, August 18, 2011

A Leap of Faith

A Leap of Faith
by Scott Bradley

Every now and then I pull up short and ask myself, What the hell are you doing? This is when I catch the scent of religion wafting from my mind. Let this be my own hang up, but I do not want to believe anything. So I must periodically ask myself what it is that I currently believe.

What do I believe? I could say that I believe in Oneness and the inherent Rightness of Reality. But when I stop to ask and answer, I find that I hold to these things only as working paradigms, ideas that work for me, but only ideas.

Soren Kierkegaard is probably best known for his advocacy of a "leap of faith". The essential Christian message is an absurdity: God became man. But, as an idea, this still might be reasonable. So, it is necessary to take the next step: God became man, and this man here relieving his bowels is He.

There is no bridge of reason that can cross to the other side where such a thing is embraced with all one's being. One can only truly believe this absurdity through a leap of faith. (I say 'truly', because Kierkegaard saw Christian faith as a radical and all-consuming commitment — he stood opposed to conventional and largely nominal Christianity.)

What do I believe? I believe in the efficacy and natural affirmation of a leap of trust. All of life is an act of trust; to live is to trust. To utterly surrender in trust within the context of our utter not-knowing is, I believe, the most natural expression of the human experience. In this sense, it is no leap at all, but simply the expression of who we are. Yet we fear the unknown and cling to our tentative selves, and thus we must choose and leap. We must choose to say Yes.

For all his opposition to the erroneous belief in the ability of reason to explain Reality, Kierkegaard allowed that belief to determine his path. Absurdity is the mutually generated antithesis of reason. Chen Jen's saying, "Embrace the right, and the wrong shall rule", is intended to convey this very reality. Right exists only in contrast to wrong, and to embrace one is to have been ruled by the other. But Kierkegaard could not escape this net, because he believed that there were things to believe.

Trust is a path that follows the natural inclination of the human heart and needs not know a What or a Why.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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