Kierkegaard: Introduction to Philosophy Suicide

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Soren Kierkegaard is a famous existentialist philosopher who outlined the concept of the knight of faith in the noteworthy work Fear and Trembling. The analysis suggests that the suicide bomber reasoning fits the character of the Kierkegaard’s concept. Therefore, the suicide bomber can be considered the knight of faith, but only in case if he personally believes in the fact that Allah wants to punish non-believers and him to prove his dedication.

Kierkegaard was the founder of the existentialism. In general, it is about the experience of one’s own existence. Among the spheres of human existence, Kierkegaard especially emphasizes the ethical and religious. In ethical, the consciousness of responsibility and a sense of duty come to the fore. Therefore, a person is conscious as a true meaning as a human being and as a member of civil society. However, the author rightly notes that since the civic requirements for a person are the same, at this stage, the ethical existence can no longer satisfy the individual, because such an ethical is rather universal, and “”as the universal, it is mandatory for everyone”” (Kierkegaard 46). However, the Danish philosopher asserts that the individual is higher than the universal, and therefore a person who searches for his or her “religious self” enters a more upper religious sphere of existence, where a person lives solely for God. This is where the secret of the knight of faith starts to grow.

In the Fear and Trembling, the basis of the storyline was a biblical story of how God commanded Abraham to sacrifice the only and long-awaited son Isaac to prove his faith. Consider, for an instant, the Muslim suicide bomber as another example of the Knight of Faith, and the plot would be identical, as Allah asks a terrorist to sacrifice himself to test his faith. Of course, it is hard to argue whether Allah declares that bombs should be blown up with casualties or not, but it is hard to deny that there are certain pieces in the Quran, where it is said that Allah does not love non-believers, transgressors (Qur’an 2:190). Meanwhile, he would support only those who are righteous (Qur’an 9:7), and those fighting in his cause (Qur’an 61:4). Even though these messages are taken out of the religious context, it is clear that terroristic organizations today utilize similar slogans in order to boost their propaganda and use them in the worst way as there are many radical branches in Islam (Mahood, and Rane 13-14). Hence, the terrorist may see the only line: “”Muhammad is the messenger of Allah. And those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful among themselves…”” (Qur’an 48:29). In this respect, for the sake of Kierkegaard teaching, and to actually fit the requirements of the Knight of Faith, the person should actually believe and have faith personally.

Furthermore, the ethical expression of what a suicide bomber would be in reality is a murderer, while a religious expression is a man that fulfill the will of Allah. The ethical, as the philosopher believes, is universal, and as general it is obligatory for the individual and everyone. However, for Kierkegaard, the religious sphere of existence eliminates the ethical. In this respect, there is the paradox of faith or absurd, as the two opposite values clash. For instance, faith is a paradox as it favors the individual over the universal. Abraham faced such a paradox when he was asked to sacrifice Isaac. Apparently, there is a grave contradiction between his universal ethical duty before his son to preserve his life and his religious duty to God. The same way, the suicide bomber faces the moral duty not to kill innocent people and his personal religious duty before Allah to be “”tough on non-believers.”” Therefore, a terrorist, having ascertained that the universe does not correspond to his values, beliefs, or faith, defines himself as an absolute opinion, which is on the par with those of the God. However, he still needs to prove the steadfastness of his convictions, and thereby confront the enemies and commit the attack for the sake of God.

Thus, according to Kierkegaard, the suicide bomber, by his act, stepped over the boundaries of ethics and acquired outside the highest goal, relying on which he abolished his duty in relation to ethics (61). The suicide bomber is not a criminal, not a madman; he is a knight of faith, that faith, which is an absurdity and a paradox from an ordinary point of view. The pain and fear of the paradox of faith are aggravated by the fact that the knight of faith cannot make himself understandable to others, as he is fully dedicated to God and is outside of universal ethics.

To sum up, the analysis shows that in essence, the rationale of the suicide bomber actions is the same as in the Bible legend of Abraham. Thus, despite the ethical duty, the individual believes and dedication to God is stronger and superior of universal needs. Therefore, the suicide bomber may be the example of the Knight of Faith if his belief is personal and strong enough.

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Kierkegaard: Introduction to Philosophy Suicide. (2020, Feb 19). Retrieved from

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