Why is faith not a form of Knowledge? Why is it not a form of will?

Kierkegaard, S. (1985). Philosophical Fragments/Johannes Climacus : Kierkegaard’s Writings, Vol 7. (E. H. Hong & H. V. Hong, Trans.). Princeton, N.J: Princeton University Press.

Faith is a paradox. Faith is not knowledge because knowledge can not have such a paradox as faith. On page 62 Climacus says, “ Faith is not knowledge, for all knowledge is either knowledge of the eternal, which excludes the temporal and the historical as inconsequential, or it is purely historical knowledge, and no knowledge can have as it’s object the absurdity that the eternal is the historical.”   Likewise faith can not be a question of will; “faith is not an act of will…. If I do possess the condition then all my willing is of no avail, even though, once the condition is given, that which was valid for the Socratic is again valid.”

I think that faith is a paradox which implies danger and loss of control, nether of which are found in knowledge or will. Faith is not simply a matter of knowing something like I might know my family, and I can not gain faith by searching for it. I enjoyed the comment, “if the bird does not come to him, running after it with a lime twig is futile.” The wonderful thing about the paradox of faith is that is keeps the mind in a state of change, and creates constant new relationships and or contradictions. However, I feel at a loss as the reader because I understand this text only through my will. However it is clear that through ‘will’ I don’t find real faith. It is the individual who must reach faith with the help of god, and without his guidance we are at a loss. It is a slippery understanding of the relationship between the temporal and the eternal to which any attempt to pinpoint a specific aspect would compromise the nature of faith. In addition, any understanding I can reach from meditating or thinking about this paradox will get me no closer to faith because my will to understand it is nothing. For this reason faith can not be knowledge or will, because unlike faith, knowledge and will can be explained, controlled, learned and shared. As an individual I believe that faith is a good thing, but even if I had the choice to have faith, I am far from being able to give up my understanding of knowledge or the power of my will for the unknown freedom of faith in god.

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