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Kierkegaard's Dancing Tax CollectorFaith, Finitude, and Silence$
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Sheridan Hough

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198739999

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198739999.001.0001

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(In)conclusive Postlude

(In)conclusive Postlude

On the Absolute Distinction Between Propositional Beliefs and Walking (or Dancing)

(p.118) 6 (In)conclusive Postlude
Kierkegaard's Dancing Tax Collector

Sheridan Hough

Oxford University Press

If ‘all gifts are good and perfect’, then how to explain the cruelty and often catastrophe of human existence? Kierkegaard rejects the usual notions that such suffering is ‘God’s will’, or that it is ‘for a reason’, or that ‘some good will come from it’. Instead, an absolute distinction is made between a faithful person’s subjective account and the objective facts about the suffering in question. Abraham’s case is again considered. Kierkegaard’s late writings about the ‘will to suffer’ are compared to the ultimate desideratum of Buddhism, the reduction of suffering (duḥkha); both philosophical accounts urge a kind of mindfulness. The ‘will to suffer’, however, still does not address the painful questions of human suffering. Kierkegaard avers that it does not; Corrie ten Boom provides her sister as an example of faithful comportment, one that emphasizes the absolute nature of the ‘subjective/objective’ distinction when considering human suffering.

Keywords:   suffering, will to suffer, Abraham, duḥkha, Corrie ten Boom, truth is subjectivity

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