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