The Faith of Abraham versus Christian Faith

There is a difference, however, between the faith of Abraham and Christian faith and between believing by virtue of the absurd and believing the absurd or the absolute paradox of the incarnation. In an unpublished response to a contemporary review of Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard explains that Abraham is called the father of faith because he exemplifies the formal definition and passion of faith, which is to believe against the understanding, whereas Christian faith is essentially related to a later historical event, namely the entry of the eternal in time in the figure of Jesus Christ, who is the object of faith (JP i. 11; vi. 6598). Thus there is no conflict between the pseudonyms on the nature of faith and the absurd, only a difference in the content of faith, which is not absurd to the believer but only to those who stand outside of faith as non-believers or third parties, for whom the category of the absurd functions as a negative sign and criterion of that which is beyond human understanding and reason (JP i. 7-12; vi. 6598). Thus, in the works by Johannes Climacus, who like Johannes de silentio does not profess to have faith, Christian faith is illumined, as it were, from the other side, from the standpoint of a person who is not a believer but nevertheless discerns a great deal about the conditions for faith, what faith is, and what it is not.

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