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Soren Kierkegaard Views on Ethics, Morals and Religion

There is no use denying the fact that humanity has always been affected by such phenomena as ethics, morals, and religion. Going along with society, these notions influenced human beings and introduced some changes to their lives. It should also be said with the increase in the complexity of society. These issues also obtained some new peculiarities. One remembers the way in which humanity had passed, elaborating a certain ethical code that could help it to survive and appreciate the values needed for the evolution of society. Thus, it should be said that religion was another phenomenon that helped society to develop and obtain certain values.

With this in mind, it should be said that the interaction of the spheres of ethics and religion could result in the appearance of a great number of various debates and ideas connected with the moral and existence of a human being. Being not new, these issues are investigated from various perspectives, and a great number of the different hypotheses are given.

Thus, it should be said that Soren Kierkegaard also cogitates about the given issue. In his article, Is there such a thing as a Teleological Suspension of the Ethical? he tries to outline the most important aspects connected with this sphere. First of all, he states the fact that ethical is the universal that applies to everyone and could be taken as a certain code. Kierkegaard shows that it is quite logic, and the existence of the given code is determined by the model according to which our society is organized. Everyone should appreciate not just something individual but some other aspects that could be useful for society.

Thus, at the same time, the author introduces another important notion, which is religion. From the very first lines, he underlines the fact that faith is the paradox as the individual becomes more important than the universal (Solomon, 2004). Outlining the given idea, the author tends to use the story about Abraham and his son Isaac in order to demonstrate the theological supervision of the ethical. It is obvious that Abraham loves Isaac as he is his son.

However, at the same time, he performs theological supervision when he decides to kill Isaac. The author underlines the fact that this action could not be taken as ethical. However, Abraham ignores ethics at this very moment, preferring some religious aspects and being sure that God, as the representative of some higher moral and absolute ethics, will not let some unethical action happen. In other words, Abraham put religion over ethics, proving his faith. Revolving around the given accident, Kierkegaard tries to prove his own vision and concept of relations between religion and ethics. He also underlines the fact that it is Abraham’s personal undertaking and visions of faith.

However, it perfectly demonstrates the basis of the above-mentioned relations. Abraham did it for God’s sake, proving the fact that religion often introduces the paradox and stands above some values accepted by humanity. Continuing his cogitations, Kierkegaard comes to the idea of the subjectivity and objectivity of truth. Revolving around the issue of the objectivity of God, he tends to show various ways to accept reality and truth. Some people accept the existence of God, and it is quite real for them, while others have doubts and could not take God as the objective power. Introducing the given an example, the author also wants readers to understand the problem of the determination of truth and the objectivity of a person or some phenomenon. Investigating the level of objectivity of truth, a person will not be able to find a clear answer because it could be based on his/her personal assumptions and objectivity could suffer.

Moreover, analyzing the nature of objectivity, the author comes to the conclusion that very often objectivity and subjectivity are inseparable and change off each other. To a greater degree, it depends on what is said and how it is said. With this in mind, it is quite difficult to determine the difference. Finally, Kierkegaard underlines the fact that both subjectivity and objectivity could be the truth and influence the person, thus, when the first notion is the truth, it should contain “an expression of the antithesis to objectivity” (Solomon, 2004, p.27)

Analyzing the above-mentioned article and the main concepts presented in it, it is possible to outline several important remarks. First of all, it should be said that speaking about the teleological suspension of the ethical, Kierkegaard provides the story connected with Abraham and Isaac as the basis for his assumption. However, the given story and Abraham’s conduct could be discussed from various perspectives. The traditional one, supported by Kierkegaard, recognizes it as the great act of a person, whose faith is extremely strong and who believes that God could not let some unethical action happen.

From this point of view, Abraham puts religious matters over the ethical ones and shows his devotion, proving the author’s idea about the paradox introduced by religion. Thus, at the same time, taking into account a certain moral code, outlined by the author at the beginning of the article, it should be said that Abraham’s conduct could be taken from another perspective. Being a loving father, he prefers to kill his son because of his blind faith and inability to appreciate the miracle of life and human conscience. Under these conditions, the author’s assumptions could be taken as mistaken because he did not take into account the existence of the given perspective.

Additionally, the author suggests certain debates connected with the relations between ethics and religion. It is obvious that ethics is for everyone, and people should follow the main principles established by it and appreciate values that are outlined in the process of the development of society. However, at the same time, using the case connected with Abraham and his sacrifice, Kierkegaard shows that some people, inspired by certain motifs, could refuse the main ethical principles in order to prove the adherence to some idea or religion. Providing the scientific and ethical basis for the given case, the author creates a dangerous precedent, as the idea of the superior character of some phenomena could be obtained. Besides, the author also emphasizes the fact that in some situations, the individual can become more important than the universal.

It is impossible not to agree with the given statement, as the whole process of the development of society depends on the given regularity. It is obvious that every individual should be ready to contribute to the evolution of humanity in order to guarantee the further existence of certain values.

Finally, analyzing the Kierkegaard’s assumption about the objectivity of truth, it is possible to agree with his point of view. The fact is that the given idea is not new, and there have been a great number of various attempts to determine the nature of truth and outline the mechanism according to which its objectivity could be determined. The author also cogitates about the given issue, outlining the idea that the objectivity of truth depends on the great number of various factors. He suggests the attitude towards the existence of God as a good background for the cogitations about the given issue. With this in mind, his arguments seem to be quite logic.

However, one should remember the fact that Kierkegaard states that both subjectivity and objectivity could be the truth, which means that it is quite difficult to find the line that differentiates them. Besides, this idea makes the necessity of some efficient remedy, which could help to distinguish between the objectivity and subjectivity obvious. However, it could hardly be found because of the relativity of our judgments.

Nevertheless, resting on these facts, it is possible to make a certain conclusion. Being a great philosopher and thinker, Kierkegaard cogitates about the issue of morality, ethics, and religion. Being sure in the great power of these issues, he, however, underlines the fact that sometimes one could become more important. Introducing the concept of the teleological suspension of the ethical, the author also tries to show readers problems connected with it, using the story of Abraham and Isaac as the background. It should be said that the given ideas are of great value for the philosophy. Thus, it is difficult to agree with all the given assumptions.


Solomon, R. (2004). Existentialism. New York: Oxford University Press. Web.

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