Faith in Kierkegaard's Breaking the Waves

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Faith in Kierkegaard's Breaking the Waves

In Soren Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling, he discusses the "Three Movements to Faith." For Kierkegaard, faith of any kind involves a paradox. This paradox, as well as Kierkegaard's suggested path to faith, is illustrated by the main characters of Breaking the Waves, Bess and Jan.

Kierkegaard explains there are steps one can take towards faith; however, they are so difficult he believes only one person, the "Knight of Faith," has completed the movements. The first step is for one to make her/his wish the complete focus of her/his concentration. This finite desire must dominate one's consciousness, and must be the only wish she/he hopes for. Although the desire may seem impossible, it becomes possible when expressed spiritually. Kierkegaard calls the second movement the "infinite resignation": this involves the person acknowledging the impossibility of her/his wish. By resigning the finite desire, says Kierkegaard, the wish is bent inward. With this, the wish becomes religious, and thus not finite, but infinite. The third step involves...

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