I’m so excited that the authors of I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist quoted Søren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard, really the first existentialist philosopher, is complex and intellectually stimulating. Reading Kierkegaard helped me understand the paradox—which is not contradiction—of faith. How we have to get to the point of taking a leap of faith—what Dr. J. Ellsworth Kalas called in a lecture I attended, a leap into faith. Here’s the reference from the above mentioned book:
You can reject Christ because he has left your free will truly free. Author Philip Yancey adapts a parable by Christian philosopher Søren Kierkegaard that helps us understand how God attempts to save us while respecting our freedom. It’s a parable of a king who loves a humble maiden:
The king was like no other king. Statesmen trembled before his power. No one dared breathe a word against him, for he had the strength to crush all opponents. And yet this mighty king was melted by love for a humble maiden.
How could he declare his love for her? In an odd sort of way, his very kingliness tied his hands. If he brought her to the palace and crowned her head with jewels and clothed her body in royal robes, she would surely not resist—no one dared resist him. But would she love him?
She would say she loved him, of course, but would she truly? Or would she live with him in fear, nursing a private grief for the life she had left behind. Would she be happy at his side? How could he know?
If he rode up to her forest cottage in his royal carriage, with an armed escort waving bright banners, that too would overwhelm her. He did not want a cringing subject. He wanted a lover, an equal. He wanted her to forget that he was a king and she a humble maiden and to let shared love cross over the gulf between them. “For it is only in love that the unequal can be made equal,” concluded Kierkegaard.