May 17, 2008

Story of Abraham

Some understand the story of Abraham in a way that it seems like an easy process. They praise God's mercy for giving him Isaac once again after God called Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. The whole thing was just a trial. A trial - that can say a lot or little, yet the whole thing is as quickly done with as said. One mounts a winged horse, that very instant one is on the mountain in Moriah, the same instant one sees the ram. One forget that Abraham rode on an ass, which can keep up to no more than a leisurely pace, that he had a three day journey, that he needed time to chop the firewood, bind Isaac, and sharpen the knife.
And yet one praises Abraham! The speaker might as well just sleep until the last 15 minutes before speaking, his hearer might as well sleep throughout the speech, if the whole sermon go so smoothly, without any trouble from either side. But then what about his act of murder, an attempt to murder Isaac...does not that act itself should trouble both side enough that none could even sleep without thinking of it.
But for those who chose not to even be troubled by that murder attempt, let us then just forgot about the whole Abraham story. Or if not learn how to be horrified at the monstrous paradox which is the significance of the life of Abraham. so that our time like any other, can be glad if it has faith. It is a question of seeing the greatness of Abraham's deed so that the person might judge for himself whether he has the inclination and courage to be tried in such a thing. The comic contradiction in the speaker's behaviour was that he made Abraham into something insignificance and yet would forbid any other who try carrying the same manner.
Should one perhaps not dare to speak about Abraham? I think one should. If I myself were to talk about him I would first depict the pain of the trial. For that I would suck all the fear, distress and torment that a father must go through. But if one wants to market a cut-price version of Abraham and still admonish people not to do what Abraham did, then that's just laughable.
What I intend now is to extract from the story of Abraham its dialectical element, in order to see how monstrous a paradox faith is, a paradox capable of making a murder a holy act well pleasing to God, a paradox which gives Isaac back to Abraham, which no thoughts can grasp because faith begins when the thinking leaves.

That is another thought that came in through the reading of Kierkegaard's Fear and Trembling. It makes me realize that faith is beyond the grasp of a mind. No wonder the Bible said if one is to have faith as small as a mustard, then moving mountain is possible.
And if anyone is to stop at 'faith' and not moving beyond, I believe it is an understatement of the word itself. For faith to even start taking place, one need to grasp that paradox in the story of Abraham...making one sleepless and restless by all means. And if fear and trembling has not been part of it, it is indeed not even the starting of faith.
And if one is to say that paganism has no faith, it is also the misunderstanding of what the word "faith" carries. Jesus has shown the world a paradox of love. Abraham was the only man in the Bible that carry "faith" in its' most meaningful way. Without that story, it is impossible to grasp faith and yet that story cannot be presented in a light manner, because without even the fear, distress and despair through the reading of this story, one is only simply replacing "Isaac" with "best" in the most irrelevant manner.

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