Is Soren Kierkegaard a Friend or Foe of Natural Theology? A Chinese Perspective

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Abstract

Kierkegaard is called the father of existentialism, & existentialism tends to emphasize the irrational side of man. Kierkegaard talks about truth as subjectivity and faith as intense embracing of objective uncertainty. For many people, he is obviously a foe of natural theology. However, this paper will argue that Kierkegaard’s work as a whole, regardless of his original intention, is not in fact inimical to the project of natural theology, especially for a Chinese mind, which has a more holistic understanding of reason and experience. We are also open to the possibility that “subjective” experiences from our heart, e.g., moral experiences, can reveal the nature of the universe.

I first argue for a less extreme interpretation of Kierkegaard, & then show that the Chinese Traditions are in fact congenial to the idea of the subjective way to truth. I further defend this approach by arguing that human experiences should also be treated as evidential data. Then I outline the Anthropological Argument for God, using human experiences as evidence. I conclude that both Kierkegaard & the Chinese traditions converge on the legitimacy of the subjective way to truth, & it is not just compatible with natural theology, but can also contribute to the cumulative case for God.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-82
Number of pages42
JournalJian Dao: A Journal of Bible & Theology
Volume53
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020

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