The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 36, 1998

Philosophy of Religion

Jyrki Kivelä
Pages 119-125

Is Kierkegaard’s Absolute Paradox Hume’s Miracle?

I clarify Hume's concept of miracle with Kierkegaard's concept of absolute paradox. I argue that absolute paradox is like that miracle which, according to Hume, allows a human being to believe Christianity against the principles of his understanding. I draw such a conclusion on the basis that Kierkegaard does not think Christianity is a doctrine with a truth value and, furthermore, he holds that all historical events (such as miracles) are doubtful. Kierkegaard emphasizes the absolute paradox as the condition of faith in such a way that it becomes close to Hume's idea of personal miracle which causes the subversion of the believer's principles of understanding. Hence, the absolute paradox cannot be a possible supporting event (Hume's first miracle) for the credibility of Christianity. Absolute paradox more closely approximates Hume's second miracle insofar as it makes persons believe contrary to their custom and experience.