Fearful Faith

For anyone raised in the Christian church, the story of Abraham being asked by God to sacrifice his son on a mountain in Moriah induces an ethical mindfreeze. If God is love, how could he ask anyone to sacrifice his only son? Isn't it a sadistic God who would test his believer with such a torturous task, only to turn around last minute with a "just kidding"?

Soren Kierkegaard, in his Fear and Trembling (a short work all about the ethical and spiritual significance of faith) pokes fun at those who would interpret this story's meaning as a sign of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his greatest possession in service to his God. Supplanting "only son" with metaphors of "possessions" and "ownership" leaves out:

"the anguish; for while I am under no obligation to money, to a son the father has the highest and most sacred of obligations." Johannes de Silentio1

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