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Religion Ethics Faith Morality Things that you would expect to go together right That depends on who you ask In his book Fear and Trembling Soren Kierkegaard asserts that life is made up of distinct stages and that the ethical life and the religious life are two quite different stages He says that the ethical life is one of self-sufficiency and infinite resignation while dealing with the universal aspects of ethics He depicts the religious life on the other hand as one of an individual who has a personal private relationship with God that is based on unshakable faith but who exists otherwise in isolation and finitude in absolute relation to the absolute However Kierkegaard failed to address several factors that when brought up against his line of reasoning show that the theory while interesting is not defensible Kierkegaard viewed life as having three separate stages The first was the aesthetic life which is based on individual experiences especially those of sensual nature ranging from base animal lust to a sophisticated ardent appreciation for music The second stage of life which Kierkegaard calls the ethical life is a 180 degree turn from that sort of aesthetic lifestyle The ethical life is first and foremost and expression of the universal The acts carried out in this life are public and are always done so as to work toward the common good Where the aesthetic life betters the individual self the ethical life is lived to better others To enter into this stage one must renounce their individuality and strive to make connections with the larger community and attempt to operate on the universal level as much as possible The true embodiment of this stage comes when one chooses to abandon their individual desires and to relinquish that which sustained their individual and aesthetic life Through this act of infinite resignation they attain the status of a tragic hero or one who has sacrificed their entire being
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