Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Larry Mayhew, John Long, Alan Anderson

Degree Program

Department of Philosophy & Religion

Degree Type

Master of Arts


According to Kierkegaard, the knowledge of God begins with the recognition of various truths about oneself. Every individual, just by virtue of being human, has the capacity to develop an intuitive awareness of God. In this thesis, I explore the nature of this knowledge. In chapter one, I introduce a number of ideas important for understanding Kierkegaard's phenomenology of religious belief, including his distinction between objective and subjective reflection, his method (indirect communication), and his psychology. The first chapter concludes with a description of the range or domain of "natural religion." In the next chapter, I analyze the structural or formative elements of natural religion, the awakening of a God -relationship in the extremity of selfknowledge (an individual's awareness of the eternal, infinite, and possible aspects of the human "self"). In the final chapter, I explore two related peculiarities in Kierkegaard's treatment of religious knowledge: his contempt for inductive or probabilistic arguments, and his suggestion that the existence of God can become clear to a person with a different kind of certainty. I argue that although he overstates his polemic against theistic arguments, Kierkegaard is nonetheless correct in his account of the proper ground of belief in God. I conclude by juxtaposing Kierkegaard's views on belief in God with those of twentieth century probabilistic theologians and atheologians, as well as the "Reformed Epistemology" of Alvin Plantinga.


Arts and Humanities | Christianity | Philosophy | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion