Is Soren Kierkegaard a Friend or Foe of Natural Theology? A Chinese Perspective / Kai-man Kwan

Kai-man Kwan 


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.



我首先會提出對祈克果一個較溫和的詮釋,然後指出中國傳統與尋找真理的主體進路是吻合的。我論證人類的主體經驗也應該視作證據,接着在這些經驗的基礎之上,勾劃支持上帝的人類學論證。我的結論是,祈克果與中國傳統不謀 而合,都維護尋找真理的主體進路的合法性。這種進路不單沒有與自然神學矛盾,更能對支持上帝的累積論證作出貢獻。

原載於《建道學刊》53期(2020年1月),頁 41-82。