A leap of faith, in its most commonly used meaning, is the act of believing in or accepting something intangible or unprovable, or without empirical evidence. It is an act commonly associated with religious belief as many religions consider faith to be an essential element of piety.
The phrase is commonly attributed to Søren Kierkegaard; however, he himself never used the term, as he referred to a leap as a leap to faith. A leap of faith according to Kierkegaard involves circularity insofar as a leap is made by faith. In his book Concluding Unscientific Postscript, he describes the core part of the leap of faith, the leap. "Thinking can turn toward itself in order to think about itself and skepticism can emerge. But this thinking about itself never accomplishes anything." Kierkegaard says thinking should serve by thinking something. Kierkegaard wants to stop "thinking's self-reflection" and that is the movement that constitutes a leap. He's against people thinking about religion all day without ever doing anything. But he's also against external shows and opinions about religion and in favor of the internal movement of faith. He says, "where Christianity wants to have inwardness, worldly Christendom wants outwardness, and where Christianity wants outwardness, worldly Christendom wants inwardness." But, on the other hand, he also says, "The less externality the more inwardness if it is truly there; but it is also the case that the less eternality, the greater the possibility that the inwardness will entirely fail to come. The externality is the watchman who awakens the sleeper; the externality is the solicitous mother who calls one; the externality is the roll call that brings the soldier to his feet; the externality is the reveille that helps one to make the great effort; but the absence of the externality can mean that the inwardness itself calls inwardly to a person-alas, but it can also mean that the inwardness will fail to come."
Famous quotes containing the words leap and/or faith:
“Quotations in my work are like wayside robbers who leap out armed and relieve the stroller of his conviction.”
—Walter Benjamin (18921940)
“Perhaps nothing in all my business has helped me more than faith in my fellow man. From the very first I felt confident that I could trust the great, friendly public. So I told it quite simply what I thought, what I felt, what I was trying to do. And the response was quick, sure, and immediate.”
—Alice Foote MacDougall (18671945)