Adherents and critics of religion both have to face the conundrum of violence committed in the name of religion. Under what conditions would religions that espouse peace provide religious justification for violence? A reading of Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling reveals that the exception granted to Abraham, “the teleological suspension of the ethical,” only occurs in the context of “an absolute relation with the Absolute.” Abraham’s relationship with God reorients his relationship with Isaac, thus permitting Abraham to transgress the ethical in sacrificing his son. While this might appear to justify violence in the name of religion, the aporia of Abraham’s silence suggests that he cannot become a category or model for all adherents, that the example of Abraham cannot be mediated or repeated.

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