Pride — Cowardice.
Pride begins through an activity, cowardice
through a passivity; in other respects they are identical, for in cowardice
there is precisely enough activity to maintain the dread of the good.
Pride is a profound cowardice, for it is cowardly enough not to be willing
to understand what pride truly is. So soon as this understanding is
forced upon it, it is cowardly, disintegrates like a squib, bursts like a
bubble. Cowardice is a profound pride, for it is cowardly enough not to
be willing to understand the requirement of even a misunderstood pride,
but by cringing as it does it manifests its pride, and also it knows how to
allege in its favor the fact that it has never suffered a defeat, and is
therefore proud of the negative expression of pride — that it has never
suffered any loss. One may also encounter in real life the case of a proud
individuality which was cowardly enough never to venture anything,
cowardly enough to make itself as small as possible, precisely for the
sake of saving its pride. If one were to put in juxtaposition an active-
proud and a passive-proud individuality, one would have opportunity,
precisely at the instant when the former fell, to convince oneself how
proud essentially the cowardly man was.
Innocence is ignorance. The fact that ignorance regarded from without seems as
though designed to become knowledge is entirely irrelevant to ignorance.(Soren Kierkegaard The concept of Dread)
Christian dogma, according to Kierkegaard, embodies paradoxes which are offensive to reason. The central paradox is the assertion that the eternal, infinite, transcendent God simultaneously became incarnated as a temporal, finite, human being (Jesus).
There are two possible attitudes we can adopt to this assertion, viz. we can have faith, or we can take offense. What we cannot do, according to Kierkegaard, is believe by virtue of reason. If we choose faith we must suspend our reason in order to believe in something higher than reason. In fact we must believe by virtue of the absurd.
Crucial to the miracle of Christian faith is the realization that over against God we are always in the wrong. That is, we must realize that we are always in sin. This is the condition for faith, and must be given by God. The idea of sin cannot evolve from purely human origins. Rather, it must have been introduced into the world from a transcendent source. Once we understand that we are in sin, we can understand that there is some being over against which we are always in the wrong. On this basis we can have faith that, by virtue of the absurd, we can ultimately be atoned with this being.