Fear and trembling
Have just started to read Soren Kierkkegaard's essay, "Fear and Trembling."
The story he is analysing, the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son, has always evoked mixed feelings within me. On one hand, it is a remarkable tale of obedience on the part of Abraham and on the other hand, I'm troubled that God would even ask him to do such a thing.
Off the bat, I can think of two other stories of similar faith. Joseph being told by God to marry the pregnant Mary and Hosea instructed to marry the prostitute Gomer. I have to say though that these two aren't as extreme as the Abraham episode.
If a fine upstanding Christian today (actually if anyone, Christian or not) told me that he was going to do any of these three things, I would probably sit and have a long talk with him. Yet, the Scriptures contain these stories as examples of faith and of the mysterious outworking of God's plan in the world.
In life, being a trained as a scientist and being a rationalist by personality, these stories cause dissonance. Of course, they had supernatural revelation pushing them to their actions. How does one put that to the test? As a good Protestant, I use Scriptural revelation as a guide to decisions as well as "common sense." However, the implications of these episodes is that direct supernatural revelation would superceed these two? Hmmm....