Up@dawn 2.0

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Quiz April 16

1. (T/F) For Kierkegaard, the "Danish Socrates," the point of the Abraham/Isaac story is simply not to doubt God's word. LH 152

2. (T/F) Kierkegaard thought real Christians should find it easy to follow their faith, even if that sometimes means being irrational or abandoning ethics. LH 155

3. (T/F) Clare Carlisle says Kierkegaard perceived a complacency of faith among his fellow Christians, and wanted his readers to question whether Abraham did the right thing. PB 167

4. For Karl Marx, history was what kind of struggle, involving whom? LH 159

5. Marx's famous slogan, describing the governing principle in a post-capitalist utopia:  "____ according to ability, _____ according to need." LH 161

6. Marx called religion the "____ of the people." LH 162

BONUS: Who said "the function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays," and "people demand freedom of speech as a compensation for the freedom of thought which they seldom use," and "life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced."

BONUS+: Who said "the philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it," and "the proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains." 

BONUS++: Who said “Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.” 


1. Some people hear voices and are diagnosed as mentally ill, others respond by committing atrocities in the name of faith, while still others are esteemed as saints and spiritual heroes. If you ever hear an inner voice instructing you to do something you consider ethically wrong, what will you do? What do you say to those among us today who claim that God speaks to them and tells them to fight and slay nonbelievers? Can a civilized society tolerate acts committed in the name of a Higher Law? 

2. Have you ever allowed your religion (or your irreligion) to override your commitment to following the law and behaving ethically? Can you imagine a scenario in which you would deliberately harm an innocent person in the name of your faith? Do you respect people who are willing to die and kill "for their beliefs"?

3. What do you think of Kierkegaard's distinction between Christianity and Christendom? Are those who go through the motions of faith (e.g., regularly attend church services) closer to God or more likely to gain "salvation" than those who believe but do not make any public expression of faith?

4. Is it reasonable to think that most people in a capitalist society can hope to achieve satisfying, personally fulfilling careers? Or is "alienation" and 9-to-5 drudgery an inevitable result they should just accept, and stop complaining about? 

5. It's cliche to say that Marxist communism is utopian, hence unrealistic about human nature. Do you agree? Is that your experience, that most people are motivated more by greed and selfishness than by altruism and fellow-feeling? Is it possible that the cliche itself reinforces such behavior, and that if we stopped repeating it we might become better people?

6. Is religious faith a drug, distracting people from their problems and making it easier for the "haves" in our society to exploit the "have-nots"? Or does religion sometimes make people more engaged in addressing social and political problems? If a Marxist utopia ever came to pass, would religion "wither away"? 


Kierkegaard and Marx

“What labels me, negates me.” 

“I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations — one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it — you will regret both.” 

“People understand me so poorly that they don't even understand my complaint about them not understanding me.” 
“To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.” 

“To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity.” 

“It is so hard to believe because it is so hard to obey.” 

Leap of faith – yes, but only after reflection.” 

“The thing is to understand myself: the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die. That is what I now recognize as the most important thing.” 

“Where am I? Who am I? 
How did I come to be here? 
What is this thing called the world? 
How did I come into the world? 
Why was I not consulted? 
And If I am compelled to take part in it, where is the director? 
I want to see him.” 

“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it."

"History calls those men the greatest who have ennobled themselves by working for the common good; experience acclaims as happiest the man who has made the greatest number of people happy."

"What is Communism? Communism is the doctrine of the conditions of the liberation of the proletariat. What is the proletariat? The proletariat is that class in society which lives entirely from the sale of its labor and does not draw profit from any kind of capital; whose weal and woe, whose life and death, whose sole existence depends on the demand for labor...."

"Communism is the riddle of history solved, and it knows itself to be this solution."

"In communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic."

Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.

The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions. The criticism of religion is, therefore, in embryo, the criticism of that vale of tears of which religion is the halo... Religion is only the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.” 

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.

Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, that each time ended, either in therevolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.” 

“In a higher phase of communist society... after labor has become not only a means of life but life's prime want; after the productive forces have also increased with the all-around development of the individual, and all the springs of co-operative wealth flow more abundantly—only then can the narrow horizon of bourgeois right be crossed in its entirety and society inscribe on its banners: From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!” 

“The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force... The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas.” 

"Modern bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few.” 


  1. Spring Garner12:29 PM CDT

    FQ: T/F Kierkegaard was a Christian that hated the Danish Church
    DQ: Would you want to live in a world in which no one owned land, there was no inheritance, where education was free, and where public factories were provided for everyone like Marx and Engels promised?

  2. H01- Group 1

    FQ: Kierkegaard was afraid of having a demeanor coinciding with his name, which means ________ in Danish. (LH 153)
    FQ: (T/F) Kierkegaard believed that sometimes ordinary social duties are not the highest values there can be. (LH 154)
    FQ: Marx was an_________, meaning he thought human beings should be treated equally. (LH 159)

  3. H01 Group 3

    FQ: Kierkegaard thought he was too _____ and too _____ to marry anyone. (LH 153)

    FQ: Did Kirkegaard believe that ordinary social duties were more important than obeying God? (LH 154)

  4. H01-Group 1

    FQ: (T/F) Kierkegaard believed that the duty to be a good father trumped the duty to obey God. (LH 154)

    FQ: Marx believed that _______ would in the end destroy itself. (LH 161)

    FQ: (T/F) Kierkegaard wanted to challenge the complacency, the assumption people have that they are already Christians. (PB 167)