“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they take your #sink, then you win."
Seriously…Kierkegaard was able to effectively critique the State Church of Denmark in his pamphlets collectively entitled “Attack Upon Christendom,” (1854-1855) by using humor. I prefer sarcasms as my weapon of choice.
On the Concept of Irony with constant reference to Socrates
Kierkegaard argued that the historical Socrates used his irony in order to facilitate the birth of subjectivity in his interlocutors. Because they were constantly forced to abandon their pat answers to Socrates' annoying questions, they had to begin to think for themselves and to take individual responsibility for their claims about knowledge and value.
Kierkegaard sought to provide a similar service for his own contemporaries. He used irony, parody, satire, humor, and deconstructive techniques in order to make conventionally accepted forms of knowledge and value untenable. He was a gadfly — constantly irritating his contemporaries with discomforting thoughts. He was also a midwife — assisting at the birth of individual subjectivity by forcing his contemporaries to think for themselves. His art of communication became “the art of taking away” since he thought his audience suffered from too much knowledge rather than too little.
In his dissertation
Here are some examples of Kierkegaard's humorous critique of Denmark's State Church:
Now for the application. When we see thousands and thousands and millions of Christians whose lives do not resemble in the remotest way what – and this is decisive – the New Testament calls a Christian, is it not tampering with the meaning to talk as one does in no other situation and say: "what a mediocre way, what a thoroughly inexpressive way these Christians have." In any other situation would one not say, "These people are not Christians.”
When we see someone holding an axe wrong and chopping in such a way that he hits everything but the block of firewood, we do not say, "What a wrong way for the woodcutter to go about it," but we say, "That man is not a woodcutter."
The punishment I should like the clergy to have is a tenfold increase in salary. I am afraid that neither the world nor the clergy would understand this punishment.
If you want to be loathsome to God, just run with the herd.
The apostasy from Christianity will not come about by everybody openly renouncing Christianity; no, but slyly, cunningly, by everybody assuming the name of being Christian.
One would think that the omnipotence of money would run aground on the rock of Christianity, which proclaimed that a rich man would have difficulty entering the kingdom of God. Yes, so it was originally, but then the ordained hired-servants, the money changers of Christianity, got hold of things, and Christianity was improved practically and it triumphantly spread over kingdoms and countries.
Concluding Unscientific Postscript, Kierkegaard, p. 49.
Christianity is assumed as given. Alas and alack! Philosophy is altogether too polite. How strange is the way of the world! Once it was at the risk of his life that a man dared to profess to himself a Christian now it is to make oneself suspect to venture to doubt that one is a Christian. Especially when this doubt does not mean that the individual launches a violent attack against Christianity with a view to abolishing it; for in that case it would perhaps be admitted that there was something in it. But if a man were to say quite simply and unassumingly, that he was concerned for himself, lest perhaps he had no right to call himself a Christian, he would indeed not suffer persecution or be put to death, but he would be smothered in angry glances, and people would say: "How tiresome to make such a fuss about nothing at all; why can't he behave like the "rest of us, who are all Christians ? It is just as it is with F. F„ who refuses to wear a hat on his head like others, but insists on dressing differently." And if he happened to be married, his wife would say to him: "Dear husband of mine, how can you get such notions into your head ? How can you doubt that you are a Christian ? Are you not a Dane, and does not the geography say that the Lutheran form of the Christian religion is the ruling religion in Denmark ? For you are surely not a Jew, nor are you a Mohammedan; what then can you be if not a Christian? It isa thousand years since paganism was driven out of Denmark, so I know you are not a pagan. Do you not perform your duties at the office like a conscientious civil servant; are you not a good citizen of a Christian nation, a Lutheran Christian state? So then of course you must be a Christian."
Nowadays we can become or live as Christians in the most pleasant way and without ever risking the slightest possibility of offence. All we have to do is start with the status quo and observe good virtues (good-better-best). We can continue to make ourselves comfortable by scraping together the world’s goods, as long as we stir into the pot what is Christian as a seasoning, an ingredient that almost serves to refine our enjoyment of life. This kind of Christianity is but a religious variation of the world’s unbelief, a movement without budging from the spot. That is to say, it is a simulated motion.