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Reading Comprehension Question from Economist GMAT Tutor

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Reading Comprehension Question from Economist GMAT Tutor [#permalink]

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New post 16 Jan 2014, 11:59
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Existentialism, a philosophical movement introduced by thinkers such as Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, purports that life has no intrinsic meaning except that which humans create. Existentialists deny the existence of an omnipotent higher power; indeed they believe that each person is his own highest power. Each person has complete freedom to make decisions, but is completely responsible for their consequences. It is thus that each man defines the nature of his existence. Such weighty freedom inspires angst, the dread that results from the realization that one is always completely responsible for the consequences of one's actions.

Although it might seem that the fundamental tenets of existentialism preclude the existence of God, this is not necessarily the case. Theistic existentialism, predominantly Christian but found in every major religion, posits the existence of God, and that God created human beings with the power to choose their own destiny. Although theistic existentialism agrees with atheistic existentialism on the fundamental point that humans cannot comprehend the absurdity of our meaningless world, it draws a drastically different conclusion. While atheistic existentialists believe that in order to cope with the inherent absurdity of life humans must create meaning in a meaningless world, theistic existentialists believe that humans must make a leap of faith and let their faith in God give meaning to their lives.

What is the purpose of the second paragraph in relation to the passage as a whole?

a. The second paragraph provides details about the religious thoughts of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard mentioned in the first paragraph.
b. The second paragraph emphasizes the incompatibility between existentialist philosophy and theistic belief.
c. The second paragraph challenges the contention made in the first paragraph that all existentialists deny the existence of an all-powerful God.
d. The second paragraph expands on existentialist views about God, as suggested by the first paragraph.
e. The second paragraph discusses a facet of existentialism, religion, which is not mentioned in the first paragraph.

What may be inferred from the agreement between theistic and atheistic existentialists?


A. Theistic existentialists, who believe in God, do not find meaning in the world. This implies that they believe that God, who created the world (in religious eyes), did not put meaning into it by design.
B. All existentialists believe that it is impossible for humans to find meaning in the world.
C. Theistic existentialists find meaning in the world more easily than atheistic existentialists because the former believe in God.
D. Atheistic existentialists came to accept some of the ideas of theistic existentialists.
E. The ideas of theistic existentialists are closer to those of atheistic existentialists than to those of other religious believers.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
To answer this Inference question correctly, we need to read the third sentence of the second paragraph, in which we learn that atheistic (who, as we can tell by their name, do not believe in God) and theistic (who do believe in God) existentialists agree that the world has no inherent meaning and that humans will never be able to understand its workings. Answer A.


Which of the following is the most similar to the relationship between Christians and theistic existentialism?

A. the southern hemisphere and the Earth
B. black piano keys and white piano keys
C. a coalition majority and a parliament
D. a medicine's active and inactive ingredients
E. Hispanics and the population of the United States

[Reveal] Spoiler:
This is an Application question. To find what the author has to say about Christianity and theistic existentialism, we need to use our Initial Reading, which guides us to the second paragraph. In the second sentence, we find that theistic existentialism consists mostly of Christians, even though people of other religions also subscribe to this philosophy. Answer C.
A coalition majority is the largest part of a parliament.


Which of the following is stated in the passage as a belief of atheistic existentialism?

A. A leap of faith is required to create meaning in one's life.
B. Although the world is absurd, meaning can be created by a combination of human effort and faith.
C. There is no God.
D. Life, by its very nature, lacks sense and order.
E. People are powerless to change their existence.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
Answer D: We know from the passage that atheistic existentialists believe that life is inherently (or, by it's very nature) absurd (lacks sense and order).

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Last edited by reto on 07 Sep 2015, 12:24, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Reading Comprehension Question from Economist GMAT Tutor [#permalink]

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New post 20 Jan 2014, 06:09
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BethEconomistGMAT wrote:
Existentialism, a philosophical movement introduced by thinkers such as Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, purports that life has no intrinsic meaning except that which humans create. Existentialists deny the existence of an omnipotent higher power; indeed they believe that each person is his own highest power. Each person has complete freedom to make decisions, but is completely responsible for their consequences. It is thus that each man defines the nature of his existence. Such weighty freedom inspires angst, the dread that results from the realization that one is always completely responsible for the consequences of one's actions.

Although it might seem that the fundamental tenets of existentialism preclude the existence of God, this is not necessarily the case. Theistic existentialism, predominantly Christian but found in every major religion, posits the existence of God, and that God created human beings with the power to choose their own destiny. Although theistic existentialism agrees with atheistic existentialism on the fundamental point that humans cannot comprehend the absurdity of our meaningless world, it draws a drastically different conclusion. While atheistic existentialists believe that in order to cope with the inherent absurdity of life humans must create meaning in a meaningless world, theistic existentialists believe that humans must make a leap of faith and let their faith in God give meaning to their lives.

What is the purpose of the second paragraph in relation to the passage as a whole?

a. The second paragraph provides details about the religious thoughts of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard mentioned in the first paragraph.
b. The second paragraph emphasizes the incompatibility between existentialist philosophy and theistic belief.
c. The second paragraph challenges the contention made in the first paragraph that all existentialists deny the existence of an all-powerful God.
d. The second paragraph expands on existentialist views about God, as suggested by the first paragraph.
e. The second paragraph discusses a facet of existentialism, religion, which is not mentioned in the first paragraph.


Methodology to answer:



Notes:

Para 1: Existentialism -life is what humans create, no higher power. individuals are responsible for their actions.

Para 2: Desrcibes two forms of existentialism, 1 that believes in God and the other which does not. Different way of coping by these two forms.

Option Elimination:

a. Second para does not talk anything about Nietzche and Kiekegaard. This is eliminated even without a second glance at the passage.
b. theistic belief does take existentialism into account. They are not averse...this is eliminated.
c. this could be a viable answer, let's keep it in.
d. This is out rightly wrong, eliminated without a second glance.
e. weak probable option, let's keep it in just to see...

Fact Verification:

If I can prove C by going pointing out the facts in the passage, I have my answer. Otherwise it will be E. Glance quickly to find if the passage mentions anything about God. It does! Contention in A: "Existentialists deny the existence of an omnipotent higher power;" from para A and we know para B opposes this view:
" While atheistic existentialists believe that in order to cope with the inherent absurdity of life humans must create meaning in a meaningless world, theistic existentialists believe that humans must make a leap of faith and let their faith in God give meaning to their lives."

Therefore answer option C.

Pro Tip:

While practising I would recommend doing such questions in strictly timed conditions. For a passage and a single question like this one could use around 3 minutes for the passage and a minute or so for the q. This question should be ideally done within 4:30 at ANY cost!
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Re: Reading Comprehension Question from Economist GMAT Tutor [#permalink]

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New post 06 Mar 2015, 20:07
What is the purpose of the second paragraph in relation to the passage as a whole?

Just remember the purposes as a whole> What role it play in the whole passage
Let's start

a. The second paragraph provides details about the religious thoughts of Nietzsche and Kierkegaard mentioned in the first paragraph.

What religious thoughts. Moreover details of these thoughts..!!! :!:> Also they just introduced Existentialism.
Also it does not talks about Nietzsche and Kierkegaard.

b. The second paragraph emphasizes the incompatibility between existentialist philosophy and theistic belief.

It do states different opinions and emphasizing is detailing which is not dr.
This option states a valid point but as i mentioned at the starting the purpose of the passage as a whole

c. The second paragraph challenges the contention made in the first paragraph that all existentialists deny the existence of an all-powerful God.
Bingo..!!
The first passage mentions " Existentialists deny the existence of an omnipotent higher power(GOD), this is not necessarily the case"
See the contrast as this options sums up the entire idea of 2nd para as a whole.

d. The second paragraph expands on existentialist views about God, as suggested by the first paragraph.

No way it opposes. dr is a contrast

e. The second paragraph discusses a facet of existentialism, religion, which is not mentioned in the first paragraph.

Facet is one aspect
Now we are talking about the existence of God and not about the religion and it's nowhere mentioned or state.
This information can not be inferred
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Re: Reading Comprehension Question from Economist GMAT Tutor [#permalink]

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New post 04 Nov 2015, 04:44
please help if i'm wrong ..

1) C
2) D
3) dont know (please help with the strategy to solve this question)
4)D

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Re: Reading Comprehension Question from Economist GMAT Tutor [#permalink]

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New post 22 Nov 2017, 03:53
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Re: Reading Comprehension Question from Economist GMAT Tutor   [#permalink] 22 Nov 2017, 03:53
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