What if Nietzsche and Jesus were Pals? Nietzsche’s REAL view of Religion – by guest author Wain Jordan4
April 24 by The Running Son
I would like to introduce guest author Wain Jordan. Wain hails from Mexico City and is my greatest source of information on Latin culture. Wain is also an artist, and writes poetry to name just two of his many and diverse interests.
But beyond his gifts in the arts, Wain is a capable thinker with a clear and accessible take on subjects that, well… hit close to home for me. It is my honor to host this article, and others by Wain in the future. –Jim, the RFB
What if Nietzsche and Jesus were Pals?
Nietzsche’s REAL view
By Wain Jordan
In the late 19th century, when the civilized world had been under the domination of Christianity for around 1500 years, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche thought it fair to ask the question: Is the human race better off under Christianity than it was under the paganism of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome? His answer was an emphatic “no!”, and he spent his life writing about why he came to that conclusion.
He often compared the pre-Christian value systems of Greece and Rome, which esteemed the concepts of strength, health, beauty, power and wealth, to what he claimed were the Christian values of weakness, submission, rejection of the world, equality and poverty. He called Christianity a “slave religion”, religion for the masses, while Greece and Rome exemplified “master religions”, religion for the aristocrats.
“Nietzsche saw the European Christian of his era as a herd animal, industrious, suited for any kind of work, but the epitome of mediocrity.”
Nietzsche saw the European Christian of his era as a herd animal, industrious, suited for any kind of work, but the epitome of mediocrity. Having studied the ancient philosophers, he wondered where the modern day equivalent of Socrates, Plato, or Aristotle was. Philosophy had become an appendage of religion, although he had proof that it hadn’t always been that way, and that it was possible to form a philosophy without the filter of the New Testament.
Often reviled for his assertion “God is dead”, Friedrich Nietzsche truly believed his statement, because of his concept of god as the vital creative force that separates man from the animals. He looked at his contemporaries and saw that the creative fire had been extinguished, and he blamed the very institution that claimed to be the representative of God on earth, the church. Basing his judgment on contemporary norms found in art, music, and literature, he saw Christians as complacent, obedient, non-questioning automatons that had lost the ability to imagine and create. As he once wrote, “Almost 2000 years, and not a single new god!”
“Success no longer depended upon divine intervention, but instead depended on the creative energy inside all men that had been extinguished for so long.”
But the good news, Nietzsche’s gospel, proposed that, if God was dead, then all things were possible. That was another statement that was used against him to portray him as a soulless libertine. His message was that, if the old god was dead, man must create a new god. Success no longer depended upon divine intervention, but instead depended on the creative energy inside all men that had been extinguished for so long. He believed that all the energy that had been going into contemplating sin, doing penance, receiving redemption, only to sin again, needed to be channeled into constructing the new god.
He proposed, as the replacement of the old god, the new human. He called this being the ubermensch. The responsibility of this post-Christian superior being was to create, as creation was the one activity humans could do to imitate, and thereby understand, God. This creation could be through writing, painting, music, design, or dance: the form didn’t matter. The imperative was to constantly create, as this was the path to recapture the god essence that had been lost during all those centuries of Christianity.
“…Nietzsche had nothing but praise and adoration for the man from Galilee.”
Many people believed that Nietzsche had a personal dislike of Jesus of Nazareth, perhaps partly due to the title of his final full-length book “The Antichrist.” Biographers suggest that a better translation would have been “The Antichristian.” In the book, Nietzsche had nothing but praise and adoration for the man from Galilee. All the harsh criticism in the book was directed at his perennial target, the church, and its failure to follow the example set by Jesus. The source of his hatred of the church was the admiration he had for Jesus and the way His exceptional life story was appropriated and used to forge the oppressive institution that enslaved and killed millions over the centuries.