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THE ANTICHRIST by Friedrich Nietzsche

By on August 19, 2012 in Society & Culture

I recently used a quote by Nietzsche and that got me thinking about how often he is quoted by people that have never read any of his works. Most using quotes by him probably do not even know much about his life.

nietzsche

In my youth I did read two of his works; ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’ and ‘The AntiChrist’ and both made a deep impression on my thinking. He was an amazing thinker, greatly misunderstood and maligned.

His book ‘The Anti-Christ’ was written over 100 years ago and completely debunked practiced Christianity.

I did a quick search and found a copy of the work online
http://www.mv.helsinki.fi/home/tkannist/E-texts/Nietzsche/AntiChrist.htm

There is one passage in that book that defines Christianity as

“a revolt of all creatures that creep on the ground against everything that is lofty: the gospel of the “lowly” lowers . . .”

This is a slightly different translation to what I read but the basic meaning is the same and greatly influenced my view of Christianity for many years after.

I viewed Christians as a mass of sheep resentful of anyone that dared to think for themselves and not meekly follow a doctrine designed to subordinate and control the masses. I understood exactly what Karl Marx meant when he said that “Religion is the Opium of the people”.

Christianity proclaims that the meek shall inherit the earth. I could not accept that mediocrity should be rewarded above endeavour and achievement. It did seem like a concept thought up by those resentful of those who were aloft.

I also disliked the images of Christianity with Jesus being crucified on the cross. In contrast are the images of the beautiful and powerful Greek gods and I wondered why we were asked to worship such a pitiful image. Of course we are told that Jesus died for our sins, yet the concept of original sin is an idea I disdain. The focus on the glorification of suffering, and the suggestion that we are put here on earth to suffer and through suffering we will be closer to God, is another idea I still totally reject.

In his ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’, Nietzsche announced to the world that the concept of God is dead and the book is written in parables to mimic the bible. I read the book twenty years ago and don’t remember the details but Nietzsche suggests man as being at a dangerous crossing with an abyss below and on the other side is the ‘overman’. What we can evolve to when we overcome ourselves.

This concept of the overman was hijacked by Nazi Germany who adopted and perverted the works of Nietzsche making it the state Philosophy and promoting the idea of the overman as the Aryan.

In the last decade of his life Nietzsche suffered mental illness and was in the care of his sister who had just returned after her husband Forster, an extreme right wing racist, committed suicide in Paraguay where he was trying to establish an Aryan colony. The sister, influenced by extreme right wing ideology, edited and distorted the last writings of her brother under the title ‘A Will To Power’.

So how do I feel about Christianity today? I think for me it was a case of throwing out the baby with the bath water. There are some very negative things in Christianity but there is much more “good”.

There is also the YOU SEE WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR factor. If you have an idea or belief you continually look for “proof” to support your idea and if it happens to be a belief in negative aspects of Christianity then that is what you will see in abundance. If you look for good in Christianity you will find it in even greater abundance. It’s all to do with what we focus on and I no longer focus on what is negative. Subsequently my view of Christianity today is far more positive these days.

Despite the positive idea of the overman which was more along the lines of reaching a state of enlightenment, much of Nietzsche’s works and ideas focus on negativity. I doubt I will read anymore Nietzsche but as an original thinker he is to be admired.

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