Perspectives of Friedrich Nietzsche

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Christianity's Origin

Christianity as antiquity.-- When we hear the ancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: Is it really possible! This, for a jew, crucified two thousand years ago, who said he was God's son? The proof of such a claim is lacking. Certainly the Christian religion is an antiquity projected into our times from remote prehistory; and the fact that the claim is believed - whereas one is otherwise so strict in examining pretensions - is perhaps the most ancient piece of this heritage. A god who begets children with a mortal woman; a sage who bids men work no more, have no more courts, but look for the signs of the impending end of the world; a justice that accepts the innocent as a vicarious sacrifice; someone who orders his disciples to drink his blood; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetrated against a god, atoned for by a god; fear of a beyond to which death is the portal; the form of the cross as a symbol in a time that no longer knows the function and ignominy of the cross -- how ghoulishly all this touches us, as if from the tomb of a primeval past! Can one believe that such things are still believed? from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.405, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Christianity was from the beginning, essentially and fundamentally, life's nausea and disgust with life, merely concealed behind, masked by, dressed up as, faith in "another" or "better" life. from Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy, p.23, Walter Kaufmann transl.

Change of Cast. -- As soon as a religion comes to dominate it has as its opponents all those who would have been its first disciples. from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.118, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Blind pupils. -- As long as a man knows very well the strength and weaknesses of his teaching, his art, his religion, its power is still slight. The pupil and apostle who, blinded by the authority of the master and by the piety he feels toward him, pays no attention to the weaknesses of a teaching, a religion, and soon usually has for that reason more power than the master. The influence of a man has never yet grown great without his blind pupils. To help a perception to achieve victory often means merely to unite it with stupidity so intimately that the weight of the latter also enforces the victory of the former. from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.122, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Speaking in a parable.--A Jesus Christ was possible only in a Jewish landscape--I mean one over which the gloomy and sublime thunder cloud of the wrathful Yahweh was brooding continually. Only here was the rare and sudden piercing of the gruesome and perpetual general day-night by a single ray of the sun experienced as if it were a miracle of "love" and the ray of unmerited "grace." Only here could Jesus dream of his rainbow and his ladder to heaven on which God descended to man. Everywhere else good weather and sunshine were considered the rule and everyday occurrences. from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s.137, Walter Kaufmann transl

The first Christian. All the world still believes in the authorship of the "Holy Spirit" or is at least still affected by this belief: when one opens the Bible one does so for "edification."... That it also tells the story of one of the most ambitious and obtrusive of souls, of a head as superstitious as it was crafty, the story of the apostle Paul--who knows this , except a few scholars? Without this strange story, however, without the confusions and storms of such a head, such a soul, there would be no Christianity... That the ship of Christianity threw overboard a good deal of its Jewish ballast, that it went, and was able to go, among the pagans--that was due to this one man, a very tortured, very pitiful, very unpleasant man, unpleasant even to himself. He suffered from a fixed idea--or more precisely, from a fixed, ever-present, never-resting question: what about the Jewish law? and particularly the fulfillment of...
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