Nietzsche Quotes: Christianity

Posted: November 2, 2017 at 6:49 am


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Christianity as antiquity.-- When we hear theancient bells growling on a Sunday morning we ask ourselves: Is itreally 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 ourtimes from remote prehistory; and the fact that the claim isbelieved - whereas one is otherwise so strict in examiningpretensions - is perhaps the most ancient piece of this heritage. Agod who begets children with a mortal woman; a sage who bids menwork no more, have no more courts, but look for the signs of theimpending end of the world; a justice that accepts the innocent asa vicarious sacrifice; someone who orders his disciples to drinkhis blood; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetratedagainst a god, atoned for by a god; fear of a beyond to which deathis the portal; the form of the cross as a symbol in a time that nolonger knows the function and ignominy of the cross -- howghoulishly all this touches us, as if from the tomb of a primevalpast! 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 andfundamentally, life's nausea and disgust with life, merelyconcealed 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 comesto dominate it has as its opponents all those who would have beenits first disciples.

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.118,R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Blind pupils. -- As long as a man knows verywell the strength and weaknesses of his teaching, his art, hisreligion, its power is still slight. The pupil and apostle who,blinded by the authority of the master and by the piety he feelstoward him, pays no attention to the weaknesses of a teaching, areligion, and soon usually has for that reason more power than themaster. The influence of a man has never yet grown great withouthis blind pupils. To help a perceptionto achieve victory often means merely to unite it with stupidity sointimately that the weight of the latter also enforces the victoryof the former.

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human,s.122, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Speaking in a parable.--A Jesus Christ waspossible only in a Jewish landscape--I mean one over which thegloomy and sublime thunder cloud of the wrathful Yahweh wasbrooding continually. Only here was the rare and sudden piercing ofthe gruesome and perpetual general day-night by a single ray of thesun experienced as if it were a miracle of "love" and the ray ofunmerited "grace." Only here could Jesus dream of his rainbow andhis ladder to heaven on which God descended to man. Everywhere elsegood weather and sunshine were considered the rule and everydayoccurrences.

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s.137,Walter Kaufmann transl

The first Christian. All the world stillbelieves in the authorship of the "Holy Spirit" or is at leaststill affected by this belief: when one opens the Bible one does sofor "edification."... That it also tells the story of one of themost ambitious and obtrusive of souls, of a head as superstitiousas it was crafty, the story of the apostle Paul--who knows this ,except a few scholars? Without this strange story, however, withoutthe confusions and storms of such a head, such a soul, there wouldbe no Christianity...That the ship of Christianity threw overboard a good deal of itsJewish ballast, that it went, and was able to go, among thepagans--that was due to this one man, a very tortured, verypitiful, very unpleasant man, unpleasant even to himself. Hesuffered 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 this law? In his youth he had himself wanted to satisfy it, with a ravenoushunger for this highest distinction which the Jews couldconceive - this people who were propelled higher than any otherpeople by the imagination of the ethically sublime, and who alonesucceeded in creating a holy god together with the idea of sin as atransgression against this holiness. Paul became the fanatical defender of this god and his law andguardian of his honor; at the same time, in the struggleagainst the transgressors and doubters, lying in wait for them, hebecame increasingly harsh and evilly disposed towards them, andinclined towards the most extreme punishments. And now he foundthat--hot-headed, sensual, melancholy, malignant in his hatred ashe was-- he was himself unable to fulfill the law; indeed, and thisseemed strangest to him, his extravagant lust to domineer provokedhim continually to transgress the law, and he had to yield to thisthorn.Is it really his "carnal nature" that makes him transgress againand again? And not rather, as he himself suspected later, behind itthe law itself, which must constantly prove itself unfulfillableand which lures him to transgression with irresistable charm?But at that time he did not yet have this way out. He had much onhis conscience - he hints at hostility, murder, magic, idolatry, lewdness,drunkenness, and pleasure in dissolute carousing - and...moments came when he said to himself:"It is all in vain; thetorture of the unfulfilled law cannot be overcome."... The law wasthe cross to which he felt himself nailed: how he hated it! how hesearched for some means to annihilate it--not to fulfill it anymore himself!And finally the saving thought struck him,... "It isunreasonable to persecute this Jesus! Here after all is theway out; here is the perfect revenge; here and nowhere else I haveand hold the annihilator of the law!"... Until then the ignominiousdeath had seemed to him the chief argument against the Messianicclaim of which the new doctrine spoke: but what if it werenecessary to get rid of the law?The tremendous consequences of this idea, of this solution of theriddle, spin before his eyes; at one stroke he becomes the happiestman; the destiny of the Jews--no, of all men--seems to him to betied to this idea, to this second of its sudden illumination; hehas the thought of thoughts, the key of keys, the light of lights;it is around him that all history must revolve henceforth. For heis from now on the teacher of the annihilation of thelaw...This is the first Christian, the inventor of Christianity. Untilthen there were only a few Jewish sectarians.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak, s.68, WalterKaufmann transl.

The persecutor of God. -- Paul thought up theidea and Calvin rethought it, that for innumerable people damnation has been decreed from eternity,and that this beautiful world plan was instituted to reveal theglory of God: heaven and hell and humanity are thus supposed toexist - to satisfy the vanity of God! What cruel and insatiablevanity must have flared in the soul of the man who thought this upfirst, or second. Paul has remained Saul after all - the persecutorof God.

from Nietzsche's The Wanderer and hisShadow, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

The everyday Christian. -- If the Christiandogmas of a revengeful God, universal sinfulness, election by divine grace and the danger of eternal damnation were true, it would be a signof weak-mindedness and lack of character not to become apriest, apostle or hermit and, in fear and trembling, to worksolely on one's own salvation; it would be senseless to lose sightof ones eternal advantage for the sake of temporal comfort. If wemay assume that these things are at any rate believed true,then the everyday Christian cuts a miserable figure; he is a manwho really cannot count to three, and who precisely on account ofhis spiritual imbecility does not deserve to be punished so harshlyas Christianity promises to punish him.

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.116,R.J. Hollingdale transl.

What a crude intellect is good for.-- TheChristian church is an encyclopaedia of prehistoric cults andconceptions of the most diverse origin, and that is why it is socapable of proselytizing: italways could, and it can still go wherever it pleases and it alwaysfound, and always finds something similar to itself to which it canadapt itself and gradually impose upon it a Christian meaning.It is not what is Christian in it, but the universalheathen character of its usages, which has favored thespread of this world-religion; its ideas, rooted in both the Jewishand the Hellenic worlds, have from the first known how to raisethemselves above national and racial niceties and exclusiveness asthough these were merely prejudices. One may admire thispower of causing the most various elements to coalesce, butone must not forget the contemptible quality that adheres to thispower: the astonishing crudeness and self-satisfiedness of thechurch's intellect during the time it was in process of formation,which permitted it to accept any food and to digestopposites like pebbles.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 70, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

The despairing.-- Christianity possesses thehunters instinct for all those who can by one means or another bebrought to despair - of which only a portion of mankind is capable.It is constantly on their track, it lies in wait for them. Pascalattempted the experiment of seeing whether, with the aid of themost incisive knowledge, everyone could not be brought to despair:the experiment miscarried, to his twofold despair.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 64, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

The compassionate Christian.-- The reverseside of Christian compassion for the suffering of one's neighbor isa profound suspicion of all the joy of one's neighbor, of his joyin all that he wants to do and can.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 80, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

Doubt as sin.-- Christianity has done itsutmost to close the circle and declared even doubt to be sin. One is supposed to be cast intobelief without reason, by a miracle, and from then on to swim in itas in the brightest and least ambiguous of elements: even a glancetowards land, even the thought that one perhaps exists forsomething else as well as swimming, even the slightest impulse ofour amphibious nature- is sin! And notice that all this means thatthe foundation of belief and all reflection on its origin islikewise excluded as sinful. What is wanted are blindness andintoxication and an eternal song over the waves in which reason hasdrowned.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 89, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

Other fears, other securities.-- Christianityhad brought into life a quite novel and limitlessperilousness, and therewith quite novel securities,pleasures, recreations and evaluations of all things. Our centurydenies this perilousness, and does so with a good conscience: andyet it continues to drag along with it the old habits of Christiansecurity, Christian enjoyment, recreation, evaluation! It evendrags them into its noblest arts and philosophies! How worn out andfeeble, how insipid and awkward, how arbitrarily fanatical and,above all, how insecure all this must appear, now that the fearfulantithesis to it, the omnipresent fear of the Christian forhis eternal salvation, has been lost.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 57, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

What distinguishes us [scientists] from the pious andthe believers is not the quality but the quantity of belief andpiety; we are contented with less. But if the former shouldchallenge us: then be contented and appear to be contented! - thenwe might easily reply: 'We are, indeed, not among the leastcontented. You, however, if your belief makes you blessed thenappear to be blessed! Your faces have always been more injurious toyour belief than our objections have! If these glad tidings of yourBible were written on your faces, you would not need to insist soobstinately on the authority of that book... As things are,however, all your apologies for Christianity have their roots inyour lack of Christianity; with your defence plea you inscribe yourown bill of indictment.

from Nietzsche's Assorted Opinions andMaxims,s. 98, R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Christianity's Destiny

Historical refutation as the definitiverefutation.-- In former times, one sought to prove that thereis no God - today one indicates how the belief that there is a Godarose and how this belief acquired its weight andimportance: a counter-proof that there is no God thereby becomessuperfluous.- When in former times one had refuted the 'proofs ofthe existence of God' put forward, there always remained the doubtwhether better proofs might not be adduced than those just refuted:in those days atheists did not know how to make a clean sweep.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 95, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

But in the end one also has to understand that theneeds that religion has satisfied and philosophy is now supposed tosatisfy are not immutable; they can be weakened andexterminated. Consider, for example, that Christian distressof mind that comes from sighing over ones inner depravity and carefor ones salvation - all concepts originating in nothing but errorsof reason and deserving, not satisfaction, but obliteration.

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.27,R.J. Hollingdale transl.

Destiny of Christianity. -- Christianity cameinto existence in order to lighten the heart; but now it has firstto burden the heart so as afterwards to be able to lighten it.Consequently it shall perish.

from Nietzsche's Human, all too Human, s.119,R.J. Hollingdale transl.

At the deathbed of Christianity.-- Reallyunreflective people are now inwardly without Christianity, and themore moderate and reflective people of the intellectual middleclass now possess only an adapted, that is to say marvelouslysimplified Christianity. A god who in his love arrangeseverything in a manner that in the end will be best for us; a godwho gives to us and takes from us our virtue and our happiness, sothat as a whole all is meet and fit and there is no reason for usto take life sadly, let alone exclaim against it; in short,resignation and modest demands elevated to godhead - that is thebest and most vital thing that still remains of Christianity. Butone should notice that Christianity has thus crossed over into agentle moralism: it is not so much 'God, freedom andimmortality' that have remained, as benevolence and decency ofdisposition, and the belief that in the whole universe toobenevolence and decency of disposition prevail: it is theeuthanasia of Christianity.

from Nietzsche's Daybreak,s. 92, R.J.Hollingdale transl.

After Buddha was dead, hisshadow was still shown for centuries in a cave - a tremendous,gruesome shadow. God is dead; but given the way of men, there maystill be caves for thousands of years in which his shadow will beshown. -And we- we still have to vanquish his shadow, too.

from Nietzsche's The Gay Science, s.108,Walter Kaufmann transl.

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Nietzsche Quotes: Christianity

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November 2nd, 2017 at 6:49 am

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