I Love Gellies

Mormonism, Evangelicism and Chaos Theory

What think ye of Nietzsche

A post from Jacob…

Among religious thinkers, as you would expect, Nietzsche has predictably been portrayed as a negative figure, a malevolent soul who inspired a kind of atheist renaissance in the 19th century. My philosophy teacher at BYU, however, suggested otherwise. What most people don’t realize is the kind of atmosphere Nietzsche was living in. Although a contemporary of Joseph Smith, he lived the duration of his life in a Europe where the decadence and corruption of prevailing religious practices was astounding and pervasive. From this vantage point, our teacher suggested that Nietzsche was, in fact, ACCURATELY seeing the surrounding cultural landscape for the “nauseaus” and heartbreaking reality it actually was. Rather than a deformed, demented man, we learned that Nietzsche may have been, in reality, a man of such enormous sensitivity that he couldn’t help coming to the conclusion he did based on what he was seeing. . . the proverbial canary in the cultural mine-gone-toxic.

Was European Christianity so apostate to justify Nietzsche’s statement that “God is dead?”

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September 3, 2009 - Posted by | Religion

3 Comments »

  1. I would think that Nietzsche wouldn’t quite give a “break” to American Christianity, but yes, I think Nietzsche’s part in writing was to talk about the decay in religion and its rush headfirst against industrialism and the Enlightenment.

    When Nietzsche says, “God is dead,” remember, he says shortly after, “and we have killed him.” But his concern is…what shall we do now that we have killed him? We cannot continue to base rituals and atonements and sacraments off of an idea that we don’t even find compelling (that is what it means for God to be dead…he does not compel. His credibility is lost.)

    Nietzsche’s criticism was that a few things would happen. Some people would resign themselves to nothingness. Because we have killed the great god, they would wallow in the nihilism of it all (how can we have value and meaning when the thing that used to provide value and meaning has been dethroned?) Others, Nietzsche predicted would take a lazy route and maintain the illusions of past beliefs (e.g., old religion…even though it and its foundation has been dethroned). These people would be shells.

    But Nietzsche’s goal…solution…was for people to form new values on new tablets, not succumbing to nihilism or remaining complacent herds and believers.

    Now, Nietzsche believed that these new values and new tablets did not involve a god of the sort that religion had proposed for thousands of years…but what if the “new values” that humanity found for itself featured a new image and new understanding of God? In this sense, a religion with such a new theology, a new way of looking at things, and the ability to, say, receive revelation as is necessary, would be critical.

    Mormon beliefs on eternal progression seem to me to mesh well with Nietzschean ideas…

    Comment by Andrew | September 3, 2009 | Reply

    • Thanks for your comment Andrew. I’m not a philospher, so I’ll have to think of something to respond with. šŸ™‚

      Comment by psychochemiker | September 6, 2009 | Reply

      • trust me; i’m not a philosopher either. But i took a philosophy class once, and my professor told me: “Don’t let lack of confidence in your answer prevent you from answering confidently.” That is the definition of good BSing.

        Comment by Andrew | September 6, 2009


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