Nietzsche’s “Antichrist” and his antichristianism

Our philosophical system is usually nothing but the story of our heart.
Johann Gottlieb Fichte

I had a good trip, I was shipwrecked.
Friedrich Nietzsche

The German poet, thinker and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) is known worldwide for his robust, groundbreaking thinking and original, subversive perception on many issues. His philosophy, with its two main axes-mottos that dominated the 20th century, like Gott ist tot and Thus spoke Zarathustra, that is, the imposition of “the will of the power of super-humans with an ethic beyond good and evil”, is well known. Mankind has reaped the fruits of such slogans, implemented through Nazism, the so-called social-Darwinism and naturally, anarchism-nihilism, since his philosophy was a precursor of these…

Nietzsche said several interesting and perhaps, right things on the topics of art, philosophy, metaphysics. He catalytically criticized conformism and revealed some painful truths, fighting mercilessly against hypocrisy and demolishing the known idols.

However, one should focus his interest on his antichristianism and interpret it. This is because, firstly, it is quite strange how a brilliant mind like Nietzsche got trapped in an antichristianism that eventually evolved into hatred towards the Christian religion. His life, his studies (started like a son of a pastor to become a pastor himself) and his mindset of an unlimited freedom to himself and even the worship of antiquity (he admired the Dionysian and Apollonian spirit and the ancient Greeks because they had slaves and pursued power with passion) certainly shed some light on the topic.

Those who study his work, apart from the varied and many retractions and contradictions, which is a characteristic feature of all kinds of philosophers, have pointed out more characteristics of his peculiar thinking· the intense subjectivity of his views, the passionate critique of conventionality, the metaphoric or metonymic way of generating thoughts and irony—a sarcastic mask.

His polemic against everybody and his taunt towards great personalities of history (Socrates, Jesus, Kant) relies more on psychological analyzes and correlations rather than spiritual and historical data…

However, in my opinion, all this is not enough. It seems that here what St. Paul said is true, namely that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ”. And the human mind is blinded mainly from bias, erroneous and incomplete knowledge, arrogance, conceit, selfishness and other factors. Especially from conceit. Nietzsche himself wrote that he wished there is God, because only he could understand him. And in a letter to A. Strindberg (12/07/1888) he wrote: “…I am powerful enough to break the history of humanity into two parts”. “Ich bin kein Mensch in bin dynamit” (I’m not a man, I am dynamite) he wrote somewhere else.

Nietzsche depicts his basic concepts and vehement criticism of Christianity with almost all his work. Mostly, though, with his book The Antichrist. A book written in 1888, a year considered as his last year of fertile production just before Nietzsche collapsed.

If somebody will study carefully this book by the German thinker-philosopher, he will find that much of his criticism of Christianity is consumed in his own subjective thoughts, unproven philosophical presuppositions and obsolete scientific positions. Nietzsche certainly read the Bible before he dip his pen in the ink and fired his arrows of derision, wry irony, sarcasm and cruel negative review of anything Christian. Above all, however, he made sure that he had read books full off negative reviews about the Bible, books like those by Julius Wellhausen, considered the father of the negative criticism of the Old Testament, and David Stauss whose book The life of Jesus, greatly influenced his thinking. He writes: “I […] enjoyed with all the sapient laboriousness of a fastidious philologist the work of the incomparable Strauss”.

It is worthwhile to look at the backbone of his argumentation, because unfortunately, Nietzsche’s ideas, although not scientifically valid, are still upheld and defended today extensively by many opponents of Christianity, although they have a different ideology from him.

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This is an excerpt of the article, published with permission of the author. You can read the whole article here.

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