Sunday, September 9, 2012


An old essay by Andrei.
God Is Dead, and We Have Killed Him

Illustration Essay

Melinda Simmons
18 May 2009

ENC 2010-30145
Melinda Simmons
18 May 2009
God Is Dead, and We Have Killed Him
     A recurring theme in the works of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche – born in 1844, and dead in 1900 – is the idea of the “death of God.” This death is not literal; it does not state that God physically existed and met a physical death, but metaphorical. The morals and concepts associated with God are no longer valid, purged away by a modern bourgeoisie society. Ask most modern day Christians whether they see even half of the Old Testament, filled with passages like the following, as an example of a moral and just God.
     Zechariah 14:1 reads:
     “Behold the day of the Lord is coming, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in the midst of you.      For I will gather the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women ravished...”

The Bible, in fact, seems to be one of the works most prone to cherry-picking in human history. Many Christians would say that the New Testament supersedes the Old Testament, in spite of Christ saying in the New Testament, “Think not that I came to undo the "Law and the Prophets"! On the contrary, I did not come to undo them but to put them into full force.” (Mt. 5.17). If God were alive, the Old Testament would not be practically ignored, sans for both religious fundamentalists and those seeking to use passages forbidding conduct that they personally do not find agreeable, such as homosexuality.
     Nietzsche saw Christian morality to not be self-evident, and though he may be considered a nihilist, his nihilism was not ‘true’ in the sense that he sought to replace one form of morality – what he dubbed as the life-hating slave-morality of Judea – with a ‘life-loving’ form, known as the master-morality of Rome (Nietzsche 123). Actions were neither inherently bad, nor inherently good, but in fact based on their consequence was helpful, or harmful, instead of good, or evil (Nietzsche 62). In that sense, when the character of “the Madman” addresses atheists in The Gay Science, he is not seeking to retain the Christian morality of ages pass, but have a new moral direction, rather than chaos. The Madman is essentially brushed off and practically ignored by his audience; seeing this, he states “I have come too soon.” Nietzsche believed that the death of God would be too much for some to bear, due to His alleged existence being the basis for all their held beliefs and ideals. When death was recognized, a sort of nihilism and panic would ensue, and there would be Nietzsche to take the role of Zarathustra, guiding the lost.
     Here humanity is in the twenty-first century, and perhaps the time is far more optimal than it was in the nineteenth century for the Madman. Waning and inherently Christian morality is routinely attempted to be inserted into law by primarily Republican lawmakers, such as bans on gay marriage, bans on stem cell research, and bans on abortion. Simultaneously, there is a growing worldwide atheist population, and indeed a population of who simply hold no religious affiliation whatsoever. “God”, or at least the interpretation of the past, is in fact dead – there is inner panic, there is angst, but the herd has found a new God in the form of pop-culture and the media. Contrary to Nietzsche’s expectations, there is no massive philosophical awakening; there is simply a world-religion beginning its death-throes, with the sheep’s leader replaced by a savior known as MTVs, and their crosses replaced by iPods. Perhaps despite the death of God, his concept of the mindless “last man” has come to fruition after all. (Nietzsche, Zarathustra S5).

Works Cited
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Beyond Good and Evil. London: Penguin Books, 1973.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. Thus Spake Zarathustra. London: Penguin Books, 1954.
The Holy Bible, Revised Standard Version. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1982.

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