Nietzsche: Prophet of Doom (Part 2)

5198900758_1e654c81a9_bNietzsche was Right, but He was also very Wrong
What I hope to show in my paper is that Nietzsche’s philosophy was either very accurate or very wrong. That is, Nietzsche’s conclusions if God is “dead” lead inevitably to certain conclusions. In my evaluation, I take three of Nietzsche’s late period writings (1886-88) as my main point of interaction.[1] This is for a two reasons. First, Nietzsche’s writings are large and this paper is not. Second, because his philosophy is more likely to be further established in his later writings.

In Nietzsche’s writings, he shows over and over again that his thought is the converse of Christianity; this is true if we look at his doctrine of eternal recurrence or his writings on slave morality. And as Nietzsche said, philosophy “always creates the world according to its own image, it cannot do otherwise”[2] and for Nietzsche’s thought, when extrapolated and applied, it makes hell. That is what I hope to argue, I hope to show how Nietzsche’s thought, when applied, makes a world in its own image, one that is terrible, filled with war, rape, and violence. I want to show this because I believe it is the inevitable outcome of the path he started. Since the beginning, it has been true that when we turn away from God we turn to our own destruction (Ps. 16:2; Jer. 2:5; Rom. 1; 3:12; etc.).

So, how is Nietzsche right? Nietzsche is right in that he paints a powerful portrait for us of what it means to be given up to our own devices (cf. Rom. 1). Nietzsche shows us the fallout from the Fall of humanity. But, Nietzsche was also gravely wrong. God is not dead!

Nietzsche’s philosophy is most clearly the converse of Christianity. Nietzsche says God is dead.[3] He says there is no truth. He says to assert yourself and make your own way. He says there is no heaven so live each moment today like it will occur eternally. In short, I hope to show that in the throwing off the “shackles” of morality and the hope of heaven Nietzsche has fettered those who follow him to hell on earth. Nietzsche’s writings and subsequent history show us that a world where right and wrong do not exist, is a world where lots of pain and oppression do.[4]

Ideas and beliefs have consequences, profound consequences. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15 that if Christ has not been raised then let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die. Elijah says in 1 Kings 18:21 that if God is not God then don’t live for Him, live for whatever it is that you believe is true, whether Baal or, I believe he would say, whatever applicable philosophy. So, as we look at Nietzsche’s thought, which is the converse of Christianity, we can begin to understand and better appreciate Christianity. 

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[1] That is, Beyond Good and Evil: A Prelude to the Philosophy of the Future (1886), On the Genealogy of Morality (1887), and The Antichrist (1888).

[2] Nietzsche, Beyond God and Evil, par 9.

[3] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, par. 108, 125, 343. Cf. e.g. Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, “Zarathustra’s Prologue,” par. 2 and 3.

[4] “By denying human equality and human rights, and by devaluing the lives of the masses, Nietzsche’s philosophy is really a loveless, forlorn philosophy of death, cruelty, and oppression” (Weikart, Richard, The Death of Humanity: and the Case for Life [Regnery Publishing], Kindle Locations 3394-3395.

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About Paul O'Brien

I am a lot of things; saint and sinner. I struggle and I strive. I am a husband and father of three. I have been in pastoral ministry for 9 years. I went to school at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary but most of my schooling has been at the School of Hard Knocks. I have worked various jobs, including pheasant farmer, toilet maker, construction worker, and I served in the military. My wife and I enjoy reading at coffee shops, taking walks, hanging out with friends and family, and watching our three kid's antics. :) View all posts by Paul O'Brien

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