In order to understand the book, he asserted that the reader " Also, the usefulness or harmfulness of truth should not be a concern. Characteristics such as "Strength which prefers questions for which no one today is sufficiently daring; courage for the forbidden" [3] are also needed. He disdained all other readers. He disliked the contemporary "lazy peace," "cowardly compromise," "tolerance" and "resignation.

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Travis J. Denneson I. Introduction In his book, The Antichrist, Nietzsche sets out to denounce and illegitimize not only Christianity itself as a belief and a practice, but also the ethical-moral value system which modern western civilization has inherited from it. This book can be considered a further development of some of his ideas concerning Christianity that can be found in Beyond Good and Evil and in The Genealogy of Morals, particularly the idea that the present morality is an inversion of true, noble morality.

An understanding of the main ideas in the latter works are therefore quite helpful in understanding and fully appreciating the ideas set forth in The Antichrist. One of the most important of these ideas is that Christianity has made people nihilistic and weak by regarding pity and related sentiments as the highest virtues.

Here, just as in the Genealogy, Nietzsche traces the origin of these values to the ancient Jews who lived under Roman occupation, but here he puts them in terms of a reversal of their conception of God.

He argues that the Jewish God was once one which embodied the noble virtues of a proud, powerful people, but when they became subjugated by the Romans, their God began to embody the "virtues" more like sentiments of an oppressed, resentful people, until it became something entirely alien to what it formerly had been. The purpose of this paper is to expound and assess some of these important reproaches that Nietzsche raises against Christianity, in order to glean from them those elements which can be considered to have lasting significance.

To do so, in my opinion, would not do Nietzsche justice. Instead these ideas will be presented and examined as they appear in the work--one by one and loosely associated. Pity Nietzsche begins by criticizing Christianity for denouncing and regarding as evil those basic instincts of human beings which are life-preserving and strength-promoting.

In their place, Christianity maintains and advocates values which Nietzsche sees as life-negating or nihilistic, of which the most important is pity.

In Section 7, Nietzsche writes: Christianity is called the religion of pity. Pity stands opposed to the tonic emotions which heighten our vitality: it has a depressing effect. We are deprived of strength when we feel pity. That loss of strength which suffering as such inflicts on life is still further increased and multiplied by pity.

Pity makes suffering contagious. It depresses us, sapping us of our strength and will to power. So to feel pity for someone is to simply suffer along with them, as Nietzsche sees it. It also promotes the preservation of those who nature has selected for destruction, or in other words, those who Nietzsche calls "failures. Pity, then, has a twofold effect for Nietzsche, since it both multiplies suffering and also leads to the preservation of those who would cause us this suffering as the objects of our pity.

Ultimately, pity is nihilism put into practice, according to Nietzsche, since it makes life simply seem more miserable and decadent and therefore more worthy of negation itself. Nietzsche does not really develop this conception of pity any farther. As it stands, it seems to be rather problematic. Does his conception of pity mean to include compassion and sympathy as well?

Can these words be used interchangeably? The German word for compassion is Mitleid as well, so it is possible that Nietzsche is using them interchangeably.

Pity would seem to have a more negative connotation, in that it is a suffering-with that does not achieve anything; a waste of emotional energy toward those who are beyond help, in other words. Sympathy and compassion, as I understand the terms, seem to lean more toward having an understanding a "feeling-with" of what someone is suffering through and also being in a position to help that person. God Types To Nietzsche, the Christian conception of God is one of the most decadent and contradictory of any type that has ever been conceived.

In Section 18, he writes: The Christian conception of God--God as god of the sick, God as a spider, Godas spirit--is one of the most corrupt conceptions of the divine ever attained onearth. It may even represent the low-water mark in the descendingdevelopment of divine types. God degenerated into the contradiction of life,instead of being its transfiguration and eternal Yes! God as the declaration ofwar against life, against nature, against the will to live!

God--the formula forevery slander against "this world," for every lie about the "beyond"! God--the deification of nothingness, the will to nothingness pronounced holy! The ancient Jews ascribed both the good and the bad to their God, and in that respect it was consistent with nature, both helping and harming.

When the Jews found themselves oppressed by Rome during the occupation of Palestine, however, with their freedom, power, and pride stripped from them, their God required a change which was reflective of their predicament. Instead of having a God which embodied the noble virtues of a proud, powerful people, as it once did, the God of the Jews developed into one which embodied the sentiments of an oppressed, resentful, and powerless group.

It became a God of a people who were trying to preserve themselves at any cost, even if that cost was the inversion of their own noble values. They transformed their God into a God of the weak, the poor, and the oppressed, making a virtue out of the necessity of their own condition. Want of revenge on their enemies, by any and the only means possible for them--psychologically-- prompted the Jews to elevate their type of God to the point at which it became a God for everyone.

That is to say, that their God became the one, true God, to whom everyone was held accountable. It also became a God which was all good, incapable of doing anything harmful, while the God of their enemies and oppressors became evil--in effect, the Devil.

This is a very unhealthy type of God, according to Nietzsche, in that it "degenerates step by step into a mere symbol, a staff for the weary, a sheet-anchor for the drowning; when he becomes the God of the poor, the sinners, and the sick par excellence, and the attribute "Savior" or "Redeemer" remains in the end as the one essential attribute of divinity.

But unlike the pagan Gods of strong, proud people, this type of God, as Nietzsche points out, remains in the state in which it was conceived a God of the sick and weak , despite how strong of a following it receives. And it receives such a strong following because those who are from the ghettos, slums, and hospitals of the world, are the masses There was no middle class in ancient Palestine; there were only the more elite subjugator and the subjugated masses.

The God for "everyman" is attractive to those who live in conditions of powerlessness and misery, in that it allows them to deny their present existence in favor of a better one which is to come, in an appeal to a "redemption" in a world beyond. Therefore, this God-type becomes a life-denying one, in that it represents a denial of "this" life, as opposed to the healthy yes-saying, life-affirming, consistent-with-nature God of the ancient Jews.

This particular type of God is therefore one which is ultimately nihilistic, involving the denial and rejection of the world and everything in it as sinful and decadent. Nature, flesh, and instinct thus become more and more devalued until they reach a point at which nature is seen as a cesspool, the flesh is mortified, and instincts are put in terms of evil "temptations.

Nietzsche simply thinks of this idea of pure spirit as pure "nothingness," in that it is merely an absurd, contradictory-to-nature postulation. To him, it ultimately represents nihilism and nothing less. Here is where one must have already read his Genealogy of Morals in order to better understand what is going on in these passages.

The Genealogy actually does have a sustained argument for claims that are intimately related to the ones above that are found in The Antichrist. In their etymological senses, the terms "moral" and "ethical" mean literally "common" and "ordinary. The word "bad" was used by the master class, without any moral or ethical connotations, simply to refer to and differentiate themselves from common people, whom Nietzsche refers to as the slave class. The master class called themselves "good" due to their apparently superior social standing, or in other words, "good" was simply a term for those things which they were: fierce, proud, brave, and noble.

The lower class, or the slave class, on the other hand, developed their own moral language, which is that of the language of "good" and "evil. Nietzsche calls this the anger of ressentiment. In effect, the master class, over the last two thousand years, has been "poisoned" and shamed by the slave class and its language of "good" and "evil" into accepting the inversion of their own noble values, and thus the morality of the slave class, namely that which is "common," "ordinary," and "familiar," is the one which prevails today.

From the above argument, it is easier to understand how Nietzsche claims that the subjugated Jews transformed their once yes-saying God into the nay-saying God of ressentiment and hatred. This argument seems to ring true in many ways, but it is nevertheless based on the psychological presupposition that human beings are always seeking power and mastery over others, or in other words, that they are always exerting their "will to power," as Nietzsche calls it.

In this way, Nietzsche sees the Jews as cunningly having found a way to regain power over their oppressors psychologically by shaming them with the use of the language of good and evil. This assessment goes for what is to follow below as well. The Buddhistic Jesus? As he demonstrates in sections , Nietzsche is careful not to confuse Buddhism with Christianity in his criticisms.

Though he believes that both religions are nihilistic and decadent, he regards Buddhism as a far healthier and more realistic approach. The latter does not fall in to the same trap as Christianity does, according to Nietzsche, in that it does not carry with it any moral presuppositions. It has long abandoned them, seeing them as mere deceptions.

The Buddhist is therefore not engaged in the practice of moralizing and making judgments about others. A Buddhist achieves this reduction of suffering by living a passive, non-compulsive lifestyle. He does not become angry or resentful, no matter what transgressions someone has performed against him. Neither does he worry about himself or others. He takes measures which will help him to avoid exciting his senses, while the Christian, on the other hand, does just the opposite through living an ascetic lifestyle and maintaining an emotionally charged relationship with his God through prayer.

The Buddhist, in his avoidance of suffering, simply aims to maintain a steady peace, calm, and mildness in his lifestyle and temperament. It is a very important point that in pursuing this aim, the Buddhist actually succeeds, whereas the Christian does not succeed in removing sin, and is thus always in a state of wanting "redemption" and "forgiveness," never attaining the "grace" of God which he so desires.

The Buddhist is therefore able to achieve a sort of peace and tranquillity on earth. Nietzsche paints a picture of the Jesus of history as being a true evangel, which means that he did not subscribe to the concepts of guilt, punishment, and reward. He did not engage in faith, but only in actions, and these actions prescribed a way of life which Nietzsche sees as rather Buddhistic.

The evangel does not get angry, does not pass judgment, and neither does he feel any hatred or resentment for his enemies. He rejected the whole idea of sin and repentance, and believed that this evangelical way of life was divine in itself, closing the gap between man and God so much that it is God, according to Nietzsche.

Therefore, he saw prayer, faith, and redemption as farcical, instead believing that the "kingdom of heaven" is a state of mind that can be experienced on earth by living this type of peaceful, judgment-suspending existence, free from worry, guilt, and anger. Nietzsche argues that this was the life of Jesus and nothing more, and this way of life was the "glad tidings" which he brought.

In Section 35, Nietzsche writes: The "bringer of glad tidings" died as he had lived, as he had taught--not to "redeem men" but to show how one must live. This practice is his legacy to mankind: his behavior before the judges, before the catchpoles, before the accusers and all kinds of slander and scorn--his behavior on the cross.

He does not resist, he does not defend his right, he takes no step which might ward off the worst; on the contrary, he provokes it. And he begs, he suffers, he loves with those, in those, who do him evil. Not to resist, not to be angry, not to hold responsible--but to resist not even the evil one--to love him. For the creation and dissemination of this misconception, Nietzsche blames Paul. Once Jesus had been executed, according to Nietzsche, his followers could not come to grips with the shock of his sudden loss.

Filled with a want of revenge, they wanted to know who killed him and why. They determined that the rulers of the existing Jewish order had killed him because his doctrine went against that order. Not wanting his death to have been in vain, they saw him as a rebel against the Jewish status quo in the same way that they saw themselves as such. In this way, argues Nietzsche, his followers completely misunderstood him.

The truly "evangelic" thing to do, he says, would have been to forgive his death instead, or to die in like manner without judgment or need of vindication. The way that they accomplished this vengeance is the same as the way in which the Jews exacted their revenge on their Roman oppressors. They considered Jesus to be the Messiah of whom they were foretold by Jewish scripture, and in this way they elevated him to divine status--as the Son of God since he referred to himself metaphorically as a "child of God".



In this work, Nietzsche was arguing against the systematic religions that he believed were interfering with the advancement of life, particularly knowledge and culture. Therefore, the book simply explains and applies the religious and philosophical perspectives of the natural laws of life. The Antichrist seethes with rhetoric, harsh criticism, and insults that can make readers shy away from the work. The words used in this work are based on the definition of Nietzsche. He then continues to criticize Christianity for disapproving as evil the fundamental instincts of humans, which preserve life and promote strength. In the place of these natural values, Christianity promotes values that are negating life, and the most significant is feeling pity.



The Antichrist: an Attempt at a Criticism of Christianity. Dionysus: the Philosophy of Eternal Recurrence. Almost as often he changed his plan. In September, , he began actual work upon the first volume, and before the end of the month it was completed. The Summer had been one of almost hysterical creative activity.


The Antichrist Summary

In the Old TestamentGenesis 3: The Twilight of the Idols That is what brought him to the cross Nietzsche This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions. His spirituality is infantile, a result of delayed puberty. The The Antichrist Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, In The Antichrist, Nietzsche expounds on the philosophical and religious The Antichrist study guide contains a biography of Friedrich Nietzsche. Lying, or not wanting to see as one sees, is a trait of those who are devoted to a party or faction. It also preserves that which should naturally be destroyed.




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