Nietzsche and “God is dead”, as a cry of agony!


It is true that Nietzsche said in one of his books the infamous phrase “God is dead”. But few really understood in what way Nietzsche said that phrase. While reading the new book of Solomon and Higgins about the great philosopher, I was reminded of the great Greek philosopher Papanoutsos. The latter was one of the few who understood that “God is dead” is a cry of agony, not a cry of triumph. The great German philosopher was much more religious than most people think (read “Nietzsche – An irrational believer” for more on this). Nietzsche was against Christianism because the latter failed to solve the practical problems of the world and because it was drifting too much away from humans and their natural existence. But Nietzsche was also against rationalism (he was the founder of Irrationalism) and against the idea that science was the solution to all the problems – many people tend to overlook this. In his writting you can find many references to God and all too many references against science, which also failed to solve the problems of the world.

Nietzsche and his sister, 1899

Many times people misunderstand that other people say…

Nietzsche is perhaps the most misunderstood of them all…

God is dead!

People wrongly think that believing in science is the cure for their agonies. People believe that they are just dust which happened to exist by luck. People believe that  they are nothing. Welcome to the modern era!

Author: skakos

Spiros Kakos is a thinker located in Greece. He has been Chief Editor of Harmonia Philosophica since its inception. In the past he has worked as a senior technical advisor for many years. In his free time he develops software solutions and contributes to the open source community. He has also worked as a phD researcher in the Advanced Materials sector related to the PCB industry. He likes reading and writting, not only philosophy but also in general. He believes that science and religion are two sides of the same coin and is profoundly interested in Religion and Science philosophy. His philosophical work is mainly concentrated on an effort to free thinking of "logic" and reconcile all philosophical opinions under the umbrella of the "One" that Parmenides - one of the first thinkers - visualized. The "Harmonia Philosophica" articles program is the tool that will accomplish that. Life's purpose is to be defeated by greater things. And the most important things in life are illogical. We must fight the dogmatic belief in "logic" if we are to stay humans... Credo quia absurdum!

5 thoughts on “Nietzsche and “God is dead”, as a cry of agony!”

  1. Nietzsche was a complex philosopher. His thought cannot certainlybe put into simple “boxes”. He was indeed against any philosophical system which did not value “life in this world” as he did. Chirst offered the model of the revolutionary – someone who really lived and did not just philosophize – Nietzsche wanted to be (see “The Antichrist”). On the other hand the German philosopher was against St. Paul who talked too much against the life on Earth…

    1. Perhaps you have lost your interest in this subject.

      You stated in your initial comments: “Nietzsche was against Christianism (I assume you meant Christianity), because the latter failed to solve the practical problems of the world and because it was drifting too much away from humans and their natural existence.” As to whether this put FN in a “box” I leave to you to determine. I responded to these comments in my post. Simply put, your analysis of FN’s reasons are simply not based in his writings and, in my opinion, trivialize his mission.

      Regarding your claim that FN saw Jesus as the preeminent person whom he wished to emulate is quite astonishing. I find no support in his writings for that claim; although he does say in Untimely Meditations (unpublished) that “the only true Christian died on the Cross,” I believe that he was simply stating that all who came after him and preached in his name were manipulators and fakes. It may also be that, irrespective of his beliefs regarding what was possible for man in a meaningless and absurd existence after man had killed God, FN admired a man who was willing to sacrifice himself for his principles, irrespective of what they were.

      (Since no contemporaneous records of any of his teachings exist, because all the gospels were written at least one hundred after his death, FN’s comment referenced above, was not expressing admiration of Jesus’s “teachings” since there were none. Moreover, FN considered the Paulist gloss that “he died to absolve others of sin,” to be, apart from an absurdity, one of the most heineous and destructive lies ever written.)

      FN’s goal and purporse was to discover an overcoming for man. When man killed God, according to FN, these murderers could not even see their act, so engulfed in a type of historical after-birth that they were blind to the senselessness, emptiness, meaninglessness and vanity of the world in which they now lived [Joyous Wisdom, The New Diogenes]. Man thus had to create a new world, and a man for equal to such a world. Many of his attempts, the eternal recurrence, the Overman or Superman, he recognized were never to be.

      But once man had destroyed any purpose left in this world, FN tortured himself to seek the antidote, something to secure the tightrope on which man walked into the future, and to enable man to remake himself whether in absurdity or not, capable of the strength necessary to live in this present world–“some people are born posthumously” he said. [The Antichrist.] This is the time he feared and battled, and this is the wasteland he knew would ensue, destroying any purpose or meaning for man, and issuing in the pathetic insects who would be the only ones capable of living where no great man could live.

      1. So what is the conclusion: did FN find the solution to the problems Christianity and Science failed to solve? From what you say it is not clear whether FN was happy that man “killed God”. Could it be true that FN said his infamous phrase out of pure terror? Do not forget that FN was the founder of irrationalism – that is the philosophical idea that nothing mainstream (i.e. “logical”) should be followed by people as “true”. What is the logical argument you are trying to formulate here?

      2. You misunderstand. it is the alliance between science and religion that has brought us to the wasteland. After proclaiming his recognition that God was Dead, he analyzed extensively the relationship between Man and his World. Nietzsche often referred to his goal as the re-evaluation of all values since the consequence of the Death of God was the loss of any meaningful relationship between morality and the Self. To overcome this terrible loss he tried using various concepts but always coming back to the first job that had to be done: the destruction of the lie. By recognizing the loss of value of any “true” world, he recognized the loss of any value of this world, and the impossibility that Man could live in such a world. His ultimate conclusion was that the loss of transcendental value would render this world valueless.The sick delusions which Man had set up for himself for thousands of years which elevated the imaginary world as “real” world, he concluded, would crush Man as he was. However, given the urgent and desperate goals of knowledge–at any cost–were responsible for this loss, Truth would ultimately destroy man: his so-called knowledge would render him insignificant and, paradoxically, impotent. In the wake of FN, the concept of truth as an absolute principle is dead: technology lives, no one has any thoughts or inspirations towards greatness since they are too weak and seek only escape. As he repeatedly points out, discovers, and pulls up the roots of the history of truth he finds the most reprehensible motives. At the one end, and surely the end you would prefer, would be his statement that God is a fabrication without which Man cannot survive. So, will the illusion. No. Why? Because it is an illusion and we have uncovered it. Left is nothing he says. But, with hope, Man is a great becoming.He is on a tightrope between the pathetic being who cannot live without truth and the Man who does no longer need truth–he wills illusion. FN’s last words regarding the times that would come after him were that it would become a place where no one could live. refusing to refect,all persons enemies of each other and themselves. ‘SOON, HE SAID, WHERE WE LIVE NOBODY WILL BE ABLE TO EXIST.’ The drive to truth will have instilled in man the panic-stricken determination never to ask himself “what is the meaning of our lives?”–this question will overwhelm them since it points to the very death of God, killed by man. But Man can never endure it and “There will be wars such as never waged on earth.” The total eclipse of value will drive him mad.
        The terrible combination of the overwhelming drive for truth and the ever persisting knowledge [?] that live on Earth is in need of some type of transcendental justification. Such alliance caused this wasteland, the devaluing of the knowably real.
        His legacy? He was the first moralist of knowledge. While scientists even today, after Quantum Physics and Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle still assume that there is truly something “objective” which may be realized by the mind.
        But you ask me a terrible question. Can one, having lost God, believe in anything? “He who no longer finds what is great in God will find it nowhere–he must deny it or create it.” This is the secret eating at the Heart of modern man. And when the terror of the mind comes to the fore, he believed that the best wouild be driven to the ends of despair and the worst to accept it.
        Did he solve this paradox? No. All the better things in life, all honesty of mind, integrity of character, generousity of heart, fineness of aesthetic perception, would be corrupted by the new barbarians. The final importance of NIetzsche? He is forbidding but cannot be ignored. We now live in the dark age of which he so creatively despaired.

  2. The comments of Nietzsche against Christianity arose from his very first Book: The Genealogy of Morals. In it he makes the case that Socrates in positing a “true” world outside and without this world, devalued life and the will to achieve in this World. The Christian ideal was simply a continuation of such Rationalism and, worse, actively denying the value of everything in this world, even conduct, by rendering that “true” world the place that we seek and desire in all of our deeds. Apart from his brilliant psychological analysis as to the inception and adoption of this belief by the lower classes, culminating in the statement that, in 1886, he could utter the challenge: “God is dead.” Nietzsche was not “against” Christianity–and that characterization is utterly insignificant. Contrary to the author’s comments Christianity was in fact evil because it render this world meaningless.

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