God is Dead
Posted 04 February 2003 - 09:07 PM
Have you heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly, "I seek God! I seek God!" As many of those who do not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter...
Whither is God," he cried. "I shall tell you. We have killed him - you and I. All of us are murderers.... God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him...
Friedrich Nietzsche. The Gay Science (1882), section 126 < full text, German & English>
The first thing to be clear about here is what should be an obvious fact: Nietzsche did not say "God is dead." Just like Shakespeare did not say "To be, or not to be," but instead merely put them in the mouth of Hamlet, a character he created.
Yes, Nietzsche certainly wrote the words "God is dead," but he also just as certainly put them in the mouth of a character - a madman, no less. Readers must always be careful about distinguishing between what an author thinks and what characters are made to say.
Unfortunately, many people aren't so careful, and thus it has become part of popular culture to think that Nietzsche said "God is dead." It has even become the butt of jokes, with some people imagining themselves clever by putting into the mouth of their god the words "Nietzsche is dead."
But what does Nietzsche's madman really mean? He can't merely mean to say that there are atheists in the world - that's nothing new. He can't mean to say that God has literally died because that wouldn't make any sense. If God were really dead, then God must have been alive at one point - but if the God of orthodox European Christianity were alive then it would be eternal and could never die.
So apparently, this madman can't be talking about the literal God believed in by so many theists. Instead, he's talking about what this god represented for European culture, the shared cultural belief in God which had once been its defining and uniting characteristic.
Europe Without God
1887, in the second edition of The Gay Science, Nietzsche added Book Five to the original, which begins with Section 343 and the statement: "The greatest recent event
Posted 01 May 2003 - 10:51 PM
''Of course, it is perhaps better that God die rather than hang around unwanted like some Deus Emeritus - a doddering figure who has outlived its usefulness but refuses to accept a changed reality. Some residual authority might cling to it for a time, but its status as a supernatural has-been would be unalterable. No, it is better to put it out of its - and our - misery and get rid of it before it becomes too pathetic.''
Posted 02 May 2003 - 01:17 AM
Posted 02 May 2003 - 02:52 AM
IMO, organized religion is the greatest evil ever invented(yes, invented)by mankind. How many people have died because their religious beliefs conflicted with somebody else's? The current conflict in Israel for example, stemming from ignorance related to indoctrination of religion on a group of people. If religion is to survive as a viable way out for people, it needs to be decentralized, without so much emphasis on the belief that "our religion is right, so everybody else must conform to our ways or die"
Oh well, losing my train of thought, must stop now before i get too into the subject matter.
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