Nietzsche, Paul and the Emergence of Christianity
|July 27, 2010||Posted by admin under Christianity, Judaism, Nietzsche||
Paul and the emergence of Christianity
For Nietzsche, Christianity began with Paul. The rabbi Paul, whose Jewishness is stressed by Nietzsche (25)(23), wanted only power for himself (22). To gain power, he invented a false philosophy so as to bring people under his control. This was identical to the earlier methods and motives of the Jewish priests when they fabricated the Bible (26)(29). Paul’s rewriting of history to suit his own ends was a typically Jewish trick (24). In short, Paul was not only a Jew, he was “the Jew, the eternal Jew par excellence . . .” (58).
Paul then used his new doctrine to mobilize the losers, the failures, the people at the bottom, to bring down the Roman Empire. His motivation was resentment and hatred “against everything noble, joyous and high spirited on earth . . .” (43). Since Nietzsche uses the word “us” in that context, “against us,” it is clear (as if evidence were needed) that Nietzsche considered himself among the spiritually favored few—indeed, elitist contempt for common people is a recurring theme of the book. In other words, Paul and the Christians set out to destroy the Roman empire just because it represented real life. If Nietzsche considered the Christian destruction of Rome as revenge for the crucifixion of Christ, that is not stated in this particular book.
In elaborating on these ideas, Nietzsche has comments referring to the Christians as vampires, parasites, and bloodsuckers (49) (58). It needs to be stressed that this included Jews and applied to Jews (except for the few independent spirits acceptable to Nietzsche). He makes this clear when he states that, although the original God of one chosen people became the God of the whole world, the democratic God, the cosmopolitan God, yet nevertheless “ . . . he remains a Jew, he remains a god in a corner, a god of all the dark nooks and crevices, of all the noisesome quarters of the world!” (17).
Unlike some today, Nietzsche understood that there was such a thing as the “Judaeo-Christian moral system” (24). That there is one God, a God of moral laws and rules that we must submit to and obey; that happiness in life comes not from exaltation of the self but from obedience to God; that God is a moral God who rewards good and punishes evil—often in this life but certainly in the next—Nietzsche understood that, in the European context of his day, this came from Christianity and initially from Judaism.
Nietzsche declared war on these concepts and sought to destroy them. Although his ideas are more acceptable now, they will fail in the end—and his own personal campaign ended in his destruction. As Jesus said, “. . . whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” None of his contemporaries exalted themselves more highly than Nietzsche, the overman, the spiritual elitist who despised common people, the first man to speak the truth in many centuries—and none were more horribly abased (as the sordid descriptions of an insane Nietzsche amply illustrate). Howling, raging, weeping, singing, smashing windows, writing nonsense, making barking noises, groaning, raving and making wild gestures, dancing naked, uttering long incoherent monologues, roaring, begging for help, childlike and docile, silent with vacant eyes, moaning, and unable to control his bodily functions—such was the fate of this pitiful loser who thought of himself as an “overman,” a superior being.
I hope no one will imagine I am gloating. I am stating the facts, and would have been much happier if Nietzsche could have repented of his sinful ideas, come to a real understanding of life, and found the happiness that always eluded him—but, Nietzsche did not want to do that. He fought against God, and he lost. I can agree with Stefan Steinberg’s comment that “In a certain respect Nietzsche’s tragic end is itself a metaphor . . .”—though Steinberg did not mean this in a Christian context, and explained his metaphor in a secular way.[i]
[i] Stefan Steinberg, “One hundred years since the death of Friedrich Nietzsche: a review of his ideas and influence—Parts 1–3 (Part 3),” World Socialist Web Site; www.wsws.org/articles/2000/oct2000/niet-o23.shtml; accessed January 2008.