What do Christians think of Nietzsche? (3 of ?)
|January 16, 2015||Posted by Joseph Keysor under Blog|
Second, I believe Nietzsche was wrong not only about the existence of God, but also in his characterizations of Christianity, and did not understand its origins, motives or effects. Moreover, it is evident that he had not reason, logic, and evidence, but rather personal, emotional and psychological reasons for his hostility, all of which clouded his judgment. Many of his attacks consist merely of assertions presented confidently as fact. For someone who is constantly presented as the exemplar of moral relativism and the indeterminacy of truth, Nietzsche was strangely sure of himself and of the rightness of his opinions.
Concerning the origins of Christianity, Nietzsche’s theory as explained in The Antichrist is that it was nothing more than a Jewish trick. The Jews were a very cunning and devious people, and they understood that if they could enslave more virile peoples with lies about guilt, conscience, sin, right and wrong, then they (the Jews) could manipulate stronger people and dominate them. So, they invented concepts of God, sin, and guilt which served nothing other than their will to power.
To say that sin, guilt, and God are merely human inventions and have no higher reality follows logically from atheism. If there is no God, then religion cannot be anything other than a human contrivance. But, it does not follow from that that it was invented by tricky Jews as a means of enslaving people. Some people seem to think that because they share Nietzsche’s atheism, they are therefore obligated to share his conclusions as well, protect him from all criticism, and minimize or explain away his worst defects. There are however different kinds of atheists, and it is (or should be) possible to be an atheist and reject God entirely, without having to defend every one of Nietzsche’s angry and aggressive assertions.
Nietzsche did correctly note at least the obvious and well-known Jewish origins of Christianity – but that the Jews through Christianity had corrupted European culture; that the triumph of Christianity in bourgeois democratic capitalism was in fact a triumph of Judaism at the expense of the heroic and virile Germanic pagans of pre-Christian Europe – this is a highly idiosyncratic interpretation of history that Nietzsche presents with complete assurance as fact. But were the strong, healthy, virile and warlike pagans of Nietzsche’s dreams really better than the products of nineteenth-century civilization?
Such ideas were not unique to Nietzsche. The Jewish origins of Christianity were commonly referred to by those who wanted to get back to a more authentic pre-Christian existence of dim-witted and brutal Germanic paganism. Statements by proto-Nazis or Nazis about the Jewish domination of Europe sound like the mutterings of lunatics in padded cells, until we understand that by Jewish influence they meant Christian influence, and by Christian influence they meant democracy, capitalism, and bourgeois values which Christianity did have a lot to do with.
This is one of the insufficiently appreciated motivations behind the Holocaust. The Jews were viewed as agents not merely of racial degeneration, but of cultural degeneration as well. Christian values were inimical to those who wanted to resurrect pre-Christian paganism, and Christian values were Jewish values. It was thus the Jews who had corrupted all of Europe with false values – a theme Nietzsche elaborates on at length and in depth in The Antichrist.
Nietzsche scoffed at anti-Semites because they had the wrong kind of antisemitism. They did not get to the root of the problem, but railed against the Jews even while they themselves were infected with Jewish values of ethics, right and wrong, and truth. While condemning conventional bourgeois and religious antisemites in no uncertain terms because of their inconsistency in condemning Jews while influenced by Jewish values, Nietzsche had his own personal brand of Jew hatred, and his hatred toward Jews went very deep. In The Genealogy of Morals, which has a number of ridiculous and hateful lies about Jews, Nietzsche claims that both the Protestant Reformation and the French Revolution were victories of Judaism.
“Judaea proved yet once more victorious over the classical ideal in the French Revolution” – at least, that is how Nietzsche explained it . Few historians today would see the luxury and the fantastic excesses of the decadent French nobility as an embodiment of the “classical ideal,” but minor details of historical fact never bothered Nietzsche. He goes on to explain how “the last political aristocracy that existed in Europe, that of the French seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, broke into pieces beneath the instincts of a resentful populace.”
That French peasants living and misery and poverty should object to an idle class of nobility living in luxury on their backs was for Nietzsche merely an instance of the rabble expressing their resentment against their betters, driven by a typically Semitic resentment of the weak and the inferiors against their natural superiors. It would be possible to convincingly demonstrate that Nietzsche had a very hazy understanding of European history.
This same page in the Genealogy of Morals also contains the assertion that “Judaea triumphed again, thanks to that fundamentally popular (German and English) movement of revenge which is called the Reformation.” Nietzsche states many times in The Antichrist that Christianity was fundamentally and essentially Jewish, so there is a certain logic in calling the Reformation a triumph of Jewish values, but was it really a movement of “revenge” led by inferior people against their aristocratic betters in Rome? Once again Nietzsche is blazing new trails into the unknown, guided only by his feelings and unerring instincts.
Few historians today would see the hidden hand of the Jew behind such disparate and seemingly disconnected events as the Protestant Reformation and the French Revolution, but for Nietzsche it was a simple matter.The false ideas of democracy and equality that undermined the haughty and aristocratic French nobility, and the return to biblical values that undermined the papacy, both came from Judaism, the force of decay and degeneracy that – in Nietzsche’s mind –lay behind all forms of degeneracy (Antichrist sect. 24).
 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Genealogy of Morals, trans. Horace B. Samuel (Mineola NY: Dover Publications, 2003), p. 32 (Part I: “Good and Evil,” “Good and Bad,” section 16).