Did Nietzsche believe in God

Nietzsche and Christianity

It is well known that the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche attacked Christianity vigorously and rejected it with an unrestrained, extremely harsh language. "With an extraordinary wealth of points of view," said Jaspers, "he exposed Christian realities, including the reasons for previous oppositions and radically reducing conventional standards to absurdity."

Nietzsche accused him of weakening the will to live. The terms God, afterlife, salvation and sin were only invented to question life, to devalue this world, to despise the body and to enslave people, to humiliate them morally and to terrorize. "The Christian faith is sacrifice from the beginning: sacrifice of all freedom, all pride, all self-assurance and the spirit: at the same time enslavement and self-mockery, self-mutilation."

In addition, Christianity is a religion of scarcely masked feelings of revenge, because it is a victory for those who have come badly, the weak and the powerless. Nietzsche went on to claim that Christianity gave Eros poison to drink, from which he did not die, but degenerated into vice. "This is how Christianity succeeded in creating infernal goblins and deceitful spirits from Eros and Aphrodite - great ideally capable powers - through the tortures that it caused in the conscience of believers in spite of all sexual excitement." Christianity makes you sick, "sickness is necessary, just like Greek culture needs an excess of health," said Nietzsche and: "Christianity has been the greatest misfortune of mankind up to now." Nietzsche charged Christianity with "poisoning, slander, denial of life, contempt for the body, degradation and self-desecration of man through the term sin". The only practice of the Christian church is to suck every blood, every love and every hope of life from the veins of humanity. Christianity is the worst conspiracy that has ever existed against everything that is healthy, beautiful, well-done and good, even against life itself.

In Christianity and in Judaism, in which Christianity has its roots, the philosopher saw phenomena of "decadence" and in the crucified God a "nuisance", "a curse on life." Because from the beginning the Christian religion defamed and weakened our earthly life. Nihilism is not, as is often misunderstood, a denial of meaning and religion put forward by Nietzsche, but "an inner constitution of Christianity itself." Christianity was for Nietzsche, as a result of his morally motivated world negation, "the most dangerous and scary form of all possible forms of a will to doom - a sign of deep illness, tiredness, displeasure, exhaustion and impoverishment of life."

Nietzsche assumed that Christianity was extremely hostile to life: it does not encourage people to live, it educates people to be peckish, to be herd, to the corruption of reason through original sin, to turn a blind eye to reality, in Christianity neither morality nor religion touches reality at any point . It shifts the emphasis of life into the hereafter, not into life. Do not judge, they say, but they send everything to hell that stands in their way.

Christianity is the power that is hostile to life, which is also expressed in a fundamental hostility towards art. After its initial victories over the peoples of the West in the time of the Renaissance, Christianity had almost been overcome by the life-affirming powers, had it not been for a renewal of the Christian religion in the form of Luther against the Renaissance and the final annihilation of the hostile power of the Christianity and the Church repealed. Nietzsche criticized the Reformation as a reaction to the early enlightenment of the Renaissance, which the philosopher saw embodied primarily in Petrarch, Erasmus of Rotterdam and Voltaire. Protestantism believed, according to Nietzsche, to have purified Christianity by internalizing it and removing it from the world. Nietzsche, the son of a Protestant pastor, judged Luther and his work in terms that are reminiscent of the most violent denominational polemics of the older Catholic historiography. Luther appears to him as "the most dangerous pessimist" who brought that fundamental error "that only faith matters and that works must necessarily follow from faith", which "surprises people with a spiritual attack."

Nietzsche often uses sharp words against a belief to which, in his opinion, modern people, i.e. people of his, namely the 19th century, hypocritically profess, without even remotely thinking of acting accordingly - " except maybe to go to the sacrament. "

Martin Teske writes in `` Lutheran Monthly Issues August 2000 '' that Nietzsche suffered from the preaching of a belittled image of Christ - with synonyms such as 'Lämmlein' and 'Flammlein', as they were common in pietism of the 18th century and imitated by revival poets at the time and be revitalized. He also suffered from the fact that religion and belief in his time prevented culture from opposing the free development of the spirit. Because of this mendacity and ignorance of centuries that weighed on the church, he describes the Christian faith as 'decadence in principle', and so he wants to do without religion, without church in his thinking. But with his criticism he does not hit the message of the gospel, but only a confused church that stumbles over its own terminology and whose nationwide representatives present a predominantly sad picture

When Nietzsche attacks faith, he makes use of two arguments: a conviction does not prove truth, and: the blood of martyrs is irrelevant when it comes to proving truth.

But how did this development come about with Nietzsche, the son from a conservative and pietistic parsonage?

Nietzsche's parents' house was a refuge of Protestant piety. For generations the family was connected to the Lutheran faith. Respected, God-fearing, righteous and provincial, she embodied all the virtues and convictions of the German parsonage, from which her most gifted offspring would stray so far and emphatically in the course of his life. During his youth Nietzsche became acquainted with various faiths, the pietistically awakening was dominant for him. Both parents came from this parsonage tradition. His father, Pastor Carl Ludwig Nietzsche from Röcken (Saxony) chose the question of the Lukan childhood story as a biblical saying for the baptism of his son: "What do you think this child wants to become?" Nietzsche later answered this question with the sentence: "I am, in Greek and in non-Greek, the Antichrist." In his childhood, his school friends called him, half appreciatively, half ironically, the "little pastor" because of his seriousness and his knowledge of the Bible. . Nietzsche was indeed a serious, thoughtful child who knew the Bible well and was touching piety. The remark of his childhood friend Paul Deussen is indicative of his religious development. He knew how to tell of the "holy, worldly mood" which the two friends were filled with at the time of their confirmation. In 1861 both were confirmed. In Nietzsche's estate there was the brief and astonishing sentence: "As a child, God saw him in splendor." An awkward youthful poem with the title "You have called" culminates in the confession "From love / shines so warmly / painfully / your look into my heart, Lord, I am coming."

"I am a plant, born near the field of God," wrote the nineteen year old in an autobiographical sketch. But even as a boy he reports of his doubts, "whether not for two thousand years mankind has been misled by an illusion." The closeness to Christians and his origins in the Protestant rectory took on a different meaning for him as soon as he began to realize that Christians are mostly not perfect in their Christianity. The inner landslide, which then silently collapsed the building of his children's faith, did not take place abruptly, but very slowly, initially with the brilliant logical and philological training in Pforta. This led him unnoticed and unexpectedly into a critical distance from the faith of his fathers. The doubts about Christianity and its complete rejection were initially an unintended consequence of Nietzsche's training. He himself later boasted that, as an atheist in Schulpforta, he had never spoken to grace and that he was never asked to do the usual prayer exercises. Nietzsche's change of attitude was also influenced by appropriate reading, especially the book "Leben Jesu" by David Friedrich Strauss, which he had already read as a schoolboy to the horror of his family. This suggestion continued. (Later, however, when Nietzsche wrote the "Untimely Considerations", Strauss attacked violently because in his later work Strauss had come to an optimistic attitude towards life based on the science of his time, according to which the world was reasonable and good.) It also had an effect the influence of some teachers on Nietzsche, who resolutely advocated the historically critical method, a late fruit of the Enlightenment. At the same time, Nietzsche had by no means broken with Christianity and religion when he left school. The subject of religion interested him to the end. The school leaving certificate states: "In class he showed a lively and lively interest in the salvation teachings of Christianity, acquired them easily and confidently, combined with a good understanding of the basic New Testament text and also knew how to speak about it with clarity. He will therefore awarded the predicate excellent, as he passed the oral test excellent. "

Nietzsche was also conveyed religious tradition in Bonn through theological lectures and his own theological reading. He even gave in to the insistence of his parents and began studying theology at Bonn University, but soon switched to classical philology. In Bonn he encountered a predominantly Catholic environment and there, too, initially endeavored to live his Christian faith in an existential way. In addition, he met people here for whom life and faith merged into one. The practice of piety experienced through them (praxis pietatis) had more effect on Nietzsche than dead book wisdom. Furthermore, one finds in Nietzsche, even in later years, sentences that seem incompatible with his anti-Christian attitude. In a letter to his friend Peter Gast dated July 21, 1881, he wrote: "It occurred to me, dear friend, that the constant inner confrontation with Christianity must be strange and even embarrassing to you on a book (Morgenröthe), but it is best piece of ideal life, which I really got to know, from childhood on I followed it, in many corners and I believe I have never been mean in my heart to the same thing. In the end I am the descendant of whole generations of Christian clergy - forgive you me this narrowness! " The healthy Nietzsche acquaintances who were firmly committed to their Christian faith, especially his mother, pleaded again and again not to read his works, which were written "from a completely different point of view".

Nietzsche, who at least comes from pastor families of both parents and is able to affirm the effect of the Bible, also said: "I consider it an honor to come from a sex that has taken its Christianity seriously in every sense." Nietzsche assessed his closeness to Christians and his origins in a Protestant rectory as something irreplaceable.

In addition, he was far from being as hostile towards the Bible as he was later towards Christian culture and the church. He said of the Old Testament that it contained "people, things and speeches in such a great style that Greek and Indian literature has nothing to match it."

The contact with Richard Wagner's music soon became of great importance to him, and the reading of Schopenhauer's works, in which Schopenhauer presented Christianity as a religion of life negation, became a decisive educational experience for him. Above all, however, the theological lectures he had attended at the beginning had fostered the long-growing doubt about Christianity. Nietzsche, the son of the theologian, whose contact with strict science had finally destroyed children's beliefs, then replaced philosophy with religious edification that had become vacant. Soon he openly professed a radically critical nihilistic view of things. He begins with the criticism of education, then moves on to the criticism of science and culture, in order to finally crown his critical work by attacking Western morality, religion and Christianity.

This struggle also reflects its own problematic of existence. The life question that fundamentally moved the young Nietzsche from an early age, triggered not least by the early death of his brother and father and his own health problems, was the question: What about the horror of life, its cruelty and its individual fate elusive indifference is an affirmation of life even possible? Nietzsche suffers from a general devaluation of life, for which he then blames his upbringing in the Christian faith. He justifies his attack on Christianity with the following words (estate): "If I wage war on Christianity, I am entitled to do so only because I have never experienced gloom or sadness from this side - conversely, the most treasured people who I know, Christians have been without wrong. I bear it on the last of the individual what the fate of millennia is. My ancestors themselves were Protestant clergy: if I had not received a lofty and clean mind from them, I would not know where my right to war with Christianity came from. My formula for this: the Antichrist itself is the necessary logic in the development of a real Christian, in me Christianity overcomes itself. " Nietzsche always respected the serious and genuine Christianity, which he considered possible at all times. His hostility to Christianity is in fact inseparable from his actual commitment to Christianity as a claim. He is aware that it was the moral impetus of Christianity that brought about the limitlessness of the will to truth. He does not want to abandon Christianity as Christianity, do not reverse it and do not fall back from it; he wants to overcome it and surpass it with forces that Christianity has developed. That is why not every struggle against the Church was applauded. Because Nietzsche is, as Jaspers once said, `` opponent of Christianity for Christian reasons. ''

Nietzsche discovered an irrevocable contradiction between morality and life and traces it down to its most sublime ramifications and hiding places. He never hesitates to expose the "absurdity" of morality, either in a large or in a small way. Nevertheless, it is still a matter of dispute how his answer actually turned out, especially with regard to morality. His radical criticism of morality is a fact, but it is questionable what his intention is.

There are indications that he remains true to Plato's view that man cannot forego virtues as long as he attaches value to himself. But nothing can be traced back to a causa prima. Being is not a unity, neither as a sensorium nor as a spirit, "this is the great liberation - only then is the innocence of becoming restored."

But morality, Nietzsche could be interpreted further, must not lead out of life, as is the case in his opinion with Christian morality, it must serve life. "The goal of Christian morality is not earthly happiness, but earthly unhappiness. The goal of the practical Christian who stands in the world is not world success, but not having to act anymore or even failure. That unhappiness and these failures are the means of evacuation. " Christianity, Nietzsche claims, creates a "slave morality" - although he had only got to know the infantile, pietistic image of Christ of sentimental softness and passivity. His struggle is directed against this Christianity as well as against the bourgeoisie, whose morality he regards as lying, and against the mob, which threatens all good and high.

"If Christianity were right with its sentences about the avenging God, general sinfulness, the choice of grace and the danger of eternal damnation, it would be a sign of idiocy and lack of character not to become a priest, apostle or hermit and one with fear and trembling to work on one's own salvation; it would be nonsensical to let the eternal advantage against the temporal comfort out of sight. "(MAN)" What is left of Christianity is a gentle moralism. God, freedom and immortality are not what remains , as benevolence and decent disposition, that benevolence and decent disposition will also prevail throughout the universe. "

"Faith means not wanting to know what is true," states Nietzsche. For this reason alone, the ancient spirit and the Christian message are incompatible with one another. But in the long history of the subjugation of pagan cultures by the church, science was eventually deprived of its free consciousness of knowledge; so it lost the courage of truthfulness and the pride of honesty.

"We also do not deny that faith makes us happy: that is precisely why we deny that belief proves something - a strong belief that makes us happy is a suspicion of what it believes in, it does not establish 'truth', it justifies a certain probability - of deception. "(MAN)

"Christianity was the first to paint the devil on the wall of the world; Christianity was the first to bring sin into the world. Belief in the remedies that it offered against it is now gradually shaken to the deepest roots: but it still exists the belief in the disease, which he taught and spread. "(MAN)

"The concept of God has so far been the greatest objection to existence ... We deny God, deny responsibility in God: only then do we redeem the world." (WzM) The father in God has been thoroughly refuted, thinks Nietzsche, as does the judge , the reward, as well as his free will, he does not hear - and if he did, he still wouldn't know what to do. The worst thing is: he seems unable to communicate clearly: is he unclear? - "This is what I have identified as the cause of the decline of European theism in many conversations, asking, listening, and finding; it seems to me that the religious instinct is mighty in growth, but that it is precisely the theistic satisfaction with deep Distrust rejects. " Here Nietzsche takes up the concerns of Job directly, for whom the mere abandonment, both in suffering and in its senselessness, does not mean a legitimate answer to the questions of his religious honesty.

"A God who loves people, provided that they believe in him, and who throws dreadful glances and threats at those who do not believe in this love," is how Nietzsche characterizes the Christian god. If God really wanted to become an object of love, then he should first have gone to judgment and righteousness: ".. A judge, and even a gracious judge, is not an object of love." God is a god of sickness, like himself Introducing Christians to God is not just a mistake, it is a crime against life. "Nietzsche, on the other hand, only wants to believe in a God" who knows how to dance. "" Let us lose the day when there was not even dancing. "

For Nietzsche, the central concept that braces the entire Christian system is the concept of God that must be broken out. For in the idea of ​​a God who guides and oversees everything, the "greatest objection to being" has come to dominate the world. This rule must be broken. God's abundance of power emerged from acts of human self-impoverishment. Because mankind lacked courage to face itself, it ceded its highest and most sacred attributes to the fiction of a god standing above it. These have to be reclaimed for their original owner.

For Nietzsche, the only human form of atheism, what he calls human atheism, exists only in the statement that the relationship with God has been broken off. Nietzsche would like to lead man to the ultimate increase in his possibilities through the strategy of godlessness. "If we do not make of the death of God a great renunciation and an ongoing victory over ourselves, we have to bear the loss."

Instead, Nietzsche is intoxicated by the eternal return. The Dionysian world enters the immense emptiness that the death of God left behind, fulfilling everything for him. It does not need any divine reason and certainly not a goal. In an unparalleled effort, the philosopher seeks to completely tear time, which has already fallen apart and is drifting towards nowhere, from its anchoring in order to gain space for an alternative.

Nietzsche is aware of the insight into the finiteness of human knowledge, which has been growing since Copernicus and Kant and was already formulated by the Sophists and Plato. He makes people aware of the certainties that people have to forego if they are serious about the insight into the finiteness of their knowledge and actions.

Ernst Benz (1907-1978) writes on this: "How can a person give his honest approval of a truth which promises to reveal the secret of his existence but forbids him in advance to examine its teachings in accordance with the abilities on which he is relying by virtue of the creature's equipment of this existence for orientation in the world and dependent on it?

What we fight about Christianity, says Nietzsche further, is that it wants to break the strong, that it discourages their courage, takes advantage of their bad hours and fatigue, wants to turn their proud security into restlessness and distress of conscience, that it wants to make the noble instincts toxic and sick knows how to do, until their strength, their will to power, turns backwards against themselves - until the strong perish on the excesses of self-contempt and self-abuse .. "the most famous example is Pascal.

Nietzsche's hatred of Christianity is principally directed against the idea of ​​equality before God, as a consequence of which one can only see the turn of practical interests towards the intellectually poor, the mediocre and the stripped. That the soul of every poor thief, every little rag and fool should have the same metaphysical value as that of Michelangelo and Beethoven - that is the dividing point of world views.

In liberalism, socialism, in democracy, however anti-Christian they may be, Nietzsche sees essentially a result of Christianity. Christianity lives on in them. Nietzsche thinks from Christian impulses whose content has been lost to him. Jaspers emphasizes Nietzsche's will to unconditional truthfulness, from which the attacks on Christianity spring.

Intermediate remark: Not only Nietzsche but also Goethe have been accused of being non-Christian. In a conversation that has become famous, Goethe interjected: "I am pagan? Well, I executed Gretchen and let Ottilie starve; is that not Christian enough for the people? What more do they want more Christian? Goethe's sarcasm brings the contrast even better than Nietzsche's exaggerated polemics between the original "Good News", the Gospel and the bourgeois indignation morality, which pretends to be Christian, but does not prevent them from throwing the first stone.

Having grown up in a Protestant family, Nietzsche was familiar with an ascetic, self-denying morality that was bought with fears of guilt and self-devaluation.

The Christians do not do what they teach, so Nietzsche's justified reproach, not what the holy books say. "The Buddhist acts differently from the non-Buddhist, the Christian acts like everyone else and has a Christianity of ceremonies and moods."

In a text about Ludwig Börne, in which Nietzsche describes Christianity as the doctrine of despair into which late ancient mankind took refuge, he concludes his description of the "suicide of the Nazarene religion" with the words: "For people who the earth no longer offers anything, heaven was invented. Hail to this invention! Hail to a religion that poured some sweet, drowsy drops into the bitter chalice for the suffering human race, spiritual opium, a few drops of love, hope and faith. "

At the beginning of the revaluation of Christianity stands, according to Nietzsche, the bloody fact of the cross of Jesus. He laments that Jesus, who is not to blame, should "pay for the damage". For Nietzsche, Jesus is the only Christian. But he died a sacrificial death on the cross. "The word Christianity is a misunderstanding, basically there was only one Christian and he died on the cross."

In "Antichrist", a shrill pamphlet that is said to have traumatized Christianity in Western Europe because of its rhetorical force, but also because of its arguments, Nietzsche created a sensitive image of Jesus that gives the impression that the thrust of his criticism be led past Jesus. It was no coincidence that the person who had slept signed his letters alternately with "the crucified" and "Dionysus." For Nietzsche, Jesus was the figure he was looking for to identify with. According to Thomas Mann, Nietzsche left the person of Jesus "untouched by his hatred of Christianity." Ernst Benz even calls Nietzsche the teacher of the imitatio Christi. It looks like, says the Catholic theologian Eugen Biser, as if Nietzsche looked expectantly at Jesus for a moment before finally closing himself in on himself.

In Nietzsche's eyes, Jesus of Nazareth is a rebel against the Jewish Church. He tried to revolt against the scribes caste and "said no to everything that was priest and theologian." (Antichrist) He called the outcasts and sinners to contradict the ruling order and was therefore nailed to the cross. The fact that Nietzsche shows everything that is called Christian today as an apostasy from true Christianity, the person of Jesus himself is freed from the burden of ecclesiastical ingredients. Nietzsche seeks, as it were, to undo the dogmatization of the person of Jesus.

By showing all attempts at such a distortion and degeneration, he emphasizes the person of Jesus all the more clearly. The darker the colors in which the church and the development of Christianity are painted from the time of the apostles on, the brighter and more plastic the figure of him appears who, according to Nietzschean interpretation, has in truth become the victim of the church and who is in the future was nailed to the cross by Paul, pretending to be the Son of God who died as an atonement for mankind. Nietzsche sees the church and contemporary Christianity as a degeneracy, yes, as a complete reversal of Jesus' original concern, he holds the church in front of its eyes as a measure of its apostasy.

Benz: "As thorough as Nietzsche's condemnation of Christianity and its historical presentation in the Christian church is, so thoroughly does he try to separate and detach this doctrine and this church from its beginning and origin, from Jesus Christ, and to such a striking degree, that it appears that he is seeking to absolve the person of Jesus precisely from the reproaches with which he incriminates the Church. The figure of Christ appears to him in a clearer and purer light, the darker, more pathetic and hateful he is of the history of the Church This is the real and mostly overlooked paradox of the picture that Nietzsche paints of the Church and Christianity. He fights mercilessly against Church and Christianity and works with fanatical zeal to destroy it, but he greets the first from afar, to the this church so hated to him and this Christianity so hated by him calls himself from which he freed this first want."

Only in his interpretation of Jesus does Nietzsche give a positive assessment of the prophetic. In "Happy Science" he lifts Jesus as a figure of light from the dark background of Judaism. Jesus is a religious artist similar to the Greek Apollo, who celebrates the reconciliation of man and God. In protest against the early Jewish idea of ​​the angry God "Jesus could dream of his rainbow and his ladder to heaven, on which God descended to the people." While the priests, as the inventor of an alternative world, falsify and devalue reality, Jesus, as the "inventor" of a dream world, reflects reality. For Nietzsche, Jesus becomes the prototype of his own struggle against every Jewish and Christian priestly religion. Jesus stands next to Zarathustra as a superman who overturns traditional cultural values ​​and therefore has to perish. The new life, through its practice and realization, brings about the abolition and abolition of all powers of the old life. The realist of this life thus necessarily becomes the enemy of morality, the enemy of dogma, the enemy of hierarchy and the law. The originally Christian unity of truth and life is the opposite of dogma.

What Nietzsche values ​​about Jesus is the perfect unity of knowledge and life. His preaching is not aimed at his teaching, but is fulfilled and fully realized in his life. “The will to power” and “The Antichrist” paint a perfectly consistent picture. “Bliss is not something promised, it is there when one lives and does so and so.” The identity of life and truth was really lived once and through portrayed a historical personality: “The practice of Christianity is not a fantasy.” Nietzsche blames the church for the destruction of the unity of truth and teaching.

According to Nietzsche, this unity could still be achieved today. "Christianity is still possible at any moment." "It is not bound by any of the outrageous dogmas that have adorned themselves with its name, it needs neither the doctrine of personal God, nor of sin, nor of immortality, nor of redemption, nor of faith; it has absolutely no metaphysics necessary, even less asceticism, even less a Christian 'natural science'. Christianity is a practice, not a doctrine of faith. It tells us how to act, not what to believe. " Nietzsche understands Christianity as the state of the "kingdom of heaven within us", as the state of present bliss. He is bolder than his contemporaries, because which church prince of his time really believed in the possibility and the feasibility of such a life? The kingdom of heaven, for Nietzsche a state of the heart, is nothing that is "above the earth". The kingdom of God does not come chronologically-historically, not according to the calendar, it is not something that would be there one day and not the day before: it is a "change of mind in detail", something that comes anytime and is not yet there anytime .

"It is wrong to the point of nonsense when one sees the badge of Christianity in a 'faith', for example in the belief in redemption through Christ: Just Christian practice, a life like the one who died on the cross, lived it, is Christian. " Just as in the "will to power" this Christianity is based on the state of the "kingdom of heaven in us", so also in the "antichrist" this unity of life is based on the presence of the "kingdom of God" in us.

"Jesus of Nazareth loved the bad, not the good, the sight of their moral indignation even made him curse. Wherever judgments were made, he took sides against the judges, he wanted to be the destroyer of morality."

Jesus as doer and finisher of true life and executor of the practice of the kingdom of heaven in us - for the philosopher that is the innermost core of his view of Christianity, and that is the positive starting point of his struggle against the church. He considered the church in its present form to be the result of the progressive apostasy of Christ's disciples from their master, the result of a reinterpretation and falsification, which finally realizes the opposite of what was originally and what was wanted. "The church is exactly what Jesus preached against - and what he taught his disciples to fight against." Jesus: This good messenger died as he lived, as he taught, not to redeem people but to show how to live.

Jesus has a deep instinct for "how to live to feel" in heaven, to feel "forever". This belief is not formulated, it lives, it defends itself against formulas. His life is love, he makes no distinction between Jews and Gentiles, does not disregard anyone. For him there are no opposites, neither punishment nor guilt, any distance relationship between God and man is abolished in Jesus for Nietzsche.

Nietzsches paints an astonishing picture of Jesus. One can of course doubt whether we are still talking about historical reality. But early Christianity will be possible at all times, "as Francis of Assisi also showed." A Christianity without absurd dogmas. "Christ has been reinterpreted and covered with foreign ingredients. The Gospels, the entire New Testament, is a perversion. While Jesus After he realized a life practice, it was only a question of one faith. To reduce Christianity to an assumption for the truth is to negate Christianity.While Jesus, like Buddha, differed from people through different actions, Christians differed from the beginning through different beliefs. This became teaching, nothing but formulas, rites, dogmas instead of a practice of life. Instead of the real Jesus, a picture of Jesus was put up: the fanatic, the fighter, the aggressor against the priests and theologians - in Paul's interpretation he appeared in the figure of the Savior, of whom only death and resurrection were actually important. After the death of Jesus, the emerging Christianity underwent its first falsification, that of the reality of Jesus. According to Nietzsche, the doctrine of resurrection and judgment were completely alien to Jesus. "The gospel died on the cross. What is called the gospel from that moment on was already the opposite of what he lived, a bad message, a dysangel."

According to Nietzsche, Paul turned the good news of pure life into the worst and really nailed the Savior to the cross. With his lie about the resurrected Jesus, he shifted the entire emphasis of existence behind Dasein and provided the stimulus for the development that led to the formation of Christian dogmas.

The corruption of what the Savior was and wanted has already started within the first church, with Paul and the evangelists. Paul, "this greatest of all apostles of vengeance", completed the victory of Jewish orthodoxy that was accomplished in the crucifixion. Since all the troublesome and burdened are now placed in the salvation-historical position of the Jews, the resentment becomes universal.

The disciples and Paul, says Nietzsche, they made the preaching of Jesus a sacrifice to the milieu of the common people and their superstition. The proclamation fell under the "little perks" and was understood and reinterpreted according to their perkiness. So Jesus becomes a victim of the common people.

By shifting all hopes to existence after existence, the ground is removed from any sense of fact. The result is a devaluation of reality encompassing all of nature; Ultimately, the resentment-laden basic mood of the Christian religion leads to a nihilistic attitude towards one's own life. "To live in such a way that it no longer makes sense to live, that is now the meaning of life .. .Nihilist and Christian, that doesn't just rhyme .."

Paul guessed how with the symbol "God on the cross" one could keep everything lying below, everything secretly stirring, the whole legacy of anarchist activities in the kingdom, everything small. Ultimately, Paul remained the old Saul, the persecutor of God. The good news was followed immediately by the worst of all, that of Paul. In Paul the opposite type to the good messenger was embodied, the genius in hatred, in the vision of hatred, in the inexorable logic of hatred. He also wrote the doctrine of judgment. He discovered that belief is a cure for those unable to do what they see fit. "The priest lives from sin, he needs sin" (Ant). The philosopher sometimes calls the priests "treacherous dwarfs".

Paul restored on a grand scale what Christ annulled through his life. He turned Christianity into its opposite. "A horrible mishmash of Greek philosophy and Judaism: asceticism, the constant judging and condemnation: the hierarchy." Remedy for the disgruntled. "Paul already said," a sacrifice is necessary so that God's deep disgruntlement about sin is lifted, and since then, Christians have not ceased to vent their discomfort about themselves on a sacrifice - be that the world, or history, or reason, or the joy or peaceful tranquility of other people - anything good must die for its purpose - if only in effigy. "

"Basically Paul couldn't need the life of the Savior at all - he needed death on the cross and a little more ..." "A God died for our sins: a redemption through faith: a resurrection after death - that's all Counterfeiting of actual Christianity, for which one must blame that ominous crosshead (Paulus) .. "

"The fact that God became man indicates that man should not seek his happiness in infinity, but should found his heaven on earth," writes Nietzsche and, in the course of his path of thought, clearly decides in favor of the world and against God. Just as Faust resolves to seek "being" in the nothingness to which Mephistus persuades him, so Nietzsche gains new footing in the wake of nihilism through the thought of blindly trusting affirmation of fate, known to him from earlier times.

The sanctification of this world is important to him, and so he perceived everything, including belief in reason and its truth, from the perspective of life. In turn, he defined truth as a limitless process, as an incessant interpretation event and recognition as perspective seeing, which is essentially determined by our affects and our moods.

For Friedrich Nietzsche, the so-called "true" world, which is supposedly accessible either only to reason or only to faith, was nothing more than a projection of man. According to Nietzsche, people are dependent on interpretations in order to assert themselves and to create a world with them in which they can live and find their identity. But we are only free when we put ourselves in the place of all other causes, when we feel responsible for our own setting, when we take on guilt, "without shifting it from us by way of explanation" or ascribing it to something else. "We are then for ourselves the unexplained par excellence". What is required is withstanding this responsibility and renouncing "true" explanations. For Nietzsche, this is precisely where the positive interpretation of nihilism lies.

Enduring the dubiousness of the world and the fact that Nietzsche believes that there is nothing behind this world.

The fundamentals of the new gospel promise riches from this world without transcendence. Since God is dead, man can only strive for an exaltation of himself. The human being

is left to himself by Nietzsche, he has to go on without a deity. Nietzsche's ideal is not the brooding, lonely, weak and sensitive scholar struggling for knowledge that he himself was about, but rather the strong nature that is vital and dominated. Nietzsche's conception is contradictory: on the one hand, man should be overcome and become superhuman; on the other hand, there is the certainty that everything that happens is determined, that everything has to repeat itself out of fateful compulsion. Nietzsche helps himself with a dialectical thought: in the return lies the possibility of enhancement and completion of life.

One of the fundamental experiences in Nietzsche's life is the experience of the tragic and death. But he does not take refuge in world negation, as Schopenhauer preaches in "Die Welt..as Wille undführung" in view of the horror of life, but his solution is called: world affirmation even in the face of decline, gained from the phenomenon of Greek tragedy and the Greek Art. Nietzsche thus takes a decisive opposite position to Schopenhauer's pessimism and compassionate ethic, but also to that morality as it is expressed in the Ten Commandments up to the Sermon on the Mount, in the Socratic equation between virtue and knowledge up to Kant's categorical imperative, since all these commandments are expressed and imperatives for him are in contradiction to life.

Christianity serves a culture of death, against which Nietzsche's work of revaluation puts its own "countervalue of life": a purely artistic, an anti-Christian one. He calls her the Dionysian. The way to the restoration of Christianity was not open to Nietzsche. His ways are: denial of all morality and all truth that derive from Christianity.

At the end there is the thrown out sentence: Nothing is true, everything is allowed. "His second answer is the draft of the new worldview. The positive of the philosophical counter-movement is contained in the words: life, strength, will to power, superman, becoming, eternal Return, Dionysus.

On the one hand, it was a matter of liberating humanity from the rule of the Christian "maximal God"; on the other hand, it was important to set up "new tables" instead of the values ​​that were thus rejected.

In "Human, All Too Human", the philosopher sets out his program of radical dissolution and his basic thesis that humanity has "as a whole no goals", so that the individual can find neither support nor consolation in their story, but at most "his despair". That is why there is no such thing as truth, rather it was error that made people so deep, tender and inventive that it was able to produce such wonderful flowers as religion and art. The writing "Human, All Too Human" is the first attempt to defeat Christianity with its own means. Nietzsche's goal is to help mankind to regain the wealth that has been ceded to God. Only then does man reach his full size. He would like to elicit new tones from the human instrument, which he calls "the animal that has not yet been determined". The revaluation of values ​​could mean the great recovery of culture, the liberation from the bondage of "herd morality" and the dawn of an era of the "free spirit". The free spirits can then recognize the extent to which they are able to be the creators of new values ​​and thus to put their meaning into history. (Estate)

To achieve this goal, the old values ​​must first be ruthlessly destroyed. Nietzsche wants to overcome nihilism and at least lead it to the threshold of a new "revaluation of values". According to Nietzsche, Christianity domesticated humans as herd animals. For this reason he also rejected socialism. "God must die for the superman to live." The liberation from the hereafter, guilt and judgment, from eternal home and metaphysical security should bring the breakthrough into the future, but also into senselessness. Nietzsche, the "last born of Protestantism", as Otto Flake calls him, risks the leap into the abyss of nothingness.

in his day, he saw the "rise of nihilism". He himself, to whom the darkness of the future world has opened up faster and more deeply than his contemporaries due to his illness and instability, has unquestionably a new epoch of reflection with his diagnosis of the present as a pathological illusory world from which the knower cannot free himself and paved the way for modern cultural criticism.

Nietzsche diagnosed and predicted, initially for Europe, a consciousness that intends to get by without `` belief in the Christian God ''. A hundred years later, the predicted loss of authority and meaning of the biblical and ecclesiastical belief in God reached many people in Europe. Nietzsche is not to blame for today's state of the world, he `` only '' predicted it.

Nietzsche also does not claim that God died because of him - Ernst Bertram is wrong when he claims that Nietzsche is the murderer of God - but he only recognized, as Overbeck Nietzsche's statement "God is dead", that God is for many People died that for many people it no longer exists. The most important event: God is dead, does not say that he does not believe in God. Overbeck, who feels reminded by Nietzsche's fight against Christianity "of the breaking of the chains" with which a slave was previously bound, gives the thesis "God is dead" a different meaning than the statement "God is not".

The belief in God has long since survived, it is only held on to it against better knowledge. Yet precisely this is an unexpectedly great difficulty. Because nothing is more difficult to dissuade a person than from his prejudices. "The greatest recent event - that God is dead - that belief in the Christian God has become implausible - is already beginning to cast its first shadow over Europe."

"Nietzsche said that God is dead, and that is a little different from God is not, that is, he cannot be, is not, will not be and has never been! Rather: He was! And this is at least everyone humane atheism. " (Overbeck).

In the case of the sentence "God is dead", the text environment must also be taken into account. Nietzsche does not speak the sentence himself, but puts it in the mouth of the "mad person", a fool who appears as a seeker of God and is laughed at by the crowd. This

believes that mankind gradually killed God.

"Where is God going? He (the mad man) shouted, I want to tell you! We killed him, - you and I! How all are his murderers. But how did we do this? How did we drink the sea? Who gave." the sponge for us to wipe away the whole horizon? What did we do when we chained this earth from its sun? Where is it moving now? Where are we moving? Away from all the suns? Do we not keep falling? And backwards, sideways, forwards "On all sides? Are there still above and below? Are we not mistaken as though through an infinite nothingness?"

(Happy science)

Why did God die? asks Nietzsche further. He died through Christianity, because it destroyed everything from which man lived before, above all the tragic truth of the life of the pre-Socratic Greeks. Christianity, on the other hand, used fictions: God, moral world order, immortality, sin, grace, redemption. For Christianity, all support and value lay in fictions. The two Christian millennia that lie behind us are our doom.

"God is dead", that is, according to Nietzsche, the language of religion, the image comes from the Gospels. Hegel also spoke of the death of God. Nietzsche gives the picture a new meaning, he presupposes that God once lived, "we killed him", the tremendous event has not yet reached people's ears. With such sentences Nietzsche tries to diagnose contemporary culture. Nietzsche explains the death of God, in the spirit of Feuerbach, as the downfall of belief in God, belief in God has become implausible. Hardly anyone is aware, according to Nietzsche, "everything that has to come to mind after faith has been undermined, because it is built on it, leaned against it, grew into it, for example our entire European morality." Nietzsche's proclamation of God's death is his own inner experience.

The thought, which is often attributed to "Zarathustra", that God is only a "conjecture" and that all gods are dead, can already be found in its classic formulation in the "Happy Science". The language of the "happy science" is not only characterized by sovereign experimentation with beliefs, with the "truth", but also suggests the idea of ​​eternal return in hypothetical speech.

In "Fröhliche Wissenschaft" and in "Zarathustra", which, according to Karl Löwith, is given in the style of an "anti-Christian Sermon on the Mount", so to speak, is an anti-Sermon on the Mount, and with "The Antichrist" Nietzsche's confrontation with Christianity reaches its climax.

If Nietzsche really had to do with robbing existence of its heartbreaking and cruel character, this vacuum had to be filled. He tried this with his "Zarathustra", which focuses on the proclamation of Nietzsche's counter-gospel.

While the Christian gospels are self-praise of God, Nietzsche writes his anti-Christian 'fifth gospel', which is a completely new kind of self-praise. But there was for him, writes Sloterdijk in his book, On improving the good news. Nietzsche's 'Fifth Gospel' was not an adequate addressee because his requirements were too high. Nietzsche's Gospel calls for the renunciation of `` vital illusions ''. His new doctrine of salvation turns against the "people behind the world", "those who despise the body" and "preachers of death". Instead of chastity, Zarathustra advises "innocence of the senses", instead of loving others "to escape the neighbor" and to love the most distant. "You should not plant yourself away, but up."

Zarathustra appeals against belief in the hereafter: "Remain faithful to earth and do not believe those who speak to you of supernatural hopes! They are poisoners, whether they know it or not." The human self-will rebels against God, so that everything comes to a head: "He or I. With this the ring of Nietzsche's anti-religious development, which began with the sudden loss of childhood belief, has already closed.

In "Zarathustra" the idea of ​​the superman and the thought of eternal return emerge. Everything is encoded in parables and acts like a religious treatise. Nietzsche himself once referred to it as his fifth gospel. The work is intended as a counter-religion. It thrives on allusions to Christian dogma and proclaims a new Dionysian philosophy in dithyrambic form.

"How would you behave, they ask, if a demon asked you to consider the perspective of eternal return?" This begs the question, "What if I accept this thought? Will it kill me or straighten me up?" Whoever affirms life, means Kaulbach with Nietzsche, will not be frightened by the thought. Does this perspective correspond to the need for meaning of a free spirit and at the same time means loving consent - amor fati - to the eternal cycle of being, however difficult it may be to endure. Those who agree to the idea of ​​eternal return do not make their existence easy for themselves, because they accept the painful moments without contradiction and, moreover, affirm them in their infinite return. This attitude demonstrates independence from the giving of meaning through being, is Dionysian saying yes to the world, to life even in its hardest forms, and must in no way be confused with a "good endurance" in the vicissitudes of life. Nietzsche, however, has not spoken the word to any fun society, nor would he have pleaded for life extension, it was about using the now, the moment with all his and his own possibilities.

Nietzsche saw suffering as a necessary component on the way to the highest happiness and was of the opinion that one could not reach happiness without suffering. "Pleasure and pain are twins, and with Homer's happiness in your soul you are also the creature most capable of suffering under the sun."

Volker Gerhardt comments on this: "In the biblical style of proclamation, the" superman "and the" will to power "are taught; the idea of ​​the" eternal return of the same "is revealed like a religious message. Nietzsche tries to found a new faith."

His categorical imperative: You should live the moment in such a way that it can return to you without horror! You shall! 'Da capo' can call! 'Amor fati' is his magic formula.

We have no other choice, so Nietzsche, than the tragic affirmation of the eternal return of the same, of an eternal becoming without finality and progress. An otherworldly and supposedly true world was only invented by theologians out of necessity. Recognize the necessity and submit to it, just do it, according to Nietzsche, dignity, spirit and greatness of the human being. Only the ability to suffer is the criterion for viability. Nietzsche's prose, wrote Jacob Burckhardt, "possesses the religious accent of the apostle" and Lou Salomé calls Nietzsche a "seeker of God" in her review of life.

With amusement, Nietzsche quotes the verse of Jesus in Luther's translation: `` If you don't become like the little children, you won't get into the kingdom of heaven '' to add: `` But we don't even want to go to the kingdom of heaven: we have become men - that's how we want it Earth kingdom. Saying 'Dear God' would be the last thing for Zarathustra. It would be a return to childlike naivete, reprehensible to the strong, despicable to the critic, unthinkable to the superman

In the "Twilight of the Idols" he is again concerned with refuting Christianity in terms of its spiritual-historical prerequisites and effects. In the "Antichrist" the philosopher strikes a final blow. Here he lets his aggressiveness run its course. The old objections are repeated, but the tone has become more polemical. But there are also harmonizing chords in that mystical and romantic key that are characteristic of Nietzsche's entire origins: "The 'Kingdom of Heaven' is a state of the heart - not something that stands above the earth or comes after death. The whole concept of natural death is absent in the gospel. The kingdom of God is nothing to be expected, it has no yesterday and no day after tomorrow, it will not come in a thousand years - it is an experience of one heart; it is everywhere, it is nowhere. . "

Anyone who breaks out such thoughts and declares Nietzsche to be the type of the modern atheist close to God must not neglect the overall tenor of his statements about Christianity about it. Nietzsche's immoralism remains in extreme opposition to Christian ideas until the end. In the "Antichrist" Nietzsche, incidentally, describes it as a lack of decency and self-respect that the Kaiser, Bismarck and their generals - antichrists through and through - profess themselves to be Christians.

Nietzsche's philosophy was a criticism of culture and an attack on Christianity. But what has become of his attempt to create a dawn without God and Church with limitless free people, with the superman who only belongs to the earth and nature? Was Nietzsche able to redeem his claim?

"I contradict like never has been contradicted and am nevertheless the opposite of a nay-saying spirit. I am a happy ambassador like no one has ever been. I know tasks of such a magnitude that the term for them has so far been missing, only from me there are hope again "he wrote in" Ecce homo ". In vain, however, he tried to conjure up and get into what he was not and could not be in his nature. In the end he clung to the promise of his own philosophy.

He wanted to fill the space of the religious with this-sidedness and culture, no one is up to this task. Thomas Mann said in this context: "With a mixture of awe and compassion one faces this attempt and its failure."

There are authors who see Nietzsche's eventual catastrophe as the final act in which the devil demands his wages, and who wrote that Nietzsche's Zarathustra must have broken old tablets and erected new tablets, but nothing was written on them. Logically, they rated Nietzsche's collapse as God's punishment. Some crazy Nietzsche disciples, on the other hand, saw Nietzsche's mental breakdown as a kind of transfiguration.

Theology's attitude has also contributed to some confusion. For a long time, most Catholic theologians were essentially content with throwing their anathema at Nietzsche's sentences and dealing with them by pointing out their "pathological" character or showing them to be the reverse of Christian theses. Theologians often tried primarily to refute him and to prove that Nietzsche was wrong, but hardly anyone tried to understand him. Also, some of her arguments with him remained very superficial. Some have only adopted his hostility towards Christianity in the language and do not know what his actually philosophical motives are. Both the popularization of Nietzsche and the theology's purely apologetic defensive stance against Nietzsche - were of little use in clarifying the problem. The popularization brought with it an extraordinary coarsening of Nietzsche's ideas. From what was expressed by Nietzsche as the fruit of the highest spiritual tension and consuming passions in the form of critical knowledge, thrown theses, historical ideas, psychological insights, the thick, anti-Christian and anti-church slogans with which people and groups are left of various kinds lead them to fight against church circles and Christian beliefs. This struggle is not only based on a shortened understanding of Nietzsche's, but the struggle on his part led retrospectively to a shortening of Nietzsche's ideas, in that only certain sentences of his objections to church and Christianity could be used effectively for propaganda purposes, while others proved to be unsuitable.

Friedrich Georg Jünger wrote: "Nietzsche called out into the room with a voice that was too loud that the old God had died, with a voice in which there was an eavesdropping, whether a call, an echo was not coming back from the room." In the end, in the midst of the premonitions of death, he consoled himself with the conviction that he had done his life's work. Nietzsche apparently furtively cherished the hope that those who only look for untruth in everything and are on the trail of lies will eventually come across a saving ground of positive life experience.

Whether he really wanted to get away from Christianity is still the question, because Nietzsche himself expressed the wish in a letter to Overbeck, "that everything should be different from what I understand and that someone would make my 'truths' unbelievable to me "

"Sometimes I long to have a secret conference with you (Overbeck) and Jacob Burckhardt, more to ask how you can get around this need than to tell you news. I hold up the picture of Dante and Spinoza, which one have understood better the lot of loneliness. Admittedly, their way of thinking, opposed to mine, was one that allowed loneliness to be endured; and in the end, for all those who somehow had a God for company, that was not at all what I know as loneliness. My life consists in the wish that everything may be different from the way I understand it; and that someone will make my 'truths' unbelievable. "

"Instruct me, I will gladly remain silent!" exclaimed Nietzsche. /
"If I am wrong, let me know! /
How sweet are honest, straight words! /
But what does Rüg prove to me from your mouth? /
Do you intend to only reprimand words? /
Is only for the wind what despair means? /
You throw your ticket over an orphan yourself,
You'd sell your own friend off. "

Nietzsche obviously did not get rid of God. He still feels the aftermath of faith. His strong influence by Christian thoughts and ideals is unmistakable. In the deepest depths of his soul he (Emanuel Hirsch) was unable to conquer the Christian image of pure love surrendering as the highest manifestation of human-personal life; he secretly believed in it - probably unacknowledged and certainly against his will. For Nietzsche, the Christian image of man in the form shaped by Luther remains decisive. Hirsch said: "Nietzsche's ethical judgment about people was determined for life by the sharply pointed pessimism of the Lutheran doctrine of original sin. If he renounces the terms guilt and atonement, it happens because he renounces wanting to make people different, than he has now become. " To take people as they are, to affirm them in their being.

In the estate of "Zarathustra" it says: "I have lived out the entire contradiction of a religious nature. I know the devil and his perspective for God." Asks Ulrich Beer, God-the-devil can still give it to an areligious person!

Anyone who, like Nietzsche, interprets man and the world exclusively under the contrast of Dionysus and the crucified one seems to be more inclined to an interpretation of life that is ultimately still religiously motivated than to leave it behind indifferently. The antichrist Nietzsche obviously failed to say goodbye to Christianity, despite assertions to the contrary. He probably never really got rid of the thought of a possible return home. The following note was found in his estate: "Failure to come to terms with Christianity." Shortly after the outbreak of his illness, he signed his letters with "Dionysus" or "The Crucified". "Dionysus versus the crucified; there you have the opposite." Once he wrote - as it were the signature of a surrender: "Christ on the cross - the most sublime symbol, still."

Is Nietzsche in his "truths" - or were they just errors again in the end? - broken? Perhaps it is indeed an illusion to believe that we can do without so-called "truths" altogether. Perhaps it would indeed be more humane and advisable to leave the average person to speak to Nietzsche "in the indifference of his ignorance and, as it were, hanging in dreams on the back of a tiger."

We know nothing and need God or religion if we cannot endure this state of ignorance and indifference in the world towards us.

The sick Nietzsche asked his mother, with whom he occasionally went to church, to sing for him chorales from an old chorale book or to read psalms from the Bible. When the church bells rang in Sunday, it became quiet and reverent.

But let's hear for ourselves what his mother writes to Overbeck about her son on June 7th, 1890 "He plays a little every day, sometimes his small compositions or chorales from an old chorale book. In general, the religious mood is increasing with him claiming that he also told me on Pentecost, when we were sitting very still on the veranda, where I have an old Bible lying, that he had studied the whole Bible in Turin and made a thousand notes when he animated me, this and that Psalm or there and reading the chapter to him, and I expressed my admiration where he was so knowledgeable about the Bible. "

Of course, one should not draw any conclusions from this as to a change if he had been returned to the world as healthy, as it actually seemed for a while. But judged from a depth psychological perspective, the incidents described by Nietzsche's mother are by no means irrelevant.

Because of his illness, Nietzsche had no way or opportunity to be forgiving or to make compromises at the end of his life. But probably, if he had lived the final years of his life in sane health and died that way, he would have had no reason to take back an iota of his charges. He hoped, however, that someone could convince him that he was wrong and that everything was completely different from what he saw.

In the last year of his thinking, Nietzsche spoke of the work to come, which would bring "the subsequent sanction and justification of my whole being (an eternally problematic being for a hundred reasons"). He was unable to make it, but, according to Jaspers, we would do him injustice if we forgot this word from him from the last year of his thinking.

Above all, some authors have had in mind the dubious consequences of Nietzsche's philosophy, or rather the consequences of his diagnosis, his analysis of time. If God disappears completely, if the question of justification falls back on people, then attempts can be made to completely get used to questions about God and the meaning of life. The questionable nature of man's relationship to himself and the world would then be rationalized away. Technical, political and economic questions would arise from it. Admittedly: Somehow there are still values ​​like the values ​​of freedom, justice, well-being, solidarity, which are founded and summarized in the concept of human dignity. This is actually just an idea in a world without God protected by no natural but only social agreement. For Nietzsche, on the other hand, the idea of ​​human dignity is something that one first has to acquire through work on oneself, through self-creation. Only self-creation establishes the rank and dignity of the person. The insight into the pseudo-character of every truth, the insight that the world and life itself are without any recognizable meaning, that all previous meaningfulnesses have been highly contestable human achievements and that it is all the more important for man to live his life in To master a world that is senseless in itself, these are trains of thought that determine Nietzsche's late work and that should ultimately overwhelm most people, because the question is whether the human species without a belief, be it belief in God or in the Reason can flourish in life.

A legitimate objection to Nietzsche's philosophy comes from Jörg Splett, a Catholic theologian. He refuses to regard everything as pure setting, such as friendship, love, and faith. In addition, contrary to Nietzsche's opinion, the will to live is inherent in even Christians, provided that one understands life as love and affirmation of personal community. Then one could even criticize and change the will to power in oneself and others and need not stop at Nietzsche's hopeless interpretation. In particular, according to a further objection by Splett, Christ's message is "by no means the mere wish-fulfillment of the weak". Perhaps, we should defend not so much God but above all mankind against Nietzsche, "encouraged by God's unequivocal yes to him in Jesus Christ."

Jaspers, on the other hand, argues that, unlike Kierkegaard, Nietzsche never bothered about sublime constructions of thought in theology. His struggle against Christianity was driven by Christian impulses with the loss of Christian content. But he did not want to stop at nihilism, but rather to gain a completely new origin.

Georg Simmel also said that Nietzsche was unable to understand the transcendence of Christianity. "It can't be a god, he says, because if he existed, how could I stand not being God." Ulrich Beer, on the other hand, claims, and certainly rightly, that Nietzsche was gifted with a sensitive, suicidal existential religiosity. He suffered from being deeply existential in the bonds of Christianity. His criticism was a struggle to be and not to be.

What is undisputed, however, is that religion requires reflection precisely because it is constantly exposed to the danger of evading progressive justification as experience progresses.In a comparable way, Nietzsche could keep the reflection process going on a culture that has grown old with religion. Through him Christianity has gained a new radical awareness of its roots and a new courage to exist. Nietzsche's criticism of the flattening of Christianity shocked some in the church and theology and triggered some movements.

Nietzsche acted primarily as a stimulator, aggressor and provocateur of faith and theology. It was more of an incentive and a challenge than a guide. Its positive meaning lies in the fact that he has emphatically pointed out discrepancies to the church and posed the question, which is the eternal question of Christian repentance: Are you what you are supposed to be before God and what you claim to be? Nietzsche forces Christianity to reconsider and prepares a new possibility for Christianity and Christianity. The church of the late nineteenth century (Benz), which overlooked the discrepancy between its claim to be the Church of Jesus Christ and its questionable reality, was undoubtedly partly to blame for Nietzsche. At a time when the prophetic spirit of self-examination was flagging in the Church, the Antichrist Nietzsche had to take over the office of prophet. The Church will produce a thousand new Nietzsches if it does not allow itself to be pointed out by Nietzsche himself to this discrepancy and if it does not take its guilt to Nietzsche as an occasion for self-knowledge and repentance and let him say that original Christianity was not a belief, it was a "practice of life" that is "still possible today."

Nietzsche worked indirectly as a penitential preacher and prophet. He has robbed Christianity of the convenience of withdrawing behind the traditional formulas and definitions of beliefs and integrating them externally into modern life with the help of an artful interpretation that ignores all contradictions and sounds good. He has challenged the Church for a new realization of the Gospel. He takes away from Christianity the excuse that Christianity is a doctrine or an attitude by showing that the original gospel was a unity of knowledge and life, that being a Christian is about the realization of a certain life and form of piety.

The "Antichrist" dealt the cheap Christianity the most violent blow by showing that this Christianity is incapable of fulfilling the original form of Christian life, but at most comes to a historical form of the theological interpretation of the original Gospel to reproduce. The Antichrist thus unwittingly becomes the teacher of a discipleship of Christ, which the church is constantly in danger of suppressing out of weakness or ease. The "murderer of God" or "nihilist" appears unwittingly as a prophet of a new possibility for Christianity, which the church has often enough preferred to hide for fear of its uncomfortable consequences. In uncovering a major danger of the "theological lie" at its roots, Nietzsche is forcing Christians to be truthful.

Karl Barth asks: Is Nietzsche even the opponent of Christianity he appears to be? Must he not rather be mistaken for an unhappy lover of the Christian gospel who "has become a rediscoverer of original Christianity?" Or does his last word remain the atheism of Schopenhauer, who understands the world and man in terms of a radical this-sidedness? Was he a happy ambassador, "a founder of religion who wanted to redeem humanity from the senselessness of human life, which spread after the collapse of all binding religious, ethical and aesthetic convictions by promising a new sin: a sanctification of life in spite of it the hopeless mixture of the great and the terrible - a Dionysian humanity that believes in the tragedy of life and brings "a kind of deification of the body." Or was he just a "Desperado" who with his attempt to re-establish morality and the foundation of a new religion failed? "

Ernst Bertram again said: Nietzsche was "in a secret, parodistic and paradoxical way Christian" and "one of the greatest phenomena in the history of Nordic Christianity".

Nietzsche was one of the most resolute opponents of Christianity in the critical and constructive sense of the word. His statements were of unprecedented force and sharpness, but also of a high power of revelation, so that they often help to read Christianity again. Reading Nietzsche is also rewarding for Christians. The preaching of the mad man, his question: where is God going? became, for example, the impetus for the Christian existential philosopher Gabriel Marcel's search for the salvation of human existence in the "broken world".

No theologian today can ignore Nietzsche. Without Nietzsche's criticism of the flattening and slackening of Christianity in the 19th century, dialectical theology and the associated turning away from cultural Protestantism would probably not have existed. His call to remain faithful to the earth, which reminds us of the responsibility of Christians for creation that has been neglected for so long, is extremely topical. But also the idea of ​​"distant love", which Nietzsche contrasts with neighborly love, has only become really explosive today from an ecological point of view and from the point of view of responsibility towards children and grandchildren, the poor and oppressed in the rest of the world.

Zarathustra: `` Your love of neighbor is your bad love for yourself ... It is those who are further away who pay for your love for your neighbor; and if there are five of you together, a sixth must always die

Nietzsche's questions and comments remain burning inquiries; he is the sting not only for writers, heralds and theologians, but for all of us.

  • Ulrich Beer: A fight for God. Tragic prophet: At the abyss of nothingness, the opponent of Christianity saw a time that made man the measure of all things. In: German General Sunday Gazette from August 18, 2000
  • Ernst Benz: Nietzsche's Ideas on the History of Christianity, Stuttgart 1938
  • Eugen Biser (ed.): Nietzsche for Christians, Freiburg (Brsg.) 1983
  • Dieter Henke: God and grammar. Nietzsche's Critique of Religion. Pfullingen 1981
  • Karl Jaspers: Nietzsche and Christianity. Hamelin 1947
  • Peter Köster: The forbidden philosopher. Studies on the beginnings of the Catholic reception of Nietzsche in Germany 1890-1918), Berlin-New York 1998
  • Martin Pernet: Christianity in the life of the young Nietzsche. Opladen 1989
  • Georg Simmel: The religion. Kant and Goethe. Schopenhauer and Nietzsche. Frankfurt / Main 1955

(As part of a series of events initiated by the "Open Church, Arnsberg" team, I gave a lecture on the subject of "Nietzsche and Christianity" on May 7, 2002 in the Arnsberg Church of the Resurrection, which was based on the important basic ideas of the above article.)