The Anti-Christ

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Lausten
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The Anti-Christ

Post by Lausten » Sun Mar 31, 2013 6:23 pm

I got one of those fancy reader apps for my phone so I can read electronically published books. Not the Kindle kind, the kind you can get for free. Some kind people who think knowledge is important have taken the time to make e versions of some of the great books of the past. Just for the heck of it, I thought I’d try out Nietzsche’s The Anti-Christ. I’ve been getting pretty tired of reading anti-theology, but this one turned out to be worth it. Nietzsche is known for being incoherent at times, but this one really flows. It does that rare combining of philosophy and history, showing just how and when culture shifted.

As I read, the argument seemed very new, but it is also familiar, so it may be simply his presentation that is unique. He uses familiar themes of Christians, and Jews before them, creating a God that tells us that we are flawed, tells us to hate our own lustful feelings, but we should love the one that created us that way. Less familiar are his analyses of just when these ideas were introduced and how the gospels were used in the centuries that followed to develop this theology.

I’m not sure if I can appreciate this book because of all the study that I have done before it, or if this is a perfect place for someone to start. In his own introduction he says, “This book belongs to the very few, perhaps to no one yet living.” That was in 1888, so perhaps the book belongs to us. Either his ideas are completely integrated into everyday atheism now and this is just a confirmation, or this book’s time has come.

Soon after writing this, he had a breakdown, and not long after that he died. His works passed under the care of his sister, who did some editing, and without the author with us anymore, we can’t ask for clarifications. If he had the ability to speak, debate and use communication technology like Richard Dawkins does today, who knows how these ideas might have spread.

I think it is easier for books that finish something, to be lost to history. Unlike evolution, that needed working out, needed more study and discussion, so we keep discussing it. Unfortunately that includes people bringing up outdated arguments. Nietzsche just killed God. There wasn’t much left to say.

In this book, he tells how Judaism destroyed reality. The stories that made it into the Bible were just another collection of fairy tales and laws that would have eventually fallen out of favor, just like every other religion before them, then they took the fear of death and our sometimes uncomfortable relationships with our own feelings and turned them on their head. They said those things aren’t real. They said to stop exploring how your bodies work and made up fake things to study, like the soul. Isaiah codified the God who punished for disobedience and promised rewards for compliance.

As that system started to weaken, after their temple had been destroyed and when they were fed up with theologians, Jesus took them on, but left them with a “God within”, where everyone is God, with that, you can fend off any priest and say God has been revealed to you. The spin offs started right away, first the Eastern Orthodox, then multiple Popes, then Luther.

I’d be interested in any commentaries on this if anyone knows of a good review or follow-up.

Nietzsche pondered what would come next, now we have Chopras and Oprahs, telling us we have the power over our own chemistry. Since Nietzsche, the liberal Christians set themselves apart from the Westboro Baptists, saying God is love, and the fundamentalists say they aren’t part of some corrupt power structure. The Catholics say they are better than everybody. They all set themselves apart from the rest but they all fall short of explaining just where they stand. In fact they even set themselves apart from their earlier traditions. For example my formerly beloved liberal branch of the United Methodists has very little to say about their founder predicting an apocalypse. By this constant recreating themselves, they have survived.
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nmblum88
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Re: The Anti-Christ

Post by nmblum88 » Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:28 pm

Just a noet: Some people have Chopras and Oprahs whose words and products they take as intimations of the realities by which the world works, and the way ideas are disseminated and applied before they are either replaced by other ideas or ...become part of the human dialogue.
Which is to say those things that are tested, tried, and provide evidence of their efficacy..
So while the Chopras and Oprahs are repellent, they are meaningless in the long term.
They don't do anything really, to challenge the idea that there appears (on the evidence) to be no preternatural influence in the existence of the universe.... which is to say no fate, no reward, no punishment.

And one can really say the same for Nietzsche ... his view of the world was shocking for its time, and survives well as a literary and philosophical effort..
But in order to indicate that a world without the ministrations of a god, stern, benevolent, murderous or loving toward man and/or nature is morally doomed, is only meaningful for those who believed that a god (or gods) that had ever really had any tangible effect on man, our natures, our births, deaths, how man fares in his environment.

Or to put it another way, in order to have an ant-Christ with the power to actually effect a world, there would also have to be a meaningful, for all of mankind, Christ.

In other words, just to make it clear... Nietzsche is fascinating to read, for the high "decibel" level of the musings and the message, and for the insights into the Teutonic character as it developed (especially in the post-Reformation) to impact on the events, the history of the 20th Century.
Historically it is not entirely unfair to say that there is a line, perhaps exaggerated, perhaps not, between Nietzsche and the idea of the Thousand Year Old Reich, but in a sense, only after the fact of the 13 year old Reich.
But worrying about his dire predictions, particularly for Western culture and sensibilities in the absence of God as Father, are no more meaningful than Oprah's screaming on behalf of our "spirits" and Chopra looking solemn and wise on behalf of capitalism and the meaningful life with his product line, are more or less all the same thing...

NMB
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Your fanciful card games, movie sojourns and exciting overseas trips, that all take place within the four walls of an aged care retirement home, do not suggest your own children offered you the care, I gave my parents."

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Lausten
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Re: The Anti-Christ

Post by Lausten » Mon Apr 01, 2013 3:32 pm

I can’t quite get that Oprah and Nietzsche belong in the same category, not even more or less. She has tapped into the zeitgeist and holds out the microphone while others express it. She just encourages that expression and claims it is important. She seems to believe it herself, and they just feed off each other’s enthusiasm.

Nietzsche defined the culture, saw its roots and its problems. That he “worried” about what would happen in the absence of religion does not equate him with those who worried about the godless and reacted by promoting the myth. Like many before and sense, he saw the connection with religion and morality. He saw it as enforcing whatever the leaders decided morality was instead of the believer’s belief that it came from the divine. But he agreed that there needed to be morals, and a way to pass them on.

Maybe that’s the sticking point. I don’t believe that everyone should be left to their own devices. If everyone has to go through the rediscovery of the history of philosophy and reach their own version of the Golden Rule, we’ll never get anything else done. I’ve had enough experience with the mentally ill to know that everyone is NOT entitled to their opinion. Some people should be very limited in their freedom to speak. I’m not just talking about the crazy guy on a soapbox either. I’m quite happy to have started my working life at about the time harassment laws were taking shape and to be working somewhere that I have some recourse for the type of abuse leaders of all kinds, religious or otherwise, have gotten away with in the past.

Or maybe I’m missing your point. It wouldn’t be the first time.
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Re: The Anti-Christ

Post by Lausten » Tue Apr 02, 2013 3:18 pm

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/frans_de_ ... e_atheist/
This could be germaine. I'll get back to you after I've listened to it.
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