Modernity and Nietzsche

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Throughout many centuries philosophers have tried to explain the nature of reality and the order that exists within the universe around us. The purpose of this paper is to first trace the developments that led up to modernity. Next I will react to the claim made by Fredrick Nietzsche that “God is dead” from a Biblical perspective.
Philosophers have attempted to answer that question of what reality is and how to answer the questions that everyone faced. The first philosopher Thales held that water was the source of life and death. This is how the earliest philosophers explained the cycle of life and death that they saw happening all around them. Heraclitus later thought that fire was the prime element, and Democritus believed it to be atoms.
Pythagerous once said that, “reality isn’t captured in the physical world, it lies in the mind.” He thought that everything could be found in numbers. Pariminides simply explained that true reality was found in “the one.” Plato then added the spiritual realm to the equation of true reality. For Plato, true reality existed in the spiritual realm, and the reality that is empirically observed is only a shadow of the spiritual reality. Life’s goal was to escape the physical reality and enter into spiritual reality, although the spiritual realm could be known about through the use of reason. He added that life was bad because it prohibited the soul from reaching the spiritual level, and death was good because it allowed the soul to escape the body.
Aristotle tried to fix the gaps left by Plato’s assessment of reality by saying that the dual nature of reality was to be explained by form and matter. Plato said that achieving form was the goal of matter. Matter was potential; form was fullness of being. Form and matter existed in pure form only in the ideal world; they could never be completely isolated. Everything existed in some sort of cycle that continually went on between form and matter. Life was good only because it was moving closer toward form. Death was bad because it was moving toward matter and the end of the cycle.
Augustine picked up where Plato left off and incorporated his ideas into Christianity. He claimed God was found in the spiritual world, and one could enter that realm by thinking God...

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...n emphasis on the self, and created two different realms in which we could discover truth about the external world. Nietzsche claimed that to know God you would need to find Him through logic. Since the only way to find God was through the modern world was through logic, there was no need for a god in our culture. The only thing we are left with from Nietzsche’s perspective is the will to power. He even went as far as to say that Jews and Christians made up God just so they would feel better about themselves. I believe Nietzsche’s statement to be true. Our society today is based on the individual rather than the community. Now the culture we live in today is said to be “post-modern.” Post modernity is not just relativistic; it is simply a critical response to modernity. As Christians, we must attempt to answer the questions post-modern thinkers are asking from a Biblical response. The best option is not to become part of it, but to transform. Isn’t that what Paul wrote about to the church at Rome? We shouldn’t just buy into the consumer mentality of the day; we must seek to be salt and light in an ever-changing culture.
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