There is a second sense of nihilism that appears as an outgrowth of the first that Nietzsche appeals to in his critique of values. It contends that not only does an active, pious, acknowledgment of a divinity foster nihilism, but also, the disingenuous worship of a deity that has been replaced in the life man by science, too, breeds a passive nihilism. Christianity Nietzsche conceives the first variety of nihilism, that fostered through active worship, as pernicious due to its reinforcement of a fundamental attitude that denies life. Throughout his life Nietzsche argued the contemporary metaphysical basis for belief in a deity were merely negations of, or tried to deny, the uncertainties of what is necessarily a situated human existen... ... middle of paper ... ...if a man is sincere and in full possession of his faculties, he will never wish to have it over again, but rather than this, he will much prefer absolute annihilation” (WWI 589). Schopenhauer's pessimism has some roots in our inability to adequately satisfy our wants.
He sets up a fictitious society in which Christianity is disregarded and disdained, but nominal Christianity remains. The author writes to defend this nominal Christianity from abolition. The arguments that the author uses, which are common knowledge in his time, if applied to Christianity in Swift's time would be quite dangerous allegations. Indeed, the reasons that Swift gives for the preservation of the fictitious Christianity are exactly what he sees wrong with the Christianity practiced in his time. By applying Swift's satirical argument for the preservation of this fictitious religion to that which was currently practiced, Swift asserts that their Christianity served ulterior motives, both for the government and for the people.
In his argument, Pope draws on the idea that “new atheists hold that Christian morality proposes an impossibly high norm of love” (Only Religion Can Teach Morality and Ethics). Furthermore, stating “atheists regard Christian love as a completely unrealistic form of altruism” (Only Religion Can Teach Morality and Ethics), then going on to say the critiques apply to sectarian Christians. On the other hand, Kurtz says religious morality is contradictory and, citing evangelical capitalism, “values have shifted in favor of wealth” (Atheism Teaches Morality and Ethics). Pope is dreadfully wrong in this. I have never heard an atheist say anything remotely close to what he is arguing.
The radical Enlightenment understanding of religion is the belief that religion in general is harmful for society and that it shouldn’t exist. This belief is shared by people who think that religion should be substituted with a rationale belief system, one that can be reasoned with (Kant, Spinoza, Hume, and Reimarus). Hume, Kant, Spinoza, and Reimarus viewed religion negatively in general and especially disagreed with Christianity. Reimarus believed that the system of religion was actually made and based off of lies and dishonesty. Similarly, Kant thought that religion was just a superstition and held no interest in it.
It was Friedrich Nietzsche who called Christianity a slave morality. How could a religion which is said to teach love of thy neighbor, promote world peace, and avoiding sin be accused of harboring the enslavement of character so feverishly explained by Nietzsche? Many would denounce Nietzsche as an evil crazy person, one whose ideals were in line with the ideals of Nazi Germany. One would be incorrect assuming this of Nietzsche as one would be incorrect to argue that Christianity is not a slave morality. For it is defined as to which constitutes a slave morality that to me in no doubt does it cast that Nietzsche was correct in more ways than one.
The will to the belief in an unconditional and the overvaluation of truth both lead to an age of cynicism where people become more skeptical about the value of illusion as opposed to the Greeks. Nietzsche also emphasizes in his texts that people need to emancipate themselves from the Christian moral tradition to project onto the world certain values of their own making that give rise to a new mythology. In conclusion, the passive acceptance of the Jude-Christian worldview destroys the motivating force behind all human actions, thereby devouring life of myth and beauty.
The whole concept would sound foolish to Nietzsche, in spite of the fact that he recognized asceticism in religion already. Nietzsche believe that those who lived ascetic lives were “surrounded by such a lavish growth of nonsense and superstition” (Nietzsche, Good and Evil, 60) and thus were absurd and achieved nothing. William James believed that asceticism was based in the “general good intention” (James, Varieties, 384) and that it could eliminate evil in the world. James believed that asceticism was over-all useless, but understood it as a way for religious people to eliminate the negativity in their lives. James would have understood Father Lazarus’ ascetic life just the same way.
Nietzsche was a disciple of Schopenhauer, but didn’t agree with his ideal of the Will to Live, but instead the Will to Power. The difference between Schopenhauer’s and Nietzsche’s will is that Nietzsche’s will is life-affirming; and Schopenhauer’s is life-denying. The will to power is to inflict your will onto other, grow into a higher being, and self-preservation. “This is his doctrine of the Will to Power as a goal of life” (Peters, 358). Nietzsche believed that humans are weak; therefore they followed the religion of Christianity to guide them.
Camus uses the theme of religion to show how it truly is absurd. God was created by religious people as a way of giving a sense of fulfillment to a meaningless life. Meursault choses to deny himself of faith because religion only seizes to control others. Camus had said “I don’t believe in reason enough, to believe in a system. What interests me is knowing how we must behave, and more precisely, how to behave when one does not believe in God or reason” (Camus 1965,1427).
He must either deny that rational standards apply to truth or think that the faculty inherently cannot access all truth. Those who read Kierkegaard as an irrationalist in the strongest sense believe he argues that reason cannot function as an adequate standard of truth in general. If Kierkegaard argues purely against reason as a human faculty, however, then the failure of reason lies not in reason itself but in the ability of finite beings. Upon first reading of Concluding Uns... ... middle of paper ... ...egelians, he offers a subjective approach to essential truth that, by virtue of the absurd, grants an individual a passionate relationship with Christ rather than simply a dogmatic adherence to Christian doctrine. His points are incredibly helpful in outlining what it means to be a Christian within an existentialist framework.