The antichrist by Friedrich Nietzsche



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--I offer a few examples of the sort of thing these petty people have got into their heads--what they have put into the mouth of the Master: the unalloyed creed of "beautiful souls."--

"And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city" (Mark vi, 11)--How evangelical!

"And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea" (Mark ix, 42) .--How  evangelical! --

"And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire; Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched." (Mark ix, 47)15--It is not exactly the eye that is meant.

"Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power." (Mark ix, 1.)--Well lied, lion!16 . . . .

"Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For . . ." (Note of a psychologist. Christian morality is refuted by its fors: its reasons are against it,--this makes it Christian.) Mark viii, 34.--

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." (Matthew vii, l.)17--What a notion of justice, of a "just" judge! . . .

"For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?" (Matthew V, 46.)18--Principle of "Christian love": it insists upon being well paid in the end. . . .

"But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." (Matthew vi, 15.)--Very compromising for the said "father."

"But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew vi, 33.)--All these things: namely, food, clothing, all the necessities of life. An error, to put it mildly. . . . A bit before this God appears as a tailor, at least in certain cases.

"Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets." (Luke vi, 23.)--Impudent rabble! It compares itself to the prophets. . .

"Know yea not that yea are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelt in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple yea are." (Paul, 1 Corinthians iii, 16.)19--For that sort of thing one cannot have enough contempt. . . .

"Do yea not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are yea unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" (Paul, 1 Corinthians vi, 2.)--Unfortunately, not merely the speech of a lunatic. . .

This frightful impostor then proceeds: "Know yea not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?". . .

"Hat not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. . . . Not many wise men after the flesh, not men mighty, not many noble are called: But God hat chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hat chosen the weak things of the world confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hat God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." (Paul, 1 Corinthians i, 20ff.)20 --In order to understand this passage, a first rate example of the psychology underlying every Chandala-morality, one should read the first part of my "Genealogy of Morals": there, for the first time, the antagonism between a noble morality and a morality born of ressentiment and impotent vengefulness is exhibited. Paul was the greatest of all apostles of revenge. . . .

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--What follows, then? That one had better put on gloves before reading the New Testament. The presence of so much filth makes it very advisable. One would as little choose "early Christians" for companions as Polish Jews: not that one need seek out an objection to them . . . Neither has a pleasant smell.--I have searched the New Testament in vain for a single sympathetic touch; nothing is there that is free, kindly, open-hearted or upright. In it humanity does not even make the first step upward--the instinct for cleanliness is lacking. . . . Only evil instincts are there, and there is not even the courage of these evil instincts. It is all cowardice; it is all a shutting of the eyes, a self-deception. Every other book becomes clean, once one has read the New Testament: for example, immediately after reading Paul I took up with delight that most charming and wanton of scoffers, Petronius, of whom one may say what Domenico Boccaccio wrote of Ceasar Borgia to the Duke of Parma: "e  tutto Iesto"--immortally healthy, immortally cheerful and sound. . . .These petty bigots make a capital miscalculation. They attack, but everything they attack is thereby distinguished. Whoever is attacked by an "early Christian" is surely not befouled . . . On the contrary, it is an honour to have an "early Christian" as an opponent. One cannot read the New Testament without acquired admiration for whatever it abuses--not to speak of the "wisdom of this world," which an impudent wind bag tries to dispose of "by the foolishness of preaching." . . . Even the scribes and pharisees are benefitted by such opposition: they must certainly have been worth something to have been hated in such an indecent manner. Hypocrisy--as if this were a charge that the "early Christians" dared to make!--After all, they were the privileged, and that was enough: the hatred of the Chandala needed no other excuse. The "early Christian"--and also, I fear, the "last Christian," whom I may perhaps live to see--is a rebel against all privilege by profound instinct--he lives and makes war for ever for "equal rights." . . .Strictly speaking, he has no alternative. When a man proposes to represent, in his own person, the "chosen of God"--or to be a "temple of God," or a "judge of the angels"--then every other criterion, whether based upon honesty, upon intellect, upon manliness and pride, or upon beauty and freedom of the heart, becomes simply "worldly"--evil in itself. . . Moral: every word that comes from the lips of an "early Christian" is a lie, and his every act is instinctively dishonest--all his values, all his aims are noxious, but whoever he hates, whatever he hates, has real value . . . The Christian, and particularly the Christian priest, is thus a criterion of values.

--Must I add that, in the whole New Testament, there appears but a solitary figure worthy of honour? Pilate, the Roman viceroy. To regard a Jewish imbroglio seriously--that was quite beyond him. One Jew more or less-- what did it matter? . . . The noble scorn of a Roman, before whom the word "truth" was shamelessly mishandled, enriched the New Testament with the only saying that has any value--and that is at once its criticism and its destruction: "What is truth?". . .

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--The thing that sets us apart is not that we are unable to find God, either in history, or in nature, or behind nature--but that we regard what has been honoured as God, not as "divine," but as pitiable, as absurd, as injurious; not as a mere error, but as acrime against life. . . We deny that God is God . . . If any one were to show us this Christian God, we'd be still less inclined to believe in him.--In a formula: deus, qualem Paulus creavit, dei negatio.--Such a religion as Christianity, which does not touch reality at a single point and which goes to pieces the moment reality asserts its rights at any point, must be inevitably the deadly enemy of the "wisdom of this world," which is to say, of science--and it will give the name of good to whatever means serve to poison, calumniate and cry down all intellectual discipline, all lucidity and strictness in matters of intellectual conscience, and all noble coolness and freedom of the mind. "Faith," as an imperative, vetoes science--in praxi, lying at any price. . . . Paul well knew that lying--that "faith"--was necessary; later on the church borrowed the fact from Paul.--The God that Paul invented for himself, a God who "reduced to absurdity" "the wisdom of this world" (especially the two great enemies of superstition, philology and medicine), is in truth only an indication of Paul's resolute determination to accomplish that very thing himself: to give one's own will the name of God, thora--that is essentially Jewish. Paul wants to dispose of the "wisdom of this world": his enemies are the good philologians and physicians of the Alexandrine school--on them he makes his war. As a matter of fact no man can be a philologian or a physician without being also Antichrist. That is to say, as a philologian a man sees behind the "holy books," and as a physician he sees behind the physiological degeneration of the typical Christian. The physician says "incurable"; the philologian says "fraud.". . .



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--Has any one ever clearly understood the celebrated story at the beginning of the Bible--of God's mortal terror of science? . . . No one, in fact, has understood it. This priest-book par excellence opens, as is fitting, with the great inner difficulty of the priest: he faces only one great danger; ergo, "God" faces only one great danger.--

The old God, wholly "spirit," wholly the high-priest, wholly perfect, is promenading his garden: he is bored and trying to kill time. Against boredom even gods struggle in vain.21What does he do? He creates man--man is entertaining. . . But then he notices that man is also bored. God's pity for the only form of distress that invades all paradises knows no bounds: so he forthwith creates other animals. God's first mistake: to man these other animals were not entertaining--he sought dominion over them; he did not want to be an "animal" himself.--So God created woman. In the act he brought boredom to an end--and also many other things! Woman was the second mistake of God.--"Woman, at bottom, is a serpent, Heva"--every priest knows that; "from woman comes every evil in the world"--every priest knows that, too. Ergo, she is also to blame for science. . . It was through woman that man learned to taste of the tree of knowledge.--What happened? The old God was seized by mortal terror. Man himself had been his greatest blunder; he had created a rival to himself; science makes men godlike--it is all up with priests and gods when man becomes scientific!--Moral: science is the forbidden per se; it alone is forbidden. Science is the first of sins, the germ of all sins, the original sin. This is all there is of morality.--"Thou shalt not know"--the rest follows from that.--God's mortal terror, however, did not hinder him from being shrewd. How is one to protect one's self against science? For a long while this was the capital problem. Answer: Out of paradise with man! Happiness, leisure, foster thought--and all thoughts are bad thoughts!--Man must not think.--And so the priest invents distress, death, the mortal dangers of childbirth, all sorts of misery, old age, decrepitude, above all, sickness--nothing but devices for making war on science! The troubles of man don't allow him to think. . . Nevertheless--how terrible!--, the edifice of knowledge begins to tower aloft, invading heaven, shadowing the gods--what is to be done?--The old God invents war; he separates the peoples; he makes men destroy one another (--the priests have always had need of war....). War--among other things, a great disturber of science !--Incredible! Knowledge, deliverance from the priests, prospers in spite of war.--So the old God comes to his final resolution: "Man has become scientific--there is no help for it: he must be drowned!". . . .

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--I have been understood. At the opening of the Bible there is the whole psychology of the priest.--The priest knows of only one great danger: that is science--the sound comprehension of cause and effect. But science flourishes, on the whole, only under favourable conditions--a man must have time, he must have an overflowing intellect, in order to "know." . . ."Therefore, man must be made unhappy,"--this has been, in all ages, the logic of the priest.--It is easy to see just what, by this logic, was the first thing to come into the world :--"sin. . . . The concept of guilt and punishment, the whole "moral order of the world," was set up against science--against the deliverance of man from priests. . . . Man must not look outward; he must look inward. He must not look at things shrewdly and cautiously, to learn about them; he must not look at all; he must suffer . . . And he must suffer so much that he is always in need of the priest.--Away with physicians! What is needed is a Saviour.--The concept of guilt and punishment, including the doctrines of "grace," of "salvation," of "forgiveness"--lies through and through, and absolutely without psychological reality--were devised to destroy man's sense of causality: they are an attack upon the concept of cause and effect !--And not an attack with the fist, with the knife, with honesty in hate and love! On the contrary, one inspired by the most cowardly, the most crafty, the most ignoble of instincts! An attack of priests! An attack of parasites! The vampirism of pale, subterranean leeches! . . . When the natural consequences of an act are no longer "natural," but are regarded as produced by the ghostly creations of superstition--by "God," by "spirits," by "souls"--and reckoned as merely "moral" consequences, as rewards, as punishments, as hints, as lessons, then the whole ground-work of knowledge is destroyed--then the greatest of crimes against humanity has been perpetrated.--I repeat that sin, man's self-desecration par excellence, was invented in order to make science, culture, and every elevation and ennobling of man impossible; the priest rules through the invention of sin.--

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--In this place I can't permit myself to omit a psychology of "belief," of the "believer," for the special benefit of 'believers." If there remain any today who do not yet know how indecent it is to be "believing"--or how much a sign of decadence, of a broken will to live--then they will know it well enough tomorrow. My voice reaches even the deaf.--It appears, unless I have been incorrectly informed, that there prevails among Christians a sort of criterion of truth that is called "proof by power."  Faith makes blessed: therefore it is true."--It might be objected right here that blessedness is not demonstrated, it is merely promised: it hangs upon "faith" as a condition--one shall be blessed because one believes. . . . But what of the thing that the priest promises to the believer, the wholly transcendental "beyond"--how is that to be demonstrated?--The "proof by power," thus assumed, is actually no more at bottom than a belief that the effects which faith promises will not fail to appear. In a formula: "I believe that faith makes for blessedness--therefore, it is true." . . But this is as far as we may go. This "therefore" would be absurdum itself as a criterion of truth.--But let us admit, for the sake of politeness, that blessedness by faith may be demonstrated (--not merely hoped for, and not merely promised by the suspicious lips of a priest): even so, could blessedness--in a technical term, pleasure--ever be a proof of truth? So little is this true that it is almost a proof against truth when sensations of pleasure influence the answer to the question "What is true?" or, at all events, it is enough to make that "truth" highly suspicious. The proof by "pleasure" is a proof of "pleasure--nothing more; why in the world should it be assumed that true judgments give more pleasure than false ones, and that, in conformity to some pre-established harmony, they necessarily bring agreeable feelings in their train?--The experience of all disciplined and profound minds teaches the contrary. Man has had to fight for every atom of the truth, and has had to pay for it almost everything that the heart, that human love, that human trust cling to. Greatness of soul is needed for this business: the service of truth is the hardest of all services.--What, then, is the meaning of integrityin things intellectual? It means that a man must be severe with his own heart, that he must scorn "beautiful feelings," and that he makes every Yea and Nay a matter of conscience!--Faith makes blessed:therefore, it lies. . . .

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The fact that faith, under certain circumstances, may work for blessedness, but that this blessedness produced by an idee fixe by no means makes the idea itself true, and the fact that faith actually moves no mountains, but instead raises them up where there were none before: all this is made sufficiently clear by a walk through a lunatic asylum. Not, of course, to a priest: for his instincts prompt him to the lie that sickness is not sickness and lunatic asylums not lunatic asylums. Christianity finds sickness necessary, just as the Greek spirit had need of a superabundance of health--the actual ulterior purpose of the whole system of salvation of the church is to make people ill. And the church itself--doesn't it set up a Catholic lunatic asylum as the ultimate ideal?--The whole earth as a madhouse?--The sort of religious man that the church wants is a typical decadent; the moment at which a religious crisis dominates a people is always marked by epidemics of nervous disorder; the inner world" of the religious man is so much like the "inner world" of the overstrung and exhausted that it is difficult to distinguish between them; the "highest" states of mind, held up be fore mankind by Christianity as of supreme worth, are actually epileptoid in form--the church has granted the name of holy only to lunatics or to gigantic frauds in majorem dei honorem. . . . Once I ventured to designate the whole Christian system of training22in penance and salvation (now best studied in England) as a method of producing a folie circulaire upon a soil already prepared for it, which is to say, a soil thoroughly unhealthy. Not every one may be a Christian: one is not "converted" to Christianity--one must first be sick enough for it. . . .We others, who have the courage for health and likewise for contempt,--we may well despise a religion that teaches misunderstanding of the body! that refuses to rid itself of the superstition about the soul! that makes a "virtue" of insufficient nourishment! that combats health as a sort of enemy, devil, temptation! that persuades itself that it is possible to carry about a "perfect soul" in a cadaver of a body, and that, to this end, had to devise for itself a new concept of "perfection," a pale, sickly, idiotically ecstatic state of existence, so-called "holiness"--a holiness that is itself merely a series of symptoms of an impoverished, enervated and incurably disordered body! . . . The Christian movement, as a European movement, was from the start no more than a general uprising of all sorts of outcast and refuse elements (--who now, under cover of Christianity, aspire to power)-- It does not represent the decay of a race; it represents, on the contrary, a conglomeration of decadence products from all directions, crowding together and seeking one another out. It was not, as has been thought, the corruption of antiquity, of noble antiquity, which made Christianity possible; one cannot too sharply challenge the learned imbecility which today maintains that theory. At the time when the sick and rotten Chandala classes in the whole imperium were Christianized, the contrary type, the nobility, reached its finest and ripest development. The majority became master; democracy, with its Christian instincts, triumphed . . . Christianity was not "national," it was not based on race--it appealed to all the varieties of men disinherited by life, it had its allies everywhere. Christianity has the rancour of the sick at its very core--the instinct against the healthy, against health. Everything that is well--constituted, proud, gallant and, above all, beautiful gives offence to its ears and eyes. Again I remind you of Paul's priceless saying: "And God hath chosen the weak things of the world, the foolish things of the world, the base things of the world, and things which are despised":23 this was the formula; in hoc signo the decadence triumphed.--God on the cross--is man always to miss the frightful inner significance of this symbol?--Everything that suffers, everything that hangs on the cross, is divine. . . . We all hang on the cross, consequently we are divine. . . . We alone are divine. . . . Christianity was thus a victory: a nobler attitude of mind was destroyed by it--Christianity remains to this day the greatest misfortune of humanity.--

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Christianity also stands in opposition to all intellectual well-being,--sick reasoning is the only sort that it can use as Christian reasoning; it takes the side of everything that is idiotic; it pronounces a curse upon "intellect," upon the superbia of the healthy intellect. Since sickness is inherent in Christianity, it follows that the typically Christian state of "faith" must be a form of sickness too, and that all straight, straightforward and scientific paths to knowledge must be banned by the church as forbidden ways. Doubt is thus a sin from the start. . . . The complete lack of psychological cleanliness in the priest--revealed by a glance at him--is a phenomenon resulting from decadence,--one may observe in hysterical women and in rachitic children how regularly the falsification of instincts, delight in lying for the mere sake of lying, and incapacity for looking straight and walking straight are symptoms of decadence. "Faith" means the will to avoid knowing what is true. The pietist, the priest of either sex, is a fraud because he is sick: his instinct demands that the truth shall never be allowed its rights on any point. "Whatever makes for illness is good; whatever issues from abundance, from super-abundance, from power, is evil": so argues the believer. The impulse to lie--it is by this that I recognize every foreordained theologian.--Another characteristic of the theologian is his unfitness for philology. What I here mean by philology is, in a general sense, the art of reading with profit--the capacity for absorbing facts without interpreting them falsely, and without losing caution, patience and subtlety in the effort to understand them. Philology as ephexis24 in interpretation: whether one be dealing with books, with newspaper reports, with the most fateful events or with weather statistics--not to mention the "salvation of the soul." . . . The way in which a theologian, whether in Berlin or in Rome, is ready to explain, say, a "passage of Scripture," or an experience, or a victory by the national army, by turning upon it the high illumination of the Psalms of David, is always so daring that it is enough to make a philologian run up a wall. But what shall he do when pietists and other such cows from Suabia25 use the "finger of God" to convert their miserably commonplace and huggermugger existence into a miracle of "grace," a "providence" and an "experience of salvation"? The most modest exercise of the intellect, not to say of decency, should certainly be enough to convince these interpreters of the perfect childishness and unworthiness of such a misuse of the divine digital dexterity. However small our piety, if we ever encountered a god who always cured us of a cold in the head at just the right time, or got us into our carriage at the very instant heavy rain began to fall, he would seem so absurd a god that he'd have to be abolished even if he existed. God as a domestic servant, as a letter carrier, as an almanac--man--at bottom, he is' a mere name for the stupidest sort of chance. . . . "Divine Providence," which every third man in "educated Germany" still believes in, is so strong an argument against God that it would be impossible to think of a stronger. And in any case it is an argument against Germans! . . .

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