Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Nietzsche - The Only Honest Atheist.

A friend sent this to me. It’s by Joel McDurmon.

“When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands. Christianity presupposes that man does not know, cannot know, what is good for him. Christian morality is a command; its origin is transcendent; it is beyond all criticism, all right to criticism; it has truth only if God has truth — it stands or falls with faith in God.” Friedrich Nietzsche “Twilight of the Idols,” The Portable Nietzsche, ed. and trans. Walter Kaufman (New York: Penguin Books, 1976), 515–6.

The point — completely lost on modern atheists — is that when you strike down Christianity, Christian morality necessarily goes with it. Nietzsche candidly professed this, as did his earlier French counterpart Marquis de Sade: no God, no moral imperatives; no “thou shalt,” and no “thou shalt not.” Only, “I will.”
But modern atheists have not only ignored this logical conclusion, they have actually attempted to attack Christianity in the name of Christian morality, calling the Christian God cruel, bloodthirsty, racist, sadomasochistic, etc. Richard Dawkins’ now famous book begins an early chapter with such accusations and much more. Whence the moral outrage? See Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2006), 31.

Nietzsche wrote the above as a commentary on the English writer George Eliot, decrying her clinging to morality despite her rejection of God. In fact, according to some accounts, and just as Dawkins, she attacked Christianity in the name of morality, calling the faith “immoral.” Nietzsche spies the inconsistency and condemns her (and thus Dawkins) as a weak, effeminate, and illogical atheist. He writes: “G. Elliot: They are rid of the Christian God and now believe all the more firmly that they must cling to Christian morality. This is an inconsistency: we do not wish to hold it against little moralistic females à la Eliot. In England [then and now, apparently] one must rehabilitate oneself after every little emancipation from theology by showing in a veritably awe-inspiring manner what a moral fanatic one is. That is the penance they pay there. We others hold otherwise.… ”Friedrich Nietzsche, “Twilight of the Idols,” The Portable Nietzsche, 515.

I could not help but think of today’s little rosy-cheeked moralist, Dawkins, preaching against the cosmic bully of the Old Testament, and denouncing the extremes of religion — all the while unaware that he must have the morality of Christendom under his feet (and his audience’s feet) in order to denounce those extremes.

Nietzsche blows up the charade: “When people actually believe that they know “intuitively” what is good and evil, when they therefore suppose that they no longer require Christianity as the guarantee of morality, we merely witness the effects of the dominion of the Christian value judgment and an expression of the strength and depth of this dominion: such that the origin of morality has been forgotten, such that the very conditional character of its right to existence is no longer felt.” Friedrich Nietzsche, “Twilight of the Idols,” The Portable Nietzsche, 516.

For this reason — for his fearless and relentless consistency — I love reading Nietzsche. The arch-atheist — the honest, consistent atheist — foils all the prominent modern atheists. He knows and admits that Dawkins’ moral indignation arises from the very God he denounces. Nietzsche knows that such moral fire only expresses the prior power and dominion of Christianity. Nietzsche knows that moral indignation itself is borrowed capital from Christendom.

Unlike Dawkins, however, Nietzsche refused to keep pretending. Nietzsche had the intellect to see the connection, and the guts to admit the outcome of his world-view.

Modern atheism, apparently, has neither. For them, Christian society provides them enough comfort to enjoy the peace and tolerance of Christian rules while denying the existence of the Rule-giver. For them, this contradiction regarding morality is not a problem, simply because they refuse to admit it. Well, “this point has to be exhibited again and again,” and I don’t mind letting Nietzsche do so for us.

3 comments:

PersonalFailure said...

You are missing the point there. Christian morality boils down to "god says it's good, it's good." Dashing infants heads against the rocks? If god said so, okay. Necessarily, an atheist would reject that sort of morality. Christianity does not own the concepts of not killing, not stealing and not lying.

The rules about not killing, not stealing and not lying are common across all cultures, not just christian ones. In fact, they were common in Native American cultures long before the Europeans ever arrived in the Americas, bringing their bibles with them.

Christian morality is the domain solely of Christians, to be sure. Morality, however, is not.

Makarios said...

You are missing the point there. Christian morality boils down to "god says it's good, it's good." Dashing infants heads against the rocks? If god said so, okay."

Because this is in print I just want to remind that nothing I’m saying here contains snark :-) Not even if I put it in CAPS.

Having said that I think that perhaps it’s you who has missed an important point. I’m not saying that other people can’t or don’t have moral standards or even certain behaviours they consider moral obligations. Sometimes these people even stumble upon morals and values that coincide with those of their Creator.

However, OBJECTIVE morals, values and duties can only come from an OBJECTIVE source; all else is relative or selective according to the whims of society or the desires of the individual.

Love is objectively good or right.

Discrimination (not discriminating thought but discrimination)is objectively bad or wrong.

Kindness and mercy are objectively good and right.

Many "bad" people have been kind on occasion. I'm told Hitler was kind to his dogs. That's doesn't make his kindness to his dogs wrong.

Many "good" people have done unkind things, like cheating on their spouses. That doesn't make their cheating good.

We know from our interactions with other people that objective morals, values and obligations DO exist. We know, and we know absolutely when someone does “wrong” to us.

Just as physical laws are fully realised in the physical world, objective moral laws are fully realised in Jesus and Father God.

As I stated above, our daily interactions with others shows we believe without doubt that objective moral order is as real and independent of our recognition as is the natural order of things. Our perceptions of natural and moral laws are givens of our experience.

As you probably know, “If God says it’s good, then it’s good” is referring to the Euthyphro dilemma and is in no way a Christian teaching. Rather, from a Christian perspective, objective moral Goodness and Obligation are based on God’s character. God's love is such that He died for you, so you would have the oportunity to avoid eternal separation from Him. and He did this knowing that in this date you would be cursing Him and those who love HIm.

Therefore, God’s commands are not ARBITRARY, for they are the inescapable expression of His Just and Loving nature.

And, since our moral obligations are grounded in the Divine commands, moral values and duties do not exist INDEPENDENT of God.

“Christianity does not own the concepts of not killing, not stealing and not lying.”

No, but without God those concepts are nothing but “good” ideas. And as we all know, many people who exist in a culture within a culture and sometimes even in a culture within THAT culture disagree with what you and I believe to be a good idea.

Some people believe very strongly that stealing in order to feed their families is fine. Drug cartels believe very strongly that murder is a good thing if it allows them to carry on their business. And as is becoming quite clear, in a secular world, Might really does equal Right.

“The rules about not killing, not stealing and not lying are common across all cultures, not just christian ones. In fact, they were common in Native American cultures long before the Europeans ever arrived in the Americas, bringing their bibles with them.”

Yes but there was still plenty of killing and stealing. Listen, Failure. I am NOT saying that you aren’t a highly moral person (whatever that means). I’m just saying that without Christianity and the God upon which Christianity owes it’s very existence, any ideas about morality apart from Creator God are just that - ideas, desires, perhaps even righteous goals. But that’s all they are. As Neitzsche said, apart from Creator God, there is simply no basis from which to objectively judge anything as being right or wrong. It’s simply becomes, what do I like and can I convince a lot of people to like the same thing.

dorian said...

i try and take a simple route to all things and that includes the meaning of morality. morality is essentially what we think is right or wrong, according to principles we uphold. actions of kindness and compassion are good and right. actions that threaten the well-being of all living things are wrong.

thanks for commenting on our site, come visit us again.

dorian
http://tothewire.wordpress.com/