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Taras Bulba
Thursday, April 15th, 2004, 06:10 PM
In contrast to this, N compares the 'bad', where weakness, sordid contentment, pacifism, moralising virtuousness, and sympathy for the wretched is found.

All these 'bad', slavish features are TYPIFIED by Christianity.

*sigh* Christianity has always been marked by self-denial and self-sacrifice, ideals that were even admired by the Classical thinkers(especially the Stoics). And Christianity has never been pacifist, in fact the first Roman convert to the faith was a soldier. There were no pacifists among the early Christians or the Church fathers. Get your facts straight! :oanieyes



So the direction is clear; the few must fight against all that is 'bad', base, weak and ... Christian.

Yeah and let's just see how far you get with that. You better hope and pray it doesn't turn into a war marked by attrition.

Moody
Thursday, April 15th, 2004, 06:20 PM
*sigh* Christianity has always been marked by self-denial and self-sacrifice, ideals that were even admired by the Classical thinkers(especially the Stoics). And Christianity has never been pacifist, in fact the first Roman convert to the faith was a soldier. There were no pacifists among the early Christians or the Church fathers. Get your facts straight! :oanieyes



Yeah and let's just see how far you get with that. You better hope and pray it doesn't turn into a war marked by attrition.

We know that your own view of Christianity is different to the mainstream, but Nietzsche is not criticising your own view of Christianity but rather Christianity as it has presented itself to the world throughout history.
If you read on you will find that he extends this critique beyond Christianity.
His argument is compelling and thought provoking.

Taras Bulba
Thursday, April 15th, 2004, 06:40 PM
We know that your own view of Christianity is different to the mainstream, but Nietzsche is not criticising your own view of Christianity but rather Christianity as it has presented itself to the world throughout history.

The Christianity I adhere to is the Christianity "as it has presented itself to the world throughout history".



If you read on you will find that he extends this critique beyond Christianity.

I know full well Nietzsche attacked more than Christianity.



His argument is compelling and thought provoking.

I respectfully disagree.
I'm critiquing Nietzsche's mistaken understanding of Christianity and its nature.
I have given a perfectly good outline of Nietzsche's lack of understanding of Christianity and its teachings. Indeed this only confirms my agreement with Nikolai Berdyaev about Nietzsche's so-called "understanding" of Christianity.

Ederico
Thursday, April 15th, 2004, 07:28 PM
[quote]Yeah and let's just see how far you get with that. You better hope and pray it doesn't turn into a war marked by attrition.Are you referring this to Nietzsche, Moody Lawless, or both? Once again Moody's statement was related to Nietzsche's thought. I don't think there is another valid interpretation even though some, including Liberals, have tried to come up with something else. Is there a Christian interpretation of Nietzsche?

Taras Bulba
Friday, April 16th, 2004, 01:04 AM
Are you referring this to Nietzsche, Moody Lawless, or both?

I'm referring to the whole notion put forward by Nietzsche and those who believe it.



Is there a Christian interpretation of Nietzsche?

If you wish I can post some essays and articles that address Nietzsche from a Christian perspective.

Ederico
Friday, April 16th, 2004, 11:28 AM
If you wish I can post some essays and articles that address Nietzsche from a Christian perspective.
Yes please.

Taras Bulba
Friday, April 16th, 2004, 09:10 PM
http://www.cathinsight.com/philosophy/transvaluation.htm

Is a Transvaluation of All Values Possible?
An Exposition and Critical Examination of Nietzschean Ethics

by Mario Derksen

When in the latter half of the nineteenth century the German existentialist Friedrich Nietzsche came on the scene, the philosophical world was about to experience the thoughts of a most unusual thinker. Due to his extreme eccentricity and incongruous writing styles, Nietzsche has become the most misunderstood, misinterpreted, and misquoted philosopher in the history of Western philosophy. He was a “philosopher of masks,” [1] and his philosophical writings are filled with aphorisms, ambiguities, and inconsistencies, revealing a deeply troubled and tormented soul behind his philosophical rhetoric.

Nevertheless, Nietzsche’s thought was quite profound, and the most lasting part of his philosophy was certainly his ethics, in which he proposed a “transvaluation of all values.” It will be the goal of this brief paper to critically analyze and evaluate this project of Nietzsche’s, showing that a transvaluation of values is meaningless and logically impossible, betraying a nihilism which Nietzsche claimed to reject.

Nietzsche’s ethics can best be understood in light of his epistemology, so a few words about his theory of knowledge at first would be in order. For Nietzsche, knowledge is merely a tool which man can put to use to master reality. Far from a Platonic grasping of absolute truth, Nietzsche’s notion of knowledge is simply a process of subjective interpretation. Such interpretation is subjective because it is “a question of reading an interpretation into reality rather than of reading it . . . off . . . reality.”[2] Thus, knowledge loses all traditional meaning, and Nietzsche’s real position discloses itself as one of relativism, or, to be more precise, perspectivism. Truth is not an objective reality which we can discover, but rather is a subjective state of mind which helps us master reality from an individual perspective. As times and places and circumstances change, so does truth. For Nietzsche, this is not a problem since for him truth is not an objective reality. Rather, for him, the “concept of absolute truth is an invention of philosophers. . . .”[3] Truth simply varies with one’s perspective; and it can do so because it is an illusion: “Truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are.”[4] For Nietzsche, all there is is interpretations, but no original text, to speak metaphorically. Statements are only interpretations, which are merely interpretations of other interpretations, and so on, ad infinitum. There is no original text of which the interpretation is an interpretation; there is no reality which could possibly be reflected in our language. Therefore, all statements are a sort of lying: “All ‘truths’ are ‘fictions’; all such fictions are interpretations; and all interpretation are perspectives.”[5] Thus, we have come full circle: truth depends on one’s perspective, according to Nietzsche.

One wonders, then, whether the concept of truth does not become utterly meaningless in Nietzsche. If there is no objective truth, only interpretations, then this certainly applies to what Nietzsche had to say, and it follows that his assertions become more and more devoid of any meaning. In fact, he was quite willing to admit just that: “Let us admit that this, too, would be only an interpretation—and you will be eager to make this objection! Well, all the better!”[6] What does one do with such an admission? Nietzsche was content to say that his own philosophy was but an interpretation of his own creation, a view of things from his own perspective.

Having clarified Nietzsche’s views on knowledge and objective truth, we will now be able to better understand his ethics. In 1888, Nietzsche published his book Twilight of the Idols, in which he exclaimed: “There are altogether no moral facts. Moral judgments agree with religious ones in believing in realities which are no realities. Morality is merely an interpretation of certain phenomena—more precisely, a misinterpretation.”[7] Nietzsche’s works most pertinent to the topic of moral principles are his Beyond Good and Evil, The Will to Power, and The Genealogy of Morals.

Nietzsche had been trained as a philologist, the study of getting to the roots of words and their meanings and discovering their origins. He made use of this system in his study of morality, and in Beyond Good and Evil, he claims that “he has discovered two primary types of morality, ‘master-morality and slave-morality’,”[8] though this distinction “is not meant to be exclusive; no society is purely one or the other and no individual is purely one or the other.”[9]

Master morality is the morality of the noble, of the strong. “For the masters, the good is the noble, the strong, the powerful”[10]—“the epithets are applied to men rather than to actions.”[11] Slave morality, by contrast, “is a morality common to those people who are weak willed, uncertain of themselves, oppressed, and abused. The essence of slave morality is utility.”[12] In slave morality, “[q]ualities such as sympathy, kindness and humility are extolled as virtues.”[13] Nietzsche termed slave morality “herd morality,” because its “moral valuations are expressions of the needs of a herd.”[14] When the “herd,” then, starts imposing its own slave values on others, i.e. on the masters, an illusion is created which makes us believe that the herd values are universal and objective moral principles. This illusion has misled many, so Nietzsche says, and the epitome of this phenomenon in the Western world is Christianity: “The Christian . . . exalts the virtues of the weak, the humble, the poor, the oppressed; . . . because of a hidden rancor and hate of strength, of pride in life, of self-affirmation.”[15] Hence,

Nietzsche maintains . . . that the concept of a uniform, universal and absolute moral system is to be rejected. For it is the fruit of resentment and represents inferior life, descending life, degeneracy, whereas the aristocratic morality represents the movement of ascending life.[16]



To free society from herd-imposed objective moral principles, Nietzsche considers it his task to strip the world of this illusion, to expose these Christian “slave values” for what they are, for the world has bought into this trickery, thinking that the values of the herd are truly objective. Nietzsche, however, emphasizes that not only are these values completely contingent and subjective, they are above all life-denying: “Christianity has reversed concepts of morality and distorted all values.”[17] They are life-denying because they repress life’s instincts, joys, and fullness, so he says. “Das Leben beruhe auf Voraussetzungen, die gegen die Moral sind. Eben deswegen verneine die Moral das Leben” [Life depends upon prerequisites which are against morality. For that very reason, morality is life-denying].[18]

To remedy this situation, Nietzsche insists that we proclaim the “death of God” and put an end to traditional morality, putting in its stead a life-affirming value system:

By definition . . . [traditional] values do not come from within, but they undoubtedly control us throughout our lives. If we go against these ingrained values we feel guilty, and for that reason there is tremendous psychological pressure to conform. We thereby becomes slaves to God, and God, as representing objective values, is our master. If, however, God is dead, the effect is exhilarating. For if God is dead and there are no objective values, then we are free to create our own values.[19]



This idea of Nietzsche’s, to create our own values, is crucial because it is the only way Nietzsche can free himself from nihilism, the “stage during which we realize that the values we’ve inherited are ‘shabby’ and meaningless”[20]—or so he thinks. Once we believe that there are no moral absolutes, we fall into nihilism, the denial of objective moral absolutes, and Nietzsche refused to put up with it, calling it a “catastrophe”[21] and the “most gruesome of all guests.”[22] Because he knew that nihilism would lead to chaos and anarchy, he proposed instead a “transvaluation of all values,” a rethinking and redefinition of what is good and bad, in accordance with what is life-affirming.

This new morality, then, would be beyond the traditional epithets of “good” and “evil.” It would rise “above the so-called herd-morality which in his opinion reduces everyone to a common level, favours mediocrity and prevents the development of a higher type of man.”[23] And if such new “meta-morality,” as I will call it, should feel the need to embrace what has traditionally been termed “evil,” then so be it, Nietzsche asserts in his work Twilight of the Idols: “Man must become better and more evil.”[24] Whatever it is that affirms life, so the German thinker declares, is to be considered of value. He can hold this position because, as he made clear in his work The Genealogy of Morals, he believes that “To speak of right and wrong per se makes no sense at all. No act of violence, rape, exploitation, destruction, is intrinsically ‘unjust,’ since life itself is violent, rapacious, exploitative, and destructive. . . .”[25]

This is how Nietzsche justifies his own creation of new values, his transvaluation of the traditional “herd morality.” In fact, as far as Nietzsche is concerned, the herd is quite “welcome to its own set of values, provided that it is deprived of the power of imposing them on the higher type of man who is called upon to create his own values.”[26] Here we see Nietzsche’s perspectivism in practice: different kinds of people are free to adapt different values; for each “circle,” so to speak, the adopted values are true in their own right, because they match their perspective. Nietzsche was not so radical as to say that none of these values are true, or even that there is no truth[27]; rather, he insisted that a group’s values are true for them, from their perspective. Thus, so he believed, he escaped moral relativism and nihilism—by filling it with a moral perspectivism, which allowed him to “transvaluate” traditional values.

Before I respond to Nietzsche’s notion of a “transvaluation of values,” a remark on the term “value” would be in order. The term “value” as denoting “ethical principles” and such like is fairly new. It was introduced into philosophy by Rudolf Hermann Lotze (1817-1881).[28] The traditional word used for “values” is simply “laws,” “virtues,” or “principles.” It was not until the nineteenth century that the word “values” was adopted instead: “Nobody ever used the word values to refer to anything moral or ethical before the nineteenth century.”[29] This renaming of “moral principles” into “values” gives the very notion a biased and subjective slant, implying that moral principles are always and necessarily, of their very essence, subjective. Our choice of words can and does make a real difference. Consider the example of Neo-Thomist Peter Kreeft:

The very word law suggest something objective; we don’t speak of “subjective laws.” The word values (especially in the plural) suggests something subjective, something relative to a subject: “my values” or “your values”. . . . The choice of words makes a real difference—Moses did not receive the Ten Values from God on Mount Sinai.[30]



Hence, our first step in discussing a “transvaluation of all values” should be the elimination of the implied subjectivity and contingency in the term “value” by simply using a different word or phrase. However, for the sake of convenience, I shall continue to use the term “value,” though fixing its meaning as “objective moral principles.”

A postmodern society which unquestioningly accepts the biased notion that moral principles are necessarily subjective, will, of course, find not much use in a discussion about “values,” since no matter what is said, these “values” remain subjective and relative for them, and discussing this matter would hence be as superfluous as discussing personal “likes” and “dislikes.”[31]

However, the present writer wishes to challenge the widely-held bias that moral principles are relative and subjective. Rather, moral principles are objective and universal, eternally true, and independent of man’s perspective or Sitz-im-Leben. This conception is usually called moral absolutism. What follows, then, will be a philosophical justification of this view, along with a demonstration that (1) Nietzsche’s perspectivism is in fact relativism; (2) Nietzsche’s transvaluation of values implies nihilism; and (3) Moral relativism presupposes moral absolutes and is therefore incoherent and untenable. The overall conclusion will be that a transvaluation of values is impossible because it is meaningless and unworkable.

To justify moral absolutism, let us first make an essential distinction: the distinction between values and value-opinions. A value is an objective ethical law, a moral principle that is universal and binding on all consciences. A value-opinion, on the other hand, is what a person or group may think to be an objective value, but which may not actually be one. Thus, to use an example, one group of people (“Group 1”) may believe that human sacrifice is morally right, whereas another (“Group 2”) may believe it to be morally wrong. Logically speaking, only one of the two groups can be right; yet one must be right. Either human sacrifice is morally licit or not. To admit this rather common-sensical view is to hold to moral absolutism.

A relativist, on the other hand, would say that human sacrifice is neither objectively right nor objectively wrong but its moral liceity depends on the culture, pointing to different cultures holding to different moral codes. However, here the relativist mistakes values for value-opinions. While Group 1 admits of human sacrifice, believing it to be morally licit, Group 2 does not, believing it to be morally illicit. The crucial point here is the word “believing.” One may believe A even though ¬A obtains; or one may believe ¬A, and ¬A does in fact obtain. Either way, the absolutist argument here primarily is not so much about which culture has it right, i.e. whether A or ¬A obtains, but the very fact that one of them does, i.e. that either A or ¬A. What the absolutist affirms, and what the relativist denies, then, is that there is an objective universal standard behind those two differing value-opinions which makes either Group 1 or Group 2 right, by corresponding to either A or ¬A. And that is a logical necessity.

To get back to Nietzsche’s ethics, however, we must remember that Nietzsche held to perspectivism, not to relativism. In Nietzsche’s view, moral truth does exist (whereas in pure relativism it does not), but it is dependent upon each person’s perspective. Nevertheless, this position is not logically sound. Given that A v ¬A is tautologically true, perspectivism is just a disguised version of relativism, for truth can only depend on one’s perspective if the concept of truth is meaningless, i.e. if truth as such does not exist. But Nietzsche abhorred such a notion as “an extreme form of nihilism.”[32]

The very meaning of the word “truth” necessarily implies objectivity, wherefore inventing “subjective truth” or even “truths” (in the plural) renders the term meaningless. Hence, if truth changes with and depends on one’s perspective, truth can no longer be universal or objective, and so the term loses its meaning. A perspectivist like Nietzsche may respond by saying that pity, for instance, is a virtue for the lower class, but a vice for the bourgeois or the aristocracy, but here again he would be guilty of confusing values with value-opinions. Perspectivism, then, is parasitical on relativism, and hence nothing other than an obscure version of that same relativism.

As far as nihilism is concerned, Nietzsche was insistent on overcoming it. For him, nihilism was frightening, and so he chose to espouse perspectivism instead. This was Nietzsche’s only way out of the self-created dilemma that would have otherwise forced him to choose between nihilism or the reality of objective moral laws. Nietzsche’s transvaluation, based on his perspectivism, was a convenient middle-ground that allowed him to deny nihilism, at least in theory, on the one hand, and moral absolutes on the other. However, any sort of relativism, including perspectivism, presupposes nihilism, as has already been suggested. In order for Nietzsche to be able to declare that values depend on one’s perspective, objective values cannot possibly exist, because as objective they are universal, and universality transcends any perspective or Sitz-im-Leben. Nietzsche’s “solution” out of the nihilism-vs.-morality dilemma, namely perspectivism, thus is nothing other than nihilism because it presupposes it. Perspectivism can only work if there are no objective values, for then I am free to create them, suiting my own needs and perspective. But to say that there are no—objective—values is to be a nihilist. Consequently, Nietzsche’s rejection of nihilism is only a rejection in theory—he says he rejects nihilism, whereas he actually presupposes it in his concept of perspectivism, on which a transvaluation of values is based, and without which such a transvaluation would be impossible. The end result of Nietzsche’s perspectivism, then, is the opposite of what he had set out to accomplish: “This one thing, however, one must say, that [Nietzsche] has not overcome nihilism but made it bigger” [Das aber muß man sagen, daß (Nietzsche) den Nihilismus nicht überwunden, sondern vergrößert hat].[33]

Since Nietzsche’s transvaluation of all values is based on relativism, as I have shown, the last task to be accomplished in this paper is to show that moral relativism is incoherent, self-contradictory, and indefensible.

Moral relativism is unworkable because it presupposes the very absolutes it denies. In order for moral relativism to make any reasonable assertions, it must claim its own truth. In other words, moral relativism is based on the thesis that it is good, i.e. better than absolutism. That statement, however, is an absolute statement; it says that moral relativism is absolutely good, objectively good. This undercuts its own position, which is that things are only relatively good or bad. Besides, anyone who embraces moral relativism also bases his decision on another absolute thesis, namely that “it is good to seek the truth.” Again, this thesis must be absolute and universal for moral relativism to have any claim to cogency—and yet, it is this very same thesis which makes moral relativism uncogent.

The relativist finds himself in a vicious circle, from which he cannot free himself. Some philosophers, such as Bertrand Russell, have suggested that underlying statements such as “Relativism is objectively true” belong to a level of “higher language,” or “meta-language,” and thus relativist principles do not apply to it. This, however, is a gratuitous ad hoc assertion, and it is a truism that what can gratuitously be asserted can likewise gratuitously be denied; so the problem is still there.

Finally, to apply these insights to Nietzsche himself, his own call for a transvaluation of all values presupposes its own impossibility. He wanted the “masters” to be freed from the “herd” and its life-denying morality; he wanted to be free to create his own values, but while thinking up a way to accomplish this, he overlooked the fact that “Freedom presupposes values, it does not create them. . . . It is assumed by [Nietzsche] that freedom is a real (objective) value, thus presupposing objective values.”[34] Time and again, Nietzsche uttered such statements that some interpretations are better than others, and that life-affirming values are better than life-denying values. Of course, such claims presuppose moral absolutes, as any relativistic claim must.[35] Frederick Copleston agrees:

[Nietzsche] certainly failed to give sufficient attention to the question whether his distinctions between ascending and descending life and between higher and lower types of men did not tacitly presuppose the very objectivity of values which he rejected.[36]



After all, to say that life-affirming values are better than life-denying values presupposes moral absolutes.

But let us imagine that Nietzsche’s position is not self-refuting. If he were right in claiming that there are no moral absolutes, then a transvaluation of values would still be superfluous and devoid of any sensibility. For to create values and believe in those, knowing they are one’s own creations, would be fooling oneself, since these “values” are merely illusions, created by one’s very self. Who likes to live a life of illusion? Certainly not Nietzsche, who rejected the claims to the existence of absolute moral principles (invented by the “herd”) and absolute truth as illusions.

Nietzsche’s transvaluation of all values is impossible. It is impossible because the only set of circumstances which could make it possible cannot logically exist, and even if it did, transvaluating values would still be meaningless since it would be an illusion. Nietzsche’s notion of a transvaluation of all values is one of his “doctrines [which] would have been dismissed as dangerously mad ravings if they had come from a less cogent thinker or writer.”[37] Peter Kreeft had it right when he characterized Nietzsche’s project of transvaluating values as “his own insane little private dream.”[38]

Taras Bulba
Friday, April 16th, 2004, 09:12 PM
http://www.tektonics.org/nietzsche01.html

Thus Spake Egomania

Or, A Short Look at a Loud Mouth
James Patrick Holding

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


I couldn't possibly do a Christian apologetics website and make it complete unless I said something about Friedrich Nietzsche. But what I have to say won't be much, because Nietzsche said very little that means anything or has any relevance.

A low blow? Not really -- in the writings of Nietzsche you won't find any detailed historical proofs, or sophisticated theological or psyhological or anyotherical analysis; you'll find mostly the tactic of assuming what you say is true, making a bunch of vague generalizations that sometimes sound clever, then bellowing them indignantly until someone hears you. Then perhaps insult those who disagree in the usual 19th-century fashion (i.e., they're barbarians, throwbacks, etc.). This is how it goes for nearly every topic Nietzsche addresses, from morality to reading to religion. It makes for good pep rallying for the modern skeptic who naturally finds all of this raving quite brilliant and on the mark, but for those of us more interested in proving our case from the evidence rather than merely assuming it from the get-go, Nietzsche is very tedious reading and on the whole rather boring. The analytical mind not enamored with Nietzsche sees Nietzsche for what he is: A big ego with a fairly intelligent mind; a loud mouth with a flair for the dramatic. Nietzsche would have done well in today's advertising business; perhaps if he were alive today he would be writing aggressive sales pitches for mouthwash.

But in all fairness, a good part of what Nietzsche writes -- off the topic of religion, and even in that topic -- is quite lucid and sensible. Consider this genuine pearl:

The worst readers are those who behave like plundering troops: they take away a few things they can use, dirty and confound the remainder, and revile the whole.
This is quite true -- although it sounds here like Fred was prepared for how he thought folks would perceive his own wrtings and wanted to have a response ready to give them! (Heh heh...)

But then we have those places where it seems pretty clear that Nietzsche thought better of himself than he did of you. These sayings would be great in the mouth of "Darkwing Duck" or one of the X-Men (or in some cases, that of a professional bookseller!), but coming from Nietzsche's pen, they're really rather laughable:

You look up when you desire to be exalted. And I look down because I am exalted.
My patient friends, this book desires for itself only perfect readers and philologists: learn to read me well! -
As regards my Zarathustra...I count no one as being familiar with it who has not at some time been profoundly wounded and at some time profoundly enraptured by every word of it: for only then may he enjoy the privilege of reverentially participating in the halcyon element out of which that word was born, in its sunlit brightness, remoteness, breadth and certainty.
...(R)eligions are the affair of the rabble, I have need of washing my hands after contact with religious people...
Pretty heady stuff, but not surprising from a guy who wrote a piece called Why I Write Such Excellent Books! Now we have seen what Nietzsche thinks of religious people; let's narrow in on that topic. Like I said, there's not much in the way of hard data in Nietzsche, but we do have quite a few broad generalizations twinged with insult, to wit:

It is the mark of a higher culture to value the little unpretentious truths which have been discovered by means of rigorous method more highly than the errors handed down by metaphysical ages and men, which blind us and make us happy.
...Christianity is the religion of antiquity grown old, its presupposition is degenerated ancient cultures; on these it could and can act as a balm. [...] On the other hand, for youthful, vigorous barbarians Christianity is a poison; to implant the teaching of sinfulness and damnation into the heroic, childish and animal soul of the ancient German, for example, is nothing other than to poison it [...]
...The Christian faith is from the beginning a sacrifice: sacrifice of all freedom, all pride, all self-confidence of the spirit, at the same time enslavement and self-mockery, self-mutilation...
It's also clear that Nietzsche was entirely ignorant of the teachings of the Bible in their context. This next paragraph includes some familiar objections which we have long since answered in various places on this page -- do we hear echoes of Michael Martin and Dan Barker in any of this?

When on a Sunday morning we hear the bells ringing we ask ourselves: it is possible! this is going on because of a Jew crucified 2,000 yars ago who said he was the Son of God. The proof of such an assertion is lacking. -In the context of our age the Christian religion is certainly a piece of antiquity intruding out of distant ages past, and that the above-mentioned assertion is believed [...] is perhaps the most ancient piece of this inheritance. A god who begets children on a mortal woman; a sage who calls upon us no longer to work, no longer to sit in judgement, but to heed the signs of the imminent end of the world; a justice which accepts an innocent man as a substitute sacrifice; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetrated against a god atoned for by a god; fear of a Beyond to which death is the gateway; the figure of the Cross as a symbol in an age which no longer knows the meaning and shame of the Cross - how gruesomely all this is wafted to us, as if out of the grave of a primeval past! Can one believe that things of this sort are still believed in?
Another long diatribe may also be found on Paul, whom Nietzsche calls the "first Christian", a man with "a mind as superstitious as it was cunning", "very tormented, very pitiable", etc. Nietzsche bought into the "Paul invented Christianity" theory wholesale: Too bad he was ignorant of Paul's basic continuity with the teachings of Judaism and the rest of the NT, and of Paul's actual stand on the relation of law and grace. And unfortunately, skeptics who think Nietzsche akin to deity will eat this stuff up uncritically rather than consult relevant, more modern and informed works by the likes of Sanders, Davies, and Thielman.

In conclusion: I can see why Nietzsche is popular among some skeptics, especially those of the more arrogant persuasion, like Mencken. He makes a very good, very large mouthpiece for how they feel about themselves and their own position in the world and in relation to others. But in terms of actually dealing with the data, Nietzsche is nothing more than a roaring amoeba. His skills would have been put to better use telling people about products that 4 out of 5 dentists recommend.

Moody
Tuesday, April 20th, 2004, 05:51 PM
James Patrick Holding [JPH]; "A short look at loud mouth (i.e., Nietzsche)".

Moody Lawless [ML]; Nietzsche was known to be qiuetly well-spoken professor of classical Greek; his books sold little in his life-time, so he was hardly a Michael Moore type loud-mouth figure.
Therefore 'loud mouth' in Nietzsche's case is not only rude, and ad hominem - it is also inappropriate. Not a good start.

JPH; "What I have to say won't be much, because Nietzsche said very little that means anything or has any relevance".

ML; An empty assertion; the fact that you are writing this article shows that Nietzsche has some meaning and relevance to you. We are here looking at his book 'Der Antichrist' - it's title might just suggest that it has some relevance to your "Christian apologetics".

JPH; "A low blow? Not really -- in the writings of Nietzsche you won't find any detailed historical proofs, or sophisticated theological or psyhological or anyother-ical analysis; ...."

ML; Not withstanding that Freud stole many of his psychological moves from Nietzsche [and Schopenhauer] and said that the philosopher Nietzsche 'knew himself better than anyone else'?
He also got hold of Lou von Salome, but that's another story.
Nietzsche's 'Twilight' was subtitled as a work of psychology; few philosophers have been so adept at psychologis.
You say no other "-ical" analysis! You might try Philosoph-ical; he certainly made some analyses there!
As to theology and history; his first Untimely Meditation was a critique on David Strauss, while his Untimely Meditation called 'Uses and Abuses of History' is still discussed by historians today.

JPH; "You'll find [in Nietzsche] mostly the tactic of assuming what you say is true, making a bunch of vague generalizations that sometimes sound clever, then bellowing them indignantly until someone hears you".

ML; Any examples, or are we just to take your word for it?
Of course Nietzsche was not a DRY philosopher, and used poetics, irony, rhetoric and polemics; that's what makes him a great WRITER as well as a great philosopher.
Great philosophers who are also great writers are rare; only Nietzsche, Plato and Kierkegaard spring to mind.

JPH; "Then perhaps insult those who disagree in the usual 19th-century fashion (i.e., they're barbarians, throwbacks, etc.)".

ML; In actual fact, Nietzsche admired barbarians and throw-backs!

JPH; "This is how it goes for nearly every topic Nietzsche addresses, from morality to reading to religion".

ML; More vague generalisations; you need to move onto some concrete examples lest you be accused of the pot calling the kettle black.

JPH; "It makes for good pep rallying for the modern skeptic who naturally finds all of this raving quite brilliant and on the mark, but for those of us more interested in proving our case from the evidence rather than merely assuming it from the get-go, Nietzsche is very tedious reading and on the whole rather boring".

ML; One thing Nietzsche is NOT is boring!
Compare any page of The Antichrist [ linked on the first post of this thread]; it is far more interesting than this rather vapid essay of Christian apologetics. You are the one 'assuming', and have yet to 'prove' anything against Nietzsche other than your evident personal dislike of his writing.
'Boring' is such a vague insult.

JPH; "The analytical mind not enamored with Nietzsche sees Nietzsche for what he is: A big ego with a fairly intelligent mind; a loud mouth with a flair for the dramatic. Nietzsche would have done well in today's advertising business; perhaps if he were alive today he would be writing aggressive sales pitches for mouthwash".

ML; That crass comparison says more about you than it does Nietzsche. As I said before, Nietzsche worked as a professor of classical Greek - he obtained his position at the uncannily early age of 24! So I think even today that he would be an academic - I think his knowledge of classical philology would be wasted in advertising, don't you!
Christianity and analytics make strange bed fellows!
A 'big ego' eh? He committed the sin of Pride, I suspect. Didn't show enough humility, I suppose!
He needed a dose of Christianity to shut him up: once upon a time such egoists were sent to a monastry - now they're condemned to careers in advertising by our Christian bullies!

JPH; "But in all fairness, a good part of what Nietzsche writes -- off the topic of religion, and even in that topic -- is quite lucid and sensible. Consider this genuine pearl: 'The worst readers are those who behave like plundering troops: they take away a few things they can use, dirty and confound the remainder, and revile the whole'.
This is quite true -- although it sounds here like Fred was prepared for how he thought folks would perceive his own writings and wanted to have a response ready to give them! (Heh heh...)"

ML; And you are now about to go on and quote 'Fred' [as you mockingly call him] out of context in order to "revile" him!

JPH; "But then we have those places where it seems pretty clear that Nietzsche thought better of himself than he did of you. These sayings would be great in the mouth of "Darkwing Duck" or one of the X-Men (or in some cases, that of a professional bookseller!), but coming from Nietzsche's pen, they're really rather laughable: 'You look up when you desire to be exalted. And I look down because I am exalted.
My patient friends, this book desires for itself only perfect readers and philologists: learn to read me well! -
As regards my Zarathustra...I count no one as being familiar with it who has not at some time been profoundly wounded and at some time profoundly enraptured by every word of it: for only then may he enjoy the privilege of reverentially participating in the halcyon element out of which that word was born, in its sunlit brightness, remoteness, breadth and certainty.
...(R)eligions are the affair of the rabble, I have need of washing my hands after contact with religious people...'
Pretty heady stuff, but not surprising from a guy who wrote a piece called Why I Write Such Excellent Books!"

ML; Yes he doth offend against Equality - burn him!
Those bits and pieces you quoted out of context [!] were certainly very interesting; you have yet to prove your assertion that Nietzsche is "boring" - you haven't even got past first base!

JPH; "Now we have seen what Nietzsche thinks of religious people; let's narrow in on that topic. Like I said, there's not much in the way of hard data in Nietzsche, but we do have quite a few broad generalizations twinged with insult, to wit: 'It is the mark of a higher culture to value the little unpretentious truths which have been discovered by means of rigorous method more highly than the errors handed down by metaphysical ages and men, which blind us and make us happy.
...Christianity is the religion of antiquity grown old, its presupposition is degenerated ancient cultures; on these it could and can act as a balm. [...] On the other hand, for youthful, vigorous barbarians Christianity is a poison; to implant the teaching of sinfulness and damnation into the heroic, childish and animal soul of the ancient German, for example, is nothing other than to poison it [...]
...The Christian faith is from the beginning a sacrifice: sacrifice of all freedom, all pride, all self-confidence of the spirit, at the same time enslavement and self-mockery, self-mutilation...'
It's also clear that Nietzsche was entirely ignorant of the teachings of the Bible in their context".

ML; You take Nietzsche out of context and then complain that he is "ignorant" of the Biblical context! That Nietzsche was the son of Protestant pastorS on both sides of his family, was a zealous Christian as a youth [nicknamed the 'little pastor'], known to quote Bible passages from memory, and took Theology at University - all that seems to suggest that he was well aware of any Christian context!
And is Christianity REALLY that difficult to understand? I detect an inverse egotism lurking here; - anyone who rejects Christianity just doesn't understand it!
What's there to misunderstand!
As Nietzsche said, "Christianity is Platonism for the People".

JPH; "This next paragraph includes some familiar objections which we have long since answered in various places on this page -- do we hear echoes of Michael Martin and Dan Barker in any of this?:
'When on a Sunday morning we hear the bells ringing we ask ourselves: it is possible! this is going on because of a Jew crucified 2,000 years ago who said he was the Son of God. The proof of such an assertion is lacking.
-In the context of our age the Christian religion is certainly a piece of antiquity intruding out of distant ages past, and that the above-mentioned assertion is believed [...] is perhaps the most ancient piece of this inheritance. A god who begets children on a mortal woman; a sage who calls upon us no longer to work, no longer to sit in judgement, but to heed the signs of the imminent end of the world; a justice which accepts an innocent man as a substitute sacrifice; prayers for miraculous interventions; sins perpetrated against a god atoned for by a god; fear of a Beyond to which death is the gateway; the figure of the Cross as a symbol in an age which no longer knows the meaning and shame of the Cross - how gruesomely all this is wafted to us, as if out of the grave of a primeval past! Can one believe that things of this sort are still believed in?' "

ML; And where are the "answers" to Nietzsche's observations?

JPH; "Another long diatribe may also be found on Paul, whom Nietzsche calls the "first Christian", a man with "a mind as superstitious as it was cunning", "very tormented, very pitiable", etc. Nietzsche bought into the "Paul invented Christianity" theory wholesale: Too bad he was ignorant of Paul's basic continuity with the teachings of Judaism and the rest of the NT, and of Paul's actual stand on the relation of law and grace. And unfortunately, skeptics who think Nietzsche akin to deity will eat this stuff up uncritically rather than consult relevant, more modern and informed works by the likes of Sanders, Davies, and Thielman".

ML; To say that Nietzsche was "ignorant" (hah!) of "Paul's basic (sic) continuity with ... Judaism" makes me wonder if you have actually read Nietzsche in full, rather than just in excerpt;
'The origin of Christianity ... can be understood only in relation to the soil out of which it grew, - it is not a counter-movement against the Jewish instinct, it is the rational outcome of the latter ...' 'The Christian is the FINAL CONSEQUENCE OF JUDAISM'. [Nietzsche A 24]
'St. Paul with that rabbinic impudence' [ib., 41]
Looks like Nietzsche was there long before you!

JPH; "In conclusion: I can see why Nietzsche is popular among some skeptics, especially those of the more arrogant persuasion, like Mencken. He makes a very good, very large mouthpiece for how they feel about themselves and their own position in the world and in relation to others. But in terms of actually dealing with the data, Nietzsche is nothing more than a roaring amoeba. His skills would have been put to better use telling people about products that 4 out of 5 dentists recommend".

ML; That final baseless insult shows the utter infantility of your [lack] of argument. Nietzsche's knowledge of Christianity is far greater than your own paltry knowledge of Nietzsche.

Taras Bulba
Tuesday, April 20th, 2004, 09:42 PM
ROTFL! Oh Moody, this is beautiful! :eyes


James Patrick Holding [JPH]; "A short look at loud mouth (i.e., Nietzsche)".

Moody Lawless [ML]; Nietzsche was known to be qiuetly well-spoken professor of classical Greek; his books sold little in his life-time, so he was hardly a Michael Moore type loud-mouth figure.
Therefore 'loud mouth' in Nietzsche's case is not only rude, and ad hominem - it is also inappropriate. Not a good start.

HAHAHAHA yet Nietzsche was famous for his own ad hominem attacks against Christians and Christianity, and even you do so but try to disguise under a level of intellectual inquiry.



ML; More vague generalisations; you need to move onto some concrete examples lest you be accused of the pot calling the kettle black.

Thats what you do quite a lot in this post Moody. :eyes



ML; One thing Nietzsche is NOT is boring!

Subjective interpretation that has no relevance.



Compare any page of The Antichrist [ linked on the first post of this thread]; it is far more interesting than this rather vapid essay of Christian apologetics.

Your subjective interpretation is irrelevant.



'Boring' is such a vague insult.

Yet you use it yourself. :eyes




He needed a dose of Christianity to shut him up: once upon a time such egoists were sent to a monastry - now they're condemned to careers in advertising by our Christian bullies!

ROTFL! What?



ML; You take Nietzsche out of context and then complain that he is "ignorant" of the Biblical context! That Nietzsche was the son of Protestant pastorS on both sides of his family,

Which is irrelevant. Just because you're the son of a pastor does not make one an expert on Christianity.



was a zealous Christian as a youth [nicknamed the 'little pastor'],

Being nicknamed a pastor by your peers does not make one an expert on Christianity. Nice try Moody! :eyes



known to quote Bible passages from memory, and took Theology at University - all that seems to suggest that he was well aware of any Christian context!

Moody seems to be of the view that reading the Bible and being able to memorize certain verses by rote automatically makes somebody an expert on Christianity. A parrot can be taught to recite Biblical passages, does the parrot understand Christianity? :eyes

So basically you can only prove Nietzsche's "understanding" of Christianity throught circumstancial evidence at most.



And is Christianity REALLY that difficult to understand?

Many parts of it are difficult to understand. There are those who simply can't understand the trinity, or the nature of Jesus' god-manhood. Theres plenty in Christianity one cannot understand. You seem to think that Christianity is just reciting random verses of the Bible, which is simply not the case.



I detect an inverse egotism lurking here; - anyone who rejects Christianity just doesn't understand it!

Yet you accuse the same thing about those who criticise Nietzsche. Nice try Moody!



ML; To say that Nietzsche was "ignorant" (hah!) of "Paul's basic (sic) continuity with ... Judaism" makes me wonder if you have actually read Nietzsche in full, rather than just in excerpt;
'The origin of Christianity ... can be understood only in relation to the soil out of which it grew, - it is not a counter-movement against the Jewish instinct, it is the rational outcome of the latter ...' 'The Christian is the FINAL CONSEQUENCE OF JUDAISM'. [Nietzsche A 24]
'St. Paul with that rabbinic impudence' [ib., 41]


A notion that any decent theologian(Christian and/or Jewish) would reject. :eyes



ML; Nietzsche's knowledge of Christianity is far greater than your own paltry knowledge of Nietzsche.

HAHAHAHA, yeah apparently Nietzsche's understanding was one the same basic that a parrot could. :eyes

Thank you moody, reading your posts always makes me laugh out loud!

Siegfried
Wednesday, April 21st, 2004, 09:54 AM
Ow come on, Pushkin. Nietzsche studied Theology, and 'was the son of protestant pastors on both sides of the family' [as Moody pointed out]. I think it's safe to say he knew more about Christianity than the common man. Just because you don't like his psychological analysis of the Christian, does not mean he didn't understand the teachings of the Church. What you see as spiritually important teachings, he tried to dissect psychologically and his psychological interpretation was far from positive. That does not mean he didn't know what the Church was talking about; he just didn't care much about the external teachings, and tried to uncover what lurked behind them. In his view, what was behind it wasn't just spiritual devotion, but a degenerated will. That's Nietzsche's interpretation; battle it if you must, but don't resort to calling him 'ignorant', which is just not true.
Pushkin, which of Nietzsche's works have you read?

Moody
Wednesday, April 21st, 2004, 04:31 PM
Yes Pushkin - which of Nietzsche's books have you read through cover to cover? It is clear that this JPH whose work you quoted, has not really read Nietzsche's work in any complete sense.
If he HAD, he would have not made the blunders I point out.
And YOU would not have quoted them, as you would have spotted them before I.

Making Nietzsche's supposed "ignorance of Christianity" the basis of your attack [and you do that in blind imitation of Berdaeyev] leaves you all open to the counter-charge that you are "ignorant of Nietzsche".
As a Nietzsche scholar I have read ALL of his works many times and so can immediately tell when someone is pretending knowledge of his work.
So my assertion remains; Nietzsche's knowledge of Christianity was greater than his Christian critics knowledge of Nietzsche.
Therefore the Christians lose the argument hands down.

To pick up on some of Pushkin's points which aren't cat-call;

Pushkin; "Many parts of Christianity are difficult to understand. There are those who simply can't understand the trinity, or the nature of Jesus' god-manhood. Theres plenty in Christianity one cannot understand".

Moody Lawless; Absurd concepts are not 'hard to understand', they rather beggar belief. Something like Quantum Mechanics is hard to understand - Christianity is easy peasey [look at how many Negroes believe in Jesus and even preach Jesus as professionals to large congregations!].

Pushkin; That Christianity was Jewish; a notion that any decent theologian(Christian and/or Jewish) would reject".

Moody; On the contrary; JPH was making the point that Nietzsche did not know that Christianity was Jewish! Do you read the pieces you post?
I demonstrated that Nietzsche not only knew this but was a pioneer in labouring the point!
Clearly, JPH has not read Nietzsche beyond excerpts as I have shown.


Pushkin; "Thank you moody, reading your posts always makes me laugh out loud!"

Moody; Glad to cheer up Christians, who need a bit of respite from wallowing in the suffering of a dead Jew.

Moody
Thursday, April 29th, 2004, 05:54 PM
Pushkin quotes Mario Derksen who claims that Nietzsche's 'Revaluation of Values' is "impossible".

However, I contend that Derksen is mistaken due to a faulty understanding of Nietzsche's principle - 'the will to power' which doesn't even figure in Derksen's essay - YET THIS WAS NIETZSCHE'S BASIC PRINCIPLE!.

Derksen; "N was content to say that his own philosophy was but an interpretation of his own creation, a view of things from his own perspective".

Moody; Yes, and to N, 'truth' was the interpretation that was most life-affirming, most life-enhancing;- is that not also 'objective'?

Derksen; "In his book Twilight of the Idols he exclaimed: 'Morality is merely an interpretation of certain phenomena—more precisely, a misinterpretation.' "

Moody; Here he is referring to Christian-type morality - i,e,. what he called life-denying morality - the fruits of Nihilism.
Derksen goes on to admit the following;

Derksen; "Master morality is the morality of the noble, of the strong.
Slave morality, by contrast, “is a morality common to those people who are weak willed, uncertain of themselves, oppressed, and abused, and the epitome of this phenomenon in the Western world is Christianity; it is the fruit of resentment and represents inferior life, descending life, degeneracy.
Whereas the aristocratic morality represents the movement of ascending life
To remedy this situation, Nietzsche insists that we proclaim the “death of God” and put an end to traditional morality, putting in its stead a life-affirming value system".

Moody; True, and here we can see the foundation of N's out-look:
The Will to Power.
Slave morality is based on weak will to power and master morality on strong will to power. N does not view life in terms of morality but in terms of Power; he sees morality as an expression of degrees of Power.

Derksen; "This new morality".

Moody; Wrong; N is not saying that master morality is "new"!
He is saying that such a morality once ruled and was over-turned in the cyclic process of human culture. So not only is a revaluation "possible", it is also PROBABLE as it has been before - O how history repeats itself!
Derksen then asserts contra Nietzsche;

Derksen; "Moral principles are objective and universal, eternally true, and independent of man’s perspective: (1) N’s perspectivism is in fact relativism; (2) N’s transvaluation of values implies nihilism; and (3) Moral relativism presupposes moral absolutes and is therefore incoherent and untenable. The overall conclusion will be that a transvaluation of values is impossible because it is meaningless and unworkable".

Moody; This is all wrong as it is based on the assumption that morality, and not Power is the ESSENCE of the world.
As I've said, to N. POWER is the world's essence.
That is not relative, nor is it nihilistic;and it is certainly coherent.
Moralities are expressions of degrees of power and are therefore secondary.

Derksen; "N’s rejection of nihilism is only a rejection in theory—he says he rejects nihilism, whereas he actually presupposes it in his concept of perspectivism".

Moody; Not so; Nihilism is the belief in nothing; N believes in the primacy of Power; as he said:' Life is Will to Power'.

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