Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Nietzsche and Nihilism

Nietzsche and Nihilism: According to Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy, man should only be concerned with his existence in this life. Although Nietzsche appears to espouse a philosophy of atheistic humanism, which undoubtedly contains many nihilistic features, he is an existentialist at bottom. His writing is aphoristic in nature, which requires the reader to supply personal interpretations of his words. In general, Nietzsche asserts that life has no explicit purpose, and thus, man should seek out an implicit meaning for his life. He attributes the nihilistic features of life to Christian morality, which is ultimately a product of fear. In effect, Nietzsche believes that Christianity hinders man from becoming his true Self. He refers to priests as "the preachers of death" due to their undying attachment to the afterlife. By teaching its adherents to put Faith in a life unbeknownst to exist, Nietzsche suggests that Christianity is fundamentally an anti-life institution. He also argues that God is merely an abstract idea Who ceases to exist when man denies belief in Him. Lastly, Nietzsche claims that he arrived at these philosophical conclusions concerning God and Christianity through instinct instead of reason.

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