Reading Nietzche I: Thus Spoke Zarathustra

Note: Reading Thus Spoke Zarathustra thirteen years ago ironically made my own Christian faith stronger — not because I disagreed with Nietzche, but because folks holding the Christian faith need folks like Nietzche to burn away all of the namby-pamby childish Sunday school pablum, leaving a much leaner, rigorous faith.

5 October 1999

In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Friedrich Nietzche inverts Christianity by stressing the primacy of the body over spirit.

Nietzsche, in attacking Christianity, uses the same tactics as the Bible (especially in the Gospels), in which Zarathustra, the solitary harbinger of the overman, uses parables to impart his “wild wisdom” to his disciples.

So instead of parables about the workers in the field, we get parables about the master over these workers.  Instead of parables about a people joined together in a covenant with God, we get parables about he-who-would-create-god, the overman.

Much of this work is so strongly anti-Christian that I think that perhaps Nietzsche should have titled this work The Antibible, in keeping with his Anti-Christ.

But since Nietzsche evidently depends on Christianity for his foil, depends on this greatly towards his doctrine against pity, against a Redeemer (with a capital R), and against the equalizing of men in God’s eyes, I wonder if perhaps he is doing a service to Christianity by way of reformer, much like Martin Luther was for the Roman Catholic Church, pointing out the corruption of the institution in which it no longer really served the purpose for which it was formed, i.e., the salvation of man.

Zarathustra, from what I have read so far, damns men for their hypocrisy more than anything else: e.g., pity is really ressentiment, religious belief is really an activity (like watching tight-rope walkers), etc.

The reason why the Last Man is so abhorrent to Zarathustra and nauseates him is because the Last Man accepts the institutions set forth in accepted values, but only does so out of custom and tradition; the Last Man does not live deliberately, does not question why he does the things he does, and does not even believe that most of the customary religious tenets that he supposedly adheres to is relevant in his shallow life towards ease and happiness.

Last Man does not live nor think deeply, which is the opposite of what Zarathustra tries to teach.

In repudiating the Last Man, in much the same way that Christ repudiates the Pharisees, Nietzsche (via Zarathustra) may actually be doing a service to Christianity, as a Devil’s Advocate, to which Christianity, if it is to be true to itself, must acknowledge the accusations put forth from this advocate and answer with solutions.


About lizardqueen

If single-mothering were a paid job, I'd be rich. However, it doesn't, so I write (which doesn't pay the bills) and teach (which does). I'm overly-educated in the liberal arts, but that doesn't hinder my ability to be pragmatic and realistic. YAY.
This entry was posted in Academic Research, AVOCATIONS, EDUCATION, Faith and Religion, Learning, LQ POV, Reading, The Writing Life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Reading Nietzche I: Thus Spoke Zarathustra

  1. Thank you for a brilliant article.

    It wonderful how Nietzsche and Hume wrote and made their cases. I admire and enjoy reading their works, unlike New Atheists, because I they were wonderful thinkers and knew the consequences of their believes.

    I am encouraged that I am not alone in admiring Nietzsche, though I do not agree with everything he set on the table.

    In Christ,

  2. Writer Jobs says:

    Another nice post today thanks. I really enjoyed reading it very much. Have a great day.

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