mswyrr: the-burning-fury: philosophy-and-coffee: I cannot stand Nietzsche but on Good Friday his…




I cannot stand Nietzsche but on Good Friday his words end up almost poetic.

  God is dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves?

I have come to read Nietzsche through a Straussian lens, suspecting he had an esoteric message beneath his exoteric prose. Perhaps, when Nietzsche declared that “God is dead” he was not triumphantly shouting, but screaming in horror.

I quite like Terry Eagleton’s social justice focused take on the quote:

In Nietzsche’s view, God was done in by those who believe in him, not by those who don’t.  He was murdered by a bunch of impeccably respectably churchgoing suburban bourgeois, not by rationalists, anarchists, militant humanists and other such disreputable moral louts.

How is this so?  Capitalist society still needs to legitimate itself by appealing to certain religious and metaphysical values; the problem is that it itself keeps undermining and discrediting these values…

Capitalism, one might claim, is caught in a performative contradiction between what it does and what it says it does – between church and transnational corporation, domestic hearth and strip joint, base and superstructure.  Nietzsche’s point is that this brazenly materialist system has killed God but needs, ideologically speaking, to pretend that he’s still alive.  And so it has piously to disavow its own parricidal deed.  It has stashed away the corpse, or (better perhaps) keeps it on a life support machine.  It wears a kind of ‘it wasn’t me, guv’ expression of bogus innocence.  Bourgeois society has butchered the Almighty at the level of the deed, but still needs his august presence at the level of the word.

–Terry Eagleton, “Nietzsche and Christ”

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