Translated from the German by R. J. Hollingdale
THIS book belongs to the very few. Perhaps none of them is even living yet. Possibly they are the readers who understand my Zarathustra: how could I confound myself with those for whom there are ears listening today? - Only the day after tomorrow belongs to me. Some are born posthumously.
The conditions under which one understands me and then necessarily understands - I know them all too well. One must be honest in intellectual matters to the point of harshness to so much as endure my seriousness, my passion. One must be accustomed to living on mountains - to seeing the wretched ephemeral clatter of politics and national egoism beneath one. One must have become indifferent, one must never ask whether truth is useful or a fatality.... Strength which prefers questions for which no-one today is sufficiently daring; courage for the forbidden; predestination for the labyrinth. An experience out of seven solitudes. New ears for new music. New eyes for the most distant things. A new conscience for truths which have hitherto remained dumb. And the will to economy in the grand style: to keeping one's energy, one's enthusiasm in bounds.... Reverence for oneself; love for oneself; unconditional freedom with respect to oneself ...
Very well! These alone are my readers, my rightful readers, my predestined readers: what do the rest matter? - The rest are merely mankind. - One must be superior to mankind in force, in loftiness of soul - in contempt ...
- Let us look one another in the face. We are Hyperboreans [In Greek mythology a race dwelling beyond the north wind (Boreas) in a country of warmth and plenty.] - we know well enough how much out of the way we live. 'Neither by land nor by sea shalt thy find the road to the Hyperboreans': Pindar already knew that of us. Beyond the North, beyond the ice, beyond death - our life, our happiness.... We have discovered happiness, we know the road, we have found the exit out of whole millennia of labyrinth. Who else has found it? - Modern man perhaps? - 'I know not which way to turn' - sighs modern man.... It was from this modernity that we were ill - from lazy peace, from cowardly compromise, from the whole virtuous uncleanliness of modern Yes and No. This tolerance and largeur of heart which 'forgives' everything because it 'understands' everything is sirocco to us. Better to live among ice than among modern virtues and other south winds!... We were brave enough, we spared neither ourselves nor others: but for long we did not know where to apply our courage. We became gloomy, we were called fatalists. Our fatality - was the plenitude, the tension, the blocking-up of our forces. We thirsted for lightning and action, of all things we kept ourselves furthest from the happiness of the weaklings, from 'resignation'.... There was a thunderstorm in our air, the nature which we are grew dark - for we had no road. Formula of our happiness: a Yes, a No, a straight line, a goal ...
What is good? - All that heightens the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man.
What is bad? - All that proceeds from weakness.
What is happiness? - The feeling that power increases - that a resistance is overcome.
Not contentment, but more power; not peace at all, but war; not virtue, but proficiency (virtue in the Renaissance style, virtů, virtue free of moralic acid).
The weak and ill-constituted shall perish: first principle of our philanthropy. And one shall help them to do so.
What is more harmful than any vice? - Active sympathy for the ill-constituted and weak - Christianity ...
The problem I raise here is not what ought to succeed mankind in the sequence of species (- the human being is an end -): but what type of human being one ought to breed, ought to will, as more valuable, more worthy of life, more certain of the future.
This more valuable type has existed often enough already: but as a lucky accident, as an exception, never as willed. He has rather been the most feared, he has hitherto been virtually the thing to be feared - and out of fear the reverse type has been willed, bred, achieved: the domestic animal, the herd animal, the sick animal man - the Christian ...
Mankind does not represent a development of the better or the stronger or the higher in the way that is believed today. 'Progress' is merely a modern idea, that is to say a false idea. The European of today is of far less value than the European of the Renaissance; onward development is not by any means, by any necessity the same thing as elevation, advance, strengthening.
In another sense there are cases of individual success constantly appearing in the most various parts of the earth and from the most various cultures in which a higher type does manifest itself: something which in relation to collective mankind is a sort of superman. Such chance occurrences of great success have always been possible and perhaps always will be possible. And even entire races, tribes, nations can under certain circumstances represent such a lucky hit.
One should not embellish or dress up Christianity: it has waged a war to the death against this higher type of man, it has excommunicated all the fundamental instincts of this type, it has distilled evil, the Evil One, out of these instincts - the strong human being as the type of reprehensibility, as the 'outcast'. Christianity has taken the side of everything weak, base, ill-constituted, it has made an ideal out of opposition to the preservative instincts of strong life; it has depraved the reason even of the intellectually strongest natures by teaching men to feel the supreme values of intellectuality as sinful, as misleading, as temptations. The most deplorable example: the depraving of Pascal, who believed his reason had been depraved by original sin while it had only been depraved by his Christianity! -
It is painful, a dreadful spectacle which has opened up before me: I have drawn back the curtain on the depravity of man. In my mouth this word is protected against at any rate one suspicion: that it contains a moral accusation of man. It is - I should like to underline the fact again - free of any moralic acid: and this to the extent that I find that depravity precisely where hitherto one most consciously aspired to 'virtue', to 'divinity'. I understand depravity, as will already have been guessed, in the sense of décadence: my assertion is that all the values in which mankind at present summarizes its highest desideratum are décadence values.
I call an animal, a species, an individual depraved when it loses its instincts, when it chooses, when it prefers what is harmful to it. A history of the 'higher feelings', of the 'ideals of mankind' - and it is possible I shall have to narrate it - would almost also constitute an explanation of why man is so depraved. I consider life itself instinct for growth, for continuance, for accumulation of forces, for power: where the will to power is lacking there is decline. My assertion is that this will is lacking in all the supreme values of mankind - that values of decline, nihilistic values hold sway under the holiest names.
Christianity is called the religion of pity. - Pity stands in antithesis to the tonic emotions which enhance the energy of the feeling of life: it has a depressive effect. One loses force when one pities. The loss of force which life has already sustained through suffering is increased and multiplied even further by pity. Suffering itself becomes contagious through pity; sometimes it can bring about a collective loss of life and life-energy which stands in an absurd relation to the quantum of its cause (- the case of the death of the Nazarene). This is the first aspect; but there is an even more important one. If one judges pity by the value of the reaction which it usually brings about, its mortally dangerous character appears in a much clearer light. Pity on the whole thwarts the law of evolution, which is the law of selection. It preserves what is ripe for destruction; it defends life's disinherited and condemned; through the abundance of the ill-constituted of all kinds which it retains in life it gives life itself a gloomy and questionable aspect. One has ventured to call pity a virtue (- in every noble morality it counts as weakness -); one has gone further, one has made of it the virtue, the ground and origin of all virtue - only, to be sure, from the viewpoint of a nihilistic philosophy which inscribed Denial of Life on its escutcheon - a fact always to be kept in view. Schopenhauer was within his rights in this: life is denied, made more worthy of denial by pity - pity is practical nihilism. To say it again, this depressive and contagious instinct thwarts those instincts bent on preserving and enhancing the value of life: both as a multiplier of misery and as a conservator of everything miserable it is one of the chief instruments for the advancement of décadence - pity persuades to nothingness!... One does not say 'nothingness': one says 'the Beyond'; or 'God'; or 'true life'; or Nirvana, redemption, blessedness.... This innocent rhetoric from the domain of religio-moral idiosyncrasy at once appears much less innocent when one grasps which tendency is here draping the mantle of sublime words about itself: the tendency hostile to life. Schopenhauer was hostile to life: therefore pity became for him a virtue.... Aristotle, as is well known, saw in pity a morbid and dangerous condition which one did well to get at from time to time with a purgative: he understood tragedy as a purgative. From the instinct for life one would indeed have to seek some means of puncturing so morbid and dangerous an accumulation of pity as that represented by the case of Schopenhauer (and unfortunately also by our entire literary and artistic décadence from St Petersberg to Paris, from Tolstoy to Wagner), so that it might burst.... Nothing in our unhealthy modernity is more unhealthy than Christian pity. To be physician here, to be inexorable here, to wield the knife here - that pertains to us, that is our kind of philanthropy, with that are we philosophers, we Hyperboreans! -
It is necessary to say whom we feel to be our antithesis - the theologians and all that has theological blood in its veins - our entire philosophy.... One must have seen the fatality from close up, better still one must have experienced it in oneself, one must have almost perished by it, no longer to find anything funny here (the free-thinking of our naturalists and physiologists is to my mind funny - they lack passion in these things, they do not suffer from them -). That poison extends much further than one thinks: I have discovered the arrogant theologian-instinct wherever anyone today feels himself to be an 'idealist' - wherever anyone assumes, by virtue of a higher origin, a right to cast strange and superior looks at actuality.... Just like the priest, the idealist has all the great concepts in his hand (- and not only in his hand!), he plays them out with a benevolent contempt against the 'understanding', the 'senses', 'honours', 'luxury', 'science', he sees these things as beneath him, as harmful and seductive forces above which 'the spirit' soars in pure self-sufficiency - as though humility, chastity, poverty, in a word holiness, had not hitherto done life unutterably more harm than any sort of frightfulness or vice whatever.... Pure spirit is pure lie.... So long as the priest, that denier, calumniator and poisoner of life by profession, still counts as a higher kind of human being there can be no answer to the question: what is truth? One has already stood truth on its head when the conscious advocacy of denial and nothingness counts as the representative of 'truth'...
I make war on this theologian instinct: I have found traces of it everywhere. Whoever has theologian blood in his veins has a wrong and dishonest attitude towards all things from the very first. The pathos that develops out of this is called faith: closing one's eyes with respect to oneself for good and all so as not to suffer from the sight of incurable falsity. Out of this erroneous perspective on all things one makes a morality, a virtue, a holiness for oneself, one unites the good conscience with seeing falsely - one demands that no other kind of perspective shall be accorded any value after one has rendered one's own sacrosanct with the names 'God', 'redemption', 'eternity'. I have dug out the theologian instinct everywhere: it is the most widespread, peculiarly subterranean forms of falsity that exists on earth. What a theologian feels to be true must be false: this provides almost a criterion of truth. It is his deepest instinct of self-preservation which forbids any part of reality whatever to be held in esteem or even spoken of. Wherever the influence of the theologian extends value judgement is stood on its head, the concepts 'true' and 'false' are necessarily reversed: that which is most harmful to life is here called 'true', that which enhances, intensifies, affirms, justifies it and causes it to triumph is called 'false'.... If it happens that, by way of the 'conscience' of princes (or of nations -), theologians stretch out their hands after power, let us be in no doubt what at bottom is taking place every time: the will to the end, the nihilistic will wants power ...
Among Germans one will understand immediately when I sat that philosophy has been corrupted by theologian blood. The Protestant pastor is the grandfather of German philosophy, Protestantism itself is its peccatum originale. [original sin] Definition of Protestantism: the half-sided paralysis of Christianity - and of reason.... One has only to say the words 'College of Tübingen [A famous theological college in Swabia.] to grasp what German philosophy is at bottom - a cunning theology.... The Swabians are the best liars in Germany, they lie innocently.... Why the rejoicing heard throughout the German academic world - three-quarters composed of the sons of pastors and teachers - at the appearance of Kant? Why the Germans' conviction, which still finds an echo even today, that with Kant things were taking a turn for the better? The theologian instinct in the German scholar divined what was henceforth possible once again.... A secret path to the old ideal stood revealed, the concept 'real world', the concept of morality as the essence of the world (- these two most vicious errors in existence!) were once more, thanks to a crafty-sly scepticism, if not demonstrable yet no longer refutable.... Reason, the right of reason does not extend so far.... One had made of reality an 'appearance'; one had made a completely fabricated world, that of being, into reality.... Kant's success is merely a theologian's success: German integrity was far from firm and Kant, like Luther, like Leibniz, was one more constraint upon it ...
A word against Kant as moralist. A virtue has to be our invention, our most personal defence and necessity: in any other sense it is merely a danger. What does not condition our life harms it: a virtue merely from a feeling of respect for the concept 'virtue', as Kant defined it, is harmful. 'Virtue', 'duty', 'good in itself', impersonal and universal - phantoms, expressions of decline, of the final exhaustion of life, of Köningsbergian Chinadom. The profoundest laws of preservation and growth demand the reverse of this: that each one of us should devise his own virtue, his own categorical imperative. A people perishes if it mistakes its own duty for the concept of duty in general. Nothing works more profound ruin than any 'impersonal' duty, any sacrifice to the Moloch of abstraction. - Kant's categorical imperative ['Act as if the maxim of your action were to become through your will a general natural law' is one of the definitions of the 'categorical imperative' in Kant's METAPHYSICS OF MORALS.] should have been felt as mortally dangerous!... The theologian instinct alone took it under its protection! - An action compelled by the instinct of life has in the joy of performing it the proof it is a right action: and every nihilist with Christian-dogmatic bowels understands joy as an objection.... What destroys more quickly than to work, to think, to feel without inner necessity, without a deep personal choice, without joy? as an automaton of 'duty'? It is virtually a recipe for décadence, even for idiocy.... Kant became an idiot. - And that was the contemporary of Goethe! This fatal spider counted as the German philosopher - still does! I take care not to say what I think of the Germans.... Did Kant not see in the French Revolution the transition from the inorganic form of the state to the organic? Did he not ask himself whether there was an event which could be explained in no other way than by a moral predisposition on the part of mankind, so that with it the 'tendency of man to seek the good' would be proved once and for all? Kant's answer: 'The Revolution is that.' The erring instinct of all and everything, anti-naturalness as instinct, German décadence as philosophy - that is Kant! -
I exclude a few sceptics, the decent type in the history of philosophy: but the rest are ignorant of the first requirements of intellectual integrity. These great visionaries and prodigies behave one and all like little women - they consider 'fine feelings' arguments, the 'heaving bosom' the bellows of divinity, conviction the criterion of truth. Finally Kant, in his 'German' innocence, tried to give this form of corruption, this lack of intellectual conscience, a scientific colouring with the concept 'practical reason': he designed a reason specifically for the case in which one was supposed not to have to bother about reason, namely when morality, when the sublime demand 'thou shalt' makes itself heard. If one considers that the philosopher is, in virtually all nations, only the further development of the priestly type, one is no longer surprised to discover this heirloom of the priest, self-deceptive fraudulence. If one has sacred tasks, for example that of improving, saving, redeeming mankind - if one carries the divinity in one's bosom, is the mouthpiece of an other-world imperative, such a mission already places one outside all merely reasonable valuations - one is already sanctified by such a task, one is already the type of a higher order!... What does a priest care about science! He is above it! - And the priest has hitherto ruled! - He has determined the concept 'true' and 'untrue'!...
Let us not undervalue this: we ourselves, we free spirits, are already a 'revaluation of all values', an incarnate declaration of war and victory over all ancient conceptions of 'true' and 'untrue'. The most valuable insights are the last to be discovered; but the most valuable insights are methods. All the methods, all the prerequisites of our present-day scientificality have for millennia been the objects of the profoundest contempt: on their account one was excluded from associating with 'honest' men - one was considered an 'enemy of God', a despiser of truth, a man 'possessed'. As a practitioner of science one was Chandala.... We have had the whole pathos of mankind against us - its conception of what truth ought to be, what the service of truth ought to be; every 'thou shalt' has hitherto been directed against us.... Our objectives, our practices, our quiet, cautious, mistrustful manner - all this appeared utterly unworthy and contemptible to mankind. - In the end one might reasonably ask oneself whether it was not really an aesthetic taste which blinded mankind for so long: it desired a picturesque effect from truth, it desired especially that the man of knowledge should produce a powerful impression on the senses. It was our modesty which offended their taste the longest.... Oh, how well they divined that fact, those turkeycocks of God -
We have learned better. We have become more modest in every respect. We no longer trace the origin of man in the 'spirit', in the 'divinity', we have placed him back among the animals. We consider him the strongest animal because he is the most cunning: his spirituality is a consequence of this. On the other hand, we guard ourselves against a vanity which would like to find expression even here: the vanity that man is the great secret objective of animal evolution. Man is absolutely not the crown of creation: every creature stands beside him at the same stage of perfection.... And even in asserting that we assert too much: man is, relatively speaking, the most unsuccessful animal, the sickliest, the one most dangerously strayed from its instincts - with all that, to be sure, the most interesting! - As regards the animals, Descartes was the first who, with a boldness worthy of reverence, ventured to think of the animals as a machine: our whole science of physiology is devoted to proving this proposition. Nor, logically, do we exclude man, as even Descartes did: our knowledge of man today is real knowledge precisely to the extent that it is knowledge of him as a machine. Formerly man was presented with 'free will' as a dowry from a higher order: today we have taken even will away from him, in the sense that will may no longer be understood as a faculty. The old word 'will' only serves to designate a resultant, a kind of individual reaction which necessarily follows a host of partly contradictory, partly congruous stimuli - the will no longer 'effects' anything, no longer 'moves' anything.... Formerly one saw in man's consciousness, in his 'spirit', the proof of his higher origin, his divinity; to make himself perfect man was advised to draw his senses back into himself in the manner of the tortoise, to cease to have any traffic with the earthly, to lay aside his mortal frame: then the chief part of him would remain behind, 'pure spirit'. We have thought better of this too: becoming-conscious, 'spirit' is to us precisely a symptom of a relative imperfection of the organism, as an attempting, fumbling, blundering, as a toiling in which an unnecessarily large amount of nervous energy is expended - we deny that anything can be made perfect so long as it is still made conscious. 'Pure spirit' is pure stupidity: if we deduct the nervous system and the senses, the 'mortal frame', we miscalculate -that's all!...
In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point. Nothing but imaginary causes ('God', 'soul', 'ego', 'spirit', 'free will', - or 'unfree will'): nothing but imaginary effects ('sin', 'redemption', 'grace', 'punishment', 'forgiveness of sins'). A traffic between imaginary beings ('God', 'spirits', 'souls'); an imaginary natural science (anthropocentric; complete lack of the concept of natural causes); an imaginary psychology (nothing but self-misunderstandings, interpretations of pleasant or unpleasant general feelings, for example the condition of the nervus sympathicus, with the aid of the sign-language of religio-moral idiosyncrasy - 'repentance', 'sting of conscience', 'temptation by the Devil', 'the proximity of God'); an imaginary teleology ('the kingdom of God', 'the Last Judgement', 'eternal life'). - This purely fictitious world is distinguished from the world of dreams, very much to its disadvantage, by the fact that the latter mirrors actuality, while the former falsifies, devalues and denies actuality. Once the concept 'nature' had been devised as the concept antithetical to 'God', 'natural' had to be the word for 'reprehensible' - this entire fictional world has its roots in hatred of the natural (- actuality! -), it is the expression of a profound discontent with the actual.... But that explains everything. Who alone has reason to lie himself out of actuality? He who suffers from it. But to suffer from actuality means to be an abortive actuality.... The preponderance of feelings of displeasure over feelings of pleasure is the cause of a fictitious morality and religion: such a preponderance, however, provides the formula for décadence ...
A critical examination of the Christian concepts of God invites a similar conclusion. - A people which still believes in itself still also has its own God. In him it venerates the conditions through which it has prospered, its virtues - it projects its joy in itself, its feeling of power on to a being whom one can thank for them. He who is rich wants to bestow; a proud people needs a God in order to sacrifice.... Within the bounds of such presuppositions religion is a form of gratitude. One is grateful for oneself: for that one needs a God. - Such a God must be able to be both useful and harmful, both friend and foe - he is admired in good and bad alike. The anti-natural castration of a God into a God of the merely good would be totally undesirable here. One has as much need of the evil God as of the good God: for one does not owe one's existence to philanthropy or tolerance precisely.... Of what consequence would a God be who knew nothing of anger, vengefulness, envy, mockery, cunning, acts of violence? to whom even the rapturous ardeurs of victory and destruction were unknown? One would not understand such a God: why should one have him? - To be sure: when a people is perishing; when it feels its faith in the future, its hope of freedom vanish completely; when it becomes conscious that the most profitable thing of all is submissiveness and that the virtues of submissiveness are a condition of its survival, then its God has to alter too. He now becomes a dissembler, timid, modest, counsels 'peace of soul', no more hatred, forbearance, 'love' even towards friend and foe. He is continually moralizing, he creeps into the cave of every private virtue, becomes a God for everybody, becomes a private man, becomes a cosmopolitan.... Formerly he represented a people, the strength of a people, everything aggressive and thirsting for power in the soul of a people: now he is merely the good God.... There is in fact no other alternative for Gods: either they are the will to power - and so long as they are that they will be national Gods - or else the impotence for power - and then they necessarily become good ...
Wherever the will to power declines in any form there is every time also a physiological regression, a décadence. The divinity of décadence, pruned of all its manliest drives and virtues, from now on necessarily becomes the God of the physiologically retarded, the weak. They do not call themselves the weak, they call themselves 'the good'.... One will understand without further indication at what moment of history the dual fiction of a good and an evil God first becomes possible. The same instinct which makes the subjugated people reduce its God to the 'good in itself' makes them expunge the good qualities from the God of their conqueror; they revenge themselves on their masters by changing their masters' God into a devil. - The good God and the Devil: both products of décadence. - How can one today still defer so far to the simplicity of Christian theologians as to join them in proclaiming that the evolution of the concept of God from the 'God of Israel', the national God, to the Christian God, the epitome of everything good, is an advance? - But even Renan does so. As if Renan had a right to simplicity! For it is the opposite which leaps to the eye. When the prerequisites of ascending life, when everything strong, brave, masterful, proud is eliminated from the concept of God; when he declines step by step to a symbol of a staff for the weary, a sheet-anchor for all who are drowning; when he becomes the poor people's God, the sinner's God, the God the of sick par excellence, and the predicate 'saviour', 'redeemer' as it were remains over as the predicate of divinity as such: of what does such a transformation speak? such a reduction of the divine? - To be sure: 'the kingdom of God' has thereby grown larger. Formerly he had only his people, his 'chosen' people. In the meantime, just like his people itself, he has gone abroad, gone wandering about; since then he has sat still nowhere: until at last he is at home everywhere, the great cosmopolitan - until he has got 'the great majority' and half the earth on his side. But the God of the 'great majority', the democrat among gods, has nonetheless not become a proud pagan God: he has remained a Jew, he has remained the God of the nook, the God of all the dark corners and places, of all unhealthy quarters throughout the world!... His world-empire is as before an underworld-empire, a hospital, a souterrain-empire, a ghetto-empire.... And he himself so pale, so weak, so décadent.... Even the palest of the pale have still been able to master him, messieurs the metaphysicians, the conceptual albinos. These have spun their web around him so long that, hypnotized by their movements, he himself became a spider, a metaphysician. Thenceforward he span the world again out of himself - sub specie Spinozae - thenceforward he transformed himself into something even paler and less substantial, became an 'ideal', became 'pure spirit', became 'absolutum', became 'thing in itself'.... Decay of a God: God became 'thing in itself' ...
The Christian conception of God - God as God of the sick, God as spider, God as spirit - is one of the most corrupt conceptions of God arrived at on earth: perhaps it even represents the low-water mark in the descending development of the God type. God degenerated to the contradiction of life, instead of being its transfiguration and eternal Yes! In God a declaration of hostility towards life, nature, the will to life! God the formula for every calumny of 'this world', for every lie about 'the next world'! In God nothingness deified, the will to nothingness sanctified!...
That the strong races of northern Europe have not repudiated the Christian God certainly reflects no credit on their talent for religion - not to speak of their taste. They ought to have felt compelled to have done with such a sickly and decrepit product of décadence. But there lies a curse on them for not having had done with it: they have taken up sickness, old age, contradiction into all their instincts - since then they have failed to create a God! Almost two millennia and not a single new God! But still, and as if existing by right, like an ultimate and maximum of the God-creating force, of the creator spiritus in man, this pitiable God of Christian monotono-theism! This hybrid of the void, conceptualism and contradiction, this picture of decay, in which all décadence instincts, all cowardliness and weariness of soul have their sanction! -
With my condemnation of Christianity, I should not like to have wronged a kindred religion which even preponderates in the number of its believers: Buddhism. They belong together as nihilistic religions - they are décadence religions - but they are distinguished from one another in the most remarkable way. The critic of Christianity is profoundly grateful to Indian scholars that one is now able to compare these two religions. - Buddhism is a hundred times more realistic than Christianity - it has the heritage of a cool and objective posing of problems in its composition, it arrives after a philosophical movement lasting hundreds of years; the concept 'God' is already abolished by the time it arrives. Buddhism is the only really positivistic religion history has to show us, even in its epistemology (a strict phenomenalism -), it no longer speaks of 'the struggle against sin' but, quite in accordance with actuality, 'the struggle against suffering'. It already has - and this distinguishes it profoundly from Christianity - the self-deception of moral concepts behind it - it stands, in my language, beyond good and evil. - The two physiological facts upon which it rests and on which it fixes its eyes are: firstly an excessive excitability of sensibility which expresses itself as a refined capacity for pain, then an over-intellectuality, a too great preoccupation with concepts and logical procedures under which the personal instinct has sustained harm to the advantage of the 'impersonal' (- both of them conditions which at any rate some of my readers, the objective ones, will know from experience, as I do). On the basis of these physiological conditions a state of depression has arisen: against this depression Buddha takes hygienic measures. He opposes it with life in the open air, the wandering life; with moderation and fastidiousness as regards food; with caution towards all alcoholic spirits; likewise with caution towards all emotions which produce gall, which heat the blood; no anxiety, either for oneself or for others. He demands ideas which produce repose or cheerfulness - he devised means for de-accustoming oneself to others. He understands benevolence, being kind, as health-promoting. Prayer is excluded, as is asceticism; no categorical imperative, no compulsion at all, not even within the monastic community (- one can leave it -). All these would have the effect of increasing that excessive excitability. For this reason too he demands no struggle against those who think differently; his teaching resists nothing more than it resists the feeling of revengefulness, of antipathy, of ressentiment (- 'enmity is not ended by enmity': the moving refrain of the whole of Buddhism ...). And quite rightly: it is precisely these emotions which would be thoroughly unhealthy with regard to the main dietetic objective. The spiritual weariness he discovered and which expressed itself as an excessive 'objectivity' (that is to say weakening of individual interest, loss of centre of gravity, of 'egoism'), he combated by directing even the spiritual interests back to the individual person. In the teaching of Buddha egoism becomes a duty: the 'one thing needful', the 'how can you get rid of suffering' regulates and circumscribes the entire spiritual diet (- one may perhaps call to mind that Athenian who likewise made war on pure 'scientificality', Socrates, who elevated personal egoism to morality in the domain of problems).
The precondition for Buddhism is a very mild climate, very gentle and liberal customs, no militarism; and that it is the higher and even learned classes in which the movement has its home. The supreme goal is cheerfulness, stillness, absence of desire, and this goal is achieved. Buddhism is not a religion in which one merely aspires after perfection: perfection is the normal case. -
In Christianity the instincts of the subjugated and oppressed come into the foreground: it is the lowest classes which seek their salvation in it. Here the casuistic business of sin, self-criticism, conscience-inquisition is practised as a specific against boredom; here an emotional attitude towards a power, called 'God', is kept constantly alive (through prayer); here the highest things are considered unachievable, gifts, 'grace'. Here public openness is also lacking; the hole-and-corner, the dark chamber is Christian. Here the body is despised, hygiene repudiated as sensuality; the Church even resists cleanliness (- the first measure taken by the Christians after the expulsion of the Moors was the closure of the public baths, of which Cordova alone possessed 270). A certain sense of cruelty towards oneself and others is Christian; hatred of those who think differently; the will to persecute. Gloomy and exciting ideas stands in the foreground; the states most highly desired and designated by the highest names are epileptoid states; diet is selected so as to encourage morbid phenomena and to over-excite the nerves. Mortal hostility against the masters of the earth, against the 'noble' - and at the same time a covert secret competition (- one allows them the 'body', one wants only the 'soul'): that is also Christian. Hatred of mind, of pride, courage, freedom, libertinage of mind is Christian; hatred of the senses, of the joy of the senses, of joy in general is Christian ...
When it left its original home, the lowest orders, the underworld of the ancient world, when it went in search of power among barbarian peoples, Christianity had no longer to presuppose weary human beings but inwardly savage and self-lacerating ones - strong but ill-constituted human beings. Here discontentedness with oneself, suffering from oneself is not, as it is with the Buddhists, an immoderate excitability and capacity for pain, but on the contrary an overwhelming desire to do harm, to discharge an inner tension in hostile actions and ideas. To dominate barbarians Christianity had need of barbarous concepts and values: sacrifice of the first-born, blood-drinking at communion, contempt for intellect and culture; torture in all its forms, physical and non-physical; great pomp brought to public worship. Buddhism is a religion for late human beings, for races grown kindly, gentle, over-intellectual who feel pain too easily (- Europe is not nearly ripe for it -): it leads them back to peace and cheerfulness, to an ordered diet in intellectual things, to a certain physical hardening. Christianity desires to dominate beasts of prey; its means for doing so is to make them sick - weakening is the Christian recipe for taming, for 'civilization'. Buddhism is a religion for the end and fatigue of a civilization, Christianity does not even find civilization in existence - it establishes civilization if need be.
Buddhism, to say it again, is a hundred times colder, more veracious, more objective. It no longer needs to make its suffering and capacity for pain decent to itself by interpreting it as sin - it merely says what it feels: 'I suffer'. To the barbarian, on the contrary, suffering in itself is not decent: he first requires it to be interpreted before he will admit to himself that he suffers (his instinct directs him rather to deny he is suffering, to a silent endurance). Here the word 'Devil' was a blessing: one had an overwhelming and fearful enemy - one did not need to be ashamed of suffering at the hands of such an enemy. -
Christianity has a number of subtleties in its foundations which belong to the Orient. Above all, it knows that it is in itself a matter of absolute indifference whether a thing be true, but a matter of the highest importance to what extent it is believed to be true. Truth and the belief that something is true: two completely diverse worlds of interest, almost antithetical worlds - one gets to them by fundamentally different roads. To be knowledgeable in this - in the Orient that is almost enough to constitute a sage: thus the Brahmins [The highest or priestly caste in the Hindu system.] understood it, thus Plato understands it, thus does every student of esoteric wisdom understand it. If, for example, there is happiness to be found in believing oneself redeemed from sin, it is not necessary for a man first to be sinful, but for him to feel himself sinful. If, however, it is belief as such which is necessary above all else, then one has to bring reason, knowledge, inquiry into disrepute: the road to truth becomes the forbidden road. - Intense hope is a much stronger stimulant to life than any single instance of happiness which actually occurs. Sufferers have to be sustained by a hope which cannot be refuted by any actuality - which is not done away with by any fulfilment: a hope in the Beyond. (It was precisely on account of this capacity for keeping the unhappy in suspense that the Greeks considered hope the evil of evils, the actual malignant evil: it remained behind in the box of evil.) - So that love shall be possible, God has to be a person; so that the lowest instincts shall have a voice, God has to be young. To satisfy the ardour of the women a handsome saint is moved into the foreground, to satisfy that of the men a Mary. This on the presupposition that Christianity desires to become master on a soil where the worship of Adonis or Aphrodite has already determined the concept of what religious worship is. The requirement of chastity increases the vehemence and inward intensity of the religious instinct - it renders the cult warmer, more enthusiastic, more soulful. - Love is the state in which man sees things most of all as they are not. The illusion-creating force is there at its height, likewise the sweetening and transforming force. One endures more when in love than one otherwise would, one tolerates everything. The point was to devise a religion in which love is possible: with that one is beyond the worst that life can offer - one no longer even sees it. - So much for the three Christian virtues faith, hope and charity: ['Charity' is in the Lutheran Bible rendered by the word 'love' ('liebe').] I call them the three Christian shrewdnesses. - Buddhism is too late, too positivistic still to be shrewd in this fashion. -
I only touch on the problem of the origin of Christianity here. The first proposition towards its solution is: Christianity can be understood only by referring to the soil out of which it grew - it is not a counter-movement against the Jewish instinct, it is actually its logical consequence, one further conclusion of its fear-inspiring logic. In the Redeemer's formula: 'Salvation is of the Jews'. - The second proposition is: the psychological type of the Galilean is still recognizable - but only in a completely degenerate form (which is at once a mutilation and an overloading with foreign traits) could it serve the end to which it was put, that of being the type of a redeemer of mankind. -
The Jews are the most remarkable nation of world history because, faced with the question of being or not being, they preferred, with a perfectly uncanny conviction, being at any price: the price they had to pay was the radical falsification of all nature, all naturalness, all reality, the entire inner world as well as the outer. They defined themselves counter to all those conditions under which a nation was previously able to live, was permitted to live; they made of themselves an antithesis to natural conditions - they inverted religion, religious worship, morality, history, psychology one after the other in an irreparable way into the contradiction of their natural values. We encounter the same phenomenon again in unutterably vaster proportions, although only as a copy - the Christian Church, in contrast to the 'nation of saints', renounces all claim to originality. For precisely this reason the Jews are the most fateful nation in world history: their after-effect has falsified mankind to such an extent that today the Christian is able to feel anti-Jewish without realizing he is the ultimate consequence of the Jews. [Christian anti-Semitism was something Nietzsche experienced in his closest relations and associates, and his assertion that Christianity is a product of Judaism and the 'Jewish instinct' cannot therefore be interpreted anti-Semitically: its purpose is to pull the ground from under the Christian tradition of anti-Semitism by insisting on the continuity of the Jewish religion and the Christian. It will be clear from the text that Nietzsche was not a racialist and did not consider the evolution of Judaism a consequence of the Jews' racial make-up.]
In my Genealogy of Morals I introduced for the first time the psychology of the antithetical concepts of a noble morality and a ressentiment morality, the latter deriving from a denial of the former: but this latter corresponds totally to Judeo-Christian morality. To be able to reject all that represents the ascending movement of life, well-constitutedness, power, beauty, self-affirmation on earth, the instinct of ressentiment here become genius had to invent another world from which that life-affirmation would appear evil, reprehensible as such. Considered psychologically, the Jewish nation is a nation of the toughest vital energy which, placed in impossible circumstances, voluntarily, from the profoundest shrewdness in self-preservation, took the side of all décadence instincts - not as being dominated by them but because it divined in them a power by means of which one can prevail against 'the world'. The Jews are the counterparts of the décadents: they have been compelled to acts as décadents to the point of illusion, they have known, with a non plus ultra of histrionic genius, how to place themselves at the head of all décadence movements (- as the Christianity of Paul -) so as to make of them something stronger than any party affirmative of life. For the kind of man who desires to attain power through Judaism and Christianity, the priestly kind, décadence is only a means: this kind of man has a life-interest in making mankind sick and in inverting the concepts 'good' and 'evil', 'true' and 'false' in a mortally dangerous and world-calumniating sense. -
The history of Israel is invaluable as a typical history of the denaturalizing of natural values: I shall indicate five stages in the process. Originally, above all in the period of the Kingdom, Israel too stood in a correct, that is to say natural relationship to all things. Their Yaweh was the expression of their consciousness of power, of their delight in themselves, their hopes of themselves: in him they anticipated victory and salvation, with him they trusted that nature would provide what the people needed - above all rain. Yaweh is the God of Israel and consequently the God of justice: the logic of every nation that is in power and has a good conscience about it. These two aspects of a nation's self-affirmation find expression in festival worship: it is grateful for the great destiny which has raised it on high, it is grateful towards the year's seasons and all its good fortune with livestock and husbandry. - This state of things long remained the ideal, even after it had been tragically done away with: anarchy within, the Assyrian from without. But the people retained as its supreme desideratum that vision of a king who is a good soldier and an upright judge: as did above all the typical prophet (that is to say critic and satirist of the hour) Isaiah. - But every hope remained unfulfilled. The old God could no longer do what he formerly could. One should have let him go. What happened? One altered the conception of him: at this price one retained him. Yaweh the God of 'justice' - no longer at one with Israel, an expression of national self-confidence: now only a God bound by conditions. The new conception of him becomes an instrument in the hands of priestly agitators who henceforth interpret all good fortune as a reward, all misfortune as punishment for disobedience of God, for 'sin': that most mendacious mode of interpretation of a supposed 'moral world-order' through which the natural concept 'cause' and 'effect' is once and for all stood on its head. When one has banished natural causality from the world by means of reward and punishment, one then requires an anti-natural causality: all the remaining unnaturalness follows forthwith. A God who demands - in place of a God who helps, who devises means, who is fundamentally a word for every happy inspiration of courage and self-reliance.... Morality no longer the expression of the conditions under which a nation lives and grows, no longer a nation's deepest instinct of life, but become abstract, become the antithesis of life - morality as a fundamental degradation of the imagination, as an 'evil eye' for all things. What is Jewish, what is Christian morality? Chance robbed of its innocence; misfortune dirtied by the concept 'sin'; well-being as a danger, as 'temptation'; physiological indisposition poisoned by the worm of conscience ...
The concept of God falsified; the concept of morality falsified - the Jewish priesthood did not stop there. The entire history of Israel was useless: away with it! - These priests perpetrated that miracle of falsification the documentation of which lies before us in a good part of the Bible: with unparalleled disdain of every tradition, every historical reality, they translated their own national past into religious terms, that is to say they made of it a stupid salvation-mechanism of guilt towards Yaweh and punishment, piety towards Yaweh and reward. We would feel this most shameful act of historical falsification much more painfully if millennia of ecclesiastical interpretation of history had not made us almost oblivious to the demands of integrity in historicis. And the philosophers have seconded the Church: the lie of a 'moral world-order' permeates the whole evolution even of the most recent philosophy. What does 'moral world-order' mean? That there exists once and for all a will of God as to what man is to do and what he is not to do; that the value of a nation, of an individual is to be measured by how much or how little obedience is accorded the will of God; that the ruling power of the will of God, expressed as punishment and reward according to the degree of obedience, is demonstrated in the destiny of a nation, of an individual. - The reality displaced by this pitiable lie is: a parasitic kind of human being which prospers only at the expense of every healthy form of life, the priest, abuses the name of God: he calls a state of society in which the priest determines the value of things 'the kingdom of God'; he calls the means by which such a state is achieved or perpetuated 'the will of God'; with cold-blooded cynicism he assesses nations, epochs, individuals according to whether they were conducive to the rule of priests or whether they resisted it. Observe them at work: in the hands of the Jewish priests the great epoch in the history of Israel became an epoch of decay, the Exile, the long years of misfortune, was transformed into an eternal punishment for the great epoch - an epoch in which the priest was as yet nothing. According to their requirements they made the mighty, very freely constituted figures of Israel's history into either pathetic cringing bigots or 'godless men', they simplified the psychology of every great event into the idiotic formula 'obedience to or disobedience of God'. - A further step: the 'will of God' (that is to say the conditions for preserving the power of the priest) has to be known - to this end a 'revelation' is required. In plain words: a great literary forgery becomes necessary, a 'sacred book' is discovered - it is made public with all hieratic pomp, with days of repentance and with lamentation over the long years of 'sinfulness'. The 'will of God' had been established years before: the whole evil lay in the nation's having become estranged from the 'sacred book'.... The 'will of God' has been revealed already to Moses.... What had happened? The priest had, with precision and pedantry, right down to the imposts large and small which had to be paid to him (- not forgetting the tastiest pieces of meat: for the priest is a beef-eater), formulated once and for all what he intends to have, 'what the will of God is'.... From now on all things of life are so ordered that the priest is everywhere indispensable; at all the natural events of life, at birth, marriage, sickness, death, not to speak of 'sacrifice' (meal-times), there appears the holy parasite to denaturalize them - in his language to 'sanctify' them.... For one must grasp this: every natural custom, every natural institution (state, administration of justice, marriage, tending of the sick and poor), every requirement presented by the instinct for life, in short everything valuable in itself, becomes utterly valueless, inimical to value through the parasitism of the priest (or the 'moral world-order'): a sanction is subsequently required - a value-bestowing power is needed which denies the natural quality in these things and only by doing so is able to create a value.... The priest devalues, de-sanctifies nature: it is only at the price of this that he exists at all. - Disobedience of God, that is to say of the priest, of 'the Law', now acquires the name 'sin'; the means of 'becoming reconciled again with God' are, as is only to be expected, means by which subjection to the priest is only more thoroughly guaranteed: the priest alone 'redeems'.... From a psychological point of view, 'sins' are indispensable in any society organized by priests: they are the actual levers of power, the priest lives on sins, he needs 'the commission of sins'.... Supreme law: 'God forgives him who repents' - in plain language: who subjects himself to the priest. -
On a soil falsified in this way, where all nature, all natural value, all reality had the profoundest instincts of the ruling class against it, there arose Christianity, a form of mortal hostility to reality as yet unsurpassed. The 'holy people', which had retained only priestly values, priestly words, for all things, and with a consistency capable of inspiring fear had separated itself from everything else powerful on earth, calling it 'unholy', 'world', 'sin' - this people produced for its instinct a formula which was logical to the point of self-negation: as Christianity it negated the last remaining form of reality, the 'holy people', the 'chosen people', the Jewish reality itself. The case is of the first rank: the little rebellious movement which is baptised with the name of Jesus of Nazareth is the Jewish instinct once more - in other words the priestly instinct which can no longer endure the priest as a reality, the invention of an even more abstract form of existence, an even more unreal vision of the world than one conditioned by an organized Church. Christianity negates the Church ...
I fail to see against what the revolt was directed whose originator Jesus is understood or misunderstood to be if it was not a revolt against the Jewish Church - 'Church' taken in precisely the sense in which we take the word today. It was a revolt against 'the good and the just', against 'the saints of Israel', against the social hierarchy - not against a corruption of these but against caste, privilege, the order, the social form; it was disbelief in 'higher men', a No uttered towards everything that was priest and theologian. But the hierarchy which was thus called in question, even if only momentarily, was the pile-work upon which the Jewish nation continued to exist at all in the midst of the 'waters' - the laboriously-achieved last possibility of remaining in being, the residuum of its separate political existence: an attack on this was an attack on the profoundest national instinct, on the toughest national will to life which has ever existed on earth. This holy anarchist who roused up the lowly, the outcasts and 'sinners', the Chandala within Judaism to oppose the ruling order - in language which, if the Gospels are to be trusted, would even today lead to Siberia - was a political criminal, insofar as political criminals were possible in an absurdly unpolitical society. This is what brought him to the Cross: the proof is the inscription on the Cross. He died for his guilt - all ground is lacking for the assertion, however often it is made, that he died for the guilt of others. -
It is quite another question whether he was conscious of any such antithesis - whether he was not merely felt to be this antithesis. And here for the first time I touch on the problem of the psychology of the redeemer. - I confess there are few books which present me with so many difficulties as the Gospels do. These difficulties are quite other than those which the learned curiosity of the German mind celebrated one of its most unforgettable triumphs in pointing out. The time is far distant when I too, like every young scholar and with the clever dullness of a refined philologist, savoured the work of the incomparable Strauss. I was then twenty years old: now I am too serious for that. What do I care for the contradictions of 'tradition'? How can legends of saints be called 'tradition' at all! The stories of saints are the most ambiguous literature in existence: to apply to them scientific procedures when no other records are extant seems to me wrong in principle - mere learned idling ...
What I am concerned with is the psychological type of the redeemer. For it could be contained in the Gospels in spite of the Gospels, however much mutilated and overloaded with foreign traits: as that of Francis of Assisi is contained in the legends about him in spite of the legends. Not the truth about what he did, what he said, how he really died: but the question whether his type is still conceivable at all, whether it has been 'handed down' by tradition. - The attempts I know of to extract even the history of a 'soul' from the Gospels seem to me proofs of an execrable psychological frivolity. Monsieur Renan, that buffoon in psychologicis, has appropriated for his explication of the type Jesus the two most inapplicable concepts possible in this case: the concept of the genius and the concept of the hero. But if anything is unevangelic it is the concept hero. Precisely the opposite of all contending, of all feeling oneself in struggle has here become instinct: the incapacity for resistance here becomes morality ('resist not evil!': the profoundest saying of the Gospel, its key in a certain sense), blessedness in peace, in gentleness, in the inability for enmity. What are the 'glad tidings'? True life, eternal life is found - it is not promised, it is here, it is within you: as life lived in love, in love without deduction or exclusion, without distance. Everyone is a child of God - Jesus definitely claims nothing for himself alone - as a child of God everyone is equal to everyone else.... To make a hero of Jesus! - And what a worse misunderstanding is the word 'genius'! Our whole concept, our cultural concept 'spirit' had no meaning whatever in the world Jesus lived in. To speak with the precision of the physiologist a quite different word would rather be in place here: the word idiot. We recognize a condition of morbid susceptibility of the sense of touch which makes it shrink back in horror from every contact, every grasping of a firm object. Translate such a physiological habitus [condition] into its ultimate logic - an instinctive hatred of every reality, as flight into the 'ungraspable', into the 'inconceivable', as antipathy towards every form, every spatial and temporal concept, towards everything firm, all that is custom, institution, Church, as being at home in a world undisturbed by reality of any kind, a merely 'inner' world, a 'real' world, an 'eternal' world.... 'The kingdom of God is within you'...
Instinctive hatred of reality: consequence of an extreme capacity for suffering and irritation which no longer wants to be 'touched' at all because it feels every contact too deeply.
Instinctive exclusion of all aversion, all enmity, all feeling for limitation and distancing: consequence of an extreme capacity for suffering and irritation which already feels all resisting, all need for resistance, as an unbearable displeasure (that is to say as harmful, as deprecated by the instinct of self-preservation), and knows blessedness (pleasure) only in no longer resisting anyone or anything, neither the evil nor the evil-doer - love as the sole, as the last possibility of life ...
These are the two physiological realities upon which, out of which the doctrine of redemption has grown. I call it a sublime further evolution of hedonism on a thoroughly morbid basis. Closest related to it, even if with a considerable addition of Greek vitality and nervous energy, is Epicureanism, the redemption doctrine of the pagan world. Epicurus a typical décadent: first recognized as such by me. - The fear of pain, even of the infinitely small in pain - cannot end otherwise than in a religion of love ...
I have anticipated my answer to the problem. Its presupposition is that the type of the redeemer has been preserved to us only in a very distorted form. That this distortion should have occurred is in itself very probable: there are several reasons why such a type could not remain pure, whole, free of accretions. The milieu in which this strange figure moved must have left its mark upon him, as must even more the history, the fate of the first Christian community: from this the type was retrospectively enriched with traits which become comprehensible only with reference to warfare and the aims of propaganda. That strange and sick world to which the Gospels introduce us - a world like that of a Russian novel, in which refuse of society, neurosis and 'childlike' idiocy seem to make a rendezvous - must in any case have coarsened the type: the first disciples in particular had to translate a being immersed entirely in symbols and incomprehensibilities into their own crudity in order to understand anything of it at all - for them such a type could not exist until it had been reduced to more familiar forms.... The prophet, the Messiah, the judge who is to come, the moral preacher, the miracle-worker, John the Baptist - so many opportunities for misunderstanding the type.... Finally, let us not underestimate the proprium [characteristic] of all extreme, and in particular sectarian veneration: it extinguishes the original often painfully unfamiliar traits and idiosyncrasies in the revered being - it even fails to see them. One has this most interesting décadent; I mean someone who could feel the thrilling fascination of such a combination of the sublime, the sick and the childish. One final viewpoint: the type, as a décadence type, could in fact have been of a peculiar multiplicity and contradictoriness: such a possibility cannot be entirely excluded. But everything speaks against it: for if it were so the tradition would have to have been remarkably faithful and objective: and we have reasons for assuming the opposite. In the meantime, there yawns a contradiction between the mountain, lake and field preacher, whose appearance strikes one as that of a Buddha on a soil very little like that of India, and the aggressive fanatic, the mortal enemy of theologian and priest, which Renan has wickedly glorified as 'le grand maitre en ironie'. I myself have no doubt that this plentiful measure of gall (and even of esprit) has only overflowed on to the type of the Master out of the excited condition of Christian propaganda: for one knows very well how resolutely all sectarians adjust their Master into an apologia for themselves. When the first community had need of a censuring theologian to oppose the theologians they created their God according to their requirements: just as they unhesitatingly put into his mouth those totally unevangelic concepts which they could not now do without, 'Second Coming', 'Last Judgement', every kind of temporal promise and expectation.-
I resist, to repeat it, the incorporation of the fanatic into the type of the redeemer: the word impérieux alone which Renan employs already annuls the type. The 'glad tidings' are precisely that there are no more opposites; the kingdom of Heaven belongs to children; the faith which here finds utterance is not a faith which has been won by struggle - it is there, from the beginning, it is as it were a return to childishness in the spiritual domain. The occurrence of retarded puberty undeveloped in the organism as a consequence of degeneration is familiar at any rate to physiologists. - Such a faith is not angry, does not censure, does not defend itself: it does not bring 'the sword' - it has no idea to what extent it could one day cause dissension. It does not prove itself, either by miracles or by rewards and promises, and certainly not 'by the Scriptures': it is every moment its own miracle, its own reward, its own proof, its own 'kingdom of God'. Neither does this faith formulate itself - it lives, it resists formulas. Chance, to be sure, determines the environment, the language, the preparatory schooling of a particular configuration of concepts: primitive Christianity employs only Judeo-Semitic concepts (- eating and drinking at communion belong here, concepts so sadly abused, like everything Jewish, by the Church). But one must be careful not to see in this anything but a sign-language, a semiotic, an occasion for metaphors. It is precisely on condition that nothing he says is taken literally that this antirealist can speak at all. Among Indians he would have made use of Sankhyam concepts, among Chinese those of Lao-tse - and would not have felt the difference. - One could, with some freedom of expression, call Jesus a 'free spirit' - he cares nothing for what is fixed: the word killeth, everything fixed killeth. The concept, the experience 'life' in the only form he knows it is opposed to any kind of word, formula, law, faith, dogma. He speaks only of the inmost thing: 'life' or 'truth' or 'light' is his expression for the inmost thing - everything else, the whole of reality, the whole of nature, language itself, possesses for him merely the value of a sign, a metaphor. - On this point one must make absolutely no mistake, however much Christian, that is to say ecclesiastical prejudice, may tempt one to do so: such a symbolist par excellence stands outside of all religion, all conceptions of divine worship, all history, all natural science, all experience of the world, all acquirements, all politics, all psychology, all books, all art - his 'knowledge' is precisely the pure folly of the fact that anything of this kind exists. He has not so much ass heard of culture, he does not need to fight against it - he does not deny it.... The same applies to the state, to society and the entire civic order, to work, to war - he never had reason to deny 'the world'.... Denial is precisely what is totally impossible for him. - Dialectics are likewise lacking, the idea is lacking that a faith, a 'truth' could be proved by reasons (- his proofs are inner 'lights', inner feelings of pleasure and self-affirmation, nothing butt 'proofs of potency' -). Neither can such a doctrine argue: it simply does not understand that other doctrines exist, can exist, it simply does not know how to imagine an opinion contrary to its own.... Where it encounters one it will, with the most heartfelt sympathy, lament the 'blindness' - for it sees the 'light' - but it will make no objection ...
In the entire psychology of the 'Gospel' the concept guilt and punishment is lacking; likewise the concept reward. 'Sin', every kind of distancing relationship between God and man, is abolished - precisely this is the 'glad tidings'. Blessedness is not promised, it is not tied to any conditions: it is the only reality - the rest is signs for speaking of it ...
The consequence of such a condition projects itself into a new practice, the true evangelic practice. It is not a 'belief' which distinguishes the Christian: the Christian acts, he is distinguished by a different mode of acting. Neither by words nor in his heart does he resist the man who does him evil. He makes no distinction between foreigner and native, between Jew and non-Jew ('one's neighbour' is properly one's co-religionist, the Jew). He is not angry with anyone, does not disdain anyone. He neither appears in courts of law nor claims their protection ('not searing'). Under no circumstances, not even in the case of proved unfaithfulness, does he divorce his wife. - All fundamentally one law, all consequences of one instinct. -
The life of the redeemer was nothing else than this practice - his death too was nothing else.... He no longer required any formulas, any rites for communicating with God - not even prayer. He has settled his accounts with the whole Jewish penance-and-reconciliation doctrine; he knows that it is through the practice of one's life that one feels 'divine', 'blessed', 'evangelic', at all times a 'child of God'. It is not 'penance', not 'prayer for forgiveness' which leads to God: evangelic practice alone leads to God, it is God! - What was abolished with the Evangel was the Judaism of the concepts 'sin', 'forgiveness of sin', 'faith', 'redemption by faith' - the whole of Jewish ecclesiastical teaching was denied in the 'glad tidings'.
The profound instinct for how one would have to live in order to feel oneself 'in Heaven', to feel oneself 'eternal', while in every other condition one by no means feels oneself 'in Heaven': this alone is the psychological reality of 'redemption'. - A new way of living, not a new belief ...
If I understand anything of this great symbolist it is that he took for realities, for 'truths', only inner realities - that he understood the rest, everything pertaining to nature, time, space, history, only as signs, as occasion for metaphor. The concept 'the Son of Man' is not a concrete person belonging to history, anything at all individual or unique, but an 'eternal' fact, a psychological symbol freed from the time concept. The same applies supremely to the God of this typical symbolist, to the 'kingdom of God', to the 'kingdom of Heaven', to 'God's children'. Nothing is more un-Christian than the ecclesiastical crudities of a God as a person, of a 'kingdom of God' which comes, of a 'kingdom of Heaven' in the Beyond, of a 'Son of God', the second person of the Trinity. All this is - forgive the expression - a fist in the eye ['That is as fitting as a fist in the eye' is a German idiom meaning a complete unlikeness between two things - 'alike as chalk and cheese'.] - oh in what an eye! - of the Gospel: world-historical cynicism in the mockery of symbolism.... But it is patently obvious what is alluded to in the symbols 'Father' and 'Son' - not patently obvious to everyone, I grant: in the word 'Son' is expressed the entry into the collective feeling of the transfiguration of all things (blessedness), in the word 'Father' this feeling itself, the feeling of perfection and eternity. - I am ashamed to recall what the Church has made of this symbolism: has it not set an Amphitryon [Amphitryon's wife Alcmene refused to sleep with him until he had revenged the death of her brothers; while Amphitryon was away engaged on this task his still virgin bride was seduced by Zeus and subsequently gave birth to Heracles.] story at the threshold of Christian 'faith'? And a dogma of 'immaculate conception' into the bargain? ... But it has thereby maculated conception -
The 'kingdom of
Heaven' is a condition of the heart - not something that comes 'upon the earth'
or 'after death'. The entire concept of
natural death is lacking in the Gospel: death is not a bridge, not a
transition, it is lacking because it belongs to quite another world, a merely
apparent world useful only for purpose of symbolism. The 'hour of death' is not a Christian
concept - the 'hour', time, physical life and its crises, simply do not exist
for the teacher of the 'glad tidings'.... The '
This 'bringer of glad tidings' died as he lived, as he taught - not to 'redeem mankind' but to demonstrate how one ought to live. What he bequeathed to mankind is his practice: his bearing before the judges, before the guards, before the accusers and every kind of calumny and mockery - his bearing on the Cross. He does not resist, he does not defend his rights, he takes no steps to avert the worst that can happen to him - more, he provokes it.... And he entreats, he suffers, he loves with those, in those who are doing evil to him. His words to the thief on the cross contain the whole Evangel. 'That was verily a divine man, a child of God!' - says the thief. 'If thou feelest this' - answers the redeemer - 'thou art in Paradise, thou art a child of God.' Not to defend oneself, not to grow angry, not to make responsible.... But not to resist even the evil man - to love him ...
- Only we, we emancipated spirits, possess the prerequisite for understanding something nineteen centuries have misunderstood - that integrity become instinct and passion which makes war on the 'holy lie' even more than on any other lie.... One has been unspeakably far from our benevolent and cautious neutrality, from that discipline of the spirit through which alone the divining of such strange, such delicate things is made possible: at all times one has, with shameless self-seeking, desired only one's own advantage in these things, one constructed the Church out of the antithesis to the Gospel.
If anyone were looking for a sign that an ironical divinity was at work behind the great universal drama he would find no small support in the tremendous question-mark called Christianity. That mankind should fall on its knees before the opposite of what was the origin, the meaning, the right of the Gospel, that it should have sanctified in the concept 'Church' precisely what the 'bringer of glad tidings' regarded as beneath him, behind him - one seeks in vain a grander form of world-historical irony -
- Our age is proud of its historical sense: how was it able to make itself believe in the nonsensical notion that the crude miracle-worker and redeemer fable comes at the commencement of Christianity - and that everything spiritual and symbolic is only a subsequent development? On the contrary: the history of Christianity - and that from the very death on the Cross - is the history of progressively cruder misunderstanding of an original symbolism. With every extension of Christianity over even broader, even ruder masses in whom the precondition out of which it was born were more and more lacking, it became increasingly necessary to vulgarize, to barbarize Christianity - it absorbed the doctrines and rites of every subterranean cult of the Imperium Romanum, it absorbed the absurdities of every sort of morbid reason. The fate of Christianity lies in the necessity for its faith itself to grow as morbid, low and vulgar as the requirements it was intended to satisfy were morbid, low and vulgar. As the Church, this morbid barbarism itself finally assumes power - the Church, that form of mortal hostility to all integrity, to all loftiness of soul, to discipline of spirit, to all open-hearted and benevolent humanity. - Christian values - noble values: it is only we, we emancipated spirits, who have restored this greatest of all value-antitheses! -
- At this point I shall not suppress a sigh. There are days when I am haunted by a feeling blacker than the blackest melancholy - contempt of man. And so as to leave no doubt as to what I despise, whom I despise: it is the man of today, the man with whom I am fatefully contemporary. The man of today - I suffocate of his impure breath.... With regard to the past I am, like all men of knowledge, of a large tolerance, that is to say a magnanimous self-control: I traverse the madhouse-world of entire millennia, be it called 'Christianity', 'Christian faith', 'Christian Church', with a gloomy circumspection - I take care not to make mankind responsible for its insanities. But my feelings suddenly alter, burst forth, immediately I enter the modern age, our age. Our age knows.... What was formerly merely morbid has today become indecent - it is indecent to be a Christian today. And here is where my disgust commences. - I look around me: there is no longer a word left of what was formerly called 'truth', we no longer endure it when a priest so much as utters the word 'truth'. Even with the most modest claim to integrity one must know today that a theologian, a priest, a pope does not merely err in every sentence he speaks, he lies that he is no longer free to lie 'innocently', out of 'ignorance'. The priest knows as well as anyone that there is no longer any 'God', any 'sinner', any 'redeemer' - that 'free will', moral world-order', are lies - intellectual seriousness, the profound self-overcoming of the intellect, no longer permits anyone not to know about these things.... All the concepts of the Church are recognized for what they are: the most malicious false-coinage there is for the purpose of devaluing nature and natural values; the priest himself is recognized for what he is: the most dangerous kind of parasite, the actual poison-spider of life.... We know, our conscience knows today - what those sinister inventions of priest and Church are worth, what end they serve, with which that state of human self-violation has been brought about which is capable of exciting disgust at the sight of mankind - the concepts 'Beyond', 'Last Judgement', 'immortality of the soul', the 'soul' itself: they are instruments of torture, they are forms of systematic cruelty by virtue of which the priest has become master, stays master.... Everyone knows this: and everyone nonetheless remains unchanged. Where have the last feelings of decency and self-respect gone when even our statesmen, in other ways a very unprejudiced kind of man and practical anti-Christians through and through, still call themselves Christians today and go to Communion?... A young prince at the head of his regiments, splendid as the expression of his people's egoism and presumption - but without any shame professing himself a Christian!... Whom then does Christianity deny? what does it call 'world'? Being a soldier, being a judge, being a patriot; defending oneself; preserving one's honour; desiring to seek one's advantage; being proud.... The practice of every hour, every instinct, every valuation which leads to action is today anti-Christian: what a monster of falsity modern man must be that he is nonetheless not ashamed to be called a Christian!
- To resume, I shall now relate the real history of Christianity. - The word 'Christianity' is already a misunderstanding - in reality there has been only one Christian, and he died on the Cross. The 'Evangel' died on the Cross. What was called 'Evangel' from this moment onwards was already the opposite of what he had lived: 'bad tidings', a dysangel. It is false to the point of absurdity to see in a 'belief', perchance the belief in redemption through Christ, the distinguishing characteristic of the Christian: only Christian practice, a life such as he who died on the Cross lived, is Christian.... Even today such a life is possible, for certain men even necessary: genuine, primitive Christianity will be possible at all times.... Not a belief but a doing, above all a not-doing of many things, a different being.... States of consciousness, beliefs of any kind, holding something to be true for example - every psychologist knows this - are a matter of complete indifference and of the fifth rank compared with the value of the instincts: to speak more strictly, the whole concept of spiritual causality is false. To reduce being a Christian, Christianness, to a holding something to be true, to a mere phenomenality of consciousness, means to negate Christianness. In fact there have been no Christians at all. The 'Christian', that which has been called Christian for two millennia, is merely a psychological self-misunderstanding. Regarded more closely, that which has ruled in him, in spite of all his 'faith', has been merely the instincts - and what instincts! 'Faith' has been at all times, with Luther for instance, only a cloak, a pretext, a screen, behind which the instincts played their game - a shrewd blindness to the dominance of certain instincts.... 'Faith' - I have already called it the true Christian shrewdness - one has always spoken of faith, one has always acted from instinct.... The Christian's world of ideas contains nothing which so much as touches upon actuality: on the other hand, we have recognized in instinctive hatred for actuality the driving element, the only driving element in the roots of Christianity. What follows therefrom? That here, in psychologicis also, error is radical, that is to say determinant of the essence, that is to say substance. One concept removed, a single reality substituted in its place - and the whole of Christianity crumbles to nothing! - From a lofty standpoint, this strangest of all facts, a religion not only determined by errors but inventive and even possessing genius only in harmful, only in life-poisoning and heart-poisoning errors, remains a spectacle for the gods - for those divinities which are at the same time philosophers and which I encountered, for example, during those celebrated dialogues on Naxos. In the hour when their disgust leaves them (- and leaves us!) they become grateful for the spectacle of the Christian: perhaps it is only for the sake of this curious case that the pathetic little star called Earth deserves a divine glance and divine participation.... For let us not undervalue the Christian: the Christian, false to the point of innocence, far surpasses the ape - with respect to Christians a well-known theory of descent becomes a mere compliment ...
- The fate of the Evangel was determined by the death - it hung on the Cross.... It was only the death, this unexpected shameful death, only the Cross, which was in general reserved for the canaille alone - it was only this terrible paradox which brought the disciples face to face with the real enigma: 'Who was that? What was that?' - The feeling of being shaken and disappointed to their depths, the suspicion that such a death might be the refutation of their cause, the frightful question mark 'why has this happened?' - this condition is only too understandable. Here everything had to be necessary, meaningful, reasonable, reasonable in the highest degree; a disciple's love knows nothing of chance. Only now did the chasm open up: 'Who killed him? who was his natural enemy?' - this question came like a flash of lightning. Answer: ruling Judaism, its upper class. From this moment one felt oneself in mutiny against the social order, one subsequently understood Jesus as having been in mutiny against the social order. Up till then this warlike trait, this negative trait in word and deed, was lacking in his image; more, he was the contradiction of it. Clearly the little community had failed to understand precisely the main thing, the exemplary element in his manner of dying, the freedom from, the superiority over every feeling of ressentiment: - a sign of how little they understood of him at all! Jesus himself could have desired nothing by his death but publicly to offer the sternest test, the proof of his teaching.... But his disciples were far from forgiving his death - which would have been evangelic in the highest sense; not to speak of offering themselves up to a similar death in sweet and gentle peace of heart.... Precisely the most unevangelic of feelings, revengefulness again came uppermost. The affair could not possibly be at an end with this death: one required 'retribution', 'judgement' (- and yet what can be more unevangelic than 'retribution', 'punishment', 'sitting in judgement'!). The popular expectation of a Messiah came once more into the foreground; an historic moment appeared in view: the 'kingdom of God' is coming to sit in judgement on its enemies.... But with this everything is misunderstood: the 'kingdom of God' as a last act, as a promise! For the Evangel had been precisely the existence, the fulfilment, the actuality of this 'kingdom'. Such a death was precisely this 'kingdom of God'. Only now was all that contempt for and bitterness against Pharisee and theologian worked into the type of the Master - one thereby made of him a Pharisee and theologian! On the other hand, the enraged reverence of these utterly unhinged souls could no longer endure that evangelic equal right of everyone to be a child of God which Jesus had taught, and their revenge consisted in exalting Jesus in an extravagant fashion, in severing him from themselves: just as the Jews, in revenge on their enemies, had previously separated their God from themselves and raised him on high. The one God and the one Son of God: both products of ressentiment ...
- And now an absurd problem came up: 'How could God have permitted that?' For this question the deranged reason of the little community found a downright terrifyingly absurd answer: God gave his Son for the forgiveness of sins, as a sacrifice. All at once it was all over with the Gospel! The guilt sacrifice, and that in its most repulsive, barbaric form, the sacrifice of the innocent man for the sins of the guilty! What atrocious paganism! - For Jesus had done away with the concept 'guilt' itself - he had denied any chasm between God and man, he lived this unity of God and man as his 'glad tidings'.... And not as a special prerogative! - From now on there is introduced into the type of the redeemer step by step: the doctrine of a Judgement and a Second Coming, the doctrine of his death as a sacrificial death, the doctrine of the Resurrection with which the entire concept 'blessedness', the whole and sole reality of the Evangel, is juggled away - for the benefit of a state after death!... Paul, with that rabbinical insolence which characterizes him in every respect, rationalized this interpretation, this indecency of an interpretation, thus: 'If Christ is not resurrected from the dead our faith is vain'. - All at once the Evangel became the most contemptible of all unfulfillable promises, the impudent doctrine of personal immortality.... Paul himself even taught it as a reward! ...
One sees what came to an end with the death on the Cross: a new, an absolutely primary beginning to a Buddhistic peace movement, to an actual and not merely promised happiness on earth. For this remains - I have already emphasized it - the basic distinction between the two décadence religions: Buddhism makes no promises but keeps them, Christianity makes a thousand promises but keeps none. - On the heels of the 'glad tidings' came the worst of all: those of Paul. In Paul was embodied the antithetical type to the 'bringer of glad tidings', the genius of hatred, of the vision of hatred, of the inexorable logic of hatred. What did this dysangelist not sacrifice to his hatred! The redeemer above all: he nailed him to his Cross. The life, the example, the teaching, the death, the meaning and the right of the entire Gospel - nothing was left once this hate-obsessed false-coiner had grasped what alone he could make use of. Not the reality, not the historical truth!... And once more the priestly instinct of the Jew perpetrated the same great crime against history - it simply erased the yesterday and the day before yesterday of Christianity, it devised for itself a history of primitive Christianity. More: it falsified the history of Israel over again so as to make this history seem the pre-history of its act: all the prophets had spoken of its 'redeemer.... The Church subsequently falsified even the history of mankind into the pre-history of Christianity.... The type of the redeemer, the doctrine, the practice, the death, the meaning of the death, even the sequel to the death - nothing was left untouched, nothing was left bearing even the remotest resemblance to reality. Paul simply shifted the centre of gravity of that entire existence beyond this existence - in the lie of the 'resurrected' Jesus. In fact he could make no use at all of the redeemer's life - he needed the death on the Cross and something in addition.... To regard as honest a Paul whose home was the principal centre of Stoic enlightenment when he makes of a hallucination the proof that the redeemer is still living, or even to believe his story that he had this hallucination, would be a real niaiserie on the part of a psychologist: Paul willed the end, consequently he willed the means.... What he himself did not believe was believed by the idiots among whom he cast his teaching. - His requirement was power; with Paul the priest again sought power- he could employ only those concepts, teachings, symbols with which one tyrannizes over masses, forms herds. What was the only thing Mohammed later borrowed from Christianity? The invention of Paul, his means for establishing a priestly tyranny, for forming herds: the belief in immortality - that is to say the doctrine of 'judgement' ...
If one shifts the centre of gravity of life out of life into the 'Beyond' - into nothingness - one has deprived life as such of its centre of gravity. The great lie of personal immortality destroys all rationality, all naturalness of instinct - all that is salutary, all that is life-furthering, all that holds a guarantee of the future in the instincts henceforth excites mistrust. So to live that there is no longer any meaning in living: that now becomes the 'meaning' of life.... What is the point of public spirit, what is the point of gratitude for one's descent and one's forefathers, what is the point of co-operation, trust, of furthering and keeping in view the general welfare?... So many 'temptations', so many diversions from the 'right road' - 'one thing is needful'.... That, as an 'immortal soul', everybody is equal to everybody else, that in the totality of beings the 'salvation' of every single one is permitted to claim to be of everlasting moment, that little bigots and three-quarters madmen are permitted to imagine that for their sakes the laws of nature are continually being broken - such a raising of every sort of egoism to infinity, to impudence, cannot be branded with sufficient contempt. And yet it is to this pitiable flattery of personal vanity that Christianity owes its victory - it is with this that it has persuaded over to its side everything ill-constituted, rebellious-minded, underprivileged, all the dross and refuse of mankind. 'Salvation of the soul' - in plain words: 'The world revolves around me'.... The poison of the doctrine 'equal rights for all' - this has been more thoroughly sowed by Christianity than by anything else; from the most secret recesses of base instincts, Christianity has waged a war to the death against every feeling of reverence and distance between man and man, against, that is, the precondition of every elevation, every increase in culture - it has forged out of the ressentiment of the masses its chief weapon against us, against everything noble, joyful, high-spirited on earth, against our happiness on earth.... 'Immortality' granted to every Peter and Paul has been the greatest and most malicious outrage on noble mankind ever committed. - And let us not underestimate the fatality that has crept out of Christianity even into politics! No-one any longer possesses today the courage to claim special privileges or the right to rule, the courage to feel a sense of reverence towards himself and towards his equals - the courage for a pathos of distance.... Our politics is morbid from this lack of courage! - The aristocratic outlook has been undermined most deeply by the lie of equality of souls; and if the belief in the 'prerogative of the majority' makes revolutions and will continue to make them - it is Christianity, let there be no doubt about it, Christian value judgement which translates every revolution into mere blood and crime! Christianity is a revolt of everything that crawls along the ground directed against that which is elevated: the Gospel of the 'lowly' makes low ...
- The Gospels are invaluable as evidence of the already
irresistible corruption within the first community. What Paul later carried to its conclusion
with the cynical logic of a rabbi was nonetheless merely the process of decay
which commenced with the death of the redeemer. - One cannot read these Gospels
too warily; there are difficulties behind every word. I hope I shall be pardoned for confessing
that they are for that very reason a pleasure of the first rank to a
psychologist - as the opposite of all kinds of naďve depravity, as
refinement par excellence, as artistry in psychological depravity. The Gospels are in a class by
themselves. The Bible in general admits
of no comparison. One is among Jews: first
consideration if one is not to lose the thread completely. This self-pretence of 'holiness', which here
becomes downright genius and which has not since been even approximately
equalled among books and men, this false-coinage of word and attitude as an art,
is not the chance product of some individual talent, some exceptional
nature. Race is required for
it. In Christianity, as the art of holy
lying, the whole of Judaism, a schooling and technique pursued with the utmost
seriousness for hundreds of years, attains its ultimate perfection. The Christian, that ultima
ratio of the lie, is the Jew once more - even thrice more.... The
will to employ as a matter of principle only concepts, symbols, attitudes
manifested in the practice of the priest, the instinctive rejection of every other
practice, every other kind of perspective in the realm of values and
practical application - that is not tradition, it is inheritance: only
as inheritance does it have the effect of a natural quality. The whole of mankind, even the finest heads
of the finest epochs (with one exception, who is perhaps merely a monster -)
have allowed themselves to be deceived.
The Gospel has been read as the Book of Innocence.... no small
pointer to the degree of histrionic mastery displayed in it. - If we got to see
them, to be sure, even if only in passing, all these singular bigots and
artificial saints, it would be the end of them - and it is precisely because I
never read a word without seeing an attitude that I make an end of them....
They have a way of raising their eyes to Heaven which I cannot endure. -
Fortunately books are for most people merely literature. - One must not
let oneself be misled: they say 'Judge not!' but they send to Hell everything
that stands in their way. By allowing
God to judge they themselves judge; by glorifying God they glorify themselves;
by demanding precisely those virtues of which they themselves are
capable - more, which they are in need of to stay on top at all - they present
a great appearance of contending for virtue, of struggling for the triumph of
virtue. 'We live, we die, we sacrifice
ourselves for the good' (- 'truth', 'the light', the '
- I give a few examples of what these petty people have taken into their heads, what they have put into the mouth of their Master: confessions of 'beautiful souls' one and all. -
shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust
under your feet for a testimony against them.
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for
'And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.' (Mark ix, 42) - How evangelic!...
'And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out; it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.' (Mark ix, 47-8) - It is not precisely the eye that is meant ...
'Verily I say unto
you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of
death, till they have seen the
'Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For ...' (Observation of a psychologist: Christian morality is refuted by its fors: its 'reasons' refute - thus is it Christian.) Mark viii, 34-5.
'Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgement ye judge, ye shall be judged.' (Matthew vii, 1-2) - What a conception of justice, of a 'just' judge!...
'For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans do the same? And if ye salute your brethren only what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so.' (Matthew v, 46-7) - Principle of 'Christian love': it wants to be well paid ...
'But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.' (Matthew vi, 15) - Very compromising for the said 'Father' ...
'But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.' (Matthew vi, 33) - All these things: namely food, clothing, all the essentials of life. An error, to put it mildly.... A little earlier God appears as a tailor, at least under certain circumstances ... [Matthew vi, 28-30.]
'Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.' (Luke vi, 23) - Impudent rabble! It already compares itself with the prophets....
'Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.' (1 Corinthians iii, 16-17) - Such things as this cannot be sufficiently despised ...
'Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?' (1 Corinthians vi, 2) - Unfortunately, not merely the ravings of a lunatic.... This frightful impostor goes on to say: 'Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?' ...
'Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe ...; not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.' (1 Corinthians i, 20 ff.) - To understand this passage, a document of the very first rank for the psychology of every Chandala morality, one should read the first essay of my Genealogy of Morals, where the antithesis between a noble morality and a Chandala morality born of ressentiment and impotent revengefulness is first brought to light. Paul was the greatest of all apostles of revenge ...
- What follows from all this? That one does well to put gloves on when reading the New Testament. The proximity of so much uncleanliness almost forces one to do so. One would no more choose to associate with 'first Christians' than one would with Polish Jews: not that one would need to prove so much as a single point against them.... Neither of them smell very pleasant. - I have looked in vain for so much as one sympathetic trait in the New Testament; there is nothing free, benevolent, open-hearted, honest in it. Humanity has not taken its first step here - the instincts of cleanliness are lacking.... There are only bad instincts in the New Testament, there is not even the courage for these bad instincts. Everything in it is cowardice, everything is self-deception and closing one's eyes to oneself. Every book becomes clean if one has just read the New Testament: to give an example, immediately after reading Paul I read with delight that sweetest and most high-spirited of all mockers, Petronius, of whom one could say what Domenico Boccaccio wrote to the Duke of Parma of Cesare Borgia: 'é tutto festo' - immortally healthy, immortally cheerful and well-constituted.... For these little bigots miscalculate in the main thing. They attack, but everything attacked by them is thereby signalized. Whomever a 'first Christian' attacks is not besmirched by it.... Conversely: it is an honour to have 'first Christians' against one. It is impossible to read the New Testament without feeling a partiality for that which is ill-treated in it - to say nothing of the 'wisdom of this world' which an impudent humbug tried in vain to confound.... But even the Scribes and Pharisees gain advantage from having such an opponent: they must have been worthy something to be hated in such an indecent fashion. Hypocrisy - that's rich coming from 'first Christians'! - The Scribes and Pharisees were the privileged: this sufficed, Chandala hatred requires no further reasons. The 'first Christian' - and, I fear, also the 'last Christian', whom I shall perhaps live to see - is a rebel in his lowest instincts against everything privileged - he always lives and struggles for 'equal rights'.... More closely considered, he has no choice. If one wants to be, in one's own person, 'chosen of God' - or a 'temple of God', or a 'judge of angels' - then every other principle of selection, for example on the basis of integrity, intellect, manliness and pride, beauty and liberality of heart, is simply 'world' - evil as such.... Moral: every word in the mouth of a 'first Christian' is a lie, every act he performs an instinctive falsehood - all his values, all his aims are harmful, but whomsoever he hates, whatever he hates, has value.... The Christian, the priestly Christian especially, is a criterion of values. - Do I still have to add that in the entire New Testament there is only one solitary figure one is obliged to respect? Pilate, the Roman governor. To take a Jewish affair seriously - he cannot persuade himself to do that. One Jew more or less - what does it matter?... The noble scorn of a Roman before whom an impudent misuse of the word 'truth' was carried on has enriched the New Testament with the only expression which possesses value - which is its criticism, its annihilation even: 'What is truth?'...
- What sets us apart is not that we recognize no God, either it history or in nature or behind nature - but that we find that which has been reverenced as God not 'godlike' but pitiable, absurd, harmful, not merely an error but a crime against life.... We deny God as God.... If this God of the Christians were proved to us to exist, we should know even less how to believe in him. - In a formula: Deus, qualem Paulus creavit, dei negatio. [God, as Paul created him, is a denial of God.] - A religion like Christianity, which is at no point in contact with actuality, which crumbles away as soon as actuality comes into its own at any point whatever, must naturally be a mortal enemy of the 'wisdom of the world', that is to say of science - it will approve of all expedients by which disciplining of the intellect, clarity and severity in matters of intellectual conscience, noble coolness and freedom of intellect, can be poisoned and calumniated and brought into ill repute. 'Faith' as an imperative is a veto against science - in praxi the lie at any cost.... Paul understood the need for the lie, for 'faith'; the Church subsequently understood Paul. - That god which Paul invented for himself, a God who 'confounds the wisdom of the world' (in a narrower sense the two great opponents of all superstition, philology and medicine), is in reality only the resolute determination of Paul himself to do so: to call one's own will 'God', Torah ['The Law' in Paul's usage of the word.] - that is quintessentially Jewish. Paul wants to confound the 'wisdom of the world': his enemies are the good philologists and physicians of the Alexandrian school - upon them he makes war. In fact, one is not philologist and physician without also being at the same time anti-Christian. For as philologist one sees behind the 'sacred books', as physician behind the physiological depravity of the typical Christian. The physician says 'incurable', the philologist 'fraud' ...
- Has the famous story which stands at the beginning of the Bible really been understood - the story of God's mortal terror of science?... It has not been understood. This priest's book begins, as is only proper, with the priest's great inner difficulty; he has only one great danger, consequently 'God' has only one great danger. -
The old God, all 'spirit', all high priest, all perfection, promenades in his garden: but he is bored. Against boredom the gods themselves fight in vain. [From a famous line in Schiller's MAID OF ORLEANS: 'Against stupidity the gods themselves fight in vain.'] What does he do? He invents man - man is entertaining.... But behold, man too is bored. God's sympathy with the only kind of distress found in every Paradise knows no bounds: he forthwith creates other animals. God's first blunder: man did not find the animals entertaining - he dominated them, he did not even want to be an 'animal'. - Consequently God created woman. And then indeed there was an end to boredom - but also to something else! Woman was God's second blunder. - 'Woman is in her essence serpent, Heva - every priest knows that; 'every evil comes into the world through woman' - every priest knows that likewise. 'Consequently, science too comes into the world through her'.... Only through woman did man learn to taste of the tree of knowledge. - What had happened? A mortal terror seized on the old God. Man himself had become God's greatest blunder; God had created for himself a rival, science makes equal to God - it is all over with priests and gods if man becomes scientific! - Moral: science is the forbidden in itself - it alone is forbidden. Science is the first sin, the germ of all sins, original sin. This alone constitutes morality. - 'Thou shalt not know' - the rest follows. - God's mortal terror did not stop him from being shrewd. How can one defend oneself against science? - that was for long his chief problem. Answer: away with man out of Paradise! Happiness, leisure gives room for thought - all thoughts are bad thoughts.... Man shall not think. - And the 'priest in himself' invents distress, death, the danger to life in pregnancy, every kind of misery, age, toil, above all sickness - nothing but expedients in the struggle against science! Distress does not allow man to think.... And nonetheless! oh horror! the structure of knowledge towers up, heaven-storming, reaching for the divine - what to do! - The old God invents war, he divides the peoples, he makes men destroy one another (- priests have always had need of war ...). War - among other things a great mischief-maker in science! - Incredible! knowledge, emancipation from the priest, increases in spite of wars. - And the old God comes to a final decision: 'Man has become scientific - there is nothing for it, he will have to be drowned!'...
- Have I been understood? The beginning of the Bible contains the entire psychology of the priest. - The priest knows only one great danger: that is science - the sound conception of cause and effect. But science flourishes in general only under happy circumstances - one must have a superfluity of time and intellect in order to 'know'.... 'Consequently man must be made unhappy' - this has at all times been the logic of the priest. - One will already have guessed what only came into the world therewith, in accordance with this logic - 'sin'.... The concept of guilt and punishment, the entire 'moral world-order', was invented in opposition to science - in opposition to the detaching of man from the priest.... Man shall not look prudently and cautiously into things in order to learn, he shall not look at all: he shall suffer.... And he shall suffer in such a way that he has need of the priest at all times. - Away with physicians! One has need of a Saviour. - The concept of guilt and punishment, including the doctrine of 'grace', of 'redemption', of 'forgiveness' - lies through and through and without any psychological reality - were invented to destroy the causal sense of man: they are an outrage on the concept cause and effect! - And not an outrage with the fist, with the knife, with honest hatred and love! But one from the most cowardly, cunning, lowest instincts! An outrage of the priest! An outrage of the parasite! A vampirism of pale subterranean bloodsuckers!... When the natural consequences of an act are no longer 'natural' but thought of as effected by the conceptual ghosts of superstition, by 'God', by 'spirits', by 'souls', as merely 'moral' consequences, as reward, punishment, sign, chastisement, then the precondition for knowledge has been destroyed - then one has committed the greatest crime against humanity. - Sin, to say it again, that form par excellence of the self-violation of man, was invented to make science, culture, every kind of elevation and nobility of man impossible; the priest rules through the invention of sin. -
- At this point I cannot absolve myself from giving an account of the psychology of 'belief', of 'believers', for the use, as is only reasonable, of precisely the 'believers' themselves. If there is today still no lack of those who do not know how indecent it is to 'believe' - or a sign of décadence, of a broken will to live - well, they will know it tomorrow. My voice reaches even the hard-of-hearing. - It appears, if I have not misheard, that there exists among Christians a kind of criterion of truth called 'proof by potency'. 'Belief makes blessed: therefore it is true.' - One might here object straightaway that this making-blessed itself is not proved but only promised: blessedness conditional upon 'believing' - one shall become blessed because one believes.... But that what the priest promises the believer for a 'Beyond' inaccessible to any control actually occurs, how could that be proved? - The alleged 'proof of potency' is therefore at bottom only a further belief that the effect which one promises oneself from the belief will not fail to appear. In a formula: 'I believe that belief makes blessed - consequently it is true.' - But with that we have already reached the end of the argument. This 'consequently' would be the absurdum itself as a criterion of truth. - But if, with no little indulgence, we suppose that the fact that belief makes blessed be regarded as proved (- not merely desired, not merely promised by the somewhat suspect mouth of a priest): would blessedness - more technically, pleasure - ever be a proof of truth? So little that it provides almost the counterproof, at any rate the strongest suspicion against 'truth', when feelings of pleasure enter into the answer to the question 'what is true?' The proof by 'pleasure' is a proof of pleasure - that is all: when on earth was it established that true judgements give more enjoyment than false ones and, in accordance with a predetermined harmony, necessarily bring pleasant feelings in their train? - The experience of all severe, all profound intellects teaches the reverse. Truth has had to be fought for every step of the way, almost everything else dear to our hearts, on which our love and our trust in life depend, has had to be sacrificed to it. Greatness of soul is needed for it: the service of truth is the hardest service. - For what does it mean to be honest in intellectual things? That one is stern towards one's heart, that one despises 'fine feelings', that one makes every Yes and No a question of conscience! - Belief makes blessed: consequently it lies ...
That under certain conditions belief makes blessed, that blessedness does not turn an idée fixe into a true idea, that faith moves no mountains but surely places mountains where there are none: a fleeting visit to a madhouse will provide ample enlightenment on these things. Not, I admit, to a priest: for he denies by instinct that sickness is sickness, that a madhouse is a madhouse. Christianity needs sickness almost as much as Hellenism needs a superfluity of health - making sick is the true hidden objective of the Church's whole system of salvation procedures. And the Church itself - is it not the Catholic madhouse as an ultimate ideal? - The whole earth as a madhouse? - The religious man as the Church desires him to be is a typical décadent; the moment when a religious crisis has gained the upper hand of a people is always characterized by epidemics of neurosis; the 'inner world' of the religious man is so like the 'inner world' of the over-excited and exhausted as to be mistaken for it; the 'highest' states which Christianity has hung up over mankind as the most valuable of all values are forms of epilepsy - the Church has canonized only lunatics or great impostors in majorem dei honorem.... [To the greater honour of God.] I once permitted myself to describe the entire Christian penance-and-redemption training (which can be studied best today in England) as a methodically induced folie circulaire, naturally on a soil already prepared for it, that is to say a thoroughly morbid soil. No-one is free to become a Christian or not to do so: one is not 'converted' to Christianity - one must be sufficiently sick for it.... We others, who have the courage for health and also for contempt, what contempt we have for a religion which teaches misunderstanding of the body! which does not wish to get rid of the soul-superstition! which makes a 'merit' of eating too little! which combats health as a kind of enemy, devil, temptation! which has persuaded itself that a 'perfect soul' could be carried about in a cadaver of a body and to do so needed to concoct a new conception of 'perfection', a pale, sickly, idiot-fanatic condition, so-called 'holiness' - holiness itself merely a symptom-syndrome of the impoverished, enervated, incurably corrupted body!... As a European movement, the Christian movement has been from the very first a collective movement of outcast and refuse elements of every kind (- these want to come to power through Christianity). It is not the expression of the decline of a race, it is an aggregate formation of décadence types from everywhere crowding together and seeking one another out. It is not, as is generally believed, the corruption of antiquity itself, of noble antiquity, which made Christianity possible: the learned idiocy which even today maintains such a thing cannot be contradicted too severely. The period in which the morbid, corrupt Chandala classes of the entire Imperium were becoming Christian was precisely that in which the opposing type, the nobility, existed in its fairest and maturest form. The majority became master; the democratism of the Christian instincts conquered.... Christianity was not 'national', not racially conditioned - it turned to the disinherited of life of every kind, it had its allies everywhere. Christianity has at its basis the rancune of the sick, the instinct directed against the healthy, against health. Everything well-constituted, proud, high-spirited, beauty above all, is hurtful to its ears and eyes. I recall again the invaluable saying of Paul: 'God hath chosen the weak things of the world, the foolish things of the world, base things of the world and things which are despised': that was the formula, in hoc signo décadence conquered. - God on the Cross - is the fearful hidden meaning behind this symbol still understood? - Everything that suffers, everything that hangs on the Cross, is divine.... We all hang on the Cross, consequently we are divine.... We alone are divine.... Christianity was a victory, a nobler disposition perished by it - Christianity has been up till now mankind's greatest misfortune. -
Christianity also stands in opposition to all intellectual well-constitutedness - it can use only the morbid mind as the Christian mind, it takes the side of everything idiotic, it proclaims a curse against the 'spirit', against the superbia of the healthy spirit. Because sickness belongs to the essence of Christianity, the typical Christian condition, 'faith', has to be a form of sickness, every straightforward, honest, scientific road to knowledge has to be repudiated by the Church as a forbidden road. Even to doubt is a sin.... The complete lack of psychological cleanliness in the priest - it betrays itself in his glance - is a consequent phenomenon of décadence - one can observe in hysterical women and rickety children how regularly instinctive falsity, lying for the sake of lying, inability to look straight and act straight, are expressions of décadence. 'Faith' means not wanting to know what is true. The pietist, the priest of both sexes, is false because he is sick: his instinct demands that truth shall not come into its own at any point. 'What makes sick is good; what proceeds from abundance, from superfluity, from power, is evil': that is what the believer feels. Compulsion to lie - in that I detect every predestined theologian. - Another mark of the theologian is his incapacity for philology. Philology is to be understood here in a very wide sense as the art of reading well - of being able to read off a fact without falsifying it by interpretation, without losing caution, patience, subtlety in the desire for understanding. Philology as ephexis [undecisiveness] in interpretation: whether it be a question of books, newspaper reports, fate or the weather - to say nothing of the 'salvation of the soul'.... The way in which a theologian, no matter whether in Berlin or in Rome, interprets a 'word of the Scriptures', or an experience, a victory of his country's army for example, under the higher illumination of the psalms of David, is always so audacious as to make a philologist run up every wall in sight. And what on earth is he to do when pietists and other cows out of Swabia dress up the pathetic commonplace and stuffiness of their existence with the 'finger of God' into a miracle of 'grace', of 'divine providence', of 'experience of salvation'! Yet the most modest expenditure of intelligence, not to say decency, would convince these interpreters of the complete childishness and unworthiness of such an abuse of divine dexterity. ['Fingerfertigkeit' plays upon 'finger of God'.] Even the slightest trace of piety in us ought to make us feel that a God who cures a headcold at the right moment or tells us to get into a coach just as a downpour is about to start is so absurd a God he would have to be abolished even if he existed. A God as a domestic servant, as a postman, as an almanac-maker - at bottom a word for the stupidest kind of accidental occurrence.... 'Divine providence', as it is still believed in today by almost every third person in 'cultured Germany', would be a stronger objection to God than any other that could possibly be thought of. And in any case it is an objection to the Germans!...
- That martyrs prove anything about the truth of a cause is so little true I would be disposed to deny that a martyr has ever had anything whatever to do with truth. In the tone with which a martyr throws his opinion at the world's head there is already expressed so low a degree of intellectual integrity, such obtuseness to the question of 'truth', that one never needs to refute a martyr. Truth is nothing something one person might possess and another not possess: peasants at the most, or peasant apostles like Luther, could think of truth in this fashion. One may be certain that modesty, moderation in intellectual matters, increases with the degree of conscientiousness in them. To know five things and gently decline to know anything else.... 'Truth' as every prophet, every sectarian, every latitudinarian, every Socialist, every Churchman understands the word, is conclusive proof that not so much as a start has been made on that disciplining of the intellect and self-overcoming necessary for the discovery of any truth, even the very smallest. - Martyrdoms, by the way, have been a great misfortune in history: they have seduced.... The inference of all idiots, women and nations included, that a cause for which someone is willing to die (not to speak of those which, like primitive Christianity, produce epidemics of death-seeking) must have something in it - this inference has become an unspeakable drag on verification, on the spirit of verification and caution. Martyrs have harmed truth.... And even today a crude sort of persecution is all that is required to create an honourable name for any sect, no matter how indifferent in itself. - What? does the fact that someone gives up his life for it change anything in the value of a cause? - An error which becomes honourable is an error which possesses one seductive charm more: do you believe, messieurs the theologians, that we would give you an opportunity of becoming martyrs for your lies? - one refutes a thing by laying it respectfully on ice - just so does one refute theologians too.... The world-historical stupidity of all persecutors has lain precisely in giving their opponents the appearance of honourableness - in bestowing on them the fascination of martyrdom.... Woman is today on her knees before an error because she has been told someone died on the Cross for it. Is the Cross then an argument? - But on all these things one man alone has said the word that has been wanting for millennia - Zarathustra.
They wrote letters of blood on the path they followed and their folly taught that truth is proved by blood.
But blood is the worst witness to truth; blood poisons and transforms the purest teaching to delusion and hatred of the heart.
And if someone goes through fire for his teaching - what does that prove? Truly, it is more when one's own teaching comes out of one's own burning! [THUS SPOKE ZARATHUSTRA, Part III, 'Of the Priests'.]
One should not let oneself be misled: great intellects are sceptics. Zarathustra is a sceptic. The vigour of a mind, its freedom through strength and superior strength, is proved by scepticism. Men of conviction simply do not come into consideration where the fundamentals of value and disvalue are concerned. Convictions are prisons. They do not see far enough, they do not see things beneath them: but to be permitted to speak about value and disvalue one must see five hundred convictions beneath one - behind one.... A spirit which wants to do great things, which also wills the means for it, is necessarily a sceptic. Freedom from convictions of any kind, the capacity for an unconstrained view, pertains to strength.... Grand passion, the ground and force of his being, even more enlightened, more despotic than he himself is, takes his whole intellect into its service; it makes him intrepid; it even gives him the courage for unholy means; if need be it permits him convictions. Conviction as a means: there is much one can achieve only by means of a conviction. Grand passion uses and uses up convictions, it does not submit to them - it knows itself sovereign. - Conversely: the need for belief, for some unconditional Yes and No, Carlylism if I may be excused the expression, is a requirement of weakness. The man of faith, the 'believer' of every sort is necessarily a dependent man - such as cannot out of himself posit ends at all. The 'believer' does not belong to himself, he can be only a means, he has to be used, he needs someone who will use him. His instinct accords the highest honour to a morality of selflessness: everything persuades him to it, his intelligence, his experience, his vanity. Belief of any kind is itself an expression of selflessness, of self-alienation.... If one considers what need people have of an external regulation to constrain and steady them, how compulsion, slavery in a higher sense, is the sole and final condition under which the person of weaker will, woman especially, can prosper: then one also understands the nature of conviction, 'faith'. Conviction is the backbone of the man of conviction. Not to see many things, not to be impartial in anything, to be party through and through, to view all values from a strict and necessary perspective - this alone is the condition under which such a man exists at all. But he is thereby the antithesis, the antagonist of the truthful man - of truth.... The believer is not free to have a conscience at all over the question 'true' and 'false': to be honest on this point would mean his immediate destruction. The pathological conditionality of his perspective makes of the convinced man a fanatic - Savanarola, Luther, Rousseau, Robespierre, Saint-Simon - the antithetical type of the strong, emancipated spirit. But the larger-than-life attitudes of these sick spirits, these conceptual epileptics, impresses the great masses - fanatics are picturesque, mankind would rather see gestures than listen to reasons ...
- A further step in the psychology of conviction, of 'belief'. I suggested long ago that convictions might be more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. This time I should like to pose the decisive question: is there any difference whatever between a lie and a conviction? - all the world believes there is, but what does all the world not believe! - Every conviction has its history, its preliminary forms, its tentative shapes, its blunders: it becomes a conviction after not being one for a long time, after hardly being one for an even longer time. What? could the lie not be among these embryonic forms of conviction? - Sometimes it requires merely a change in persons: in the son that becomes conviction which in the father was still a lie. - I call a lie: wanting not to see something one does see, wanting not to see something as one sees it: whether the lie takes place before witnesses or without witnesses is of no consequence. The most common lie is the lie one tells to oneself; lying to others is relatively the exception. - Now this desiring not to see what one sees, this desiring not to see as one sees, is virtually the primary condition for all who are in any sense party: the party man necessarily becomes a liar. German historiography, for example, is convinced that Rome was despotism, that the Teutons brought the spirit of freedom into the world: what difference is there between this conviction and a lie? Is there any further need to be surprised if all parties, German historians included, instinctively have the big moral words in their mouths - that morality continues to exist virtually because the party man of every sort has need of it every moment? - 'This is our conviction: we confess it before all the world, we live and die for it - respect everything that has convictions!' - I have heard this kind of thing even from the lips of anti-Semites. On the contrary, gentlemen! An anti-Semite is certainly not made more decent by the fact that he lies on principle.... The priests, who are subtler in such things and understand very well the objection that can be raised to the concept of a conviction, that is to say mendaciousness on principle because serving a purpose, have taken over from the Jews the prudence of inserting the concept 'God', 'the will of God', 'the revelation of God' in its place. Kant too, with his categorical imperative, was on the same road: his reason became practical in this matter. - There are questions whose truth or untruth cannot be decided by man; all the supreme questions, all the supreme problems of value are beyond human reason.... To grasp the limits of reason - only this is truly philosophy.... To what end did God give mankind revelation? Would God have done anything superfluous? Mankind cannot of itself know what is good and what evil, therefore God taught mankind his will.... Moral: the priest does not lie - the question 'true' or 'untrue' does not arise in such things as priests speak of; these things do not permit of lying at all. For in order to lie one would have to be able to decide what is true here. But this is precisely what mankind cannot do; the priest is thus only God's mouthpiece. - This kind of priestly syllogism is by no means only Jewish and Christian; the right to lie and the shrewdness of a 'revelation' pertains to the type priest, to priests of décadence as much as to priests of paganism (- pagans are all who say Yes to life, to whom 'God' is the word for the great Yes to all things). - The 'Law', the 'will of God', the 'sacred book', 'inspiration' - all merely words for the conditions under which the priest comes to power, by which he maintains his power - these concepts are to be found at the basis of all priestly organizations, all priestly or priestly-philosophical power-structures. The 'holy lie' - common to Confucius, the Law-Book of Manu, Mohammed, the Christian Church -: it is not lacking in Plato. 'The truth exists': this means, wherever it is heard, the priest is lying ...
- Ultimately the point is to what end a lie is told. That 'holy' ends are lacking in Christianity is my objection to its means. Only bad ends: the poisoning, slandering, denying of life, contempt for the body, the denigration and self-violation of man through the concept sin - consequently its means too are bad. - It is with an opposite feeling that I read the Law-Book of Manu, an incomparably spiritual and superior work, so much as to name which in the same breath as the Bible would be a sin against the spirit. One sees immediately that it has a real philosophy behind it, in it, not merely an ill-smelling Jewish acidity compounded of rabbinism and superstition - it gives even the most fastidious psychologist something to bite on. Not forgetting the main thing, the basic difference from any sort of Bible: it is the means by which the noble orders, the philosophers and the warriors, keep the mob under control; noble values everywhere, a feeling of perfection, an affirmation of life, a triumphant feeling of well-being in oneself and of goodwill towards life - the sun shines on the entire book. - all the things upon which Christianity vents its abysmal vulgarity, procreation for example, woman, marriage, are here treated seriously, with reverence, with love and trust. How can one actually put into the hands of women and children a book containing the low-minding saying: 'To avoid fornication let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband ... for it is better to marry than burn'? [1 Corinthians vii, 2 and 9.] And is it allowable to be a Christian as long as the origin of man is Christianized, that is to say dirtied, with the concept of the immaculata conceptiio?... I know of no book in which so many tender and kind remarks are addressed to woman as in the Law-Book of Manu' these old greybeards and saints have a way of being polite to women which has perhaps never been surpassed. 'A woman's mouth' - it says in one place - 'a girl's breast, a child's prayer, the smoke of a sacrifice are always pure'. Another passage: 'There is nothing purer than the light of the sun, the shadow of a cow, air, water, fire, and a girl's breath.' A final passage - perhaps also a holy lie -: 'All the openings of the body above the navel are pure, all below impure. Only in the case of a girl is the whole body pure.'
One catches the unholiness of the Christian means in flagranti when one compares the Christian purpose with the purpose of the Manu Law-Book - when one throws a bright light on this greatest of antitheses of purpose. The critic of Christianity cannot be spared the task of making Christianity contemptible. - Such a law-book as that of Manu originates as does every good law-book: it summarizes the experience, policy and experimental morality of long centuries, it settles accounts, it creates nothing new. The precondition for a codification of this sort is the insight that the means of endowing with authority a truth slowly and expensively acquired are fundamentally different from those by which one would demonstrate it. A law-book never tells of the utility of a law, of the reason for it, of the casuistry which preceded it: for in that way it would lose the imperative tone, the 'thou shalt', the precondition of being obeyed. The problem lies precisely in this. - At a certain point in the evolution of a people its most enlightened, that is to say most reflective and far-sighted, class declares the experience in accordance with which the people is to live - that is, can live - to be fixed and settled. Their objective is to bring home the richest and completest harvest from the ages of experimentation and bad experience. What, consequently, is to be prevented above all is the continuation of experimenting, the perpetuation in infinitum of the fluid condition of values, tests, choices, criticizing of values. A two-fold wall is erected against this: firstly revelation, that is, the assertion that the reason for these laws is not of human origin, was not sought and found slowly and with many blunders, but, being of divine origin, is whole, perfect, without history, a gift, a miracle, merely communicated.... Then tradition, that is, the assertion that the law has already existed from time immemorial, that it is impious, a crime against the ancestors, to call it in question. The authority of the law is established by the thesis: God gave it, the ancestors lived it. - The higher rationale of such a procedure lies in the intention of gradually making the way of life recognized as correct (that is demonstrated by a tremendous amount of finely-sifted experience) unconscious: so that a complete automatism of instinct is achieved - the precondition for any kind of mastery, any kind of perfection in the art of living. To set up a law-book of the kind of Manu means to concede to a people the right henceforth to become masterly, to become perfect - to be ambitious for the highest art of living. To that end the law must be made unconscious: this is the purpose of every holy lie. - The order of castes, the supreme, the dominating law, is only the sanctioning of a natural order, a natural law of the first rank over which no arbitrary caprice, no 'modern idea' has any power. In every healthy society, there can be distinguished three types of man of divergent physiological tendency which mutually condition one another and each of which possesses its own hygiene, its own realm of work, its own sort of mastery and feeling of perfection. Nature, not Manu, separates from one another the predominantly spiritual type, the predominantly muscular and temperamental type, and the third type distinguished neither in the one nor the other, the mediocre type - the last of the great majority, the first as the elite. The higher caste - I call it the very few - possesses, as the perfect caste, also the privileges of the very few: among them is that of representing happiness, beauty, benevolence on earth. Only the most spiritual human beings are permitted beauty, beautiful things: only in their case is benevolence not weakness. Pulchrum est paucorum hominum: the good is a privilege. On the other hand, nothing is more strictly forbidden them than ugly manners or a pessimistic outlook, an eye that makes ugly - to say nothing of indignation at the collective aspect of things. Indignation is the privilege of the Chandala; pessimism likewise. 'The world is perfect' - thus speaks the instinct of the most spiritual, the affirmative instinct -: 'imperfection, everything beneath us, distance between man and man, the pathos of this distance, the Chandala themselves pertain to this perfection'. The most spiritual human beings, as the strongest, find their happiness where others would find their destruction: in the labyrinth, in severity towards themselves and others, in attempting; their joy lies in self-constraint: with them asceticism becomes nature, need, instinct. They consider the hard task a privilege, to play with vices which overwhelm others a recreation.... Knowledge - a form of asceticism. - They are the most venerable kind of human being: this does not exclude their being the most cheerful, the most amiable. They rule not because they want to but because they are; they are not free to be second in rank. - The second in rank: these are the guardians of the law, the keepers of order and security; the noble warriors; above all the king as the highest formula of warrior, judge and upholder of the law. The second in rank are the executives of the most spiritual order, the closest to them who relieve them of everything coarse in the work of ruling - their following, their right hand, their best pupils. - In all this, to say it again, there is nothing capricious, nothing 'artificial'; whatever is different from this is artificial - nature is then confounded.... the order of castes, order of rank, only formulates the supreme law of life itself; the separation of the three types is necessary for the preservation of society, for making possible higher and higher types - inequality of rights is the condition for the existence of rights at all. - A right is a privilege. The privilege of each is determined by the nature of his being. Let us not underestimate the privileges of the mediocre. Life becomes harder and harder as it approaches the heights - the coldness increases, the responsibility increases. A high culture is a pyramid: it can stand only on a broad base, its very first prerequisite is a strongly and soundly constructed mediocrity. The crafts, trade, agriculture, science, the greater part of art, in a word the entire compass of professional activity, are in no way compatible with anything other than mediocrity in ability and desires; these things would be out of place among the elite, the instinct pertaining to them is as much opposed to aristocracy as it is to anarchy. To be a public utility, a cog, a function, is a natural vocation: it is not society, it is the kind of happiness of which the great majority are alone capable, which makes intelligent machines of them. For the mediocre it is happiness to be mediocre; mastery in one thing, specialization, is for them a natural instinct. It would be quite unworthy of a more profound mind to see an objection in mediocrity as such. It is even the prime requirement for the existence of exceptions: a high culture is conditional upon it. When an exceptional human being handles the mediocre more gently than he does himself or his equals, this is not mere politeness of the heart [A phrase from Goethe's ELECTIVE AFFINITIES.] - it is simply his duty.... Whom among today's rabble do I hate the most? The Socialist rabble, the Chandala apostles who undermine the worker's instinct, his pleasure, his feeling of contentment with his little state of being - who make him envious, who teach him revengefulness.... Injustice never lies in unequal rights, it lies in the claim to 'equal' rights.... What is bad? But I have already answered that question: everything that proceeds from weakness, from envy, from revengefulness. - The anarchist and the Christian have a common origin ...
It does indeed make a difference for what purpose one lies: whether one preserves with a lie or destroys with it. One may assert an absolute equivalence between Christian and anarchist: their purpose, their instinct is set only on destruction. For the proof of this proposition one has only to read history, which displays it with frightful clarity. If we have just now examined a religious legislation the purpose of which was to 'eternalize' a grand organization of society, the supreme condition for the prosperity of life - Christianity discovered its mission in making an end of just such an organization because life prospered within it. There the revenue of reason from long ages of experimentation and uncertainty was to be employed for the benefit of the most distant future and the biggest, richest, most complete harvest possible brought home: here, on the contrary, the harvest was poisoned overnight.... That which stood aere perennius, the Imperium Romanum, the most grandiose form of organization under difficult conditions which has hitherto been achieved, in comparison with which everything before and everything since is patchwork, bungling, dilettantism - these holy anarchists made it an 'act of piety' to destroy 'the world', that is to say the Imperium Romanum, until not one stone was left standing on another - until even Teutons and other such ruffians could become master of it.... The Christian and the anarchist: both décadents, both incapable of producing anything but dissolution, poisoning, degeneration, both bloodsuckers, both with the instinct of deadly hatred towards everything that stands erect, that towers grandly up, that possesses duration, that promises life a future.... Christianity was the vampire of the Imperium Romanum - the tremendous deed of the Romans in clearing the ground for a great culture which could take its time was undone overnight by Christianity. - Is this still not understood? The Imperium Romanum which we know, which the history of the Roman province teaches us to know better and better, this most admirable of all works of art in the grand style, was a beginning, its structure was calculated to prove itself by millennia - to this day there has never been such building, to build in such a manner sub specie aeterni has never been so much as dreamed of! - This organization was firm enough to endure bad emperors: the accident of persons must have no effect on such things - first principle of all grand architecture. But it was not firm enough to endure the corruptest form of corruption, to endure the Christian.... These stealthy vermin which, shrouded in night, fog and ambiguity, crept up to every individual and sucked seriousness for real things, the instinct for realities of any kind, out of him, this cowardly, womanish and honeyed crew gradually alienated the 'souls' of this tremendous structure - those precious, those manly-noble natures who found their own cause, their own seriousness, their own pride in the cause of Rome. This underhanded bigotry, conventicle secrecy, gloomy concepts such as hell, such as the sacrifice of the innocent, such as the unio mystica in blood-drinking, above all the slowly stirred-up fire of revengefulness, of Chandala revengefulness - that is what became master of Rome, the same species of religion on whose antecedent form Epicurus had already made war. One must read Lucretius to understand what it was Epicurus opposed: not paganism but 'Christianity', which is to say the corruption of souls through the concept of guilt, punishment and immortality. - He opposed the subterranean cults, the whole of latent Christianity - to deny immortality was already in those days a real redemption. - And Epicurus would have won, every mind of any account in the Roman Empire was an Epicurean: then Paul appeared.... Paul, Chandala hatred against Rome, against 'the world', because flesh and genius, the Jew, the eternal Jew ['The eternal Jew' is also the German form of the Wandering Jew.] par excellence.... What he divined was that with the aid of the little sectarian movement on the edge of Judaism one could ignite a 'world conflagration', that with the symbol 'God on the Cross' one could sum up everything downtrodden, everything in secret revolt, the entire heritage of anarchist agitation in the Empire into a tremendous power. 'Salvation is of the Jews.' - Christianity as the formula for outbidding all the subterranean cults, those of Osiris, of the Great Mother, of Mithras for example - and for summing them up: it is in this insight that the genius of Paul consists. His instinct in this matter was so sure that, doing ruthless violence to the truth, he took the ideas by which those Chandala religions exercised their fascination and placed them in the mouth of the 'Saviour' he had invented, and not only in his mouth - so as to make of him something even a priest of Mithras could understand.... That was his vision on the road to Damascus: he grasped that to devalue 'the world' he needed the belief in immortality, that the concept 'Hell' will master even Rome - that with the 'Beyond' one kills life.... Nihilist and Christian: they rhyme, [In German, 'Nihilist und Christ' do rhyme.] and do not merely rhyme ...
The whole labour of the ancient world in vain: I have no words to express my feelings at something so dreadful. - And considering its labour was a preparation, that only the substructure for a millennia had, with granite self-confidence, been laid, the whole meaning of the ancient world in vain!... Why did the Greeks exist? Why the Romans? - Every prerequisite for an erudite culture, all the scientific methods were already there, the great, the incomparable art of reading well had already been established - the prerequisite for a cultural tradition, for a uniform science; natural science, in concert with mathematics and mechanics, was on the best possible road - the sense of facts, the last-developed and most valuable of all the senses, had its schools and its tradition already centuries old! Is this understood? Everything essential for setting to work had been devised - methods, one must repeat then times, are the essential, as well as being the most difficult, as well as being that which has habit and laziness against it longest. What we have won back for ourselves today with an unspeakable amount of self-constraint - for we all still have bad instincts, the Christian instincts, somewhere within us - the free view of reality, the cautious hand, patience and seriousness in the smallest things, the whole integrity of knowledge - was already there! already more than two millennia ago! And good and delicate taste and tact! Not as brain training! Not as 'German' culture with the manners of ruffians! But as body, as gesture, as instinct - in a word, as reality.... All in vain! Overnight merely a memory! - Greeks! Romans! nobility of instinct, of taste, methodical investigation, genius for organization and government, the faith in, the will to a future for mankind, the great Yes to all things, visibly present to all the senses as the Imperium Romanum, grand style no longer merely art but become reality, truth, life.... And not overwhelmed overnight by a natural event! Not trampled down by Teutons and other such clodhoppers! But ruined by cunning, secret, invisible, anaemic vampires! Not conquered - only sucked dry!... Covert, revengefulness, petty envy become master! Everything pitiful, everything suffering from itself, everything tormented by base feelings, the whole ghetto-world of the soul suddenly on top! - One has only to read any of the Christian agitators, Saint Augustine for example, to realize, to smell, what dirty fellows had therewith come out on top. One would be deceiving oneself utterly if one presupposed a lack of intelligence of any sort on the part of the leaders of the Christian movement - oh they are shrewd, shrewd to the point of holiness, these Church Fathers! What they lack is something quite different. Nature was neglectful when she made them - she forgot to endow them with even a modest number of respectable, decent, cleanly instincts.... Between ourselves, they are not even men.... If Islam despises Christianity, it is a thousand times right to do so: Islam presupposes men ...
Christianity robbed us of the harvest of the culture of the ancient world, it later went on to rob us of the harvest of the culture of Islam. The wonderful Moorish cultural world of Spain, more closely related to us at bottom, speaking more directly to our senses and taste, than Greece and Rome, was trampled down (- I do not say by what kind of feet -): why? because it was noble, because it owed its origin to manly instincts, because it said Yes to life even in the rare and exquisite treasures of Moorish life!... Later on, the Crusaders fought against something they would have done better to lie down in the dust before - a culture compared with which even our nineteenth century may well think itself very impoverished and very 'late'. - They wanted booty, to be sure: the Orient was rich.... But let us not be prejudiced! The Crusades - higher piracy, that is all! German knighthood, Viking knighthood at bottom, was there in its element: the Church knew only too well what German knighthood can be had for.... The German knights, always the 'Switzers' of the Church, always in the service of all the bad instincts of the Church - but well paid.... That it is precisely with the aid of German swords, German blood and courage, that the Church has carried on its deadly war against everything noble on earth! A host of painful questions arise at this point. The German aristocracy is virtually missing in the history of higher culture: one can guess the reason.... Christianity, alcohol - the two great means of corruption.... For in itself there should be no choice in the matter when faced with Islam and Christianity, as little as there should when faced with an Arab and a Jew. The decision is given in advance; no-one is free to choose here. One either is Chandala or one is not.... 'War to the knife with Rome! Peace, friendship with Islam': this is what that great free spirit, the genius among German emperors, Friedrich the Second, felt, this is what he did. What? does a German have to be a genius, a free spirit, before he can have decent feelings? How a German could ever have felt Christian escapes me ...
Here it is necessary to touch on a memory a hundred times more painful for Germans. The Germans have robbed Europe of the last great cultural harvest Europe had to bring home - of the harvest of Renaissance. Is it at last understood, is there a desire to understand, what the Renaissance was? The revaluation of Christian values, the attempt, undertaken with every expedient, with every instinct, with genius of every kind, to bring about the victory of the opposing values, the noble values.... Up till now this has been the only great war, there has been no more decisive interrogation than that conducted by the Renaissance - the question it asks is the question I ask -: neither has there been a form of attack more fundamental, more direct, and more strenuously delivered on the entire front and at the enemy's centre! To attack at the decisive point, in the very seat of Christianity, to set the noble values on the throne, which is to say to set them into the instincts, the deepest needs and desires of him who sits thereon.... I see in my mind's eye a possibility of a quite unearthly fascination and splendour - it seems to glitter with a trembling of every refinement of beauty, there seems to be at work in it an art so divine, so diabolically divine, that one might scour the millennia in vain for a second such possibility; I behold a spectacle at once so meaningful and so strangely paradoxical it would have given all the gods of Olympus an opportunity for an immortal roar of laughter - Cesare Borgia as Pope.... Am I understood?... Very well, that would have been a victory of the only sort I desire today -: Christianity would thereby have been abolished! - What happened? A German monk, Luther, went to Rome. This monk, all the vindictive instincts of a failed priest in him fulminated in Rome against the Renaissance.... Instead of grasping with profound gratitude the tremendous event which had taken placed, the overcoming of Christianity in its very seat - his hatred grasped only how to nourish itself on this spectacle. The religious man thinks only of himself. - What Luther saw was the corruption of the Papacy, while precisely the opposite was palpably obvious: the old corruption, the peccatum originale, Christianity, no longer sat on the Papal throne! Life sat there instead! the triumph of life! the great Yes to all lofty, beautiful, daring things!... And Luther restored the Church: he attacked it.... The Renaissance - an event without meaning, a great in vain! - Oh these Germans, what they have already cost us! In vain - that has always been the work of the Germans. - The Reformation; Leibniz; Kant and so-called German philosophy; the Wars of 'Liberation'; the Reich - each time an in vain for something already in existence, for something irretrievable.... They are my enemies, I confess it, these Germans: I despise in them every kind of uncleanliness of concept and value, of cowardice in the face of every honest Yes and No. For almost a millennium they have twisted and tangled everything they have laid their hands on, they have on their conscience all the half-heartedness - three-eights-heartedness! - from which Europe is sick - they also have on their conscience the uncleanest kind of Christianity there is, the most incurable kind, the kind hardest to refute, Protestantism.... If we never get rid of Christianity, the Germans will be to blame ...
- With that I have done and pronounce my judgement. I condemn Christianity, I bring against the Christian Church the most terrible charge any prosecutor has ever uttered. To me it is the extremest thinkable form of corruption, it has had the will to the ultimate corruption conceivably possible. The Christian Church has left nothing untouched by its depravity, it has made of every value a disvalue, of every truth a lie, of every kind of integrity a vileness of soul. People still dare to talk to me of its 'humanitarian' blessings! To abolish any state of distress whatever has been profoundly inexpedient to it: it has lived on states of distress, it has created states of distress in order to eternalize itself.... The worm of sin, for example: it was only the Church which enriched mankind with this state of distress! - 'Equality of souls before God', this falsehood, this pretext for the rancune of all the base-minded, this explosive concept which finally became revolution, modern idea and the principle of the decline of the entire social order - is Christian dynamite.... 'Humanitarian' blessings of Christianity! To cultivate out of humanitas a self-contradiction, an art of self-violation, a will to falsehood at any price, an antipathy, a contempt for every good and honest instinct! These are the blessings of Christianity! - Parasitism as the sole practice of the Church; with its ideal of green-sickness, of 'holiness' draining away all blood, all love, all hope for life; the Beyond as the will to deny reality of every kind; the Cross as the badge of recognition for the most subterranean conspiracy there has ever been - a conspiracy against health, beauty, well-constitutedness, bravery, intellect, benevolence of soul, against life itself ...
Wherever there are walls I shall inscribe this eternal accusation against Christianity upon them - I can write in letters which make even the blind see.... I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct for revenge for which no expedient is sufficiently poisonous, secret, subterranean, petty - I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind ...
And one calculates time from the dies nefastus [unlucky day] on which this fatality arose - from the first day of Christianity! - Why not rather from its last? - From today? - Revaluation of all values!