Part 3 of 4
— I cannot, at this place, avoid a sigh. There are days when I am visited by a feeling blacker than the blackest melancholy —contempt of man. Let me leave no doubt as to what I despise, whom I despise: it is the man of today, the man with whom I am unhappily contemporaneous. The man of today — I am suffocated by his foul breath! . . . Toward the past, like all who understand, I am full of tolerance, which is to say, generous self-control: with gloomy caution I pass through whole millenniums of this madhouse of a world, call it “Christianity,” “Christian faith” or the “Christian church,” as you will — I take care not to hold mankind responsible for its lunacies. But my feeling changes and breaks out irresistibly the moment I enter modern times, our times. Our age knows better. . . . What was formerly merely sickly now becomes indecent — it is indecent to be a Christian today. And here my disgust begins.— I look about me: not a word survives of what was once called “truth”; we can no longer bear to hear a priest pronounce the word. Even a man who makes the most modest pretensions to integrity must know that a theologian, a priest, a pope of today not only errs when he speaks, but actually lies— and that he no longer escapes blame for his lie through “innocence” or “ignorance.” The priest knows, as every one knows, that there is no longer any “God,” or any “sinner,” or any “Saviour”— that “free will” and the “moral order of the world” are lies —: serious reflection, the profound self-conquest of the spirit, allow no man to pretend that he does not know it. . . . All the ideas of the church are now recognized for what they are — as the worst counterfeits in existence, invented to debase nature and all natural values; the priest himself is seen as he actually is — as the most dangerous form of parasite, as the venomous spider of creation. . . . We know, our conscience now knows — just what the real value of all those sinister inventions of priest and church has been and what ends they have served, with their debasement of humanity to a state of self-pollution, the very sight of which excites loathing — the concepts “the other world,” “the last judgment,” “the immortality of the soul,” the “soul” itself: they are all merely so many instruments of torture, systems of cruelty, whereby the priest becomes master and remains master. . . . Every one knows this, but nevertheless things remain as before. What has become of the last trace of decent feeling, of self-respect, when our statesmen, otherwise an unconventional class of men and thoroughly anti-Christian in their acts, now call themselves Christians and go to the communion-table? . . . A prince at the head of his armies, magnificent as the expression of the egoism and arrogance of his people — and yet acknowledging, without any shame, that he is a Christian! . . . Whom, then, does Christianity deny? what does it call “the world”? To be a soldier, to be a judge, to be a patriot; to defend one’s self; to be careful of one’s honour; to desire one’s own advantage; to be proud . . . every act of everyday, every instinct, every valuation that shows itself in a deed, is now anti-Christian: what a monster of falsehood the modern man must be to call himself nevertheless, and without shame, a Christian! —
— I shall go back a bit, and tell you the authentic history of Christianity. — The very word “Christianity” is a misunderstanding — at bottom there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross. The “Gospels” died on the cross. What, from that moment onward, was called the “Gospels” was the very reverse of what he had lived: “bad tidings,” a Dysangelium.14 It is an error amounting to nonsensicality to see in “faith,” and particularly in faith in salvation through Christ, the distinguishing mark of the Christian: only the Christian way of life, the life lived by him who died on the cross, is Christian. . . . To this day such a life is still possible, and for certain men even necessary: genuine, primitive Christianity will remain possible in all ages. . . . Not faith, but acts; above all, an avoidance of acts, a different state of being. . . . States of consciousness, faith of a sort, the acceptance, for example, of anything as true — as every psychologist knows, the value of these things is perfectly indifferent and fifth-rate compared to that of the instincts: strictly speaking, the whole concept of intellectual causality is false. To reduce being a Christian, the state of Christianity, to an acceptance of truth, to a mere phenomenon of consciousness, is to formulate the negation of Christianity. In fact, there are no Christians. The “Christian”— he who for two thousand years has passed as a Christian — is simply a psychological self-delusion. Closely examined, it appears that, despite all his “faith,” he has been ruled only by his instincts — and what instincts! — In all ages — for example, in the case of Luther —“faith” has been no more than a cloak, a pretense, a curtain behind which the instincts have played their game — a shrewd blindness to the domination of certain of the instincts. . . . I have already called “faith” the specially Christian form of shrewdness— people always talk of their “faith” and act according to their instincts. . . . In the world of ideas of the Christian there is nothing that so much as touches reality: on the contrary, one recognizes an instinctive hatred of reality as the motive power, the only motive power at the bottom of Christianity. What follows therefrom? That even here, in psychologicis, there is a radical error, which is to say one conditioning fundamentals, which is to say, one in substance. Take away one idea and put a genuine reality in its place — and the whole of Christianity crumbles to nothingness! — Viewed calmly, this strangest of all phenomena, a religion not only depending on errors, but inventive and ingenious only in devising injurious errors, poisonous to life and to the heart — this remains a spectacle for the gods— for those gods who are also philosophers, and whom I have encountered, for example, in the celebrated dialogues at Naxos. At the moment when their disgust leaves them (— and us!) they will be thankful for the spectacle afforded by the Christians: perhaps because of this curious exhibition alone the wretched little planet called the earth deserves a glance from omnipotence, a show of divine interest. . . . Therefore, let us not underestimate the Christians: the Christian, false to the point of innocence, is far above the ape — in its application to the Christians a well-known theory of descent becomes a mere piece of politeness. . . .
14 So in the text. One of Nietzsche’s numerous coinages, obviously suggested by Evangelium, the German for gospel.
— The fate of the Gospels was decided by death — it hung on the “cross.” . . . It was only death, that unexpected and shameful death; it was only the cross, which was usually reserved for the canaille only — it was only this appalling paradox which brought the disciples face to face with the real riddle: “Who was it? what was it?”— The feeling of dismay, of profound affront and injury; the suspicion that such a death might involve a refutation of their cause; the terrible question, “Why just in this way?”— this state of mind is only too easy to understand. Here everything must be accounted for as necessary; everything must have a meaning, a reason, the highest sort of reason; the love of a disciple excludes all chance. Only then did the chasm of doubt yawn: “Who put him to death? who was his natural enemy?”— this question flashed like a lightning-stroke. Answer: dominant Judaism, its ruling class. From that moment, one found one’s self in revolt against the established order, and began to understand Jesus as in revolt against the established order. Until then this militant, this nay-saying, nay-doing element in his character had been lacking; what is more, he had appeared to present its opposite. Obviously, the little community had not understood what was precisely the most important thing of all: the example offered by this way of dying, the freedom from and superiority to every feeling of ressentiment— a plain indication of how little he was understood at all! All that Jesus could hope to accomplish by his death, in itself, was to offer the strongest possible proof, or example, of his teachings in the most public manner. . . . But his disciples were very far from forgiving his death — though to have done so would have accorded with the Gospels in the highest degree; and neither were they prepared to offer themselves, with gentle and serene calmness of heart, for a similar death. . . . On the contrary, it was precisely the most unevangelical of feelings, revenge, that now possessed them. It seemed impossible that the cause should perish with his death: “recompense” and “judgment” became necessary (— yet what could be less evangelical than “recompense,” “punishment,” and “sitting in judgment”!). Once more the popular belief in the coming of a messiah appeared in the foreground; attention was rivetted upon an historical moment: the “kingdom of God” is to come, with judgment upon his enemies. . . . But in all this there was a wholesale misunderstanding: imagine the “kingdom of God” as a last act, as a mere promise! The Gospels had been, in fact, the incarnation, the fulfilment, the realization of this “kingdom of God.” It was only now that all the familiar contempt for and bitterness against Pharisees and theologians began to appear in the character of the Master — he was thereby turned into a Pharisee and theologian himself! On the other hand, the savage veneration of these completely unbalanced souls could no longer endure the Gospel doctrine, taught by Jesus, of the equal right of all men to be children of God: their revenge took the form of elevating Jesus in an extravagant fashion, and thus separating him from themselves: just as, in earlier times, the Jews, to revenge themselves upon their enemies, separated themselves from their God, and placed him on a great height. The One God and the Only Son of God: both were products of ressentiment. . . .
— And from that time onward an absurd problem offered itself: “how could God allow it!” To which the deranged reason of the little community formulated an answer that was terrifying in its absurdity: God gave his son as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins. At once there was an end of the gospels! Sacrifice for sin, and in its most obnoxious and barbarous form: sacrifice of the innocent for the sins of the guilty! What appalling paganism! — Jesus himself had done away with the very concept of “guilt,” he denied that there was any gulf fixed between God and man; he lived this unity between God and man, and that was precisely his “glad tidings”. . . . And not as a mere privilege! — From this time forward the type of the Saviour was corrupted, bit by bit, by the doctrine of judgment and of the second coming, the doctrine of death as a sacrifice, the doctrine of the resurrection, by means of which the entire concept of “blessedness,” the whole and only reality of the gospels, is juggled away — in favour of a state of existence after death! . . . St. Paul, with that rabbinical impudence which shows itself in all his doings, gave a logical quality to that conception, that indecent conception, in this way: “If Christ did not rise from the dead, then all our faith is in vain!”— And at once there sprang from the Gospels the most contemptible of all unfulfillable promises, the shameless doctrine of personal immortality. . . . Paul even preached it as a reward. . . .
One now begins to see just what it was that came to an end with the death on the cross: a new and thoroughly original effort to found a Buddhistic peace movement, and so establish happiness on earth— real, not merely promised. For this remains — as I have already pointed out — the essential difference between the two religions of décadence: Buddhism promises nothing, but actually fulfils; Christianity promises everything, but fulfils nothing. — Hard upon the heels of the “glad tidings” came the worst imaginable: those of Paul. In Paul is incarnated the very opposite of the “bearer of glad tidings”; he represents the genius for hatred, the vision of hatred, the relentless logic of hatred. What, indeed, has not this dysangelist sacrificed to hatred! Above all, the Saviour: he nailed him to his own cross. The life, the example, the teaching, the death of Christ, the meaning and the law of the whole gospels — nothing was left of all this after that counterfeiter in hatred had reduced it to his uses. Surely not reality; surely not historical truth! . . . Once more the priestly instinct of the Jew perpetrated the same old master crime against history — he simply struck out the yesterday and the day before yesterday of Christianity, and invented his own history of Christian beginnings. Going further, he treated the history of Israel to another falsification, so that it became a mere prologue to his achievement: all the prophets, it now appeared, had referred to his “Saviour.” . . . Later on the church even falsified the history of man in order to make it a prologue to Christianity. . . . The figure of the Saviour, his teaching, his way of life, his death, the meaning of his death, even the consequences of his death — nothing remained untouched, nothing remained in even remote contact with reality. Paul simply shifted the centre of gravity of that whole life to a place behind this existence — in the lie of the “risen” Jesus. At bottom, he had no use for the life of the Saviour — what he needed was the death on the cross, and something more. To see anything honest in such a man as Paul, whose home was at the centre of the Stoical enlightenment, when he converts an hallucination into a proof of the resurrection of the Saviour, or even to believe his tale that he suffered from this hallucination himself — this would be a genuine niaiserie in a psychologist. Paul willed the end; therefore he also willed the means. . . . What he himself didn’t believe was swallowed readily enough by the idiots among whom he spread his teaching. — What he wanted was power; in Paul the priest once more reached out for power — he had use only for such concepts, teachings and symbols as served the purpose of tyrannizing over the masses and organizing mobs. What was the only part of Christianity that Mohammed borrowed later on? Paul’s invention, his device for establishing priestly tyranny and organizing the mob: the belief in the immortality of the soul —that is to say, the doctrine of “judgment“. . . .
When the centre of gravity of life is placed, not in life itself, but in “the beyond”— in nothingness— then one has taken away its centre of gravity altogether. The vast lie of personal immortality destroys all reason, all natural instinct — henceforth, everything in the instincts that is beneficial, that fosters life and that safeguards the future is a cause of suspicion. So to live that life no longer has any meaning: this is now the “meaning” of life. . . . Why be public-spirited? Why take any pride in descent and forefathers? Why labour together, trust one another, or concern one’s self about the common welfare, and try to serve it? . . . Merely so many “temptations,” so many strayings from the “straight path.”—“One thing only is necessary”. . . . That every man, because he has an “immortal soul,” is as good as every other man; that in an infinite universe of things the “salvation” of every individual may lay claim to eternal importance; that insignificant bigots and the three-fourths insane may assume that the laws of nature are constantly suspended in their behalf — it is impossible to lavish too much contempt upon such a magnification of every sort of selfishness to infinity, to insolence. And yet Christianity has to thank precisely this miserable flattery of personal vanity for its triumph— it was thus that it lured all the botched, the dissatisfied, the fallen upon evil days, the whole refuse and off-scouring of humanity to its side. The “salvation of the soul”— in plain English: “the world revolves around me.” . . . The poisonous doctrine, “equal rights for all,” has been propagated as a Christian principle: out of the secret nooks and crannies of bad instinct Christianity has waged a deadly war upon all feelings of reverence and distance between man and man, which is to say, upon the first prerequisite to every step upward, to every development of civilization — out of the ressentiment of the masses it has forged its chief weapons against us, against everything noble, joyous and high-spirited on earth, against our happiness on earth. . . . To allow “immortality” to every Peter and Paul was the greatest, the most vicious outrage upon noble humanity ever perpetrated. —And let us not underestimate the fatal influence that Christianity has had, even upon politics! Nowadays no one has courage any more for special rights, for the right of dominion, for feelings of honourable pride in himself and his equals — for the pathos of distance. . . . Our politics is sick with this lack of courage! — The aristocratic attitude of mind has been undermined by the lie of the equality of souls; and if belief in the “privileges of the majority” makes and will continue to make revolutions — it is Christianity, let us not doubt, and Christian valuations, which convert every revolution into a carnival of blood and crime! Christianity is a revolt of all creatures that creep on the ground against everything that is lofty: the gospel of the “lowly” lowers. . . .
— The gospels are invaluable as evidence of the corruption that was already persistent within the primitive community. That which Paul, with the cynical logic of a rabbi, later developed to a conclusion was at bottom merely a process of decay that had begun with the death of the Saviour. — These gospels cannot be read too carefully; difficulties lurk behind every word. I confess — I hope it will not be held against me — that it is precisely for this reason that they offer first-rate joy to a psychologist — as the opposite of all merely naïve corruption, as refinement par excellence, as an artistic triumph in psychological corruption. The gospels, in fact, stand alone. The Bible as a whole is not to be compared to them. Here we are among Jews: this is the first thing to be borne in mind if we are not to lose the thread of the matter. This positive genius for conjuring up a delusion of personal “holiness” unmatched anywhere else, either in books or by men; this elevation of fraud in word and attitude to the level of an art— all this is not an accident due to the chance talents of an individual, or to any violation of nature. The thing responsible is race. The whole of Judaism appears in Christianity as the art of concocting holy lies, and there, after many centuries of earnest Jewish training and hard practice of Jewish technic, the business comes to the stage of mastery. The Christian, that ultima ratio of lying, is the Jew all over again — he is threefold the Jew. . . . The underlying will to make use only of such concepts, symbols and attitudes as fit into priestly practice, the instinctive repudiation of every other mode of thought, and every other method of estimating values and utilities — this is not only tradition, it is inheritance: only as an inheritance is it able to operate with the force of nature. The whole of mankind, even the best minds of the best ages (with one exception, perhaps hardly human —), have permitted themselves to be deceived. The gospels have been read as a book of innocence . . . surely no small indication of the high skill with which the trick has been done. — Of course, if we could actually see these astounding bigots and bogus saints, even if only for an instant, the farce would come to an end — and it is precisely because I cannot read a word of theirs without seeing their attitudinizing that I have made an end of them. . . . I simply cannot endure the way they have of rolling up their eyes. — For the majority, happily enough, books are mere literature. — Let us not be led astray: they say “judge not,” and yet they condemn to hell whoever stands in their way. In letting God sit in judgment they judge themselves; in glorifying God they glorify themselves; in demanding that every one show the virtues which they themselves happen to be capable of — still more, which they must have in order to remain on top — they assume the grand air of men struggling for virtue, of men engaging in a war that virtue may prevail. “We live, we die, we sacrifice ourselves for the good” (—“the truth,” “the light,” “the kingdom of God”): in point of fact, they simply do what they cannot help doing. Forced, like hypocrites, to be sneaky, to hide in corners, to slink along in the shadows, they convert their necessity into a duty: it is on grounds of duty that they account for their lives of humility, and that humility becomes merely one more proof of their piety. . . . Ah, that humble, chaste, charitable brand of fraud! “Virtue itself shall bear witness for us.” . . . One may read the gospels as books of moral seduction: these petty folks fasten themselves to morality — they know the uses of morality! Morality is the best of all devices for leading mankind by the nose! — The fact is that the conscious conceit of the chosen here disguises itself as modesty: it is in this way that they, the “community,” the “good and just,” range themselves, once and for always, on one side, the side of “the truth”— and the rest of mankind, “the world,” on the other. . . . In that we observe the most fatal sort of megalomania that the earth has ever seen: little abortions of bigots and liars began to claim exclusive rights in the concepts of “God,” “the truth,” “the light,” “the spirit,” “love,” “wisdom” and “life,” as if these things were synonyms of themselves and thereby they sought to fence themselves off from the “world”; little super-Jews, ripe for some sort of madhouse, turned values upside down in order to meet their notions, just as if the Christian were the meaning, the salt, the standard and even the last judgment of all the rest. . . . The whole disaster was only made possible by the fact that there already existed in the world a similar megalomania, allied to this one in race, to wit, the Jewish: once a chasm began to yawn between Jews and Judaeo–Christians, the latter had no choice but to employ the self-preservative measures that the Jewish instinct had devised, even against the Jews themselves, whereas the Jews had employed them only against non-Jews. The Christian is simply a Jew of the “reformed” confession. —
— I offer a few examples of the sort of thing these petty people have got into their heads — what they have put into the mouth of the Master: the unalloyed creed of “beautiful souls.”—
“And whosoever 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 Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city” (Mark vi, 11)— How evangelical! . . .
“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 evangelical! . . .
“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 the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (Mark ix, 47.15)— It is not exactly the eye that is meant. . . .
15 To which, without mentioning it, Nietzsche adds verse 48.
“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 kingdom of God come with power.” (Mark ix, 1.)— Well lied, lion!16 . . .
16 A paraphrase of Demetrius’ “Well roar’d, Lion!” in act v, scene 1 of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The lion, of course, is the familiar Christian symbol for Mark.
“Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For . . . ” (Note of a psychologist. Christian morality is refuted by its fors: its reasons are against it — this makes it Christian.) Mark viii, 34. —
“Judge not, that ye be not judged. With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” (Matthew vii, 1.17)— What a notion of justice, of a “just” judge! . . .
17 Nietzsche also quotes part of verse 2.
“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” (Matthew v, 46.18)— Principle of “Christian love”: it insists upon being well paid in the end. . . .
18 The quotation also includes verse 47.
“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 necessities of life. An error, to put it mildly. . . . A bit before this God appears as a tailor, at least in certain cases. . . .
“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 compares itself to 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.” (Paul, 1 Corinthians iii, 16.19)— For that sort of thing one cannot have enough contempt. . . .
19 And 17.
“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?” (Paul, 1 Corinthians vi, 2.)— Unfortunately, not merely the speech of a lunatic. . . . This frightful impostor then proceeds: “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 men 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 nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (Paul, 1 Corinthians i, 20ff.20)— In order to understand this passage, a first-rate example of the psychology underlying every Chandala-morality, one should read the first part of my “Genealogy of Morals”: there, for the first time, the antagonism between a noble morality and a morality born of ressentiment and impotent vengefulness is exhibited. Paul was the greatest of all apostles of revenge. . . .
20 Verses 20, 21, 26, 27, 28, 29.
—What follows, then? That one had better put on gloves before reading the New Testament. The presence of so much filth makes it very advisable. One would as little choose “early Christians” for companions as Polish Jews: not that one need seek out an objection to them. . . . Neither has a pleasant smell. — I have searched the New Testament in vain for a single sympathetic touch; nothing is there that is free, kindly, open-hearted or upright. In it humanity does not even make the first step upward — the instinct for cleanliness is lacking. . . . Only evil instincts are there, and there is not even the courage of these evil instincts. It is all cowardice; it is all a shutting of the eyes, a self-deception. Every other book becomes clean, once one has read the New Testament: for example, immediately after reading Paul I took up with delight that most charming and wanton of scoffers, Petronius, of whom one may say what Domenico Boccaccio wrote of Cæsar Borgia to the Duke of Parma: “è tutto festo”— immortally healthy, immortally cheerful and sound. . . . These petty bigots make a capital miscalculation. They attack, but everything they attack is thereby distinguished. Whoever is attacked by an “early Christian” is surely not befouled. . . . On the contrary, it is an honour to have an “early Christian” as an opponent. One cannot read the New Testament without acquired admiration for whatever it abuses — not to speak of the “wisdom of this world,” which an impudent wind-bag tries to dispose of “by the foolishness of preaching.” . . . Even the scribes and pharisees are benefitted by such opposition: they must certainly have been worth something to have been hated in such an indecent manner. Hypocrisy — as if this were a charge that the “early Christians” dared to make! — After all, they were the privileged, and that was enough: the hatred of the Chandala needed no other excuse. The “early Christian”— and also, I fear, the “last Christian,” whom I may perhaps live to see— is a rebel against all privilege by profound instinct — he lives and makes war for ever for “equal rights.” . . . Strictly speaking, he has no alternative. When a man proposes to represent, in his own person, the “chosen of God”— or to be a “temple of God,” or a “judge of the angels”— then every other criterion, whether based upon honesty, upon intellect, upon manliness and pride, or upon beauty and freedom of the heart, becomes simply “worldly”—evil in itself. . . . Moral: every word that comes from the lips of an “early Christian” is a lie, and his every act is instinctively dishonest — all his values, all his aims are noxious, but whoever he hates, whatever he hates, has real value. . . . The Christian, and particularly the Christian priest, is thus a criterion of values.
— Must I add that, in the whole New Testament, there appears but a solitary figure worthy of honour? Pilate, the Roman viceroy. To regard a Jewish imbroglio seriously— that was quite beyond him. One Jew more or less — what did it matter? . . . The noble scorn of a Roman, before whom the word “truth” was shamelessly mishandled, enriched the New Testament with the only saying that has any value— and that is at once its criticism and its destruction: “What is truth? . . . ”
— The thing that sets us apart is not that we are unable to find God, either in history, or in nature, or behind nature — but that we regard what has been honoured as God, not as “divine,” but as pitiable, as absurd, as injurious; not as a mere error, but as a crime against life. . . . We deny that God is God. . . . If any one were to show us this Christian God, we’d be still less inclined to believe in him. — In a formula: deus, qualem Paulus creavit, dei negatio. — Such a religion as Christianity, which does not touch reality at a single point and which goes to pieces the moment reality asserts its rights at any point, must be inevitably the deadly enemy of the “wisdom of this world,” which is to say, of science— and it will give the name of good to whatever means serve to poison, calumniate and cry down all intellectual discipline, all lucidity and strictness in matters of intellectual conscience, and all noble coolness and freedom of the mind. “Faith,” as an imperative, vetoes science —in praxi, lying at any price. . . . Paul well knew that lying — that “faith”— was necessary; later on the church borrowed the fact from Paul. — The God that Paul invented for himself, a God who “reduced to absurdity” “the wisdom of this world” (especially the two great enemies of superstition, philology and medicine), is in truth only an indication of Paul’s resolute determination to accomplish that very thing himself: to give one’s own will the name of God, thora— that is essentially Jewish. Paul wants to dispose of the “wisdom of this world”: his enemies are the good philologians and physicians of the Alexandrine school — on them he makes his war. As a matter of fact no man can be a philologian or a physician without being also Antichrist. That is to say, as a philologian a man sees behind the “holy books,” and as a physician he sees behind the physiological degeneration of the typical Christian. The physician says “incurable”; the philologian says “fraud.” . . .
— Has any one ever clearly understood the celebrated story at the beginning of the Bible — of God’s mortal terror of science? . . . No one, in fact, has understood it. This priest-book par excellence opens, as is fitting, with the great inner difficulty of the priest: he faces only one great danger; ergo, “God” faces only one great danger. —
The old God, wholly “spirit,” wholly the high-priest, wholly perfect, is promenading his garden: he is bored and trying to kill time. Against boredom even gods struggle in vain.21 What does he do? He creates man — man is entertaining. . . . But then he notices that man is also bored. God’s pity for the only form of distress that invades all paradises knows no bounds: so he forthwith creates other animals. God’s first mistake: to man these other animals were not entertaining — he sought dominion over them; he did not want to be an “animal” himself. — So God created woman. In the act he brought boredom to an end — and also many other things! Woman was the second mistake of God. —“Woman, at bottom, is a serpent, Heva”— every priest knows that; “from woman comes every evil in the world”— every priest knows that, too. Ergo, she is also to blame for science. . . . It was through woman that man learned to taste of the tree of knowledge. — What happened? The old God was seized by mortal terror. Man himself had been his greatest blunder; he had created a rival to himself; science makes men godlike— it is all up with priests and gods when man becomes scientific! —Moral: science is the forbidden per se; it alone is forbidden. Science is the first of sins, the germ of all sins, the original sin. This is all there is of morality.—“Thou shall not know”:— the rest follows from that. — God’s mortal terror, however, did not hinder him from being shrewd. How is one to protect one’s self against science? For a long while this was the capital problem. Answer: Out of paradise with man! Happiness, leisure, foster thought — and all thoughts are bad thoughts! — Man must not think. — And so the priest invents distress, death, the mortal dangers of childbirth, all sorts of misery, old age, decrepitude, above all, sickness— nothing but devices for making war on science! The troubles of man don’t allow him to think. . . . Nevertheless — how terrible! — the edifice of knowledge begins to tower aloft, invading heaven, shadowing the gods — what is to be done? — The old God invents war; he separates the peoples; he makes men destroy one another (— the priests have always had need of war. . . . ). War — among other things, a great disturber of science! — Incredible! Knowledge, deliverance from the priests, prospers in spite of war. — So the old God comes to his final resolution: “Man has become scientific —there is no help for it: he must be drowned!” . . .
21 A paraphrase of Schiller’s “Against stupidity even gods struggle in vain.”
— I have been understood. At the opening of the Bible there is the whole psychology of the priest. — The priest knows of only one great danger: that is science — the sound comprehension of cause and effect. But science flourishes, on the whole, only under favourable conditions — a man must have time, he must have an overflowing intellect, in order to “know.” . . . “Therefore, man must be made unhappy,”— this has been, in all ages, the logic of the priest. — It is easy to see just what, by this logic, was the first thing to come into the world:—“sin.” . . . The concept of guilt and punishment, the whole “moral order of the world,” was set up against science —against the deliverance of man from priests. . . . Man must not look outward; he must look inward. He must not look at things shrewdly and cautiously, to learn about them; he must not look at all; he must suffer. . . . And he must suffer so much that he is always in need of the priest. — Away with physicians! What is needed is a Saviour.— The concept of guilt and punishment, including the doctrines of “grace,” of “salvation,” of “forgiveness”—lies through and through, and absolutely without psychological reality — were devised to destroy man’s sense of causality: they are an attack upon the concept of cause and effect! — And not an attack with the fist, with the knife, with honesty in hate and love! On the contrary, one inspired by the most cowardly, the most crafty, the most ignoble of instincts! An attack of priests! An attack of parasites! The vampirism of pale, subterranean leeches! . . . When the natural consequences of an act are no longer “natural,” but are regarded as produced by the ghostly creations of superstition — by “God,” by “spirits,” by “souls”— and reckoned as merely “moral” consequences, as rewards, as punishments, as hints, as lessons, then the whole ground-work of knowledge is destroyed —then the greatest of crimes against humanity has been perpetrated. — I repeat that sin, man’s self-desecration par excellence, was invented in order to make science, culture, and every elevation and ennobling of man impossible; the priest rules through the invention of sin. —
— In this place I can’t permit myself to omit a psychology of “belief,” of the “believer,” for the special benefit of “believers.” If there remain any today who do not yet know how indecent it is to be “believing”—or how much a sign of décadence, of a broken will to live — then they will know it well enough tomorrow. My voice reaches even the deaf. — It appears, unless I have been incorrectly informed, that there prevails among Christians a sort of criterion of truth that is called “proof by power.” “Faith makes blessed: therefore it is true.”— It might be objected right here that blessedness is not demonstrated, it is merely promised: it hangs upon “faith” as a condition — one shall be blessed because one believes. . . . But what of the thing that the priest promises to the believer, the wholly transcendental “beyond”— how is that to be demonstrated? — The “proof by power,” thus assumed, is actually no more at bottom than a belief that the effects which faith promises will not fail to appear. In a formula: “I believe that faith makes for blessedness —therefore, it is true.” . . . But this is as far as we may go. This “therefore” would be absurdum itself as a criterion of truth. — But let us admit, for the sake of politeness, that blessedness by faith may be demonstrated (—not merely hoped for, and not merely promised by the suspicious lips of a priest): even so, could blessedness — in a technical term, pleasure— ever be a proof of truth? So little is this true that it is almost a proof against truth when sensations of pleasure influence the answer to the question “What is true?” or, at all events, it is enough to make that “truth” highly suspicious. The proof by “pleasure” is a proof of “pleasure”— nothing more; why in the world should it be assumed that true judgments give more pleasure than false ones, and that, in conformity to some preestablished harmony, they necessarily bring agreeable feelings in their train? — The experience of all disciplined and profound minds teaches the contrary. Man has had to fight for every atom of the truth, and has had to pay for it almost everything that the heart, that human love, that human trust cling to. Greatness of soul is needed for this business: the service of truth is the hardest of all services. — What, then, is the meaning of integrity in things intellectual? It means that a man must be severe with his own heart, that he must scorn “beautiful feelings,” and that he makes every Yea and Nay a matter of conscience! — Faith makes blessed: therefore, it lies. . . .
The fact that faith, under certain circumstances, may work for blessedness, but that this blessedness produced by an idée fixe by no means makes the idea itself true, and the fact that faith actually moves no mountains, but instead raises them up where there were none before: all this is made sufficiently clear by a walk through a lunatic asylum. Not, of course, to a priest: for his instincts prompt him to the lie that sickness is not sickness and lunatic asylums not lunatic asylums. Christianity finds sickness necessary, just as the Greek spirit had need of a superabundance of health — the actual ulterior purpose of the whole system of salvation of the church is to make people ill. And the church itself — doesn’t it set up a Catholic lunatic asylum as the ultimate ideal? — The whole earth as a madhouse? — The sort of religious man that the church wants is a typical décadent; the moment at which a religious crisis dominates a people is always marked by epidemics of nervous disorder; the “inner world” of the religious man is so much like the “inner world” of the overstrung and exhausted that it is difficult to distinguish between them; the “highest” states of mind, held up before mankind by Christianity as of supreme worth, are actually epileptoid in form — the church has granted the name of holy only to lunatics or to gigantic frauds in majorem dei honorem. . . . Once I ventured to designate the whole Christian system of training22 in penance and salvation (now best studied in England) as a method of producing a folie circulaire upon a soil already prepared for it, which is to say, a soil thoroughly unhealthy. Not every one may be a Christian: one is not “converted” to Christianity — one must first be sick enough for it. . . . We others, who have the courage for health and likewise for contempt — we may well despise a religion that teaches misunderstanding of the body! that refuses to rid itself of the superstition about the soul! that makes a “virtue” of insufficient nourishment! that combats health as a sort of enemy, devil, temptation! that persuades itself that it is possible to carry about a “perfect soul” in a cadaver of a body, and that, to this end, had to devise for itself a new concept of “perfection,” a pale, sickly, idiotically ecstatic state of existence, so-called “holiness”— a holiness that is itself merely a series of symptoms of an impoverished, enervated and incurably disordered body! . . . The Christian movement, as a European movement, was from the start no more than a general uprising of all sorts of outcast and refuse elements (— who now, under cover of Christianity, aspire to power). It does not represent the decay of a race; it represents, on the contrary, a conglomeration of décadence products from all directions, crowding together and seeking one another out. It was not, as has been thought, the corruption of antiquity, of noble antiquity, which made Christianity possible; one cannot too sharply challenge the learned imbecility which today maintains that theory. At the time when the sick and rotten Chandala classes in the whole imperium were Christianized, the contrary type, the nobility, reached its finest and ripest development. The majority became master; democracy, with its Christian instincts, triumphed. . . . Christianity was not “national,” it was not based on race — it appealed to all the varieties of men disinherited by life, it had its allies everywhere. Christianity has the rancour of the sick at its very core — the instinct against the healthy, against health. Everything that is well-constituted, proud, gallant and, above all, beautiful gives offence to its ears and eyes. Again I remind you of Paul’s priceless saying: “And God hath chosen the weak things of the world, the foolish things of the world, the base things of the world, and things which are despised”:23 this was the formula; in hoc signo the décadence triumphed. —God on the cross— is man always to miss the frightful inner significance of this symbol? — 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 thus a victory: a nobler attitude of mind was destroyed by it — Christianity remains to this day the greatest misfortune of humanity. —
22 The word training is in English in the text.
23 1 Corinthians i, 27, 28.