Seminary killed Nietzsche’s God.
It is dangerous to quote people only partly, and out of context. For years I was brought up to understand that Nietzsche said, “God is dead.” Period. End of statement.
This intrigued me when I read that his father was a Lutheran pastor and Nietzsche himself attended seminary. After his first term he is known to have said this total passage:
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned, has bled to death under our knives; who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves?
The fact that he attended seminary explains this passage.
When a person goes to seminary their faith is often dismantled and tattered till barely any threads are still connected. It is unrecognizable. It is doubted that there was ever anything to believe in to begin with except for some nice stories that man created on his own.
I can say this because I attended seminary myself. I did 45 credits out of 90 before I too walked away in disbelief. While I retained a faith in God (unlike Nietzsche)—Jesus was out of the picture for the 14 years to follow due to my seminary studies. I have often said that, of the people I talked to (while I was slowly losing my faith and tormented by it), the only seminarians to still believe in traditional Christianity were the students who gave the professors what they wanted to hear but the students themselves chose to ignore the teachings. Other than those faithful few, 90% of students no longer believed in Jesus and 85% didn’t believe in God.
So let’s read this quote in its entirety with my experience of seminary interpreting what he says:
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him (we have taken all that we believed about God and torn it apart, saying it is untrue and just made up).
Yet his shadow still looms. (But there is still something there of it that cannot be totally obliterated)
How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? (Now if we did kill the concept of the God of Christianity—then we would be the murderers of all murderers. What a greater feat of killing could take place than to kill of the creator of all that is?)
What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned, has bled to death under our knives; (our scholarly attempts to dissect and understand God has caused us not to have a God left to believe in)
who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves?
From this view point I have compassion for Nietzsche.
It is extremely painful to have your faith torn apart. To lose one’s faith is to lose your total foundation. To say it is disruptive is like saying “we had a few sprinkles of rain today” after a category 5 hurricane has plowed through your town.
Sure, if Nietzsche HAD just said “God is dead” that makes him a monster to those who believe in God. But that is not the whole thought he was expressing.
It seems to me his statement came about through frustration and disillusionment. What he further says later in life still stems from his experience in seminary and the fact that he did not stay in school long enough to have his faith rebuilt.
The inner turmoil of accepting that man has created God, and faith is for the simpletons of this world…that stance, that can develop from a hardened heart, can turn into bitterness, anger, pompous criticism of those who still believe and the religion they still cling to, only because “they are not educated”.
God is not dead. He is very much alive. But one has to put aside the false doctrines and quit spending all of time studying the doubters and pulling things apart to disprove it. What we look for is what we develop into truth. We humans do not like to be wrong. It is called confirmation bias.
There are archeological findings and historical writings from outside Christianity that support the Bible as truth. Why don’t we spend time considering those things more closely?
After all, we do not see whole educational degrees set up to disprove that the writings of Plato and Socrates.
We do not have whole departments saying their quotes are just words that someone else penned together decades later to make a good point and attributed them to these two historical figures falsely?
So why are we bent on doing that to the Bible? To Jesus? And yes, even to God himself?
Just something to consider.... Share with me your thoughts, Please.
Until Next Time~
Photo by Jonathan Bowers on Unsplash