The Twilight of the Idols - The Antichrist

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—That which separates us from other people is not the fact that we can discover no God, either in history, or in nature, or behind nature,—but that we regard what has been revered as "God," not as "divine," but as wretched, absurd, pernicious; not as an error, but as a crime against life. ... We deny God as God.... If the existence of this Christian God were proved to us, we should feel even less able to believe in him.—In a formula: deus qualem Paulus creavit, dei negatio.—A religion such as Christianity which never once comes in touch with reality, and which collapses the very moment reality asserts its rights even on one single point, must naturally be a mortal enemy of the "wisdom of this world"—that is to say, science. It will call all those means good with which mental discipline, lucidity and severity in intellectual matters, nobility and freedom of the intellect may be poisoned, calumniated and decried. "Faith" as an imperative is a veto against science,—in praxi, it means lies at any price. St Paul understood that falsehood—that "faith" was necessary; subsequently the Church understood St Paul.—That "God" which St Paul invented for himself, a God who "confounds" the "wisdom of this world" (in a narrower sense, the[Pg 197] two great opponents of all superstition, philology and medicine), means, in very truth, simply St Paul's firm resolve to do so: to call his own will "God", thora, that is arch-Jewish. St Paul insists upon confounding the "wisdom of this world": his enemies are the good old philologists and doctors of the Alexandrine schools; it is on them that he wages war. As a matter of fact no one is either a philologist or a doctor, who is not also an Antichrist. As a philologist, for instance, a man sees behind the "holy books," as a doctor he sees behind the physiological rottenness of the typical Christian. The doctor says "incurable," the philologist says "forgery."


—Has anybody ever really understood the celebrated story which stands at the beginning of the Bible,—concerning God's deadly panic over science? ... Nobody has understood it This essentially sacerdotal book naturally begins with the great inner difficulty of the priest: he knows only one great danger, consequently "God" has only one great danger.—

The old God, entirely "spirit," a high-priest through and through, and wholly perfect, is wandering in a leisurely fashion round his garden; but he is bored. Against boredom even the gods themselves struggle in vain.[7] What does he do? He invents man,—man is entertaining.... But, behold,[Pg 198] even man begins to be bored. God's compassion for the only form of misery which is peculiar to all paradises, exceeds all bounds: so forthwith he creates yet other animals. God's first mistake: man did not think animals entertaining,—he dominated them, he did not even wish to be an "animal." Consequently God created woman. And boredom did indeed cease from that moment,—but many other things ceased as well! Woman was God's second mistake.—"Woman in her innermost nature is a serpent, Heva"—every priest knows this: "all evil came into this world through woman,"—every priest knows this too. "Consequently science also comes from woman." ... Only through woman did man learn to taste of the tree of knowledge.—What had happened? Panic had seized the old God Man himself had been his greatest mistake, he had created a rival for himself, science makes you equal to God,—it is all up with priests and gods when man becomes scientific!—Moral: science is the most prohibited thing of all,—it alone, is forbidden. Science is the first, the germ of all sins, the original sin. This alone is morality.—"Thou shalt not know":—the rest follows as a matter of course, God's panic did not deprive him of his intelligence. How can one guard against science? For ages this was his principal problem. Reply: man must be kicked out of paradise! Happiness, leisure leads to thinking,—all thoughts are bad thoughts.... Man must not think.—And the "priest-per-se" proceeds to invent distress, death, the vital danger of pregnancy, every kind of misery, decrepitude, and affliction, and above all disease,—all these are but weapons[Pg 199] employed in the struggle with science! Trouble prevents man from thinking.... And notwithstanding all these precautions! Oh, horror! the work of science towers aloft, it storms heaven itself, it rings the death-knell of the gods,—what's to be done?—The old God invents war; he separates the nations, and contrives to make men destroy each other mutually (—the priests have always been in need of war....) War, among other things, is a great disturber of science!—Incredible! Knowledge, the rejection of the sacerdotal yoke, nevertheless increases.—So the old God arrives at this final decision: "Man has become scientific,—there is no help for it, he must be drowned!" ...


You have understood me The beginning of the Bible contains the whole psychology of the priest—The priest knows only one great danger, and that is science,—the healthy concept of cause and effect But, on the whole, science flourishes onlyunder happy conditions,—a man must have time, he must also have superfluous mental energy in order to "pursue knowledge" ... "Consequently man must be made unhappy,"—this has been the argument of the priest of all ages.—You have already divined what, in accordance with such a manner of arguing, must first have come into the world:—"sin." ... The notion of guilt and punishment, the whole "moral order of the universe," was invented against science,—against the deliverance of man from the priest.... Man must not cast his glance upon the outer world, he must turn it inwards into himself; he must not as[Pg 200] a learner look cleverly and cautiously into things; he must not see at all: he must suffer. ... And he must suffer, so that he may be in need of the priest every minute.—Away with doctors! What is needed is a Saviour!—The notion of guilt and punishment, including the doctrine of "grace," of "salvation" and of "forgiveness"—all lies through and through without a shred of psychological reality—were invented in order to destroy man's sense of causality: they are an attack on the concept of cause and effect!—And not an attack with the fist, with the knife, with honesty in hate and love! But one actuated by the most cowardly, most crafty, and most ignoble instincts! A priests attack! A parasite's attack! A vampyrism of pale subterranean leeches!—... When the natural consequences of an act are no longer "natural," but are thought to be conjured up by phantom concepts of superstition, by "God," by "spirits," and by "souls," as merely moral consequences, in the form of rewards, punishments, hints, and educational means,—then the whole basis of knowledge is destroyed,—then the greatest crime against man has been perpetrated.—Sin, I repeat, this form of self-pollution par excellence on the part of man, was invented in order to make science, culture and every elevation and noble trait in man quite impossible; by means of the invention of sin the priest is able to rule.

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