The Twilight of the Idols - The Antichrist

Page 41 of 51


In point of fact, it matters greatly to what end[Pg 221] one lies: whether one preserves or destroys by means of falsehood. It is quite justifiable to bracket the Christian and the Anarchist together: their object, their instinct, is concerned only with destruction. The proof of this proposition can be read quite plainly from history: history spells it with appalling distinctness. Whereas we have just seen a religious legislation, whose object was to render the highest possible means of making life flourish, and of making a grand organisation of society, eternal,—Christianity found its mission in putting an end to such an organisation, precisely because life flourishes through it. In the one case, the net profit to the credit of reason, acquired through long ages of experiment and of insecurity, is applied usefully to the most remote ends, and the harvest, which is as large, as rich and as complete as possible, is reaped and garnered: in the other case, on the contrary, the harvest is blighted in a single night That which stood there, re perennius, the imperium Romanum, the most magnificent form of organisation, under difficult conditions, that has ever been achieved, and compared with which everything that preceded, and everything which followed it, is mere patchwork, gimcrackery, and dilettantism,—those holy anarchists made it their "piety," to destroy "the world"—that is to say, the imperium Romanum, until no two stones were left standing one on the other,—until even the Teutons and other clodhoppers were able to become master of it The Christian and the anarchist are both decadents; they are both incapable of acting in any other way than disintegratingly, poisonously and witheringly,[Pg 222] like blood-suckers; they are both actuated by an instinct of mortal hatred of everything that stands erect, that is great, that is lasting, and that is a guarantee of the future.... Christianity was the vampire of the imperium Romanum,—in a night it shattered the stupendous achievement of the Romans, which was to acquire the territory for a vast civilisation which could bide its time.—Does no one understand this yet? The imperium Romanum that we know, and which the history of the Roman province teaches us to know ever more thoroughly, this most admirable work of art on a grand scale, was the beginning, its construction was calculated to prove its worth by millenniums,—unto this day nothing has ever again been built in this fashion, nor have men even dreamt since of building on this scale sub specie aterni!—This organisation was sufficiently firm to withstand bad emperors: the accident of personalities must have nothing to do with such matters—the first principle of all great architecture. But it was not sufficiently firm to resist the corruptest form of corruption, to resist the Christians.... These stealthy canker-worms, which under the shadow of night, mist and duplicity, insinuated themselves into the company of every individual, and proceeded to drain him of all seriousness for real things, of all his instinct for realities; this cowardly, effeminate and sugary gang have step by step alienated all "souls" from this colossal edifice,—those valuable, virile and noble natures who felt that the cause of Rome was their own personal cause, their own personal seriousness, their own personal pride. The stealth of the bigot, the[Pg 223] secrecy of the conventicle, concepts as black as hell such as the sacrifice of the innocent, the unto mystica in the drinking of blood, above all the slowly kindled fire of revenge, of Chandala revenge—such things became master of Rome, the same kind of religion on the pre-existent form of which Epicurus had waged war. One has only to read Lucretius in order to understand what Epicurus combated, not Paganism, but "Christianity," that is to say the corruption of souls through the concept of guilt, through the concept of punishment and immortality. He combated the subterranean cults, the whole of latent Christianity—to deny immortality was at that time a genuine deliverance.—And Epicurus had triumphed, every respectable thinker in the Roman Empire was an Epicurean: then St Paul appeared ... St Paul, the Chandala hatred against Rome, against "the world," the Jew, the eternal Jew par excellence, become flesh and genius. ... What he divined was, how, by the help of the small sectarian Christian movement, independent of Judaism, a universal conflagration could be kindled; how, with the symbol of the "God on the Cross," everything submerged, everything secretly insurrectionary, the whole offspring of anarchical intrigues could be gathered together to constitute an enormous power. "For salvation is of the Jews."—Christianity is the formula for the supersession, and epitomising of all kinds of subterranean cults, that of Osiris, of the Great Mother, of Mithras for example: St Paul's genius consisted in his discovery of this. In this matter his instinct was so certain, that, regardless of doing violence to truth, he laid the[Pg 224] ideas by means of which those Chandala religions fascinated, upon the very lips of the "Saviour" he had invented, and not only upon his lips,—that he made out of him something which even a Mithras priest could understand.... This was his moment of Damascus: he saw that he had need of the belief in immortality in order to depreciate "the world," that the notion of "hell" would become master of Rome, that with a "Beyond" this life can be killed. ... Nihilist and Christian,—they rhyme in German, and they do not only rhyme.


The whole labour of the ancient world in vain: I am at a loss for a word which could express my feelings at something so atrocious.—And in view of the fact that its labour was only preparatory, that with adamantine self-consciousness it laid the substructure, alone, to a work which was to last millenniums, the whole significance of the ancient world was certainly in vain!... What was the use of the Greeks? what was the use of the Romans?—All the prerequisites of a learned culture, all the scientific methods already existed, the great and peerless art of reading well had already been established—that indispensable condition to tradition, to culture and to scientific unity; natural science hand in hand with mathematics and mechanics was on the best possible road,—the sense for facts, the last and most valuable of all senses, had its schools, and its tradition was already centuries old! Is this understood? Everything essential had been discovered to make it possible[Pg 225] for work to be begun:—methods, and this cannot be said too often, are the essential thing, also the most difficult thing, while they moreover have to wage the longest war against custom and indolence. That which to-day we have successfully reconquered for ourselves, by dint of unspeakable self-discipline—for in some way or other all of us still have the bad instincts, the Christian instincts, in our body,—the impartial eye for reality, the cautious hand, patience and seriousness in the smallest details, complete uprightness in knowledge,—all this was already there; it had been there over two thousand years before! And in addition to this there was also that excellent and subtle tact and taste! Not in the form of brain drilling! Not in the form of "German" culture with the manners of a boor! But incarnate, manifesting itself in men's bearing and in their instinct,—in short constituting reality.... All this in vain! In one night it became merely a memory!—The Greeks! The Romans! Instinctive nobility, instinctive taste, methodic research, the genius of organisation and administration, faith, the will to the future of mankind, the great yea to all things materialised in the imperium Romanum, become visible to all the senses, grand style no longer manifested in mere art, but in reality, in truth, in life.—And buried in a night, not by a natural catastrophe! Not stamped to death by Teutons and other heavy-footed vandals! But destroyed by crafty, stealthy, invisible anmic vampires! Not conquered,—but only drained of blood!... The concealed lust of revenge, miserable envy[Pg 226] become master! Everything wretched, inwardly ailing, and full of ignoble feelings, the whole Ghetto-world of souls, was in a trice uppermost!—One only needs to read any one of the Christian agitators—St Augustine, for instance,—in order to realise, in order to smell, what filthy fellows came to the top in this movement. You would deceive yourselves utterly if you supposed that the leaders of the Christian agitation showed any lack of understanding —Ah! they were shrewd, shrewd to the point of holiness were these dear old Fathers of the Church I What they lack is something quite different. Nature neglected them,—it forgot to give them a modest dowry of decent, of respectable and of cleanly instincts.... Between ourselves, they are not even men. If Islam despises Christianity, it is justified a thousand times over; for Islam presupposes men.

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