The Twilight of the Idols - The Antichrist

Page 42 of 51


Christianity destroyed the harvest we might have reaped from the culture of antiquity, later it also destroyed our harvest of the culture of Islam. The wonderful Moorish world of Spanish culture, which in its essence is more closely related to us, and which appeals more to our sense and taste than Rome and Greece, was trampled to death(—I do not say by what kind of feet), why?—because it owed its origin to noble, to manly instincts, because it said yea to life, even that life so full of the rare and refined luxuries of the Moors! ... Later on the Crusaders waged war upon something before which it would have been more seemly in them to[Pg 227] grovel in the dust,—a culture, beside which even our Nineteenth Century would seem very poor and very "senile."—Of course they wanted booty: the Orient was rich.... For goodness' sake let us forget our prejudices! Crusades—superior piracy, that is all! German nobility—that is to say, a Viking nobility at bottom, was in its element in such wars: the Church was only too well aware of how German nobility is to be won.... German nobility was always the "Swiss Guard" of the Church, always at the service of all the bad instincts of the Church; but it was well paid for it all.... Fancy the Church having waged its deadly war upon everything noble on earth, precisely with the help of German swords, German blood and courage! A host of painful questions might be raised on this point German nobility scarcely takes a place in the history of higher culture: the reason of this is obvious; Christianity, alcohol—the two great means of corruption. As a matter of fact choice ought to be just as much out of the question between Islam and Christianity, as between an Arab and a Jew. The decision is already self-evident; nobody is at liberty to exercise a choice in this matter. A man is either of the Chandala or he is not ... "War with Rome to the knife! Peace and friendship with Islam": this is what that great free spirit, that genius among German emperors,—Frederick the Second, not only felt but also did. What? Must a German in the first place be a genius, a free-spirit, in order to have decent feelings? I cannot understand how a German was ever able to have Christian feelings.

[Pg 228]


Here it is necessary to revive a memory which will be a hundred times more painful to Germans. The Germans have destroyed the last great harvest of culture which was to be garnered for Europe,—it destroyed the Renaissance. Does anybody at last understand, will anybody understand what the Renaissance was? The transvaluation of Christian values, the attempt undertaken with all means, all instincts and all genius to make the opposite values, the noble values triumph,... Hitherto there has been only this great war: there has never yet been a more decisive question than the Renaissance,—my question is the question of the Renaissance:—there has never been a more fundamental, a more direct and a more severe attack, delivered with a whole front upon the centre of the foe. To attack at the decisive quarter, at the very seat of Christianity, and there to place noble values on the throne,—that is to say, to introduce them into the instincts, into the most fundamental needs and desires of those sitting there.... I see before me a possibility perfectly magic in its charm and glorious colouring—it seems to me to scintillate with all the quivering grandeur of refined beauty, that there is an art at work within it which is so divine, so infernally divine, that one might seek through millenniums in vain for another such possibility; I see a spectacle so rich in meaning and so wonderfully paradoxical to boot, that it would be enough to make all the gods of Olympus rock with immortal laughter,—Csar Borgia as Pope. ... Do you understand me?[Pg 229] ... Very well then, this would have been the triumph which I alone am longing for to-day:—this would have swept Christianity away!—What happened? A German monk, Luther, came to Rome. This monk, with all the vindictive instincts of an abortive priest in his body, foamed with rage over the Renaissance in Rome.... Instead of, with the profoundest gratitude, understanding the vast miracle that had taken place, the overcoming of Christianity at its headquarters,—the fire of his hate knew only how to draw fresh fuel from this spectacle. A religious man thinks only of himself.—Luther saw the corruption of the Papacy when the very reverse stared him in the face: the old corruption, the peceatum originate, Christianity no longer sat upon the Papal chair! But Life! The triumph of Life! The great yea to all lofty, beautiful and daring things!... And Luther reinstated the Church; he attacked it The Renaissance thus became an event without meaning, a great in vain!—Ah these Germans, what have they not cost us already! In vain—this has always been the achievement of the Germans.—The Reformation, Leibniz, Kant and so-called German philosophy, the Wars of Liberation, the Empire—in each case are in vain for something which had already existed, for something which cannot be recovered. ... I confess it, these Germans are my enemies: I despise every sort of uncleanliness in concepts and valuations in them, every kind of cowardice in the face of every honest yea or nay. For almost one thousand years, now, they have tangled and confused everything they have laid their hands on; they have on their[Pg 230] conscience all the half-measures, all the three-eighth measures of which Europe is sick; they also have the most unclean, the most incurable, and the most irrefutable kind of Christianity—Protestantism—on their conscience.... If we shall never be able to get rid of Christianity, the Germans will be to blame.


—With this I will now conclude and pronounce my judgment. I condemn Christianity and confront it with the most terrible accusation that an accuser has ever had in his mouth. To my mind it is the greatest of all conceivable corruptions, it has had the will to the last imaginable corruption. The Christian Church allowed nothing to escape from its corruption; it converted every value into its opposite, every truth into a He, and every honest impulse into an ignominy of the soul. Let anyone dare to speak to me of its humanitarian blessings! To abolish any sort of distress was opposed to its profoundest interests; its very existence depended on states of distress; it created states of distress in order to make itself immortal.... The cancer germ of sin, for instance: the Church was the first to enrich mankind with this misery!—The "equality of souls before God," this falsehood, this pretext for the rancunes of all the base-minded, this anarchist bomb of a concept, which has ultimately become the revolution, the modern idea, the principle of decay of the whole of social order,—this is Christian dynamite ... The "humanitarian" blessings of Christianity! To breed a self-contradiction, an art of self-profanation, a will to lie at any price, an aversion,[Pg 231] a contempt of all good and honest instincts out of humanitas! Is this what you call the blessings of Christianity?—Parasitism as the only method of the Church; sucking all the blood, all the love, all the hope of life out of mankind with anmic and sacred ideals. A "Beyond" as the will to deny all reality; the cross as the trade-mark of the most subterranean form of conspiracy that has ever existed,—against health, beauty, well-constitutedness, bravery, intellect, kindliness of soul, against Life itself....

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