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When a people is on the road to ruin; when it feels its belief in a future, its hope of freedom vanishing for ever; when it becomes conscious of submission as the most useful quality, and of the virtues of the submissive as self-preservative measures, then its God must also modify himself. He then becomes a tremulous and unassuming sneak; he counsels "peace of the soul," the cessation of all hatred, leniency and "love" even towards friend and foe. He is for ever moralising, he crawls into the heart of every private virtue, becomes a God for everybody. 143
The Christian concept of God—God as the deity of the sick, God as a spider, God as a spirit—is one of the most corrupt concepts of God that has ever been attained on earth. Maybe it represents the low-water mark in the evolutionary ebb of the godlike type. God degenerated into the contradiction of life, instead of being its[Pg 263] transfiguration and eternal Yea! With God war is declared on life, nature, and the will to life! God is the formula for every calumny of this world and for every lie concerning a beyond! 146
Christianity aims at mastering beasts of prey; its expedient is to make them ill,—to render feeble is the Christian recipe for taming, for "civilisation." 151
If faith is above all necessary, then reason, knowledge, and scientific research must be brought into evil repute: the road to truth becomes the forbidden road.—Strong hope is a much greater stimulant of life than any single realised joy could be. Sufferers must be sustained by a hope which no actuality can contradict,—and which cannot ever be realised: the hope of another world. (Precisely on account of this power that hope has of making the unhappy linger on, the Greeks regarded it as the evil of evils, as the most mischievous evil: it remained behind in Pandora's box.) In order that love may be possible, God must be a person. In order that the lowest instincts may also make their voices heard God must be young. For the ardour of the women a beautiful saint, and for the ardour of the men a Virgin Mary has to be pressed into the foreground. All this on condition that Christianity wishes to rule over a certain soil, on which Aphrodisiac or Adonis cults had already determined the notion of a cult. To insist upon chastity only intensifies the vehemence and profundity of the religious instinct—it makes the cult warmer, more enthusiastic, more soulful.—Love is the state in which man sees things most widely different from what they are. The force of illusion reaches its zenith here, as likewise the sweetening and transfiguring power. When a man is in love he endures more than at other times; he submits to everything.[Pg 264] The thing was to discover a religion in which it was possible to love: by this means the worst in life is overcome—it is no longer even seen.—So much for three Christian virtues Faith, Hope, and Charity: I call them the three Christian precautionary measures. 152-153
What is Jewish morality, what is Christian morality? Chance robbed of its innocence; unhappiness polluted with the idea of "sin"; well being interpreted as a danger, as a "temptation"; physiological indisposition poisoned by means of the cankerworm of conscience. 157-158
What does a "moral order of the universe" mean? That once and for all there is such a thing as will of God which determines what man has to do and what he has to leave undone; that the value of a people or of an individual is measured according to how much or how little the one or the other obeys the will of God; that in the destinies of a people or of an individual, the will of God shows itself dominant, that is to say it punishes or rewards according to the degree of obedience. In the place of this miserable falsehood reality says: a parasitical type of man, who can flourish only at the cost of all the healthy elements of life, the priest abuses the name of God: he calls that state of affairs in which the priest determines the value of things "the Kingdom of God"; he calls the means whereby such a state of affairs is attained or maintained, "the Will of God"; with cold-blooded cynicism he measures peoples, ages and individuals according to whether they favour or oppose the ascendency of the priesthood. 158-159
I fail to see against whom was directed the insurrection of which rightly or wrongly Jesus is understood to have been the promoter, if it were not directed against the Jewish church. 162
This saintly anarchist who called the lowest of the low, the outcasts and "sinners," the Chandala of Judaism, to revolt against the established order of things (and in language which, if the gospels are to be trusted, would get one sent to Siberia even to-day)—this man was a political criminal in so far as political criminals were possible in a community so absurdly non-political. This brought him to the cross: the proof of this is the inscription found thereon. He died for his sins—and no matter how often the contrary has been asserted there is absolutely nothing to show that he died for the sins of others. 162-163
The instinctive hatred of reality is the outcome of an extreme susceptibility to pain and to irritation, which can no longer endure to be "touched" at all, because every sensation strikes too deep.
The instinctive exclusion of all aversion, of all hostility, of all boundaries and distances in feeling, is the outcome of an extreme susceptibility to pain and to irritation, which regards all resistance, all compulsory resistance as insufferable anguish(—that is to say, as harmful, as deprecated by the self-preservative instinct), and which knows blessedness (happiness) only when it is no longer obliged to offer resistance to anybody, either evil or detrimental,—love as the only ultimate possibility of life....
These are the two physiological realities upon which and out of which the doctrine of salvation has grown. 166
With a little terminological laxity Jesus might be called a "free spirit"—he cares not a jot for anything that is established: the word killeth, everything fixed killeth. The idea, experience, "life" as he alone knows it, is, according to him, opposed to every kind of word, formula,[Pg 266] law, faith and dogma. He speaks only of the innermost things: "life" or "truth" or "light," is his expression for the innermost things,—everything else the whole of reality, the whole of nature, language even, has only the value of a sign, of a simile for him. 169-170
The whole psychology of the "gospels" lacks the concept of guilt and punishment, as also that of reward. "Sin," any sort of aloofness between God and man, is done away with,—this is precisely what constitutes the "glad tidings." Eternal bliss is not promised, it is not bound up with certain conditions; it is the only reality—the rest consists only of signs wherewith to speak about it....