Nietzsche frequently delivered trenchant critiques of Christianity in the most offensive and blasphemous terms possible given the context of 19th century Europe. These aspects of Nietzsche’s style run counter to traditional values in philosophical writing, and they alienated him from the academic establishment both in his time and, to a lesser extent, today. Nietzsche wanted to free man from the guilt of freely chosen action. He felt it was more the fear of guilt (prior to doing a freely chosen action) rather than the actual guilt (after the action was done) that limited man from his true potential. Nietzsche, for instance, would probably not agree that a freely chosen act, even a murder, would necessarily plunge a person into an abyss of guilt. 

He also felt society was on the verge of change. When speaking of the modern day it has become apparent that certain important Christian values had to be dethroned to make room for a new value system that is eerily Nietzsch-like. Arguably the “transvaluation of values” that Nietzsche was an advocate for has actually taken place (albeit without a race of Supermen). Here is a list of some of the more noticeable signs: 

  1. People came to be seen as having inalienable or built-in “rights,” against which authorities could not assert their prerogatives, and remaking society to protect those rights seemed like a logical next step 
  2. Blind obedience ceased to be a virtue, and instead came to be seen as an undesirable sign of slavishness 
  3. Scientific investigation of the world was a good thing to do, since the material world was no longer seen as the province of the devil 
  4. Sexual desire became a good thing to have, especially after Freud. No longer was sexuality seen in the context of sin and disruption of the social order, but was linked with mental health and creative energy 
  5. Originality, creativity, individual brain-power were seen as powerful and effective, no longer overshadowed by the creativity at the beginning of time accomplished by God ex nihil
  6. Self esteem came to be considered a positive, no longer labeled the sin of pride 
  7. The world’s various religions and philosophies came to be studied anthropologically, which put them all on a par. Each was “true in its own way,” paving the way for ethical and theological relativism. Atheism came to be seen as just another possible answer to the riddle of the universe 

Points to ponder as you are posting:

  • Think of our society from the middle ages to the present day. Using the seven points mentioned above discuss whether Nietzsche was right in predicting a change in our society from a largely religious based conglomerate to something… different. Is this “different” thing that society has become Nietzsche’s true vision? [Hint: Remember what kind of society Nietzsche was hoping for. Explain the similarities with Nietzsche’s society and our own.]
  • Remember this question is specific to Nietzsche’s vision of the future (our present), NOT YOUR OWN BELIEF SYSTEM.] 
  • NOW what do you think? Is Nietzsche right? Find an article on the internet and provide the link to support your view. 

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