Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Sum of Equivocations

George Junior brings forward a nice passage -- well, maybe nice isn't the word -- from Nietzsche's The Antichrist which expresses the way Christianity builds its house using blocks made of soft gelatin:

Under Christianity neither morality nor religion has any point of contact with actuality.

It offers purely imaginary causes ("God" "soul," "ego," "spirit," "free will"--or even "unfree"), and purely imaginary effects ("sin" "salvation" "grace," "punishment," "forgiveness of sins"). Intercourse between imaginary beings ("God," "spirits," "souls"); an imaginary natural history (anthropocentric; a total denial of the concept of natural causes); an imaginary psychology (misunderstandings of self, misinterpretations of agreeable or disagreeable general feelings--for example, of the states of the nervus sympathicus with the help of the sign-language of religio-ethical balderdash--, "repentance," "pangs of conscience," "temptation by the devil," "the presence of God"); an imaginary teleology (the "kingdom of God," "the last judgment," "eternal life").

This purely fictitious world, greatly to its disadvantage, is to be differentiated from the world of dreams; the later at least reflects reality, whereas the former falsifies it, cheapens it and denies it. Once the concept of "nature" had been opposed to the concept of "God," the word "natural" necessarily took on the meaning of "abominable"--the whole of that fictitious world has its sources in hatred of the natural (--the real!--), and is no more than evidence of a profound uneasiness in the presence of reality. . . .
So goes the H.L. Mencken translation; I think I prefer Walter Kaufman's translation of the last part:
This world of pure fiction is vastly inferior to the world of dreams insofar as the latter mirrors reality, whereas the former falsifies, devalues, and negates reality. Once the concept of "nature" had been invented as the opposite of "God," "natural" had to become a synonym of "reprehensible": this whole world of fiction is rooted in hatred of the natural (of reality!); it is the expression of a profound vexation at the sight of reality.

1 comment:

mikesdak said...

Then if you want to really get them in a twist, just mention that if their religion is to believed, then God created that despised "nature". Then the real equivocation starts.