The Twilight of the Idols - The Antichrist Complete Works, Volume Sixteen

By Friedrich Nietzsche

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world, and whether it
be called "Christianity," "Christian Faith," or "Christian Church," I
take care not to hold mankind responsible for its mental disorders.
But my feeling suddenly changes, and vents itself the moment I enter
the modern age, _our_ age. Our age _knows...._ That which formerly
was merely morbid, is now positively indecent It is indecent nowadays
to be a Christian. _And it is here that my loathing begins._ I look
about me: not a word of what was formerly known as "truth" has remained
standing; we can no longer endure to hear a priest even pronounce the
word "truth." Even he who makes but the most modest claims upon truth,
_must_ know at present, that a theologian, a priest, or a pope, not
only errs but actually _ties,_ with every word that he utters,--and
that he is no longer able to lie from "innocence," from "ignorance."
Even the priest knows quite as well as everybody else does that there
is no longer any "God," any "sinner" or any "Saviour," and that "free
will," and "a moral order of the universe" are _lies._ Seriousness,
the profound self-conquest of the spirit no longer allows anyone to
be _ignorant_ about this.... All the concepts of the Church have been
revealed in their true colours--that is to say, as the most vicious
frauds on earth, calculated to _depreciate_ nature and all natural
values. The priest himself has been recognised as what he is--that is
to say, as the most dangerous kind of parasite, as the actual venomous
spider of existence.... At present we know, our _conscience_ knows,
the real value of the gruesome inventions which the priests and the
Church have made, _and what end they served._ By means of them that
state of self-profanation on the part of man has been attained, the
sight of which makes one heave. The concepts "Beyond," "Last Judgment,"
"Immortality of the Soul," the "soul" itself, are merely so many
instruments of torture, so many systems of cruelty, on the strength
of which the priest became and remained master.... Everybody knows
this, _and nevertheless everything remains as it was._ Whither has
the last shred of decency, of self-respect gone, if nowadays even
our statesmen--a body of men who are otherwise so unembarrassed, and
such thorough anti-Christians in deed--still declare themselves
Christians and still flock to communion?[5].... Fancy a prince at the
head of his legions, magnificent as the expression of the egoism and
self-exaltation of his people,--but _shameless_ enough to acknowledge
himself a Christian!... What then does Christianity deny? What does
it call "world"? "The world" to Christianity means that a man is a

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Text Comparison with The Dawn of Day

Page 1
Nor are professional theologians the only ones who have failed to answer Nietzsche; for in other than religious matters the majority of savants have not succeeded in plumbing his depths.
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justice, et de la vertu_.
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--An omniscient and omnipotent God who does not even take care that His intentions shall be understood by His creatures--could He be a God of goodness? A God, who, for thousands of years, has permitted innumerable doubts and scruples to continue unchecked as if they were of no importance in the salvation of mankind, and who, nevertheless, announces the most dreadful consequences for any one who mistakes his truth? Would he not be a cruel god if, being himself in possession of the truth, he could calmly contemplate mankind, in a state of miserable torment, worrying its mind as to what was truth? Perhaps, however, he really is a God of goodness, and was unable to express Himself more clearly? Perhaps he lacked intelligence enough for this? Or eloquence? All the worse! For in such a case he may have been deceived himself in regard to what he calls his "truth," and may not be far from being another "poor, deceived devil!" Must he not therefore experience all the torments of hell at seeing His creatures suffering so much here below--and even more, suffering through all eternity--when he himself can neither advise nor help them, except as a deaf and dumb person, who makes all kinds of equivocal signs when his child or his dog is threatened with the most fearful danger? A distressed believer who argues thus might be pardoned if his pity for the suffering God were greater than his pity for his "neighbours"; for they are his neighbours no longer if that most solitary and primeval being is also the greatest sufferer and stands most in need of consolation.
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_ in the spirit of La Rochefoucauld--is also justifiable, and in any case of a high general utility.
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equilibrium for only a short time and in most cases continue to rise and fall.
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Every moment in the life of man causes some polypous arms of his being to grow and others to wither away, in accordance with the nutriment which that moment may or may not bring with it.
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" But, joking apart, do we not act like one of these three persons whenever we use the expression "I wish"? 125.
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When we now set them once more in the latter categories, as we must do, we certainly reduce their value (their own estimate of value) even below its reasonable level, because "egoistic" and "non-free" actions have up to the present been under-valued owing.
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And, finally, how many are there who would be willing and eager to agree with Bismarck, if only he could always agree with himself, or were even to show some signs of doing so for the future! It is true that it is by no means astonishing to find statesmen without principles, but with dominant instincts; a versatile mind, actuated by these dominant and violent instincts, and hence without principles--these qualities are looked upon as reasonable and natural in a statesman.
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And how great would be the "balance" which we should have to forget if we wished henceforth to continue wholesale admirers of these three great men! It would therefore be far more advisable to profit by the excellent opportunity offered us to try something new, _i.
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The strange madness of moral judgments! When man experiences the sensation of power he feels and calls himself good; and at exactly the same time the others who have to endure his power call him evil!--Hesiod, in his fable of the epochs of man, has twice in succession depicted the same epoch, that of the heroes of Homer, and has thus made two epochs out of one: to those who lived under the terrible iron heel of those adventurous despots, or had heard their ancestors speak of them, the epoch appeared to be evil; but the descendants of those chivalric races worshipped it as the "good old times," and as an almost ideally blissful age.
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Do you think that Tristan and Isolde are warnings against adultery, merely because adultery has resulted in the death of both of them? This would be turning poets upside down, these poets who, especially Shakespeare, are in love with the passions in themselves, and not less so with the readiness for death which they give rise to: this mood in which the heart no more clings to life than a drop of water does to the glass.
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This inclination in its present form, without choice and without refinement, is not without danger--its least danger is its want of taste.
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We must be careful not to be clever with our wisdom! 309.
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