Friday, November 25, 2005

Still on the Forbidden Lists?

The Anti-Christ
Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm, Mencken, H. L. (Translator), Mencken, H. L. (Introduction by)

Still on the Forbidden Lists?

I am sure for many Christians and Catholics even in the present day, Nietzsche must still represent a far too critical and perhaps blasphemous analysis of the actual Christian-ness of Christianity and Christians.

Too bad the majority of the post-modernist developed world for which he was writing, namely the educated, the powerful, the elites probably see or read his arguments as being far too philosophical and far too bland - for current interests appear to exceed his with overt Anti-Christian, indeed perhaps anti-religious rhetorics which are fully supported by the consumerism and relativism which rush to fill the gaps in faith or belief systems through products, promotions, purchases and sales of products, all appear far more powerful than philosophy in our age.

But mostly Nietzsche simply mauls herd mentality, and the lack of critical analysis, the preference of leadership and power to simply engage conformity and submission from our individual group minds.

No powerful entities avoid influence of the activities and beliefs of the herd, their measures and levels of conformity differ, but still exist today; submission to a lack of values in many cases might just have easily been Nietzsche's target in the post-hegemonious Christian world which exist at the present time.

Nietzsche's manifest expounds the intellectual detachment of learning from cultural values, in fact, seeks to redefine the borders and limits of group belief systems, seeks to engage the independent mind to gather information and make judgements based upon reason and logic.

He has a strong dislike for theologians and clergymen for their engagement of interpretive filters with which they read scriptures and pervert the message of Christ to the ends of dogmatics, and acknowledges to some extent that this is the nature of social organisation at all levels.

However Nietzsche insists that there must at all times, in all social networks, in all communities and cultures, there must exist "free spirits"; at war with traditional concepts, willing to challenge status quo, willing to elevate and test the freedom to express dissent.

Here Christians must act and abide by the historical record and Nietzsche is fairly well versed in some original conditions of Christianity; he challenges the moral beliefs upon which many churches rest far too comfortably to go un-noticed or to be faithfully followed.

The true test of Christianity today is thus to preserve the dignity of those who might choose, even with full knowledge of the arguments and many validities of Nietzsche's perspective, to remain members of the faithful.

At what point however, does criticism become religious bigotry or hatred?

In these days of political correctness the Christian churches and Catholicism in particular appear often to be merely the largest, easiest targets. However depraved, it is almost if a revolution of thought can sometimes be as forceful as technological changes which accompany the destruction of communitarian social values.

There are some who would argue Nietzsche helped perpetuate the relativism of contemporary social values; others might say he simply defined the difference between the all powerful and the powerless.

In that sense he defines 'free spirit' as one who may protest and live to talk about it.

I hope that tolerance never truly becomes eradicated from the Christian west. For truly it is an anomaly in the world and in human history. And ultimately, Christianity helped build whatever space within which Nietzsche's 'Free Spirit' may be read or analyzed.

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