WORLD: Where does Nietzsche’s philosophy lead us?

By Leonard Pinto

In 1960s, a handful of academics in theology departments in some North American universities made a case for a ‘theology without God’, based on the ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). The self-contradictory concept drew attention of Americans that Time magazine addressed the issue with a unique cover page, Is God Dead? in its issue of April 8, 1966. After much debate, the cover page of Time, December 26, 1969 changed to God coming back to life. When Nietzsche died a popular slogan in America was, God is dead, signed Nietzsche. Nietzsche is dead, signed God. But Nietzsche seems to be very much alive, and according to Blackburn (2005) he is the most influential of all philosophers of post-modernism.

Today Nietzsche’s philosophy is taught in most leading western universities (e.g. Cambridge, Oxford, London, UOS, Princeton, UCL, NYU, SU, UCHI, BU, UB, Melb., NSW and ANU). As the purpose of education is the formation of the whole person by gaining knowledge and acquiring moral and ethical values, it is imperative to assess Nietzsche critically than adopt his philosophy blindly. In fact, two modern Christian theologians, German-American Paul Tillich (1886-1965) and Swiss Karl Barth (1886-1968) encountered him head on with the theology of God’s omnipresence, and clearly delineated their perspective of God from that of Nietzsche (Wiley 2009).

Nietzsche’s writings are ambiguous, cryptic, subtle, poetic and often presented as philosophical novels. Because of this ambiguity, writers on Nietzsche often interpret him from their personal perspective. While some aspects of his philosophy are useful for the good of the society, others have the potential to create confusion, despair, anxiety, depression, immorality and social disorder.

Friedrich Nietzsche’s father and grandfather were Lutheran (Christian) Ministers. He studied theology and philosophy, and specialized in philology at the University of Bonn Germany, and became a professor in classical philology at the University of Basel, Switzerland at the age of 24. His animosity towards Christianity may have arisen from his strict upbringing in Lutheran tradition by his mother. He refrained from alcohol, was not good at lovemaking, unsuccessful in music composition and was never married. He suffered from migraine and depression, lost his mental faculties at the age of 44 and died ten years later. His books were not popular during his lifetime, but after his death.

Nietzsche’s writings should be reviewed in the context of the history of European feudal society, power and authority of the Medieval Church (5th -15th century), challenges to it from the Reformation (16th century), philosophies of the Age of the Enlightenment (17th – 18th century) and ethnocentric pan-Germanism, atheism and materialism of the West (19th century). It is clear from his writings that he believed only in truth found in matter, as it was the trend of his time among the intellectuals. Therefore, it is not surprising to read Nietzsche’s bend towards atheistic and materialistic philosophy in his thrust against religion and theology. During his time, social anthropology, human physiology and psychology were in their infancy, and Nietzsche was unable to appreciate the value and meaning of human aspirations in the non-material realm in his epistemological pursuit of meaning in Philosophy. His approach is based on speculative deduction, and has no bearing on inductive experimentation. This article explores the key messages of Nietzsche’s philosophy from an oriental Christian anthropological perspective, and assesses their potential impacts on Christianity, morality and the future direction of the western society.

Virtue, vice, drives and desires

Nietzsche’s ideas on virtue and vice are elucidated in his Birth of Tragedy (1872) and further developed in his other works. He turned upside down, the universal religious values that had existed in all civilizations and from time immemorial. While all religions teach some form of virtue in goodness, purity, obedience, humility, respect, compassion and moral discipline (i.e. Pansil and Atasil in Buddhism, Sanatan Dharma in Hinduism, Surah 6 and 17 of Qur’an and Hadith in Islam, Torah and Halakhah in Judaism and Ten Commandments and moral theology in Christianity), Nietzsche observed that the society is not driven by traditional virtues but by vices, such as anger, envy, jealously, pride, greed and lust.

Nietzsche’s observations are correct. Indeed we are driven by our innate instincts of ‘survival of the fittest’. The society thrives, because of competition, market forces, media and people’s will to achieve and be successful in this life. But, the role of religion and culture is to assist us to manage our crude instincts and use them in a civilized manner for the benefit of mankind. In the Twilight of idols, Nietzsche (1889) rejects the importance of anthropological transformation of our animal instincts into civilized accepted good behavior in the society through religious culture. According to him, the foundation of virtues is in our animal nature. He refers to religious virtues as ‘spiritualization of passion ,’ rather than ‘management of passions by spiritual ethics.’ According to Nietzsche, ‘peace of soul’ is the radiation of a rich ‘animality’ into the morals. He fails to differentiate the virtue, which is characterized by tranquility, serenity, peace and courage from vice, which is characterized by noise, arrogance, pride, violence, drunkenness and liberal sex. He suggests that we find the roots of our ethics in animals. In doing so, Nietzsche fell in to the same trap that Darwin fell, in trying to explain the origin of ethics from animals.

The gap between the animality and humanity with respect to nature and practice of virtue is so vast that Darwin struggled to establish continuity in the evolution of morals from animals to man. Parental care of young, herds protecting their weak and dog wagging tail are hormone driven, though visually based behaviors. They are significantly different in scale from monks and nuns, who sublimate their sex drive (i.e. a contra reproductive instinct) or those who give up their lives for another (i.e. a contra-survival instinct). Darwin conveniently reversed his violent ‘survival of the fittest’ hypothesis in the animal kingdom to a gentle ‘altruism in the herd’ hypothesis, in the Descent of Man (Darwin 1871), written 12 years after the Origin of Species (Darwin 1859) to justify the evolution of morals in humans. That made Alfred Wallace, the co-proponent of the Theory of Evolution to abandon Charles Darwin altogether, as the latter had aligned himself with the influential British atheist intellectuals, to popularize his theory.

Nietzsche’s failure to make a clear distinction between our natural drives at their origin as desires, and at their end as vices, if unmanaged, and encroach in to the rights of others physically (e.g. murder by Nazis and ISIS) or mislead a confused mind, suggesting that it is a personal right (e.g. suicide, intent to kill), is a major error in his understanding of virtue and vice. Psychology, physiology and common sense tell us that we can override the ‘passive’ hormone driven endocrine-rooted cravings and desires by our ‘active’ thoughts originating from the central nervous system, which can control our will, consciousness and conscience to manage, modify or even sublimate these drives. For instance, hormone (i.e. adrenaline) driven anger is nature’s way to fight or flight for the survival of the individual, population or nation. But, by will power (+ practice + yet unknown forces) one can control anger, discuss, negotiate and even pardon. Religions reinforce, refine, specify and condition our mind and conscience to behave as cultured and responsible citizens. Nietzsche seems to think that we should adopt our uncontrolled instincts (animality) as they are, in order to flourish as full human beings. He is trying to shake the foundations of virtue and vice, but he has no scientific or anthropological evidence to support his hypothesis, except the beliefs of people of similar inclination.

Nietzsche’s engagement in conceptualizing vice and virtue philosophically, overlooking the biological origins of natural drives (i.e. hormonal origins of drives and their modification by brain), and the anthropological role that religious virtues have played in historical societies, is a major error in Nietzsche’s perusal of truth and holistic understanding of virtue and vice in human existence. On one hand Nietzsche rejects everything that is non-material, having faith only in science, but on the other, Nietzsche denies what science (i.e. physiology and psychology) is demonstrating.

Nietzsche believed only in ‘material’ and ‘natural’ happiness, where man behaves no better than beast. His so-called virtues are lust, cruelty, pride, arrogance, selfishness, drunkenness, licentiousness, ruthlessness, shrewdness and the like, as if happiness is to be derived only from innate instincts. This is contrary to Christian teaching, as reiterated by St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians. He says, “Now the works of the flesh are plain: immorality, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissention, party sprit, envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like” (Gal 5:19-21). He found no good in the teachings of Jesus, as Jesus preached to his followers to be poor in spirit, merciful towards others, pure and meek in heart, seek righteousness and standup to justice, be peace-makers and be ready to suffer and endure pain for the sake of righteousness (Matt 5:1-12).

Although Nietzsche did not take liquor, he hated asceticism. He undermined the power of mind in the practice of virtues, as he replaced the will power in self-discipline by laisser-aller spirit, which requires no will power.

Aristotle conceived the idea that ‘happiness’ (eudaimonia) is the purpose of life. Happiness is linked to a function, an activity, a condition or a project that we are engaged in, to derive satisfaction, on its successful completion. On the way to that end, hope gives some happiness in waiting to achieve the goal. In Aristotle’s Nicomachean ethics, happiness comes to us in various forms, but the happiness derived from virtue is the best, as one has a greater control of it than others (i.e. health, wealth, strength, appearance, friends and fame), and that happiness will never lead us to misery. He recognized two types of virtues; intellectual virtues and moral virtues. Intellectual virtues are exercised in contemplation, and they control the rational part of our soul. The moral virtues control the irrational part of our soul. By habituating them to our behavior in accordance with rational principles, moral virtues can be gained, a concept that Buddha recognized in his path to enlightenment. Aristotle believed that virtues enable us to fulfill our function as rational beings and has a teleological dimension in recognizing meaning and end-purpose of life. Following him, Thomas Aquinas went into the details of four cardinal virtues; prudence, temperance, justice and courage in his Summa Theologica. Without them the society has no common drive to exist in ethics. Modern moral philosophers, such as Geach (1977) find that without these virtues, no one can attain the true end or the purpose for which humans exist.

Nietzschean morals

Nietzsche’s criticism of past philosophers on morality and his views on future morality are given in Beyond Good and Evil (1886). He rejects the morals that have been developed and tested for the past 2700 years through the Judeo-Christian human history. He starts by blaming Christian morals for herding people in to what he calls slave morality (sklavenmoral). True, morals have a social dimension, but to call it ‘slave morals’ is an insulting arrogant statement. Christians have not been moral slaves, for Protestantism questioned aspects of Catholicism and Chardinism brought Catholicism closer to science, however painful that journey of faith in ethics may have been (Pinto, 2015).

Nietzsche argued that each person should rediscover and redefine his or her morality in freedom, not as slaves, but without religion and social responsibility. He believed that given this freedom, some people will naturally develop into supermen or overmen (übermensch), and will lead the society above traditional Christian morals. Similarly, he also believed that there are super nations, Germans, Romans, Japanese , Arabian and Scandinavian Vikings, but the emphasis was on superior Aryans, who have the power to be übermensch. In a letter that Nietzsche wrote to Köselitz on 31 May 1888, he stated that on reading the Laws of Manu (Mânava dharma çâstra) in Hindu Vedas, he found the sacerdotal Aryan code, where the caste system is justified as a gentle exercise. He went on to say, “In addition, the Jews give the impression of a race of Chandalas (untouchable, low caste), who learn from their masters the principles according to which, a priestly caste ascends to power and organizes the people” (Bonfiglio 2006). In On the Genealogy of Morality he states, “At the bottom of all these noble races the beast of prey, the splendid blond beast, prowling about avidly in search of spoil and victory; this hidden core needs to erupt from time to time, the animal has to get out again and go back to the wilderness.” These texts demonstrate Nietzsche’s attempts to justify Nazi Aryan ideology that was prevalent during his time in Germany and the abominable caste system in India through his übermensch concept. Although some try to protect Nietzsche’s Nazi leaning, explaining that his sister, Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche was responsible for the Nazi spin and misrepresenting Nietzsche to Hitler , Nietzsche’s intentions recur in the following text in the Genealogy. “It reverts back to the innocence of the conscience of predatory animals (blonde beasts), as triumphant monsters who perhaps leave behind a horrible series of murder, fires, rape, torture in high spirits and emotionally well-balanced, as if just having performed a student’s prank, convinced that the powers will once again have something to sing about and glorify for a long time to come” (Nietzsche 1887). These texts clearly reveal that Nietzsche’s morals were in tandem with Nazi ideology.

His other objective was to replace religion by culture, priests by philosophers and sacred texts by literature. True, the sermons of some priests are sub-standard, explanation of scripture requires exegesis and hermeneutics and his Birth of Tragedy (Nietzsche, 1872) has an aesthetic value in literature, but not in formulating a moral theory. He believed that übermensch would always follow right norms and lead the world in ethics. But, the reality is that in spite of Nietzsche’s wishful thinking, violence, crime, murder, rape, terrorism and wars continue to occur in the world through the so-called übermensch .

Since thinking man (Homo sapiens) appeared on the face of the earth 200,000 years ago, his tendency to do evil has not changed. What has changed is the style of evil expression (e.g. missiles instead of battle axe). Our tendency to do ‘good’ can be conditioned and enhanced by beliefs and practices, however mythical or mystical they may be. Modern moral philosophers are not interested in what is good and bad, right and wrong , but what people are doing when they talk about what they ought to do” (Hudson 1983). Most ordinary people don’t study moral philosophy or moral theology at great depths, but adhere to a moral code, taken in good faith from their religion or belief system. Zagzebski (2012a, 2012b) recognized this guide in all forms of authority, both in the religious and secular spheres, and called it epistemic authority, which is derived from the trust that the individual, community, society or nations places on a belief system (i.e. spirituality for happiness) or the administrative/legal system (e.g. courts for justice). That makes the ordinary sincere people of good will and magistrates in courts to discern moral judgment based on data, thanks to ‘human wisdom’, the operation of human consciousness and conscience.

The morality that Nietzsche proposed was the replacement of deontological ethics with a type of consequential ethics, former being conforming to a standard/ideal in discriminating right from wrong and good from bad, while the latter having no standard/ideal, decides what is right and wrong according to one’s judgment, which is subject to temperament, mood and other variables, including what is good for the group. This approach of Nietzsche and like-minded western intellectuals has contributed to the growing materialistic outlook of the West in the loss of religiosity (i.e. spirituality and prayer), sacredness in religion (i.e. symbolism and rituals), reverence for life (i.e. abortion and euthanasia), loss of family values (i.e. domestic violence, divorce, same-sex marriage, safe school program , loveless children), individuality, selfishness, isolation and drugs, culminating in numerous mental disorders and suicide. As family is the unit of the society, these trends in Nietzschean morals that undermine the value of true family would have a significant negative impact on the western society in the coming centuries .

From an anthropological perspective, morality that the Bible attempts to champion is the image of a ‘righteous man’ and his relationship with God. He need not be a übermensch, overflowing with literature, philosophy and superiority. Even the poor and ignorant can be righteous (Lk 4:18). We need not be immersed in platonic love or erotic love as Nietzsche perceived, but just be imbibed with Agape, the Christian love, caring for the weak, helping the ethnically and religiously different ‘outsider’, as in the Good Samaritan (Lk 10:25-37). Again, the authors of the Bible interpret the signs of times in a moral sense. In contrast, Nietzsche justifies events in a pragmatic sense. He interprets the Bible literally, which is not the way scripture is interpreted today. Bible contains human experience and repeated moral lessons from Jewish people who maintained a continuous history for many centuries. Christians believe that Bible is the word of God, in words of men. An anthropological abstraction of first half of the first book, Genesis is that human pride and arrogance in attempting to outdo God is punished with suffering for mankind (Gen 3:16-19), man’s attempt at corruption, violence and rejection of God is punished by deluge (Gen 6:9-23), challenging God by science and technology in the Tower of Babel is punished with confusion and collapse of the project (Gen 11:1-9) and man’s indulgence in lust, rape and homosexuality is punished with brimstone and fire at Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19:1-29). The last books of the Old Testament, I Kings and II Kings of the Bible repeat the same story in the punishment for worshiping foreign gods. In spite of King Solomon’s achievement in building the grand temple of Jerusalem, he also accommodated foreign gods through his 700 foreign wives (1 Kings 11:1-8). Jews believed that the punishment they received for king’s sin was the fragmentation of the State of Israel and subsequent Assyrian Captivity (8th century BC) and Babylonian Captivity (6th century BC), described in II Kings.

To the Protestant theologian Karl Barth, the center of Nietzschean morality is ‘self’. In The Genealogy of Morals, Nietzsche (1887) wrote, “all truly noble morality grows out of triumphant self-affirmation. On the other hand slave morality (sklavenmoral) begins by saying no to an outside, an other, a non-self, and that no is its creative act.” Then he begins to discriminate the practice of ethics between two classes. For Nietzsche, self-affirmation is possible only for the ‘nobles’ not for the ordinary people, who don’t have noble values. Morals were possible for the Romans, and not for Christian slaves. Barth simply called Nietzsche’s ethics, a self-centered morality of “humanity without fellow-man” (Wiley 2009). Nietzsche’s conceptualization of ‘nobles’ is in contrast to St. Paul’s Christian message of equality; “here there is no gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all” (Colossians 3:11).

God is dead

Nietzsche (1882) introduced the death of God through his Gay Science in the madman, holding a lantern and looking for God in the market place on a bright morning. People in the market place laughed at him. He smashed the lantern and said, you have killed him; we all have killed him; I came too early. In Thus spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche (1883-85) presents Zarathustra leaving his lakeside village for the mountains for solitude. After ten years, he returns from the mountain, because he loves mankind, to be met by the same hermit he met on his way up. The saintly hermit warns him not to go to the world and waste the insights he gained when in solitude among the animals and birds. After they departed from each other, Zarathustra was alone and said to himself: Can it be that this old saint in the forest has not yet heard that God is dead! In both these books, Nietzsche is the mouthpiece of the madman and Zarathustra and presents his views through them.

Nietzsche observed that the modern world does not need God, as the universe can be explained by science without divine involvement, governance can be legitimized with philosophy excluding divine right, and morality can be understood without reference to God, as non-believers of today do. Death of God can also put an end to the problem of existence of evil in the presence of a loving God. The fact is, science is finding nothing more than ‘what is already there’, and many discoveries are still to be made, governments are making silly mistakes every day, States are at war, refugees are overflowing and morality is in shatters, as the stability of family, reverence for life & death, and respect for parents and elders are redefined for convenience, cost-reduction and even profit.

Atheism has neither solved the problem of evil within the human being nor the evil outside him in the world. In fact, atheistic communist regimes were known for their crimes against humanity – crimes against their own citizens . Nietzsche championed the cause of atheism, though in a subtle way. His atheism is more profound and artistic than the vitriolic atheism of Dawkins (2006), Hitchens (2009) and Harris (2008). It hits and cuts at the very root of meaning, value and purpose in human existence.

Nietzsche would be correct, if he had said that the ‘concept of God is dead’ rather than ‘God is dead,’ since by definition God has no body, and a body is necessary to die, and one has to understand God fully to proclaim his death. By definition, God cannot be fully understood. In anthropological, theological and spiritual sense, God remains undefined in the Bible as, “I am who I am” (Ex 3:14) and his name unpronounceable as, YHWH. Christians believe that “now we see (him) in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, then I shall understand fully” (1 Cor 13:12) or “The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. …it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is”. (1 Jn 3:1-2). God is understood better by his attributes than by a definition, which is bound to be incomplete. Theologians have recognized more than 25 attributes of God. God is eternal, perfect, just, truth, good, loving, merciful, almighty, holy, infinite, incomprehensible, immeasurable, immutable, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscience, self-existing etc. In an anthropological sense, these attributes are a projection of man; what he wants to be, but falls short, because of his limitations. Therefore, it is not wrong to say that God is the ground of our being.

Since the cultured modern Homo sapiens, (i.e. who performed rituals and buried the dead) appeared on earth 50,000 years ago, the need for God/gods has surfaced from diverse parts of the world in diverse civilizations in diverse forms. Aborigines of Australia are perhaps the oldest group of human beings reported to have believed in a ‘High God,’ who is also the Creator. About 2,000 to 5,000 years ago, God/gods surfaced from Sumerians, Jews, Egyptians, Assyrians, Aztecs, Mayans, Incas, Indians, Greeks, Romans, etc. It seems that God/gods have remained as a human need and an anthropological phenomenon in the history of mankind. God concept has given happiness to many, and contributed to culture and civilization of nations (e.g. Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Indian).

One God, who is not a creature, is unique to the God of Abrahamic religions (i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Christianity had used scripture through the theology of St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine and others to refine and explain the God concept, based on the philosophy of Aristotle and Plato. Spiritualties around God were developed by theologians, experienced by saints and lived by Christians from the Medieval (5th-15th centuries), through Renaissance (14th-17th centuries) to Modern times (16th to present). God and related concepts have remained unchanged in the Christian faith, but with deeper theological insights (e.g. Vatican II documents and recent Papal Encyclicals).

The period from the 16th to 19th century became the Age of Enlightenment, when reason was considered the messenger of God. After the Reformation, Deism became the religion of the intellectuals in Europe. Deists believed that nature, based on physical laws combined with reason could lead them to God, making the authority of the Bible, Church and miracles redundant. During the Age of Enlightenment, great western philosophers, including Spinoza, Leibnitz, Descartes, Kant, Locke, Rousseau and others threw overboard the spiritual aspects of Christianity, but could not escape from the shadow of God. Therefore they retained the God concept in their philosophies.

Towards the end of the Age of Enlightenment, Friedrich Hegel (1770-1831) played a pivotal role in influencing the philosophies of Kierkegaard, Heidegger, Marx, and Nietzsche. Hegel held the view that human soul stands between the natural and eternal worlds and joins the two extremes (Niarchos 2014). Hegel thought that the root of human soul is divine, not only because of revelation, intuition and inner inspirations, but God acts in humanity and realizes himself through humanity. Human being having come to realize God, understands that the divinity cognized by him is ‘his own nature’ and to him is revealed that it is not he who recognized God, but God who cognized himself in him (Il’in 2011). He saw freedom, reason, self-consciousness and recognition as human yearnings in which God is recognized. Hegelians of the time, such as Ludwig Feuerbach saw the conceptualization of God as a projection of human failure to realize his full potential. Unfortunately, Marx replaced that divineness in humans with profane materialism in human society.

This is still an intellectual’s anthropological conceptualization of God, which is independent of God’s existence . That existence, though indefinable, can be discerned through intuition, supported by reason on design in nature (e.g. expanding universe , nature of nature , all scientific discoveries), conscience (i.e. will to do right always, and justify even wrong as right) and experience (i.e. demonstrated by committed Christian martyrs).

Nietzsche is at least superficially not engaged in a theological debate on God, for some good reason. He presents himself as a prophet who wants to make a change in the world-view of God, morals and religion. But, his later writings show that he is confused and wants to bring down all the religious values in the society; God, religion and morals. In his sober sense he is proposing a paradigm shift, but unlike Kuhn (1962) who recognized it in scientific theories, Nietzsche is delivering it with ambiguity, arrogance and confusion. In his paradigm shift, there is no new theory, except ‘don’t be a Christian’, ‘don’t believe in God’ and ‘do what you like’. Real paradigm shift is taking place all the time in the society and religion, but at a moderate pace. Second Vatican Council, Protestant Synods and Council Meetings and the expansion of Evangelical churches are manifestations of this new search and paradigm shift in Christianity.

Nietzsche realized that God is to be experienced rather than proved, as the Danish philosopher-theologian, Søren Kierkegaard proposed. But, Nietzsche failed to recognize the role of reason in experiencing God, as evident from his writings. So, he wrote about God, without experiencing him, like a sports editor who comments on how a soccer match should be played, without knowing the game or ever having played it.


Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless, nothing can be known or communicated and reason is impotent. It is a pessimistic view of the world. In psychological context, nihilism is possibly a symptom of an underlying mental disorder, though not a disorder itself. If a person moves toward depression or narcissism, their affects and cognitive thoughts are often expressed in a nihilistic way. Philosophical nihilism is an intellectual exercise, and does not fall into the psychological category, as long as one does not become a slave of nihilism.

With the dawn of the Age of Enlightenment, intellectuals in Europe gradually replaced religiosity, spirituality, faith and authority in scripture (i.e. God and Jesus) and the teaching authority of the Church (magisterium), by reason. It brought intellectual satisfaction and enlightenment to European intellectuals, but left a vacuum in the innate socio-religious and psychological drives in the proponents, as well as in their blind followers. Some found in this ‘rational’ freedom, the sensual enjoyment of the moment, carpe diem of hedonism, which became their moral and goal in life. That philosophy deprived them of the unity and continuity of a meaningful life. Their lives moved towards increased frustration, drug use, crime, family breakdown and even neurosis and psychosis. Technology, business engagements, diverse projects and the pressure of work criss-cross our lives daily, taking away bulk of our time, denying us the precious time to reflect on the meaning and final goal of life. In this busy world of competition, consumerism, market economy and brainwashing by advertising and media, our potential to achieve full human capacity in joy and happiness is undermined, as we become prisoners of our own misguided freedom, rights and inventions. In this world of technology, as our phones become wireless, cooking fireless and cars keyless, our relationships with each other become meaningless, education valueless and life worthless. The anthropological values that Christianity offered through concepts such as salvation of soul in human liberation and eternal joy in heaven in human fulfilment become out-dated myths in their appearance, as Nietzsche noted (Simmel 1986). Once God, (i.e. ideal standard) is killed, morals (i.e. agreed common ethics) are subjectivized and the existence of non-material realities (i.e. love, life, hope, fulfilment, liberation, spirituality, experience, faith etc.) are denied or diluted, a new struggle begins in the human being in order to overcome despair, as the core non-material urgings of the human being are denied.

Hegel, Nietzsche and Heidegger located the problem of modernity in the empty subjectivity that it produces. Heidegger voiced his concern that the “spiritual decline” he saw as haunting Europe, has advanced so far that awareness of this decline is in jeopardy. Modernity is increasingly being affected by science and technology. Both Nietzsche and Heidegger saw science as eclipsing our other important values in culture, and they defied this trend in their writings. Heidegger saw myths as revealing truth, not as a form of irrationality. He protested against the identification of reason with thinking and saw feeling and moods as open to the Being in a way that ratio (objective meaning) is not, and distinguished it from an embrace of irrationality (Jurist 2002).

Nietzsche’s nihilistic idea is indirectly presented in The Genealogy of Morality (Nietzsche, 1887) and Birth of Tragedy (Nietzsche, 1872). Soll (1988) noted the similarity of Nietzsche’s Birth of Tragedy and Schopenhauer’s World as Will and Representation (1844). Schopenhauer’s nihilism has been influenced by Buddhism and Hinduism, and considered to be very pessimistic. Although formal Christianity has lost its appeal to atheists, the final goal in life has not yet been lost, and this desire is the heritage of Christianity. Schopenhauer’s philosophy is the absolute philosophical expression for this inner condition of modern man, and that expression is in his will. Will is the substance of our subjective life. The tendency of existence towards a final goal and the simultaneous denial of his goal are projected into a total interpretation of reality (cf. anatta and anicca concepts in Buddhism). While Schopenhauer stops at will as the goal of life, valueless and devoid of meaning, Nietzsche attempts to give meaning to this restless desire to change, using concepts in evolution. He sees in our restlessness and the desire for change, an innate urge, a celebration, an affirmation, an enrichment and value perfection in life, which can become the goal of life itself (Simmel 1986).

Circa 1023 BC, King David realized this restlessness and found affirmation and value perfection in God, as he wrote in Psalm 62, “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” St. Augustine also noted this restlessness, as he wrote in his famous Confessions circa 400 AD, “our hearts are restless, until they rest in you”. To Rabindrnath Tagore that rest came from the divine presence, as he wrote in his Gitanjali in 1910, “Away from the sight of thy face my heart knows no rest nor respite, and my work becomes an endless toil in a shoreless sea of toil”.

In his Will to Power compiled from his notes (1883-1888) and published by his sister in 1901, Nietzsche seems to believe that in the western society, life is devoid of all meaning, purpose and value. His philosophy thus takes a nihilistic orientation. “Every belief, every consideration that something-true is necessarily false, because there is simply no true world” (Nietzsche 1901). For him, nihilism requires a radical repudiation of all imposed values and meaning. His frustration was that ‘Why’ finds no answer.’ Nietzsche believed that nihilism would expose all cherished beliefs and sacrosanct truths as symptoms of a defective western myth. This collapse of meaning, relevance, and purpose will be the most destructive force in history, constituting a total assault on reality and nothing less than the greatest crisis of humanity. He wrote in his Will to Power, “What I relate is the history of the next two centuries. I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism…For some time now our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe”.

However, more than a century after Nietzsche’s predictions, Christianity in Europe has not perished (i.e. Christianity in France is at 51%, Germany 59%, Italy 83%, Poland 90%), but the tendency of the West in that direction has persisted. Atheists, skeptics and those who have no religion account for 14% of the world population. According to a General Social Survey conducted in 2014, 21% of Americans have no religion, 3% are atheists and 5% agnostics. While nearly half the population of China have no religion, Islamic countries record over 98% believers in God.

Nietzsche and Christianity

Readers of Nietzsche are confused, as to whether he was a prophet engaged in face-lifting Christianity that built material and spiritual values in Europe or an agent of evil, engaged in destroying those time-tested Christian values, making it easier for another culture to takeover Europe . For sure, Nietzsche is not a prophet of Christianity for in his book, Antichrist (1887) he wrote, “In the entire New Testament, there is only one person worth respecting: Pilate the Roman governor.”… “Jesus died too soon. If he had lived to my age, he would have repudiated his doctrine.”… “How could God permit the crucifixion of Jesus? The deranged reason of the little community found quite a frightfully absurd answer: God gave his son for forgiveness, as a sacrifice”. Nietzsche does not realize that Pilate, the Roman governor was a backboneless weak man (i.e. not an übermensch), who made a mockery of Roman justice, demeaned Greek philosophical concept of ‘truth’ and literally washed off his hands of his duty and responsibility in passing judgment on Jesus (Matt. 27: 11-26, Jn. 18:29-40, 19:1-16). Yet, for Nietzsche, Pilate was the greatest personality in the New Testament!

Unlike in his earlier books, Nietzsche seems to have become very impulsive in his later book, The Antichirist (1878). He went on to insult Christianity thus, “Christianity remains to this day the greatest misfortune of humanity…it is a religion of pity. It has a depressing effect…The pathetic thing that grows out of this condition is called faith. In other words, closing one’s eyes upon one’s self once for all, to avoid suffering the sight of incurable falsehood. People erect a concept of morality, of virtue, of holiness upon this false view of all things. They ground good conscience upon faulty vision…Virtue must be our invention. It must spring out of our personal need and defense…Again I remind you of Paul’s priceless saying: ‘God has chosen the weak things of the world, the foolish things of the world, the base things of the world and things which are despised’. The poisonous doctrine of “equal rights for all” has been propagated as a Christian principle. To allow “immortality” to every Peter and Paul has the greatest and most vicious outrage upon noble humanity ever perpetrated. The gospels are invaluable as evidence of the corruption that was already persistent within the primitive community…This was the formula; in hoc signo the decadence triumphed. God on the cross, is man always to miss the frightful inner significance of this symbol? Everything that suffers, everything that hangs on the cross, is divine… Christianity triumphed. A nobler attitude of mind was destroyed by it. … Even a man who makes the most modest pretensions to integrity must know that a theologian, a priest, a pope of today not only errs when he speaks, but actually lies, and that he no longer escapes blame for his lie through “innocence” or “ignorance”. The priest knows, as every one knows, that there is no longer any “God”. This is the belief of Nietzsche on Jesus, Christians and the Church.

On Jesus, he says thus in The Antichrist (Nietzsche, 1878), “This saintly anarchist, who aroused the people of the abyss, the outcasts and ‘sinners’ the Chandala of Judaism, to rise in revolt against the established order of things and in language, which if the Gospels are to be credited, would get him sent to Siberia today. This man was certainly a political criminal. This is what brought him to the cross. He died for his own sins. There is not the slightest ground for believing, no matter how often it is asserted, that he died for the sins of others”. As demonstrated by the style, content and falsity of above generalizations, it is clear that Nietzsche was in a highly disturbed state of mind, when he wrote The Antichrist. The philosophical concepts elucidated in Antichrist, about Christianity can be summarized into the following: pity, suffering, cross, equal rights, morality, virtues, redemption and faith. They are briefly discussed below.

Pity – Christianity is not a religion of pity that seeks sympathy from others or God, as Nietzsche perceived. It is not a religion, begging for pity. Such beggars are abundant in South Asia, where pity is adopted into religion as a fateful condition of karma-sankhara-rebirth, and often chanted by beggars in their appeal for alms. Christianity is a positive religion that looks at the entire creation as good, and made for our responsible use (Gen 1:27-31). From the donor’s perspective, having pity on the needy is a good in itself, as it stretches self out of one’s selfish boundary to the neighbor and to the humanity at large. Jesus had compassion (or pity) for the people looking for a leader (Matt 9:36), for Jerusalem that would be destroyed (Matt 23:31, Lk 19:41-42), for the widow who had lost her only son (Lk 7:13), for the blind (Matt 20:24) and lepers (Matt 8:3, Lk 17:11-19) who were cured by him. Compassion, pity or consideration for others would naturally lead one to altruism.

Suffering and Cross – Our suffering takes different forms as physical, psychological, social and spiritual. Some forms of suffering bring joy after we undergo pain (e.g. dental operation). Others are irreversible and appear to be unfair (e.g. cancer, tsunami). We have no complete answer for suffering, except that it is part of nature’s random process. Some thinkers repeat the theodicy of Epicurus, questioning why an omnipotent or a benevolent God should allow suffering to happen. Are they errors in the nature that God created? If we eliminate God from the equation, should we not consider nature that we cherish so much, as brutal, inhumane and violent on some occasions? What is obvious is that suffering makes some people to reject God altogether, and for others it is an occasion to come closer to him, while finding practical solutions to their current suffering. In all religions self-inflicting suffering (e.g. fasting, penance, whipping, hanging by hooks) is part of moral discipline, from which a type of spiritual happiness is derived. Asad (1993) was the first anthropologist to recognize the importance of physical discipline in medieval ascetic practices and their role in the formation of the Christian historical identity. While Islam has retained Ramadan and salah practices to strengthen Islamic historical identity, Christianity has reduced the Lenten fast and abstinence and the three times a day prayer in Angelus, for some good reason.

Western psychology calls, drawing happiness from ascetic practices masochism, and inviting others to such practices, in order to continue the religious identity, sadism. Strangely, suffering as depicted by tragedy in fiction, and melancholy in music, enhance our aesthetic refinement, in spite of their depiction of suffering and sadness. We call it literary or music appreciation!

Christians see meaning in unavoidable suffering (Eccles. 7:14). They sublimate their suffering by reflecting on the suffering and death of Jesus, a model in suffering, and as a passage to glory through resurrection with him and in him; first as an immediate positive thought, then as a reality in faith (Heb. 12:2-7).

Morality and Virtues – Since Nietzsche’s proclamation that morality and virtues are creations of men based on false views, much work has been done on the ethnography of moralities and the anthropology of ethics, which go beyond Christianity and Europe. Individual’s virtues and social morals can be attributed to the inculcated routine behavior, social pressure, fear of punishment, rational evaluation, transformative endeavors, innate behavior or combination of all (Fassin, 2014). Of the three main moral philosophical theories, deontological, consequential and virtue ethics, Aristotle’s Virtue ethics seems to have made a noticeable come back in moral philosophy from an anthropological perspective. Accordingly, virtuous person is one who has ideal character straits, which are innate, and have been nurtured by practice. In diverse cultures, ethnic groups and religions, the basic ideas of virtue and morality seem to converge. In all of them, asceticism, prayers and religious disciplinary practices occur, for growing in virtues. Virtue does not depend on a specific morality, but on a particular form of engagement in practices, carried out freely, and because of their sensibility (Laidlaw 2014). These observations question the validity of Nietzsche’s assertion that morality and virtues, including Christian morality and virtues are built on false views.

Redemption – Nietzsche considered, Jesus to be a criminal who was crucified for his crime of inciting Jewish public to rebellion. But, Pilate the Roman governor who condemned Jesus to death did not find him to be a criminal deserving death (Jn 18:38, 19:4; Lk 23:4,14; Matt 27:23, Mk 15:14), though the chief priest, elders and scribes did, because Jesus questioned their dishonesty in observing the law (Matt 27:18, Mk 15:10).

Christian Redemption is a difficult concept to understand (i.e. mystery), although the basic concept of redemption occurs all the time in human nature as an anthropological phenomenon, within us and outside us in different forms (e.g. liberation, fulfillment, achievement, reward, saved, recognized etc.). It is a passage from a state of want, to acquiring it or the belief in acquiring. It is found in all religions in diverse forms. Christians believe that evil (sin) came to this world as a result of man’s short-sighted pride in challenging God, his omnipresence and his moral guidance. Ever since, our inclination to do wrong has not changed. We know that for our benefit and convenience how we tamper and distort the meaning and application of justice, truth, love, peace, etc. Jesus came to bear witness to these divine values through his life, and particularly through his passion and crucifixion. Jesus exercised parrhesia , in living and speaking out justice, truth, love, peace, mercy etc. even to the extent of giving up his own life. This is one way of considering redemption. However, traditional theology teaches that Jesus died to save us from original sin of Adam (i.e. the evil inclinations). Evolutionary biology has an alternative explanation on the origin of these ‘temptations’ from the perspective of ‘survival of the fittest’. However, Christians apply the redeeming power of suffering and death of Jesus to overcome the evil within. Reflection on the passion and death of Jesus liberates them from the inner drive to evil during moments of ‘temptations’. His redeeming power is given to all mankind, and we see today people of different faiths and orientations witnessing to truth, justice, love, peace etc. at great cost.


We don’t live by reason alone, but by reason and emotions, wired into our experience and personality. It was the experience of first Christians through the signs (i.e. miracles) and teachings of Jesus that made them to accept Jesus. The first Christian to die for his faith was St. Stephen in 34 AD (Acts 7:54-60) to be followed by an army of martyrs, all for faith and non-violently . St Paul’s conversion from a persecutor of Christians to the apostle of the gentiles was a great step in Christian Faith (Acts 9:1-22). Faith in Jesus was a key point in accepting Christianity, as it did not spread by the power of the sword or the influence of a palace or the power of higher castes. During the first few centuries, theologians articulated the common beliefs of early Christians in Jesus into a rational form for the unity and continuity of faith, though limited by language and the existing Greek philosophy. Faith is not a foreign concept to human beings as it occurs in day-to-day life, in the trust we place in law, books, people etc.

God – For Nietzsche, God is dead. But for sensible people, the design in living things (i.e. brain function, DNA mechanism, origin of feelings, physiology and biochemistry of the being etc.) and the order within an apparently chaotic universe (i.e. atoms to galaxies) is sufficient to convince them of the wisdom in creation, beyond statistical randomness and chance. Every organism is perfect in its own right, as the most primitive virus can knock off the most advanced human being in no time. If somebody has not experienced God then he/she had missed the most joyful part of his/her life.

Having killed Christian God, Nietzsche resurrected two Greek gods, Apollo and Dionysus (Bacchus) in his Birth of Tragedy (1872). Apollo is the god of reason to whom is attributed, self-consciousness, self-respect and individuality. Dionysus is the god of extravagance in sexual licentiousness, drunkenness and is presented as naked androgynous youth , driving people to lose self-consciousness and lose individuality. Nietzsche considered Dionysian ‘spirituality’ to be contributing to true ‘human nature and community spirit’.

In the Twilight of idols Nietzsche (1889) wrote, “Intoxication must have heightened the excitability of the entire machine: no art results before this happens. All kinds of intoxication, however different in their origin have the power to do this: above all the intoxication of sexual excitement, the oldest and most primitive form of intoxication. Likewise, the intoxication of feasting, of contest, of the brave deed, of victory, of all agitation; the intoxication of cruelty; intoxication in destruction; intoxication under certain meteorological influences, for example the intoxication of spring; or under the influence of narcotics; finally the intoxication of the will, the intoxication of an overloaded and distended will.”

Nietzsche’s observations are correct in recognizing our innate drives to achieve. There is a dynamic element in the human being and in the society to move forward with new ideas, better products and higher quality of life. This applies to beliefs and religion as well. In the biosphere the eternal wisdom has placed systems in place for the survival and reproduction of the species (e.g. appetite, sex drive). Without these natural desires the species would become intrinsically extinct. In the noösphere, man has been lifted above the animal in his management of these vital cravings. At this level of rational thinking mixed with emotions, man has created a new level of freedom, ideas, values, products, technology and culture. Nietzsche seems to deny the difference between Man as he is (i.e. wild, uncivilized – by emotions alone) and Man he ought to be (i.e. disciplined, civilized – by reason and emotions). In scholastic theology this issue was addressed in terms of sinful nature of man (i.e. wild man) and the redeemed man by his effort and God’s grace (i.e. disciplined man).

The innate drives can be realized under controlled-conditions effectively and for the good of the society, than getting intoxicated and delivering them with violence and destruction. Nietzsche found meaning in Dionysus than in Apollo, who appealed to reason and decency. Hence, he criticized the influence of Aristotle and Plato on reason and ethics, and their influence on western culture and Christian theology.

So, in Christian spirituality, the aspirations of Dionysus of Greek antiquity are not denied, but appropriately managed through the culture of Apollo. Christianity encourages and theology gives meaning to happy family life with children, sexual pleasure in marriage, as well as their sublimation by purity and chastity in consecrated religious life. Nietzsche’s conclusions that purity in Christianity is sexlessness, goodness is weakness, obedience is submission to people we hate and forgiveness is not being able to take revenge are incorrect formulations of Christianity by Nietzsche. His exegesis and hermeneutics of scripture are not quite correct. Apollo-Dionysus duality in Greek mythology is not foreign to anthropological expression in other cultures. Yin-Yang in Taoism, Brahma-Shiva in Hinduism, gods and demons in Buddhism and God-Devil in Christianity are expressions of inner human perceptions of man as he is and man he ought to be.

Religion in East and West

While many in the West have been weary of religion, people in the East are taking their religion very seriously . Although small in number, Christianity in Asia is no exception to this phenomenon, as its counterpart, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. In The Gay Science, Nietzsche (1882) wrote, “After Buddha was dead people still showed his shadow in a cave for centuries, a colossal, horrible shadow. God is dead, but given the way people are, there may still be caves for millennia in which his shadow is displayed. We must, defeat his shadow as well.” Given the fact that Asian people have an anthropological need for religion and God, it is difficult to erase and defeat that shadow from Asia. Unlike Nietzsche’s sad experience of power centered corrupt Medieval European Christian history, the history of Christianity in Asia begins with highly motivated and dedicated missionaries. At that time, Christians in Asia had no knowledge of the dark side of institutional Church of the Holy Roman Empire and Papal States. Besides, there was no need for reformation in Asia, as the Christians there were engaged in interiorizing religion than questioning beliefs, authority, power and finances of the institutional Church. The roots of the religious commitment of Asians can be traced back to the historical freedom in the practice of religion, traditions and family values linked to religion, socially binding capacity of religion, inclusion of daily needs in prayer, syncretism with other religions, refinement of religious practices in Christianity and the minority-diaspora psychology for survival (Pinto 2015).

One may argue that there is a positive correlation between religion and poverty in the East and West. But, Christianity in Singapore, one of the richest nations in Asia shows the opposite to be true. Christianity in Singapore has grown from 12.7% in 1990 to 18.8% in 2015. In contrast, in European Christian countries, atheism is relatively high (greater than 15%) in Czech Republic, Sweden, Netherlands, Spain, France and Germany, moderate (5-15%) in UK, Switzerland, Austria, Russia, Portugal, Ireland and Italy, and low (less than 5%) in Poland, Rumania, Bulgaria and Serbia . It is predicted that by 2050, the percentage of Europeans who say that they have no religion would be about 23%.

Since the western philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment set the stage that truth is only in what is perceivable here and now, its followers, including Nietzsche have taken the western world to materialism, atheism and immorality. Marxist philosophy eliminated God and religion from the society and enjoyed a ‘morality’ of suppression of individual freedom and rights for the sake of the State. The free West also found God and religion redundant, as technology, business, stockmarket and daily wealth accumulation were sufficient to bring meaning to life.

In the East religion and God are very much alive. Not only God, Trinitarian God is also alive as an anthropological conceptualization in Hindu Trimurthi, similar to Christian Trinity, where Brahma is the creator (cf. God the Father), Vishnu is the sustainer/redeemer (cf. Jesus) and Shiva is the destroyer/purifier (cf. Holy Spirit). Hindu philosophy in all its forms, lays emphasis on self-discipline, the aim being to gain self-consciousness and unity with Brahman (god). In Christian spirituality (Catholic) this concept is referred to as union with God. In modern spirituality it is known as Divine milieu (Chardin, 1959, 1960). Buddhists take refuge in Buddha, even to the extent of deifying him with reverence. In one of his sermons Buddha preached, “Oh monks, since there is an unborn, unoriginated, uncreated and unformed, there is an escape from the born, originated, created and formed” (Khuddaka Nikaya) . Buddha’s enlightenment was the realization that all worldly desires end in suffering, and the way out of suffering is to detach from cravings of this transitory world. Islam has taken the concept of God more seriously than any other religion in proclaiming his greatness (Allahu Akbar) five times a day, and even killing ‘infidels’ in the name of God.

In the East, where historically religion has been activated by social pressure and psychological needs, and not by rules and obligation, people have remained faithful to religion, in spite of global modernization. Rebirth in Hinduism and Buddhism, though not possible to verify, is a relief for many people from present suffering, injustices and poverty, and give a sense of comfort and hope. Divine intervention and internal tranquility are sought in the midst of many uncertainties, tribulations and catastrophes. Families give unprecedented importance to preserving life of the unborn and infants and caring for the old, in spite of their poverty. Family, is given the highest place in the lay society, for its unity, stability and continuity. In the East, LGBT is not glorified, as in the West, because the focus is on the family, the unit of the society. LGBT is not criminalized either, and allowed to have their way of life freely.

Statistics indicate that Asian families are more stable than western families. The percentage of divorced cases in India is about 5% compared to 44% in Europe and 46% in USA. Hindu weddings last for a few days to ensure unity and stability of the family and establish new relationships with the extended family. In Hinduism as in all religions, sexual pleasure in marriage is considered a good, and some advice is provided in Kama Sutra, but always with a spiritual foundation, respect, love, desire, pleasure and creativity. In the West, the emphasis in marriage is between two people, their individuality, pleasure and commitment to each other at the time of marriage.

Women in the West are more ‘liberated’ compared to the women in the East, who are more reserved. The flawed anthropological research conclusions of Margaret Mead (1928) on Samoan girls encouraged pre-marital-sex and women’s liberation movement in USA. Researches on animal behavior originating from the West often recognize the evolutionary advantage to the species in male and female unfaithfulness, multiples sexual partners, serial polygamy and other similar trends, and justify and rationalize their application to human behavior. These ideas drip down to the western society effectively through the liberal western media and movies. Scientists can be as bias as any other, if they don’t approach the subject under consideration with an open mind (Pauly, 1994) and could convey the wrong message, if their reductionist approach in research is applied to a global context, without holistically assessing the impacts of their implications. Probably it is this approach of the West, which has made it to abandon the spiritual aspects of morality and embraced a materialistic approach. Thus, modern western society has begun to reject the Pauline teaching of Christianity on the mystery of marriage, complimentary rights and responsibilities of husband and wife, the true nature of love (1 Cor.7: 1-40, Eph. 5:21-33, Heb. 13:4, 1 Cor.13: 4-8), and considered marriage solely as a sexual activity (Russell 1929).

Spengler (1918) predicted that western civilization is already in an advanced stage of decay with all forms of nihilism working to undermine epistemological authority and ontological grounding, and by 2000 it would be into its descent. MacIntyre (1981) gave the reason for the collapse of western morality to the way morality was formulated by the intellectuals of the Age of Enlightenment. The so-called Enlightenment abandoned important aspects of Aristotelian morality. (1) Teleology (i.e. the purpose and end of our existence), (2) Rules are based on virtues and are derived from the understanding of telos (3) Recognition of the difference between man as he happens to be (i.e. wild man), and the man as he ought to be (i.e. cultured man) and (4) Community nature of morality, compared to individual’s whims and fancies in deciding morality. MacIntyre (1981) agreed with Nietzsche that prevailing western values that are the result of Enlightenment need to be changed. But, unlike Nietzsche, MacIntyre suggested that we return to the pre-Enlightenment Aristotelian virtue morals, which is a difficult task. Major challenges to Christianity today are (1) How to extract meaningful and contemporary values and ethics from ancient scripture and dogma to be at par with contemporary secular knowledge, (2) To replace the old dogmatic authority in institutions and persons with epistemic authority (Zagzebski 2012) – the pastoral charisma, as the teachings of Jesus penetrate human nature and foundation of ethics ,

(3) How to bind together Christians who are liberal-minded, exploring and questioning, with those who faithfully follow the teachings of the Church, for unity and continuity of the Church. In the mean time, the loss of Christian identity, rejection of God, morals, sacredness of marriage, family and reverence for life in the West, economic progress of Asia, including China and India, China’s consistent inclusive foreign policy against exclusive inconsistent übermensch foreign policy of USA, abundant oil resources in the Middle East, high birth rate of Muslims, their commitment to religion, passion to spread it by any means, and their mass exodus to Europe, set ideal conditions for the acceleration of the decay of western society that Spengler (1918) predicted, to be completed in the coming few centuries.


• Posthumously Nietzsche’s philosophy has become popular, and has the potential to influence future generations, as it is taught in leading Universities, all over the world.

• Nietzsche made a positive contribution to philosophy, literature and religious values of his time by critically examining them. He made theologians, philosophers, artists and social scientists to rethink the fundamentals of their disciplines.

• While his observations are correct, his solutions are not the best, as demonstrated by the style, ambiguity, bias and the reflection of his mental condition in books, particular towards the end of his writing carriers. Confusion, arrogance and condescension are characteristic of his writings. There are very strong atheistic, anti-Christian, anti-Christ, anti-moral, anti-religious and anti-Church sentiments expressed in his writings. But, often they are presented by stealth, so that the reader is made to believe that he is a prophet, rebuilding Christianity in Europe.

• Nietzsche’s theories on nihilism, pessimism, sklavenmoral, übermensch and Death of God have a debilitating effect on the society, particularly on modern youth. In spite of his assertion to be more emotional and shun individuality, his philosophy has the potential to make people individualistic, selfish and isolated. These trends lead to despair, anxiety, depression, drugs and suicide. More serious is the fact that Nietzscheism is contributing to the decay of western culture by dissociating the elements that bind nations, including religion, God and common social morals.

• Nietzsche’s replacement of Apollonian morality by Dionysian morality was an inadequate deductive conclusion, as it was made before the major discoveries in physiology and psychology, relating to those aspects in human behavior and morality. During the time of Nietzsche, hormones that trigger our innate drives and the brain functioning in creating thoughts and contributing to our will were not known. Dionysian drives are mostly hormone driven for the ‘survival of the species,’ and common to all vertebrates. Apollonian tendencies, modify, manage and even sublimate our innate drives for the growth of culture and the good of the human society. They occur with much complexity and intensity only in Homo sapiens. As diverse civilizations attempted to establish their own code of ethics and morals, Christian morals (i.e. Decalogue, historical moral teachings) played an important role in civilizing the West and enhancing global culture. Hence the importance of Apollonian morals over Dionysian tendencies, which contradicts Nietzsche’s hypothesis on good and bad.

• Nietzsche’s übermensch idea seems to have its roots in the Indian Mânava dharma çâstra that justified caste system and social Darwinism that justified ‘survival of the fittest’ in humans and Nazi ideology that glorified the superiority of German-Aryan race and the elimination of other races as inferior .

• Nietzsche’s rejection of Christian morals as sklavenmoral has an issue at its foundation and in the practice of morals. At its foundation, because morals have a strong social dimension (cf. 4th to 10th commandments), and cannot be regarded as slave herdism, much less call it sklavenmoral pejoratively. Nietzsche’s alternative proposal for morality is consequential ethics, based on individual’s whims and fancies, rejecting deontological ethics that recognizes standards in universal laws and their maker – God. In recent years Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics, which recognizes man as he is (i.e. wild man) and man as he ought to be (i.e. civilized man), and the need to transform the former to latter by virtue and moral discipline, is gaining grounds in moral philosophy. On the practical side, Nietzsche’s morality has a negative impact on the society as it encourages abortion (i.e. loss of reverence for life), euthanasia (i.e. loss of reverence for death), divorce and same sex marriage (i.e. undermine family values), eugenics (i.e. reducing human being to a vegetable) etc. leading to mental disorders and drug usage . Nevertheless, in the western society Nietzscheism is as popular as Meadism. In spite of flaws in their theories, their teachings gained grounds, because of the opportunities they gave to break moral restrictions, indulge in moral indiscipline and use their ‘freedom’ without any social responsibility – the Dionysian way.

• Nietzsche’s language and style of writing about Jesus, scripture and the Church demonstrate the emotional and mental condition of Nietzsche, when dealing with these topics. His writings on these subjects are unphilosophical, disrespectful and appalling. Nietzsche does not demonstrate any understanding of exegesis or hermeneutics in his treatment of scripture.

• While the West has rejected God, morality and spirituality, East has recognized the value of spirituality, belief in God, respect for gurus, reverence for life and sacredness of family values. Christianity in the East is stronger than in the West, because the missionaries who brought Christianity to the East were committed priests and the Christians in the East have not heard about the evils of western Medieval Christian Church. People in the East have a deep sense of spirituality (i.e. values beyond material prosperity), which syncretizes with other religions.

• Beyond the discipline of traditional philosophy driven by reason alone, is the emerging discipline of anthropology, driven by reason and emotions, which reflects the true nature of human being. There have been significant advances in anthropology, since the days when Darwinism and Nietzscheism were popular. Marxism and communism attempted to eliminate God from the society. But, God and religion returned to former Marxist communist European States, as they are resilient concepts and are important to healthy human existence. The rejection of religion, God and morals in the West, economic progress of China, India and other Asian countries, abundant oil resources in the Middle East, high birth rate of Muslims, their commitment to religion, the passion to spread it and their exodus to Europe in large numbers set the stage for further weakening of western power and influence.


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1 Author – Leonard Pinto, BSc, MPhil, PhD
2 80-90% Americans believe in God
3 Study of literary texts, oral and written history and interpretation of their original meaning.
4 His father, Rev. Carl Ludwig Nietzsche died in 1849, when Friedrich was 5 years. His mother who brought him up was disappointed with her son’s attitude towards Christianity.
5 This gives the meaning that one can kill another or take another’s wife, and justify and spiritualize it as a good act.
6 Assuming that most parts of the Bible were written during the Babylonian captivity in the 6th century BC.
7 Japan and Italy were in the power axis with Germany during World War II.
8 Nazis used Nietzsche’s ideas for justifying Aryan superiority and in the extermination of Jews. After Hitler came to power in 1933, Nietzsche Archive received financial and public support from his government. Elisabeth and her husband were strong Nazi supporters, anti-Semites and established the Pure Aryan Settlement (Nueva Germania) in Paraguay. When she died, Hitler and Nazi senior officers were at her funeral.
9 Exegesis involves context and content in the original scripture text. Context – occasion, purpose, literature and history, when it was written. Content – meaning of words, grammatical relationships in sentences, when it was written.
10 Hermeneutics is the interpretation and application of scripture text to present day situations. If exegesis does not precede hermeneutics, the interpretation of scripture could be disastrous.
11 World leaders – Hitler, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Bin Laden, Trump, and the modern Hollywood media celebrities.
12 That is left to the moralists
13 Australian Department of Education introduced to school this program for boys who feel like girls and girls who feel like boys to use opposite toilets according to their feelings. The program was an endorsement of same sex marriage.
14 This does not mean suppression of LGBT rights. But, family should be given its proper place in the society, as it has a biological, historical, anthropological, social and religious foundation.
15 It is estimated that over 20 million perished under Joseph Stalin’s USSR and over 45 million under Mao Zedong’s Red China.
16 Although some archaeologists believe that Aboriginal history goes back to 80,000 years, carbon dating of tool fragments found in Cranebrook Terrace gravel sediments near Penrith in Sydney West indicate that they are 45,000 to 50,000 years before present.
17 Compare with St. Anselm’s ontological argument on the existence of God.
18 Fr. George Lemaître’s, the originator of the Big Bang theory. He called it the expanding universe theory, later to be nicknamed ‘Big Bang’ by Fred Hoyle.
19 Fr. Gregor Mendel, known as the Father of Genetics, introduced Mendel’s laws on genetics, opening the door to modern research on DNA.
20 Hailing from Hindu tradition in Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. Gitanjali made a significant contribution to this award.
21 As the Fourth Crusade (1202-1204) led to the subjugation of Eastern Greek Christianity by Western Roman Christianity, and subsequent European invasions and plague weakened Constantinople’s defense to such an extent, it fell to the Islamic
armies of young Sultan Mehmed II in 1453. Constantinople became Istanbul and opened the way for Islamic Ottoman Empire to rule even parts of Europe. Christianity disappeared from former Constantinople and present Turkey became an Islamic State (96.4% Muslims).
22 Chandala means untouchable low caste in India. Compare Nietzsche’s letter to Köselitz on 31 May 1888, justifying superiority of some groups of human beings over others under Nietzschean morals in this paper.
23 Muslim fast of Ramadan lasts for 29-30 days.
24 Prayer, five times daily and Fridays in the noon.
25 From 40 days to 2 days in Catholic Church and none in other Churches.
26 Jesus preached the intent of the law than the letter of the law.
27 Parrhesia is a Greek word, meaning ‘free speech’. The person who thus speaks is not only convinced of the truth, but is truth itself.
28 They are different from Islamic martyrs, who kill others, including women and children in the name of God.
29 St. Paul wrote the first book (I Thessalonians) in the New Testament in 51 AD, even before the first Gospel, and thereafter wrote 13 epistles to Christians in Greece, enriching the Christian doctrine. He even boldly addressed Epicureans and stoics in Athens on God and Jesus, after which Dionysus, Damaris and others followed him (Acts 17:16-34).
30 Conceptual resemblance with LGBT and rise of same sex marriage as an offshoot of Nietzscheism.
31 God = when two o’s in good overlap. God is the personification of good. Devil = The Evil. Devil is the personification of evil.
32 While those grand cathedrals in Europe have become tourist attractions, in Asia, mosques, temples and even churches are packed with people gathered for prayer and worship.
33 Win-Gallup International Poll 2012-2014
Buddhist philosophers interpret this as reference to Nirvana. However, this description engulfs the attributes of God.
35 Margaret Mead’s flawed research in 1920s and her conclusion that Samoan girls had pre-marital sex and were liberated and happy was popularized by American media, and the western society was quick to adopt the concept as Women’s Liberation Movement. However, New Zealand’s Derek Freeman’s research in 1980s found that Mead’s conclusions were based on promiscuous Samoan city girls, totally different from the true Samoan village girls (Freeman, 1983). Derek was a Professor of Anthropology at the Australian National University (ANU).
36 The ethics of Jesus go beyond actions to intent of actions; from law to intent of the law. In some aspects Ludwig Wittgenstein’s ethics has similarities with Jesus ethics.
37 Demonstrated over and above by Trumpism
38 Supporters of this theory were Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) and Graham Sumner (1840-1903). It justified exploitation of poor nations, colonialism and capitalism.
39 Ernest Haeckel (1834-1919) promoted this idea in biology. Alfred Baeumler (1887-1968) used Nietzscheism to legitimise Nazism. Some eminent people who contributed to Nazi ideology include, Alfred Rosenberg (1893-1946), Alfred Ploetz (1860-1940) and Karl Günther (1891-1968).
40 In Australia mental disorders occur in 20% of the population.
41 In Australia approximately 15% of the population use illicit drugs.
42 After Margaret Mead
43 Nietzsche’s philosophy can be best summarized by the Sinhala idiom; ‘providing ladders to jumping monkeys’ (Panina rilaunta inimang thiyanawa).

Document Type : Article
Document ID : AHRC-ART-009-2018
Countries : World,
Issues : Administration of justice, Democracy,