Chris Huff's Reviews > The Anti-Christ

The Anti-Christ by Friedrich Nietzsche
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did not like it

I'd give it zero stars if I could.

In the preface alone, it's clear that Ni­et­zsche suffered from delusions of grandeur. In his opinion, to understand him takes one who has "in­tel­lec­tual in­tegrity to the verge of hard­ness." I don't doubt that it takes a hard heart toward God to accept his arguments, but to say that only the most intellectual of people will even understand him is pretty much the height of egotism.

I will quote many things written in this work, not because they are with repeating, but in order to respond to them.

"The for­mula of our hap­pi­ness: a Yea, a Nay, a straight line, a goal..."

There is no goal in atheism. Everything is arbitrary. Meaningless. If he is saying that we must invent a goal to be happy, fine, but why should we be happy? Why is that a good to be pursued?

The author must have had these same questions in mind, as the very next section addresses them.

"What is good?—What­ever aug­ments the feel­ing of power, the will to power, power itself, in man."

But why is this "good"? Why should I accept Neitzsche's idea of what is good? He does this all the time. He makes an ascertain, and declares his ascertain to be right and obvious, without any reason to accept it except for his own claim that's it's true. I'll use this as a prime example of what I call Neitzsche's favorite anti-intellectual tendency: "makin' stuff up."

"The weak and the botched shall perish: first prin­ci­ple of our char­ity. And one should help them to it."

The opposite declaration would be something like, "With great power comes great responsibility." To suggest that we allow the weak to perish, and to even help them to do so, is not a statement that comes from power, but weakness. By his own logic, we should help him to perish. Instead, we pray that he would not perish, but believe, and have ever-lasting life.

"what type of man must be bred, must be willed, as being the most valu­able, the most worthy of life"

There he goes again: makin' stuff up. In actuality, no one is worthy of life, and certainly no one is more worthy of life than another. Therefore, we must love, accept, and give grace to everyone.

"I call an animal, a species, an in­di­vid­ual cor­rupt, when it loses its in­stincts, when it chooses, when it prefers, what is in­ju­ri­ous to it."

Except, it should be obvious that for everyone to follow their instincts would lead to many people hurting others. But perhaps he doesn't see a problem with this, since there is no morality according to him...

"Chris­tian­ity is called the re­li­gion of pity."

Nietzsche went on to state that pity destroys life because it prevents one from truly living and excelling. But pity, or compassion, gives life to the recipients, and not showing it robs the one who is in the position to show it the joy of lifting one up. Nietzsche disagrees that pity is a virtue. But biblical compassion is not only a virtue, but is how any of us live at all, because God is love, and loves us, even though none of us deserve it.

"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."

Faith is not the closing of the eyes, but the opening of them. It is accepting that there is more truth in the world than we can discover left to our own devices. It is accepting that God knows more than we do.

Nietzsche makes many assertions, but does not back then up with logic or any authority other than his own, which he likes to pretend is greater than any other. In essence, he declares, "Reject the God of the Bible, and have me as your god instead." Only those who want themselves to be gods will fall for this trick.

"The most valu­able in­tu­itions are the last to be at­tained; the most valu­able of all are those which de­ter­mine methods."

It's compete nonsense to say that the most recent intuitions are those which are most valuable. The timing of an idea is irrelevant to its truthfulness. By Nietzsche's own logic, I can say that my intuition is that all of his conclusions are wrong, and I must be correct in saying this, because my intuition came after his.

"The truth is that there is no other al­ter­na­tive for gods: either they are the will to power—in which case they are na­tional gods—or in­ca­pac­ity for power—in which case they have to be good...."

But God is both all-powerful and all-good. Both are demonstrated on the cross, and both are demonstrated in the end, when death is swallowed up in life.

"Christian is all hatred of the senses, of joy in the senses, of joy in gen­eral..."

Not at all true. Neitzsche seems to mostly be against legalistic moralism, which I am also certainly against.

"Chris­tian­ity ap­pears before civ­i­liza­tion has so much as begun—under cer­tain cir­cum­stances it lays the very foun­da­tions thereof."

Neitzsche here betrays himself. I agree with him, but not in the way that he intended. Christianity is unquestionably the foundation of civilization. No doubt, Neitzsche meant that we must then move on from the uncivilized nature of Christianity into the civilized nature of sophisticated society. I, on the other hand, maintain that a civilized society can only be based on the truth of Christianity.

Neitzsche writes as if he admires the ingenuousness of Christianity, but despises it at the same time.

He responds to a certain form of Christianity. Many of his criticisms are valid. But characterizing all of Christianity by its historical errors is intellectually unfair. Neitzsche misunderstands, or intentionally leaves out the heart of Christianity: that God loves and forgives sinners. We cannot be saved through good works, or through a priest, as Nietzsche mischarges Christianity of teaching.

"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."

But Nietzsche does not believe anything is a sin, so this accusation is completely absurd by his own belief system.

"I con­fess, to begin with, that there are very few books which offer me harder read­ing than the Gospels."

It's ironic that he dismisses and condemns so vehemently that which he does not understand. I'm surprised that he admits they are difficult for him to understand.

In chapter 33, Neitzsche gets so much right about Christianity. Truly, there is nothing we can do to earn salvation; it is simply the reality that is proclaimed to us. And, truly, the result of receiving this good news is that we begin to walk in a new way of life. But Neitzsche errs when he elevates this way of life (in the Christian's mind?) to being Divinity itself. By doing so, he walked back everything he got right in the first part of the chapter.

He therefore goes on in chapter 34 to have the audacity of attempting to redefine how the Bible (which he rejects) ought to be interpreted. He rejects that Jesus came to be the Savior, contradicting Jesus's own words that He came to seek and save the lost.

"Later on the church even fal­si­fied the his­tory of man in order to make it a pro­logue to Chris­tian­ity."

"Later" cannot possibly mean within 20 years of Jesus's death and resurrection. Otherwise, the supposed eye witnesses would have come forward to set the record straight. But nothing of the sort happened. So the most straight forward explanation of the New Treatment writings is that what they say is historically accurate.

"I have searched the New Tes­ta­ment in vain for a single sym­pa­thetic touch; noth­ing is there that is free, kindly, open-hearted or up­right."

Really? Nothing? How about "love one another"? How about "love your enemies"? To say that nothing in the New Testament displays a sympathetic touch shows just how biased Neitzsche is against Christianity.

"The old God, wholly “spirit,” wholly the high-priest, wholly per­fect, is prom­e­nad­ing his garden: he is bored and trying to kill time."

Nowhere in all of the Bible does it say that God did anything because He was bored.

"Hap­pi­ness, leisure, foster thought—and all thoughts are bad thoughts!—Man must not think."

There he goes again: makin' stuff up. Where does he come up with this stuff?!? The Bible is full of encouragement to think. "Come, let us reason together..."

"Chris­tian­ity also stands in op­po­si­tion to all intellectual well-being."

Once again, makin' stuff up.

"What I here mean by philol­ogy is, in a gen­eral sense, the art of read­ing with profit—the ca­pac­ity for ab­sorb­ing facts without in­ter­pret­ing them falsely, and without losing cau­tion, pa­tience and sub­tlety in the effort to un­der­stand them."

THIS is exactly what Neitzsche himself fails to do. He heaps onto Christianity everything he hates, without seeking to understand Christianity rightly.

"How­ever small our piety, if we ever en­coun­tered a god who always cured us of a cold in the head at just the right time, or got us into our car­riage at the very in­stant heavy rain began to fall, he would seem so absurd a god that he’d have to be abol­ished even if he ex­isted. God as a do­mes­tic ser­vant, as a letter car­rier, as an al­manac-man—at bottom, he is a mere name for the stu­pid­est sort of chance...."

I agree. Such a god would not be worthy of serving, because it would only seem to exist to serve us. This is not the God of the Bible.

Reflecting on this work, I've got to say that I actually agree with many of his criticisms of a certain form of what's often labelled as Christianity. Like Neitzsche, I'm sickened by the hypocritical, power-hungry, naive faith that tells people to turn off their brains and just accept everything the leader might say. On the contrary, we're to test everything and hold onto the good. Unfortunately, it seems that Neitzsche does not fairly test everything, or else he may have found that God truly is good.
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February 24, 2019 – Shelved
February 24, 2019 – Finished Reading

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message 1: by Michael (new)

Michael O'Brien Outstanding review!

Chris Huff Thanks, Michael.

Chris Huff Thanks, Michael.

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