Tuesday, 12 February 2013

My Readings Jan -Feb 2013

Books that I'm reading for a research project on "Failures of Christendom viewed through the Lens of Kierkegaardian and Nietzschean Critiques"

Soren Kierkegaard is a devout man who lived in Denmark from 1813-1855.

His Attack upon “Christendom was a call to the Danish church to restore itself to New Testament Christianity. It also contained astute psychological insights about faith.

  • The Failures
“No, official Christianity is not the Christianity of the New Testament. Anybody can see
that merely by casting a fleeting but impartial glance at the Gospels, and then looking at
what we call ‘Christianity’” (Attack, 41).

  • Church's Delusion
“When Christianity came into the world the task was simply to proclaim Christianity. . . .
“In ‘Christendom’ the situation is a different one. What we have before us is not
Christianity but a prodigious illusion, and the people are not pagans but live in the blissful conceit
that they are Christians. So if in this situation Christianity is to be introduced,
first of all the illusion must be disposed of” (Attack, 97).

  • Treating God as a Fool
You will soon realize that this whole official Christianity business is a morass of falsehood and illusion.
It is something so unregenerate that the only thing that can truly be said about it is that
by refusing to take part in the public worship of God as it now is, you have one sin the less,
and that a great one: you do not take part in treating God as a fool.

Friedrich Nietzsche 1844-1900, a German most unlike Kierkegaard, also condemned Christianity's pale and domesticated tolerance and its weak will.  He observed:

"Today we see nothing that wants to expand, we suspect that things will just continue to decline, getting thinner, better-natured, cleverer, more comfortable, more mediocre, more indifferent, ...more Christian."

In his book, The AntiChrist, 1895., he criticized the rise of sanctified self-deception, which turned weakness into virtues "'and impotence which doesn't retaliate is being turned into "goodness"; timid baseness is being turned into "humility"; submission to people one hates is being turned into "obedience" (actually towards someone who, they say, orders this submission - they call him God)."

  •  Christianity's Impotency
This is the sort of modernity that made us ill,— we sickened on lazy peace, cowardly compromise, the whole virtuous dirtiness of the modern Yea and Nay.

  • Lost Contact with Reality
Under Christianity neither morality nor religion has any point of contact with actuality. It offers purely imaginary causes (“God” “soul,” “ego,” “spirit,” “free will”— or even “unfree”), and purely imaginary effects (“sin” “salvation” “grace,” “punishment,” “forgiveness of sins”).

  •  Rejecting Life and Body
...The priestly class.... Men of this sort have a vital interest in making mankind sick, and in confusing
the values of “good” and “bad,” “true” and “false” in a manner that is not only dangerous to life,
but also slanders it.

Morality is no longer a reflection of the conditions which make for the sound life and development of the people;
it is no longer the primary life-instinct; instead it has become abstract and in opposition to life....

The priest, a parasitical variety of man who can exist only at the cost of every sound view of life, takes the name of God in vain: he calls that state of human society in which he himself determines the value of all things “the kingdom of God”; he calls the means whereby that state of affairs is attained “the will of God”;
with cold-blooded cynicism he estimates all peoples, all ages and all individuals by the extent of their subservience or opposition to the power of the priestly order.