Misunderstandings of the death of GodWhen first being introduced to Nietzsche, a person can infer the “death of God” as literal. To Nietzsche, the concept of God only exists in the minds of his followers; therefore, the believers would ultimately be accountable for his life and death. Holub goes on to state that “God has been the victim of murder, and we, as human beings, are the murderers” (36).
Another purpose of Nietzsche’s death of God is to “unmask the hypocrisies and illusion of outworn value systems” (Pfeffer 18). People do not fully comprehend that they killed God through their hypocrisy and lack of morality. Due to hypocrisy “God has lost whatever function he once had because of the actions taken by those who believe in him” (Welshon 40). A god is merely a mirrored reflection of its people and the “Christian God is so ridiculous a God that even were he to have existed, he would have no right to exist” (Welshon 39). Religious people start going against their beliefs and start coinciding with the beliefs of mainstream society. “[Moral thinking] is debased and poisoned by the influence of society’s weakest and most ignoble elements, the herd” (Welshon 16).
Humanity depreciates traditional ethics and beliefs and this leads to another misunderstanding of the death of God. During the era of Nietzsche, traditional beliefs within Christianity became almost nonexistent due to the vast expansion of education and the rise of modern science. “Belief in God is no longer possible due to such nineteenth-century factors as the dominance of the historical-critical method of reading Scripture, the rise of incredulity toward anything miraculous ... and the idea that God is the creation of wish projection (Benson 31). Nietzsche believed that man was useless without a God and “no longer possesses ideals and absolute goals toward which to strive. He has lost all direction and purpose” (Pfeffer 76). Nietzsche believes that in order to overcome our current state of depreciated values that a “strong classic pessimism” like that of the Greeks is “needed to overcome the dilemmas and anxieties of modern man” (Pfeffer 65).
“Either we died because of our religion or our religion dies because of us” (Pfeffer 73). This quote summarizes what Nietzsche was trying to say in his concept of the death of God- that the God of Christianity has died off because of its people and their beliefs. Far too often do people translate the death of God into a literal sense, do not take responsibility for the death of God, and depreciate the value of traditional Christian beliefs - all leading to the misunderstandings of Nietzsche’s philosophy of God’s death. Now in a world where God is dead we can only hope that technology and science does not take control and “be treated as the new religion, serving as a basis for retaining the same damaging psychological habit that the Christian religion developed” (Magnus 36).