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"God is dead" - The Gay Science

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Introduction

"God is Dead" - Friedrich Nietzsche, 1886 - Discuss. In his book, The Gay Science, Nietzsche's madman ran in daylight with a lantern, through a town exclaiming, 'God is dead!' By declaring this, Nietzsche did not mean that God is literally, physically dead as the quote suggests. It actually provokes thousands of interpretations but to use the correct one, we must first investigate the philosopher's style of writing. Nietzsche wrote a series of books, in which different scenarios were conveying the same message repetitively: that God is dead. His style of writing was unique for his era in that he wrote using puns, which made his statements highly ambiguous and misleading. In addition, Nietzsche was having a mental breakdown which left him uncommunicative, so people really thought that his style showed a lot of disparity. The madman's concerns were that the concepts of religion and God were fast dying in the intellectual circles of Europe during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. ...read more.

Middle

has such high a status and authority, as well as undivided attention from His worshippers. Polytheism makes this difficult because, eventually, each God tends to carry out the same role as a human being - resolving issues and concerns like, almost, another human friend. The Gods then seem narrowly educated (as they only have a particular field of study) and become less divine and worthy of having the title of 'God'. Not only should we discuss the number of Gods in various belief systems, but it is also essential to focus on what God means to different sectors of society. The Oxford English Dictionary defines 'God' as 'a superhuman being'. Even to the present day, the traditional and perhaps more experienced, religious generation readily accept this basic definition, and all arguments that challenge it are simply rejected. Thus, even today, Nietzsche's madman would be too early in forwarding his message. It seems that older generations of society are firm in their beliefs about God, whereas the younger population tend to accept change. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is to no surprise that the influence of Friedrich Nietzsche's most commonly misunderstood statements went a long way. Within philosophy itself, Nietzsche gave inspiration to a number of thinkers, such as existentialists and theologians. According to Kazantzakis, a Greek writer, God is the result of whatever the most energetic and heroic people value and create. This is, of course, similar to Nietzsche's ideas about the sources of religion, and the birth of God. Therefore, one can conclude that surely if humans can give birth to a personally satisfying God, they can continue adapting on their original creation and choose whether or not to 'kill' Him. In my view, the majority of society seems to be stretching the concept of God, and will continue to reconceptualise Him, provided there always remains one. After all, it is easier to embrace the idea that God exists (as opposed to God being alive since this would suggest Him to be human) rather than accepting atheism. God is, in simple terms, being constantly saved. Parveen Nawab September 2005 Government & Politics ...read more.

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