The Will to Power

Book Two: A Criticism of the Highest Values That Have Prevailed Hitherto
I: Criticism of Morality

§255   All virtues should be looked upon as physiological conditions: the principal organic functions, more particularly, should be considered necessary and good. All virtues are really refined passions and elevated physiological conditions.

Pity and philanthropy may be regarded as the developments of sexual relations, justice as the development of the passion for revenge, virtue as the love of resistance, the will to power, honour as an acknowledgment of an equal, or of an equally powerful, force.

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Jeb Bush: Unacceptable to the loonies

We all knew this would happen, right?

Fearing that Republicans will ultimately nominate an establishment presidential candidate like Jeb Bush, leaders of the nation’s Christian right have mounted an ambitious effort to coalesce their support behind a single social-conservative contender months before the first primary votes are cast.

In secret straw polls and exclusive meetings from Iowa to California, the leaders are weighing the relative appeal and liabilities of potential standard-bearers like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and the former governors Rick Perry, of Texas, and Mike Huckabee, of Arkansas.

It was during the Terri Schiavo grotesquerie that I realized how sick the Republicans had actually become, and Jeb Bush played no small part in that. I like his support for immigration reform, however, and his support for Common Core, so I wouldn’t say the Schiavo fiasco rules him off the table.

But … Cruz? Jindal? Perry? Huckabee? Could they possibly be serious?

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Dismal theology quote for the day

We can be Americans best if we are not Americans first.

Russell Moore

This is a reprise, of course, of the Southern Baptist teaching about marriage: Your Invisible Friend must always come first. Have I mentioned lately that the Southern Baptists are growing more cultish by the day?

Moral reasoning entered the world as reflection about the behaviors necessary for the tribe to flourish, in the days when people actually did live in tribes. But, now, we belong to many tribes — the immediate family comprised of spouse and children, the company tribe, the national tribe — and on close inspection, most ethical conflicts have their roots in the question, Which tribe’s interests has first claim in this situation? The Southern Baptist answer — We, the people of the Invisible Wizard! Always! — is predictable, but childish. Life is more complicated than that.

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The end of the mystique, ctd

Southern Baptist Conventioneers attempt to come to grips with the fact of decline.

Southern Baptists are reaching less lost people and having less babies. This means fewer and fewer people are growing up in the SBC system. With fewer people in the system, fewer people feel a natural loyalty to the SBC. This means SBC institutions like state conventions will need to do a better job casting a compelling vision if they want to attract and keep pastors on board. Loyalty to the SBC is rare.

But they are, of course, doomed; the Christian narrative is incontestably false, and reality always has the last word.

Christianity entered the world as a sect within Judaism and, when the sect was kicked-out following the failure of the Jewish Rebellion, survived that trauma by recourse to the techniques of the cult, by demanding unconditional loyalty to the group — and that, unhappily, is when the canonical gospels were written. The cultish outlook is embedded deeply in Christianity, and that is what they are returning to as the decline quickens.

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The annals of delusion, II

Though the sane and educated world is aghast at the thought of Ted Cruz occupying the White House, and repelled by the blatant pandering of his choice of Liberty University as the venue for making his campaign announcement, A.J. Castellitto thinks things are looking up.

An open letter exposing Ted Cruz

[ … ]

I had come to fully understand the harsh realities of our day and how the current administration is finishing the work that had begun decades ago. We no longer will resemble the free society we once were. Our children will struggle, they will be monitored, and their care and possibly even their food will be rationed. They will work for the government, be supported by the government, and be indebted to the government; and they will not have the freedom to speak out against the government – no matter how repressive it becomes.

I’d come to accept it. There sure isn’t much I can do about it. I just know it wasn’t suppose to be this way. This is not what our forefathers envisioned. In fact, this is exactly what many of our former generations fought against. They spilled their blood so that freedom would be preserved. And now a select few are arrogantly and maliciously taking it all away. Even the freedom to uphold and honor the Judeo-Christian God of our founders is under assault. Nevertheless, I’ve become resigned to the fact that the country I love is swiftly becoming no more.

And here you come, Senator Cruz, with your bold words and integrity. You withstand contempt and disdain even from within your own party.

Senator Cruz, I blame YOU for restoring honesty and sincerity back into the relationship between representative and constituent.

You are the culprit; and regardless of the final outcome, I just want to say……

Thank You!

The Nation inventories Cruz’ lies here: Ted Cruz’s Biggest Liability Is Probably His Constant Lying.

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The annals of delusion: Smell-the-sickness edition

A Jehovah’s Witness woman who lost a lot of blood while delivering a baby died after refusing a transfusion. Naturally, her idiot co-religionists are celebrating her faith without pausing to wonder about the well-being of the baby who will grow up without a mother, or the left-behind father who must now raise her single-handedly.

  • “Thoughts and prayers go out #seeyouin paradise we will see our loved ones again.”

  • “I just thought her story was amazing and she was so faithful and loyal. She was so encouraging. Like the brother said in her talk she will continue to move people and look… Just being posted on here she has!!”

  • “What an awesome organization to be a part of.”

  • “I love JEHOVAHs organization so much! It’s so amazing that everyone is sharing love to the family and some are even sharing their personal stories. It feels like a bunch of friends talking and getting to know each other. This is amazing!”

  • “It will soon be over! We have eternity to spend with family and friends.”

  • “Truly a sad story but faith strengthening. Thank you for sharing.”

  • “I will meet her in paradise, and she will meet the baby girl.”

Faith — belief without evidence, or even in spite of evidence — is moral error, and the preachers who peddle it are a plague.

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The Will to Power

Book Two: A Criticism of the Highest Values That Have Prevailed Hitherto
I: Criticism of Morality

§254   An inquiiy into the origin of our moral valuations and tables of law has absolutely nothing to do with the criticism of them, though people persist in believing it has; the two matters lie quite apart, notwithstanding the fact that the knowledge of the pudenda origo of a valuation does diminish its prestige and prepares the way to a critical attitude and spirit towards it.

What is the actual worth of our valuations and tables of moral laws? What is the outcome of their dominion? For whom? In relation to what? Answer: for Life. But what is Life? A new and more definite concept of what “Life “is, becomes necessary here. My formula of this concept is: Life is Will to Power.

What is the meaning of the very act of valuing? Does it point back to another, metaphysical world, or does it point down? (As Kant believed, who lived in a period which preceded the great historical movement). In short: what is its origin? Or had it no human “origin “? Answer: moral valuations are a sort of explanation, they constitute a method of interpreting. Interpretation in itself is a symptom of definite physiological conditions, as also of a definite spiritual level of ruling judgments. What is it that interprets? Our passions.

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Against the tide

Michael Hamar has quite rightly complained over the years that black clergy sometimes seem to toady-up to the predominantly white leadership of the evangelical denominations, failing to recognize that the fight for gay rights is simply another expression of their own fight for civil rights.

One thing that has continued to strike me since coming out is how blacks – a demographic that has faced horrific discrimination simply because of who they were – are all too likely to be homophobic. Worse yet, at least here in Virginia, they allow them selves to be duped and used as water carriers for whites who would prefer to see a return to the Jim Crow era and the disenfranchisement of blacks.

OK, before I go any further, I’m obliged to admit that 10-years ago, say, that wasn’t obvious to me, either. It was only by reading Michael’s blog, and Andrew Sullivan’s (now defunct), that I ‘got’ it and understood that gays really are second-class citizens who suffer unjustly and at terrible cost.

So it’s news that a historically black Baptist school has created an uproar by inviting a lesbian bishop in a same-sex marriage as a speaker — and refuses to back down before fierce criticism. The words of Dwight McKissic, an influential black pastor in the Southern Baptist Convention:

An incredible, unprecedented, and thus far un-repented of, event took placed on Tuesday evening, March 17, 2015, at the Baptist World Center on the campus of American Baptist College (Dr. Forrest Harris, President). It was reminiscent of an event strongly rebuked by Jesus, that’s recorded in the book of Revelation (Revelation 2:18-25). The purpose of this article is to summarize and capsulate that awful evening for posterity sake, and to communicate to the larger National Baptist family the sad state of affairs, theologically and spiritually, at American Baptist College, Nashville, Tennessee.

[ … ]

In response to the lesbian bishop speaking controversy at ABC recently, Dr. Harris stated to the “Tennessean,” a local newspaper:

“It’s sad that people use religion and idolatry of the Bible to demoralize same-gender-loving people.”

When asked to define “idolatry of the Bible,” Harris said:

“When people say (the Bible) is synonymous with God and the truth,” he said. “We can’t be guided and dictated by a first-century world view.”

That statement, and that statement alone, ought to be enough reason for the ABC Trustee Board to immediately relieve Dr. Harris of his duties.

This is fun, don’t you think?

I share McKissic’s view that the Biblical teachings about homosexuality are too unambiguous to be susceptible of misunderstanding, no matter what Matthew Vines says; after all, there really is no wiggle-room when the punishment for “lying with a man as a woman” is death. I reject without caveat, exception, or the barest quibble, however, McKissic’s belief that the Bible is a trustworthy source of moral instruction. Frankly, I think you’ve got to be debased to the level of a dumb obedient farm animal to accept that claim and surrender your own capacity for moral reasoning to that of Bronze Age goatherders.


“Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson


There is not merely a natural right to think and judge, there is a moral duty to think and judge — and those who refuse to step-up and answer that moral duty make of themselves the instrument of undeserved harm to others. They become the Dark Side, because that’s easier than living as a responsible thinking adult.

To do as you’re told is, of course, exactly what clergy demand. After all — who knows? If you pause to question why gays ought to be stoned, you might pause a bit longer and wonder what that jivey business with the talking snake and the bad piece of fruit was really all about.

I think Vines’ argument is specious, theologically, but his case for acceptance of gay relationships by Christian churches is going to prevail in the majority of both black and white churches. The straightforward fact is that churches that won’t adapt are going to find themselves with small, aging congregations, and in a sea of hostile young people. Pastors as a class may be dim, but they’re not suicidal; they will hold their nose and make peace with gays, agree that it has all been a terrible, Terrible!, misunderstanding, and find some other group to demonize.

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The recognition she deserves

Longtime readers will doubtless recognize the name Jeri Massi, whom I have regularly applauded for her heroic work fighting abuse in IFB churches and their ancillaries. Though we obviously disagree on some pretty fundamental questions, we do agree that the abuse inheres in the belief system itself, and I can think of nobody who has done more than she to expose and demonstrate that.

So it gives me no little pleasure to note that The Wartburg Watch is tooting Jeri’s horn today (with links).

Hephzibah House may sound like a wholesome environment for teenage girls based on the information provided; however, individuals have come forward claiming it was anything but that. A number of years ago, a group of Hephzibah House ‘survivors’ began speaking out about their horrific experiences while living there. One very concerned woman who brought attention to these alleged abuses was Jeri Massi, who wrote Schizophrenic Christianity. This book, which was published in 2008, denounced corruption within Christian Fundamentalism that has brought great harm, particularly to children.

Well done.

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The Will to Power

Book Two: A Criticism of the Highest Values That Have Prevailed Hitherto
II: Criticism of Morality

§253   An attempt at investigating morality without being affected by its charm and not without some mistrust in regard to the beguiling beauty of its attitudes and looks. A world which we can admire, which is in keeping with our capacity for worship which is continually demonstrating itself in small things or in large: this is the Christian standpoint which is common to us all.

Through an increase in our astuteness, in our mistrust and in our scientific spirit (also through a more developed instinct for truth, which again is due to Christian influence), this interpretation has grown ever less and less tenable for us.

The subtlest way of escape: Kantian criticism. The intellect not only denies itself every right to interpret things in that way, but also to reject the interpretation once it has been made. People are satisfied with a greater demand upon their credulity and faith, with a renunciation of all right to reason concerning the proof of their creed, with an intangible and superior “Ideal” (God) as a stop-gap.

The Hegelian way of escape, a continuation of the Platonic, a piece of romanticism and reaction and at the same time a symptom of the historical sense of a new power: “Spirit” itself is the “self-revealing and self-realising ideal”: we believe that in the “process of development” an ever greater proportion of this ideal is being manifested thus the ideal is being realised, faith is vested in the future, into which all its noble needs are projected and in which they are being worshipped. In short:

  1. God is unknowable to us and not to be demonstrated by us (the concealed meaning behind the whole of the epistemological movement).

  2. God may be demonstrated, but as something evolving and we are part of it, as our pressing desire for an ideal proves (the concealed meaning behind the historical movement).

It should be observed that criticism is never levelled at the ideal itself, but only at the problem which gives rise to a controversy concerning the ideal; that is to say, why it has not yet been realised, or why it is not demonstrable in small things as in great.

* * *

It makes all the difference: whether a man recognises this state of distress, as such, owing to a passion or to a yearning in himself, or whether it comes home to him as a problem which he arrives at only by straining his thinking powers and his historical imagination to the utmost.

Away from the religious and philosophical points of view we find the same phenomena. Utilitarianism (socialism and democracy) criticises the origin of moral valuations, though it believes in them just as much as the Christian does. (What guilelessness! As if morality could remain when the sanctioning deity is no longer present! The belief in a “Beyond “is absolutely necessary, if the faith in morality is to be maintained).

Fundamental problem: whence comes this almighty power of Faith? Whence this faith in morality? (It is betrayed by the fact that even the fundamental conditions of life are falsely interpreted in favour of it, despite our knowledge of plants and animals. “Self-preservation “: the Darwinian prospect of a reconciliation of the altruistic and egotistic principles).

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