Twilight of the Idols, or,
How to Philosophize With a Hammer

Morality as Anti-nature

§6 Let us finally consider how naive it is altogether to say: “Man ought to be such and such!” Reality shows us an enchanting wealth of types, the abundance of a lavish play and change of forms — and some wretched loafer of a moralist comments: “No! Man ought to be different.” He even knows what man should be like, this wretched bigot and prig: he paints himself on the wall and comments, “Ecce homo!” But even when the moralist addresses himself only to the single human being and says to him, “You ought to be such and such!” he does not cease to make himself ridiculous. The single human being is a piece of fatum from the front and from the rear, one law more, one necessity more for all that is yet to come and to be. To say to him, “Change yourself!” is to demand that everything be changed, even retroactively. And indeed there have been consistent moralists who wanted man to be different, that is, virtuous — they wanted him remade in their own image, as a prig: to that end, they negated the world! No small madness! No modest kind of immodesty!

Morality, insofar as it condemns for its own sake, and not out of regard for the concerns, considerations, and contrivances of life, is a specific error with which one ought to have no pity — an idiosyncrasy of degenerates which has caused immeasurable harm.

We others, we immoralists, have, conversely, made room in our hearts for every kind of understanding, comprehending, and approving. We do not easily negate; we make it a point of honor to be affirmers. More and more, our eyes have opened to that economy which needs and knows how to utilize everything that the holy witlessness of the priest, the diseased reason in the priest, rejects — that economy in the law of life which finds an advantage even in the disgusting species of the prigs, the priests, the virtuous. What advantage? But we ourselves, we immoralists, are the answer.

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Good Friday blues

As everyone knows, today is Good Friday, the day that the Gospel of John says Jesus was crucified though it was probably sooner.

It is also one of the days when beer and liquor sales are illegal throughout Ireland, thanks to their Blue Laws.

The Good Friday drink ban is silly. If Christians or atheists want to remain sober on any day of the year, they are perfectly entitled to do so. But we should be adult enough to be able to separate the issues of religion, alcohol, citizenship and personal liberty.

The Good Friday ban is just one annual note in the constant background noise of religious interference in our public life.

Frankly, I can think of no one thing that better illustrates the self-absorption and general unfitness for governance of the Pious than laws requiring compulsory, de facto observance of their traditions by everyone else. They believe a god-man was killed on this day 2-millennia ago? Fine, they believe it, and they are welcome to commemorate it however they like. There is nothing to prevent them from praying, reading the Bible, wringing their hands and weeping piteously, going to church, dragging a cross through the streets, watching Mel Gibson movies, boring their children and poisoning their minds with tedious nonsense.

But surely their freedom of religion does not entitle them to disrupt, if only for a day, their more sensible neighbors’ lives? Does it occur to the yahoos to even pause and ask themselves that question? It does not — which is why separation of church and state is important, and only a fool trusts the Pious to defend it.

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Twilight of the Idols, or,
How to Philosophize With a Hammer

Morality as Anti-nature

§5 Once one has comprehended the outrage of such a revolt against life as has become almost sacrosanct in Christian morality, one has, fortunately, also comprehended something else: the futility, apparentness, absurdity, and mendaciousness of such a revolt. A condemnation of life by the living remains in the end a mere symptom of a certain kind of life: the question whether it is justified or unjustified is not even raised thereby. One would require a position outside of life, and yet have to know it as well as one, as many, as all who have lived it, in order to be permitted even to touch the problem of the value of life: reasons enough to comprehend that this problem is for us an unapproachable problem. When we speak of values, we speak with the inspiration, with the way of looking at things, which is part of life: life itself forces us to posit values; life itself values through us when we posit values. From this it follows that even that anti-natural morality which conceives of God as the counter-concept and condemnation of life is only a value judgment of life — but of what life? of what kind of life? I have already given the answer: of declining, weakened, weary, condemned life. Morality, as it has so far been understood — as it has in the end been formulated once more by Schopenhauer, as “negation of the will to life” — is the very instinct of decadence, which makes an imperative of itself. It says: “Perish!” It is a condemnation pronounced by the condemned.

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When was Jesus crucified?

Philosopher Sarah Lilly Heidt notices a problem with the traditional Friday crucifixion scenario.


We tweeted back and forth about this a bit, and her objection is based on Matthew 12:40:

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Friday afternoon to Sunday morning is obviously not 3-days and -nights in the earth, and Heidt argues a Wednesday crucifixion is necessary to satisfy Matthew. (Remember: These were Jews; the empty tomb would have been discovered Saturday morning.)

And, just so y’all know, only John indicates that the crucifixion occurred on Friday.

Bart Ehrman discusses this discrepancy in Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium, and speculates that it signified a theological shift that occurred late in the first century; it is only John who presents Jesus as the Lamb of God, and he places the crucifixion concurrent with the slaughter of livestock for the Passover feast. That really doesn’t settle the question, though; it only suggests a reason why it arose.

So … who knows? There were a lot of crazy things going on in the first century: There was a fierce and occasionally bloody fight over the direction and leadership of Christianity itself, lots of theological wrangling — roughly half of the Pauline epistles are known to be forgeries prepared by unknowns in order to boost or discredit different points of view — and plenty of confusion over who the man Jesus actually was. To my mind, this builds-in an upper limit on the emotional or intellectual investment that ought to be made in any particular reading; after all, we have conflicting accounts of what happened, and they cannot be resolved by appeals to inerrancy or actual evidence.

If we could know, I imagine we would find that the early church leaders were as variously honest, dishonest, opportunistic, selfless, smart and stupid as any randomly selected set of 100 fans at a baseball game, and that the reason we have these discrepancies is the same reason that CNN and World Net Daily flourish side-by-side today.

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You-can’t-make-this-stuff-up department

Ouch

I read this as affirmation of Michael Hamar’s insistence that gay people need to be out. I tend to just not think about issues until I have to, and I don’t think I’m particularly unusual in that regard; and when it’s people you know, that’s bound to affect your perspective.

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