Book Two: A Criticism of the Highest Values That Have Prevailed Hitherto
I: Criticism of Religion
§243 Subject for reflection: To what extent does the fatal belief in “Divine Providence” — the most paralysing belief for both the hand and the understanding that has ever existed, continue to prevail; to what extent have the Christian hypothesis and interpretation of Life continued their lives under the cover of terms like “Nature”, “Progress”, “perfectionment”, “Darwinism” or beneath the superstition that there is a certain relation between happiness and virtue, unhappiness and sin? That absurd belief in the course of things, in “Life” and in the “instinct of Life”; that foolish resignation which arises from the notion that if only every one did his duty all would go well? All this sort of thing can only have a meaning if one assumes that there is a direction of things sub specie boni. Even fatalism, our present form of philosophical sensibility, is the result of a long belief in Divine Providence, an unconscious result: as though it were nothing to do with us how everything goes! (As though we might let things take their own course; the individual being only a modus of the absolute reality).