Fredrick Nietzsche has used the phrase God is dead in most of his books and his meaning has been misunderstood in so many occasions. Some people think that he means literal death or the end of God. However, his explanation in his book Gay science sheds light to the world as he points to people’s reliance on religion as a moral guideline and as a source of meaning. In his work, Nietzsche expresses fear to the world by outlining the trouble that atheism and fall of religion would bring to the world. He explains that the western world has depended on God for over a thousand years and this is what has led to order in the society and it has also given life a meaning. Nietzsche continues to write that without God, society will give rise to nihilism. Many people have associated Nietzsche with nihilism but in his writing, he warns the world against it and he accepts that it will be very dangerous to the world.
His statement provoked responses from his religious opponents, some positive and others negative. For example, Albert Camus considered the need of human beings to be controlled by a higher power absurd. More so, he said that human beings do not require a higher power or threat from a divine power so that they can lead morally upright lives.omn the other hand, other philosophers did not want to completely reject the concept of a higher power thus they tried to figure out other ways that would help human beings lead morally upright lives without dependence on a higher power.
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Nietzsche’s deconstruction of values includes the dissolution of traditional teachings on religion. Some philosophers thought that he embraced nihilism and rejected the normal philosophy’s reasoning. In addition, they thought this promoted exploration of human condition and he did not follow religious traditions. However, his dissolution of traditional teachings was his way of counteracting the predicted rise of nihilism. His plan was to reaffirm life and that is why he called for a radical and more natural way of thinking about human existence and morality. From interpretation of his writing in gay science, he suggested that people should strive to be who they are and no matter how philosophers look at it, it is clear that he was not enhancing valueless culture. This was a challenge to nihilism.
In addition, in his book gay science, Nietzsche does not prove that atheism is true but he proves that believing in God has become unbelievable to the modern westernized world. He depicts that everything that was built upon faith has now vanished including European morality. He further proves that religion no longer commands cultural allegiances in the society thus the guiding principles of God that were supposed to be invulnerable has already been lost. Therefore, Nietzsche’s only way was to deconstruct values in order to challenge nihilism. Nietzsche continues to state that standard morals no longer have a foundation thus he argues that human beings are faced with a long term reconstruction project that will destroy the most cherished aspects of people’s way of life. This way, they will change their notion that nothing really has meaning in life and this is what nihilism is. This proves that he is trying to fight nihilism and build a morally upright society again.
In addition, according to Nietzsche, society has no system of values and beliefs that can orient them anymore because even if old systems of religion and morality still exist, people only follow them halfheartedly and in the worst case scenario, they completely ignore them. These values and believes exists at the edge of our consciousness but we do not follow them. Thi8s is because not only has the world lost meaning, individuals have also lost their meaning to themselves. Nietzsche explains that people do not understand why they should choose one course of action over the other and that is why he reconstructs values and tells people to be the best version of them. He does not want people to get comfortable with not following morality. This shows that he is fighting nihilism. People used to be terrified at the thought that religion and morality no longer had meaning but through nihilism, they became comfortable with it and no longer bothers them. Nietzsche tries to fight it by threatening people with the consequences of killing God in his book Gay science.
When Nietzsche wrote a book about a mad man who ran to the market and declared that God is dead in Gay science, people thought he was promoting nihilism. However, studying that passage more carefully shows that he was expressing the ignorance in people. They do not care whether God exists or not. This is the most important message of the book. The main concern is not that God died but it is that no one noticed he died. By using this philosophy, it is clear that he was try to remind people about religion and morality and he was not trying to promote nihilism. I8n addition, he was trying to open people’s eyes so that they could realized how important traditional values and believes are.
In conclusion, Fredric Nietzsche deconstructed values to challenge nihilism and not to further develop valueless culture. He is not criticizing values in general but his main emphasis is on reactive values that have led to nihilism in the west.