God is Dead: What Does It Mean?

*Text translated from its original version in Spanish

The phrase comes from the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who is considered one of the most influential modern thinkers of the nineteenth century. He made multiple criticisms, among them to Western culture, religion, and philosophy by deconstructing the concepts that make them up based on the analysis of moral attitudes [positive and negative] towards life.

For those who do not know the concept: deconstruction shows how concepts have been formed from historical processes and metaphorical accumulations that, while useful, are in turn subjected to the paradox of the rhetoric of metaphor and metonymy.

Nietzsche was a professed atheist. He died at the age of fifty-five from pneumonia, though at the end of his life he suffered from dementia. In this analysis/reflection, I aim to expose the meaning behind the philosophical assertion.

God is dead,” the phrase, is an aphorism [a sentence that explains a truth briefly] resulting from a nihilism [denial of all belief] regarding the loss of society’s values.

It assumes necessary maturity in the human being to do without a god who sets the limits and guidelines to human nature [morality] and which is linked to the irrationality that is god for Nietzsche in the sense that it emanates from religiosity, from axiomatic faith [proposition logically deduced from an indemonstrable principle], and to the collective loss of critical judgment seeking the interest of the powerful.

For the German thinker, belief in god, the Judeo-Christian god, is a consequence of decadent life, incapable of accepting the world in its tragic dimension; it appeals to a psychological motivation: the idea of god is a refuge for those who cannot accept life. It is a balance created to counterbalance the master’s morality against that of the slave.

It is important to say that Nietzsche talks about the death of god, but it does not mean, for him, that such a god has existed and then died [it would be absurd because it would contradict the divine attributes] as he never believed in the existence of any. This idea simply indicates that belief in god has died.

The death of god is the way of saying that humans are no longer capable of believing in any cosmic order because they themselves do not recognize it as a moral orderer and this leads to the rejection of values and the universal moral law. The supersensible world has lost its strength.

The experience of finitude, of feeling helpless, disoriented, is, according to the philosopher, necessary to start a new way of life: the superman, a legislator of the moral norm that submits to his will; he does not follow traditions or established rules, and is individualistic. He believes in what is real and what he sees, reasons, and at the same time appears to fill the void left by god’s death that demands to be filled by something.

In place of the vanished authority of god and the doctrine of the church, the authority of conscience appears with the domination of reason seeking a revaluation of all the previous [divine], that is, an establishment of new values. These need a new principle with another way of valuing, based on selfishness and the desire for power.

Divine morality must be replaced by truth [rational/human], this is based on putting man at the service of man himself devoted to the consummation of his existence. The aim is to create in the human being the model of master morality, where individualism is the basis of contemporary thinking. The death of god creates an anthropocentric idea, denying the theocentric culture.

The phrase should not be understood as a lack of faith, since it is not what Nietzsche wanted to express, but rather he sought the meditation that reflects on what has already happened with the truth of the supersensible world and its relationship with the essence of man.

Cite this article (APA): García, M (2023, 16th september). God is Dead: What Does It Mean? Filosofía en la Red. https://filosofiaenlared.com/2021/09/dios-ha-muerto-que-significa/

Image | Zona Reservada

#Atheism, #english version, #friedrich Nietzsche, #God, #God is dead, #Nietzsche, #Values

por Miguel Ángel

ceo de filosofía en la red, drando. en Filosofía, mtro. filosofía y valores, lic. en psicología organizacional, PTB en enfermería; catedrático de licenciatura en la Universidad Santander (México)

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