Is it fair to characterise Nietszche as a reformer of Christianity, rather than a destroyer?


I've just finished reading Twilight of the Idols/The Anti-Christ, and I was struck by his sincere admiration for Christ. He calls him 'the only Christian'.

Is it fair then to describe him as a reformer of Christianity in its long tradition of reformers, rather than a destroyer as one may take from his famous 'God is dead'.?

And that he is an advocate for a muscular & robust Christianity, rather than a lily-livered one? Perhaps he is saying that the meek will not inherit the Earth by remaining that way.

Mozibur Ullah

Posted 2012-06-08T10:00:21.163

Reputation: 1



At what point does "reform" become "revolution"?

Nietzsche's critique is quite radical, and ruthless, and I suspect that "Christianity" one would arrive at by following his critique would be so unrecognizable as to render the name suspect.

Michael Dorfman

Posted 2012-06-08T10:00:21.163

Reputation: 22 863


Nietzsche did not reform Christianity. No significant section of Christendom went on to prize Jesus for acting in accord with "Master Morality": I am "good" because I enjoy my power and expression, You are "bad" because you oppose my will. Nietzsche responds to Jesus exercise of authority and his fearless criticism of the well-established Pharisees--as well as well as when Jesus rejects traditions. Where as for Christians, it is still his singular role that gave him the authority which he wields.

In fact, his chosen keyword of Antichrist made it certain that people who believed in Jesus as more than the Feuerbachian Ideal Man would take offense to it. In a way it's much the same way that John 5 portrays Jesus as teaching down his throng to make his appeal more focused and strong.

I think it's fair to say that "Antichrist" does not describe the totality of Nietzche's work. And I think it's more motivated.


Posted 2012-06-08T10:00:21.163

Reputation: 218

Not all reformers succeed. Perhaps would-be reformer is better. Surely Nietzche acknowledges Jesus's singular role by calling him the only Christian? – Mozibur Ullah – 2012-06-08T19:44:19.227

How is a "would-be reformer" that much different from a "critic"? It's human nature that if you take something many think they understand and you say "You're all doing it wrong," that you're not an insider but an outsider. Nietzsche responds to Jesus' vigor and passion. Also Nietzsche's suspicion that the Gospels are altered in a particular direction is not irresistible. Both "the founder of our religion" and the "only one to get it right" are singular, so giving a singular role does not give him a role of authority over others. – Axeman – 2012-06-09T00:30:35.993