God’s Murderers

A couple weeks ago I wrote a paper on Nietzsche’s Madman and his pronouncement of the death of God. While researching I came across this passage by Bernard Martin, which is certainly not what Nietzsche meant by “God is dead” but is interesting nonetheless.

It is necessary to kill God! … One can, in all good conscience, kill God, for the true God does not himself be killed. He is beyond all deicidal tendencies. And yet, it is necessary to kill one’s God! 

It is necessary to kill the God that we have learned! God is not learned. And if I have learned something about God, I can be certain that this is not truly he. The instruction that I received about God in my childhood was perhaps necessary. But today the God learned in my childhood no longer has any meaning. I am no longer young, and I need another God, the true God! Thus I must kill the God learned, even if it means that I can no longer proceed!

It is necessary to kill the God that I devise! The God that I dream up is never God. The thoughts that I am able to come up with concerning him never begin to express his majesty. My understanding can be extremely cultivated, yet the God that I imagine is always inevitable other than what he truly is. So I must kill the God that I have imagined and conceived, or I will risk remaining in a sterile and permanent thought. This God that I have imagined must die.

It is necessary to kill the God of my faith! Throughout my life I have been devoted to God with all my soul. In spite of appearances, I am still devoted to him with all my soul. But what must die is the God of my faith. My faith cannot reach God, and my theology, no matter how orthodox, will never be able to be a durable and absolute theology. And if I claim it because one day I make it on my own, then I am condemned to no longer understand what it is about. God is not dependent on my faith. He is, that’s all. I must acquiesce in killing the God of my faith!   

From If God Does Not Die (pg 19-20) as qtd. in “The Graveyard Theology” by Vernon C. Grounds in Is God “Dead”? (pg 32).Speaking of Nietzsche, I was at Barnes & Nobles and ran across Benjamin Wiker’s 10 Books That Screwed Up the World. Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil was in there, along with Marx, Darwin, Freud, etc. It’s basically fundamentalist anti-intellectualism masquerading as serious scholarship. I almost laughed out loud when Wiker said Nietzsche’s madness & then death was a result of his profound atheism and not, say, of syphilis-induced dementia. 

2 thoughts on “God’s Murderers

  1. I suspect Nietzsche was slightly mad (in the Freddie Mercury sense) pretty much all his life, actually. Which probably enabled him to follow his rejection of traditional morals through to its logical conclusions more than most other atheists.

    I’ve noticed the Wiker book before, never read it. I think I peeked inside to see which books he was referring to so I could read them. It’s pretty ridiculous to say that a handful of books screwed up the world, and not (just to pick something out of the blue here) the sin nature.

    I think you have to respect and appreciate Nietzsche for his creativity (I would argue Thus Spake Zarathustra is on the same playing field with Plato and Berkeley as far as philosophy that is a pure delight to read) and his intellectual honesty. Not many Christians I know are willing to go all in on their philosophy the way he did.

    Going all the way back to your first point…lovely passage from Martin.

  2. I’m not sure I’ve ever really found Plato or Berkeley a pure delight. Plato’s an asshole anyway. Nietzsche, on the other hand… I will also say that I vastly prefer his atheism to that of Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens, et al.

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