A Valuable Lesson from Nietzsche
An utterly insightful quotation relating the Christian understanding of God to the foundations of ethical behavior in one from the notorious critic of Christianity, Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche states:
When one gives up Christian belief one thereby deprives oneself of the right to Christian morality. Christianity is a system, a consistently thought out and complete view of things. If one breaks out of it a fundamental idea, the belief in God, one thereby breaks the whole thing to pieces: one has nothing of any consequence left in one’s hands. Christian morality is a command: its origin is transcendental, it possesses truth only if God is truth-it stands or falls with belief in God.
-Friedrich Nietzsche, Quoted in Cornelius Plantinga Jr., Engaging God’s World: A Christian Vision of Faith, Learning, and Living (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002), 74.
Christian morality, in Nietzsche’s understanding, is the general ethical code than tends to reign in the western world. His point is that if one who does not believe in God is to live consistently, they must renounce any semblance of traditional morality.
The finest of Christian apologists couldn’t have stated the case any better!
For a thorough examination of Nietzsche’s critique of Christianity see,