Water Man Spouts

Monday, April 25, 2005

"Deus, qualem Paulus creavit, des negatio."

A week or so ago, there was a post that addressed the influence of Paul on "Christianity." It was an interesting thread, and it made me think about how Nietzsche's saying (quoted above), that "God, as Paul created him, is the negation of God."

Last weekend, as I was driving my daughters to a store, my vehicle was rear-ended by a teen-aged fellow who insisted that he never saw me. As I've laid around, attempting to recover from this fellow's strange perception of the world around him, I pulled out "The Portable Nietzsche," and pulled together the following four paragraphs.

In the actual text, these paragraphs are not found in this order. I've skipped around a bit. But I think that together, they show that even those who find the organized church unappealing, can still find the individual human being Jesus an important figure.

Nietzsche focuses on the significance of Jesus's life, rather than his death. He connects Jesus's life's teachings with those of the Buddha, and points out what he sees as the serious errors that come from Paul's focus on death. In this manner, I think that Nietzsche comes close to Proverbs 14:12 ("There is a way that seems right to man, but in the end it leads to death."), as well as Deuteronomy 30:19 ("I set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore, choose life, so that you and your children may live.")

I am curious what others make of these four paragraphs:

"This 'bringer of glad tidings' died as he had lived, as he taught -- not to 'redeem men' but to show how one must live. This practice is his legacy to mankind: his behavior before the judges, before the catchpoles, before the accusers and all kinds of slander and scorn -- his behavior on the cross. He does not resist, he does not defend his right, he takes no step which might ward off the worst; on the contrary, he provokes it. And he begs, he suffers, he loves with those, in those, who do him evil. Not to resist, not to be angry, not to hold responsible -- but to resist not even the evil one -- to love him." (35)

"I go back, I tell the genuine history of Christianity. The very word 'Christianity' is a misunderstanding: in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross. The 'evangel' died on the cross. What has been called 'evangel' from that moment was actually the opposite of that which he had lived: 'ill tidings,' a dysangel. It is false to the point of nonsense to find the mark of the Christian in 'faith,' for instance, in the faith of redemption through Christ: only Christian practice, a life such as he lived who died on the cross, is Christian." (39)

"Evidently the small community did not understand the main point, the exemplary character of this kind of death, the freedom, the superiority over feeling any ressentiment: a token of how little they understood him altogether! After all, Jesus could not intend anything with his death except to publicly give the strongest exhibition, the proof of his doctrine. But his disciples were far from forgiving this death -- which would have been evangelical in the highest sense -- or even from offering themselves for a like death in gentle and lovely repose of the heart. Precisely the most unevangelical feeling, revenge, came to the fore again. The matter could not possibly be finished with this death: 'retribution' was needed, 'judgement' (and what could be more unevangelical than 'retribution,' 'punishment,' 'sitting in judgement'!). Once more the popular expectation came to the foreground; a historic moment was envisaged: the 'kingdom of God' becomes as a judgement over his enemies." (40)

"It is plain what was finished with the death on the cross: a new, an entirely original basis for a Buddhistic peace movement, an actual, not merely promised, happiness on earth. For this, as I have already emphasized, remains the fundamental difference between the two religions of decadence: Buddhism does not promise, but fulfills; Christianity promises everything but fulfills nothing. On the heels of the 'glad tidings' came the very worst: those of Paul. In Paul was embodied the opposite to that of the 'bringer of glad tidings'; the genius in hatred, in the vision of hatred, in the inexorable logic of hatred. How much this dysangelist sacrificed to hatred! Above all, the Redeemer: he nailed him to his own cross. The life, the example, the doctrine, the death, the meaning and the right of the entire evangel -- nothing remained once this hate-inspired counterfeiter realized what alone he could use. Not the reality, not the historic truth! And once more the priestly instinct .... committed the same great crime against history -- he simply crossed out the yesterday of Christianity and its day before yesterday; he invented his own history of earliest Christianity. Still further: he falsified the history of Israel once more so that it might appear as the history of his deed: all the prophets spoke of his 'Redeemer.' Later the church even falsified the history of mankind into the prehistory of Christianity." (42)

These quotes come from his book "The AntiChrist," which many have taken to mean "the anti-christian." I suspect that he may have been referring to the organization of Paul.


At May 11, 2005 at 12:48 PM, Blogger Indigobusiness said...

Heyo Waterman...GREAT POST...I'll admit I breezed through it in my rush to say "hello, long time no see", but you clearly have nailed the crux of the biscuit. No pun intended. This is most assuredly the nature of the beast that is devouring the world.

As seen in a note at his desk, Hunter Thompson summed it up:

the floor is slick
and greasy
And dangerous...
Get down on all fours to proceed

-- Doc

At May 13, 2005 at 10:50 AM, Blogger Patrick O'Waterman said...

Hey! Long time no see! How have you been?


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