The Anti-Christ was published in 1888. It is Nietzsche's most sustained critique of the negative, reactive values of Christianity.
On his readers:
"This book belongs to the very few. Perhaps none of them is even living yet. Possibly they are the readers who understand my Zarathustra: how could I confound myself with those for whom there are ears listening today? Only the day after tomorrow belongs to me. Some are born posthumously."
"Almost two millennia and not a single new God! But still, this pitiful God of Christian monotono-theism. This hybrid of the void, conceptualism and contradiction, this picture of decay, in which all decadence instincts, all cowardliness and weariness of soul have their sanction!"
"We have learned better. We have become more modest in every respect. We no longer trace the origin of man in the `spirit', in the `divinity', we have placed him back among the animals. We consider him the strongest animal because he is the most cunning: his spirituality is a consequence of this. On the other hand, we guard ourselves against a vanity which would like to find expression even here: that man is the secret objective of animal evolution. Man is absolutely not the crown of creation: every creature stands beside him at the same stage of perfection. And even in asserting that we assert too much: man is, relatively speaking, the most unsuccessful animal, the sickliest, the one most dangerously strayed from its instincts."
"Formerly one saw in man's consciousness, in his `spirit', the proof of his higher origin, his divinity; to make himself perfect man was advised to draw his senses back into himself in the manner of the tortoise, to cease to have any traffic with the earthly, to lay aside his mortal frame: then the chief part of him would remain behind, `pure spirit.' We have thought better of this too: becoming-conscious, `spirit', is to us precisely a symptom of a relative imperfection of the organism, as an attempting, fumbling, blundering, as a toiling in which an unnecessarily large amount of nervous energy is expended - we deny that anything can be made perfect so long as it is still made conscious. `Pure spirit' is pure stupidity."
"The word `Christianity' is already a misunderstanding. In reality there has only been one Christian, and he died on the cross. The `Christian', that which has been called Christian for two millennia, is merely a psychological misunderstanding.
"Even with the most modest claim to integrity one must know today that a theologian, a priest, a pope does not merely err in every sentence he speaks, he lies. The priest knows as well as anyone that there is no longer any `God', any `sinner', any `redeemer.' All the concepts of the church are recognized for what they are: the most malicious counterfeiting there is for the purpose of disparaging nature and natural values; the priest himself is recognized for what he is: the most dangerous kind of parasite, the real poisonous spider of life. The concepts `Beyond', `Last Judgement', `immortality of the soul', the `soul' itself; they are instruments of torture, they are forms of systematic cruelty by virtue of which the priest has become master, stays master."
On the stupidity of the "Gospels":
"That strange and sick world to which the Gospels introduce us - a world like that of a Russian novel, in which the refuse of society, neurosis and childish idiocy seem to make a rendez-vous... One has to regret that no Dostoyevsky lived in the neighbourhood, I mean someone who could feel the thrilling fascination of the sublime, the sick and the childish."
"A certain sense of cruelty towards oneself and others is Christian; hatred of those who think differently; the will to persecute. Mortal hostility against the masters of the earth, against the noble (one allows them the body, one wants only `the soul'). Hatred of mind, of pride, courage, freedom, libertinage is Christian; hatred of the senses, of the joy of the senses, of joy in general is Christian."
"In Christianity, neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point. Nothing but imaginary causes (`God', `soul', `ego', `spirit', `free will'), nothing but imaginary effect(`sin', `redemption', `grace', `punishment', `forgiveness of sins'). Relationships among imaginary beings (`God', `spirits', `souls'); an imaginary natural science (anthropocentric; complete lack of the concept of natural causes); an imaginary psychology (nothing but self-misunderstandings, interpretations of pleasant or unpleasant general feelings), an imaginary teleology (`the kingdom of God', `the Last Judgement', `eternal life').
This purely fictitious world is distinguished from the world of dreams, very much to its disadvantage, by the fact that the latter mirrors reality, while the former falsifies, devalues and denies reality. Once the concept `nature' had been devised as the concept antithetical to `God', `natural' had to be the world for `reprehensible'. This entire fictional world has its roots in hatred of the natural (reality!), it is the expression of a profound discontent with reality."
"Pure spirit is pure lie. So long as the priest, that denier, slanderer and poisoner of life by profession, still counts as a higher kind of human being, there can be no answer to the question: what is truth? One has already stood truth on its head when the conscious advocate of denial and nothingness counts as the `re-presentative of Truth'."
On Epicurus vs. "Saint" Paul:
"One must read Lucretius to understand what it was Epicurus opposed: not paganism but `Christianity', which is to say the corruption of souls through the concepts of `guilt', `punishment' and `immortality'. He opposed the subterranean cults, the whole of latent Christianity - to deny immortality was already in those days a real redemption. - And Epicurus would have won, every mind of every account in the Roman Empire was an Epicurean: then Paul appeared."
"What Paul himself did not believe was believed by the idiots among whom he cast his teaching. His requirement was power; with Paul the priest again sought power - he could employ only those concepts, teachings, symbols with which one tyrannizes over masses, forms herds."
"Christianity makes a thousand promises but keeps none. On the heels of the `glad tidings' came the worst of all: those of Paul. In Paul was embodied the antithetical type to the `bringer of glad tidings', the genius of hatred, of the vision of hatred, of the inexorable logic of hatred. What did this dysangelist not sacrifice to his hatred!
The redeemer above all: he nailed him to his cross. The life, the example, the teaching, the death, the meaning and the right of the entire gospel - nothing was left once this hate-obsessed counterfeiter had grasped what he alone could make use of. Not the reality, not the historical truth."
"Everything well-constituted, proud, high-spirited, beauty above all, is hurtful to Christian eyes and ears. I recall the saying of Paul: `God hath chosen the weak things of the world, the foolish things of the world, base things of the world, and things which are despised,': that was the formula. God on the cross, is the fearful hidden meaning behind this symbol still understood? Everything that suffers, everything that hangs on the cross is divine. Christianity was a victory, a nobler disposition perished by it. Christianity has been up till now mankind's greatest misfortune."
"In my Genealogy of Morals I introduced for the first time the psychology of the antithetical concepts of a noble morality and a ressentiment morality, the latter deriving from a denial of the former: but this latter corresponds totally to Judeo-Christian morality. To be able to reject all that represents the ascending movement of life, well-constitutedness, power, beauty, self-affirmation on earth, the instinct of ressentiment here become genius had to invent `another world' from which that Life Affirmation would appear evil, reprehensible."
On Christianity as the breeding of a sick herd:
"The problem I raise here is not what ought to succeed mankind in the sequence of species, but what type of human being one ought to breed, ought to will, as more valuable, more worthy of life, more certain of the future.
This more valuable type has existed often enough already: but as a lucky accident, as an exception, never as willed. He has rather been the most feared, he has hitherto been virtually the thing to be feared - and out of fear the reverse type has been willed, bred, achieved: the domestic animal, the herd animal, the sick animal, the Christian."
"One should not embellish or dress up Christianity: it has waged a war to the death against the higher type of man, it has excommunicated all the fundamental instincts of this type, it has distilled evil, the `evil one', out of these instincts - the strong human being as the type of reprehensibility, as the `outcast.' Christianity has taken the side of everything weak, base, ill-constituted, it has made an ideal out of opposition to the preservative instincts of strong life; it has depraved the reason even of the intellectually strongest natures by teaching men to feel the supreme values of intellectuality as sinful, as misleading, as temptations."
"I call an animal, a species, an individual depraved when it chooses, when it prefers, what is harmful to it. I consider life itself instinct for growth, for continuance, for accumulation of forces, for power: where the will to power is lacking there is decline."
"Christianity is called the religion of pity. Read more ›