Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nietzsche and Protestantism II

The thing about Nietzsche's critique of Christianity is that it really hits home in relation to one interpretation of radical reformation sects but fails as an evaluation of Catholicism or Orthodoxy. It should be kept in mind that Nietzsche was the son of a Lutheran minister. The sort of radical demands for equality as well as meekness that Nietzsche disapprovingly treats really only came about as a reaction to Catholic abandonment of the same. Catholic culture, in the eyes of reformers, was hypocritical in that it preached Christian virtues while simultaneously breaking them through approving of war, class rule, and excess by those at the top as well as throughout the church itself, which in general had an incestuous relationship with power and the powerful. Yet here we run into a problem: what exactly 'is' Christianity? Looking at it from an unbiased historical and scholarly perspective it makes little sense to take the side of the Reformation through viewing it as 'true' Christianity while dismissing the many centuries of Catholic and before that Orthodox rule as representing 'false' Christianity. To then make a blanket attack on Christianity as a general ideal while in practice only talking about one variety, which you consider to be the 'true' one, is to undercut your argument severely through engaging in a logical fallacy. If Christianity is in your opinion wrong in general then why take the side of any one particular variety of it? Wouldn't it be better to condemn it based on an evaluation of all the different types as opposed to one subset? This Nietzsche does not do, in my opinion.

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