Friedrich Nietzsche
Translation: H.L. Mencken


Wherever the will to power begins to decline, in whatever form, there is always an accompanying decline physiologically, a decadence. The divinity of this decadence, shorn of its masculine virtues and passions, is converted perforce into a God of the physiologically degraded, of the weak. Of course, they do not call themselves the weak; they call themselves "the good." . . . No hint is needed to indicate the moments in history at which the dualistic fiction of a good and an evil God first became possible. The same instinct which prompts the inferior to reduce their own God to "goodness-in-itself" also prompts them to eliminate all good qualities from the God of their superiors; they make revenge on their masters by making a devil of the latter's God.--The good God, and the devil like him--both are abortions of decadence.--How can we be so tolerant of the naïveté of Christian theologians as to join in their doctrine that the evolution of the concept of God from "the God of Israel," the God of a people, to the Christian God, the essence of all goodness, is to be described as progress?--But even Renan does this. As if Renan had a right to be naïve! The contrary actually stares one in the face. When everything necessary to ascending life; when all that is strong, courageous, masterful and proud has been eliminated from the concept of a God; when he has sunk step by step to the level of a staff for the weary, a sheet-anchor for the drowning; when he be comes the poor man's God, the sinner's God, the invalid's God par excellence, and the attribute of "saviour" or "redeemer" remains as the one essential attribute of divinity--just what is the significance of such a metamorphosis? what does such a reduction of the Godhead imply?--To be sure, the "kingdom of God" has thus grown larger. Formerly he had only his own people, his "chosen" people. But since then he has gone wandering, like his people themselves, into foreign parts; he has given up settling down quietly anywhere; finally he has come to feel at home everywhere, and is the great cosmopolitan--until now he has the "great majority" on his side, and half the earth. But this God of the "great majority," this democrat among Gods, has not become a proud heathen God: on the contrary, he remains a Jew, he remains a God in a corner, a God of all the dark nooks and crevices, of all the noisesome quarters of the world! . . His earthly kingdom, now as always, is a kingdom of the underworld, a souterrain kingdom, a ghetto kingdom. . . And he himself is so pale, so weak, so decadent . . . Even the palest of the pale are able to master him--messieurs the metaphysicians, those albinos of the intellect. They spun their webs around him for so long that finally he was hypnotized, and began to spin himself, and became another metaphysician. Thereafter he resumed once more his old business of spinning the world out of his inmost being sub specie Spinozae; thereafter he be came ever thinner and paler--became the "ideal," became "pure spirit," became "the absolute," became "the thing-in-itself." . . . The collapse of a God: he became a "thing-in-itself."

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