THE ANTICHRIST
By
Friedrich Nietzsche
Translation: H.L. Mencken

32.

I can only repeat that I set myself against all efforts to intrude the fanatic into the figure of the Saviour: the very word imperieux, used by Renan, is alone enough to annul the type. What the "glad tidings" tell us is simply that there are no more contradictions; the kingdom of heaven belongs to children; the faith that is voiced here is no more an embattled faith--it is at hand, it has been from the beginning, it is a sort of recrudescent childishness of the spirit. The physiologists, at all events, are familiar with such a delayed and incomplete puberty in the living organism, the result of degeneration. A faith of this sort is not furious, it does not denounce, it does not defend itself: it does not come with "the sword"--it does not realize how it will one day set man against man. It does not manifest itself either by miracles, or by rewards and promises, or by "scriptures": it is itself, first and last, its own miracle, its own reward, its own promise, its own "kingdom of God." This faith does not formulate itself--it simply lives, and so guards itself against formulae. To be sure, the accident of environment, of educational background gives prominence to concepts of a certain sort: in primitive Christianity one finds only concepts of a Judaeo--Semitic character (--that of eating and drinking at the last supper belongs to this category--an idea which, like everything else Jewish, has been badly mauled by the church). But let us be careful not to see in all this anything more than symbolical language, semantics6 an opportunity to speak in parables. It is only on the theory that no work is to be taken literally that this anti-realist is able to speak at all. Set down among Hindus he would have made use of the concepts of Sankhya,7and among Chinese he would have employed those of Lao-tse 8--and in neither case would it have made any difference to him.--With a little freedom in the use of words, one might actually call Jesus a "free spirit"9--he cares nothing for what is established: the word killeth,10 a whatever is established killeth. 'The idea of "life" as an experience, as he alone conceives it, stands opposed to his mind to every sort of word, formula, law, belief and dogma. He speaks only of inner things: "life" or "truth" or "light" is his word for the innermost--in his sight everything else, the whole of reality, all nature, even language, has significance only as sign, as allegory. --Here it is of paramount importance to be led into no error by the temptations lying in Christian, or rather ecclesiastical prejudices: such a symbolism par excellence stands outside all religion, all notions of worship, all history, all natural science, all worldly experience, all knowledge, all politics, all psychology, all books, all art--his "wisdom" is precisely a pure ignorance11 of all such things. He has never heard of culture; he doesn't have to make war on it--he doesn't even deny it. . . The same thing may be said of the state, of the whole bourgeoise social order, of labour, of war--he has no ground for denying" the world," for he knows nothing of the ecclesiastical concept of "the world" . . . Denial is precisely the thing that is impossible to him.--In the same way he lacks argumentative capacity, and has no belief that an article of faith, a "truth," may be established by proofs (--his proofs are inner "lights," subjective sensations of happiness and self-approval, simple "proofs of power"--). Such a doctrine cannot contradict: it doesn't know that other doctrines exist, or can exist, and is wholly incapable of imagining anything opposed to it. . . If anything of the sort is ever encountered, it laments the "blindness" with sincere sympathy--for it alone has "light"--but it does not offer objections . . .

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