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

34.

If I understand anything at all about this great symbolist, it is this: that he regarded only subjective realities as realities, as "truths"--hat he saw everything else, everything natural, temporal, spatial and historical, merely as signs, as materials for parables. The concept of "the Son of God" does not connote a concrete person in history, an isolated and definite individual, but an "eternal" fact, a psychological symbol set free from the concept of time. The same thing is true, and in the highest sense, of the God of this typical symbolist, of the "kingdom of God," and of the "sonship of God." Nothing could he more un-Christian than the crude ecclesiastical notions of God as a person, of a "kingdom of God" that is to come, of a "kingdom of heaven" beyond, and of a "son of God" as the second person of the Trinity. All this--if I may be forgiven the phrase--is like thrusting one's fist into the eye (and what an eye!) of the Gospels: a disrespect for symbols amounting to world-historical cynicism. . . .But it is nevertheless obvious enough what is meant by the symbols "Father" and "Son"--not, of course, to every one--: the word "Son" expresses entrance into the feeling that there is a general transformation of all things (beatitude), and "Father" expresses that feeling itself--the sensation of eternity and of perfection.--I am ashamed to remind you of what the church has made of this symbolism: has it not set an Amphitryon story13 at the threshold of the Christian "faith"? And a dogma of "immaculate conception" for good measure? . . --And thereby it has robbed conception of its immaculateness-- The "kingdom of heaven" is a state of the heart--not something to come "beyond the world" or "after death." The whole idea of natural death is absent from the Gospels: death is not a bridge, not a passing; it is absent because it belongs to a quite different, a merely apparent world, useful only as a symbol. The "hour of death" isnot a Christian idea--"hours," time, the physical life and its crises have no existence for the bearer of "glad tidings." . . . The "kingdom of God" is not something that men wait for: it had no yesterday and no day after tomorrow, it is not going to come at a "millennium"--it is an experience of the heart, it is everywhere and it is nowhere. . . .

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