Friedrich Nietzsche
Translation: H.L. Mencken


--I shall go back a bit, and tell you the authentic history of Christianity.--The very word "Christianity" is a misunderstanding--at bottom there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross. The "Gospels" died on the cross. What, from that moment onward, was called the "Gospels" was the very reverse of what he had lived: "bad tidings," a Dysangelium.14It is an error amounting to nonsensicality to see in "faith," and particularly in faith in salvation through Christ, the distinguishing mark of the Christian: only the Christian way of life, the life lived by him who died on the cross, is Christian. . . To this day such a life is still possible, and for certain men even necessary: genuine, primitive Christianity will remain possible in all ages. . . . Not faith, but acts; above all, an avoidance of acts, a different state of being. . . . States of consciousness, faith of a sort, the acceptance, for example, of anything as true--as every psychologist knows, the value of these things is perfectly indifferent and fifth-rate compared to that of the instincts: strictly speaking, the whole concept of intellectual causality is false. To reduce being a Christian, the state of Christianity, to an acceptance of truth, to a mere phenomenon of consciousness, is to formulate the negation of Christianity. In fact, there are no Christians. The "Christian"--he who for two thousand years has passed as a Christian--is simply a psychological self-delusion. Closely examined, it appears that, despite all his "faith," he has been ruled only by his instincts--and what instincts!--In all ages--for example, in the case of Luther--"faith" has been no more than a cloak, a pretense, a curtain behind which the instincts have played their game--a shrewd blindness to the domination of certain of the instincts . . .I have already called "faith" the specially Christian form of shrewdness--people always talk of their "faith" and act according to their instincts. . . In the world of ideas of the Christian there is nothing that so much as touches reality: on the contrary, one recognizes an instinctive hatred of reality as the motive power, the only motive power at the bottom of Christianity. What follows therefrom? That even here, in psychologicis, there is a radical error, which is to say one conditioning fundamentals, which is to say, one in substance. Take away one idea and put a genuine reality in its place--and the whole of Christianity crumbles to nothingness !--Viewed calmly, this strangest of all phenomena, a religion not only depending on errors, but inventive and ingenious only in devising injurious errors, poisonous to life and to the heart--this remains a spectacle for the Gods--for those Gods who are also philosophers, and whom I have encountered, for example, in the celebrated dialogues at Naxos. At the moment when their disgust leaves them (--and us!) they will be thankful for the spectacle afforded by the Christians: perhaps because of this curious exhibition alone the wretched little planet called the earth deserves a glance from omnipotence, a show of divine interest. . . . Therefore, let us not underestimate the Christians: the Christian, false to the point of innocence, is far above the ape--in its application to the Christians a well--known theory of descent becomes a mere piece of politeness. . . .

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