Friedrich Nietzsche
Translation: H.L. Mencken


It is necessary to say just whom we regard as our antagonists: theologians and all who have any theological blood in their veins--this is our whole philosophy. . . . One must have faced that menace at close hand, better still, one must have had experience of it directly and almost succumbed to it, to realize that it is not to be taken lightly (--the alleged free-thinking of our naturalists and physiologists seems to me to be a joke--they have no passion about such things; they have not suffered--). This poisoning goes a great deal further than most people think: I find the arrogant habit of the theologian among all who regard themselves as "idealists"--among all who, by virtue of a higher point of departure, claim a right to rise above reality, and to look upon it with suspicion. . . The idealist, like the ecclesiastic, carries all sorts of lofty concepts in his hand (--and not only in his hand!); he launches them with benevolent contempt against "understanding," "the senses," "honor," "good living," "science"; he sees such things as beneath him, as pernicious and seductive forces, on which "the soul" soars as a pure thing-in-itself--as if humility, chastity, poverty, in a word, holiness, had not already done much more damage to life than all imaginable horrors and vices. . . The pure soul is a pure lie. . . So long as the priest, that professional denier, calumniator and poisoner of life, is accepted as a higher variety of man, there can be no answer to the question, What is truth? Truth has already been stood on its head when the obvious attorney of mere emptiness is mistaken for its representative.

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