A CRITIQUE OF THE MORAL AND RELIGIOUS NIHILISM IN THE PHILOSOPHY OF FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE
Statement of problem
Down the stages of the history of philosophy, the modern philosophy of consciousness, attention has been directed to the mastery of the natural world. This is a period whose character of rational optimism was diametrically opposed to tradition and authority upon which stood the veracity and logic of primitive religion. It has been a period oriented to the practical. The possession of and ownership of the real. With Kant, the practical reason is already being understood as will. Schopenhauer took up this indication from Kant and conceived reality as will and idea. He opines that the world is a meaningless and purposeless existence or will to live. Nietzsche however, finally accepts the fundamental notion of Schopenhauer that the will is the principle of existence, but he conceives this will not merely as the will to live, but as the will for power.
Along the way to the will to power, the anthropological subject has become central. This turn towards the subject excludes any supreme value in man. Thus, when Nietzsche proclaimed and declared the death of God, he believed that he was accomplishing the work, which other existentialist philosophers started but were unable to complete. Little did he realize the havoc he had caused to the contemporary man. Consequently he joined other thinkers of his time to sweep off the hold of God on the modern man.
With “the death of God” man could surpass himself and attain his greatness.
Now it is up to man to give his life meaning by raising himself above the animals. Our so-called human nature is precisely what we should do well to overcome…
It becomes succinctly comprehensible that God, the supreme value was a barrier to man’s attainment of self-fulfillment. However, with the elimination of the idea of God, supposedly a vacuum will be created and thus nothingness could break out in all directions. This at least goes to show the nothingness of religion, which it’s values and morality, find their meaning in God. This is thus the focus of nihilism, which also involves the revaluation of these values. Through nihilism, Nietzsche was able to posit a new value that would replace the old and eliminated` supreme value.
Purpose of study
This project is necessary in the face of the present-day unscrutinized quest for faith or religion. For this reason, it will follow a thought-pattern that will argue for the credibility of God and religion. Thus the major task of this work is to criticize without reservation this religious and moral demise of Nietzsche and restore the supreme value to its place in the world.
Scope of study
This work does not however guarantee to exhaust the rigorous arguments concerning the existence of God. It does not even pretend to expose the whole philosophical thought of Nietzsche. It will evaluate and criticize Nietzsche’s arguments concerning the existence of God.
Method of study
For the purpose lucidity this work will be largely critical and expository. More so, a brief historical survey of Nietzsche is adopted to bring to limelight, his conception about God.
Division of work
This work is divided into four chapters. Apart from the introduction, the first chapter will x-ray the meaning of nihilism for Nietzsche, and the religion and its values as attacked and refuted by him. In chapter two, we shall be exposing the nihilistic morality as presented by Nietzsche. Chapter three centers on the remedies offered by Nietzsche as the ideal value after his nihilism of supreme value. Chapter four will evaluate Nietzsche’s philosophy of nihilism.
BRIEF PROFILE OF FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was born on October 15, 1844 at Bocken in the province of Saxony. He was the son and grandson of Lutheran ministers. His father died at the tender age of four and he grew up under the care of his mother Fran Nietzsche and his sister, Elizabeth.
At the age of fourteen, he was sent to the famous Pforta School where he studied classics, religion and German literature. In 1864, he went to the University of Bonn and studied theology. But having lost his faith in Christian religion in 1865 he abandoned theological studies, left Bonn and went to Leipzig where he studied philology. Here, also he came upon Schopenhauer’s works, The World as Will and Idea, which had an influence on him and confirmed his atheistic standpoint. He was also influenced by the Wagnerian music he came in contact with.
His outstanding intelligence merited him the appointment as a lecturer at the age of twenty, and later at the age of twenty-four, was yet appointed to the chair of classical philology at the university of Basal. He was at this school until heath forced him to resign his professorship in 1879. It was during this period that he came close to a relationship with Wagner but thy later separated. From 1880 to 1889, he lived life of solitude. He surprisingly became insane in 1889 and remained in that state of mental and physical paralysis until his death on August 25, 1900 at the of fifty-five.
Nietzsche was a prolific writer and wrote extensively even while ill. His major works include: The Birth of Tragedy, which he wrote in 1872. Between the periods of 1873 to 1876, he published the Untimely Meditations and Human, All-to-Human. Then, again between the periods of 1881 to 1887, he wrote these five books: The Dawn, The Gay Science, Thus spoke Zarathustra, Beyond Good and Evil and Genealogy of Morals. In 1888, he yet produced these books: The Case of Wagner, Twilight of Idols, Anti-Christ, Ecce Homo, Nietzsche contra Wagner and completed work, The revaluation of all Values (The Will to Power).
 F.Nietzsche Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in the portable Nietzsche Trans., ed. W. Kaufmann, (New York: Viking, 1954), p115