God Is Dead, By Friedrich Nietzsche

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“God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.” (Gay Science, 126) This harsh statement remains among Friedrich Nietzsche’s most powerful and disturbing quotes, spoken by a proclaimed Madman to a crowd of disbelievers. After making this claim, the Madman becomes horrified by his audience’s ignorance, noting that “This tremendous event is still on its way.” This has an effect of suspending the Madman’s message in time, expanding its audience infinitely, for the event of God’s death could still be on its way. Therefore, nearly 150 years after these words were written, we must ask ourselves, does God remain dead, and has our modern society killed him? This is a haunting and disturbing question, but in many ways our society does resemble Nietzsche’s masses. However, it also resembles the Madman himself, due to its inherent individualism.
To investigate these similarities, we must first define what Nietzsche means by “God.” If our modern society is seen as an immoral world, and God as morality, then again yes, we have effectually killed God. However, it may be a mistake to think God and Morality entirely synonymous. In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche states, “Morality is the herd-instinct of the individual,” () implying that, since morality preserves the abhorrent mass rather than the sainted individual, it is weakness, a reaction rather than a choice. But in the Madman’s tale, God is not described as a reaction, but as a victim. The mass is shamed by the individual
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