God is dead?2016-12-22
I recalled some lines from a TV series saying, “You talk to God, You are religious. God talks to you, you are psychotic.”when I read the chosen excerpts. These lines are quite funny and yet they also raise a question which seems unfathomable to me. Why do people believe in someone who never responds? And also, why would people like to put themselves in a subordinate position and hail someone else, who may not even exist at all? Given these questions, I almost find it convincing that Christianity or religions reflects a certain amount of weakness.
And then again Nietzsche said ,“God is dead”. Who kills him, the scientific progress, the unrest psychological state of generations? The booming of secular life, is it the cause or the result? Could someone please save me from this pond of questions?
In the first place why does God exists? There may be many explanations, but the major cause is simple: cause life is hard. Then why Nietzsche said "God is dead?" Because he advocated "overman" or "superman" who is strong enough to live without religion.
Here religion means not only Chritianity, or not even "religion" as we usually put it. It is simply an emotional support to lead you through the hardship of life. To rely only on reason and to be endowed with freedom is not only tiring but also painful. Only "hard-minded" person as Professor Sun mentioned in the class and "superman" as mentioned by Nietzsche can do without fake but constant emotional support.
So I think, although the development of science and the growth of secular power seems to be the major reason why religion receded, it is not at all decisive. Still a great number of people would choose to believe in God even if you put the evidence proving "God does not exists" right in front of their eyes. Simply because they need it.
Here, I’m not going to elaborate on the relationship between war and human instinct (which is extremely complicated indeed), but I will try to give an explanation to 婧怡’s question through Nietzsche's ‘will to power'.
According to Nietzsche himself (thanks to Walter Kaufmann’s translation), his idea is that “every specific body strives to become master over all space and to extend its force (--its will to power:) and to thrust back all that resists its extension. But it continually encounters similar efforts on the part of other bodies and ends by coming to an arrangement ("union") with those of them that are sufficiently related to it: thus they then conspire together for power. And the process goes on--”
As such, Nietzsche also addresses that, the drive for conservation appears as the major motivator of human or animal behavior only in exceptions, as the general condition of life is not one of emergency, of 'struggle for existence'. More often than not, self-conservation is but a consequence of a creature's will to exert its strength on the outside world.
I'd also like to share my opinion concerning 婧怡's questions. First of all, from my point of view, I think desire for power (which may correspond with Nietzsche's ‘will to power' in some way) plays more important role in political field than war affairs . The chief culprit for brutal and absurd wars in our modern world is, as it were, human instinct of selfishness and violence. So, I also don’t think it is about the question whether religions are innocent or not, as far as I know, none of those religions teach their believers to launch a war (or as they say, it is necessary when protecting the religion’s Holiness, but it is still not out of deliberate purpose).
Thanks for the interesting topic. In my opinion science will never kill origin. Even the power of science is stronger, it can not solve all the problems human's spirits face. In stead, in the scientific progress, more and more problems which can not be explained by science are found and exposed, which may arouse people doubts about science. Newton's transforming into a Christian is a typical example. Science can explain the reason of people's life and death, but it can not explain people, especially where people's soul came from and where to go. Science can refuse to answer problems like where the world came from and who created the world, but human's spirit is still constantly put forward this kind of questions which can not be answered by science.
Science requires people not to think about their preexistence and after death, but how can human beings, creatures with wisdom and independence stop to be carious about them? In some way I believe the generation of religious beliefs satisfied this psychological need. There are spiritual needs which can not be meet by science, then religion and other methods can find their way of existence.
The quotation 安酱 has mentioned is quite interesting. And I also have the same doubt.
I want to share a sentence i once heard from my friend who is an atheism. She said that human is a creature dominated by horror and greed. And the creation of religion is just to satisfy these two things.
At the beginning of this semester, i did a presentation about early christianity. During the research about the history of early christianity, i found that every time the popularity of christian boost, there always be a disaster. For example, like the plague, and massacre. So i somehow understand what my friend had said about the religion. In ancient time, there were a lot of wars and death, people need the religion or faith is aiming at consoling their soul or inner world. Because they think the outside world and they can only give hope to the future world.
I can understand the function of religion in the ancient time, but as time pass by, nowadays' environment is getting better and better. The religion is no longer as important as it once was. But there are still many people who are really piety believer, who praying for healthy, wealthy and many other things. So i think, for people in modern society, they believe in some religion is just to seek out some comfort.
Actually I have some more questions concerning this topic. We have always seen wars or conflicts caused by religions throughout history and lasting till now. To what extend does men's desire for power play a role in this? Also, we can always find the so-called western countries try to blame Islam countries for these, but isn't this another kind of violence? Are those religions really that holy or innocent?
The same situation happened in Xishiku Cathedral when I was doing the same research. It happened to be the Hollawin, many Chinese Catholics gathered there. Then the bishop celebrated mass. In the session, many time was given for the believers to "reflect" on themselves. The bishop urged the believers in really harsh tone to reflect what they had done and try to be a fresh new man tomorrow. And I was like thinking, come on, it was also a good way to make the believers to internalize their versions of interpretation. To me the two seemed alike on the laws based on which they worked.
My favorite singer Tablo used to sing this kind of sentences in his song Amor Fati: "I believe in myself. I believe in this moment under my eyes......But they call me a non-believer." To be honest, as a non-believer, my points may be shallow, prejudiced and utilitarian, but I think that maybe these religions offer people a very convenient opportunity to rationalize their sorrows, expectations etc. using the name of God but thrugh the mind of themselves.
I'm so excited to find someone that has the same questions as I have done for so long a time!
After reconsideration, I would also like to borrow YI Yanxin's word "因信称义" to explain it. Because I recalled a piece of memory when I went for a research to the Haidian Christian Church. I attended the English session. Usually, protestants have their gatherings in this church. The atmosphere was so caring, warm and holy. I talked with a volunteer who came from the US, he said that he worked here because most Chinese churches held gatherings for Catholics, to him, that didn't match his interpretation to the Bible, so he finally found here and worked here.
He was pious during the whole session, and he did all he could to make the new attendants to feel involved. But I can't help question in my heart, does he really trustin God or is he simply believing in his interpretation? Studying communication, we all know that we often interpret only what we want to see——and maybe in this case, they want to see an answer for the troubles in life, or they want to find warmth, friendness so on, so they just see it through their interpretation.
Maybe the believers don't think the God has never responded. They believe the God is watching their behaviors and listening to their prayers. When the believers talk to god, actually they are talking to their own soul. The response of God is the response of their own heart. They can feel that God gives them peace when their soul is pure and they can feel that God makes them suffer when they find their soul stained.
They put themselves in a subordinate position because they think they are sined and they imagine the existence of a perfect being who can lead them out. I wanna give a not so proper analogy. When you fall in love with someone secretly, you may beautifie his or her in your memory and believe him or her to be perfect. And maybe you will make yourself a better person to match him or her. In this kind of love, you may finally find yourself not loving the real person you thought you love, but loving the "you" who has made great efforts to be better. The love and faith in God is similar. The believers admire the God and consider him to be perfect. And they love the better self because of the worship of God.
Em... Actually my mind is in a mess now after talking so much nonsense... HAHAHA
Personally, I am not a believer, but I think it's OK for christians to believe in God.
Last winter vacation, I went to St Joseph's Cathedral Church in Tianjin. The believers there are almost all elders. They knelt on mats and prayed devoutly. The priest gave me an English prayer. I brought it back home. I thought it was a devine brochure and put it carefully in my bag although I don't believe in God at all. Several days later, when I stayed at home, I recalled the brochure. I opened it. It read, "I confess to almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault......"
When I read these words, a strong power seized my thought, making me reflect on myself. I'm not saying of the power of God of course. It was a sense of holiness and purity and somehow like Confucius's self-reflection idea.