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Written by Mason Tabor
Christianity as a fallacy
Several sections throughout the maxims and opinions criticize the validity of Christianity and the authenticity of its practice. Nietzsche heralds skepticism by invoking Pilate as the voice of reason in the Christian story. Throughout the work, Nietzsche includes aphorisms against Christianity. Some are short, but usually they are longer, as they serve a fundamental role in his philosophy. He criticizes the authenticity of their claims on the grounds that they are not verifiable, and also criticizes the honesty of the practitioners, whom he suspects of lying to themselves about whether they truly believe in the resurrection.
Art as a human resistence
Given that God does not exist, Nietzsche turns to art, criticizing the belief in inspiration or genius. Art is an intentional force to shape culture, and practice makes perfect.
Skepticism as a productive force
The problem with negative philosophies, which primarily rebut other systems, is that it can be seen as destructive and can be marginalized. For instance, Ayer and the Logical Positivists enjoyed years of controversial thought, but after a while their terms were too broad and proved to be self-defeating. Nietzsche, anticipating similar fall-out writes defensively about being skeptical of unverifiable beliefs.
Obscurantism and mystery in philosophy
Nietzsche defended Obscurantism and anti-Enlightenment philosophy, saying that it was "not to darken individual understanding," but was helpful in darkening our ideas of existence. It is designed to challenge the philosophies of the enlightenment, creating a broader, more obscure philosophical environment. Nietzsche was constantly shaking the foundations of philosophies that seemed assumptive to him.
Conviction and integrity
Nietzsche turns his skeptical eye to specific practitioners of any worldview, maintaining that people are disingenuous in their beliefs. He says of Christians that they mostly "dabble" in Christianity, because if they truly believed what they said they did, it might actually work. He says of love that if someone doesn't feel loved, they might be more vulnerable to religion, but if they succeeded in living a pious life, then it might become helpful to them (93). Especially in religion, but also in atheist philosophies, Nietzsche raises questions about authenticity, with section headings about duality, distrust, skepticism, and dishonesty.
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