The Antichrist Background

The Antichrist Background

The Antichrist was published in 1895 although Nietzsche completed writing it in 1888. This was due to the controversial nature of the content. It was written during a time when to designate a book as "anti-Christ" or "anti-Christian" would have represented a great evil in Germany. Nietzsche suggests that in order to properly appreciate the work, one might have to be the kind of person who appreciated his prior work Zarathustra, and adds that for truly groundbreaking ideas, a true reception often has to be posthumous. It is also clear that Nietzsche aimed to demolish religious dogmas and prototypes through the work.

Historically, this work, along with Nietzsche's many other writings, represents what eventually became a great advancement in the fields of nihilism, and after that, existentialism. Nihilism is the philosophy that most closely defines Nietzsche's philosophical arguments en masse, stating that firstly, that man's belief in God is unfounded and wrong, and therefore, that our understanding of morality, of purpose, of meaning, are also wrong.

Nietzsche used the book to express the author’s contempt for systematized religion, and Christianity in particular. During his early years, Nietzsche was influenced by the works of Richard Wagner and the Darwinian theories. Although he had a Christian background, he doubted the beliefs as he learned more and wrote essays about his novel discoveries. Evidently, the work is a representation of the nihilistic and existentialistic ideologies that were majorly expressed in his works. The original plan for the work was to criticize Christianity and morality as a form of ignorance. In his new discoveries, Nietzsche had come to believe that human belief in God was baseless and erroneous, and hence the understanding of morals, meaning, and purpose.

The Antichrist hypothesizes that Christianity places weaknesses where virtue must exist. Instead of turning to organized religion and archetype values, he advocated for science and crushed the ‘slave morality’ in Western Christianity. Instead of these primitive concepts of how one ought to regard the human experience, Nietzsche offers an alternative argument, perhaps rooted in the Darwinistic view which was articulated 30 years earlier in the Origin of Species, which states that the primary function for the progression of life is the survival of the fittest through competition.

Nietzsche believed that action and self-reliance will enable people to be stronger. Christianity is regarded as a religion of pity, which has depressive consequences on strength and vitality and hinders the progress of life. It also protects the weak that are to be obviously destroyed. Therefore, Christianity opposes the noble morality and natural laws because it promotes misery and prime instrument for the increase of decadence.

Although the book offers a robust exposition of the consequences of this argument, its core contribution to the literary and philosophical community is that it understands Christianity to be a worldview that privileges the weak. Christianity under this conception is fictional and contrary to the truth of nature, which is that the only moral value in life is power and control.

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