Thus Spoke Zarathustra


What does Nietzsche mean in his statement "God is Dead"?

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Perhaps the most misconstrued statement of Nietzsche's philosophy is the idea that "God is dead." Nietzsche first uses this phrase in his work The Gay Science, though he uses it most famously in Thus Spoke Zarathustra. Without context, such a phrase signals the worst fears of atheism and moral anarchy to a religious person, yet modern theology has done much to reconstruct and recontextualize this theory in light of modern society.

Nietzsche does not mean that God has experienced a physical death (since God is not a physical being). Instead, he hypothesizes that if a Christian society starts to doubt the existence of a spiritual being, the moral fabric of such a society will be pulled apart. Nietzsche is not trying to kill God himself; society had already done that. He is trying to posit a way for humanity to reconstruct itself in the vacuum left by the destruction of Christian morality.