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Eileen Jakeway Instructor: Malcolm Campbell English 1103 9/11/13 Topic Proposal: Our Existence in Limbo: Was Friedrich Nietzsche an atheist? Introduction/O er ie! iet!sche"s #amous $eclaration that %&o$ is $ea$'( has echoe$ to all corners o# mo$ern' )estern thought* Countless philosophers an$ thinkers ha+e rea$ The Parable of the Madman an$ conclu$e$ that iet!sche was an atheist' con$emning Christian morality an$ thereby $isbelie+ing in &o$* I woul$ like to separate these two an$ $issect iet!sche"s work a bit #urther to e,plore what I consi$er the human attempt to un$erstan$ the goo$ an$ e+il o# this worl$ through rationality* -ather than $ispelling belie# in a &o$' iet!sche critici!es the %her$ mentality( that has taken o+er the Christian church as an institution* Congregations are #ollowing whate+er has been han$e$ $own to them because they belie+e it is the %rational( thing to $o* .t the same time' critics argue that iet!sche %reali!e$ that man must un$erstan$ that li#e is not go+erne$ by rational principles/0here are no absolute stan$ar$s o# goo$ an$ e+il which can be $emonstrate$ by human -eason*( 12reis' 3ecture 3: iet!sche' 4reu$ an$ the 0hrust 0owar$s Mo$ernism5 My e,ploration o# iet!sche"s The Parable of the Madman will seek to un$erstan$ the role o# -eason in religion* In John Milton"s Paradise Lost, -eason was a tool employe$ by 6atan' the master o# rhetoric' to tempt E+e into going against &o$* 7umans use -eason to try to make sense o# the worl$* 7owe+er' the morality that #lows #rom &o$ an$ ature' the inherent &oo$ an$ E+il' is thereby blocke$ out by trying to e,plain it* .ny attempts to reason an$ to rationali!e the e,tent o# a worl$ simply outsi$e o# our grasp' are a spiritual step away #rom &o$*

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)ith e+ery %rational( $ecision we make' iet!sche argues that we mo+e one step #urther away #rom the morality stemming #rom &o$ or ature* iet!sche is so +ehemently oppose$ to Christianity' not because he is against &o$' but because he $etests our position in the worl$ as we e,ist currently* )e humans are in limbo between truly moral Christians' $e$icate$ #ollowers who trust completely in &o$ an$ the 9ebermensch' who $eci$es to openly re:ect the ambiguous morality thrust upon him by a spiritual being' but is aware o# his choice an$ takes it upon himsel# to transcen$ goo$ an$ e+il an$ cra#t a new morality* 0his is the ;will to power; iet!sche talks about in The Gay Science* E+entually there will come a man who is strong enough to see that &o$ is $ea$ an$ to take the bur$en o# a new morality upon himsel# consciously* 7owe+er' at the moment' we are simply $ri#ting unawares %away #rom all suns/plunging continually/ backwar$' si$ewar$' #orewar$' in all $irections*( 1 iet!sche' The Parable of the Madman5 9ntil we can lea+e behin$ the tra$itional $e#initions o# morality that we alrea$y ignore an$ take on the bur$en o# creating our own morality' o# transcen$ing goo$ an$ e+il an$ becoming the 9ebermensch' we are con$emne$ to #loat a$ri#t' thinking we are #ollowing &o$' when we are really killing him one $ay at a time' as we #ollow a rationality preache$ at us but not accepte$ spiritually* In these arguments' iet!sche is attacking humanity' not &o$* 0here is a &o$' he says in his writings' but we re#use his morality without accepting our own* 0his is what iet!sche is combatting: the min$less #ollowings o# an institution that is not truly &o$ly* -eally' this $oes not make iet!sche an atheist* It makes him a more conscious' curious Christian than most* In a way' he argues that we can ha+e it one way or ha+e it the other* <ut instea$' we are :ust :oining a min$less her$ mentality an$ a+oi$ing the choice* 0his is what iet!sche abhors' why %this tremen$ous e+ent is still on its way' still wan$ering= it has not yet reache$ the ears o# men*( 1>arable5

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I rea$ The Parable of the Madman in my English class last year as a precursor to rea$ing Joseph Conra$"s Heart of Darkness. )e #ocuse$ especially on the i$ea o# transcen$ing goo$ an$ e+il' because that is e,actly what a character name$ 2urt! $i$ in the no+el* I was incre$ibly intrigue$ by this i$ea o# %killing &o$*( My teacher atten$e$ seminary #or two years an$ so he was incre$ibly intimate with Christian religion in a$$ition to the literature we rea$* John Milton"s work on -eason an$ the choice o# interpretation we ha+e to either mo+e towar$s &o$ or away #rom him also $eeply mo+e$ me* I :ust got more intereste$ in learning more about iet!sche so I re?rea$ the parable :ust #or #un* I"+e been in constant e?mail contact with my teacher since the beginning o# this school year= he was the one who brought up the role o# rationality in Christianity to$ay* 7is name is Mr* )hitesi$e* .n$ then' I e,plore$ the notion #urther by $oing some research about it* 0he two articles I rea$ an$ re#erence$ hea+ily came #rom the #ollowing two sources: http://www*se+enoaksphilosophy*org/religion/en$?o#?#aith*html an$ http://www*historygui$e*org/europe/lecture3*html@ma$man* Mr* )hitesi$e let me bounce i$eas o## him #or the rest* I #oun$ a copy o# the actual work an$ re#erence$ my notes on it #rom last year* Atherwise' I ha+e ha$ con+ersations about my i$eas with #ellow peers an$ #rien$s' but mostly to get their thoughts on it* I rea$ parts o# Paradise Lost again in or$er to re?+isit some o# my other thoughts an$ i$eas* I hope to :ust rea$' rea$' rea$ as much as I possibly can* I think this will $o me the most goo$* My topic is rather comple,* It is a lot to absorb an$ to take in' let alone to un$erstan$ an$ analy!e* 0here is Buite the $isagreement going on' consi$ering that I am trying to argue the e,act opposite than what most scholars ha+e written about* I belie+e that it is :ust too easy to say that iet!sche is an atheist :ust because he writes that &o$ is $ea$* It is not a comprehensi+e enough +iew o# the sub:ect matter or a complete immersion in the te,t* 0he ma:ority o# the $iscussion

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about iet!sche is going on in the literary community* >hilosophers an$ other %thinkers( o# our time are also sure to ha+e something to say* Mostly online articles an$ printe$ publications woul$ be the ones $iscussing the ongoing in#luence an$ interpretation o# iet!sche in our culture* 0he main hotspot #or con+ersations like these also inclu$e uni+ersities' like those #rom some o# the sites I #oun$ use#ul' such as 4or$ham 9ni+ersity or the 6e+en Aaks 6chool in 3on$on*

Initial In"uir# $uestion%s& )as 4rie$rich iet!sche an atheistD

'# Interest in this Topic I was ne+er able to accept the arguments that iet!sche was an atheist* My mom was +ery #amiliar with the &erman philosopher' so I grew up hearing his name a lot* My connection to his work grew when my English teacher aske$ me to rea$ the original parable in &erman' so I might help him better un$erstan$ the English te,t an$ to see i# anything ha$ been lost in translation* 0his really piBue$ my interest #or this particular e,cerpt o# the Gay Science. I notice$ mysel# returning to it again an$ again' especially as I was working on my art collage respon$ing to the prompt %More 7uman than 7uman*( I thought about the 9ebermensch an$ what this concept means #or us in to$ay"s society* 0hen I thought about the spiritual :ourney iet!sche manages to encompass so wholly an$ what morality really is' especially how it is $e#ine$ to$ay* I am so e,cite$ about this topic' about learning more about iet!sche an$ rea$ing lots more o# his work in or$er to accurately e,plicate The Parable of the Madman. It interests me enough to make an interesting research topic' but what I am really looking #orwar$ to is the signi#icance this pursuit has #or me in this part o# my li#e* College is a time to e,plore' to learn

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an$ to #igure out what is meaning#ul to you' as an in$i+i$ual* )restling with Buestions o# morality an$ human e,istence are as critical as they are +aluable* I know what I think I belie+e but I want to $el+e #urther an$ $eeper to see what makes me tick an$ what this means #or society at large* I want to hear iet!sche"s opinion on what it means to be %goo$*( I want to write an$ to research because I belie+e the mental an$ spiritual challenge it poses will make me a better person on the $ay I turn in that paper* I belie+e that writing an$ creating something that is meaning#ul to me an$ that maybe coul$ e+en impact the person rea$ing it in a pro#oun$' metaphysical manner' is an en$ worth pursuing in itsel#*

Next (teps In or$er to continue my research' I will ha+e to #in$ more writings about iet!sche an$ his +iews on morality' rationality an$ Christianity* .s such' I $i$ some preliminary work an$ #oun$ that <rian 3eiter is the current iet!sche e,pert* 3uckily he keeps a blog all about iet!sche calle$ %<rian 3eiter"s iet!sche <log*( I will certainly be searching through his posts an$ articles to #in$ something pertinent to my inBuiry' an$ look at other 3eiter reports* I will use the library to look #or books on philosophy an$ its mo$ern?$ay applications as well as other reports on iet!sche* I hope to #in$ at least one copy o# The Gay Science or Thus Spoke Zarathustra so I can re#erence the original te,t in my research* Atherwise' I will continue to +isit uni+ersity"s pages' such as Fale an$ the 9ni+ersity o# otre Game' because they ha+e some +ery help#ul Apen Anline Classes* I will also certainly continue to email with my teacher an$ use him as an immensely important resource in my work* Ance I ha+e a more speci#ic i$ea o# what I am looking #or' I will certainly use the library assistants #or help*