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In an ideal world, any religion should give people a life-affirming perspective and
philosophy, it should champion a way of life that teaches people to value their selves, their
individuality and their subjective-ness, it has to indoctrinate the people to appreciate and treasure
the world and the present because the people themselves and the world where they live in are
both the creation of the one and the same god, the creator who should appreciate, love and want
the best for his creation. Likewise, the creations will also be able to feel and know the wishes of
their creator and as such, they would affirm themselves, their neighbor and the world. However,
the world where people dwell is not a perfect world nor is it close to perfection, it is far from it.
To illustrate the imperfections of the world one would need not to go far to discover it: look at
the misconceptions and misunderstandings of the people regarding the teachings of the Church,
the irregularities and limitations applied to the people by the government, the ill-conceived
blaspheming against God by those who are trying to affirm the life given by the creator who is
said to blasphemed against. As the German American philosopher of the Frankfurt School of
Critical Theory Herbert Marcuse said, the rational society is actually irrational. The effect
being that people look far too much ahead in the future or the other world to search for the best
things in life and in doing so, they not only took for granted the present and this world, they also
concede themselves, their lives and their potential. They omitted what was in front of them, they
missed the obvious and complicated themselves and their lives.
Why is it that some people deny themselves and this world while others sacrifice
everything for the glory and satisfaction this world can present? How come others dream of the
next world, believing that there is such, devoting all their thoughts, actions and wishes toward
the promised world while others dedicate every fiber of their being to achieve the greatest dream
in this life? Is blaspheming against God the greatest sin or is blaspheming against the life which
God created, cared and loved, the greatest sin? Is there really a difference between the two
blasphemies or are they of the same tree from different parts? Should there be any difference? Is
there any way to know or understand this enigma, this mystery of life within itself?
Considering all these irrationality and complications with the supposed to be rational and
simple way of life, it can be deduced that the best answer to these inquiries would be found on
the philosopher who asks the same line of questions. The philosopher who dreamed of fulfilling
the unfulfilled potential of man, even if it means deconstructing his established beliefs and
norms, his religion, and his god. The philosophy bermensch of Nietzsche would be used in this
paper to present and argue that life is worth affirming and thus, worth living: man can only fulfill
his true potential if he will affirm and not deny this world, this life, and himself. Furthermore, it
is important to present in this paper how the misconceptions behind religion, the Roman Catholic
Church and its Filipino faithful, can sometimes still be at fault even if it intended and willed with
everything but bad intentions, and how it can and would also sometimes result to a life denying
belief and way of life, be tackled and analyzed in order to present how the bermensch of
Nietzsche, the denial of gods and other worldly concepts help in such undertaking.

bermensch, Faith, God, Man

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a. The Rebellious Pioneer
God is dead. It was a flamboyant and horrific public display of courage or idiocy for the

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche of the 19th century who famously coined this saying.
What he did was considered idiotic because what he did is tantamount to the greatest blasphemy
possible during his time; by pronouncing that God is dead it is identical to saying that he does
not believe in the Church and that he is against the belief they hold about God and that much is
considered taboo. But then again, what Nietzsche did takes a mountain of courage to challenge
the established beliefs which the people hold dear. He believed that the death of God, would give
men a chance to come out of their cocoon. A chance that would make the strong conquer those
who are weak; a chance that will ultimately emphasize the effect of a master and slave mentality.
All these are possible because the death of God is not just the death of a deity; it is also the death
of all the so-called higher values that we have inherited. 1 The reason for this thorough clean-up
philosophizing of Nietzsche is not because Nietzsche wanted to arrogantly disprove the teachings
of the Church or to cause a mindless revolution regarding the virtues and values of the people.
Nietzsche started all these thinking and philosophizing for the reason that he wanted the people
to value their life, their subjectivity and the world that they are living in at the present and it is
only possible through a thoroughly examined, changed and developed attitude regarding life and
the world.
b. Life and Works of Friedrich Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was born in the small German town of Rcken bei Ltzen
on October 15 1844 to a religious family; his father, uncle, and grandfathers were all Lutheran
1 Sam Atkinson, ed., Man is Something to be Surpassed, The Philosophy Book, (2011: DK

Publishing, New York) p. 218

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ministers. His father and younger brother died when he was a young child, and he was brought
up by his mother, grandmother, and two aunts.2 The date coincided with the 49th birthday of the
Prussian King, Friedrich Wilhelm IV, after whom Nietzsche was named.3
During the nomadic years of Nietzsche he wrote his main works, among which are
Daybreak (1881), The Gay Science (1882), Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1883-85), Beyond Good
and Evil (1886), and On the Genealogy of Morals (1887). Nietzsches final active year, 1888,
saw the completion of The Case of Wagner (May-August 1888), Twilight of the Idols (AugustSeptember 1888), The Antichrist (September 1888), Ecce Homo (October-November 1888) and
Nietzsche contra Wagner (December 1888).4
At the age of 24 he became a professor at Basel University, where he met the composer
Richard Wagner, who inuenced him strongly until Wagners anti-semitism forced Nietzsche to
end their friendship. In 1870 he contracted diphtheria and dysentery, and thereafter suffered
continual ill health. He was forced to resign his professorship in 1879, and for the next ten years
traveled in Europe. In 1889 he collapsed in the street while attempting to prevent a horse from
being whipped, and suffered some form of mental breakdown from which he never recovered.
He died in 1900 aged 56.5

2 Sam Atkinson, ed., Man is Something to be Surpassed, The Philosophy Book, (2011: DK

Publishing, New York) p. 217

3 Friedrich Nietzsche, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, April 29, 2011, accessed March 30,

4 Ibid
5 Sam Atkinson, ed., Man is Something to be Surpassed, The Philosophy Book, (2011: DK

Publishing, New York) p. 217

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During his creative years, Nietzsche struggled to bring his writings into print and never
doubted that his books would have a lasting cultural effect. He did not live long enough to
experience his world-historical influence.6


a. History of the Catholic Filipino Faith
In the 1500s, the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan encountered the Philippines
while sailing under the flag of Spain in search of a western route to the East Indies, the source of
the spice trade. He and his men landed on the island of Cebu in the central Philippines. Most
Philippine communities, with the exception of the Muslim sultanates in the Sulu archipelago and
Mindanao, were fairly small without a great deal of centralized authority. The absence of
centralized power meant that a small number of Spaniards were able to convert a large number of
Filipinos living in politically autonomous units more easily. Magellan's arrival in Cebu
represents the first attempt by Spain to convert Filipinos to Roman Catholicism. After Magellan,
the Spanish later sent the explorer Legaspi to the Philippines, and he conquered a Muslim
Filipino settlement in Manila in 1570. Islam had been present in the southern Philippines since
sometime between the 10th and 12th century. It slowly spread north throughout the archipelago,
particularly in coastal areas.7
During the whole process the Spanish friars were forced to learn the native language of
the peoples they sought to convert. Without schools that trained people in Spanish, the Spanish
friars had no choice but to say Christian mass and otherwise communicate in the vernacular
6 Friedrich Nietzsche, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, April 29, 2011, accessed March 30,

7 Susan Russell, Christianity in the Philippines, Center for Southeast Asian Studies Northern

Illinois University, accessed April 4,


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languages of the Philippines. There are over 200 native languages now; it is unknown how many
existed in the beginning of Spanish rule.8
Based on the findings, it is likely that the Spanish friars, as a whole, responsible for
converting the people to Christianity had some problems regarding the multitude of dialects
within the country and therefore, problems with reaching and teaching the people with the exact
message they intend. As it is, having a message understood exactly how it is intended to be
understood is a problem within itself. While this is the case, appending the difficulty of learning
and translating the message to a foreign language and to a foreign people with an existing
religion would be more difficult and as an effect, it would not come as a surprise if there would
be some misunderstanding with some beliefs and teachings of Christianity in the Philippines.
b. The Will to Power and the bermensch
Nietzsche proclaimed the death of God. It was not an empty move made to provoke the
anger of the Catholics. The idea was to produce a cultural effect that will eliminate the preexisting notion of bad and good, of black and white. If there will be no religion for man to
blindly follow, there will be nothing to use as an object to compare against. Man will be left to
himself. He will have to recreate all his values from nothing. There will be no bias, no prejudice
and no blind following. Man will have re-examine everything and rise against his former self.
Without the sense of an omnipotent being, without any religion there will be no sense of
objective source of values. More people will realize that religious beliefs are empty and that
progress through science does not offer any meaning and purpose at all. A sense of emptiness

8 Ibid

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will prevail. Everything will amount to nothing, there is no supernatural order, no divinely or
rationally ordained goal.9
Out of this condition, this perfect nihilism, man must rise to power. Nietzsche believed
that this event, the death of God, is necessary for man to have the chance to open his
consciousness regarding himself, his values and his world. He supposed that this condition will
be a test to set apart the strong from the weak. The former taking the condition as an opportunity
to rise up and the latter as a disaster that will wreak havoc on the existing order.
Since religion and its teachings are created out of weakness and deference, the death of
God will signal a massive change that will bring out a nihilistic condition and a sense of crisis to
man. But Nietzsche believed that those who will overcome this condition will bring about the
revaluation of values. The revaluation of values is an affirmation of the values that express our
humanity. The categories of good and evil are categories of the weak; they represent the
illusion that there are objective moral facts in the world. There is a need to go beyond good and
evil.10 The term is derived from Thus Spoke Zarathustra, in which Nietzsche proclaims the
Overman as the end goal of humanity. The Overman is someone who has so refined his will
to power that he has freed himself from all outside influences and created his own values.11
The Overman is the ideal image of humanity for Nietzsche. The Overman is not
someone who will conquer others, but one who overcomes himself. He masters the destructive
drives within him, his all-too-human passions and fears. The Overman is one who has
mastered his passion and fears and affirmed his individual self. Such ideal is a union of spiritual
9 Friedrich Nietzsche, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, April 29, 2011, accessed March 30,

10 Ibid
11 Ibid

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energy with well-being and an excess of strength, he combines the Roman Caesar with Christs
soul, a unity of passion and reason, harmony of the Dionysian and Apollonian spirit. The
Overman will abolish the false idols of conventional morality and replace it with the morality
of the strong. The Overman is the individual who will be the fulfillment of all the unfulfilled
potential of humanity. The death of God provides a glorious opportunity for the strong and the
fearless to emerge from the herd, from the common and be the Overman. The Overman
should be the goal of everyone.12
c. Collusion Between Faith and bermensch: Life Denying to Life Affirming
Every person who have had his fair share of life would agree that living has always been
hard and will always be, that life has been proven to be unfair at times. Thus, one is ought to
know that Fairness does not govern life and death. If it did, no good person would ever die
young.13 How can people treat the life that they are and other people are living in fairly if they
have these ideas of two different worlds and that those two worlds are composed of a lesser
world and a greater world; a temporal and fake and a permanent and real world? If living has
been that hard, why then would people think badly and complain regarding their lives the world
they are living in. when they should been using their logic and rationality to do something about
it? Is it because life is so hard that people should direct their gaze on something other worldly,
like heaven for Christians or like the real world for the ancient philosopher Plato? Both Plato
and the Christian community of believers have the same share of blame when it comes to this
kind of philosophy and or belief. People, nowadays, have this kind of logic and this kind of
understanding as their second nature and it can be seen that it was inherited from a long line of
12 Ibid
13 Mitch Albom, Five People You Meet in Heaven, (2003: Hyperion, New York) p. 27

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tradition and thus cannot be stopped or removed unless continuously and gradually challenged.
People held this belief that there are two worlds for them, one world as Plato puts it, is the
apparent world and the other one is the real world. The apparent world is that which
people currently live in, the world where the five senses rule and on the other hand is the real
world which is only conceivable and attainable by the intellect. Although the Christians believed
in a different set of dogmas, it can be understood that the two philosophy or belief from Plato and
the Christians is of the same coin, they differ only from what side of the coin they are attributed
to. The Christians believed in a promised world; which is either heaven for those who have and
done good; and hell for those who have done and been evil. Customarily the Christians see the
present world as a form of test that will ultimately lead them to their promised land which is
Heaven; this is only the case when they stay true to the teachings of the Church. It can be said
that, in some sense, the present world becomes something substantially less when compared to
the world that they are promised if they stay true to their beliefs.
Both the Platonic and Christian version of the idea that the world is divided into a
real and an apparent one have profoundly affected our thoughts about ourselves. The
suggestion that everything of value in the world is somehow beyond the reach of this
world leads to a way of thinking that is fundamentally life-denying. As a result of this
Platonic and Christian heritage, we have come to see the world we live in as a world that
we should resent and disdain, a world from which we should turn away, transcend, and
certainly not enjoy. But in doing so, we have turned away from life itself in favour of a
myth or an invention, an imagined real world that is situated elsewhere.14

14 Sam Atkinson, ed., Man is Something to be Surpassed, The Philosophy Book, (2011: DK

Publishing, New York) pp. 219-220

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Conventionally, people were satisfied with their lives even if it was not good enough,
even if they are having such a hard time with it and even if they know that they can still do
something about it and that they can ultimately have a better life than what they are living. Why
is that? It is because they believed that this life is not all that important and that they still have
another world to live in and that other world is eternal, full of absolute happiness and
fundamentally perfect. Nietzsche recognized the effect that Plato and the Christian faith had to
the way of thinking and the lives of the people. He was also able to see through the illusions of
his time and the empty promises it holds. Nietzsche knew that someday people will fall face flat
on the concrete floor of truth that is made of reality and it was him who first took the challenge
to wake the people up from all these illusions and promises and it was also him who the first to
try to rouse up the thoughts of the people against the established norms and beliefs during his
time. He believed that what the people need is not another set of beliefs, dogmas, doctrines, faith
and or another kind of religion, but a mind that is clear, a rationality that is not gullible, a way of
thinking that is free from any bias or prejudice of any kind, a disposition that will not seek help
from any philosophical and or theological testimonial. Nietzsche wanted his philosophy to
produce a revaluation of all values, an attempt to call into question all of the way that we are
accustomed to thinking about ethics and the meaning and purpose of life. 15 As a philosopher,
Nietzsche was aware that very few people from his time and from his past valued their
subjectivity as they should and that people were, in a way, afraid of being honest with themselves
and the subjectivity every individual possesses. Subsequently, these problems that Nietzsche saw
in the people were the results of their time; because majority of the people back then just wanted
to do or copy whatever the trend is. People never really cared thinking about asking why. And

15 Ibid p. 218

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the same can be seen and said in the contemporary period. Various trending practices have been
created: ignoring the logic behind them and just going with flow, not ever wondering why or
what it means. People blindly submit to the trends, not knowing that this sort of practice numbs
and kills their capacity to know, without realizing that they are being oppressed. As a result, they
have a paralysis of their critical attitude. Nietzsche wanted the people to be aware, to be critical
of what they are believing in because not only it affects their way understanding of the world, it
also affects everything around them and how they see life and how they are living their lives.
After seeing all the problems that his people and his time holds, Nietzsche knew that his
philosophy would not be appreciated at the present because challenging the established norm
during his time would take a considerable amount of time, but he also knew that someday it will
eventually happen. Nietzsche knew that to able to help the people, he would have to start with
the very beginning and that he would have to erase some of the beliefs the people hold dear. He,
therefore, wanted the people to be aware of their idea of man, of their religions, its gods and
goddesses and lastly, of their established norms and beliefs. Nietzsche wanted to make the people
be critical and sensitive when it comes to the norms that the times are handing to them; he
wanted the people to embrace their subjectivity, their lives, the world they live in, and for them
to ultimately enjoy their life and have a better world.
Nietzsche wanted the people to have a better life but before he can be able to help them
do that, he must first destroy the foundation of all the beliefs, which is the Church and its god
figure, the people have and that will obviously hurt a lot people and that would also give the
inescapable reason to get mad at him. Considering the consequence, he acted all the same
because it is necessary. According to Nietzsche the reason for the negative outlook of the people
regarding life is their belief of the other worlds or the next worlds, which was discussed in the

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earlier part of the paper, and thus it must be eradicated to be able to initiate the first step towards
a life affirming attitude or philosophy towards life. In relation to the belief of the people
regarding the Church, Heaven and God, the Christians would preach that the Church does
nothing but help them to become a better person and do good things and that it would do
anything but hinder the process towards a better life and to tell them that their religion is
something that had made them, in a sense, a life-denying person is tantamount to blasphemy. The
greatest blasphemy was to blaspheme against God; but now the greatest blasphemy is to
blasphemy against life itself.16 This is the error that Zarathustra believes he made upon the
hillside: in turning away from the world, and in offering up prayers to a God who is not there, he
was sinning against life.17
Nietzsche believed that people should live in the present, and that people should
appreciate and value the here and now and stop savoring thoughts of a world that is promised
after life. One would be wise not concern himself with what he cannot understand or know and
that which is not attainable especially when the person can live in a world that is in front of him,
a world that is real, a world that he can feel, grasp and understand, a world where he is living at
the present. As Ludwig Wittgenstein expressed in his book entitled Tractatus LogicoPhilosophicus, what can be said at all can be said clearly, and what we cannot talk about we
must pass over in silence. A devout Christian would contradict this and say that the concept of
Heaven is what pushes them to do well and avoid evil, a Christian would defend his faith at
whatever cost possible. Although an atheist or someone who is not religious would believe
otherwise, the Christians would still believe in what religion they were raised in and also defend
16 Ibid
17 Ibid

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the very same religion which they praise. Mistrustful of what they do not understand and what is
not relatively the same as them, people would not dare believe whatever other people say
because it is not something that is familiar with them and it is not something they understand.
For instance, people would not try to understand nor hear out something that would defy or
challenge the things they value or the beliefs they hold true even if the opposite of it can be and,
or is the truth.
Human beings do not so much flee from being tricked as from being harmed by
being tricked. Even on this level they do not hate deception but rather the damaging,
inimical consequences of certain species of deception. Truth, too, is only desired by
human beings in a similarly limited sense. They desire the pleasant, life-preserving
consequences of truth; they are indifferent to pure knowledge if it has no consequences,
but they are actually hostile towards truths which may be harmful and destructive.18
Some people believe in the Church because its teachings and the faith it professes is useful for
them, but they would not obviously accept the term useful to define their religion. Contrary to
this, how they see and use their religion is only as something that kills the symptoms of a rather
psychological cause for a second rate way of living and the bad thing about it is that they do it
unconsciously. An addict cannot cured unless he accepts the fact that he is sick and
acknowledges the other fact that he needs help because he is an addict who cannot help himself
at the moment. Nietzsche is trying to help the people but the people would not let him help them
because they of their ego and pride regarding their established beliefs and norms. Elvis Presley, a
legend and an icon in music industries, once said, People think you are crazy if you talk about

18 Friedrich Nietzsche, The Birth of Tragedy and Other Writings, ed. Raymond Geuss and

Ronald Speirs, (1999: Cambridge University Press, New York), p. 143

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things they do not understand. Nietzsche was telling people a kind of philosophy that they do
not understand and they would not try to understand it as well because it defies the beliefs they
have had their entire life and so Nietzsche continually challenge it to be able to open their eyes to
the truth even if it hurt them. Likewise, Nietzsche believed that disposing their claim upon the
other worlds and the promised life after death would be the first step towards a new, real and
authentic life that would let them be free from the claws of life denying attitude regarding life
and this would serve as a stepping stone to becoming the Overman. The Overman, as the
professor of Existentialism and Phenomenology, Dr. Jove Jim Aguas, of the third year class of
Philosophy of academic year 2013-2014 from the University of Santo Thomas wrote in his paper
to his students is someone who has so refined his will to power that he has freed himself from
all outside influences and created his own values and that the Overman is also an individual
who will be the fulfilment of all the unfulfilled potential of humanity. In short, the Overman
is someone who lives his life at the present and accepts and embraces the fact that he is living in
the here and now, and does not readily accept the norms and beliefs that is thrown at him, he is
an individual who is critical of everything and he also has the courage to be able to redefine his
own values and ethics that no outside influence would distract him nor would he be biased
because of his prejudices or tendentiousness.
Foundational to this goal of the Overman is a courageous, open-minded, critical,
sensitive towards what has potential of being false but insensitive towards what is rightfully
wrong when it comes to beliefs and virtues, strong willed and does not bend unto the herd of
common people, and also has progressive attitude and does not succumb to a stagnant way of
thinking, adventurous and readily experiments when one is need of truth and does not shy away
from any conclusion when an argument is offered, is a free-spirited person. Nietzsche believed

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that what the people need to be free from all these second rate way of living and these repetitive
cycle of averaging practices regarding the attitude towards life is a free spirit. All these apt
requirements of an Overman relates to the development of people ignoring, some to the point
of hating, the philosophy of Nietzsche; his philosophy was seen to be crazy, misunderstood,
offensive at worst because of the beliefs and norms defying nature it has. Prior to these reactions
of the people, Nietzsche knew that it would be hard to achieve the Overman but he insists that
it is what is needed to fulfill the unfulfilled potential of humanity. Hence, Nietzsche, believe that
only the Overman with all his superhuman characteristics can lead the people to an authentic,
refreshing, life affirming way of living. Nietzsche knew that it will be hard and it is also for that
exact same reason that only the Overman can spearhead this revolution regarding the
established norms and attitude regarding life because people will not only be antipathetic but
they will also be resentful and hostile towards the philosophy he lives with. Once the people are
done hating the Overman they will follow him and they will again be a herd of common
people, a kind that is learning to value their individuality and subjectivity, until they become men
of their own.


In conclusion, the concept of a life affirming philosophy of Nietzsche was made for men
to have a better life but in doing so, one must first reduce all the established norms and beliefs
and disposed the thoughts of the next or other worlds. The philosophy of Nietzsche calls for a
revaluation of the established sense of morality and ethics of the people and replace it with a
revalued sense of morality and ethics of the Overman. Nietzsche believe that this is a
necessary thing to do so that the people can enjoy the change from the life denying attitude they
have had for such a long time to a life affirming philosophy and way of life. In contrast to this

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philosophy of Nietzsche one would be wise to wonder, if there would be a revaluation of ethics
and morality, how can an individual be certain that what Nietzsche is pointing to him is better
than what he has now? And yes, one can see that there are times when a misconception or a
misunderstanding regarding the teachings of the Church can make a person deny the life he is
living at the present, but this is only true when a person does not fully comprehend or understand
the teachings of the Church and there also the case of some people doing some deeds that pursue
the interests of the Church only to get the rewards the Church promises to him and not doing
things because they are intrinsically good in themselves and so, in a sense, one fails to have an
honest, loving, and caring heart which the Church is trying to teach her sons and daughters.
The traditional interpretation of Nietzsche was that people are blaspheming against life
when they turn their back against the world to praise God. But this is not always the case, one
can embrace the world and still praise God at the same time. A person believes in God not
because it is for the weak. Believing in something that you cannot see can sometimes be
considered as foolishness but believing in God even when things go rough for a long time and
still stay strong and continue to hope is strength and it also an experience that teaches a person to
be persistent against the difficulties of life no matter what. Nietzsche believe that to be able to
attain the state of and or to become an Overman, one should first dispose his belief in God and
the other metaphysical values that comes with it because he suppose that belief in God and the
teachings of the Church is nothing but a hindrance towards a life affirming attitude but that is not
always the case. Although there are some cases when Nietzsche is correct regarding his point
about religion, an Overman would also be able to see that this is not absolute and that there are
instances when a faithful can do wonders that is undefinable and is also above every possible
explanation philosophy and the sciences can hope to provide. And to conclude, an individual

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should see that belief in the Church is not an absolute evil thing to do. One can still affirm life
while praising and believing in God provided that it is within the right context and understood in
the way it should be understood. God and religion is not a burden but a blessing to those who
truly want to affirm life no matter what philosophy you profess and believe in.