Nihilism is the belief that life is meaningless and that all societal values and norms are baseless. It asserts that mankind is basically an animated speck of dust in a hostile and sometimes indifferent universe and that life itself is purposeless. There is no justice to take the sting out of evil. You are born; you grow up and make a living and die off with no hope for the future or an afterlife. Nihilism is the epitome of pessimism and skepticism. It insists on cosmic purposelessness and epistemological failure. One vociferous advocate of nihilism was a German philosopher named Friedrich Nietzsche, a son of a Lutheran pastor, who coined the phrase “God is dead,” and touted ethical nihilism as is portrayed in his chillingly ominous parable depicted below. The parable was published in the April 8, 1966 issue of Time Magazine (1966):
“Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market-place, and cried incessantly: “I am looking for God! I am looking for God!”…. Where has God gone?” he cried. “I shall tell you. We have killed him – you and I. We are his murderers. But how have we done this? How were we able to drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What did we do when we unchained the earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving now? Away from all suns? Are we not perpetually falling? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there any up or down left? Are we not straying as through an infinite nothing?…. Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is it not more and more night coming on all the time? Must not lanterns be lit in the morning?… How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent?”
This parable underscores the fact that the catastrophic and terrifying consequences of nihilistic beliefs and loss of faith were not lost to Nietzsche himself even as he promulgated the so-called death of God. The irrefutably disastrous consequences of his philosophy are as ghastly as they are destructive. A society that has lost its spiritual moorings has nothing to anchor itself on. Who would atone for such defiant rebellion? Without an objective standard of moral values human life becomes worthless and can be taken on a whim; after all it is meaningless, right? Such teaching attempts to propel humanity toward and anti-divine and anti-human precipice. It creates a defiant world wrought with contempt for its laws leaving the door wide open for objective meaninglessness and making life unbearable (Kimball, 2014). Nietzsche himself predicted that because “God had died” the twentieth century would be the bloodiest and most destructive of all centuries so far, and that a universal madness would grip individuals and societies alike; turning them upside down. Nietzsche called for a race composed of people with the qualities of Superman and this idea fed into the rhetoric of Nazism particularly after Hitler took to studying the literary work of Nietzsche!!!Don’t the Rwandan genocide, the Bosnia-Herzegovina and Syria’s ethnic cleansing …all attest to this as well? He further asserted that truth would become lie and vice versa, and that the unholy would become holy…
Sadly, Nietzsche, led the way in the madness he prophesied, and spent the last eleven years of his life in an institution for the insane…silently staring blankly at the wall.
Do we truly want a God-less society, a God-less world???
Time Magazine. April 8, 1966. Is God Dead? http://www.age-of-the-sage.org/philosophy/friedrich_nietzsche_quotes.html
Linda Kimball.2013.Nietzsche’s Dire Visions: Universal Madness and Genocide. http://patriotsandliberty.com/lindas-latest/2013/3/21/nietzsches-dire-visions-universal-madness-and-genocide