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Crucibles and volcanoes

“A Christian who ventured upon forbidden pathways of thought might well ask himself one day: is it really necessary that there should actually be a God, and a deputizing Lamb of God, if belief in the existence of these things suffices to produce the same effects?  Are they not superfluous beings, even supposing they do exist?  For all the benefits, consolations, and moral improvements, as likewise all the darkenings and prostrations, bestowed by the Christian religion upon the human soul proceed from this belief and not from the objects of this belief.  The case here is no different from that other celebrated case: there were, to be sure, no witches, but the terrible effects of the belief in witches were the same as they would have been if there really had been witches.  For all those occasions upon which the Christian expects the direct intervention of a God but does so in vain—because there is no God—his religion is sufficiently inventive in reasons and excuses to pacify him: in this it is certainly an ingenious religion. — Faith has hitherto been unable to move any real mountains, to be sure, even though I know not who asserted it could; but it is able to place mountains where there were none before.” — Friedrich Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human (emphasis in original; trans. Hollingdale)

Published inFriedrich NietzscheLit & Crit

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