Sunday
September 21, 2014

Homework Help: Philosophy

Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, May 31, 2009 at 7:22pm.

I have to write an essay (1000 words) on Niezsche (explain the phrase 'God is dead'). So far I have nearly 600 words. I am struggling with it though now.

Here is what I have written:

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher of the 19th century. He wrote many critical texts on (for example) religion, science and philosophy written in a very distinctive German style. Much of Nietzsche's work remains controversial today and debated about (as a result of the significance, interpretation and also style of his writing). Perhaps one of Nietzsche's more well-known philosophical ideas is that on religion, with his famous statement 'God is dead'.

'God is dead' first appeared in Nietzsche's work, The Gay Science (section 108). It later appears in section 125 (The Madman) and also in section 343. The phrase is also found in 'Thus Spoke Zarathrustra' which familiarized the phrase with many. The idea is stated in 'The Madman' as follows: “God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him”. The phrase seems to be a persistent theme (not only by Nietzsche but re-articulated by others – William Hamilton, Thomas Altizier – as well), and which shocks many, engendering (also) numerous interpretations.

To understand the phrase 'God is dead' one must ask numerous questions such as why did he say it? What was the outcome of the statement? These are just a couple of questions that could be asked.

So, why did Nietzsche say this? What were the causes of this statement? Friedrich Nietzsche was brought up very religiously. Both his grandparents had been ordained into the Lutheran Church, and his father was, also, a minister. Nietzsche was raised by women (after the death of his father and brother) and this took affected him. During Nietzsche's childhood, he also suffered poor health which continued through to adulthood. For Nietzsche, religion was important. He was born into a family of religious aspects and the more religious members died (which, as I have said, affected him). There are many reasons as to why Nietzsche said 'God is dead' (considering his family) and which try to explain the phenomenon such as secularization, the will to power and scepticism.

Secularization refers to the transformation by which society moves from a close relationship with religious institutions to a much more separated one (or the modernization of a society and the lessening dependence on religion).

Now, what happened after he stated the phrase? What were the consequences of it? Nietzsche didn't think God was literally dead (that he existed and then died in a literal sense), he meant that God was dead in modern society – killed by rationalism and science.

His statement lead to many theories and thoughts on certain aspects such as nihilism, perspectivism (truth is dead) and eternal return.

Finally, what does the phrase mean in our society? And compared to Nietzsche's time? What did the phrase mean in other times as well? Nowadays, compared to (much) earlier times, religion is not considered so highly or seen to be so recognizable. Religion is no longer recognized by humans (as it had been in the Middle Ages. In earlier times, the church had more power and more control; it could possibly sometimes be classified as abusive (with its power).

In conclusion, Nietzsche was a great philosopher. When Nietzsche said 'God is dead' he was in a way saying that God is no longer relevant. Throughout the centuries, God has become less and less recognized. No one could have known the impact of one small phrase and how complicated and deep it would become. The phrase challenges people everywhere to look further and be more open to the possibilities of the phrase.

It's not very strong (bad), with little detail so far. Please read through and say anything about it. I really need help so thanks for any help given.

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