God is Dead, Nietzsche proclaimedQUESTION: God is Dead, Nietzsche proclaimed
God is Dead, Nietzsche proclaimed. But he did not say this on a note of triumph, in the style of earlier atheism the tyrant has been overthrown and man is now free. Rather he said it in the anguished tones of the most powerful and delicate piety deprived of its proper object. Man, who loved and needed God, has lost his Father and Savior without possibility of resurrection. The joy of liberation one finds in Marx has turned into terror at mans unprotectedness. Honesty compels serious men, on examination of their consciences, to admit that the old faith is no longer compelling. It is the very peak of Christian virtue that demands the sacrifice of Christianity, the greatest sacrifice a Christian can make. Enlightenment killed God; but like Macbeth, the men of the Enlightenment did not know that the cosmos would rebel at the deed, and the world become a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.1
God is Dead -- Nietzsche Declares the Intolerable
By declaring, God is Dead, Nietzsche is waking the Western world to the consequences of Divine homicide.
Nietzsche replaces easygoing or self-satisfied atheism with agonized atheism, suffering its human consequences. Longing to believe, along with intransigent refusal to satisfy that longing, is, according to him, the profound response to our entire spiritual condition. Nietzsche surveyed and summed up the contradictory strands of modern thought and concluded that victorious rationalism is unable to rule in culture or soul, that it cannot defend itself theoretically and that its human consequences are intolerable.2
1 Allan Bloom, The Closing of the American Mind (Simon & Schuster, New York, 1987), pp. 195-96.
2 Ibid. p. 196.