Nietzsche mistook the message of the Church for the message of Christ

Nietzsche said, “Christianity is the biggest destroyer of man.” Nietzsche, one of the great thinkers in world history, was incredibly negative on the subject of Christianity. He viewed Christianity as the ultimate weakness.

Christianity, according to Nietzsche, glorifies weakness. It glorifies illness, weak people, and promotes those individuals as the virtuous, rather than the strong and the risk-takers. It does this through several traditions. A couple of these are the sacrament traditions. Confession removes the incentive to be good at all times and not give in to weakness. Anointing of the sick gives courage and hope to the weak and sick. There is less public glory for the strong and healthy. Equating heaven with the afterlife is damaging. Heaven gives a final out – you don’t need to be good all your living days to experience a blissful eternity.

Christianity is the organized religion centered around Christ and the Bible’s New Testament. It is the religious organization that follows the pope and meets on Sunday to celebrate together. Christianity is the practice of worshiping Christ. That is different from the message of Christ. The message of Christ is the words and meaning behind the words that Christ embodied. The message of Christ is captured in the Bible. The message of the church is captured in the public statements by priests, the Pope, and members of any attended clergy.

The church is global as well as local. One church may tune the message from the rest of the churches. The message of the Bible is universal and constant. That is, the words of the Bible are constant. These words can be interpreted differently.

Jesus Christ had one motivation – to remove suffering from the world. He showed people how to remove suffering from the world through his example. He lived the perfectly virtuous life and inspired others to do the same. When given the choice to flee his death or become a symbol of righteousness, he was stapled to the cross in gruesome fashion.

The church has other motivations. The church, as an institution, will decline to nonexistence if it does not maintain membership. The church must compete against other churches, against other religions, and against other activities. It must appear positive in media in order to not degrade the image of the members or the leaders.

The church, therefore, must have an ego. It must have mechanisms in place to appeal to groups of people. This goes directly against the teachings of Jesus. Jesus taught that one is only happy when he is virtuous, and that the ego must be destroyed to live in virtue. The church must guard its reputation to continue to please people. So, while the church can reach the message of Christ, it necessarily cannot live them out.

Nietzsche mistook the message of the church for the message of Christ. This is shown in his contempt for Christ, which he articulates in a couple of his books. The message of Christ is not the same as the message of the church. For example, to have no ego is the message of Christ but not the church. It is the church that makes more sense for the academic attacks by Nietzsche, not the message of Christ.

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