For those that will get offended by the first three words in the title, here’s a quick explanation; Nietzsche, a German Philosopher stated in 1882, “god is dead, god remains dead, and we have killed him,” still rings as truer than ever till this day in our African societies.
Nietzsche announces the death of God in a famous aphorism in his book, The Gay Science, called the madman. In this passage he tells a tale about a madman who runs onto the street screaming, “I seek God! I seek God!” He continues, “God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we comfort ourselves? the murderers of all murders. There has never been a greater deed; and whoever is born after us – for the sake of this deed he will belong to a higher history than all history hitherto.”
The concept “God is dead” mainly states that religion is beneficial in helping us cope with the problems in life. The concept is the construction of civilization with religion and the production of an environment in which we hide our flaws in, only to continue in emptiness.
The Twilight of the Idols…
In his book, Twilight of the Idols, Nietzsche states, “What is called idol on the title page is simply what has been called truth. Twilight of the idols – that is: the old truth is approaching its end.” He thought that the belief in the monotheistic god of Christianity was on the decline, some scholars say. Others are of the opinion that he wanted to symbolize his conviction that faith in true world theories was deteriorating, as it is today with low trust in mainstream media news by the masses on the increase. Some scholars have gone as far as referring to Nietzsche as a Prophet, as seen below:
“Sometimes prophecy seems to consist in man’s ability to experience his own wretched fate so deeply that it becomes a symbol of something larger. It is in this sense that one can compare Nietzsche with the ancient prophets. He felt the agony, the suffering, and the misery of a godless world so intensely, when others were yet blind to its tremendous consequence, that he was able to experience in advance, the fate of a coming generation.”
- Walter Kaufmann
(Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist)
Bringing the topic back home
What is religion, spiritual beliefs, practices and your world view? These are questions we need to answer to have a clearer picture of the next actions we choose to take. For those of us in Africa lucky enough to have the means to live but no meaning to live for, we can draw similarities to a godless world filled with godless faiths. We live in a state of delusion like a virus attacking our central nervous system or the central processing unit, as religion has made us less spiritual and cutting our direct communion with with God.
The total submission to religion or the state is the plague in our African society. African intellects of our modern era have long stated this. However, there is still a larger group of us yet to phantom the power that lies in us. This divides us and brings setback to humanity greater than the collapse of the Tower of Babel.
Religion comforts us, and the state protects us – both provide for us. However, in this world, we find our pillars of religion and state failing to provide, comfort or protect us. Where is God? We ask. We search, seeking from church to church, religion to religion, prophet to man of God. Still, we ask.
The Death of our African gods…
The idea that “God is Dead” originated in Africa with the invasion and colonialism of African traditions and sovereign societies. For almost 400 years, the systematic removal of our ancestral gods and replacement with monotheistic gods might have had an impact on a different level of the notion. Despite parallels, it should be underlined that the death of God in Europe was caused through evolution, but the demise of our gods in Africa was caused by force and trickery.
The modern Nigerian and African lacks the devotion to religious faiths as the older generations had, and this sheds some light on the prospects for the future of African societies – the emancipation of our colonial mental chains – with the rise of a new culture filling the gap currently taken by religion and state. Nietzsche notes that the gap left by “religion” during his time should ideally be filled by “culture”. As in culture to replace scripture, using philosophy, art, music, and literature to influence societal growth.
Where we should go…
We might agree that religion gives us a drug we can count on in our times of problem and joy, while the state provides us the system in which we live. These structures create a need we to defend and scared to speak up against. This leaves us in a high state of dependence, which leads to living a life based on possible misguided beliefs and laws, instead of a life based our limitless human potential.
The pillars of religion and state are setup in a way that urges us to handover our power to the powers that be and accept mediocrity as standard. And so we see feudalism and oligarchy being repackaged to capitalism and democracy.
In his book, The Gay Science, Nietzsche notes, “In fact, we philosophers and “free spirits” feel as if we are illumined by a new dawn, on receiving the news that “the old God is dead”; our hearts overflow with gratitude, wonder premonition, anticipation. At last, the horizon seems to us open again…the sea, our sea again lies open before us; perhaps there has never yet been such an “open sea.”” It was in his opinion that a universe where strong and creative individuals could freely sculpt their own world views was like a universe without a transcendent purpose driving the lives of men toward a common end.
Thoughts to path with…
Do you ever feel as an individual that you attempt to avoid the responsibility and weight of making the best of your life? When a person loses trust in real religion, they are forced to choose between making the most of their life and wasting their days feeling guilty and self-pity for what may have been.
Nietzsche proclaimed the death of God because he felt that a world composed of individuals who did not believe in true world theories would be a much better world. In his last book shortly before he descended into madness, he conveyed this idea in his book, Ecce Homo, “The concept ‘beyond’, ‘true world’ invented in order to devalue the only world there is – in order to retain no goal, no reason, no task for our earthly reality!”
“What you believe is real is but a mirage until you make it real through guidance from “your” spirit.” – Ralu Freeman.