Nietzsche and the New Ten Commandments
Friedrich Nietzsche, through his created philosophical persona Zarathustra, declared, "God is dead." Zarathustra said this to a Christian sage as he descended a mountain.
The idea of descending to humankind with a great revelation is an ancient theme. Moses in 1500 B.C. descended from Mt. Sinai with the Ten Commandments to reveal the moral law of Almighty God. Plato's philosopher-king descended into the cave to tell the inhabitants that they were mistaking shadows on the wall for true reality, which ultimately was contained in the Forms or Ideas from which all things and behavior emanated. And then, approximately 450 years later, Christ descended from heaven to teach mercy, love, compassion, and application of the moral law by grace through His death on the Cross and resurrection.
With the statement "God is dead" given as revealed truth (sic), the moral law as found in the Ten Commandments was being declared by Nietzsche as shattered, irrelevant. He was stating that the world of spirit was not the essence of the world. And he was rejecting the great moral teachings of Jesus, which expanded the truths of the Ten Commandments and made a new, non-legalistic basis for morality possible in our fallen and sinful world.
Nietzsche was in the grip of an evolutionary fantasy. In this fantasy, humankind was not merely the capstone of the evolutionary cycle, nor was Prussia, as envisioned by Hegel, the capstone of humankind based on a dialectical evolutionary process towards the Absolute. Rather, a new evolutionary stage was on the horizon. A new "type" would emerge that was to humans as humans were to the primates or other lower forms of life. This new type would be characterized as having the "will to power," the power to literally create and even reverse moral values in a fundamental way. Nietzsche called this the "transvaluation of values." This new type – called the "übermenschen" ("supermen," albeit without the cape and large red S on a blue shirt) – would be able to act on new principles whereby the "bad" would be "good" and the "good" would be "bad." Thus, compassion and kindness would be "weakness," and ruthless, unprincipled domination of others would be "strength."
Armed with this thinking, and with other strains of thinking derived from Sigmund Freud, Abraham Maslow, Jacques Derrida, Karl Marx, Herbert Marcuse, Saul Alinsky, Eugene Debs, John Paul Sartre, and John Dewey, among others, whose influences are beyond the scope of this article, the modern, politically correct, overbearing, and self-exalting left has developed an alternate universe to that governed by Judeo-Christian values.
Although various attempts have been made to formulate and formalize these "new values," no document with the authority and power of the Ten Commandments or the Sermon on the Mount as found in the Gospel of Matthew has yet been written. But there is a New Ten Commandments being promoted throughout all Western institutions. Although undocumented, it is insidious and pervasive. It is a synthesis of the deconstructed concepts that have driven Western civilization since the pre-Socratics and up through the 19th century. To describe it as "political correctness" or "leftism" would be true, but it would also be an oversimplification.
This "oversimplification" might be likened to cyanide. Cyanogen chloride is a colorless liquefied gas that is heavier than air and has a pungent odor. While some cyanide compounds have a characteristic odor, odor is not a good way to tell if cyanide is present. Some people are unable to smell cyanide. Other people can smell it at first but then get used to the odor. Cyanide entering a room may smell bad; yet the smell is only a foretaste of the death it brings.
It is interesting to note that in his book United in Hate, Jamie Glazov reveals that the left and the Islamic terrorist world are mutually supportive because at bottom both are expressing a death wish.
Let's look at two of the revisions to the Ten Commandments that are now pervasive in Western Civilization. "You shall have no other Gods before me" has been modified to accept the therapeutic model of faith. Thus, "you shall believe in God if you have needs that cannot be met by other people or available social modalities for interacting – i.e., work or play." Following Maslow, we worship God as part of an overall architecture of "meeting needs." The objective reality of God is no longer as important as the individual's or group's need to believe in God. Our desire to obey God is reduced to our "need" to recapture the sense of belonging we had as a child. Implicit is the Marxist idea that religion is the opiate of the people. Under this model, it is alright to believe, but in essence, our faith makes us "bitter clingers" (to God), whereas those with the proper – i.e., Marxist "opiate-free" – perspective are truly independent and strong.
Even the honored commandment "you shall not murder" is being challenged. The new commandment being advanced, albeit subliminally rather than explicitly, is "you shall not murder unless you can make a historical case for having been a member of a victimized group." More and more we see murders, insurrections, riots, and terrorism repudiated but, at the same time, also partially excused by our leaders, especially Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Elizabeth Warren, and Barack Obama. Despite the Donald Trump victory, these figures and other demagogues of the left will continue to emerge and promote disharmony and crime.
The left's excusing of urban riots in Ferguson, Baltimore, and Dallas has been partially justified by supposed racism "in the DNA" of whites. Well, even if racism were part of DNA (which it is not), how could any riots or murders of police officers possibly change anything? Our eye color is part of our DNA, and all the rioting in the world is not going to change the colors of our pupils.
Nonetheless, the left has given support to Black Lives Matter despite its threats and incendiary chants. This organization is the heir of the Black Power movement led by Stokely Carmichael, Huey Newton, H. Rap Brown, and Bobby Seale in the 1960s, not the true justice for blacks sought by Martin Luther King, Jr. or the voice of humble and sincere black consciousness we find in George Washington Carver. Nevertheless, Black Lives Matter leaders have been frequently welcomed to the White House and encouraged. Police assassinations are surging nationwide. Urban crimes, specifically murders, are proliferating. Why? The commandment "You shall not murder" is no longer believed in by many segments of society and by the left-wing members of our political class as expressing a true and absolute requirement of Almighty God.
The above analysis has only scratched the surface. The central tenets of all the books of the Old and New Testaments are under attack. Attempts are being made to marginalize the philosophy and religion of the past 3,500 years. Nietzsche was a central figure in undermining revealed religion. This challenge has partially succeeded, but resistance to these false concepts must continue until the tide turns.