The Death of God

I remember somewhere in the middle of my journey into extinguishing my skepticism and doubt I came across the Phrase, “God is Dead.”  It caught me off guard, because it was such a bold statement.  Bold that such a person would say such a thing.  That instead of simply saying: ‘Oh, we just don’t believe in God,’ but to be gutsy in announcing that the so-called creator was dead.  And then I found the source of it, – Friedrich Nietzsche and his story of how he killed God.

Yet the essence of the phrase wasn’t just about belief or unbelief in God, but the cultural impact of a godless society.  Godless in the sense that he is dead; no longer with us; no longer a personable being.  In such that as a society we have to function in the full knowledge, that we are without a personable God watching over every breathing movement of us.  {In all honesty, that was a new and very scary thought to me.}  So then like many others before me, I killed my God.

That’s ludicrous some might say, but in the words of Nietzsche: “God is dead, and we have killed him, you and I!”

Well, How could a man kill a God?????

Untitled (God Died)

by Bill Barnes, an ex-Christian

God died today in the heart of another man.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
And in this soil a seed is planted.

God died today in the mind of another woman.
The black dirt, the moist earth,
From this new garden, wisdom grows.

I was always taught that God died that I might live.
I never realized how true this was.
His death nourishes the seeds of wisdom, happiness, and freedom.

This is a eulogy, a benediction.
I am saddened by my loss,
But know a better life is ahead of me.

Love and hate marked this relationship.
I loved this mythical invisible father.
I hated the crotchety old judge.

Like the child of an alcoholic,
Or a battered wife, who still loves her husband,
I am glad he’s gone, but I still miss him.

The new garden I have has wonderful plants,
But I still have to pull weeds of doubt and guilt,
It’s my responsibility now.

As a child must grow and leave the safety of home,
I have grown and left the eternal security of heaven.
I have outgrown my god, and laid him to rest.

The quote/poem isn’t just about the existence or non-existence of a God.  One needs to realize that Nietzsche was not making a theological statement, but a cultural statement. It’s a statement about people and our society and practical faith.  He was implying that the people of this world and culture, no longer believed in the idea of God or acted in a way that reflects the existence of God.  “God is dead” is both a literal perspective, -that religion is no longer relevant, and a figurative perspective, -that we no longer have a need for transcendent manual for morality and spiritual living.

And this is what happens in the heart of every former believer as it also happened to Nietzsche.  They search for God, in their hearts, in people, in books, in society, and in love.  But we can’t find him.  We cry out with from the depths of our heart & soul screaming “Where are you?  Can you hear me?”  Some of us hear our Own Voice.  However, some of his hear Nothing.  Yet, in that silence we give God his funeral and respond with our continued search for truth and answers.

God is dead, and we have all taken part in killing him, with Our Enlightenment Thinking, Our Science, Our Reason, Our Questions, Our Skepticism, Our Doubt, and Our Rationality.  We have all partook in the killing of God.

God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?
—Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann
 * God is Dead, and a crazy man killed him…
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About M. Rodriguez

When I first received Christ salvation, I made it a priority to read the whole bible and I did. But it was the Bible that made me question my faith. For I found it flawed and lacking. Due to this I launched a personal inquiry/investigation into my faith, and ultimately realized that the Christian God of the Bible was indeed man-made. Now I Blog about those findings and life after Christ.
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12 Responses to The Death of God

  1. Don Hartness says:

    “Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?”

    It was inevitable in hindsight; there is no room for the concept of “god” in human evolution. As a species, we are on a path towards “godhood”. After all, is not “our enlightenment thinking, our science, our reason, our questions, our skepticism, our doubt, and our rationality” towards this end?

    If we do not achieve “godhood”, then the death of god will only be the death of ourselves as gods.

  2. Lana says:

    Interesting poem. There are a lot of Christians in the death of God movement who think of God as dead too….

  3. Neil Rickert says:

    Thanks for posting. The link you provided gives good background on what was Nietzsche’s actually point.

    And, yes, that was an interesting poem.

  4. aynway says:

    The death of God theological movement picked up momentum among both Jews and Christians after the holocaust. The founding of Humanistic Judaism in the early 1960s was one result. When I was in the seminary in the 1980s, Gabriel Vahanian’s The Death of God, originally published in 1957, was still a recommended work.

  5. If I were writing this paper, I would probably start with the whole quote: “God is dead, and we have killed him, you and I!” And then I would probably note that it came out of a whole book, entitled Thus Spoke Zarathustra (or you can cite The Gay Science). The point is, you can’t write about a half a sentence. Or you could, but you would invariably be wrong — because you wouldn’t know what you were talking about. The quote isn’t about the existence or non-existence of a god, or God, or whatever. It’s a statement about people and our society. If you were to actually read the passage that it comes from, you would see that it in no way sparks a religious debate.

  6. Jerry Holden says:

    According to Nietzsche, it is only when nihilism is overcome that a culture can have a true foundation upon which to thrive. He wished to hasten its coming only so that he could also hasten its ultimate departure. Heidegger interprets the death of God with what he explains as the death of metaphysics . He concludes that metaphysics has reached its potential and that the ultimate fate and downfall of metaphysics was proclaimed with the statement God is dead.

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