Friday, April 2, 2010

Romancing Nietzsche

do you (still) believe in goD?


all day today, i've just been preoccupied with 2 things: surfing and sleepinG. at times, both. at 5pm i woke up finding my fingers still on the keyboard. ha!

i throw that question out in light of what i have been seeing in my surroundingS. are we still a roman catholic nation or are we just living out our own interpretation of the religion? i, however, do not want to generalize because i know for a fact that there are sects out there that still go through the motions of the holy week. simply put, if the question above struck a chord then there may be some point of contention.

have you ever quantified how deep is your faith (or lack thereof)? in my credo, i wrote something 5 years ago along these lines:

I believe in a greater power that dictates the outcome of my life.
I believe that this power emanates to the small things, things that are usually taken for granted, because as we go about our daily existence, they become mundane and perfunctory;

i believe in god, but not necessarily the canon that follows. i could say that in terms of the spiritual, i have a very healthy relationship with god.


a man whose body of work had a profound influence in my philosophy is Friedrich Nietzsche. i've almost completed my collection of his books. works of distinction would be Beyond Good and Evil, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, and his most personal creation, The Gay Science (sidenote: i went on a date and this supposedly "bookish" guy. this came up in the discussion and he thought i meant a manual for PLUs. oh boy.)

you may have heard of this ubiquitous aphorism: "that which does not kill us makes us stronger". yup, he penned it.

what really jumped out of the pages for me in one of his works would be this:

Die fröhliche Wissenschaff (The Gay Science) section 108
The Parable of the Madman:

Have you not heard of that madman who lit a lantern in the bright morning hours, ran to the market place, and cried incessantly:
"I seek God! I seek God!"---As many of those who did not believe in God were standing around just then, he provoked much laughter. Has he got lost? asked one. Did he lose his way like a child? asked another. Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? emigrated?---Thus they yelled and laughed.

The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. "Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you.
We have killed him---you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

-reflecting on this, i see how he -in playing the role of the madman- figuratively screams of the spiritual depravity the "modern" minD. he is by no means pro-christianity, but what he is saying is that we have come to a point where we have erased the traditions that our forefathers held on to because we feel the inadequacies and inconvenience that they entail.

i do not have to look far for an example. it's something i do (or do not do). the last time i've gone to mass was for the christmas eve. i held on to the belief that god doesn't have to live in houses of stone, he is everywhere. (Stigmata, anyone?).

i also have issues with the Bible. or more specifically: how the bible is interpreted to segregate people like me because of our orientation. Bible touting devotees would quote Lev. 20:13, ("If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their bloodguiltness is upon them.") to condemn. What is so ironic is they conveniently overlook the absurdities just a few pages that come after:

Lev 25:44-46, Slavery is an everlasting institution. Slaves are to obey their masters in everything. (gays are an abomination, but enslaving someone is acceptable)

Lev 27:3-7 Males are more valuable than females. (calling Gabriella!)

Lev 11:10-12 Clams, oysters, crabs, lobsters, and shrimp are abominations to God. (kaya pala.)

Lev 21:16-23 Handicapped people cannot approach the altar of God. They would "profane" it. (i didn't know god has issues with differently abled people)

Lev 21: 18 Anyone with a "flat nose, or any thing superfluous" must stay away from the altar of God (and i didn't know he has issues with them uglies too)

So bible thumpers would argue that "but, but these are old rules applicable only to their times so we shouldn't really be doing them nowadays". and homosexuality somehow is still to be regarded as such because it is written? riiiight. good job interpreting it to your convenience.

see more absurdities here.


despite all this, i see an opportunity- a compromisE. a white cast-iron bridge between depravity and extremism. nietzsche believes in eternal recurrence wherein out of the ashes of destruction, creation is always bound to happen.

i vow to renew my faith. it may not be the tradition that my grandma adhered to, but it will still be one that puts god in the center of everything.

my god is not one who sits on a throne but is alive here inside me, inside you; i see god in everyone; that higher power dictates how i go about my life; he would make things happen like he always has; he is accepting; he is not bound by mortal moralities. i am his greatest masterpiece; i am exactly what he wants me to be; i share with him my innermost thoughts, my inhibitions, and insecurities; i am alive and that is his gift. and i plan to make the most out of it.


tomorrow is Black Saturday. Looking forward to Easter.


iurico said...

Or we may be living through Catholicism "as what is expected from us."


wv: bibligra

Advent Child said...

that is another way of looking at it. a pygmalion effect of sorts.

Galen said...

The Kingdom of God is within you and all about you, not in buildings of wood and stone. When I am gone, split a piece of wood and I am there; lift a stone and you will find me

- Jesus Christ, The Gospel Of St. Thomas, Stigmata

Advent Child said...

yep. st. thomas encapsulated that belief. kinda ironic given his stature. but i agree