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The Dangers of Friedrich Nietzsche

This past week I finished watching an engrossing documentary titled,  "Nietzsche and The Nazi's"    I had heard previously of Friedrich Nietzsche from my past readings, but this documentary explained in full detail some of his most well known philosophies within the context of his influence on the Nazi regime.  Before I get into the details of Nietzsche's influence upon me I will give a brief background first.

Friedrich Nietzsche was a German philosopher of the 19th century.   Some of his most famous works were, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, A Gay Science, and posthumously, The Will to Power.  One of his most famous statements was that, "God was dead."  He also developed the notion of the Übermensch which can be loosely translated as the "Superman." He was virulently opposed to Christianity, and Judaism.  He is an important philosopher and has shaped the opinions of many influential intellectuals in the 20th century.

I had two primary reasons for watching the documentary:  First out of intellectual curiosity and secondly as research for an upcoming talk that I would be giving.  However, I never expected that I would be subtly drawn to the nihilistic rantings of Nietzsche.

Before watching the documentary I didn't think much of it.  I thought to myself that this was just another documentary, but the more I watched and absorbed the information it began to change me in ways that I never expected.

First off I noticed that a surge of fear that would come upon me each time I heard Hitler speak or would see any of the propaganda reels.  Worse off I even fell asleep while the documentary was running, leaving my subconscious dangerously exposed.

The second time I watched the documentary something even worse began to take shape.  I found myself agreeing with Nietzsche on a lot of his points. Despite his obviously fierce anti Christianity  I found myself defending him, even rationalizing him internally.  I was particularly drawn to his  "superman" and "will to power" theories.   It all appealed to my masculine identity.  I thought to myself, "what man would not want to become powerful?"  Why were these masculine virtues so shunned by my faith, and culture?  Was it evil to want to become powerful?  Was the church against the drives that made men, men?  All of these questions flooded my mind as I slowly began to warm up to Nietzsche's anarchistic philosophy.

After I finished watching the documentary and I went about my normal duties my wife brought up something to me that concerned me.  She said that throughout the entire day all that I had been speaking about was Nietzsche.  Once she said that it all hit me like a ton of bricks.  Satan had used my curiosity to draw a future wedge between my faith and I.  Satan like the master of lies that he was used my vulnerabilities to lure me away from my faith.  It took the sober observation of my wife to help me to realize this.

This incident thought me several things.  First it thought me that I needed to be very careful in selecting my material for research.  Mere curiosity was not good enough. Secondly if I had any doubts about the subject matter I should seek counsel from a spiritual director or someone who is well steeped in the faith.  Thirdly I learned that I should not flood my mind with such dark subject matter especially before I go to bed.  Fourthly I learned that I must be critically honest in my self assessment of myself.

It is important to note that I am in no way implying that one should not study opposing philosophies.  Instead what I am saying that this step should  come only through much prayer, counsel, and reflection.

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