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God is dead

Related: God - dead

Key text: The Gay Science (1882)

It is generally forgotten that when in the mid sixties we pronounced god as dead, we inevitably pronounced the devil dead as well. Furthermore, if god and the devil are dead, this means that good and evil no longer reside outside of ourselves, but inside man itself. So evil becomes inner evil and goodness becomes inner good. [Sept 2006]

Time magazine cover, April 8, 1966


"God is dead" (German: "Gott ist tot") is a widely quoted statement by Friedrich Nietzsche. It first appears in The Gay Science, section 108 (New Struggles), in section 125 (The Madman), and for a third time in section 343 (The Meaning of our Cheerfulness). It is also found in Nietzsche's classic work Also sprach Zarathustra, which is most responsible for popularizing the phrase. The idea is stated by 'The Madman' as follows:
"God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we, murderers of all murderers, console ourselves? That which was the holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet possessed has bled to death under our knives. Who will wipe this blood off us? With what water could we purify ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we need to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we not ourselves become gods simply to be worthy of it?" Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125, tr. Walter Kaufmann

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