Religion and metaphysics — Robin Wils's website
Last modified: Fri, Feb 24, 2023
I would call myself an agnostic Nietzschean atheist if I have to label myself with a religious term.
" The beginning of the world is very interesting.
There are many stories in many places…
but they’re all sort of similar in parts. "
– Rakka (Haibane Renmei episode five)
An agnostic is someone who questions if there could be a God. That by itself does not say much. Thus, I prefer to pair it up with atheism. Atheism is the lack of a belief in a God. Agnostic atheism points out that I am closer to not believing in a God than believing in one.
I have never seen a God, which does not mean that it can’t exist. It just seems unlikely and illogical. It is good to question things. Many things which people find normal aren’t great ways to do something. An example would be keyboard layouts.
A Nietzschean is someone who is highly inspired by the works of Friedrich Nietzsche. This often means that they dislike systemizing, and that they encourage seeking your own values. Every Nietzschean is different though.
I mistrust all systematizers and avoid them. The will to a system is a lack of integrity.
– Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
Systemizing is always possible. Everything can fit into some box. Although it is harder, or impossible to put certain people in certain boxes. Often such a box is invented to make a certain fantasy possible.
Religion can help people psychologically to have something to hold on to, so that they don’t give up living. It can be a helpful tool, but it is a dangerous one as well.
Nietzsche made somewhat of a religion with his ideas. Although it has a different outcome for everyone. He does mention that you shouldn’t trust him blindly. In fact, you shouldn’t trust anyone blindly. Seek your own ideas instead. Subscribe to ideas, instead of people.
Nietzsche looks at a way to reach a goal. He does not look for all “truths”. Some “truths” are not beneficial and make it hard to reach a goal. He didn’t like metaphysics, but nonetheless relies on some. I don’t think a “true” view on reality can exist. But we need to have something to believe in.
Nietzsche does recommend us to create our own values, but the catch is that does have to be contradictory to some values. Thus, it still has some rules. It can’t have a fantasy after-life world. If certain things are met then you can call something Nietzschean.
A different view on metaphysics
In an attempt, I tried to carefully use a hammer to investigate the concept that is metaphysics.
I would claim that all religion involves metaphysics as truth itself is an assumption. See The Münchhausen trilemma. Thus, metaphysics are always involved, but not all metaphysics lead to a good end. Everyone beliefs something, even if it only leads to nothingness. Nihilism.
My view is that the metaphysics itself are ok if they lead to a good end. They do not have to be close to reality, but being closer to reality has benefits, since it applies better to the world. This is a bold claim.
Philosophy with a hammer
Metaphysics, like truth, is a subjective non-existing concept. Some interpretations just are more metaphysical than others. Nietzsche’s ideas didn’t lose value to me. This comes down to his idea that everything is an interpretation.
Doing philosophy with a hammer is dangerous. You do not want it to lead to nihilism. What I did right here is somewhat frightening. Nietzsche has many ideas which I do not want to see broken. It can be coward-like to break something in the way I did. As you can break anything with that trilemma. But I do think that this flaw is replaced by a better interpretation, at least for me.
My meaning and your meaning are not the same. My religion and your religion are not the same. An absolute true world perspective does not exist.
This was added later to this page. There is a part in “Twilight of the Idols” which makes me believe that Nietzsche was aware of the above. In the section “‘Reason’ in Philosophy #2” he mentions the following.
But Heraclitus will always be right in this, that being is an empty fiction. The ‘apparent’ world is the only one: the ‘real’ world has only been lyingly added…
– Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
That suggests that everyone has their own interpretation of everything. Even the world. Nothing is “real”. Everything is subjective. There is no real me – only different interpretations of me. How you see me totally differs from how I see me. Another famous quote of his is that there are no facts, only interpretations.
What he realized as well is that we can not know ourselves. This is further explained in “On the Genealogy of Morality”. Nietzsche’s book is his journey. We should start our own journey. He would have disliked it if we treated him as a priest, as he mentioned in “Ecce Homo”.
Plato the coward
Plato is a coward before reality, consequently he flees into the ideal.
– Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols
There is always something you believe in. No matter what you claim. Thus, it depends on which goal you are reaching with that idea. You are free to see someone as a coward. That’s your opinion. Plato was not a coward to me if Plato really believed his ideas lead to a good end. Plato’s ideas are too idealistic for my taste, but perhaps he believed in it.
Nihilism is what you likely do not want to fall into. With hard nihilism you will no longer have a reason to survive and exist. Much of those ideas do make sense, but the destiny where it leads to isn’t good.
The problem with most religions
Nietzsche dramatically stated that God is dead with a story. Although he didn’t see that as a good thing, since people no longer have anything to comfort themselves with.
The problem with most religions is not just that most people do not really believe in them. But it is rather that they don’t see where it leads towards anymore. We have killed God as Nietzsche wrote. This means that we also have killed most ideas that depended on it.
You might see philosophy as better than religion, but philosophies itself are religions. It is not better. Not much better. Some religions are just better than others.
Why I recommend Nietzsche
I consider his ideas as more valuable than the ideas of most other religions. They are very optimistic, but often unconventional and brutal too. Everyone can get something different from reading Nietzsche, depending on which ideas you agree with.
Reading Nietzsche is a way to start your journey of creating your own values, and seeking yourself. Listening to the Nietzsche Podcast is another way. It is not the exact same as reading Nietzsche, but it might be less time consuming.
Criticism at specific religions
In this section I try to drive my points home by giving some examples.
Religion is dangerous
Ideas are dangerous. Thus, obviously religions are too. They can be used for political reasons or to create war. Religion can help people, but religion can make people more blind. Religion can encourage the dehumanization of other groups.
You can believe in a God or Gods without joining someone’s religion. Religions are often like cults. Christianity says that every non-believer goes to hell, so it dehumanizes that group. Religion shapes behavior, as it creates rules for people. Often religions don’t allow new insights or criticism.
Buddhism is a religion
Buddhism is a lifestyle – not a religion, you might claim. They too have rules, and even mythologies. They claim every life has value. Abortion will happen, even if it gets banned. It just will be done in a more dangerous unprofessional way. Buddhism can change your opinion about abortion.
You can adopt some things of the stereotypical Buddhism lifestyle, but that does not mean you believe in Buddhism.
Meditation existed before Buddhism. Taoism came earlier. It is about “becoming one with nature”. Following “The Way” and doing nothing. I want to experience more as only meditating in my life. It is similar to Zen – a bunch of nonsense.
Meditation itself is not necessarily bad. I like the idea of it, but I prefer to accomplish the same differently. Being bored can make one creative. Most people no longer are bored enough, or don’t take enough walks without looking at their phones.
Master Tung-kuo: “This thing called the Way-where does it exist?”
Chuang Tzu: “There’s no place it doesn’t exist.”
Master Tung-kuo: “Come, you must be more specific!”
Chuang Tzu: “It is in the ant.”
Master Tung-kuo: “As low a thing as that?”
Chuang Tzu: “It is in the panic grass.”
Master Tung-kuo: “But that’s lower still!”
Chuang Tzu: “It is in the tiles and shards.”
Master Tung-kuo: “How can it be so low?”
Chuang Tzu: “It is in the piss and shit.”
Many books originate from the same source
The ideas of Islam, Mormonism and Christianity all come from Judaism. They come from the same ideas, but are edited. You are free to believe what you want, but that does not make it true. Just don’t act like you believe something if you don’t like the goal it leads to.
Why Invent the Jesus? - Richard Carrier Ph.D.YouTube
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