Every philosopher aspired to develop his own system of ideas about this world, human society, moral rules and norms. Building this system, great thinkers always paid a lot of attention to searching for the primary cause of the universe and describing it. This cause could have different names, but it means God in some way or another. Some philosophers argued about the existence of God and things connected with this fact while others tried to prove that God or any other supernatural power does not exist. However, there is a philosophical conception that is out of these traditional debates. The famous German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche did not argue whether God exists or not; he claimed that God is dead.
Those who hear this statement for the first time may think that it is non–sense, because Nietzsche should have claimed that God exists before claiming that he died. Something that does not exist cannot die. Nevertheless, it is necessary to understand that the philosopher’s discussion does not deal with this question. The statement “God is dead” was written for other aims than arguing about his existence or non-existence. Moreover, the biggest misunderstanding is to think that he believed in an actual God who existed continually in time and then stopped existing because of some reasons. The goal of the statement “God is dead” was to combat Christianity and conventional opinions about its values.
Mostly, religious people (not only Christians) do not like or even say that they hate Nietzsche, because they suppose that he showed disrespect to God by his statements. However, they should know that he just aimed to demonstrate the disappointment in people, especially the followers of Christianity without addressing God in any hypostasis. Giving such an argument against God, Friedrich Nietzsche meant that Christian God does not look like a source of morality and absolute ethical principles anymore. People started to forget what faith should really be and how they should behave according to the moral standards of their religion. Figuratively speaking, they killed their God by abandoning the truth he gave to the humanity. Nietzsche wrote, “How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was the 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?” He felt that people went too far from the Christian code of morality that has been serving as a basis for human relationship for almost two centuries. Nietzsche thought that if there is no morality, there is no God. He was sure that Christians could not just continue pretending that their religion was important for them without obeying the basic ethical requirements. Therefore, the death of God meant not just the rejection of power of a supernatural creator but extremely essential human values. That is why the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche is called philosophical nihilism; he declared that there are no values that can be taken as a basis of human life, because God is dead.
In general, the attitude of the philosopher to Christianity is quite negative. He asserted that Christian teaching contains originally wrong notions of good and evil that made human minds ill and established nihilism of will. According to him, this religion destroyed the natural human thirst for power, preaching about humility and making human beings cowards instead of heroes. In particular, Nietzsche did not like Jesus Christ, always laughing at him in his writings. At the same time, he imagined himself as a new historical leader such as Zarathustra or Jesus who can provide efficient philosophical orientation for the humanity. The book “Thus spoke Zarathustra” was written in the style of the Bible, and it proves that the philosopher wanted to display his own figure as a prophet. It can sound weird, but he might even have been jealous of Jesus, wanting to reach the same popularity among readers and listeners. In this context, one of the reasons why he wrote that God is dead was the desire to substitute Jesus Christ in the world. The norms that Jesus gave to people seemed to be not working anymore, and Nietzsche wanted to correct the situation with own philosophy.
That is how the right understanding of the statement “God is dead” is essential to understand the whole Nietzsche’s nihilistic teaching. People who interpret this phrase in a wrong way cannot get what he tried to announce in his books. He did not lay out his ideas about the existence or non-existence of God, because he was more worried about the current realistic ethical issues than metaphysical and theological questions. Somehow, it was beneficial, because he attracted a lot of attention to the so-called crisis of morality. His contemporaries and followers continued this topic searching for a new basis of life. The question of the first cause of the world stopped being the most significant one because thinkers realized that it was senseless somehow. Nevertheless, Nietzsche remained one of the most read authors because of his unusual way of thinking and explaining the nature of a human being as well as God. It is necessary to remember that God’s issue in the philosophy of Nietzsche is, first of all, a question of human morality and ethical standards. It makes sense even in the modern time, because loyalty to the religion can be perfectly shown through the attitude to other human beings. Believing in God and treating people in a bad way dishonours the followers of any religion. Therefore, some of his ideas are extremely relevant not only for the society of the 19th century but also for the modern people.