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IndieFaith Blog
Thursday, 23 March 2006
The Antichrist - Part 1
Awhile back I planned to address some of the critiques of Christianity that shaped the Twientieth century. Nietzsche's Antichrist is certainly one of those critiques. I remember first trying to read The Antichrist a year or two out of high school. I was at home working on the farm for summer. We had this little area of the yard that was sort of like a camp-site. There was a fire pit, picnic table, and good place to set up a tent, so I did. I set up a tent and every evening I would make a fire do some reading and sleep in the tent (man, I forgot what great set-up that was). I started reading the Antichrist and found myself simply pulled along by the force of his persuasive words. I thought to myself that perhaps the Christian story was all silliness and archaic. I had never really heard someone blatantly attack Christianity before and I had no rebuttal. It was amazing how easily such thoughts were stirred in my mind. What made this event so striking is that very next night when I went out of my parent’s house to the tent it was already dark. As a good small town Mennonite I had been formed in way that guilt can strike with paralyzing force. And as I walked out into the darkness I was struck by an overwhelming sense of fear of God’s presence. The image that came to mind was Jacob wrestling with Esau. I prayed fervently, “God I do not want to wrestle with you tonight.” I literally felt like a hand would emerge from the shadow, come over my shoulder and pull me to the ground. Was this God reminding me of his presence? . . . I don’t think so. Writing now I am struck anew by the force of “persuasion”. I am convinced that we may learn from Nietzsche’s critique. However, his greatest impact comes in the force of his presentation. As walked out of my house the next night I was struck by the accumulation of guilt and shame that my Christian formation had no way of responding to. This too was persuasion. It was the persuasion of accusation, of the Accuser and so, ironically, another encounter with the Antichrist.

Posted by indie/faith at 7:29 PM EST
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Sunday, 26 March 2006 - 11:44 PM EST

Name: johnny
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i haven't read many of nietsche's words, but what i have read i find hard to respect. i guess i will find it hard to relate to your reflections on it, but you articulate well.

i do wonder why you are so skeptical about your encounter in the darkness that you seem quick to write it off as a human reaction based on the mixed feelings in you. is it really impossible that God would try to speak to you in a way that would grab your attention?

Monday, 27 March 2006 - 6:00 PM EST

Name: Dave D

I think what I realized was that perhaps what "grabbed" me was the feeling of guilt that owed a great deal to the formation I had received in my community as opposed to the conviction of God's Spirit. I of course don't discount God's mysterious ways.

Tuesday, 28 March 2006 - 9:30 AM EST

Name: johnny

i haven't known you to have a habit of discounting them, but it sounds like your explanation does just that. i suppose it's presumptuous for me to second guess whether or not what you experienced that night was based entirely on your own inner workings, but it's too easy to explain that which, by nature, does not easily have an explanation if we face it. it's certainly easier than facing the alternative possibility...

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