Not dead yet
“When Nietzsche said “God is dead” he meant that God is not necessary for our morality anymore. He meant that we had been lying to ourselves about God, using him to create an artificial system of morality that is no longer viable.
“When he says we killed God, he means that our science, skepticism, education, and technology have pushed us past the point where believing in miracles is possible; but as a consequence of this murder we are lost, have no goals, no aspirations, no values. Christianity was a made up morality, but it served a kind of purpose.
“The resulting nihilism results in despair, or requires us to look deeper within us and find a new source of human values.
“That’s what Nietzsche hoped would happen, but that is not what happened.
“The modern twist to Nietzsche is that we didn’t kill God after all: we enslaved him. Instead of completely abandoning God and embracing a will to power, or taking a leap of faith back towards the “mystery” of God because the angst was too great to bear; instead of those opposite choices, God has been kept around as a paid-for judge. They accept the “morality” but secretly retain the right of exception: “yes, but God knows that in this case…”
Atheists do this just as much but pretend they also don’t believe in “God”. “Murder is wrong, but in this case….” But of course they’re not referring to the penal code, but to an abstract wrongness that they rationalize as coming from shared collective values or humanist principles or economics or energy or whatever. It’s a “God” behind the God, not a Christian God but something bigger, something that preserves the individual’s ability to appeal to the abstract, the symbolic.
“”…but in this case…” Those words presuppose an even higher law than the one that says, “thou shalt not.” That God, the one that examines things on a case by case basis, always rules in favor of the individual, which is why he was kept around.
“But the crucial mistake is to assume that the retention of this enslaved God is for the purpose of justifying one’s behavior, to assuage the superego. That same absolution could have been obtained from a traditional Christianity, “God, I’m sorry I committed adultery, I really enjoyed it and can’t undo that, but I am sorry and I’ll try not to do it again.” Clearly, Christianity hasn’t prevented people from acting on their impulses; nor have atheists seized their freedom and become hedonists.
“The absence of guilt is not the result of the justification, it precedes the justification. Like a dream that incorporates a real life ringing telephone into it seemingly before the phone actually rings, the absence of guilt hastily creates an explanation for its absence that preserves the symbolic morality: I don’t feel any guilt…………. because in this case…
“But why no guilt?…”