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Death of God

Death of God. Nietzsche proclaimed that the death of God was ‘a recent event’ in 1887. Belief in God had become unglaubwürdig (incredible). In that view he was anticipated by many major figures in the 19th cent., not least by the Young Hegelians: Feuerbach, Strauss, and Marx. The first two attempted to ‘deconstruct’ theological language and to show that it is really language about ourselves; the last claimed that religion and theology are distorted and socially inhibiting reflections of unjust social and economic relations. In both cases, belief in a transcendent God, independent of this or any other universe, seemed to have become incredible. In the 20th cent., ‘Death of God’ theology (the view that theology is at best anthropology) was accelerated into prominence by the further considerations that, in a Newtonian universe, the God of traditional theism cannot intervene or make any difference in a universe of this kind; and that even if he could, he evidently has not, to judge from the enormity of such evil episodes as the Holocaust. ‘Death of God’ theology then became associated with religionless Christianity.

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