By Walter A. Kaufmann

Initially released in 1959, the religion of a Heretic is the main own assertion of the ideals of Nietzsche biographer and translator Walter Kaufmann. a prime thinker in his personal correct, Kaufmann right here offers the fullest account of his perspectives on faith. even supposing he thought of himself a heretic, he was once no longer proof against the wellsprings and impulses from which faith originates, pointing out it one of the most important and radical expressions of the human brain. starting with an autobiographical prologue that strains his evolution from non secular believer to “heretic,” the publication touches on theology, equipped faith, morality, discomfort, and death—all tested from the viewpoint of a “quest for honesty.” Kaufmann additionally matters philosophy’s religion truthfully, cause, and absolute morality to a similar heretical therapy. The ensuing exploration of the faiths of a nonbeliever in a mundane age is as clean and hard as whilst it used to be first published.

In a brand new foreword, Stanley Corngold vividly describes the highbrow and biographical milieu of Kaufmann’s provocative booklet.

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Clearly, these men were heretics. They not only opposed the common sense of their time and some of the most revered names of the past but they did not presume to speak in the name of the Lord or to interpret correctly a previously misunderstood tradition. They pitted their own thinking against the religion and the poetry they knew. And by breaking with the exegetic mode of thought and every other form of appeal to authority, they initiated philosophy. One of the pre-Socratics, Anaxagoras, came to Athens.

Religion and loyalty” and “Loyalty and truth” are discussed at length in Sections 78–80 of my Critique, and there is no need here to duplicate that discussion. What matters in the present context, in connection with the quest 32 • II for honesty, is how easy it is to be deceived about the nature of religious beliefs and disbeliefs, and how labels help us to avoid any honest account of what we believe and what we do not believe. Anybody can reiterate ancient creeds and reinterpret them till they no longer mean what non-believers think they mean, or what millions of the faithful, past and present, who believed much more than he can credit, found in them.

The doubter, in other words, need not fear public censure if only he is agreeable to using the word “God” for something that he does believe; and he need not even specify what that might be. ” But the man who refuses to employ such formulations, or who, worse, insists on saying that he does not believe God exists, appalls his fellow citizens although he may merely reject beliefs that they, too, regard as superstitions. To be scrupulously honest in such matters, to go out of one’s way to avoid misunderstanding, and to refuse to use ancient terms in novel and surprising ways is widely held to be a dreadful thing.

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