A Matter of Taste

Mitchell Silver

in A Plausible God

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2006 | ISBN: 9780823226818
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236565 | DOI:
A Matter of Taste

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This chapter examines the claims of Karl Marx and Friedrich Nietzsche, the nineteenth century's two most influential adversaries of theism. It discusses the possibility that religion becomes aesthetics based on the views of Marx and Nietzsche. It first looks into the common misunderstanding in Marx's basic metaphysical stance: materialism. The advocacy of human power, rather than its denial, is at the heart of Marx's thought. Nietzsche's view on religion relegates God to a question of taste. Nietzsche frankly recognizes religious belief and all metaphysical beliefs, as a kind of aesthetic choice. In Nietzsche's account, people get a God who favors the poor, the meek, the nonthreatening. The humble God is in part psychic revenge against the powerful natural elite of strength, courage, health, and pride. For all its inegalitarianism, Nietzsche's ultimate ideal is surprisingly similar to Marx's—both philosophers wish for empowered human beings.

Keywords: Marx; Nietzsche; aesthetics; religion; human power; materialism

Chapter.  4851 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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