The name “Nietzsche” is certainly familiar to most people. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-1900) was a Germany philosopher who inspired the philosophical constructs of nihilism and relativism. His writings were once very popular schools of thought among so-called intellectuals in Europe and the United States.
Nihilism is an extreme form of skepticism that denies all existence. As a doctrine, nihilism states that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. There is a rejection of all distinctions in moral or religious value and a willingness to repudiate all previous theories of morality or religious belief.
In six books, Nietzsche developed his radical philosophy, concluding with the idea that “God is dead,” meaning that religious values (most notably, the Judeo-Christian values) have no relevance in the life of an individual. In Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Nietzsche’s philosophy proposed the ideas that reason and morality are merely creations of human will and, thusly, are without foundation. All truth is relative. What is right for one person may be wrong for another. Personal conduct can be determined not by a moral Law Giver (aka God), but by the “Superman” or Ubermensch, the intellectually superior person who is released from the bonds of conventional morality.
In 1924, two gifted teenagers, studying law at the University of Chicago—Richard Loeb, age 18, and Nathan Leopold, age 19—became obsessed with demonstrating their own Nietzschean superiority over the masses. Beginning with petty crimes they escalated to planning the “perfect crime.” They proposed to commit a random act of murder in order to demonstrate the absurdity of life and their own superiority over others.
On the afternoon of Wednesday, May 21, 1924, Leopold and Loeb lured 14-year-old Bobby Franks into a rental car, dashed him over the head with the blunt end of a chisel, suffocated him, stripped his clothes off, sodomized him, and then left his life-less corpse abandoned in a culvert after pouring acid over his face and genitals. The duo then casually drove home.
Most people would be shocked by this behavior, but the truth of the matter is that every person that engages in behavior contrary to the known will of God is, in that moment, acting as a “Superman.” The laws of morality do not apply for them at that given moment. There is no fear of any repercussion, or at least it is minimized enough for people to violate divine laws. Indeed, there is no fear of the Almighty for, “God is dead.”
However, if God is not dead, if God does exist and is all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful, as the Bible indicates, and if there is a real being called the Devil, a fallen angel known as Lucifer, then every person must seek to answer one of two thought-provoking questions:
“Will I live, act, and think like a child of God?” Or, “Will I live, act, and think as a child of the devil?”
There is no middle ground.
“Give me your heart,” commands the Lord God. Christ died in love to make this possible through faith by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit.
“Give me your body and soul,” says the devil, “and I will give you pleasure and power that others do not have.”
In order to make his offer more attractive, the enemy of God offers reassurance that nothing really bad will happen to those who act above moral imperatives. Why, the worse thing possible is that the soul will be judged and annihilated. Therefore, a person really has nothing to lose by not resisting all the impulses of the soul and disregarding conventional morality.
Of course if such thinking is proven to be wrong, if God has prepared an eternal hell of consciousness for a lying Devil, and his followers, both demonic and human, then the fate of the Superman is all the more tragic.
Although he explicitly denied that any Supermen had yet arisen, Nietzsche mentioned several individuals who could serve as models. Among these models he listed Socrates, Jesus, Julius Caesar, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Goethe, and Napoleon.
Nietzsche was wrong because Supermen have arisen, and not just in the select few. Every unrepentant and unchanged person who persists in self-serving behavior that is contrary to the known will of the God who is there is a Superman in his own mind.
Scores of millions of men and women have consciously decided to rise above conventional morality and boundaries in order to pursue self-serving interests, not because they believe it is irrational to do so, but, quite the opposite. They believe whatever they do in a given moment is in their own best interest, and that is a rational thought. Any repercussion is simply an “unintended consequence.”
The heart of the Superman can calm any momentary bourgeois or conventional emotions by saying to themselves, “I never meant to harm anyone.” That, of course, may or may not be true. It will not be true if exclusive self-interest behavior is persisted in. At that point there is a conscious and deliberate intent to hurt anyone and everyone who stands in the way of fulfilling the desired goal. Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold had many opportunities to arrest their behavior but they persisted in murder for pleasure and self-aggrandizement.
Therefore, when discussing behavior in light of the two paradigms presented, it is an honest and fair inquiry to ask the Superman, the person who is not bound by Judeo-Christian virtues, “What is your objective?” To put it bluntly, “How evil are you willing to be?” Evil is defined as inflicting harm on self and others at any cost.
In like manner, it is an honest and fair inquiry to ask the person who desires to be like Jesus, “How much like Christ do you want to be?” A. W. Tozer said that every person is as righteous as they want to be. I like that. It is true. Because it is true, the good heart, the redeemed heart, the converted heart can sing with sincerity the words of Fanny Crosby.
More like Jesus would I be, let my Savior dwell with me;
Fill my soul with peace and love—make me gentle as a dove;
More like Jesus, while I go, pilgrim in this world below;
Poor in spirit would I be; let my Savior dwell in me.”
The conclusion is that every sinner is a Superman, and every born again Christian is a saint in the sight of God, holy and separated for the Master’s use.