Friedrich Nietzsche—the German philosopher infamously-known for his statement: “God is dead”—was the son of a pastor. As a pastor’s kid myself (a P.K.–as we call ourselves), I have a sensitivity for other P.K.’s. So, other than Nietzsche being a voice in the philosophical and theological world of which I have an interest, I know some of the darker corners of being in the home of a pastor. (I know have reproduced 3 P.K.’s of my own. 😉
Well, Friedrich Nietzsche—the P.K.—was paying close attention at home and at church. One Sunday morning when Nietzsche was 11-years-old, he was sitting in church, next to his younger sister. His father was preaching and—in the middle of the sermon—Friedrich stood up, grabbed his sister by the hand and started walking out the back of the church. His father was not happy to see this, so he called out to the boy, “Where do you think you are going?”
Nietzsche turned around, pointed up to Jesus who was hanging on the cross at the front of the sanctuary and he said, “Doesn’t that thing up there ever laugh or cry?”
In Nietzsche’s later writings, he frequently expressed his disdain for Christianity and one of his primary reasons is that he was turned off by the passionless Christianity that he saw growing up—as both a boy and as a man. There is one simple way to diminish Nietzsches. And it’s not simply to denounce their off-base beliefs or off-putting religious or irreligious, as it were, philosophies. As Christ-followers, we might want to look inward. Denunciation of bad beliefs isn’t the best way to diminish Nietzsches. Instead, we should actual REVEAL THE AUTHENTIC IMPACT OF GOD through a joyful, passionate, and transformable life. What if Nietzsche had witnessed a fresh and passionate and authentic faith in his family–at home and at church?