Man as a god, God as Man: Medieval and Modernity

In a previous blog post, I referred to the the late nineteenth-century philosophe Frederich Nietzsche, who was something of a prophet for modern society. Nietzsche looked at the present and into the future and saw there, a world for which he hoped—a world without God. While some of his non-theistic colleagues (the “humanists”) in particular, insisted the loss of God would have little effect on human affairs, Nietzsche held them in contempt. For him, the death of God meant the advent of nihilism, the destruction of all meaning and value in life. This meant the destruction of all traditional morality.

Hence Nietzsche ridiculed the humanists who thought they could rid society of Christianity, yet keep its values. He spoke instead of the need to reconstruct all of our own moral values and the need to become gods. God was dead, he said, we would have to be our own gods now. And so we have been.

The Middle Ages, of course, saw things the other way around. To them, God was God and man was not, even if some men (typically royalty ) had the usual delusions of grandeur. God made the world meaningful and moral values—good and evil, right and wrong–to exist. God was the yardstick no man could measure up to, all fell short. Since man could not raise himself up, God bent Himself down, a divine humility to humble the pride of man. The great became small, the strong, weak, and in return man had to become like a little child. Man could not reach God, so God became man to bring the Unreachable into the grasp of humanity. And so, in the end, man could become like god. Accepting his smallness, he could become large. In the traditional formula, the Son of God became man, so that men could become sons of God.

Not so in modernity, no God-man there to humble the pride of man, only man who, in the language of Nietzsche, had to become a god. And so he has, creating his own meaning, right and wrong, and good and evil. He decides what life is, what marriage is, what humanity is. When morality is seen as only a social construction, the typical result is moral destruction. So there is nothing surprising in the recent string of undercover videos showing planned parenthood casually discussing the destruction of unborn human beings. Nothing shocking in planned parenthood discussing “less crunchy” ways of destroying them or talking about cutting across the face to procure an intact brain- all in the interest of maximizing profit. When right and wrong become social constructs, the weakest always suffer. When man has to become god, in the Nietschean sense, he really becomes a demon, preying on the weakest.

The same is true in other areas as well. This is why the thought of euthanasia, euphemistically called “death with dignity,” (as the unborn are euphemistically called “specimens”), is of such concern to advocates of the disabled. When humans decide what makes life worthwhile, it becomes too easy to say that the lives are the weak are not worthwhile- as with the unborn, so with the elderly, perhaps someday soon, so also with the disabled as well. Marriage too becomes redefined and again, the weak suffer, as children- denied a father and mother– become tools in the fulfillment of adult desires. Hence, when man becomes a god, he really becomes a demon.

When God becomes man, however, the issue is reversed. Then the Powerful becomes weak and omnipotence becomes poverty. And when the Great becomes weak, then there is cause to care for the weak. And so the early Christians ended the ancient pagan practice of infanticide and abortion (though modern pagans have again begun it) and provided care for the poor and weak, while later Christians worked to abolish slavery.

If man is a god, in the Nietzschean sense, he is not much of a god. Worse, he is not even much of a man. He is something worse, something capable of supporting the destruction of innocent human beings, their dismemberment, and their sale, sacrifices to modern man’s real god- the almighty dollar and his own ego.

New Job Ad: New San Francisco Archbishop Wanted

Recently, 100 wealthy, “prominent,” “catholics” in San Francisco took out an expensive ad in a local paper to write an open letter to Pope Francis. They protested against their current bishop’s attempt to keep Catholic schools Catholic by ensuring that faculty not contradict Church teaching. These very important “catholics” asked the Pope to remove Archbishop Cordileone and to send them a new bishop who was more in keeping with their values. As a helpful move for them, I have drawn up the following job ad that they can use to find a new archbishop “in keeping with [their values].”

Wanted: The catholic, pseudo-catholic, non-catholic, secular, and free-thought community of San Francisco seeks a dynamic individual who can fill the soon to be vacant office of Archbishop of San Francisco. Expecting the current faithful bishop to be removed any day by Pope Francis, we seek a candidate who can begin employment almost immediately. At San Francisco, the new archbishop will find a community that is welcoming, open-minded, diverse, and tolerant of everyone who agrees with its positions.

Position Duties and Responsibility: The new bishop will be required to lead San Francisco into the twenty-first century. He will best be able to do this by strictly following the advice of the hiring committee of 100 prominent “catholics.” He will consult with them and other progressive elements within and without the Church on all important decisions, deferring to their judgment like a good shepherd ought. He should not be too rigid on Church doctrine, instead being merciful and evincing a willingness to bend with the times, tailoring Catholic teachings to the desires and wishes of those he will be leading from behind. He will not attempt to teach faithful Catholic teaching on any matters of doctrine or morality and especially on matters of sexual morality. He shall never preach Christ as God, crucified and risen for the forgiveness of sins.  He should never mention the word “sin.” After all, who is he to judge. Above all, he should never, never try to challenge Catholics spiritually, for as Jesus said: “my teachings are just vague guidelines, give them up when it becomes convenient to do so, and change with the times.” (#thingsjesusneversaid.)

Minimum Qualifications:

– Candidate should be pretty sure that he was baptized in some Christian denomination as a child or adult.

– evince a willingness to be faithless to the Church’s tradition and Magisterium.

– have read at least one article and skimmed one blog post about religion in Huffington Post or Salon. Or at least looked at the title and posted a comment on it.

Preferred Qualifications:

– Makes a sincere effort to attend mass on Christmas and Easter at least some of the time as long as nothing better comes up.

– be a member in good standing of at least one pro-abortion lobbying group and one pro-homosexuality lobbying group.

– preferably not be catholic. An episcopalian, woman priest, married to another woman would be strongly preferred.

Application Procedures:

Please submit the following documents via twitter, facebook, or email to

cover letter: explaining candidates willingness to defy Church teaching and bend to the whims of modern society.

statement of dissent: explaining when the candidate first began to dissent from Church teaching and detailing his journey of faithlessness.

CV: detailing past jobs and experience that show candidate’s faithlessness to Church teaching and highlight his willingness to disobey papal authority.

Three letters of recommendation from an approved source, including: Huffpo, ACLU, Barack Obama, NARAL, Planned Parenthood, Rainbow Coalition, Jon Stewart or other late night comic.