| Religion, Weakness, and the Heard
Governor Jesse Ventura of Minnesota got into trouble for saying in a interview with Playboy Magazine, that Religion is a Crutch for the weak-minded. This is not far from what Nietzsche said about religion and those who follow it. I would say that this is true, religion is a crutch for the weak-minded, but that is not saying that all who believe in religion are weak minded. Nietzsche found that people needed to be able to look at morals without the shadow of religion on them in order to be true leaders, or as part of being one of the supermen. One may find that they believe in a religion based on the morals they have found on their own, through self-examination, and this would not make them weak minded, or have religion slowing ones examination into their moral codes. The problem lies in those who do not look at them selves and try to find their own morals, but simply take what they are given by those who claim to know what makes a moral person, based on their selected God, Gods, or Goddess. These people are the herd that will do what they are told, live their life, and never truly be faced with what is the right thing. When asked questions about these morals, often time the response is so shallow, that they can only repeat what they where told or read, and can add no detail or thoughts of their own to show that they really understand why something is moral or immoral. I would suggest that knowing what is moral is nothing when compared to knowing why and being able to reason it to yourself. This is the reason I believe he seems more tolerant of some Eastern Religions, while not saying they are correct or saying they are better." I understood the ever spreading morality of pity that had seized even on philosophers and made them ill, as the most sinister symptom of a European culture that had itself become sinister perhaps_ as its be-pass to a new Buddhism? to a Buddhism for Europeans? to --nihilism?" (455) The Eastern religions place more on looking within for the answers, and then looking to others to tell them as Nietzsche believes to often is the case with Christianity. Priests serve a role as messengers from God to the people, and with this power they are able to enforce their own ideals as those of God, while those of the heard to often take what is said as true, without really understanding why or if it is true. So while I still think the majority of people who use religion are not weak-minded, I think it does have many within who are and that often the Church holds them up as a model of the belief. But what is wrong with giving people who a set of morals to follow if they are weak-minded?
While you may find that it is better that they are told what morals to follow, then try to find them themselves I believe that one who knows what is moral is far more likely to break those morals, then one who understands them. Why? I believe that the role of religion should be to help guide one to find his beliefs, and not to tell help people take the shortcut, as Nietzsche feels they do. This lack of thought is what Nietzsche appears to have the most problem with, when it comes to Priests. Priests are outside of the herd, and appear to understand in some ways the herd. It is these people who according to Nietzsche must be leaders. The Priests, Nietzsche claims, lead the heard to where they want, disregarding true moral judgment in favor of the judgments they wish the heard to take, for example the Bible, Koran, or other text. This is what Nietzsche believes priest's help hold in place, that of the slave morality. "Slave moralist from the outset says No to what is "outside," what is "different," what is "not itself"; and this No is its creative deed. This inversion of the value-position eye -- this need to direct one's view outward instead of back to oneself-- is of the essence of resentment: in order to exist slave moralist always first needs a hostile external world; it needs, physiologically speaking, external stimuli in order to ace at all-- its action is fundamentally reaction." (472)
Truth is one way that priest may hold the herd as they direct it to where they wish. Truth often is not what people want to hear, it hurts, and there seems to be little reason why it would happen. Priests can give you an answer that one will except, and that will show that some greater good will come of a horrible situation and that is why it had to happen. Nietzsche hopes that "investigators of the soul may be fundamentally brave, proud, and magnanimous animals, who know how to keep their hearts as well as their sufferings in bounds and have trained themselves to sacrifice all desirability to truth, every truth, even pain, harsh and ugly, repellent, unchristian, immoral truth.--For such truths do exist." (461) We all desire the easy answer, to know what is right and wrong, and to know what to do. Priests (or "a priest," -- the verb tense has to agree with the subject of the sentence) can tell us this, but what do we learn from only following the priest? This is the type of weak-minded person that Nietzsche finds the herd is lead into by the Priest, stopping those who are not weak minded from being able to fully explore themselves, and what are true morals. While I agree that this can limit ones ability to this, I don't think that it can truly stop someone. Everyone is able to be told what is moral and be able to except it at face value at first, until it can be examined and one's true beliefs can strengthen this moral or let you disregard it if one finds that it is wrong in some way, and can in this course find what they believe to be the correct morals.
I think that Nietzsche's biggest flaw is that he fails to take into account that no one can truly come up with their own set of morals without any help from others. To do so would require isolation from birth, something that would most likely end in ones death. So is someone who looks to others for morals weak-minded? No, they are simply looking for guidance that I am sure even Nietzsche received at some point in his life. In time if one is not weak-minded, they will examine the moral set forth by the church, priests, or others and make their own judgments, and ones life experience will change people morals from person to person. Weak-minded people are indeed a threat to us the human race, and are likely to follow the "priests" such as Hitler, Mussolini, bin Laden, and others who try to lead people to follow their own beliefs and morals. There is reason to be distrusting of the "priest" but the majority are not trying to lead the heard the wrong way for their own gain, but to lead them where they think they need to go, in the absents of a true leader or Nietzsche inspired superman to take us there,