Friedrich Nietzsche, Daybreak:  Reflections on Moral Prejudice. Morgenröte: Gedanken über die moralischen Vorurteile (also could be translated as The Dawn).

Written and published in 1881.

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How can anyone regard his own opinion of things as a revelation?  This is the problem of the origin of religions: there has always been some man for whom this phenomenon was possible.  The only precondition is that such a man already believed in revelations.  Suddenly however a new idea occurs to him one day his idea; and the joy of such a great hypothesis which embraces all existence impacts with such force into his conscience that he dare not think himself the creator of such blessedness and he therefore attributes the cause to his God and likewise the cause of the cause believing it to be the revelation of his God.  How could a man be the author of so great a happiness?  That is the pessimistic doubt which challenges him.  Yet other levers are secretly at work: an opinion may be strengthened by one's self if it be considered as a revelation and in this way the hypothetical nature of the idea is removed; the idea is set beyond criticism and even beyond doubt: it is sanctified.  It is true that in this way a man lowers himself to playing the role of a "mouthpiece" but his thought will in the end be superceded by the thought of the victory of the devine – and this feeling overcomes the feeling of degradation.  There is also another feeling in the background: if a man elevates his works above himself and thus is apparently self deprecating there nevertheless remains a kind of joyfulness paternal love and paternal pride which compensates man—more than compensates—for everything.  

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