Friedrich Nietzsche, Human All Too Human (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches), subtitled A Book for Free Spirits (Ein Buch für freie Geister).

First published in 1878.   A second part, Assorted Opinions and Maxims (Vermischte Meinungen und Sprüche), was published in 1879, and a third part, The Wanderer and his Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten), followed in 1880.

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Previous Section   27. A SUBSTITUTE FOR RELIGION   Next Section

A SUBSTITUTE FOR RELIGION.  It is believed that something good is said of philosophy when it is put forward as a substitute for religion for the people.  As a matter of fact, in the spiritual economy there is need, at times, of an intermediary order of thought: the transition from religion to scientific contemplation is a violent, dangerous leap, which is not to be recommended.  To this extent the recommendation is justifiable.  But one should eventually learn that the needs which have been satisfied by religion and are now to be satisfied by philosophy are not unchangeable; these themselves can be weakened and eradicated.  Think, for instance, of the Christian's distress of soul, his sighing over inward corruption, his anxiety for salvation, all notions which originate only in errors of reason and deserve not satisfaction but destruction.  A philosophy can serve either to satisfy those needs or to set them aside; for they are acquired, temporally limited needs, which are based upon suppositions contradictory to those of science.  Here, in order to make a transition, art is far rather to be employed to relieve the mind over burdened with emotions; for those notions receive much less support from it than from a metaphysical philosophy.  It is easier, then, to pass over from art to a really liberating philosophical science.  
 

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