Friedrich Nietzsche, The AntiChrist

Der Antichrist (also could be translated as The Anti-Christian).  Written in 1888 and first published in 1895.

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A criticism of the Christian concept of God leads inevitably to the same conclusion.  A nation that still believes in itself holds fast to its own god.  In him it does honour to the conditions which enable it to survive, to its virtues it projects its joy in itself, its feeling of power, into a being to whom one may offer thanks.  He who is rich will give of his riches; a proud people need a god to whom they can make sacrifices .  Religion, within these limits, is a form of gratitude.  A man is grateful for his own existence: to that end he needs a god.  Such a god must be able to work both benefits and injuries; he must be able to play either friend or foe he is wondered at for the good he does as well as for the evil he does.  But the castration, against all nature, of such a god, making him a god of goodness alone, would be contrary to human inclination.  Mankind has just as much need for an evil god as for a good god; it doesn't have to thank mere tolerance and humanitarianism for its own existence.  What would be the value of a god who knew nothing of anger, revenge, envy, scorn, cunning, violence?  who had perhaps never experienced the rapturous ardeurs of victory and of destruction?  No one would understand such a god: why should any one want him?  True enough, when a nation is on the downward path, when it feels its belief in its own future, its hope of freedom slipping from it, when it begins to see submission as a first necessity and the virtues of submission as measures of self preservation, then it must overhaul its god.  He then becomes a hypocrite, timorous and demure; he counsels "peace of soul," hate no more, leniency, "love" of friend and foe.  He moralizes endlessly; he creeps into every private virtue; he becomes the god of every man; he becomes a private citizen, a cosmopolitan.  Formerly he represented a people, the strength of a people, everything aggressive and thirsty for power in the soul of a people; now he is simply the good god .  The truth is that there is no other alternative for gods: either they are the will to power in which case they are national gods or incapacity for power in which case they have to be good.  
 

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