Friedrich Nietzsche, The Wanderer and His Shadow (Der Wanderer und sein Schatten).

The Wanderer and his Shadow, the second supplement to Human, All Too Human, first published in 1880.


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Prayer.  On two hypotheses alone is there any sense in prayer, that not quite extinct custom of olden times.  It would have to be possible either to fix or alter the will of the godhead, and the devotee would have to know best himself what he needs and should really desire.  Both hypotheses axiomatic and traditional in all other religions, are denied by Christianity.  If Christianity nevertheless maintained prayer side by side with its belief in the all wise and all provident divine reason (a belief that makes prayer really senseless and even blasphemous), it showed here once more its admirable "wisdom of the serpent”.  For an outspoken command, "Thou shalt not pray” would have led Christians by way of boredom to the denial of Christianity.  In the Christian ora et labora ora plays the role of pleasure.  Without ora what could those unlucky saints who renounced labora have done?  But to have a chat with God, to ask him for all kinds of pleasant things, to feel a slight amusement at one's own folly in still having any wishes at all, in spite of so excellent a father — all that was an admirable invention for saints.  

Friedrich Nietzsche, "Ecce Homo" Ebook

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