by Greg Spearritt
Emeritus Professor Lloyd Geering’s address to the 2010 National Conference of SoFiA is now on the SoFiA website: ‘The Changing Moral Imperative: From gods to God to Gaia’.
David Miller comments, 29 October 2010:
Lloyd Geering mentioned Nietzsche’s abuse-term ‘slave morality’. This expression refers, firstly, to the popularity of Christianity amongst the lower orders of the Roman Empire. And secondly, to the values of compassion and charity promulgated by the Christians, leading to the undermining of the values of the Roman aristocracy. However, Nietzsche knew only too well that this type of ‘slave morality’ had been originated by the historical Zarathustra, whom we know as Zoroaster (the ancient Greek version of his name). Zoroastrianism is the religion he inaugurated.
From approximately 2000 BC onwards, the Indo-Europeans invaded India, the Middle East and Europe. Zarathustra (1400 BC) was so horrified by the pillaging and carnage perpetrated by his own people that he declared this behaviour to be a manifestation of absolute evil. Nietzsche was impressed by Zarathustra’s ‘transvaluing the values’ of his ancient society. So impressed indeed, that he honoured Zarathustra by making him the hero of his book ‘Thus Spake Zarathustra’. The irony is that Nietzsche made his fictional hero represent the aristocratic values that the historical Zarathustra had rejected as evil.
Why was Nietzsche so abusive towards the Christians and not the Zoroastrians? In my opinion he was a ‘man of his time’ and had an attitude of Euro-centrism. Zarathustra had only undermined the Asiatics. Whereas the Christians undermined those who Nietzsche regarded as important, the Europeans.
Posted by David Miller