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“Has he got lost? Did he lose his way like a child? Or is he hiding? Is he afraid of us? Has he gone on a voyage? Emigrated?” No the madman says; “we have killed him – you and I. All of us are his murderers” This exchange encapsulates the aphorism that underpins much of Nietzsche’s thought; that “God is dead”. But what does this mean – What is Nietzsche telling us by claiming that we have murdered God? This essay is going to attempt to try and understand what Nietzsche argues has changed and what hasn’t with the death of God and to examine his critique of 19th century morality in the context of the 21st century politics and see if he offers a constructive alternative to the way we engage in political discourse.
When Nietzsche claims that God is dead he is not making an empirical claim about God’s existence, nor even merely about the state of belief in his existence. His claim is that the conceptual relationship between God and the ‘Truth’ fundamentally changed with the Enlightenment. Previously ‘Truth’ was understood via its relationship with God; Nietzsche argues that:
“All ex…