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Nietzsche: The Atheist Joseph Smith?

May 15, 2009

Honestly, I couldn’t make up stuff like this.

…Most people I know are pretty leery about buying into Will to Power as reflecting Nietzsche’s thought. Even those who do use it use it carefully. On the other hand the Heideggarian reading of Eternal Recurrance and Will to Power (the concept, not the book) are interesting here. I’m not sure I buy them as reflecting Nietzsche’s thought but they sure make me think.I do agree though about folks waiting for the next life to make everything nice. I think the whole theme of Joseph’s teaching is that heaven is what we make. There’s a very Nietzschean element in Joseph Smith. I used to joke that Nietzsche is what you get if you made Joseph an atheist. Not entirely true of course but there’s a strong element of truth to it.

But perhaps I don’t mean that in a bad way. Maybe I’m just jealous that I couldn’t think of something like that first.

One of the cooler points of Mormonism is this idea of eternal progression within exaltation. I mean, I’ve heard a lot of people talk about this stereotyped imagining of the Christian heaven…and you know…it’s not all that enticing. Singing praises to God for all eternity and playing harps all day? I mean…sure…I’m sure that’s got to be worth…something…but what if instead, your purpose was to eventually becomes what your creator was.

The way Ray described it in another comment on the BCC blog was kinda harrowing:

My own answer to the purpose of life would be “to perpetuate the species of ‘God’” – or, on a personal level, “to become like God”. I then would clarify that the purpose of this mortal life is to learn lessons toward that end which only can be learned in this type of setting – to experience things only this sort of world can provide.

I have a friend who writes some of the screepiest (scary-creepy) poems and short stories about Mormon ideas I have *ever* read (and it kinda scares me that his spirituality is founded in this, and he views this as ultimately beautiful, but that’s neither here nor there)…and this comment reaches about 1/20 the level of that. Perpetuating the species of God…however, does certainly sound majestic and triumphant.

And, I guess I’m out of the loop as to whether it’s official doctrine or not anymore (it’s so tough to keep track), but the way I’ve heard it…that’s how things have been. God theoretically was in this place way back when (and he must’ve passed with flying colors, so here he is.) And we can do the same.

…now with all of that being said, I guess this is all misleading. After all, Nietzsche would still have had many criticisms of the church (after all, in all of this talk of exaltation, we still are denying this life for death.)

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  1. I always thought this phrase “Companions the Creator seeks and not herds and believers” from “Also Sprach Zarathustra” was rather “Mormon” in outlook. The Mormon God is not interested in worshipers, but rather peers. And for the purpose of creating qualified peers, he has ordered the universe the way he has.

  2. ok, I can *definitely* see that as well.


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