Christianity/Catholicism a slave morality?

I remember reading over a philosophy section in my religion textbook about Nietzsche and how he described Christianity as having a ‘slave morality’; needless to say I looked the term up and it was contrasted with that of the ‘master morality’, which espoused might as opposed to ‘slave morality’s’ humility and other such attributes. Nietzsche’s work is dominated or has as one of it’s main themes is the will to power, i.e. the will to achieve to achieve the highest position in life. Would this criticism be justified and do Catholics lack the will to power, in your opinion?

Our highest rewards are not in this life, but rather with our Lord in heaven. Jesus said, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than it is for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. One of the biggest themes that runs through the Bible is justice for the poor, oppressed, widows and orphans.

I remember reading over a philosophy section in my religion textbook about Nietzsche and how he described Christianity as having a ‘slave morality’; needless to say I looked the term up and it was contrasted with that of the ‘master morality’, which espoused might as opposed to ‘slave morality’s’ humility and other such attributes.

The disciples looked up to Jesus as Lord and master, yet Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.

Would this criticism be justified and do Catholics lack the will to power, in your opinion?

I am sure there are many rich and powerful Catholics, but money and power are ways we are tested by God. I am not sure I would want that temptation of wealth, it would be so easy to misuse it.

I believe Nietzsche also said that the slave morality and those who espouse it wish to share it or force it upon others, more often than not those subscribe to master morality as referenced above. He also notes that ancient Roman and Greek heroes were archetypal almost of the master morality or how he attempts to justify it. Needless to say, I am intrigued by the philosophy of Nietzsche, where at one time I would have scoffed. The will to power is also a very interesting concept. Also, to further add, Nietzsche says that the collapse of the Roman Empire (in the West anyway) was due to the Empire’s adoption of Christianity’s slave morality, replacing the master morality that he claims once dominated the mindset of Ancient Rome. How would you argue this?

The world is actually upside down. It reflects its ruler. The universe, governed by life, appears one way in all its finite glory. Where it is governed by death, one sees the opposite.

We all die.

In this life, we can side with death and attain considerable power.
People are afraid to die, which gives us an opportunity to control them for not only our amusement but to gain more and more goods and influence.
If you think about it, this constitutes a sort of denial and identification with our persecutor.

We are not all Saints in this world, but death gives us the opportunity to throw off these shackles that bind us to evil. In what is our darkest hour, we have open to us the possibility of eternal happiness.

There are those who side with death to receive it’s power. Now I probably missed the nuances, but it seems that my buddy Freddy N. never at least admitted that the quest for power was an illusion. But then if this life is all there is, if oblivion manages to swallow us up in spite of the fact that we here and now exist and nothing will ever change that, if it doesn’t matter, one might as well strive for power. Camus was closer to the truth of a world in death’s grip, the only real question concerns suicide.

Christianity teaches that serving others and willing the good of the other form the highest moral truths. We cannot attain them on our own, but through His grace, God who is love, the compassionate Ground of all being, enables us to become love, the greatest good.

The Sophists had great commentary on issues such as morality. One that I’ve become to reflect is one by Protagoras when he says, “Of all things, Man is the measure.” As noble as willing the good of others and serving others is, the motion is moot if there is not reciprocation. What good is there for you to help someone and they abuse you constantly? Ultimately, as it were to seem, Man himself decides what right and wrong is, that there is no absolute truth but their own version of the truth. And the key, is to convince others of yours. Thrasymachus put interestingly enough with the phrase, “Justice is simply the interest of the stronger.”

Morality has to do with human conduct, ethics. It deals with the rightness, and wrongness of human conduct. It is determined by a general principle, whatever is conducive to the objective well being of a human, or humans as a whole is right, and good, and whatever is not objectively conducive to the well being of humanity is wrong, and bad. it is not based on subjective opinions, or relative, but based on objective truth and the nature of man, a rational one. To act rationally one can come to a set of rules that govern one’s actions that are conducive to one’s well being, These rules are based on the natural law, and also reinforced by the super-natural law (The Decalogue) which had to be revealed because of the state of ignorance that befell the human race through the sin of Adam. Man is not the creator of these laws, God is, man’s Creator. An objective truth the secular world and its proponents do not recognize, and because they don’t truth becomes relative to ones opinions. To act contrary to one’s nature is a slave-morality, one that enslaves one to self-destruction or to one’s mal-being

So could slave morality be directly attributed to your relationship with God, no? And was it not through God, through his direct provision of facilitating man’s free will, that engendered man to become a slave to sin, thereby making God the only means by which could attain full vigour once again? Do you worship God because it is conducive that you will achieve salvation, not because you love God but because he is the only means by which you may escape the tortures of hell?

Quite the contrary, without the relationship to God, we are slaves to other forces. It was by the loss of grace that man became a slave to his passions (contrary to the rule of right reason) and to evil forces that take advantage of the condition, to bring about man’s demise. Salvation is given freely, not earned. When one receives this grace, one turns in love to the giver, and recognizes Him for who He is, and adores Him, the purpose of one’s existence, union with God, the Ultimate Good. He is the only means for man’s salvation, for man can not conquer himself, or his mortal enemy. Even man’s free will is affected by the loss of sanctifying grace, his will was weakened.

But yet your God holds the leash around your neck, that if you do not follow his precepts and his statutes that he could have prevented in the first place by not giving man free will. So not only is God responsible for the state of original sin you say was inherited from Adam and Eve, he also holds you, as a believer, to ransom that by any temporal sins you’ve committed in this life left un-confessed, you will be confined to an eternity of suffering for a condition your God could have easily checked. Seems like a case of maniacal self-glorification to me. Please, in all due respect my friend, inform what other forces a man may come slave to?

You claim that willing the good of another is noble. According to the beliefs you favour, you have decided to make it so. It seems like a proper thing to say given this society’s strong Christian background. I am thinking however that it is an expression merely of a difficulty in dealing with the disapprobation of others. A lack of courage so to speak. Clearly others don’t like it that you do not put their interests at the top of your list. It’s better to pretend we’re all good isn’t it. Again, all those ideas for which you advocate, smack of death. Fear, denial of ultimate truths, pride and the ignorance that characterizes our fallen state.

The fact is that we do choose what moral path we will follow. And, in darkness, we are even more likely to follow paths that lead to misery. However, be aware that there is a light that shines eternal.

I don’t see where it is in my interest to convince you about anything. I am fine thank you. But, when I think someone is heading down a road that ends abruptly off a cliff, it seems imperative to give them the heads up.

The “will to power” has created some really ugly stuff. It’s really a matter of concupiscence according to the Church, a result of original sin:

377 The “mastery” over the world that God offered man from the beginning was realized above all within man himself: mastery of self. The first man was unimpaired and ordered in his whole being because he was free from the triple concupiscence that subjugates him to the pleasures of the senses, covetousness for earthly goods, and self-assertion, contrary to the dictates of reason.

The will to power as indicated by Nietzsche would qualify as man unnaturally over-stepping his bounds, fueled by pride, described by Aquinas as a man aiming higher [supra] than he is, or to have an inordinate, disproportionate, view of ones own excellence.

Jesus carries this yoke of my existence with me, lightening my load and making the journey joyous.
You may regret your existence, but here it is. If it is poison you must drink, so be it. No point denying reality.
A condition of eternal suffering lies in our having created a universe of one. If one does not wish this fate, live your life otherwise.
The megalomaniacal self-glorification is what is observed in those who claim to possess those attributes that belong solely to God.
Worship yourself and that is the reward you will receive.
Worship the love by which creation is brought into existence, and there will be a different end to the journey, one shared in loving communion with all who give of themselves as God has given of Himself to bring us to eternal joy.

How exactly does your Jesus carry your yoke for you? How does he lighten it? Why not ask for the help of family members or close friends in carrying your yoke than a man whom you cannot touch, feel, see or hear?

No.The Christianity he critiqued was the Lutheranism his father taught him. Nietzsche said:

"Every true faith is infallible. It performs what the believing person hopes to find in it. But it does not offer the least support for the establishing of an objective truth. Here the ways of men divide. If you want to achieve peace of mind and happiness, have faith. If you want to be a disciple of truth, then search.”

This is a deeply Lutheran sentiment. That faith brings pure peace and happiness with no struggle is firmly based on the doctrine of “faith alone”. Nietzsche believed faith itself was an objective truth, not part of the search for truth. Therefore, once he abandoned this faith, his logical conclusion was that only the search itself is true. Objective truth was rendered unattainable.

The Lutheran concept of “faith alone” does indeed lack the will to power. It denounces questioning because it sees faith as the goal, not as means to the goal. It’s like finding a road and sitting down before traveling it. This concept of faith did not exist prior to the reformation. Catholics, from the Apostles until now, have always seen faith as a guide. Faith is inspiration, not knowledge itself. Faith is what gives us the confidence to travel down a road, and what keeps us going when we stumble on it. This is expressed in the New Testament. Consider this excerpt from the letter to the Hebrews:

“…about David and Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword;…”

Notice how the word “faith” is used here. It is not merely faith that enabled these men to do these deeds. It was “through” faith. If David or Daniel had faith the way Nietzsche meant it, then David would have simply sat back on his throne and waited for God to give him these kingdoms, Daniel would have sat in the pit and waited for God to shut the lion’s mouth, instead of using his own hands. Consider also this excerpt from Saint James:

“What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? …Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.”

He agrees with Nietzsche here. Faith, for James, means to put this faith into action. Faith to him means to love. The two are synonymous. Faith without love is not faith. It’s dead, a static ideal. As Saint Thomas Aquinas says, “To love is to will the good of the other”. Love is the ultimate will to power.

This is the essence of all saints. All those martyrs in the Roman Empire could have spared their lives by simply denouncing their faith and swearing an oath to the emperor. But they willed themselves into the coliseum and confronted the jaws of the lions. Think of the emperor who watched this. He, as emperor, exerted his will to power as Nietzsche would say. Would he, this man of power, be brave enough to confront these lions? Faith is what gave these Christians the courage to confront this horrific fate. If he were to lose his throne and be cast down into the coliseum too, he would have no hope, no courage, because he would have no faith. His will to power, while effective, is an illusion, because it is temporary.

Nietzsche said:

“Suppose nothing else were “given” as real except our world of desires and passions, and we could not get down, or up, to any other “reality” besides the reality of our drives–for thinking is merely a relation of these drives to each other: is it not permitted to make the experiment and to ask the question whether this “given” would not be sufficient…”

This means that his will to power is simply the exertion of the will for its own sake. Once this will dominates all other wills, the pleasure is the power felt by one’s will being dominant. It’s is entirely narcissistic. This is why Nietzsche found it acceptable to lie, kill, and never forgive if all these actions exert your will, since for him, there is no objective truth, only what we will is true. As “faith alone” is merely faith without works, Nietzsche’s will to power is merely will without works. He called those who excreted their will to power Ubermenschs, and gave Napoleon as an example. But Napoleon ended his life powerless and feeble on an island, despite all his conquests beforehand, and while his actions reverberated throughout history, his reputation is largely negative, since his actions caused mass deaths and paved the way towards World War II. Nietzsche’s inability to acknowledge this fate is telling. It reveals his romanticism, and his inability to look beyond the mere military conquests of Napoleon. Because Nietzsche sees the will for the will as some Lutheran Christians see faith for faith, he does not see the end these means are intended for.

Compare Napoleon with Christ. Christ willed his death, and yet the difference between their wills is that Napoleon’s will was based on temporal pleasures, whereas Christ’s will is based on love. Napoleon knew this. That’s why he said:

"Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself have founded great empires. But our empires were founded on force. Jesus alone founded His empire on love, and to this day millions would die for Him. I think I understand something of human nature, and I tell you, all these were men, and I am a man. Jesus Christ was more than man.”

Nietzsche knew this too. That’s why he said Christ was his only true opponent. That’s also why his criticisms are harsh. He compared all Christians to the standards set by Christ, and found them wanting. But he did not demonstrate an understanding of what Catholics meant by faith, nor did he consider the acts of the Saints, and therefore his philosophy is based on a false dichotomy.

God never holds a lease around my neck, I may choose to follow His precepts or not. He could have made me a slave with no free will, but He didn’t. God is not responsible for Original sin just because His permissive will allowed Adam to be tested. Adam of his own free will and knowledge, with all the gifts of integrity made the choice freely, no ignorance involved. He knew the consequences of his acts, God was very clear in what would happen if he did disobey. Jesus(the Son of God) also provided the means for reconciliation with God by instituting the Sacrament of confession or reconciliation. If one knowingly does not confess a serious sin before death, unless he is ignorant of his sin, he like Adam knows the consequences. God is not to blame for our choices.
At the center, the cause why we need salvation is that humanity needed to be redeemed from the works of Satan, and this truth is not fiction, it is truth in spades. Humanity lost contact with God at the first sin. Jesus came to redeem us, and re-establish our contact with our Creator. He became the bridge, and paid the price for this redemption, and contact, or relationship with our Father Creator. Jesus, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, is glorified by the Father, and will continue to be glorified. He prayed "glorify me Father with the glory I had with you before the world was made, because it is right and just and deserving of all our worship and love, (as if He needed it) It is not the prayer of a meglomaniac, but a prayer of truth for who He is, God in union with the Father and the Holy Spirit.

We all have leashes around our necks; we’re slaves to desires, hunger, thirst, sex. To our needs for food and shelter. We’re slaves to death. We don’t call the shots on who we’re born to, when and where we’re born. We’re limited in the say we have as to our destinies-and that can change in an instant due to sickness, tragedies, fate in general. We operate within boundaries no matter how free we may want to think we are.


That would be like Marriage is about slavery!


Jesus ransomed us from the power of Satan, a fallen angel more powerful than any human. Satan, after his fall of pride and disobedience, tempted Adam, through Adam’s pride and disobedience and ingratitude, for he was richly blessed with sanctifying grace by God, and so was Satan, and his co-horts, other fallen angels. With separation from God, by the loss of this grace, man became incapable to communicate with his Creator, to have a loving relationship, as was intended. Man also became a slave to his passions, and ignorance, and didn’t have the strength of will to resist, he was at war with himself, as expressed by St.Paul the apostle to the Gentiles. “the things I do, are not the things I want to do, The things I want to do, are the things I do not do, who will save me…Jesus Christ.” Our war is a spiritual war against Principalities and Powers (fallen angels) and not against human flesh and blood. Jesus lightens our load by meriting for us the virtue of love and concern that makes it possible for us to help one another, otherwise, we will become very selfish (like we witness in the world today) in a world where we kill each other out of hatred, and lack of concern, in a world filled with sin, and victimes of the evil force that is taking advantage of our need for Salvation Satan is as Jesus described him, a murderer, and a liar, an abomination that rules an un-saved world. Deceiving mankind into believing that we are totally responsible for our mis-deeds, while he hides himself from the light of truth. And make us believe that God is the cause of our misery Deception is his game, and he is the best deceiver.

A good place to start might be:

Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

In this world we must toil. The quest for power, possessions, pleasure, honour, and even holiness take their toll.
Tied to what is transient and illusory, we struggle not only to attain them, but also with the anxiety that comes with the awareness, kept from ourselves, of their eventual unavoidable loss.
We try as we might to keep His laws, and we fail time and time again. We are led to question our own sincerity and find ourselves to be sinners doing what we should not do.
We find no rest. Their yoke is hard and the burden great.

The yoke He offers is love, not an emotion but a loving act of willing the good of the other.
It lightens what we do to the point that our soul soars. We find ourselves moving mountains being faithful to God’s will.

Jesus shares in our struggles. On the cross, He encountered every form of suffering to which we are subject.
Within His most sacred heart we find refuge in our pain.
The infinite compassion from which the totality of our being emerges, envelops us, knowing from the inside every thought, feeling, longing and disappointment. We are loved.

Physically, a confidant, close friend or family member brings this spirit of understanding and care into the encounter, enabling its healing powers.

God is the Ground of all existence and the whereby we have the capacity to know and love.
He is more real than what we sense and share with others. He is Reality itself.

The real point I think is that we don’t call the shots. We operate within boundaries; we have limitations even though we, like Adam, may tend to object to that notion. Our freedom lies precisely in acknowledging those limitations vis a vis God, so that He may be God, not us. That’s where our integrity and soundness of mind, etc, actually begins.

Insanity, OTOH, is to be outside of or apart from the truth of who we really are. Pride is the granddaddy of all sins for that very reason; It’s to believe a lie about ourselves, to have an “immoderate desire of one’s own excellence, a desire, to wit, that is not in accord with right reason” according to the Summa. It goes on to quote one Isidore, “A man is said to be proud, because he wishes to appear above (super) what he really is”; for he who wishes to overstep beyond what he is, is proud. Now right reason requires that every man’s will should tend to that which is proportionate to him. Therefore it is evident that pride denotes something opposed to right reason…" Some random thoughts.

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