Too Oriental. What? A God who loves men, provided they believe in him and who hurls frightful glances and threatenings at him who does not believe in this love! What? A conditioned love as the feeling of an almighty God! A love which has not even become master of the sentiment of honour and of the irritable desire for vengeance! How Oriental is all that! “If I love thee, what does it concern thee?” 9 is already a sufficient criticism of the whole of Christianity.
* This means that true love does not look for reciprocity.
Frankincense. Buddha says: “Do not flatter thy benefactor!” Let one repeat this saying in a Christian church:— it immediately purifies the air of all Christianity.
The Greatest Utility of Polytheism. For the individual to set up his own ideal and derive from it his laws, his pleasures and his rights — that has perhaps been hitherto regarded as the most monstrous of all human aberrations, and as idolatry in itself; in fact, the few who have ventured to do this have always needed to apologise to themselves, usually in this wise: “Not I! not I! but a God, through my instrumentality!” It was in the marvellous art and capacity for creating Gods in poly theism that this impulse was permitted to discharge itself, it was here that it became purified, perfected, and ennobled; for it was originally a commonplace and unimportant impulse, akin to stubbornness, dis obedience and envy. To be hostile to this impulse towards the individual ideal, that was formerly the law of every morality. There was then only one norm, “the man” and every people believed that it had this one and ultimate norm. But above himself, and outside of himself, in a distant over-world, a person could see a multitude of norms: the one God was not the denial or blasphemy of the other Gods! It was here that individuals were first permitted, it was here that the right of individuals was first respected. The inventing of Gods, heroes, and supermen of all kinds, as well as coordinate men and undermen dwarfs, fairies, centaurs, satyrs, demons, devils was the inestimable preliminary to the justification of the selfishness and sovereignty of the individual: the freedom which was granted to one God in respect to other Gods, was at last given to the individual himself in respect to laws, customs and neighbours. Monotheism, on the contrary, the rigid consequence of the doctrine of one normal human being consequently the belief in a normal God, beside whom there are only false, spurious Gods has perhaps been the greatest danger of mankind in the past: man was then threatened by that premature state of inertia, which, so far as we can see, most of the other species of animals reached long ago, as creatures who all believed in one normal animal and ideal in their species, and definitely translated their morality of custom into flesh and blood. In polytheism man’s free-thinking and many-sided thinking had a prototype set up: the power to create for himself new and individual eyes, always newer and more individualised: so that it is for man alone, of all the animals, that there are no eternal horizons and perspectives.