By Chris Highland ~ While studying Philosophy at Seattle Pacific ("free" Methodist) University, a wise old professor suggested I thumb through some Nietzsche. My evangelical mind was already stumbling numb from reading Socrates in Greek, and staggering in and out of Confucius, Walt Whitman and Kierkegaard. On the personal side, I was discovering the joys of (sinful) sex while attending a "house church" led by a Jews for Jesus-type friend and paling around with some Muslim students. But Nietzsche? Wasn't he the "God is Dead" guy? I quickly found he was much, much more, and I've returned to his writings off and on over the long journey out of faith. At this point I read him now and again during my "meditation" times (my wife knows this means while I'm in the bathroom sanctuary). This morning I came upon more delightfully upsetting lines from Mr. N's little book of pithy sayings called, Human, All Too Human (HATH, 1878). He was very good at the delightfully upsetting stuff. In this passage of troubling truthtelling he is discussing a "Substitute for Religion." He says that some want to simply replace Religion with Philosophy, but the move from religious to scientific thinking can be a "dangerous leap" and actually "inadvisable." The leap, that is. But, he reasons, "transitional spheres of thought" are necessary sometimes. His suggestion? Art. To move out of religious ideas that "originate only from errors of reason," a person needs a little help, a bridge, an alternative path that isn't some dramatic leap of un-faith (as opposed to Kierkegaard's famous leap of faith).
read more: Higher Trails to a Beauty Beyond God