‘God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.’
Probably one of the most provocative quotes ever, spoken by the madman in Nietszche’s ‘Thus spoke Zarathustra’. There’s something strangely sad about the idea. To an atheist it may sound a bit like ‘Santaclaus is dead’. To believers the confusion depends on how you define God. If you believe that divinity can be found in every person or in nature, it may sound pretty logical, if your God is defined beyond earthly dimensions and time, it is a contradiction in terms. An Everlasting Being simply cannot not exist, let alone be killed.
With this story Nietzsche is trying to say that God doesn’t fit in modern man’s science and rationality anymore. The basis for morals has gone and with that the meaning of religion as a whole. It’s nihilistic. I don’t agree with Nietzsche, I think God is much more than what we can fit in our minds. I don’t believe that we can kill Him either. But Nietzsche’s findings do remind me of something:
We can rob God.
There’s a verse in the Bible, Malachi 3:8, Where God says that He is robbed because the priests are not giving their tithes to the temple and not offering their best meat. Most of the times this passage is explained that the priests were not giving to God what was rightfully His and were therefor robbing Him. You can imagine that it is a nice one to use when you want people to give more money to the church. And it happens.
But there’s a completely different angle to it that is mostly overseen. You see, in those days, tithing and offerings to the temple were all an essential part of a system in which the most vulnerable and poorest of the society were supported. If the priests didn’t do their job well, strangers, widows and orphans were the first ones to suffer. Loving others, taking care of people in need and serving God have always gone hand in hand. There isn’t a book in the Bible in which some prophet, disciple or Jesus, doesn’t get really mad about disconnecting the three. Because religion without heart for God and other people robs God from His reputation.
Now fastforward and think of all the sexual abuse that has taken place in Catholic boarding schools. Little boys had to confess their sins after being raped or beaten by a priest. God’s name was used as a motive for violence and manipulation. It must have robbed God of these kids’ trust and most probably killed their faith in Him as well.
Jesus said: ‘Whatever you did to the least of my brothers, you did unto Me.’ What state must He be in?