2022 Abstracts Stage 2

Life affirmation and life denial: Nietzsche on Christianity.

My project dissertation focuses of a life-denying reading of Christianity. I argue, using a historical background provided by John Robertson, that early Christianity grew from the exploitation of the weak and continues to feed off inequality to this day.
Readings of Nietzsche’s primary literature details the values cultivated by Christian morality, those of ressentiment and the ascetic ideal, arguing that they stunt human being’s natural drive for the fullest possible life and negates our instincts for pleasure, growth, and development. Secondary reading provided by Deleuze helps rework Nietzsche’s argument, providing an understanding Nietzsche’s famous theory will to power, which I then consider in relation to the life-denying power of Christianity. Brain Leiter also tackles Nietzsche’s ideas of a higher man, allowing for a more critical reading which I explore and build on.
The life-denying values which prompted Christianity’s growth into a worldwide religion are perhaps best criticised in Nietzsche’s works, and I will argue that as Christianity has expanded, these values that have permeated the political and social space, must be understood and challenged.