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As philosopher and poet Nietzsches work is not easily conformable to the traditional schools of thought within philosophy However an unmistakable concern with the role of religion and values penetrates much of his work Contrary to the tradition before him Nietzsche launches vicious diatribes against Christianity and the dualistic philosophies he finds essentially life denying Despite his early tutelage under the influence of Schopenhauers philosophy Nietzsche later philosophy indicates a refusal to cast existence as embroiled in pessimism but instead as that which should be affirmed even in the face of bad fortune This essay will study in further detail Nietzsche view of Schopenhauer and Christianity as essentially nihilistic Nihilism Throughout his work Nietzsche makes extensive use of the term nihilism In texts from the tradition prior to Nietzsche the term connotes a necessary connection between atheism and the subsequent disbelief in values It was held the atheist regarded the moral norms of society as merely conventional without any justification by rational argument Furthermore without a divine authority prohibiting any immoral conduct all appeals to morality by authority become hollow By the atheists reckoning then all acts are permissible With Nietzsches appearance on the scene however arrives the most potent arguments denying the necessary link between atheism and nihilism It will be demonstrated that Nietzsche in fact will argue it is in the appeal to divine proscriptions that the most virulent nihilism will attain There is a second sense of nihilism that appears as an outgrowth of the first that Nietzsche appeals to in his critique of values It contends that not only does an active pious acknowledgment of a divinity foster nihilism but also the disingenuous worship of a deity that has been replaced in the life man by science too breeds a passive nihilism Christianity Nietzsche conceives the first variety of nihilism that fostered through active worship as pernicious due to its reinforcement of a fundamental attitude that denies life Throughout his life
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