By Dean Dettloff
|Fernando Niño de Guevara, Inquisitor|
In On the Genealogy of Morals, Friedrich Nietzsche famously argued that Christianity bound humans to what he called “slave morality.” On his telling, morals are not absolute goods but relative, developing out of historical situations. Slave morality arose in response to what he calls “master morality,” which is characterized by strong will. Weak willed individuals, according to Nietzsche, unable to overcome the strong, responded by inventing morals to keep the strong in check. This invention, however, was not done out of love (despite its claims to the contrary), but out of resentment, fear, and pessimism. The weak, unable to overcome the strong, asserted themselves by the creation of arbitrary values. Although these values are presented as shining examples of altruism, they are haunted, says Nietzsche, by a hidden and embarrassing egoism.