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True2Ourselves Forums   > Community Topics > Theology  > Nietzsche said Pity is not a virtue that it is a Christian abomination

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Old 02-13-2014, 08:14 AM
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Default Nietzsche said Pity is not a virtue that it is a Christian abomination

Hi everybody!



Given the nature of some versions of conservative politics, there is the rejection of pity. Some conservatives seem to think that having pity upon another and assisting that person in a time of need is an abomination, not something to be done. There is a wholesale condemnation of social welfare for the masses, though, there is approval for welfare for the rich and for mulitinational corporations. In short, pity should be rejected, the strong should be aided, the weak should be despised and further enabled to fail. In recent times, this attitude goes back to the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, who stated the following:


“Pity preserves things that are ripe for decline, it defends things that have been disowned and condemned by life, and it gives a depressive and questionable character to life itself by keeping alive an abundance of failures of every type. People have dared to call pity a virtue… people have gone even further, making it into the virtue, the foundation and source of all virtues, - but of course you always have to keep in mind that this was the perspective of a nihilistic philosophy that inscribed the negation of life on its shield. Schopenhauer was right here: pity negates life, it makes life worthy of negation, - pity is the practice of nihilism. Once more: this depressive and contagious instinct runs counter to the instincts that preserve and enhance the value of life: by multiplying misery just as much as by conserving everything miserable, pity is one of the main tools used to increase decadence - pity wins people over to nothingness! … You do not say ‘nothingness’ : instead you say ‘the beyond’; or ‘God’; or ‘the true life’; or nirvana, salvation, blessedness … This innocent rhetoric from the realm of religious-moral idiosyncrasy suddenly appears much less innocent when you see precisely which tendencies are wrapped up inside these sublime words: tendencies hostile to life.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ


For Nietzsche, pity was a form of a rejection of life, life as it should be led. He advocated that the strong should rule, the weak ground underfoot. He advocated that force was that power that justified it, nothing less. There is a lot in contemporary politics that is sympathetic to this.

In ancient times, Christianity arose in a world in which the above view was the prevalent view. Christianity did advocate pity as a virtue and the action that would flow from the response towards a person in need.

Consider Luke10:25-37(NIV):

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

25 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”

27 He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
29 But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”

30 In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31 A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32 So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33 But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34 He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

36 “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

37 The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”



Jesus effected what was called by Nietzsche, a transvaluation of values, making pity, formerly a vice of weakness, something to be shunned and ashamed of, into something virtuous, an aspect of love.



What are your thoughts upon pity as a virtue?

What are your thoughts upon social welfare?





Peace be with you all!
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The humble, meek, merciful, just, pious and devout souls are everywhere of one religion; and when death has taken off the mask, they will know one another though the divers liveries they wear here make them strangers.
William Penn (1644-1718) from Some Fruits of Solitude (1718)

Last edited by HOLLAND : 04-08-2014 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:47 AM
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Default Re: Nietzsche said Pity is not a virtue that it is a Christian abomination

Notice that the Good Samaritan was not so addicted to pity that he kept the wounded man wounded. There is a type of person who gets his kicks by feeling superior to desperate people. In other people this takes the form of caring for wounded animals, etc. The game is exposed as a fraud however if the wounded or desperate person improves and is no longer needy if the "helpful" person is resentful or unhappy in some other way. Often the "helpful" type of person falls into anger or resentment, accusing the other of not being grateful, etc.

A little lower expression of this type of person is the person who enjoys abusing the weak or wounded. This kind of person would never dare take on someone with strength. Here we have the bullies with their desire to find weaker people to target. Here we find the child molesters who feel inadequate around other adults but who feel they can manipulate children. Here we have the person who tortures animals.

Both are similar in that they both depend on seeing others as inferior or weaker.

The truly helpful person does not get a thrill for his ego when he helps someone. He does it because it's what he wants to do, can see it's the right thing to do, etc. He may not succeed in getting others into good shape, but that's no reason not to try. He tries and does his best and accepts the outcome gracefully whatever it is. He does not feel he is owed anything, is not motivated by pity so much as his own desire to make the world a better place.

There is another type of person who relates well to the "helpful" person who enjoys oozing sympathy and pity. This type of person could do things for himself but has observed how easy it is to get something for nothing by acting pitiful. "Look at me -- see how needy I am -- see how worthless I am -- see how inept I am."

Sometimes a girl can get a man's attention by putting on a helpless act. The man's ego will swell, and he'll feel needed. They get married, thinking it is a good match. But then the girl grows up and becomes a woman. She isn't helpless and can see how the pretense is stifling her. This can lead to ruined marriages.

Pity is not enough. In some cases, it's a con game both ways. If we feel pity, we need to ask ourselves if what we are doing will actually improve anything. Acting on pity alone can be destructive, feeding the ego and deceiving the person into thinking, "I am a good person because I feel sorry for these other people." Never mind the pity which can fall into mere sentimentality without concrete action -- put out the cash like the Good Samaritan.

Another problem with pity is how it can make us lose our sense of proportion. I may be moved by a trivial event out of compassion while ignoring major problems elsewhere in the world because they are not in front of me. Genocide is going on today in the Central African Republic, but who feels pity for those people? We don't see them. Can we tell ourselves we're decent people because we feel sentimental about trivial things just because we see them and are moved emotionally? Or are we like the other two people in that story who avoid the wounded man -- walking on the other side of the road? If we aren't close to it, we can ignore it?

Last edited by Giuliano : 02-13-2014 at 10:02 AM.
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Old 02-13-2014, 11:47 AM
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Default Re: Nietzsche said Pity is not a virtue that it is a Christian abomination

Pity is not the same as compassion.
Pity has at its center pride unlike compassion which has at its core love. Big difference.
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Old 02-13-2014, 12:56 PM
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Default Re: Nietzsche said Pity is not a virtue that it is a Christian abomination

^^^Melinda, Kerry: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Any further thoughts on this, please share.


Peace be with you!
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The humble, meek, merciful, just, pious and devout souls are everywhere of one religion; and when death has taken off the mask, they will know one another though the divers liveries they wear here make them strangers.
William Penn (1644-1718) from Some Fruits of Solitude (1718)
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Old 02-13-2014, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Nietzsche said Pity is not a virtue that it is a Christian abomination

^ Here is something else then. I think if you think about it, you may have met a few people like this.

There is a type of person who does not feel safe in relationship with equals. He feels safe only if the other person is needy or vulnerable. His goal when he deals with capable people to is undermine them so they become smaller. Then it will be safe to love them. Of course, if you break down in tears, they'll love you for it.

Some of the grumpiest people around would give you the shirts off their backs -- but they have to see you as needy.

Some people use belittling remarks or even anger this way. Their real goal is to find a way to love; but they are convinced it's not safe to love someone who could damage them. Thus the urge to love becomes warped.

This kind of psychology plays a role in certain types of Christianity. First you are made to feel worthless; and then you are given a "solution" to your worthlessness. Jesus will fix everything for you! The more worthless you feel, the more you can be kept on the hook. The more you sin, the more you feel you need Jesus. Thus this style of Christianity actually fosters evil in people in order to keep them addicted to the "pity" of Jesus.

This is a completely false view of Jesus in my opinion. He didn't come to the earth to make us feel needy and worthless. We have enough of that already.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Jesus came to help -- really help -- the needy and worthless so they no longer need him for everything -- and the faithful and wise choose to remain with him since they know his motive was truly love, not mere pity while the people still wallowing in self-pity and self-loathing see him as a kind of con artist. There is the self-loathing type of people that has learned how to manipulate others by acting needy or humble, and they relate to Jesus the same way -- often with flattery. They seem to think Jesus wants to see people grovel so he feels good about himself.

This kind of negative pattern of thinking is often the result of how children are reared. Indeed the type of human fathers we had may influence our views about God -- if we allow ourselves to impute the human failings of our fathers to God. If the only way we could relate to our fathers was by groveling, we may think that is what God wants from us too.

The dynamics can play out several ways. We may imitate the father who wanted us to grovel since we saw him as winning. If we want others to grovel in front of us because we think that will make us happy, we may think we can make God happy by groveling and acting pathetic.

I find it a little hilarious when I see the pastor who was busted for adultery or something similar. He switches gears and plays the other side of the game. Instead of being the person giving sympathy and oozing pity to his hopeless congregation, he weeps and begs their forgiveness. It seems to give them such a thrill to be able to feel superior to him, they feel obliged to forgive him and not only forgive -- let him keep his job too to prove what forgiving Christians they are! The poor grieving wife also forgives him and gets tons of sympathy from the congregation.

Life is easy. Do what you want; and if caught, beg for forgiveness. People will be forced to say they forgive you and let you keep your job. If they don't pity you, get angry and accuse them of being bad Christians.
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Old 02-13-2014, 06:19 PM
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Default Re: Nietzsche said Pity is not a virtue that it is a Christian abomination

^^Thank you, Kerry. I've started these four threads to hear peoples thoughts concerning the subjects regarding the threads. I am seeking to get a feel how people are thinking regarding the subjects. I find the psychology behind pity as you have presented it very interesting. I do not have a response except that I'm gathering information about how people think. Thank you again very much for sharing your thoughts.


Peace be with you!
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The humble, meek, merciful, just, pious and devout souls are everywhere of one religion; and when death has taken off the mask, they will know one another though the divers liveries they wear here make them strangers.
William Penn (1644-1718) from Some Fruits of Solitude (1718)
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Old 02-13-2014, 07:12 PM
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Default Re: Nietzsche said Pity is not a virtue that it is a Christian abomination

Here's more to think about when it comes to compassion and "help." I think it's one of the most aberrated areas in the human psyche. Why? Because we've been betrayed so often.

An extreme case is how child molesters and serial killers sometimes pick up their victims. They may show a child a picture of a dog and act all sad and pitiful -- and ask the child if he has time to help look for it. Offering a reward is icing on the cake.

One serial killer used to ask people to do favors for him. They would. Very few people imagine someone who acts sad or needy could be a monster.

Over time, we develop suspicion of almost everything. We even have the saying, "No good deed goes unpunished."

I know a woman whom I liked when I first met her. We had several things in common; but her problem with me was I wouldn't flatter her or make her feel needed. I could have done it easily. I spotted it in her early on. She was easily manipulated by people. She trusted the wrong people. She was addicted to it. If she was moaning about something, she didn't want any ideas to make it better -- she wanted sympathy. I'll give people sympathy; but I expect them to take rational action so they can start becoming more cheerful. I"m not interested in going around oozing sympathy endlessly. I consider that relationship a disaster since she had so many people betray her. Had she been able to trust me, I would never have done to her what they did. Very odd. I did feel sorry for her since she didn't want to get better and didn't see the value in having a friend who was honest with her; but really, what could I do about it? Feel bad? Yes, but not show it. It would have only made her worse and sucked me into a pointless game.

What do you think I do when someone picks a fight and then breaks down and acts all hurt? That woman would do that. She got zero sympathy from me on that. It would have been rewarding bad behavior. She knew she couldn't break me down with her criticisms or attacks and she knew I wouldn't give her sympathy if she acted all hurt later.

She knew I liked her. I still do for the most part; but I wouldn't cater to her using acting angry and sad alternately to manipulate me. She knows I never lied to her, and she knows how to contact me. Anytime she wants to be pleasant with me, she should know I will be pleasant with her.

In my younger, more naive days, I might have caved in -- out of wanting to be on friendly terms. But is that the highest good? Is pretending a dysfunctional relationship is the highest good? No. She can do better. I expect better from her. I will not look at her as "second rate" or even "third rate." In my mind, there is a part of her still looks "first rate." That is more important to me than how she and I relate to each other. I want her to be happy. That doesn't necessarily even involve me.

Nietzsche's idea of the ideal man is someone is independent. That is what I also want for other people. I don't feel superior or inferior to other people. I find it annoying when other people act inferior or superior. I can't relate to them the way I want. Was the Good Samaritan "superior" to the wounded man he helped? We don't know. I would say the Good Samaritan didn't care either way about feeling superior or inferior. What kind of world do we want to live in? Isn't that the question? Do we want a world where robbers beat up people or a world where people feel safe to help others? Get the answer to that, and then act on it. We shouldn't say, "There is nothing I can do to make the world a better place, more like the kind of world I want it to be." That is despair or indifference -- a denial of life.

I don't think the Good Samaritan gave the matter much thought. He acted on instinct, the way a child would. That "inner child" is who we really are; but all the games in this world sour us and make us feel it's not safe to act the way we did as children. Still we need to teach children things -- to be as gentle as the dove but as wise as the serpent.

What we can fairly sure of is that the wounded man didn't bring catastrophe on himself in order to appear needy to get pity.
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Old 02-13-2014, 08:50 PM
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Default Re: Nietzsche said Pity is not a virtue that it is a Christian abomination

I would say that what Friedrich Nietzsche expounds is from seeing the results of sin not pity.

As for giving to the corporations it may cost more in welfare not to.
If the corporations go under the jobs of many go and also jobs of other industries that support the activities of the primary corporation.

In Australia at the moment the car industry is preparing to shut down with thousands losing jobs.
Then there are component manufacturers and distributors that will go as well.
Then there are packaging companies, car dealerships, towing companies, many other supporters of that industry that will lose a percentage of their business if not all.

A lot of these workers will become unemployed.
There won't be as many jobs as those seeking.
They will require welfare.
They won't be able to save and have less to contribute to their retirement.

Also those becoming unemployed will have considerably less discretionary income to spend on groceries and leisurely pursuits.
This will have a flow on effect to those industries and retail outlets.

It's a matter if the subsidies contributing to the car manufacturers offsets the revenue received by keeping the industry and all those supporting.
There is quite a considerable amount of thought to look over the entirety of the car industry when deciding whether it is feasible or not.

If sin is taken out the equation we could have heaven on earth with all the material aspects inclusive.
Welfare is a virtue closer to that ideal.


I would say Friedrich Nietzsche has had very little experience with these kinds of things.
He probably has read a lot of text books on the subject and formed ideas from his own life experience and the people he associated with.

Seems to me Friedrich Nietzsche showed more pity than he would of liked to let on.

On 3 January 1889, Nietzsche suffered a mental collapse. Two policemen approached him after he caused a public disturbance in the streets of Turin. What happened remains unknown, but an often-repeated tale from shortly after his death states that Nietzsche witnessed the flogging of a horse at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around its neck to protect it, and then collapsed to the ground.[86][87]

Friedrich Nietzsche - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I am forming my opinion on what little I know about Friedrich Nietzsche.
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Old 02-14-2014, 06:30 PM
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Default Re: Nietzsche said Pity is not a virtue that it is a Christian abomination

Most politicians don't live like Christians, Democrats are more likely to help people but they embrace sin. Conservatives don't want to help people but often reject sinful lifestyles, the truth is we should stand and do right by Him and serve our Lord and trust Him with those who run this country.
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Old 02-15-2014, 11:58 AM
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Default Re: Nietzsche said Pity is not a virtue that it is a Christian abomination

We had families taking care of their people before governmental bodies stepped in and it didn't always go well. Sometimes if a person didn't have family or if their family did not want them, the elderly, the demented and mentally challenged were placed in jail cells, prisons, locked up in barns without proper food and clothing. Poor houses were established by towns with a family to help run the houses and direct the growing of food and the clothing needs.
Clearly we have moved away from personal responsibility as a nation of people in some ways wanting the government to take care of the poor but complaining of the cost nonetheless.
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