Whence Nietzsche in Contemporary Atheist Reflection?

Philosopher John Gray sees it only in Michel Onfray:

Among contemporary anti-religious polemicists, only the French writer Michel Onfray has taken Nietzsche as his point of departure. In some ways, Onfray’s In Defence of Atheism [titled in its U.S. edition as “Atheist Manifesto”] is superior to anything English-speaking writers have published on the subject. Refreshingly, Onfray recognises that evangelical atheism is an unwitting imitation of traditional religion: “Many militants of the secular cause look astonishingly like clergy. Worse: like caricatures of clergy.”

I share Gray’s curiosity about the absence of Nietzsche among prominent atheists writing in English. Perhaps it has to do with the “Little Miss Sunshine” competition with religion? Selling reflections on complexity, nihilism, and pessimism to the ADG (“attention deficit generation”) is to lose them to the religious sales departments before you even start. And nuance is always a naughty word. In the 21st century, whatever it is that you’re selling, you must never forget to repeat yourself slowly and smile.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to Whence Nietzsche in Contemporary Atheist Reflection?

  1. Sir Gnome says:

    As always, dead on!

  2. santitafarella says:

    Thanks Sir Gnome.

    —Santi

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