All the major world religions, without being a specialist in theology, emphasise compassion. A quality that Nietzsche would find "feminine".

Does his arguments apply only to Christian morality or also to, say, morality in Hinduism, Buddhism & Islam? Or is he parochial in his criticism?

  • I approved the edit to this question, but I would still prefer 'dyspepsia' over criticism, as at least in my slight reading of Nietzsche, he finds Christian morality 'indigestible'... Commented Dec 3, 2012 at 14:02
  • It's likely Nietzsche's knowledge of the worlds other 'great' religion would have been limited somewhat by the era in which he lived. Whether his arguments apply or not - I don't know - but I don't think he intended for them to apply.
    – dgo
    Commented Jan 25, 2014 at 3:55
  • Partly related if you call daoism a religion: Similarities between philosophies of Zhuangzi (daoism) and Friedrich Nietzsche?
    – Drux
    Commented Mar 21, 2014 at 21:12

3 Answers 3


Since Nietzsche's critique of Christian morality is based on its origin, his arguments apply only to Judaism and Christianity. The "slave morality" he objects to is a historical event, dependent as much on the social organization of the Roman empire as on the life of Jesus. To understand this more clearly, read On the Genealogy of Morals, especially parts one and two.

  • 5
    To provide a more timeless answer, perhaps you could edit yours by providing some excerpts from Genealogy of Morals that highlight the point your are making. Commented Mar 20, 2014 at 8:19
  • I am actually not sure N would agree Islam is not a slave religion. Because the religion itself has an emphasis on this concept. Like you must stand on your knees, etc.
    – rus9384
    Commented Nov 7, 2018 at 7:47

His basic point is about immanence; religiosity tends towards nihilism since it posits another life, another world than this one. It then casts judgment upon existence. This is the kernel of resentment towards existence, life, reality, etc., that "poisons" theism from the start. However, it is precisely the spiritual depth, the growth of morality, the desire for truthfulness which religion inculcates and has domesticated the human spirit around which paves the way for that frame of mind which would supplant it -- it is paradoxically in the "name of morality" that we are obligated to re-evaluate it, to critique the morality of moralism itself. In passing I might note that Nietzsche does indicate (and to some degree even praises) the "advanced" state of nihilism prevalent in Eastern religions, especially Buddhism, which had so much longer to develop its spiritual coherence than Christianity (a "mixed type" religion with both Judaic and Greek sources.) At any rate the perversity of Christianity is a constant theme in Nietzsche; the way in which it sings songs of love and life which conceal so much hatred and death, in other words while casting judgment upon the universe and harboring deep-seated resentments. These features are clearly by no means unique to Christendom. However it seems also reasonable to point out that the existence of a deity isn't really the critical or urgent issue today which it was at the time, and Nietzsche perhaps marks the transition more clearly than many others...


Nietzsche wrote somewhere (in Antichrist? Can't remember) that buddhism has some of the flaws of christianism, but not as many. He was also against the anti-nature aspect of christianism, and this don't apply, for instance, to daoism or confucianism. The same applies to the utterly illogical separation of good and evil ruling in monotheisms. As the Dao De Jing puts it: "When Nature is lost, there remains Spontaneity. When Spontaneity is lost, there remains benevolence. When benevolence is lost, there remains justice. When justice is lost, there remains morality. The moralist is the hull of loyalty and honor, the beginning of chaos." (38) Compassion is a natural feeling. When it is "imposed" it becomes a vice: "Righteousness becomes strangeness, imposed good becomes a vice." (58)

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