Why atheism today? — The “father” in God has been thoroughly refuted; ditto, “the judge,” “the rewarder.” Also his “free will”: he does not hear — and if he heard he still would not know how to help. Worst of all: He seems incapable of clear communication: is he unclear?
This is what I found to be causes for the decline of European theism, on the basis of a great many conversations, asking and listening. It seems to me that the religious instinct is indeed in the process of growing powerfully — but the theistic satisfaction it refuses with deep suspicion.
— Section 53, Part III: “What Is Religious?” from Beyond Good and Evil.
Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900) is one of the most influential philosophers of modern times. Some critics go so far as to say that he almost singlehandedly invented modernity through his profound efforts to break with the philosophical traditions that formed Europe. Beyond Good and Evil takes up where arguably his most famous work, Thus Spoke Zarathustra, left off, attempting to extricate philosophy from what he considered the erroneous assumptions of Christianity.