When one gives up the Christian faith, one pulls the right to Christian morality out from under one’s feet. This morality is by no means self-evident: this point has to be exhibited again and again, despite the English flatheads. Christianity is a system, a whole view of things thought out together. By breaking one main concept out of it, the faith in God, one breaks the whole: nothing necessary remains in one’s hands. Christianity presupposes that man does not know, cannot know, what is good for him, what evil: he believes in God, who alone knows it. Christian morality is a command; its origin is transcendent; it is beyond all criticism, all right to criticism; it has truth only if God has truth—it stands or falls with faith in God.
When the English actually believe that they know “intuitively” what is
good and evil, when they therefore suppose that they no longer require
Christianity as the guarantee of morality, we merely witness the effects
of the dominion of the Christian value judgment and an expression of
the strength and depth of this dominion: such that the origin of English
morality has been forgotten, such that the very conditional character
of its right to existence is no longer felt. For the English, morality
is not yet a problem.
- Friedrich Nietzsche, “Twilight of the Idols,” The Portable Nietzsche, ed. and trans. Walter Kaufman (New York: Penguin Books, 1976), 515–16