Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Nietzsche, Friedrich: Religion and Psychology

  • Charlotte MooreEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9036

Nietzsche’s Psychology of Religion

Friedrich Nietzsche deals with the subject of religion in a number of his works, including The Antichrist (1988b), Beyond Good and Evil (1987), On the Genealogy of Morals (1989), and Thus Spoke Zarathustra (1988a). His most straightforward and penetrating analysis of the psychology of religion, however, may be found in his critique of asceticism in the third essay of On the Genealogy of Morals. Nietzsche begins his inquiry into the nature of asceticism by asking the question “What is the meaning of ascetic ideals?” (Nietzsche 1989, p. 97).

According to Nietzsche, there are three “slogans of the ascetic ideal,” regardless of the social group or movement in human history adopting it as a practice (Nietzsche 1989, p. 108). These are “poverty, humility,” and “chastity” (Nietzsche 1989, p. 108). The ascetic practices are basically those practices that are generally associated with monks, or members of religious orders, who withdraw into a life of...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.West Chester University of PennsylvaniaWest ChesterUSA