"German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) wrote in The Gay Science (1882) that “God is dead”. This quote is often thrown around by atheists as a sort of war trophy (a severed head of one’s enemy, if you will).
The intent of the passage, however, is almost the exact opposite. Nietzsche writes “Where has God gone? [...] I shall tell you. We have killed him – you and I. We are his murderers.” This is a direct challenge and call to arms for atheists.
But how is God dead if he never lived in the first place (as little empirical evidence exists for either Christ’s divinity or resurrection) ? Nietzsche’s assertion that humanity has become the murderer of God indicates that society has, in many ways, evolved beyond the base biological need for a religious outlet (which in earlier times would have most likely meant the difference between life and death for any number of reasons)."
How will atheists adapt to the new, "free" existence of humanity?
(Original Article): http://quietmike.org/2014/06/18/refutation-young-earth-creationism/
I read the "god is dead" line in Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra.
He gave the line to an insane man, which gave FN an answer for xians who attacked him.
He could reply "Only the insane think god is dead."
Sic semper der ubermann.
Nietzsche often has a way of working in meaningful "contradictions" (much in the sense of the Zen Koan) so as to illustrate human experience.
You are also right that this type of thinking is present throughout his work, however the very first instance of the phrase "God is dead" by Nietzsche in print was The Gay Science.
Indeed, I see atheism as just another point on a much longer ideological spectrum of slow change. The reason for the quotes around the term "free" consists in an effort on my part to illustrate both the subjective nature of human definition as well as the interesting practice (of which Nietzsche was fond) of criticizing the inherent-validity of linguistic claims. God will inevitably be around in one form or another for a very long time to come (barring some horrible catastrophe), although you are correct in the assertion that mankind will be required to transcend its baser, systemically-derived tendencies toward theistic practices.
How can something that never existed die ?
That's kind of the whole point.
God doesn't exist empirically, he never did. However, we did not always have an empirical understanding of the world. We have killed God by making him irrelevant
I do think that, as a species, we need to replace our gods with something else. I've said for years that a fully established civilization would have goals and a plan. What is our goal? To consume all available resources as fast as possible? What is our 'plan'? Perhaps; Fish it, log it, mine it, pave it.
Gods just provided what the sentient mind realized was missing: a point to all this. Gods were ok when a few could placate the masses with fairy stories. Now we need something juicier - an engineered future that provides for everyone, an off-world beachhead (maybe on Mars), sustainable resource management. Fairy stories are much easier though, I suppose.
Yes, religion does serve a purpose. Unfortunately, it's a double edged sword. While it serves as a moral compass for masses who need it, religion also is probably the cause of more deaths than anything else in human history. While we may part company on your view of "an engineered future that provides for everyone", we are one when it comes to your assessment that mankind will likely always have religion (of some sort) around to artificially inject purpose, support, and higher meaning to the emotionally and/or intellectually weak majority of us.