You have no clue what Nietzsche meant when he said “God is dead” do you?
God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it? There was never a greater deed – and whoever is born after us will on account of this deed belong to a higher history than all history up to now!’ Here the madman fell silent… he threw his lantern on the ground so that it broke into pieces and went out. ‘I come too early’, he then said, ‘my time is not yet. This tremendous event is still on its way, wandering; it has not yet reached the ears of men.
— The Parable of the Madman
Nietzsche’s philosophy is complex and radical, but the meaning of this passage is clear: humans have reached a point where the notion of God, as an external source of value and meaning, is defunct. We can no longer believe in a divine cosmic order or a system of absolute morality, and must face up to the fact that we are free to choose our own values. This is more a descriptive than a prescriptive statement: Nietzsche is recognising that in our scientific age the religious hypothesis has stopped being useful or even plausible. To borrow William James’ term, God is no longer a live proposition (source).
He isn’t saying that god lived and then died. He’s saying that there’s no longer a need for the idea of god. It means exactly what I knew it means, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s outspoken, offensive, etc.—every distinction people try to apply to “new atheists.” My point stands; there’s no such thing as new atheism.
Not exactly, by my reading. Nietzsche did not believe that there was no longer a need for the idea of god, just that we couldn’t have him any more. He saw the death of god as a systematic problem for our society that would require an extreme rearrangement of it which the world was going to have a really hard time acknowledging and getting used to. Thought he is in the grave and we put him there, our society will still need the great opiet of the masses.
He was absolutely right, too. Look at the modern Christian right. They have abandoned everything about their religious system that was even remotely radical or positive (collective ownership, pacifism, unconditional love, etc) and substituted it for the more modern nihilism of Rand. Their god died long ago, and they killed him, but still they prop him up. They jump up and down and scream the name of Christ hoping that somehow it is going to bring a time when there was absolute morality and accountability.
God, or at least the abrahamic god, is nolonger compatible with our society, and we are going to be dealing with the fallout from that for at least one hundred years hence.