Nietzsche on Alcohol & Church

Last week, I came across a BBC Documentary "Nietzsche on Hardship", and here I have tried to reproduce, word by word, whatever was told in that documentary. In brief, documentary says, Nietzsche was against alcohol therapy; and equated consoling oneself by going to Church to consoling by drinking Alcohol.

Comfort of alcohol
To imagine that there is a benefit in escaping our troubles, once in a while with a alcoholic drink or two, is to misunderstand Nietzscheian analysis of relation between happiness and pain. Happiness does not come from escaping trouble, it comes from cultivating them, turning them to your advantage. Nietzche did not want anyone to drown in worries, instead he said our worries are pointers to the things that need attension.

Comfort of Church
Nietzsche was rather against Church for the same reason as he was against getting drunk. In the short term, going to hear a service in a Christian church may make you feel quite good in the same way as getting very drunk may make you feel quite good. But in the long term, Church in Nietzsche's eyes dulls pain and in this way, it also dulls the energy that pain can give us to overcome problems and so reach real happiness.
There are differences between Church and Pub, but Nietzsche insisted that there are similarities in the consolation available at both the places; it seemed to him that New testament tried to make us feel better by saying that many things that we thought of as problems are not in fact problems at all but rather assets.

  • a) To anyone worried about being too timid, New testament advises blessed are the meek they will inherit the earth.

  • b) To anyone worried about not having friends, New testament says blessed are you when men hate you, they exclude you and insult you.

  • c) To anyone that worried about not having enough money and who envies that those who do, New testament has these soothing words, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to the enter the kingdom of god.

Nietzsche took such words to be catastrophic, like alcohol Church counsel might dull pain but it will also weaken the resolve to overcome the problem from which the pain has risen. Essentially, Nietzsche did not want to people in trouble to pretend that they did not need the things they could not attain.

**Note that I do not know the details of New testament; here I just wrote whatever was presented in BBC documentary.