Marquis De Sade Rhetorical Argument against Religion

In a direct attack on truth and religion: Perspectives on reality and human nature

In a direct attack on truth and religion, as well as the necessity for a suitable replacement, two authors discuss human nature and their proclivity to embrace dogmas and half-truths as truths, and so live up to and passing down these false teachings from generation to generation. Friedrich Nietzsche and Marquis de Sade agree on many issues concerning society, truth, religion, and government. This article will discuss the two authors' perspectives on reality and human nature, as well as why religion should be abolished entirely and replaced with alternatives such as human liberty and universal human rights, which are, in their views, more reasonable and practicable today.

Marquis De Sade: Religion as a brainwashing tool

Marquis De Sade begins by describing religion as a brainwashing tool that has been used to subdue the people by the church and the state for centuries. (Sade 1). According to Sade, the priests and the rulers devised the use of religion as a subjugation tool, and a tool with which they would use to remain the elites in the society at the expense of the people. Sade opines that the state depends on the church to remain in power, and the church depends on the state to remain relevant in the course of the deception and extortion. With these issues in mind, Sade proposes that religion should be rooted out completely without a second thought because it has never represented the good of the society. "In the Christian church's infancy, were priests less ambitious than they are today? You observe how far they advanced; to what do you suppose they owed their success if not to the means religion furnished them?" (Sade 2)

Sade's opposition to religion: The foundation of religion has become obsolete

Sade supports the notion stated above by saying that the foundation of religion has become obsolete and that the early church (which was founded through political conquest) has been passed by time and the practices therein are impractical and absurd. "Let us not lose sight of the fact this puerile religion was among our tyrants' best weapons: one of its key dogmas was to render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. However, we have dethroned Caesar, we are no longer disposed to render him anything." (Sade 1). Sade further asserts that the continued requirement by the clergy of tithes and offerings in the name of religion only capitalizes on superstition and prejudice created by religion and is only geared towards taking advantage of innocent souls. Sade opines that the clergy has enriched itself using religion and that this trend ought to be stopped urgently (Sade 1).

Warning of the dangers of religion: France and the overthrow of the government

As a warning to the states, Sade argues that some nations such as Rome were annihilated when they accepted religion. Sade observes that France was doomed to suffer the same fate as Rome did if She did not abolish the deep-rooted Christianity and its practice thereof in the country. Sade accuses the religion of being comprised of "absurd dogmas," "appalling mysteries," and "impossible morality," aspects that the clergy uses to subdue the people and which would be employed by the church as weapons to bring France down. Sade also opines that these dogmas should be rooted out of the state because they are not befitting to a nation (Sade 2). He warns that if religion is not rooted out completely and with finality, any traces left would be used by the church (Rome) to re-arm and overthrow the government. Sade opines that religion should be "smite off her trembling head" and be replaced with "the tree of liberty." Sade views law and order, liberty, and human rights as the viable alternative to religion, which he describes as "Contemptible Christian vestiges and idols raised with such effrontery over the ashes of Cato and Brutus." (Sade 5)

Attacks on religious founders: Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, Numa, and Lycurgus

Lastly, in defense of his strong opinions in the opposition of religion, Sade attacks the founders of the faiths that many people profess in the world today. He opines that Jesus, Mohammed, Moses, Numa, and Lycurgus are "though-tyrants" who fed their enormous ambitions by fabricating doctrines and divinities to suppress the people. For these reasons, Sade views these religious deities as just ordinary men and opines thus in their regard: "he is no longer competent to dictate laws or transmit learning to me; no longer see him as other than prejudice and superstition." (Sade 4). For these reasons, Sade proposes the re-establishment of a society that is ruled by law, order, and justice, where human rights take center stage.

Friedrich Nietzsche: The truth as illusions

Friedrich Nietzsche questions the validity of the reliance on religion as the source of truth and order in society. On the truth, Nietzsche opines that the truth refers to;

"A mobile army of metaphors, metonyms, and anthropomorphisms—in short, a sum of human relations which have been enhanced, transposed, and embellished poetically and rhetorically, and which after long use seem firm, canonical, and obligatory to a people: truths are illusions about which one has forgotten that this is what they are; metaphors which are worn out and without sensuous power; coins which have lost their pictures and now matter only as metal, no longer as coins." (Nietzsche 891)

The fact that the truth at times gets forgotten is the reason for the existence of irrational behavior and actions in society today (Nietzsche 891). When a lie is accentuated for centuries, people will inadvertently learn to live with it as the truth. When people accept the lie as the truth, the proponents of the lie get the advantage to subdue society and hold it hostage to their whims. This assertion tallies with Sade's notion that the framers of the religions of the world promoted a deceptive system of beliefs and superstitions to advance selfish political and economic causes.

Rejecting conventional truths: Embracing individuality

Nietzsche opines that man has a tendency to allow himself or herself to be deceived. He compares this susceptibility to being cheated with how readily people accept fables and theater plays as accurate and true. However, Nietzsche offers a solution to this feeble human nature of accepting deception readily. Nietzsche opines that if a man could forego the primitive way with which they revere the truth, he would "live with repose, security, and consistency" (Nietzsche 895). Nietzsche offers that individuality is key to living a full life and that following laid-down truths such as religion would limit man's happiness.


The two authors offer informed points of views regarding religion and society. They offer sound viewpoints concerning the susceptibility of the people to doctrines and dogmas whose sources and foundations cannot be ascertained accurately. The authors provide a solution to the dogmatic way in which the people have lived for centuries. Nietzsche offers the rationality approach, where one is required to disregard the "truths" as we know them and embrace rationality and common sense from an individual perspective. Sade opines that the only cure to the dogmatic way in which people live today is through the establishment of modern systems of order such as law and justice and the complete overhaul of the deep-rooted religious way of life.

Works cited

Friedrich Nietzsche, Friedrich. "On Truth And Lies In A Nonmoral Sense". Enlightenment Rhetoric. 1st ed. Print.

Sade, Marquis de. Philosophy In The Bedroom. 1st ed. San Francisco, CA: Wooley Comics, 1992. Print.

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