Yes, well . . . I offer the following in response: Imagine if Nietzsche had been a Christian.
This line of thinking will strike most Christians as anathema. Nietzsche a Christian? Impossible! Nietzsche ranks among the most anti-Christian philosophers the dying West has ever produced! He rejected God outright. Moreover, he pined for some kind of classical pagan revival that put man and human creativity at the center of the cosmos.
I cannot rebut these points in any meaningful way aside from mentioning that though Nietzsche's ideas may have missed the point, his approach and motivation did not.
The thunderbolt of creativity that was Nietzsche was exactly what Christianity needed in the late nineteenth century, and it is interesting to consider how Christianity may have developed had Nietzsche been an ardent Christian rather than a self-proclaimed anti-Christ.
Nikolai Berdyaev touches upon this theme in The Meaning of the Creative Act and offers the following observations:
From this tragic problem of Christianity there can be only one way out: the religious acceptance of the truth that the religious meaning of life and being is not wholly a matter of redemption from sin, that life and being have positive, creative purposes.
The higher creative, positive being, though unattainable at the time when redemption was begun, when God was still transcendent to man, is attainable in another period of religious life, after redemption, when God in man is immanent.
Salvation from sin, from perdition, is not the final purpose of religious life: salvation is always from something and life should be for something. Many things unnecessary for salvation are needed for the very purpose for which salvation is necessary -- for the creative upsurge of being.
Man's chief end is not to be saved but to mount up creatively. For this creative upsurge salvation from sin and evil is necessary. From the religious viewpoint the epoch of redemption is subordinated to the epoch of creativeness. A religion of thirst for salvation and terror of perdition is only a temporary passage through a dualistic division.
In various ways men of our modern time have felt that the sources of creativeness are to be sought neither in the New Testament religion of redemption nor in the Old Testament religion of law. Men have sought the sources of creativeness in antiquity.
In the world of antiquity, in Greece, there were creative bases for an anthropological revelation: Greece is the homeland of human creativity, of beauty and knowledge. Every new impulse of human creativeness must of necessity turn back to the world of antiquity for its nourishment.
This problem reached its acuteness in the life of Nietzsche. He burned with creative desire. Religiously, he knew only the law and redemption, neither of which contains the creative revelation of man. And so he hated God because he was possessed by an unfortunate idea that man's creativeness is impossible if God exists.
Nietzsche stands on the world divide of an epoch of creativeness but cannot recognize the indissoluble relationship of a religion of creativeness with the religion of redemption and the religion of law; He does not know that religion is one and that in man's creativeness the same God is revealed as in the law and the redemption.
Yes, but imagine if Nietzsche had recognized the indissoluble relationship Berdyaev notes. Moreover, imagine what Christianity could be if Christians began to explore beyond the religion of law and redemption.