It may seem perverse but it was Nietzsche who was partly responsible for my own conversion to Christianity. As a philosophy student in the 1980s, I had served my time with the analytic tradition and its logic-chopping ways. Like many students, I was expecting something more from philosophy than an ability to break down “the cat sat on the mat” into its semantic parts or wading through dreary and unconvincing proofs about the existence of God. I wanted the excitement of big ideas. Marx did it for a while. But my own public school version of revolutionary communism was inevitably a brittle thing, despite its evangelical fervour.
As radical socialism collapsed around my ears, Nietzsche invaded my consciousness with a whole range of new and exciting questions. I took the anti-God line entirely for granted. As a good communist, atheism had always been my unexamined default position. And because Nietzsche was so passionate an atheist, I had my defences down to his unusually intense religiosity and elliptical desire for salvation. Which, I suppose, is how the question of God crept under my intellectual radar.