Why did Nietzsche call Kant a “theologian in disguise”?

Nietzsche meant that Kant established the validity of Christian morality by making philosophical arguments that didn’t rely on Christian beliefs.

In The Gay Science, Nietzsche writes:

Kant wanted to prove, in a way that would dumbfound the common man, that the common man was right: that was the secret of this soul. He wrote against the scholars in support of popular prejudice, but for the scholars and not for the people. [§193.]

Kant held that all rational persons have an a priori understanding of the basic principles of morality. These consist of duties, both to oneself and to others, and above all the duty to respect rational agents. Most persons, however, do not understand that morality is a priori, and their moral commitments are therefore vulnerable to corrosive skeptical criticism. In The Metaphysics of Morals Kant formulates the ultimate standard for moral judgment, namely universalizability, and establishes the rational necessity of morality.

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What does Nietzsche mean by this: “To admit a belief merely because it is a custom – but that means to be dishonest, cowardly, lazy! – And so could dishonesty, cowardice and laziness be the preconditions of morality?”

As he often does, Nietzsche omits a premise required by his syllogism, leaving to the reader the task of filling it in.

Let C = admitting a belief because it is a custom, let DCL = being dishonest, cowardly, and lazy, and let M = morality. Nietzsche’s observation takes this form:

If C, then DCL.
If DCL, then M.

Obviously, we’re missing a premise:

If M, then C.

By morality, Nietzsche seems to have in mind beliefs, values, and practices that are adhered to merely because it’s customary to do so. This is contrary to the leading principle of the Enlightenment, according to which something should be done only if it is rational to do it.

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