This claim has its roots in some of the greatest philosophers of the modern age. [11] Feuerbach, Ludwig. [13] 1 Corinthians 13.1, The English Standard Version Bible. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004. Quick question from a college philosophy major struggling to reconcile an interesting topic we learned about in class. Ludwig A. Feuerbach was born in a Lutheran family on July 28, 1804, in Landshut, Bavaria; the fourth son of Anselm von Feuerbach and his wife Wilhelmine. James Strachey. Marx called religion “the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.”[1] The defining quality of Nietzsche’s “Übermensch”[2] was his ability to overcome the psychological crutch of religion and renounce it for the truly divine—himself. The ideas of these philosophers and many more were inspired by a lesser-known thinker named Ludwig Feuerbach, a 19th-century German philosopher who studied under Hegel at the University of Berlin before writing many works that focused on the issues of religion and Christianity. Arnold V. Miller and J. N. Findlay. He asserts, "Religion denies the goodness of human nature: man is wicked, corrupt, incapable of good. To begin to understand Feuerbach, one must first understand a bit of Hegel. Marx called religion “the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.”, To begin to understand Feuerbach, one must first understand a bit of Hegel. On the other hand, God is completely good, is the Good Being. This Hegelian concept was enormously influential in philosophy thereafter, especially among German thinkers in the 19th century. The Essence of Christianity. Instead he was created by the human population to create a somewhat perfect individual that they could strive to be. 5 Here, then, is what Barth finds at the heart of Feuerbach's posi … To his surprise, he discovered that Luther had based the certainty of Christian faith on the same principle that was at the foundation of his own new philosophy, namely, sensuousness. James Strachey. In this book, Feuerbach claims that there are three qualities that constitute man’s nature: “To will, to love, to think, are the highest powers, are the absolute nature, of man as man, and the basis of existence.” He explains that these abilities, as well as man’s consciousness, make him superior to all other living beings. FEUERBACH, LUDWIG ANDREAS(1804–1872) Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach, the German philosopher, theologian, and moralist, was born in Landshut, Bavaria. In this book, Feuerbach claims that there are three qualities that constitute man’s nature: “To will, to love, to think, are the highest powers, are the absolute nature, of man as man, and the basis of existence.” He explains that these abilities, as well as man’s consciousness, make him superior to all other living beings. As Feuerbach stated, God the Father is equated with understanding (intelligence); God the Son is love (warmth). Against the existence of God Ludwig Feuerbach is a philosopher that believed that God did not actually exist. In his 1841 work The Essence of Christianity, the German anthropologist and philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) presented a “projection theory” of religion. Feuerbach took “Geist” and imposed it on religion in a way Hegel never did, claiming that religion—namely, Christianity—was a stage of history that humanity must go through in order to realize that religion is in fact a farce and that the true God lies within the individual. But was he right about religion? In the end, we can use Feuerbach as a means to sympathize more effectively with those who hold to similar atheist paradigms, and even learn a great deal from a man whose words for Christians are unexpectedly convicting. Print. Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) and Sigmund Freud (1856-1939): • God as a Psychological Projection • Psychotherapy as an Alternative Means to Pursue Well-Being Prayer Almighty God, who taught the hearts of your faithful people by sending to them the light of your Holy Spirit: grant to us by the same Spirit to have right judgment in all things and By this fear thou destroyest the unity of they feeling with itself, in imagining to thyself an objective being distinct from thy feeling…Feeling is thy own inward power, but at the same time a power distinct from thee, and independent of thee; it is in thee, above thee; it is itself that which constitutes the objective in thee—thy own being which impresses thee as another being; in short, thy God.[10]. Trans. By Michaela Bunke One obstacle often faced by those who deny the existence of God is how to account for the billions of people throughout history who have felt so deeply convinced of His existence. [11] Feuerbach, Ludwig. And religion demands that this goodness, personified as God, be a human objective. Freud then went so far as to say that religion is like a childhood neurosis, and that hopefully mankind will eventually “surmount this neurotic phase, just as so many children grow out of their similar neurosis.”[3]. In it, Feuerbach painstakingly demonstrates that the attributes of God are all nothing less than representations of the species-being of humanity: God is humanity’s way of portraying itself, as a whole, to itself – an act of alienation that had to happen in order for us to overcome mere individuality, but whose time is done. ... All divine attributes, including the moral, borrowed from nature.—The dual concept of God: the good and evil God. Theists have long been accused of the fallacy of “argument from ignorance” when giving their reasons for God’s existence. van A. Harvey / Stanford University. Eugene Kamenka. This combination of love and understanding is the mind of the total individual. Trans. [10] Feuerbach, Ludwig. Contents . He says in his famous Phenomenology of Spirit: “History, is a conscious, self-meditating process—Spirit emptied out into Time—.”[4]Inherent in this idea is the belief that history is ultimately progressive, i.e., if there were a line graph measuring how reasonable our societal beliefs and systems are over time, its slope would be positive (although the line would by no means be perfectly straight, as we often dip into regression for short periods). If, upon finding muddy paw-prints on your carpet and hearing loud barking from the next room, you assume a dog has walked through your house, you are not making an ignorant assertion, but inferring the best explanation of the evidence. Print. In this paper I’ll talk about Feuerbach’s notion of being and the concept of man that flows from this. The informed Christian does not believe in God because there is no evidence to the contrary or because He fits nicely as an answer to life’s insoluble mysteries. [6] Freud, Sigmund. Table of Contents: Preface to the Second Edition, 1843. Print. Ed. George Eliot. George Eliot. Print. Ralph Manheim. The second element of our response to modern-day Feuerbachians should be to point out the hollowness of the idea that humans can be complete in themselves. 1851. p. 241. The last principal work of Ludwig Feuerbach is “ Theogony according to the sources of Classic, Hebrew and Christian antiquity,” which forms the 9th volume of his works; the 10th volume (1866) consisting of a promiscuous collection of essays on “Deity, liberty and immortality from the stand-point of anthropology.” 1851. p. 241. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004. He says: On the ground that God is unknowable, man excuses himself to what is yet remaining of his religious conscience for his forgetfulness of God, his absorption in the world: he denies God practically by his conduct—the world has possession of all his thoughts and inclinations—but he does not deny him theoretically, he does not attack his existence; he lets that rest. [5] Nietzsche, Friedrich Wilhelm. This means that our words, our defense of the faith, and our explication of the gospel, although they be indispensable, must always be accompanied by a life of action and integrity. We must not forget that if we wish to demonstrate the validity and beauty of the existence of God, we must live in a manner that does not shy away from who this God is. Trans. Trans. As previously stated, Feuerbach’s arguments are quickly undone when his assumption that God cannot be empirically observed is invalidated. The Essence of Christianity. But this existence does not affect or incommode him; it is merely negative existence…The denial of determinate, positive predicates concerning the divine nature is nothing else than a denial of religion, with however, an appearance of religion in its favor, so that it is not recognizable as a denial; it is simply subtle, disguised, atheism.”[12]. Communism gained many followers because of its claim to be the means by which humans can cease to rely on religion and begin to rely on themselves; refashioned Buddhism has found a large audience in the West as it teaches the importance of “looking within” to find peace; our bookstores are filled with self-help manuals and our stages with feel-good preachers that cry out for us to “know thyself” rather than to know God. 1967. p. 187. 5 Here, then, is what Barth finds at the heart of Feuerbach's posi … So it is in understanding Feuerbach that we are able to better understand the rationalizations against the existence of God used today, and by understanding them, to learn how to respond. Since the best known and most influential work that Feuerbach wrote was his book The Essence of Christianity, it is from this source that we will examine his ideas. Feuerbach’s reduction, however, remains in the end ambiguous. Print. Without such integrity, all we are capable of becoming is what Paul deemed “a noisy gong or a clanging symbol,”[13] and what Feuerbach called disguised atheists. There are many ways to respond to Feuerbachian claims, but two responses in particular are important for pointing out the deficiencies in assertions of this kind: first, that the lack of empirical evidence for God’s existence is too easily assumed, and second, that the evidence in favor of the idea that humans have the capacity to function well as their own “gods” is, in fact, lacking. Hegel believed that history is guided by the slow, imperfect, yet steady movement of reason as it progresses through time until it becomes fully realized. Ludwig Feuerbach was one of thefirst philosophers to arrive at the insight that religion had its origins in the human psyche and that religion ought to be nothing but anthropology. Ludwig Feuerbach. There is an anthropological response to this query that has become increasingly popular in our day: that man invents God o One obstacle often faced by those who deny the existence of God is how to account for the billions of people throughout history who have felt so deeply convinced of His existence. To put it plainly, without Feuerbach, it is likely that some of the most formative philosophy of the modern age would have developed very differently—if at all. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 1967. p. 187. To put it plainly, without Feuerbach, it is likely that some of the most formative philosophy of the modern age would have developed very differently—if at all. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2006. New York: Barnes & Noble, 2004. The second element of our response to modern-day Feuerbachians should be to point out the hollowness of the idea that humans can be complete in themselves. The Portable Karl Marx. This is to say that when the theist brings up evidence like the fine-tuning of the universe, the existence of morality, or the necessity of an “unmoved mover,” nay-sayers will respond that the theist is simply using God as a convenient “filler” to explain anything to which we do not yet know the answer (this is where we often hear the term “God of the gaps”). Transl. It is no exaggeration that religion has been used to justify the justification a profusion of violence, but atheism has not lacked its share of bloodshed as well. Ed. [12] Feuerbach, Ludwig. For Feuerbach, our concept of the “Triune God” is the result of our anthropomorphizing the three main faculties that flow from man’s essence. New York: Harper & Row. I: Introduction §1VIIIIBeing of Man in General §2XIIIIEssence of Religion in General. Future, has clearly expressed this fundamental ambiguity and incompleteness found at the core of Feuerbach’s religious anthropology: Eliminating God and concretizing man were for Feuerbach, two sides of the same coin. German: Vorlesungen über das Wesen der Religion. [9] Since Feuerbach denies the reliability of any claim which cannot be grounded in sensory experience and believes that God cannot be observed in such a way, he comes to the latter conclusion. The less real God is, the more real man is, and conversely. It seems that the evidence for the theory of the “god within” is wanting. After we grasp Feuerbach’s argument, we as Christians must ask ourselves how to respond, for one need not look far before finding the same narrative alive and well in our own day. George Eliot. Nietzsche later posed a similar question in his Twilight of the Idols: “What is it: is man only a blunder of God, or God only a blunder of man?”. The Future of an Illusion. Oxford: Clarendon, 1977. Trans. IIXVIIIGod as Being of Understanding IIIXVIIGod as Moral Being or Law IVXIIIIGod as Love VXIIIIIThe Suffering God VIXIIIIThe Trinity and Mother of God VIIXIIIThe Logos and Divine Image It was the foundation upon which Marx predicted that society would thrive once it realized perfect communism, the reason Nietzsche claimed that when man finally progresses beyond his need for God, he will have reached “a higher history than any history hitherto,”[5] and the underpinning for Freud’s similar assertion that civilization direly needed to take the “forward step” from “religious illusion” to “reality.”[6]. [2] “Übermensch,” literally translated as “overman,” but often translated to “superman,” was one of Nietzsche’s best known ideas and was his representation of the more evolved human-like being he believed we should strive to become. Print. More modestly: How does his case look from the perspective of the historical and systematic theologian? Part I: The True or Anthropological Essence of Religion. Again, this claim, although it takes many forms, is no rarity in our day. There is an anthropological response to this query that has become increasingly popular in our day: that man invents God out of his own psychological weakness. The merit of Feuerbach’s theory in his own eyes, and clearly also in Harvey’s, was that it put a determinate concept, nature, in place of the vague, mystical word "God." Transl. He believes in God because he sees a wealth of evidence in history and biology and astronomy, in every experience in his life, in every interaction, conversation, and connection with another human being, in the sensory experiences he has seeing, smelling, and touching the natural world—these are all arrows pointing emphatically to the heavens. Trans. There is an anthropological response to this query that has become increasingly popular in our day: that man invents God out of his own psychological weakness. According to Feuerbach the very notion of God is itself void: “ (…) weil alle Dinge, die der Vernunft imponieren, vor der Religion verschwinden, ihre Individualität verlieren, im Auge der göttlichen Macht nichts sind. Man, according to Feuerbach, is a material object and simultaneously a thinking subject. Freud then went so far as to say that religion is like a childhood neurosis, and that hopefully mankind will eventually “surmount this neurotic phase, just as so many children grow out of their similar neurosis.”[3]. Feuerbach is now recognized as a central figure in the history of nineteenth-century thought. [1] Marx, Karl. New York: Norton, 1975. Feuerbach is now recognized as a central figure in the history of nineteenth-century thought. 5 Here, then, is what Barth finds at the heart of Feuerbach's posi … those other “Is”. George Eliot. New York: Harper & Row. He says in his famous, Feuerbach also imposed empiricism on religion in a way that was unprecedented. Hegel believed that history is guided by the slow, imperfect, yet steady movement of reason as it progresses through time until it becomes fully realized. The merit of Feuerbach’s theory in his own eyes, and clearly also in Harvey’s, was that it put a determinate concept, nature, in place of the vague, mystical word "God." Whereas Enlightenment thinkers like Spinoza and Hume scrutinized Christianity primarily through textual criticism, attempting to discredit the belief system by pointing out its presumed flaws, Feuerbach undertook the task of offering an empirical explanation for why this “false religion” came about in the first place, grounding his argument in anthropological and psychological[7] analysis. “The task of the modern era was the realization and humanization of God – the transformation and dissolution of theology into anthropology.” ― Ludwig Feuerbach, Principles of the Philosophy of the Future tags: anthropology, humanization, modern-era, science, theology 11 likes Without such integrity, all we are capable of becoming is what Paul deemed “a noisy gong or a clanging symbol,”, Nietzsche later posed a similar question in his. Aside from understanding an ideology and learning how to respond, we must not forget that, like many atheist philosophers, Feuerbach can also teach us much about our own shortcomings as Christians. Are we not living in an era of unprecedented neuroticism? In it, Feuerbach painstakingly demonstrates that the attributes of God are all nothing less than representations of the species-being of humanity: God is humanity’s way of portraying itself, as a whole, to itself – an act of alienation that had to happen in order for us to overcome mere individuality, but whose time is done. When he identified God with the essence of man, he paid God the highest honor that he could possibly bestow; indeed, this is the strange Magnificat that Ludwig Feuerbach intoned for "the good Lord." The Gay Science. This claim has its roots in some of the greatest philosophers of the modern age. According to Feuerbach the very notion of God is itself void: “ (…) weil alle Dinge, die der Vernunft imponieren, vor der Religion verschwinden, ihre Individualität verlieren, im Auge der göttlichen Macht nichts sind. But it was Feuerbach who bridged the gap between Hegel and these later giants of philosophy. From this standpoint, Feuerbach rejected simplistic and mechanistic materialism. Thou art simply too cowardly or too narrow to confess in words what thy feeling tacitly affirms…thou art terrified before the religious atheism of thy heart. Without such integrity, all we are capable of becoming is what Paul deemed “a noisy gong or a clanging symbol,”[13] and what Feuerbach called disguised atheists. Das Weses des Christentums. Print. Finally, we’ll look briefly at Cornelio Fabro’s critique of this system in light of the good old cogito. However, what is lacking in this assertion is an understanding of the difference between an argument from ignorance and an inference to the best explanation. As societies have secularized and traditional religion has declined, have the trends of anxiety, depression, and loneliness followed suit? Ludwig Feuerbach and the Invented God: Understanding and Responding as Christians, One obstacle often faced by those who deny the existence of God is how to account for the billions of people throughout history who have felt so deeply convinced of His existence. Preface to the Second Edition, 1843 Introduction §1 : Being of Man in General §2 : Essence of Religion in General: Part I: The True or Anthropological Essence of Religion II : God as Being of Understanding : III : God as Moral Being or Law : IV : God as Love : V : Die Nacht is die Mutter der Religion.” [ 12] As Christians, it is important to be able to identify the evidence that points to the existence of God: the logical order within creation, the case for Christ’s resurrection, and so on—otherwise we may appear to have invented for ourselves a “filler God.”. New York: Norton, 1975. Future, has clearly expressed this fundamental ambiguity and incompleteness found at the core of Feuerbach’s religious anthropology: Eliminating God and concretizing man were for Feuerbach, two sides of the same coin. There are many ways to respond to Feuerbachian claims, but two responses in particular are important for pointing out the deficiencies in assertions of this kind: first, that the lack of empirical evidence for God’s existence is too easily assumed, and second, that the evidence in favor of the idea that humans have the capacity to function well as their own “gods” is, in fact, lacking. Author has 102 answers and 362K answer views. Trans. New York: Norton, 1975. [8] Feuerbach, Ludwig. So it is in understanding Feuerbach that we are able to better understand the rationalizations against the existence of God used today, and by understanding them, to learn how to respond. However, what is lacking in this assertion is an understanding of the difference between an argument from ignorance and an inference to the best explanation. In The Essence of Christianity, Feuerbach proposes that religion is a function of human projection and that the Christian concept of God represents the crystallisation in one objectified subject of all the finite perfections of individual human beings. Since it is obvious that God also possesses these unique qualities, so that the nature of God and the nature of man seem to mirror each other, standing apart from all other organisms, the implied dilemma is this: Did God create man in His image or did man create God in his? Print. Marx called religion “the illusory Sun which revolves around man as long as he does not revolve around himself.”[1] The defining quality of Nietzsche’s “Übermensch”[2] was his ability to overcome the psychological crutch of religion and renounce it for the truly divine—himself. [12] Feuerbach, Ludwig. How often do we hear modern renditions of Feuerbach’s contention that “every being is in and by itself infinite—has its God…in itself”? Whereas Enlightenment thinkers like Spinoza and Hume scrutinized Christianity primarily through textual criticism, attempting to discredit the belief system by pointing out its presumed flaws, Feuerbach undertook the task of offering an empirical explanation for, Since the best known and most influential work that Feuerbach wrote was his book. Aside from understanding an ideology and learning how to respond, we must not forget that, like many atheist philosophers, Feuerbach can also teach us much about our own shortcomings as Christians. Trans. Trans. He received his doctorate in 1828 at Erlangen, where he remained to teach as docent until 1832. James Strachey. Throughout his writings, Luther had depreciated mere creedal Christian … Hi everyone! Print. How often do we hear modern renditions of Feuerbach’s contention that “every being is in and by itself infinite—has its God…in itself”? Oxford: Clarendon, 1977. There is an anthropological response to this query that has become increasingly popular in our day: that man invents God out of his own psychological weakness. Phenomenology of Spirit. The less real God is, the more real man is, and conversely. The Essence of Christianity. The Essence of Christianity. Communism gained many followers because of its claim to be the means by which humans can cease to rely on religion and begin to rely on themselves; refashioned Buddhism has found a large audience in the West as it teaches the importance of “looking within” to find peace; our bookstores are filled with self-help manuals and our stages with feel-good preachers that cry out for us to “know thyself” rather than to know God. Christianity and theism as a whole are often brushed off as silly inventions of those who are not intellectually evolved enough to face the obvious truth: that religion was created as a coping mechanism by our ancestors, and today we need not rely on such primitive constructs because of our extensive scientific knowledge (or any other modern development that can supposedly act as a proper replacement). [2] “Übermensch,” literally translated as “overman,” but often translated to “superman,” was one of Nietzsche’s best known ideas and was his representation of the more evolved human-like being he believed we should strive to become. He says in his famous Phenomenology of Spirit: “History, is a conscious, self-meditating process—Spirit emptied out into Time—.”[4] Inherent in this idea is the belief that history is ultimately progressive, i.e., if there were a line graph measuring how reasonable our societal beliefs and systems are over time, its slope would be positive (although the line would by no means be perfectly straight, as we often dip into regression for short periods). Feuerbach’s reduction, however, remains in the end ambiguous. [3] Freud, Sigmund. The textbook “The Philosopher’s Way” states “We are divided into two selves: our actual selves-the way we are-and our idealized selves-the … Feuerbach also imposed empiricism on religion in a way that was unprecedented. Ludwig Feuerbach is famous for his critical hermeneutics of religion. Print. From an anthropological perspective, he … The “Spirit” was Hegel’s explanation of the guiding force behind this process. 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