I cannot make such a distinction where the object appears to me as it does according to my absolute measure; that is, as it must appear to me. Every being is sufficient to itself. That which makes a being what it is—is its talent, its power, its wealth, its adornment. Once again, Feuerbach believes that the contradiction between faith and love establishes the inappropriateness of the theological habit that tries to turn the projections of religion into fixed and certain objects for belief. Because it is divine in its nature; i.
If you want to improve the people give it, instead of homilies against sin, better food. Thus, it must remain a conception that stands in direct contradiction with the Divine Being as an intellectual — that is, abstract, simple, and unique being — for the predicates of God are of such a nature that possessing one implies possessing all the others, because there is no real difference between them. Secondly, even if in some strange way humans wished for this self-denial and sacrificial obedience to God, would this prove that God does not exist? The more the sensual tendencies are renounced, the more sensual is the God to whom they are sacrificed. A being without qualities is one which cannot become an object to the mind; and such a being is virtually non-existent. He does not allow for any human ignorance of a God who does exist, but whose qualities surpass human understanding, and therefore is more than a mere projection of human nature. Famed German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach explores the answer in this, his most influential work, published in German in 1841 and translated by celebrated English novelist George Eliot.
He was far removed from the medieval approach to religion in which divine revelation was seen as the authoritative basis for knowledge. Hook 1950, 222-223 This is a profound insight that nevertheless can be easily lost in time: part of human nature seems to be thus that in its feeling of dependence it insists on looking for the Other, for the Unknowable, and for the labels. How could the divine activity work on me as its object, indeed, work in me, if it were essentially foreign to me? But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, fancy to reality, the appearance to the essence, this change, inasmuch as it does away with illusion, is an absolute annihilation, or at least a reckless profanation; for in these days illusion only is sacred, truth profane. Man renounces himself as a person only to discover God, the omnipotent and the. Consciousness, in the strict or proper sense, is identical with consciousness of the infinite; a limited consciousness is no consciousness; consciousness is essentially infinite in its nature.
This approach also entailed a certain amount of reworking traditional beliefs and values. He contemplates his nature as external to himself, and this nature as goodness; thus it is self-evident, it is mere tautology to say, that the impulse to good comes only from thence where he places the good. The discrepancy between the understanding and the nature, between the power of conception and the power of production in the human consciousness, on the one hand is merely of individual significance and has not a universal application; and, on the other hand, it is only apparent. While Feuerbach was praised in some quarters for his inversion of predicates and objects in the dialectic, others raised objections, offering arguments that the two are not interchangeable as Feuerbach had proposed. True existence is thinking, loving, willing existence. The ideas of my work are only conclusions, consequences, drawn from premises which are not themselves mere ideas, but objective facts either actual or historical—facts which had not their place in my head simply in virtue of their ponderous existence in folio.
Positis enim aliis terris atque animalibus ratione et auditu pollentibus, cur tantum his nostris contigisset ea voluptas, quae sola ex sono percipi potest? Feuerbach argued that human beings must have created religion in an attempt to assert themselves against their natural limitations. He who earnestly believes in the Divine existence, is not shocked at the attributing even of gross sensuous qualities to God. He criticised popular religion for placing too much emphasis on the egotistical idea of personal immortality. If it be an object common to several individuals of the same species, but under various conditions, it is still, at least as to the form under which it presents itself to each of them according to their respective modifications, their own, but objective, nature. Either goodness does not exist at all for man, or, if it does exist, therein is revealed to the individual man the holiness and goodness of human nature. A God who is injured by determinate qualities has not the courage and the strength to exist. In these lectures he continued to argue that God and religion are a man-made projection.
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 favour, so that it is not recognised as a denial; it is simply a subtle, disguised atheism. But a work which considers ideas in their genesis and explains and demonstrates them in strict sequence, is, by the very form which this purpose imposes upon it, unsuited to popular reading. This development takes place in the minds of human beings that together comprise the mind of God. His concerns in this section are, first, to reinforce the conclusions reached in Part I, and second, to directly attack theology, which he sees as an especially pernicious form of religion. The pagan did not doubt the existence of Jupiter, because Jupiter as a divine being was not repulsive to him. The last distinction between man and God, between the finite and the infinite being in general, to which the religio-speculative imagination soars is the distinction between something and nothing, between ens and nonens; for only in nothingness is all community with other beings annulled. For instance, it is difficult to see how humans could wish for being guilty before a holy and wrathful God, or having to surrender one's self interests for the sake of God's own glory.
Some people argued that scientific study actually reinforced belief in an 'author of the laws of nature'. But all three of them increasingly departed from Hegelian philosophy, and Marx eventually grew critical of Feuerbach for not taking his materialism far enough. One man is a distinguished musician, a distinguished author, a distinguished physician; but he cannot compose music, write books, and perform cures in the same moment of time. To exist is to man the first datum; it constitutes the very idea of the subject; it is presupposed by the predicates. Yet it is obvious that different societies judge differently, so who judges between them? ¹ The opening paragraphs of this Preface are omitted, as having too specific a reference to transient German polemics to interest the English reader. This goes to show that the necessity to prove, and the possibility to doubt, how and whether existence is related to being or quality is abolished.
How, then, could he ask whether God in himself were winged? In the course of time, theology naturally coincides with religion. But the individual, who is not Spirit, but lives only by participation in Spirit, does not exist without a body. For finiteness and nothingness are identical; finiteness is only a euphemism for nothingness. We think for the sake of thinking; love for the sake of loving; will for the sake of willing— i. Religion is the dream of the human mind. About The Essence of Christianity In this, one of the most influential works of the post-Hegelian era, Feuerbach captures the synthesis that emerges from the dialectical process of a transcending Godhead and the rational and material world.