We humans, he suggests, are frustrated with our reasoning faculties because they fail to attain to what seems a limitless potential 35. Hence, man is prepared to concede that the predicates of God are anthropomorphic, but not the existence of God; to him it is a settled, inviolable, absolutely certain, and objective truth. Man is what he eats. The negation of the predicate is therefore the negation of the subject. Even the objects which are the most remote from man, because they are objects to him, and to the extent to which they are so, are revelations of human nature. But where there is only God, there is no longer God. Only when God is thought of abstractly, when his predicates are the result of philosophic abstraction, arises the distinction or separation between subject and predicate, existence and nature—arises the fiction that the existence or the subject is something else than the predicate, something immediate, indubitable, in distinction from the predicate, which is held to be doubtful.
He looks upon his being as existing outside himself, and he looks upon it as the good; hence it is self-evident, a tautology, that he receives the impulse to good from where he deposits it. Religion Reduced To Anthropology If Feuerbach's theories of human displacement, projection, and wishes hold true than religion is simply confused anthropology. Understandably humans make mistakes regarding their identity and their place within the world, but to this extent? An ought without the possibility of conforming to it is a ludicrous chimera which cannot take hold of the mind. The students at the University of Heidelberg, however, recognized his importance and invited him to give a series of public lectures on the essence of religion. He who says no more of me than that I am an atheist, says and knows nothing of me.
The vicissitudes of his simple life do not present any sensational features, and neither his position in life, nor his inclination tended to bring him prominently before the public. Man contemplates many things and in doing so he becomes acquainted with himself. 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. The Homeric gods eat and drink;—that implies: eating and drinking is a divine pleasure. The splendours of the crystal charm the sense; but the intellect is interested only in the laws of crystallization. To the Christian the existence of the Christian God only is a certainty; to the heathen that of the heathen God only. See, for example, Genesis xxxv: 2; Leviticus xi: 44 and xx: 26 Also, the Commentary of Le Clerc on these passages.
Everything that exists has value, is a being of distinction—at least this is true of the species: hence it asserts, maintains itself. The divine trinity in man, above the individual man, is the unity of reason, love, will. In this point of view, only the negation of feeling is the negation of God. The first philosophers were astronomers. Religion knows nothing of anthropomorphisms — anthropomorphisms are not anthropomorphisms to it.
The consciousness of the caterpillar, whose life is confined to a particular species of plant, does not extend itself beyond this narrow domain. But when I acknowledge goodness as my destination, as my law, I acknowledge it, whether consciously or unconsciously, as my own nature. If God were an object to the bird, he would be an object to it only as a winged being — the bird knows nothing higher, nothing more blissful than the state of being winged. As the activity of the arteries drives the blood into the extremities, and the action of the veins leads it back again, as life basically consists in a constant systole and diastole, so is it also in religion. He no longer has a will of his own, no longer has a will that is distinguished from that of God; consequently, he also no longer has a being that is specifically his own — and what kind of a being is a being without will? A being without determinations is a being that cannot be an object of thought; it is a nonentity. But this distinction contradicts the unity, uniqueness, and simplicity of God. .
Edited with introduction by R. This new theory of religion is able to account for both the most primitive forms of magic and fetishism as well as more complex, anthropomorphic deities. But is not feeling thereby declared to be itself the absolute, the divine? It is the personal predicates alone on which the essence of religion is grounded, in which the divine nature of religion is objectified. If God were an object to the bird, he would be a winged being: the bird knows nothing higher, nothing more blissful, than the winged condition. We think for the sake of thinking; love for the sake of loving; will for the sake of willing— i.
But the heavenly virgin is obviously the form in which a general truth concerning the essence of religion appears. The more the sensuous is denied, the more sensuous is the God to whom it is sacrificed. Religion, he believed, is an objectification of human wishing about limitless existence. From Hegel Feuerbach would have learned about the development of the mind of God. Not to invent, but to discover, to unveil existence, has been my sole object; to see correctly, my sole endeavour. How can the self-humiliation of man go further than when he disclaims the capability of fulfilling spontaneously the requirements of common decency? But Feuerbach finds a contradiction in this, for according to the logic of revelation, God cannot reveal Godself to humankind as God, but must take on the human mind in revelation, for otherwise revelation would be incomprehensible.
Thou hast thus no other definition of God than this; God is pure, unlimited, free Feeling. The secret of the inexhaustible plenitude of the divine determinations is, therefore, nothing else than the secret of the being of man which is infinitely diverse, infinitely determinable, and — precisely for these reasons — sensuous. Thus man, while he is apparently humiliated to the lowest degree, is in truth exalted to the highest. Dread of limitation is dread of existence. God acts, that man may be good and felicitous. Of course man has become what he is not through himself alone ; he needed for this the assistance of other beings.