Ludwig Feuerbach: The Essence of Religion Pt.1

Feuerbach was born in Bavaria in 1804 on 20th July. He was a humanistic philosopher, most famous for his book Essence of Christianity, written in 1841. The Essence of Religion, compiled in 1851, is made up of a group of lectures Feuerbach gave throughout his career. The key idea of this work is that rather than man being made in the image of God, as put forward in the book of Genesis, God is made in the image of man. There are a few certain ideas put forward by Feuerbach which I would like to touch upon.

Feuerbach points out that religion makes God an invisible being, rather than a sensual being, so that criticism and proof against the existence of God cannot be shown. It is easy to show that no blood flows through trees, as is Feuerbach’s example, because all one has to do is cut one open, yet God exists in the mind, and Feuerbach says that this is how religion escapes strong contradictions and disappointments.

A second concept that Feuerbach argues for is that God is a realization of human intellect, and its desires. The human being is limited and finite, yet God is infinite and an absolute being, and Feuerbach says that this is because monotheism makes the ‘essence of intellect, will and imagination the most real, absolute, supreme being.’ What man desires yet cannot have, God is. A further discussion of Feuerbach’s thought will continue in the next post.




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