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Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach

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Religion is indeed essential to or innate in man, but ... this is not the religion of theology or theism, not an actual belief in God, but solely the religion that expresses nothing other than man’s feeling of finiteness and dependency on nature. ... I distinguish religion from theism, the belief in a being distinct from nature and man. ... Today theism, theology, the belief in God have become so identified with religion that to have no God, to theological being, is considered synonymous with having no religion. But here we deal with the original elements of religion. It is theism, theology, that has wrenched man out of his relationship with the world, isolated him, made him into an arrogant self-centered being who exalts himself above nature. And it is only on this level that religion becomes identified with theology, with the belief in a being outside and above nature as the true God. Originally religion expressed nothing other than man’s feeling that he is an inseparable part of nature or the world.
Lecture V, R. Manheim, trans. (1967), pp. 34-35

Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach

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As every enquiry, which regards religion, is of the utmost importance, there are two questions in particular, which challenge our attention, to wit, that concerning its foundation in reason, and that concerning its origin in human nature. Happily, the first question, which is the most important, admits of the most obvious, at least, the clearest, solution. The whole frame of nature bespeaks an intelligent author; and no rational enquirer can, after serious reflection, suspend his belief a moment with regard to the primary principles of genuine Theism and Religion. But the other question, concerning the origin of religion in human nature, is exposed to some more difficulty. The belief of invisible, intelligent power has been very generally diffused over the human race, in all places and in all ages; but it has neither perhaps been so universal as to admit of no exception, nor has it been, in any degree, uniform in the ideas, which it has suggested. Some nations have been discovered, who entertained no sentiments of Religion, if travellers and historians may be credited; and no two nations, and scarce any two men, have ever agreed precisely in the same sentiments.

David Hume

Speculative philosophy as the realisation of God is the positing of God, and at the same time his cancellation or negation; theism and at the same time atheism: for God – in the sense of theology – is God only as long as he is taken to be a being distinguished from and independent of the being of man as well as of nature. The theism that as the positing of God is simultaneously his negation or, conversely, as the negation of God equally his affirmation, is pantheism. Theological theism – that is, theism properly speaking – is nothing other than imaginary pantheism which itself is nothing other than real and true theism.

Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach

What our view of the effectiveness of religion in history does at once make evident as to its nature is--first, its necessary distinction; second, its necessary supremacy. These characters though external have been so essential to its fruitfulness, as to justify the statement that without them religion is not religion. A merged religion and a negligible or subordinate religion are no religion.

William Ernest Hocking

In the world today many people think that one can do without religion, and that they themselves have outgrown religion by reason of their evolution. Many have no religious belief, and therefore the world has never been in a more chaotic condition. No doubt one finds in tradition and in history that in the name of religion the selfishness and ignorance of mankind have been given free reign. This is the reason why man, revolting against this state of things, has forsaken religion and forgotten that spirit which, in the name of religion, has also played its part in the world.

Inayat Khan

I think nothing is religion which puts one individual absolutely above others, and surely nothing is religion which puts one sex above another. Religion is primarily our relation to the Supreme, to God himself. It is for him to judge; it is for him to say where we belong, who is highest and who is not; of that we know nothing. And any religion which will sacrifice a certain set of human beings for the enjoyment or aggrandizement or advantage of another is no religion. It is a thing which may be allowed, but it is against true religion. Any religion which sacrifices women to the brutality of men is no religion.

Julia Ward Howe
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