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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.
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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.

 
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