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from: Lectures on the Essence of Religion, Ludwig Feuerbach [1804 - 1872], translated by Ralph Manheim, Harper & Row, 1967 (1851 German).

"writing [research, and "writing"] lacks all the charms, the amenities, the social virtues as it were, which attach to the spoken word; the writer grows accustomed to rigorous thinking, to saying nothing that cannot be defended against criticism, and by that very fact becomes terse, rigorous, deliberate in his choice of words, incapable of speaking easily." [4].

'Why, even the French say that "God is a good Frenchman"; and the Germans, who at least from a political standpoint have no reason at all to be proud of their country, speak even today unashamedly of the German God. And not without reason, I say in a note to The Essence of Christianity [1841 German] [a Classic!], because as long as there are many nations, there will also be many gods; for a nation's God, at least its true God, who must indeed be distinguished from the God of its dogmatists and philosophers of religion, is nothing other than its national feeling, its national point d'honneur. And among the early primitive peoples this point d'honneur was their country. The ancient Persians, for example, as Herodotus [c. 485 - c. 425 B.C.E.] relates, esteemed other nations solely according to their distance from Persia: the closer they were, the higher they stood in the scale. And the Egyptians, according to Diodorus [Diodorus Siculus (Greek historian) fl 1st century B.C.E.], looked on their Nile muck as the original and fundamental substance of animal and even of human life.' [39] [End of "Fifth Lecture"].

"....who can deny that human EGOISM is the fundamental principle of religion and theology?" [61-62]. [See: #15, 341].

"The Brahmins are the most arrogant beings under the sun, they regard themselves as earthly gods, beside whom all other human beings are as nothing. Quite generally, religious humility, humility before God, is compensated by RELIGIOUS ARROGANCE toward men." [73].

'The close relation between RELIGIOUS CRUELTY AND RELIGIOUS ECSTASY is well known.

...if it is clear that even the highest forms of sacrifice are motivated by human egoism [self-interest, etc.], it is still more evident in connection with the lower forms.

The hunting and fishing peoples of America, Siberia, and Africa sacrifice some of their spoils to the gods or to the spirits of the slain animals; but ordinarily it is only in difficult situations, while traveling dangerous trails or streams, for example, that they sacrifice whole animals. When the Kamchatkans catch fish, their sacrifice to the gods usually consists only of the heads and tails, which they themselves do not eat.* The old Slavs threw only the inferior parts of their sacrificial animals into the fire. They ate the best pieces themselves, or gave them to the priests. The Tatar and Mongolian hordes in Siberia, in the

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governments of Orenburg, Kazan, and Astrakhan, give the gods only the bones and horns of the cows, sheep, reindeer, or horses they sacrifice, or at most throw in the heads or the nose, ears, hoofs, and entrails. The Negroes of Africa leave the gods nothing but the skin and horns.

The Greeks and Romans had their holokausta, i.e., sacrifices [see 929] in which, after removal of the skin, the entire animal was burned in honor of the gods; but ordinarily they gave the gods only a part and ate the best morsels themselves. Hesiod [c. 8th century B.C.E.] tells us (though the passage has been explained in different ways) how the wily Prometheus taught men to keep the meat of their sacrificial animals for themselves and to offer the gods only the bones. In seeming contrast to this niggardliness, the Greeks and Romans sometimes offered up the most lavish sacrifices to their gods. After his victory over the Lacedaemonians, Alexander [King of Macedonia 336 - 323 B.C.E. (356 - 323 B.C.E.)] offered up a hecatomb [100], and his mother Olympias made a practice of sacrificing 1,000 oxen. In order to gain victory or to give thanks after a victory, the Romans sacrificed hundreds of oxen or an entire season's yield of calves, lambs, kids, and young pigs. After the death of Tiberius [42 B.C.E. - 37 C.E. (Emperor 14 - 37 C.E.)], the Romans were so delighted with their new emperor that, as Suetonius [c. 69 - after 122] tells us, they sacrificed over 160,000 head of cattle in the first months of Caligula's [12 - 41 C.E. (Emperor 37 - 41 C.E.)] reign.' [74].

[Note: "sacrifice" is commonly associated with solemnity. Motivations include hunger, hope, fear, politics, socializing, etc.]. [See: 929].

"Nature religion demonstrates that the senses do not lie to us, and philosophy, at least that philosophy which knows itself to be anthropology, demonstrates that nature religion does not lie to us. Man's first belief is his belief in the truth of the senses, not a belief in conflict with the senses, such as theistic and Christian belief. Belief in God, in a disembodied being who rejects and negates every trace of the sensuous as profane, is far from being an immediate certainty, as theists have so often maintained. The first beings of whom man had immediate certainty and consequently his first gods were sensuous objects. Speaking of the religion of the Germans, Caesar [100 or 102 - 44 B.C.E. (dictator 49 - 44 B.C.E.)] said: they worship only beings whom they see and from whom they derive visible benefits. These words, which have been so much carped at, apply to all nature religions. Originally man believed in the existence only of what demonstrated its existence by physical, perceptible effects and signs. The first gospels, the first and most reliable documents of human religion, unfalsified by clerical fraud, are man's senses. Or rather, man's senses were themselves his first gods; for belief in the outward, bodily gods is contingent only on belief in the truth and divinity of the senses; in the gods, who are sensuous beings, MAN DEIFIES ONLY HIS SENSES." [87-88].



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"Seneca, quoted by Augustine [354 - 430],...tells of a seedy old comedian who put on an act every day in the Capitol [Rome], as though to show that even if human audiences wanted none of him he could still amuse the gods. Precisely because the statues of gods were regarded as gods, sculptors and painters were called theopoioi, god-makers, and sculpture was known as the art of making gods.17" [182].

" historical person as object of religion is no longer an historical person; he is a person transformed by the imagination. Consequently I do not deny that Jesus lived, that he was an historical person to whom the Christian religion owes its origin; I do not deny that he suffered for his teachings. But I do deny that Jesus was a Christ, a God or son of God, a wonder-worker, born of a virgin, that he healed the sick by a mere word, quelled storms by a mere command, awakened the dead men who had begun to rot, and that he himself was raised form the dead; in short, I DENY THAT HE [JESUS] WAS AS THE BIBLE REPRESENTS HIM; for in the Bible Jesus is a subject not of straightforward historical narrative, but of religion, hence no longer an historical but a religious person, that is, a creature transformed by the imagination. And any attempt to sift the historical truth from the additions, distortions, and exaggerations of the imagination is absurd, or at all events, fruitless. We lack the historical tools. THE CHRIST WHO HAS COME DOWN TO US IN THE BIBLE--and we know of no other--IS AND REMAINS A PRODUCT OF THE HUMAN IMAGINATION." [189-190].

[See (Jesus): #3, 41-104; etc.].

"Thus the gods are creatures of the imagination, but of an imagination fired by man's feeling of dependency, his afflictions and egoism; they are creatures not only of the imagination but also of emotion, especially the emotions of hope and fear. As I have already pointed out in connection with image worship, man demands that the gods help him if he conceives of them as good, and that they refrain from injuring him, or at least from interfering with his plans and pleasures, if he looks upon them as evil. Thus religion has its source not only in imagination and feeling, but also in desire, in man's striving and desire to put aside unpleasant feelings and to create pleasant feelings for himself, to acquire what he does not but would like to possess, or to eliminate certain evils or deficiencies. It springs from man's longing to be free from the evils he has or fears, and to obtain real or imaginary benefits. In short, it springs from so-called STRIVING FOR HAPPINESS." [198] [End of the "Twenty-first Lecture"].

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"PRAYER is only a humble command, a command in religious form...." [203].

[note: prayer is commonly attempted control--from a distance].

"....God is prerequisite to IMMORTALITY; without God, there can be no immortality....

belief in immortality presupposes belief in God; that is to say, MAN THINKS UP A GOD because without a God he cannot conceive of immortality...." [266-267].



'With these words, gentlemen, I conclude my lectures. My only wish is that I have not failed in the task I set myself and formulated in the opening lectures: to transform friends of God into friends of man, believers into thinkers, devotees of prayer into devotees of work, candidates for the hereafter into students of this world, Christians who, by their own profession and admission, are "half animal, half angel," into men, into whole men.' [Interesting, but.... (See: #3, 83; #16, 344; etc.)] [285]

[End of text] [text from: lectures of Ludwig Feuerbach, "at the City Hall in Heidelberg" (Feuerbach, Wartofsky, xix), 1848 - 1849].

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