Feuerbach’s Essence Of Christianity -- By: Charles C. Tiffany
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Feuerbach’s Essence Of Christianity1
The English and American public is indebted to the translator of Strauss’s “Leben Jesu,” for the appearance of Feuerbach’s “Wesen des Christenthum’s” in an English dress.
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It is an indebtedness we should willingly have foregone; but, as it has been forced upon us, we must fain take some notice of the obligation, if it be merely to protest against it. It is a matter of no little surprise that a woman should have undertaken the task, in both these instances, of introducing to her countrymen and kinsmen works which, if accepted as true, would overturn the only religious system which has accorded to woman her present elevated position. Even were there room to doubt this in regard to Strauss’s Life of Christ, there can be none in regard to the work of Feuerbach. In him we have the natural result of the various attempts at an idealistic solution of the Christian Religion, viz. the attempt to overthrow all religion. Nor does he mask his design. He does not retain the shell after he has extracted the kernel. Christianity with its life departed is, to him, no more than any other dead system; fit only to be buried out of the sight of men. He does, indeed, attribute a certain worth to it; but this worth is only its destruction; for the only praise he bestows upon it is, that it most easily, of all religions, leads to Atheism. It might seem to some that such a work was not the one most demanded by the exigencies of our times. How unphilosophical soever all forms of religion may be, they have yet ever proved safeguards to society, preserving its morals and protecting its property; nor are there, to most minds, many signs that such safeguards are not still needed. But with Feuerbach and his translators the case is different. The inclination of men to practical atheism is not sufficient. It must be demonstrated to be the only philosophical belief. A theory must be formed to justify the practice. Hence this book.
The book proceeds upon a philosophical method. It aims to show, from the nature of the mind, that a belief in God is impossible; that all supposed belief in him is an illusion; and that, hence, religion is only a round in the ladder of human progress, and that by no means the highest, to be trodden upon and left behind. Let us examine the theory and trace its results.
A word or two in relation to the author’s philosophical
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position, may not be out of place as a preliminary to the investigation of his book.
Feuerbach belonged to th...
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