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Different philosophers across all centuries have defined religion using various terms. Ludwig Feuerbach, a 19th-century philosopher performed incisive exposition of religion and made notable criticisms. One of his incisive expositions is about consciousness in religion, particularly Christianity. In his exposition, Ludwig asserts that religion entails consciousness of individual nature. What differentiates animals from humans is consciousness. The consciousness of humans to their nature enables them to understand their divine role relative to animals. In the exposition of Religion as Projection, Ludwig argues that the nature humans represent imperfection and sinfulness, while perfection and sinlessness represent what humans ought to be. In this view, human nature is full of sin, whereas what humans ought to be is godliness. Thus, Ludwig asserts that humans can only realize the truth of religion, escape alienation, and experience freedom if they begin to attribute godliness to themselves rather than projecting godliness to another being.
Summary of the Reading
Religion is an important aspect of humanity because it differentiates humans from animals. Consciousness is the specific aspect of religion that makes humans unique among different creatures that are in the universe. Consciousness enables humans to understand their nature, unlike animals that do not have the capacity of consciousness. In essence, humans have both inner life and outer life, while animals have outer life only. Although animals can be conscious of their environment, their consciousness is limited to external life. For instance, the caterpillar is only consciousness about the nature of the tree that it feeds on, but unconsciousness about the extensive universe. The consciousness of the caterpillar is very limited in that one can equate it to instinct. In contrast, the consciousness that humans have is infinite. The infinity of human consciousness is evident in the attributes such as the power affection, power of will, and power of thought. These powers are the highest powers that reflect the perfection of humans.
In the aspect of imperfection and perfection, religions act as a link that makes humans move from the point of sinfulness to godliness. In essence, religion denies humans the power of reason and goodness but projects them as earthly thinkers, wicked, corrupt, and evil. Essentially, religion makes humans project themselves as objects of godliness. Thus, the mystery of religion is that it projects humans as objects of God. A religious human constantly strives to be an object of God by reflecting the godly attributes. Therefore, Ludwig states that humans need to attain godliness by attributing to perfections that are in God rather than projecting their nature to reflect attributes that are in God.
Why is the Source Significant
The article is very significant in religious studies because it does not only aim at differentiating animals from humans, but also differentiate the godliness and sinfulness of humans relative to God. The article asserts that what differentiates humans and animals is consciousness. Over the centuries, philosophers have been trying to differentiate humans and animals because they share many attributes. The article clearly illustrates that consciousness makes humans unique creatures in the universe. Consciousness enables humans to comprehend their nature and the universe at large.
The consciousness of humans is infinite; thus, contrasts that of other animals like caterpillars because they have limited consciousness, which can qualify to be an instinct. Thus, consciousness makes humans attain perfection, as the power of thought, power of will, and power of affection are human powers that form the basis of perfection. Furthermore, the article asserts that religion is a bridge that links human nature and godliness. Humans have not attained perfection and experience freedom because religion projects them as objects of God. Therefore, the significance of the article is that it advises religious humans to attribute godly attributes to themselves rather than projecting their sinfulness.
The article has significance to paganism, one of the atheistic religions. Paganism is a religion that supports the exaltation of humans to be as gods. In this case, the consciousness of humans to their nature and their ability to attribute qualities of God to themselves supports the beliefs of paganism. In the exposition of human consciousness and projection of religion, Ludwig treats the subject well because there are no logical fallacies that can degrade his arguments. Given that quality of his arguments, the assertions in the article explain how religious philosophers attribute human nature and existence of God. Thus, as the article supports the importance of human consciousness and negates projection of humans as objects of religion, the content of the article is important to atheists.
To describe the topic of Religion as Projection, a different author would have expounded on the essence of religion to humanity. Since people from different cultures and traditions have different forms of religions that they practice, the examination of their perceptions regarding human nature would have provided important information. Moreover, the different author would have expounded on the objectivity and subjectivity of various religions. Understanding of the objectivity and subjectivity of religions would have brought into perspective the subject of Religion as Projection.
Paganism would respond to the article by supporting the assertion that religious humans should attribute godly qualities to themselves rather than projecting themselves as objects of God. Such a statement empowers humans as beings with equal powers as God. Both the subjectivity of religion and the objectivity of humans have prevented humans from attaining godly attributes. The article concludes that humans can only escape self-alienation and experience freedom if they stop projecting themselves as objects of God and start attributing godly attributes to their nature. Given such a conclusion, I do not agree that humans can achieve freedom and escape alienation by just attributing themselves the qualities of God. God is a Supreme Being with enormous powers yet humans have limited power; thus, humans can only be objects and subjects of religion and God.
In my opinion, the thesis of the article is that humans cannot attain freedom and escape alienation if they continue projecting their nature to God, but they will realize the truth and attain what they need by attributing godly qualities of God to themselves. Hence, the thesis clearly shows the stance of the article in describing Religion as Projection. Additionally, from my onion, the article clearly outlines that consciousness differentiates humans from animals. Furthermore, the article describes how subjectivity and objectivity of humans in religion have prevented them from realizing the truth, achieving freedom, and escaping alienation.
Ludwig Feuerbach is a religious philosopher who has made incisive criticism of various religions. In this article, Ludwig clearly describes how consciousness differentiates animals and humans. Human consciousness is infinite, while that of animals is a form of instinct. Moreover, Ludwig asserts that subjectivity and objectivity of religion limit humans from attaining freedom and escaping alienation. Therefore, religions should transform their doctrines to allow humans to attribute godly qualities rather than projecting their nature.