The following quotations are taken from The Essence of Christianity. Consider how each quotation could be used to help you explain Feuerbach’s thesis and discuss whether you agree with the points that Feuerbach makes.
'The consciousness of God is the self-consciousness of man; the knowledge of God is the self-knowledge of man. Man’s notion of himself is his notion of God, just as his notion of God is his notion of himself – the two are identical....God is the manifestation of man’s inner nature.'
'But if ...the consciousness of God, is characterised as the self-consciousness of man, this does not mean that the religious man is directly aware that his consciousness of God is his self-consciousness, for it is precisely the absence of such an awareness that is responsible for the peculiar nature of religion. Hence, in order to eliminate this misunderstanding, it would be better to say that religion is the first, but indirect, self-consciousness of man.'
'The historical development occurring within religions takes the following course: What an earlier religion regarded as objective, is now recognised as subjective; i.e., what was regarded and worshiped as God, is now recognised as something human. From the standpoint of a later religion, the earlier religion turns out to be idolatry: Man is seen to have worshiped his own essence...But every religion, while designating older religions as idolatrous, looks upon itself as exempted from their fate...Because its object, its content, is a different one, because it has superseded the content of earlier religions, it presumes to be exalted above the necessary and eternal laws that constitute the essence of religion; it gives itself to the illusion that its object, its content, is superhuman.'
'However, the hidden nature of religion, which remains opaque to religion itself, is transparent to the thinker who makes it the object of his thought. And our task consists precisely in showing that the antithesis of the divine and human is illusory; that is, that it is nothing other than the antithesis between the essential being of man and his individual being, and that consequently the object and the content of the Christian religion are altogether human.'
'The Divine Being is nothing other than the being of man himself, or rather, the being of man abstracted from the limits of the individual man or the real, corporeal man, and objectified, i.e., contemplated and worshipped as another being, as a being distinguished from his own.'
'One admits that the predicates of the Divine Being are finite and, more particularly, human determinations, but one rejects the idea of rejecting them. One even defends them on the ground that they are necessary for man; that being man, he cannot conceive God in any way other than human. One argues that although these determinations have no meaning in relation to God, the fact is that God, if he is to exist for man, can appear to man in no other way than he does, namely, as a being with human attributes. However, this distinction between what God is in himself and what he is for man destroys the peace of religion as well as being an unfeasible and unfounded distinction. It is not at all possible for me to know whether God as he is in and for himself is something different from what he is for me. The manner in which he exists for me is also the totality of his existence for me.'
'Religious predicates are mere anthropomorphisms... If your predicates are anthropomorphisms, their subject, too, is an anthropomorphism. If love, goodness, and personality are human determinations, the being which constitutes their source and, according to you, their presupposition is also an anthropomorphism; so is the existence of God; so is the belief that there is a God – in short, all presuppositions that are purely human.'
'You believe in love as a divine attribute because you yourself love, and believe that God is a wise and benevolent being because you know nothing better in yourself than wisdom and benevolence.'
'The Homeric gods eat and drink – this means that eating and drinking are divine pleasures. Physical strength is a quality of the Homeric gods – Zeus is the strongest of all gods. Why? Because physical strength in itself was something glorious and divine to the Greeks. The highest virtue to ancient Germans was the virtue of the warrior; that is why their highest god was the god of war – Odin; that is why war to them was “the primeval or the oldest law.'
'Goodness, justice, and wisdom do not become chimeras if the existence of God is a chimera, nor do they become truths simply because the existence of God is a truth. The concept of God depends on the concept of justice, kindness, and wisdom – a God who is not kind, not just, and not wise is no God. But these concepts do not depend on the concept of God. That a quality is possessed by God does not make it divine; God possesses it, because it is in itself divine, because without it God would be a defective being.'
'As a consequence of their vow of chastity, the monks repressed sexual love in themselves; but, for that matter, they had in the Virgin Mary the image of woman; in God, in heaven, the image of love. The more an ideal, imagined woman was the object of their real love, the more easily could they dispense with woman in flesh and blood.'
'In religion man seeks contentment; religion is his highest good. But how could he find consolation and peace in God if God were an essentially different being? How can I share the peace of a being if I am not of the same nature with him? If his nature is different from mine, his peace is essentially different, – it is no peace for me. How then can I become a partaker of his peace if I am not a partaker of his nature? but how can I be a partaker of his nature if I am really of a different nature? Every being experiences peace only in its own element, only in the conditions of its own nature.
Thus, if man feels peace in God, he feels it only because in God he first attains his true nature, because here, for the first time, he is with himself, because everything in which he hitherto sought peace, and which he hitherto mistook for his nature, was alien to him. Hence, if man is to find contentment in God, he must find himself in God.
"No one will taste of God but as he wills, namely – in the humanity of Christ; and if thou dost not find God thus, thou wilt never have rest.” [Luther] Everything finds rest on the place in which it was born. The place where I was born is God. God is my fatherland. Have I a father in God? Yes, I have not only a father, but I have myself in him; before I lived in myself, I lived already in God.'