Presentation on theme: "ARGUMENT AGAINST GOD PSYCHOLOGY ALL IN THE MIND? Think of a film A stars make up- the way they are photographed- the characters they play-are all fantasies."— Presentation transcript:
ALL IN THE MIND? Think of a film A stars make up- the way they are photographed- the characters they play-are all fantasies from inside a writers or directors head
They are literally all ‘projections’. If we stop and look, we see ‘projections’ as part of every day life e.g. advertising, media etc We are surrounded by images of what we would like to be
Or what we would hate to be, either way they are just images. The idea of ‘psychological projection’ goes way back before films.
Goes back to a German called ‘Ludwig Feuerbach’ He was fascinated by religion and wrote about God
What he said and what many people still believe today, is that God is a projection from humankind. Instead of God making humankind, humankind made God
For LF God is the ultimate ‘psychological projection’. He exists only as an image of human longings.
For Feuerbach and his followers, examining the way people believe in God is fundamental to finding out how human nature works, because God is simply a fantasy projected out of peoples minds.
Ludwig Feuerbach is not a well known name today, but in the 1840’s he was one of the most talked about philosophers in Europe. Though his work is not read nowadays, he had an enormous
Influence on Marx and Freud and on many other thinkers and theologians. Even if Feuerbach’s name has been forgotten, his ideas are still relevant to those
who argue against the existence of God and his other ideas in psychology. Who was he and what did he really say?
Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach – 1804- 1872 Born in Bavaria, Germany Gifted family of lawyers, academics and churchmen Young man studies theology at Heidelberg Uni.
In 1824 transferred to Berlin Attended Hegel’s lectures- changed to philosophy 1830 published anonymously - ‘Thoughts on death and immortality’.
This book denied the existence of the immortal soul. This put paid to his career as an academic. 1837 married Bertha Low She had inherited share in fathers porcelain factory
For next 23 yrs they lived in her castle at Bruckberg, supported by the profits of the factory and the money made from his writing.
1841 – published ‘The Essence of Christianity’ Was a huge success After the unsuccessful revolution of 1848 however, Ludwig's reputation declined
And his income declined along with it. The factory went broke, he would write but no real success Suffered stroke in 1870 Died in 1872 Buried at Nuremberg
Ludwig's whole approach is summed up in his preface to the first vol. of his collected works 1846 : “ the question as to the existence or non existence of God, the opposition to theism and atheism, belongs to the C16th and C17th but not to the C19th. I deny God. But that means for me that I deny the negation of man. In place of the illusory, fantastic, heavenly position of man which in actual life necessarily leads to the degradation of man, I substitute tangible, actual and consequently also the political and social position of mankind. The question concerning the existence or non existence of God is not important but the question concerning the existence or non existence of man is.”
All his major ideas about religion found in this book 1841 He was a humanist – believed humankind was the basis and starting point of all philosophy ‘THE ESSENCE OF CHRISTIANITY’
Believed that ‘man is the measure of all things’ Religion was a fundamental expression of human beings deepest wishes and feelings
He said,' religion is the dream of the human mind’. Fro LF the ‘secret of theology is anthropology’. i.e. by studying God a person would actually find out more about human beings.
Christians believe in the ‘incarnation’ of God: God becoming human But in Feuerbach’s thought the Human is, in fact, God.
The consequence of this was: There is no supernatural; only the natural exists. Religion is sociological, cultural and psychological.
LF was writing at a time when the idea of materialism was at its infancy and growing fast. Materialism states that only matter, matters! Ideas such as the soul, afterlife, other ways of knowing were deemed only fancies.
That meant that people felt they didn’t need to think about the hereafter but concentrate on the here and now! In the light of this LF wrote his famous dictum,' man is what he eats’.
He also wrote,' God was my first thought, reason my second; Man my third and last thought.’ For LF religion was grounded in dependence.
Human beings felt helpless in an alien world and felt the need to invent God to help them. LF believed that 3 attributes made up human nature: Reason, Will and Love and these were projected onto an imagined God.
God all knowing God absolutely moral God is love He believed that with social progress all religions would disappear especially by the C21
He says that what is good in human beings is ascribed to God and people are emptied of their own good qualities so it affects them psychologically and they behave badly. Without God it would be a more moral world.
What he wanted is for people to love each other and not God Have faith in themselves and not belief in God Complete involvement in this world instead of concern for the next.
His work has been the basis for the argument against God and influenced such people as Freud and Jung. Most people today will use his argument even though they don't know about him.
WEAKNESS IN HIS ARGUMENT Religion has not disappeared as he predicted Belief in God is not just cultural specific but is cross cultural.
He was an atheist before he put pen to paper so of course he is only going to look at his point of view and not others. He didn’t find out what he stated, he had decided before hand
Does being able to talk about God in a human way mean that God is necessarily no more than a human product?
Just because Human beings have needs and wishes doesn’t mean that a God who meet those needs and wishes cannot exist. THERES ONLY ONE GOD – QUIT APPLYING FOR HIS POSITION!
Perhaps we are the way we are precisely because God does exist. We know what reason, will and love is because they do come to us from God. Any good philosopher/ psychologist leaves the question open
Why is it that statistically in belief communities etc where there is an emphasis on changing their lives to live the one that ‘God’ calls for, there is less crime, more charity etc? when LF says we are intrinsically Good and loving as human beings without God?
How can LF dismiss billion so people experience as an illusion or wishful thinking. Materialism is a limited knowledge.
There is knowledge through reason, through the senses but also through the unknown knowing’.
Is atheism,then, Feuerbach’s own personal projection? Is not wanting God to exist as much a fantasy or a wish fulfilment as wanting God to exist?
Is he an ego mania who wants to believe that he is the greatest and doesn’t have to answer to anyone? Is he dismissing God because he just wants to justify his own hedonism and not be accountable?
In the end,does Feuerbach fall foul of his own philosophy?
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