What Does Theology Mean Is Anthropology?June 27, 2021
With their need for certainty and assurance, the Biblical Israelites create a god (the golden calf) for worship. Feuerbach also argues that all gods were created in the same way. The 19th century German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach is best known for his book “The Essence of Christianity” (1841), which inspired revolutionary thinkers such as Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
The book mostly consists of the philosophical reflections of Georg Hegel; but while Hegel sees Absolute Spirit as the guiding force of nature, Feuerbach does not find it logical to look beyond experience to explain existence. For Feuerbach, humans are not the externalized form of the Absolute Spirit but the opposite: we are the ones who create a great spirit, an idea of god, out of our aspirations and desires.
To conceive of God is to envision a being that combines all these qualities to the highest degree possible, with our longing for the best of human beings—love, compassion, kindness, etc. According to Feuerbach, we later named that being “God”. Theology (the study of God) is therefore nothing but anthropology (the study of humanity).
Not only do we deceive ourselves into thinking that there is something sacred, but we forget or give up on what we are. We overlook the fact that these virtues are actually found in humans, not gods. Therefore, we should focus less on divine righteousness and more on human justice. It is the people who deserve our attention in this life, in this world.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook