Lectures on the Essence of Religion

Ludwig Feuerbach

[Paragraph from Additions & Notes #2]

What then has faith in common with love, religion with ethics? Nothing; they have no more in common than have the God to whom man is bound by faith and the fellow man with whom he is united by love; for according to religious faith, there is the most violent opposition between man and God: God is a nonsensuous being, man a sensuous being, God is perfect, man is wretched, pitiful, worthless. How then can love flow from faith? It cannot, any more than wretchedness can spring from perfection, want from abundance. Yes, ethics and religion, faith and love are exact opposites. He who has once loved a God can no longer love any human being; he has lost his feeling for mankind. But the converse is also true: he who has once loved man, truly and from the bottom of his heart, can no longer love a God, he can no longer permit his living humanity to seep away in a vacuum of infinite objectlessness and unreality.

SOURCE: Feuerbach, Ludwig. Lectures on the Essence of Religion, translated by Ralph Manheim (New York: Harper & Row, 1967), Additions & Notes #2, p. 298. Keyed to p. 34, Lecture 5.  Note 2 = pp. 292-323. PDF of book can be borrowed from archive.org.

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