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Philosophy and Religion

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After a depressing winter, it is quite lovely to see all the children frolicking about on the first day of spring. The birds are singing, the sun is shining, everything is just wonderful. However, although everything seems to be perfect, it is far from it. One child is suffering from terminal cancer, another lost a mother due to an unfortunate terrorist attack, and another will be scared physically as well as physiologically due to a violent beating and rape. How does this beautiful day provide evidence that this world was created and being governed by an all powerful, wise and loving God?

What to teach children about religion has and always will be a complicated issue. Upon sitting down, enjoying the lovely weather in the park, I begin to overhear the children conversing. One child wants to study science in order to find a cure for a deadly disease. Her reasoning? She wants to devote her life to that of reason and science in order to make the world a better place. She believes we need to face the world as it really is. Listening further, I hear another child claiming that he wants to rid the world of oppression, starvation and poverty. He believes our so-called God to be a sadist, rejecting him on all moral grounds. With their inner thoughts being revealed, this forces me to take a closer look at religion. However, I could not possibly do so without the guidance of my philosophical friends. For some assistance, I called my dear acquaintances Ludwig Feuerbach and John Hick.

And so the discussion about religion and philosophy had begun. Following the perspective of Feuerbach, he believes that religion was set out on the idea of wish-fulfillment. According to Feuerbach, God is a projection of the strongest desires of humanity. He also believes that much of religious appeal lies in its promise of immortality. Above all, most human beings fear death. In promising eternal life, religion offers to take this fear away from us. If we are willing to buy into religion, then we can escape from our fear, and live in the blissful ignorance of mortality. Feuerbach believes God is a human projection. He claims that our conceptions of God are always just projecting of our own values. God fulfills our need to object our virtues and embodies our values. Thus, the essence of religion is human nature and our Gods tell us about ourselves.

After hearing the following argument from Feuerbach, Karl was not impressed. Although he had studied with Ludwig in Berlin and came to agree with him that basic problem with human existence is estrangement, he believes that religion is an opiate. Marx believes that religion is an expression of economic injustices. Thus, problems in religion are ultimately problems in society. Religion is not the disease, but merely a symptom. It is used by oppressors to make people feel better about the distress they experience due to being poor and exploited. This is the origin of his comment that religion is the



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