The 19th century was a breakthrough period for secularism. Many thinkers like D.F. Strauss, C. Darwin, L. Feuerbach, and more made their major contributions towards secularism. While the arguments they made were not new, their impact on a societal and intellectual aspect allowed them to present a positive case for secularism in a way which has not been done before.1 By understanding the arguments of these 19th century thinkers, one would be better equipped at interacting with secular peers, and also in recognizing the hidden arguments and motivations behind common atheist arguments. Therefore, this article is written with the goal of analyzing the works of Darwin, Feuerbach, Marx, and Strauss in order to provide the reader with this crucial insight into apologetics and contemporary debates about religion.

Darwin, Evolution, and the Relationship between Faith and Science

By positing that complex life forms, including humans, could emerge via natural processes, Darwin’s theory of evolution challenged the foundations of the Christian faith. Firstly, if evolution is true, a literal, seven day creationist account of Genesis would be false, challenging the status and interpretation of Scriptures. Secondly, if God did not create man and humans are the result of materialistic processes, then the belief that humans have intrinsic value given to them by a divine creator, would be undercut. The most notable challenge, however, was the conflict between faith and science.

Through Darwin’s provision of an alternative hypothesis of how life came to be, Christians were challenged with how they should approach the conflicting creation narratives. For these reasons, both New Atheist thinkers like Richard Dawkins and fundamentalist Christians like Ken Ham have recognised evolutionary theory as a powerful argument against the Christian faith. Due to modern popularization of evolution as an argument against religion, it is tempting to assume that the image of the conflict between evolution and Christianity can be applied to the 19th century.2 3 4 However, it is fascinating to note that the landscape of the 19th century was more nuanced and the growing movement of liberal Christianity made many Christians open to evolution, and in extension the sciences, as a way to further religious understanding.5 In this section, I will examine two positions commonly held by 19th century Christians on the relationship between faith and science. By doing so, one would be able to recognise the historical precedence behind the conflict that many Christians experience today,

Compatibilist Presentations:

Compatibilism states that while there may be superficial disagreements between faith and science, both fields, although different in methodology, work towards the same truth. Therefore, established truths in theology or science could be used as tools to study the other. The tendency towards compatibilist interpretations of the 19th century could be explained by the influence of natural theology on Christian thought. Proponents of natural theology believed that order in the natural world pointed towards a “divine orderer of revealed religion.”6 As such, scientific and religious truths cannot be separated. Therefore, when the theory of evolution was presented by Darwin, many Christians, believing that science was a tool to enhance religious knowledge, attempted to incorporate evolution into their understanding of Christianity.7

However, adhering to compatibilism need not imply an acceptance of Darwinian evolution. Compatibilists like Otto Zöckler and Charles Hodge rejected Darwinian evolution yet adhered to the tenets of compatibilism.8 To them, superficial disagreements between the fields of science and religion only arose due to the fallibility of the human mind which results in the distortion of both theology and science.9 Rather, if one was given perfect rationality, one would be able to look beyond these disagreements and achieve a higher truth without contradiction. In fact, such an argument is not far from the argument of modern fundamentalist Ken Ham, who in his debate against Bill Nye, suggested that truth encapsulates all forms of knowledge, thus supporting the indistinguishability of science and religion.10

Other compatibilist theologians of the 19th century like James McCosh made the argument that both religious truth and evolution can be compatible with each other. To McCosh, evolution did not disprove divine agency; rather, even if evolution was random, its prevalence in nature showed that it was not an accident.11 Of course, such an argument would still mean a non-literal interpretation of the Genesis creation account, as a fundamentalist interpretation of Genesis would still entail a Young Earth model which would be incompatible with the timespan required for evolution. However, to give credit completely to Darwin for the movement away from literal interpretations of Genesis would be mistaken. It is important to recognise that many early church Fathers, like Augustine, promoted old earth interpretations of Genesis and many Christians at the time were also moving away from literal interpretations of the Genesis creation account due to a growing recognition of the existence of death prior to the fall and growing developments in geology.12 From this brief outline of compatibilist positions held by Christians of the 19th century, one can appreciate how modern treatments of the relationship between faith and science have their roots in the 19th century.

Incompatibilist Presentations:

The incompatibilists on the other hand were afraid that in the attempt to accommodate and synthesize both science and religion, one ends up distorting both the scientific and theological analysis.13 Believing that science and religion had different goals and scope, incompatibilists often concluded that there was not a unified ‘higher truth’ that science and religion work towards. As a result, many incompatibilists believed that it was best to separate the two fields for a more pure, unadulterated, and productive inquiry.

One advocate of incompatibilism was Baden Powell who argued that science should be allowed to have authority over the interpretation of the physical world whereas religion should be in charge of moral laws.14 The distinction that Powell makes between the physical world and the moral law is representative of growing concerns in post-Darwinian society of the moral implications of evolution. If humans evolved, our notions of morality would likewise have evolved based on their reproductive advantages.15 An evolutionary model of morality would have drastic impacts on the conception of the intrinsic value of human life, presenting a problem for anyone in support of a moral society, religious and atheist alike.

Another reason for incompatibilism stems from the challenge evolution presented towards the veracity of the Bible. Many denominations, especially Protestants, advocated a literal interpretation of the Genesis accounts, making evolution problematic as it provided an alternative hypothesis for creation.16 To these Christians, any scientific hypotheses which contradicted their interpretation of scripture should lead to a rejection of the scientific hypothesis. Under the incompatibilist lens, Christians which attempt to update their theological viewpoints based on scientific developments make a methodological error and diminish the significance of Scripture by prioritizing non-Christian evidence. Since the 19th century, most Christians have moved away from the incompatibilist position with those who held to theological beliefs in conflict with the contemporary scientific consensus attempting to argue against Darwinism on scientific grounds. Despite the movement away from incompatibilism, the relationship between science and faith remains an important question for all Christians to consider.

The Inheritance of Darwinism:

Darwinian evolution created a formidable challenge to how Christians approached the relationship between science and faith. While many Christians adopted a compatibilist position, viewing science as a helpful tool in uncovering religious truth; many Christians maintained an incompatibilist position, fearing that contributions in science may undermine their faith and in doing so rejecting such fields altogether.

However, the conflict between faith and science was not the only aspect of Christianity that Darwinian evolution challenged. A further challenge of evolution was nihilism. If God does not exist, then neither do any higher sources of value; man is left alone in a material universe with no governing authority. However, with the growing threat of nihilism came a unique and eloquent voice, that of Ludwig Feuerbach, who argued that even though God did not create man, man did create God, and in the act of creation proved his own infinite potential.

Feuerbach, Religious Anthropology, and the Divinity of Man17

Compared to Marx or Darwin, Ludwig Feuerbach is a name that may be unfamiliar to many in the 21st century. However, The Essence of Christianity proved to be one of the most influential works of the 19th century, with Karl Marx describing him as “the only person who has a serious and a critical attitude to the Hegelian dialectic and who has made real discoveries in this field.”18 Feuerbach’s argument was original as it challenged Christianity by demonstrating that religious belief can be reduced to a projection of human self-consciousness, successfully laying out the groundwork for materialism.

Religion as Anthropology:

The uniqueness of Feuerbach’s argument stems from his attempt to refocus the study of religion away from theology, an study of the nature of God, towards anthropology, a study of the nature of man.19 Based on his anthropology, Feuerbach makes a positive case for atheism by arguing that religion is by nature atheistic and humanistic.20 Religion is atheistic because it demonstrates that man is the creator of all things supernatural and humanistic because it exposes the infinite consciousness of man.

Feuerbach criticizes religion as an alienating force because it externalizes the properties of man to an external being – God – separating humans from their own potential and ability. Therefore, although the contents of religion may not be bad, its embodiment in theism oppresses the human spirit.21 By arguing that God is the projection of human consciousness, Feuerbach states that man’s infinite consciousness exalts man to God.22 Feuerbach’s argument may appear a stretch, but it is not without reason. If an effect can be no greater than its cause, man’s act of creating God, psychologically, leads to the psychological deification of man.23 The negation of the existence of God, as an external being, is expressed as the positive expression of the human condition, affirming humans as God, a godhood which was not something external, but rather internal.24

To illustrate Feuerbach’s argument, I shall turn to the character Kirillov in Dostoevsky’s Demons. Kirillov is a Feuerbachian character who, as Paul Ramsey notes, recognised that “when God is dead, at the same instant [man] becomes God himself; and when one is like God, fully free, at the same instant he dies, being no longer bound to accept the conditions of his own existence.”25 Without God, man becomes the only arbitrator of good and evil, becoming a God to himself. However, such divinity also comes with great responsibility, a burden which one cannot bear, leading to Kirillov’s suicide. Through Kirillov, one is able to recognise the underlying movements of Feuerbach’s philosophy and further appreciate the consequences of presenting God as a mere projection of the human mind.

Feuerbach is a religious anthropologist who argued for a reciprocal relationship between the properties of God and those of man. Since God is the projection of the human consciousness, every attribute bestowed upon God is a reflection of man’s own attributes.26 As such, the universal God is a representation of the group of its worshippers, and the personal God the representation of the individual.27 By studying how one presents God, one would be able to understand the people who believed in God. To illustrate, in Feuerbach’s schema, it was not the death and resurrection of Christ which was divine, but rather the love that Christ’s sacrifice represented.28 The worship of Christ’s resurrection discloses the omnipotence of human love and the power that humans have over the forces of evil in the world. Therefore, by basing religion on anthropology, God is transformed into an anthropological tool for discovering the depths of human nature.

Feuerbach’s Mantle of Divinity:

It could be surprising that despite Feuerbach’s materialism, his argument is profoundly spiritual. Feuerbach did not argue for the eradication of Christianity. Rather, he intended to uncover the essence of Christianity to facilitate a more critical understanding of religion. Feuerbach makes it clear that he does not end his argument with the rejection of God, as the New Atheists and secularists often do. Rather, he argues that man is God just as God is man.29 In fact, since Christianity is merely a projection of what is divine about mankind, to eradicate religion would be counterproductive. Rather, the proper treatment of religion in Feuerbach’s system is to affirm their values as they express what is best about mankind.

Another valuable contribution of Feuerbach was his humanism. As noted in my examination of Darwin, one of the biggest challenges of the 19th century was the status of man in a godless universe. Feuerbach responds to nihilism in an ingenious way by arguing that the universe is not ‘godless’. In a non-traditional way, gods do exist, because we are gods. While Feuerbach fails to touch on the potential dangers of man’s newfound divinity as presented by Dostoevsky’s Kirillov, Feuerbach nevertheless provides a structure in which human dignity is maintained through man’s infinite consciousness. Metaphysicians may find this statement absurd, it is metaphysically impossible for man to become god or develop a god-essence. However, we need to recognise that Feuerbach, alongside other 19th century thinkers, were writing in a post-metaphysical world established by Kant where metaphysical objects are inaccessible by human reason alone.30 Therefore, it is the infinite consciousness of humans which lies in the core of man’s claim for meaning.

From Feuerbach, one can see how his argument was greatly influential to the 19th century and beyond. He did not intend to blindly do away with religion. Rather, he recognised the role of religion as projections of man’s most fundamental desires and attributes. By doing so, Feuerbach not only introduced a novel interpretation of religion, but also provided a special role for humans in the universe, a groundwork for later developed by existentialist thinkers like Sartre. However, the role of man was not the only question secularism posed. Another prominent challenge was the interpretation of Scripture. There are few who could be considered as influential as D.F. Strauss whose mytho-poetic exegesis transformed Biblical criticism.

David Friedrich Strauss, Scripture, and His Mytho-poetic Exegesis31

David Friedrich Strauss’s publication of The Life of Jesus Critically Examined made him one of the most prominent theologians of the 19th century. Like Feuerbach, D.F. Strauss did not aim to do away with religion, but to critically analyze its foundations. D.F. Strauss was not the first to criticize literal interpretations of the Scriptures; however, he was the culmination of a long line of criticisms and challenges, bringing to the forefront a refined model of liberal Biblical exegesis. Strauss argued that Biblical exegesis underwent four modes, a supernaturalist exegesis, a naturalist exegesis, a rationalist exegesis, and finally, a mythological exegesis. By analyzing the first three, it would help contextualize the landscape in which Strauss was writing and demonstrate the influences of modern Biblical criticism.

Movements in Critical Biblical Exegesis:32

As the name suggests, the supernaturalist exegesis presupposes that the Bible was written in a supernatural world and was open towards supernatural accounts like miracles. Based on these presuppositions, adherents of the supernaturalist exegesis tend to adhere to more literal interpretations of Scripture. Although seemingly straightforward, the supernaturalist exegesis covers a spectrum of positions. On one side, the position held by Young Earth Creationists who hold to a literal interpretation of Biblical texts, and on the other side, those who, like Origen and Augustine, accept miraculous events, yet believed in symbolic and poetic interpretations of Scripture.33 In the pursuit of a rigorous historical study of the Bible without the presupposition of faith, Strauss argued that it was necessary to move away from the model of divine intervention held by the supernaturalists towards historical exegesis.34

The naturalist exegesis is the opposite to the supernaturalist exegesis. Acting on the presupposition of a naturalistic world, the naturalist denies any account of the miraculous or the supernatural. Good examples of the naturalist position were the deistic naturalists of the 17th and 18th century like Toland and Bolingbroke who viewed the Bible as ridiculous and unbelievable. Furthermore, in a proto-Marxian way, Reimarus further argued that the Bible was an artful deception to further political goals. As one can see, the naturalist exegesis does not only challenge the Bible on account of its supernatural accounts, but also attempts to present the Bible as a product of maliciousness or stupidity. Despite being a product of the 17th-18th century, it is remarkable to see how naturalistic exegesis had a short revival during the rise of New Atheism. However, just as New Atheism has since died down in popularity, the naturalist exegesis of the 17th-18th century was quickly replaced with what Strauss labeled the rationalist exegesis.

The rationalist exegesis noted the difficulties of a literal interpretation yet refused to be as harsh as the naturalists in their criticism of Scripture. According to the rationalists, by recognising that Scripture was written in a former age, one should aim to translate the moral of the story to our modern times. While Kant was not a rationalist in a philosophical sense, his theological views embody the rationalist exegesis.35 Kant placed the emphasis on Christ’s moral actions instead of his divinity, writing that whether Christ is divine or not “can in no way benefit us practically, inasmuch as the archetype which we find embodied in this manifestation must, after all, be sought in ourselves.”36 and that “such a godly-minded teacher [Jesus], even though he was completely human, might nevertheless truthfully speak of himself though the ideals of goodness were displayed incarnate in him.”37 From these statements, one concludes that Kant is less worried about the metaphysical claims of Christianity, but its contribution towards fulfilling a higher moral archetype, which is for Kant the Categorical Imperative.38 While Kant is a very good example of the rational exegesis, the scope of the rationalist exegesis often varied. While many, like Kant, applied the rationalist exegesis to both the New and Old Testament, other thinkers like Eichhorn argued that while one should be critical of the Old Testament, one cannot likewise apply such an analysis to the New Testament without fundamentally altering the essence of Christianity.

Strauss and the Mytho-poetic Exegesis:

While Strauss rejected both the supernaturalist and the naturalist positions, he found himself in line with the rationalist exegesis and aimed to elaborate upon their contributions. Instead of affirming or ridiculing the supernatural, Strauss aimed to demonstrate that all Scripture, although not historically factual, are mythological and contain the moral and conceptual truth of Christianity. Aiming to achieve a historical defense of Scriptures only opened Christianity to further criticism, and by moving beyond a historical analysis, one is better able to preserve and understand Christianity’s true meaning.

To Strauss, there are three types of myths: the historical, the philosophical, and the poetical. Historical myths are narratives of real events which have later developed mythical presentations, philosophical myths have a clear moral truth behind them, and poetic myths are a combination of both the historical and philosophical – containing some elements of historical truth but developed to reveal a core moral of the story. Therefore, since both the Old and New Testament appear to have some historical basis yet likewise demonstrate signs of the supernatural, they should be classified as poetic myth.

If all Scriptures are mythical, one could question why he gave value to the texts. After all, in the 21st century, the term myth has negative connotations. However, Strauss did not attach a negative connotation to myth. To Strauss, religious myth had value as it represented the spirit of the nation – the volksgeist. By taking part in religious practice, the individual expresses the ideals and values of the community that they take part in.39 Therefore, one can see that Strauss, like Feuerbach, argued that by removing religion’s metaphysical assumptions one is able to achieve a more fundamental understanding of humanity.

By presenting religion, especially the Christian faith, as myth, Strauss provides a critical analysis of Christianity which differentiates himself from the supernaturalists and its naturalist critics. While opposed to fundamentalist conceptions of Scripture, it can be argued that Strauss’s position is helpful in understanding the possibility of being historically critical of Scriptures without needing to dismiss them entirely. Despite being contrary to the Christian presentation of Scripture, Feuerbach and Strauss provide useful tools for Christians and atheists alike to explore the value of Scripture and its eternal meaning.

Marx, Reductionism and Religion as the Opium of the People

One of the most influential thinkers of the 19th century, Karl Marx, made great contributions to the socio-economic scene with his ideas of communism, property and religion. However, his radically atheistic stance and highly quotable phrases like “religion . . . is the opium of the people”40 make it easy to mischaracterize his arguments. In this section, I will examine Marx’s argument that religion was a result of poor socio-economic circumstances and was used as a tool of power to manipulate the weak.

Religion in Marx’s Socio-economic Reductionism:

Behind Marx’s socio-economic reductionism is the Hegelian notion that history can be understood as a movement of a certain Spirit or Idea through time. However, whereas Hegel presented history as the self-disclosure of Spirit, Marx instead viewed history as the realization of socio-economic movements. Therefore, to Marx, understanding socio-economic movements is the key to understanding everything about the world–religion included.

Based on socio-economic reductionism, Marx proposed that religion was the result of poor socio-economic conditions that humans faced. In face of poor circumstances, humans had to create religion to cope with reality and religion became “the opium of the people.”41 It is clear that Marx is often misunderstood and misinterpreted. As a socio-economic phenomena, Marx did not believe in the intrinsic evil of religion, rather, it was the causes which generated religion that were insidious. Based on the assumption that religion’s only purpose was to overcome a poor socio-economic environment, he believed that religion would naturally fade away once the stimuli – a poor environment – was done away with.42

Marx’s socio-economic reductionism impacts his treatment of religion and separates him from other critics of religion. Unlike atheists who view religion as an expression of false truth claims and therefore aim to challenge Christians based on these truth claims, by stating that religion is the result of socio-economic circumstances instead, Marx would view traditional apologetic dialogue as futile. Rather, Marx makes the bold argument that as long as one resolves the underlying socio-economic problems, the surface level manifestation of religion would self-capituate.43 Therefore, Marx would have disagreed with the anti-religious rhetoric provided by the New Atheists and the religious persecution of the 20th century Marxist revolutions. For Marx, such anti-religious polemics and persecutions fundamentally mistake the essence of religion.

Religion in Class Struggle:

While Marx did not believe in the intrinsic evil of religion, he did believe that those in power utilized religion as a tool to control those who were suffering. MacIntyre summarizes Marx’s position succinctly, “[religion] buttresses the established order by sanctifying it and by suggesting that the political order is somehow ordained by divine authority, and it consoles the oppressed . . . by offering them in heaven what they are denied on earth.”44 This argument is seen in his treatment of “the Jewish question” where Marx addresses the struggles faced by the Jews. Marx makes the case that the only way to free the Jewish from their struggles was not to change the society around them, but to emancipate them from their Jewish (religious) leanings. Since Judaism, to Marx, embodied the evils of materialism and the desire for physical possessions, he concludes that the “social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism.”45 46 While those in control remain, religious alienation and oppression would remain. Therefore, the only way to free society is to remove the socio-economic structures which uphold the basis of religion.

As such, instead of directly criticizing any tenets of religion, Marx aimed to reduce religion to a socio-economic background. If one were to solve all socio-economic inequalities, religion would naturally disappear. Of course, the application of class struggle to religion was a reiteration of the anti-clerical arguments of the Enlightenment. Nevertheless, Marx should be credited for rekindling these arguments in public awareness and for tying religion to his broader socio-economic analysis.

The Gift of Modernity and a Christian Response

By analyzing the contributions of the 19th century, one can see how prevalent these influences are in modern discussions. In fact, it is surprising to see how little the discussions on secularism have changed over the last two hundred years. By understanding the perspectives of Darwin, Feuerbach, Strauss, or Marx, one is able to understand what is at the heart of many of the arguments that Christians face, helping us respond productively to secular criticism. While each thinker challenges different aspects of religion, they all can be seen as a clash of presuppositions and worldviews, each dictating one’s conclusions. By beginning with a study of the human condition, Feuerbach concludes that religion is merely a projection of the human sub-consciousness. By denying the supernatural, Strauss is naturally directed towards a mythical interpretation. Likewise, by viewing history through the lens of socio-economic determinism, Marx concludes that religion is merely the result of poor conditions. Are they wrong? Based on their own set of presuppositions, the answer is no! They have each followed their own methodology to its logical end.

Let us not ignore the fact that even as Christians we often appeal to these 19th century arguments during inter-faith dialogue. Are we not often like Strauss when it comes to discussing the scriptures of other religions? Are we not often like Feuerbach or Marx when we argue that the gods of other religions are fictitious? As modern Christians what separates us from them? Too often, the only difference appears to be our different set of presuppositions. Just as Feuerbach with his anthropology or Marx with his reductionism, Christians take the Bible to be God’s word and Christ to be God’s one and only Son but we still analyze the world through modern epistemological tools.

Through our analysis of these key contributions in 19th century religious dialogue, a powerful case can be made that during discussions with the secular world, it is not only that we have to address and interact with individual arguments, but also to view these discussions as clashes between worldviews, with interlocutors entering with different presuppositions and assumptions. By recognizing both dimensions of apologetic discourse, one would be more aware of the challenges that are presented, aiding fruitful future dialogue with our secular interlocutors.

Notes:

1 Most of the 19th century could be understood as responding to the philosophical contributions of Kant and Hegel.

2 See Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker.

3 See the debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye.

4 Peter J. Bowler, “Christian Responses to Darwinism in the Late Nineteenth Century,” in The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity, ed. JB Stump and Alan G Padgett (Sussex: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2012), 37.

5 One must not conflate 19th century liberal protestant theology with modern conceptions of liberal Christianity.

6 Matthew D. Eddy, “Nineteenth-century Natural Theology” in The Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology, ed. Russell Re Manning (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 104-105.

7 James C. Livingston, “Natural Science and Theology” in The Blackwell Companion to Nineteenth Century Theology, ed. David Fergusson (Sussex: Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 2010), 143.

8 Of course, it is important to note that Darwinian evolution was not proved irrefutably, rather there was still on-going scientific discourse on the topic.

9 Ibid., 152-154.

10 Ken Ham is a fascinating example of compatibilism. In theory, he is a compatibilist, believing that science and religion work hand in hand. However, in practice, one could argue that he is an incompatibilist as he presupposes religious and scriptural truth as the first point of reference such that any scientific theory can be judged based on the scriptures.

11John H. Brooke, “Evolution and Religion” in The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century, ed. W. J. Mander (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 214-215.

12 Ibid., 219.

13 Livingston, Natural Science and Theology, 148.

14 Brooke, Evolution and Religion, 214.

15 Michael Ruse, “Evolution and Ethics in Victorian Britain” in The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Nineteenth Century, ed. W. J. Mander (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 244.

16 Ibid., 233.

17 It is important to note that Feuerbach wrote prior to the publication of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.

18 Karl Marx, “Critique of Hegel’s Dialectic and General Philosophy” in Marx on Religion. Edited by John C. Raines. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002), 77.

19 Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity, 152.

20 Van A. Harvey, Feuerbach and the Interpretation of Religion. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), 2, 25.

21 Alasdair C. MacIntyre, Marxism and Christianity. 2nd ed. (London: Duckworth, 1995.), 26-27.

22 Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity, xii.

23 Ibid., ix.

24 Marx’s analysis of Feuerbach is worth quoting in full, “[Feuerbach has] opposed the negation of the negation, which claims to be the absolute positive, the positive which is based upon itself and positively grounded in itself.” (Critique of Hegel’s Dialectic, 77).

25 Paul Ramsey, “No Morality without Immortality: Dostoevski and the Meaning of Atheism,” The Journal of Religion 36, no. 2 (1956): 93, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1199955.

26 One can see the similarities that Feuerbach’s ideas had with the thought of Lacan.

27 Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity, 90. “Your personal God is nothing else than your own personal nature.”

28 Harvey, Feuerbach, 47.

29 Ibid., ix.

30 Pamela Sue Anderson and Jordan Bell, Kant and Theology (London: T & T Clark, 2010), 56.

31 Much of the information presented in this section is based on the lecture provided by Joel Rassmuesen at the University of Oxford.

32 I will define liberal exegesis as the movement away from literal interpretations.

33 The reason why I raise Origen and Augustine is due to the common misconception that less literal interpretations was only a reactionary response to modernity and discoveries in science. Rather, these movements predated Darwin and other scientific judgment, providing further credence on potential non-literal exegesis.

34 David Friedrich Strauss, The Life of Jesus Critically Examined. Translated by George Eliot, (London: SCM Press, 1973.), 39.

35 This is not to mention the general influence that Kantian philosophy had on 19th century protestant liberal theology, especially embodied in the Ritschlian school.

36 Immanuel Kant, Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone. Translated by Theodore M. Greene and Hoyt H. Hudson, (Harper Torchbook, 1960), 57.

37 Ibid., 54, 59.

38 God is one of the three postulates of the categorical imperative.

39 Frederick C. Beiser, ‘The Theory of Myth’, David Friedrich Strauß, Father of Unbelief: An Intellectual Biography (Oxford, 2020; online edn, Oxford Academic, 22 Oct. 2020), 71.

40 Karl Marx, “Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right,” in Marx on Religion, ed. John C. Raines (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002), 171.

41 Ibid.

42 MacIntyre, Marxism, 104.

43 Henri de Lubac, The Drama of Atheist Humanism, trans. Edith M. Riley (Cleveland: World Publishing, 1963.), 40.

44 MacIntyre, Marxism, 103.

45 He writes, “What is the secular cult of the Jew? Haggling. What is his secular God? Money.” (Karl Marx, “On the Jewish Question” in Marx on Religion, ed. John C. Raines. (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2002), 65)

46 Ibid., 69.