The Catholic Response to Feuerbach's "Man created God"?

Hi everyone!

Quick question from a college philosophy major struggling to reconcile an interesting topic we learned about in class.

We briefly covered Feuerbach and his Hegelian-rooted philosophy of “man created God”. Or in other words, man objectified his subjective nature and called this objectified nature “God”.

The results of this thesis seem to me, for the most part, to bear substantial credence that religion could be entirely man-made.

For instance, the way I’ve come to learn of how our faith in God affects us is that God gives us what we need, and then everything we do comes from us. In other words, if I walk to my fridge to get food, I was the one doing the action–it came from me–by using my strength which was given to me by God.

If we take out the last part of that statement, we could essentially have the same result: I walked to the fridge (using the strength within me, and the source of this strength could be biological, etc. I would imagine it wouldn’t matter for someone not in interested in faith).

So, where does God become a crucial part of this argument, or more specifically, in the conclusion of a scenario such as the one I described? In other words, if we can achieve the results(getting to the fridge), why is it worth debating about how we got there?

What is the right argument here, rooted in logic (since to be clear, this isn’t a crisis of faith for me, I simply like to prepare myself for an apologetics argument for someone who maybe doesn’t have a faith life, and a lot of answers can simply come back to faith), that can be used to refute these ideas?

There could also be a chance I’m a little “too in my head” here: I’ve been taking in a whole lot of philosophy lately :slight_smile:

Thanks so much in advance!

Essentially, your question in short seems to be: Why is God necessary? As to that,

  1. All things we have direct experience of are contingent, that is they receive their existence from something else.
  2. An infinite series of contingent beings is impossible.
  3. Therefore, an incontingent being is necessary for contingent beings to receive their existence from. This we call God.

Christianity’s God is quite different from humans.

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Well if you were to ask an atheist they would say we made God to feel better and make sense of the world.

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The thought of God is an idea, not the being of God, so mankind could create that. Mankind did create religions – sets of beliefs and practices. Religions assert that God is ineffable.

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Christianity is a very demanding religion, so it’s origin is definitely not that. Besides atheists have their own comforts that are just as invented.

Thats not the point, yours doesn’t counter the rebuttal I provided you with. Regardless of the complexity, they will still say it’s your invention.


Perhaps they give value to things that don’t have an objective value.

Oh well.

I feel like you are being combative when I’m just trying to enhance the points the op will wish to counter at his or her digression. You could be a bit more sporting.

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The only way to know would be through a super natural event and that is not within my power.

If early Christians made the Christian God up, how did they benefit from the supposed lie? Jesus was killed and so were the Apostles… St Paul, a most prolific preacher was also killed… and many others during centuries of persecution…
Like Shakespeare wrote: ‘There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy’


LOL if I were going to make a god, it would be one that let me do anything I want :slightly_smiling_face:


It would be helpful if you clarified what you mean by religion.

There is a possibility that any number of things that are thought to be true are false. But any person who has ever believed in something already knew that. The idea that religion could be man made is obvious from the fact that there has been many religions with substantial differences. It doesn’t follow, however, that all religions are man-made.

The question is, why is man compelled to be religious.


It is the fact that there is such a thing as a scenario in the first place (scenarios in which there is meaningfully ordered activity) that encourages the idea of God.

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Articles for you:

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Because man finds himself in a world that seems to have been made for him. Feeling that someone must be watching over them.

This is why the rise of optimistic nihlism has taken root.

Man now is starting to see a vast universe that’s indifferent to his being there. We are alone in an uncaring place with no meaning.

However if life has no meaning then like anything we can ascribe it meaning.

Man out grows religion as he no longer need fairy tales to justify his place in the world.

All that said is the answer to you question from the point of view of someone like Feuerbach. Religion is simply the logical training wheels of man and in the modern world it’s time to take them off.

Is he right? I don’t know.

In this particular instance I’m referring to the Catholic faith

Without God we cannot justify our existence at all.

You cannot outgrow fantasies by making more fantasies. What people fail to realise is that our humanity, many of the things we value, is dependent on the concept of God in order to be meaningful and rational. Without God all of our activity becomes meaningless.

You cannot speak of dignity, moral truth, or meaning without God unless you are willing to make a fantasy of these things.

God as an idea is very important.

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So when you said this…

“The results of this thesis seem to me, for the most part, to bear substantial credence that religion could be entirely man-made.”

…you were asking if the Catholic faith could be entirely man-made?

And I’m not trying to be argumentative. I just need to be sure exactly what the question referred to.

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