A Hegelian Religion

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A Hegelian Religion

In the excerpt from his book Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion, Bernard M. G. Reardon allows the reader to become more familiar with religion and its role in the world, according to Hegel. In describing Hegel’s views, Reardon expresses a number of points of interest concerning the general place of religion in Hegel’s philosophy, as well as its importance for human beings. One of the most striking aspects of Hegel’s views of religion involve its contrast with those of his predecessors. Unlike Kant and Descartes, Hegel believes that “to the genuinely religious man talk about proving divine existence is an irrelevance” (p. 28). He does believe that emotion is an integral part of religion, as Schleiermacher does, but unlike Schleiermacher, he insists that religion is more than feeling: “…but when I say ‘I have God in my heart’ the feeling is here expressly represented as the continuous, permanent manner of any existence. The heart is what I am; not merely what I am at this moment, but what I am in general; it is my character.” (p. 32) For Hegel, the Vorstellungen of feeling are limited by the senses, but when coupled with thought that “‘lifts up the sensuous qualities of the content to the realm of universal thought-determinations'” (p. 33), one can truly understand the concept of religion. Hegel uses the term Begriff, to describe the “gripping together” of the different aspects of the perception of religion. His view seems to offer a more complete depiction of religion, as opposed to the partial and one-sided depictions offered by Kant and Schleiermacher. This is wholly in agreement with his overall philosophy, in which only the whole is true. The place of religion in Hegel’s depiction of reality lies between art and philosophy. It becomes clear that, while art presents truth in a sensual manner and philosophy serves as the mental dwelling upon the metaphysical, religion acts as the bridge between the two sides. Granted, neither art nor metaphysics can truly be described in the simplicity above, but it seems that religion offers aspects of both.

In Hegel’s view, “religion and philosophy share, as I [Reardon] have stated, one supreme object: God and the Absolute” (p. 31). Hegel argues that religion cannot possibly be wholly or essentially emotional in its character because “feeling belongs to man’s animal nature and is confined to the individual and subjective” (p. 31). This would eliminate the existence of an Absolute Truth, objectively perceptible by the intellect: an idea completely opposed to Hegel’s beliefs. Another important aspect and goal of religion is its self-reflective nature. Not merely self-reflective on an individual level, but on a universal level, as well. For Hegel, religion is “the knowledge which the Spirit has of itself as spirit” (p. 60). In Hegel’s system of philosophy, mankind’s consciousness is a result of the Spirit’s drive to know itself. Religion is a manifestation of this drive.

The discussion develops further, as Reardon describes Hegel’s interpretation of evil as “the drive of the finite things to be simply what they are as finite” (p. 69). Hegel maintains that there must exist a reconciliation between the infinite and the finite: “Reconciliation is a correction of this, a reorientation of the finite away from its own finitude to the infinite, its source and true home” (p. 69). This reconciliation occurs in art, and now in religion. Like art, religion helps mankind to reorient itself towards the infinite, but on a higher, more intellectual level. A Hegelian Religion In the excerpt from his book Hegel’s Philosophy of Religion, Bernard M. G. Reardon allows the reader to become more familiar with religion and its role in the world, according to Hegel. In describing Hegel’s views, Reardon expresses a number of points of interest concerning the general place of religion in Hegel’s philosophy, as well as its importance for human beings. One of the most striking aspects of Hegel’s views of religion involve its contrast with those of his predecessors. Unlike Kant and Descartes, Hegel believes that “to the genuinely religious man talk about proving divine existence is an irrelevance” (p. 28). He does believe that emotion is an integral part of religion, as Schleiermacher does, but unlike Schleiermacher, he insists that religion is more than feeling: “…but when I say ‘I have God in my heart’ the feeling is here expressly represented as the continuous, permanent manner of any existence.

The heart is what I am; not merely what I am at this moment, but what I am in general; it is my character.” (p. 32) For Hegel, the Vorstellungen of feeling are limited by the senses, but when coupled with thought that “‘lifts up the sensuous qualities of the content to the realm of universal thought-determinations'” (p. 33), one can truly understand the concept of religion. Hegel uses the term Begriff, to describe the “gripping together” of the different aspects of the perception of religion. His view seems to offer a more complete depiction of religion, as opposed to the partial and one-sided depictions offered by Kant and Schleiermacher. This is wholly in agreement with his overall philosophy, in which only the whole is true. The place of religion in Hegel’s depiction of reality lies between art and philosop.............


Type: Essay || Words: 1772 Rating || Excellent

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