Irony must carry the day in any effort to analyze Feuerbach’s thought for Christian themes, because in The Essence of Christianity he essentially rejects the truth claims of normative Christian theology and replaces them with truth claims grounded in human history and human subjective consciousness. What Christianity posits as a realm of divine reality existing outside and “in relation” to the human, Feuerbach instead “atheistically” posits as human nature, in and of itself, human always and only. Feuerbach essentially translates Christian categories such as God, Christ, revelation, freedom, love, and the Incarnation into secularized categories of human consciousness. For example, “God” is human reason made objectively real to itself. “Christ” is the open and fully “disclosed” reality of the human heart. “Revelation” is human self-determination, the reconciliation of the human being with human nature. “Freedom” is construed as “true existence,” which is mediated through the “perfect” trinity of human reason, human will, and human affection.
However, it has long been noted that Feuerbach’s philosophical rejection of Christian religion relies centrally on Christian categories of meaning, and nowhere is this clearer and more fascinating in The Essence of Christianity than in some of its closing passages, where Feuerbach claims that when love is recognized as the “subjective reality of the species”...
(The entire section is 411 words.)