Matter the Parent of Spirit

WITH HIS MATERIALIST VIEW of spirituality, German philosopher Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-1872) turned both Keirkegaard and Hegel on their heads. Rather than ‘spirit’ being the parent of matter, matter is the parent of spirit. Starting from physical matter he went on to explain the rise of human consciousness, ideas, culture and what is the nature of human spirituality. While Hegel expounded an idealist philosophy, Feuerbach expounded a materialist philosophy. This was to become the prevailing philosophy of the modern world in the twentieth century.

Spirituality in I-and-You

HOWEVER, FEUERBACH also had a relational view of spirituality. He asserted that “spirituality resides in the I-and-You sociality of mortal, sensuous beings”. [i]

In fact Feuerbach maintained that the personality of God is none other than the projection of the personhood we find in humankind. We make God in our own image. Because the human spirit is creaturely it must relate itself to an Other. These connections and the relational aspects of Feuerbach’s theory are developed further in the thought of Gabriel Marcel, Ferdinand Ebner and Martin Buber. [ii]

[i] and [ii] Ibid, 36.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s