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Ludwig Andreas von Feuerbach

German philosopher (1804-1872). Feuerbach was a prominent materialist philosopher of the nineteenth century. His book, The Essence of Christianity, quickly became a classic of freethought literature. In that book he argued that religion is the projection of human wishes and is a form of alienation. He began his philosophical career as a Hegelian idealist but soon moved in the direction of materialism thus encouraging the Young Hegelians with whom he was associated to similiarly move. The Essence of Christianity electrified the Young Hegelians, particularly influencing the youthful Karl Marx who adopted and extended its theory of alienation into a general critique of capitalist society.

Other thinkers were also influenced by Feuerbach including Nietzsche and Freud. Interestingly enough despite the fact that he was (or perhaps because he was) a leading atheist, a number of twentieth century theologians have taken an interest in his thought including Karl Barth, Martin Buber, Paul Tillich, and Karl Rahner amongst others.

"Man first unconsciously and involuntarily creates God in his own image, and after this God (Religion) consciously and voluntarily creates man in his own image." The Essence of Christianity

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