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A History of Philosophy in Epitome by Schwegler

Morality leads necessarily to religion


Thus

far Kant's Critick of the Practical Reason. In connection with this we may here mention his _views of religion_ as they appear in his treatise upon "_Religion within the Bounds of Pure Reason_." The chief idea of this treatise is the referring of religion to morality. Between morality and religion there may be the twofold relation, that either morality is founded upon religion, or else religion upon morality. If the first relation were real, it would give us fear and hope as principles of moral action; but this cannot be, and we are therefore left alone to the second. Morality leads necessarily to religion, because the highest good is a necessary ideal of the reason, and this can only be realized through a God; but in no way may religion first incite us to virtue, for the idea of God may never become a moral motive. Religion, according to Kant, is the recognition of all our duties as divine commands. It is revealed religion when I find in it the divine command, and thus learn my duty; it is natural religion when I find in it my duty, and thus learn the divine command. The Church is an ethical community, which has for its end the fulfilment and the most perfect exhibition of moral commands,--a union of those who with united energies purpose to resist evil and advance morality. The Church, in so far as it is no object of a possible experience, is called the invisible Church, which, as such, is a simple idea of the union of all the righteous under the divine moral government of the
world. The visible Church, on the other hand, is that which presents the kingdom of God upon earth, so far as this can be attained through men. The requisites, and hence also the characteristics of the true visible Church (which are divided according to the table of the categories since this Church is given in experience) are the following: (_a_) In respect of _quantity_ the Church must be total or _universal_; and though it may be divided in accidental opinions, yet must it be instituted upon such principles as will necessarily lead to a universal union in one single church. (_b_) The _quality_ of the true visible Church is _purity_, as a union under no other than moral motives, since it is at the same time purified from the stupidness of superstition and the madness of fanaticism. (_c_) The _relation_ of the members of the Church to each other rests upon the principle of freedom. The Church is, therefore, a _free state_, neither a hierarchy nor a democracy, but a voluntary, universal, and enduring union of heart. (_d_) In respect of _modality_ the Church demands that its constitution should not be changed. The laws themselves may not change, though one may reserve to himself the privilege of changing some accidental arrangements which relate simply to the administration.--That alone which can establish a universal Church is the moral faith of the reason, for this alone can be shared by the convictions of every man. But, because of the peculiar weakness of human nature, we can never reckon enough on this pure faith to build a Church on it alone, for men are not easily convinced that the striving after virtue and an irreproachable life is every thing which God demands: they always suppose that they must offer to God a special service prescribed by tradition, in which it only comes to this--that he is served.


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