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This article is from
Journal of Creation 35(1):48–53, April 2021

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Kant’s religion of reason and the reinterpretation of Genesis 1–3

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Posted on homepage: 20 May 2022 (GMT+10)
immanuel-kant
Figure 1. Gottlieb Doebler’s painting of Immanuel Kant (1791)

Given Immanuel Kant’s seminal role at the outset of the Enlightenment, it is important to notice how and when he interacted with Genesis 1–3. Although Kant is largely remembered today for his philosophy, he began his career as a theologian and a scientist. In fact, it was the interaction between his theology and his science that provided the necessary foundation for his critical philosophy. I propose that Kant’s rejection and subsequent reinterpretation of Genesis 1–3 was the sine qua non of his contribution to the Enlightenment.


Immanuel Kant (1724–1804) is commonly regarded as one of the greatest philosophers of all time.1 But his intellectual career began with theology. On the 22 April 1724, Kant was born in Königsberg to devout Pietistic parents who named him Emmanuel,2 “God is with him”. His mother’s prayer for him was:

“May God sustain him in accordance with His Covenant of Grace until his final rest, for the sake of Jesus Christ, Amen.”3

Kant was enrolled in the Pietistic school Collegium Fridericianum from the age of eight where his educators endeavoured to instil a favourable disposition towards Christianity in the hearts of their pupils.4 Here he received instruction in Greek, Hebrew, church history, Luther’s catechisms, along with studies from the Old and New Testaments.5 Kant’s theological education was rigorous, requiring him to read the Pentateuch, historical books, and Psalms in Hebrew and the entire New Testament in Greek.6 Nine years later, in 1740, Kant entered the University of Königsberg, where he was finally given the freedom to control the direction of his own education, which, in turn, gave him access to the writings of radical thinkers like Christian Gabriel Fischer (1686–1751) and more moderate rationalists like Gottfried Leibniz7 (1646–1716) with his disciple, Christian Wolff8 (1679–1754).9 To what extent Kant’s critical philosophy began to formulate during this period or why he began to drift away from his Pietistic upbringing is unknown. Kant left behind no journal and the three “most reliable” early biographies of Kant’s life relate “almost nothing” about the first twenty years of Kant’s life.10 All we know is that Kant once described his early religious schooling as the “pedantic and gloomy discipline of fanatics”.11 Before his 21st birthday, both his father and mother had died, and within less than 10 years of each other.12 That said, nothing substantial can be made of this fact, for or against his eventual apostasy. What remains incontrovertible, as will be seen in what follows, is that this did, in fact, happen.

The death of Kant’s father led to a six-year period away from the university, from 1748 to 1754, where he worked as a private tutor to an affluent family.13 But in 1754 he returned to work on his dissertation and began writing his first controversial book—a book that he knew “would appear dangerous to those of ‘true faith’”.14

Kant rejects Genesis

Kant’s book was entitled Universal Natural History and Theory of The Heavens, or An Essay on The Constitution and Mechanical Origin of The Whole Universe, Treated In Accordance With Newtonian Principles (1755). Knowing that it would be theologically iconoclastic, he was only content to publish it when he felt that he was “secure in relation to the duties of religion”.15 This state of affairs was achieved by Frederick the Great (1712–1786)—a known atheist—taking to the throne,16 to whom Kant dedicated the volume.17 Here we find, at the brink of Kant’s academic career, a book that attempts to replace Genesis 1–2 with an explicitly materialistic account of the origin of the universe:

Give me matter and I will build a world out of it, that is, give me matter and I will show you how a world is to come into being out of it [emphasis in original].”18

Choosing to follow Newton instead of Moses, Kant developed the first ‘nebular hypothesis’19 prototype to explain the origin of the universe “through mechanical laws alone”.20 In this book he speculates that the universe may have taken ‘millions of years’ to evolve from chaos; that the earth may have “existed for a thousand or more years before it was constituted so as to support people, animals, and plants”; and that the world continues to evolve because “Creation is never complete … it will never stop.”21 But his confidence in mechanical causes stumbles at the origin of life. Kant’s reticence here speaks for itself:

“Are we in a position to say: Give me matter and I will show you how a caterpillar can be created? Do we not get stuck at the first step due to ignorance about the true inner nature of the object and the complexity of the diversity contained in it? It should therefore not be thought strange if I dare to say that we will understand the formation of all the heavenly bodies, the cause of their motion, in short, the origin of the whole present constitution of the universe sooner than the creation of a single plant or caterpillar becomes clearly and completely known on mechanical grounds [emphasis in original].”22

It was a problem that Darwin would attempt to solve a hundred years later. Yet, without Genesis, not only was Kant unable to explain the origin of life, he could not understand what it meant to be human:

“We are not even properly familiar with what a human being actually is, even though consciousness and our senses should inform us about it; how much less will we be able to imagine what he will become in the future!” 23

This anthropological quandary led Kant to categorize humanity into four races.24 Predictably, this resulted in racism. Kant ranks the native ‘inhabitants of America’ “far below even the Negro, who stands on the lowest of all the other steps that we have named as differences of the races.”25 Following Hume, he asserts that

“ … among the hundreds of thousands of blacks who are transported elsewhere from their countries … not a single one was ever found who presented anything great in art or science or any other praise-worthy quality, even though among the whites some continually rise aloft from the lowest rabble, and through superior gifts earn respect in the world. So fundamental is the difference between these two races of man, and it appears to be as great in regard to mental capacities as in color.”26

Incredibly, Kant believed that melanin is strongly correlated with intellect. Concerning a ‘Negro carpenter’, he writes, “this fellow was quite black from head to foot, a clear proof that what he said was stupid.” 27 But for his own ethnicity and nationality, Kant reserves the highest praise:

“Humanity is at its greatest perfection in the race of the whites. The yellow Indians do have a meagre talent. The Negroes are far below them and at the lowest point are a part of the American peoples.” 28

He says that Germans, being the pinnacle of humanity, have “a fortunate combination of feeling, both in that of the sublime and in that of the beautiful”, exhibiting “more moderation and understanding” than the English or the French.29

Without minimizing other influences, it was Kant’s science that strategically shaped both his theology and philosophy. Over the course of 56 years, Kant published a total of 16 scientific treatises.30

Kant rejects Christianity

Image: Felix O/CC BY-SA 2.0immanuel-kant-tombstone
Figure 2. Kant’s tombstone near the cathedral of Kaliningrad. The inscription is a direct quote from his Critique of Practical Reason. In English it reads: “Two things fill the mind with ever new and increasing admiration and reverence, the more often and more steadily one reflects on them: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me.

In 1781, Kant completed his magnum opus, Critique of Pure Reason. In it he laid out his critical philosophy in answer to three primary questions: “What can I know?”, “What ought I to do?” and “What may I hope for?” 31 Here Kant attempts to justify the epistemological basis for autonomous reasoning by dividing all knowledge into two spheres: phenomena (“the world of senses”) and noumena (“the world of understanding”).32 For Kant, noumena describe entities beyond the realm of human experience, whereas phenomena describe the world of things that can be observed directly. Feeling the force of Hume’s skepticism,33 Kant ingeniously proposes a Copernican revolution in philosophy.34 Put simply, this transcendental approach makes “man, not nature, … the source of the synthetic a priori truths that constitute genuine knowledge”.35 In other words, as Frame puts it, “Our most basic knowledge comes about not by the world’s impressing it on the mind, but by the mind’s impressing it on the world.”36 Subjected to this framework, biblical revelation becomes extraneous. To make the point obvious, Kant addressed the subject directly just over a decade later.

In two books: Religion Within The Limits of Reason Alone (1794) and The Conflict of The Faculties (1798), Kant showed where theology belonged within his critical philosophy. Frame considers the former treatise to be the “first liberal systematic theology”.37 Kant argues that the interpretation of the Bible does not depend on the “meaning of the writer” or whether the text has any basis in real history.38 In fact, Kant actively discourages deriving any historical truths from Scripture because they are not “essential to salvation”.39 He insists that all historical claims should be settled by the “philosophical faculty”, not the “biblical theologian”.40 This is because he believes the clergy to be “incompetent (in scientific matters)” and therefore ill-equipped to investigate any historical or scientific claims of Scripture.41

Consequently, this makes the “literal interpretation” of any biblical text an abomination to Kant who reasons that it will “hinder the real end of religious teaching” because “even the authors of sacred Scripture, being human, could have made mistakes”.42 Applying this same logic to the gospels, Kant regards the divinity of Christ to be an unnecessary doctrine, and the historicity of miracles irrelevant.43 For Kant, Scripture is only useful for confirming universally accepted moral principles, which he calls “the supreme principle of all scriptural exegesis”.44 But it is also Kant’s opinion, in the opening paragraph of his preface, that morality has no need of God or religion.45 Thus, if the Bible has only morality to offer, on Kant’s terms, it is a completely useless book. Yet, this does not stop him from prescribing how Scripture should be expounded:

“In explaining the Bible to the people the preacher must be guided, not by what scholarship draws out of Scripture by philological studies, which are often no more than misleading guesses, but by what a moral cast of mind (according to the spirit of God) puts into it, and by teachings that can never mislead and can never fail to produce beneficial results. In other words, he must treat the text only (or at least primarily) as an occasion for anything morally improving that can be made of it, without venturing to search for what the sacred authors themselves might have meant by it [emphases added].”46

This kind of hermeneutic, being quintessentially eisegetical, betrays where Kant places his trust: autonomous human reason. His reference to “the spirit of God” is disarmingly disingenuous. For Kant, it is the “religion of reason” alone that determines the universal truths that Scripture cannot contradict.47 Denying the Bible’s inspiration and inerrancy, Kant asserts that the only “infallible interpreter” is human reason.48 From this standpoint, he argues that the “true church” is exclusively derived from the “pure faith of religion, based entirely on reason”.49 Essentially, in Kant’s theology, “man replaces God”.50

Kant rejects God

Kant’s replacement of God, however, was preceded by his displacement of God. In a short book entitled The only possible argument in support of a demonstration of the existence of God (1763), Kant almost expunges God from the realm of rationality by arguing that classical proofs for his existence “prove nothing at all”.51 The only possible argument for God’s existence is found, according to Kant, “in the fact that the denial of the divine existence is absolutely nothing … of which the cancellation eliminates all that can be thought.”52 This apologetic insight, as it stands, might suggest that Kant allowed one type of transcendental argument to establish God’s existence. But as his later writings show, this was not the case at all. In Critique of Pure Reason, Kant revisits the question of God’ existence, but this time grants no validity to any rational arguments for God.53 For reasons such as these, Bernstein believes that Kant “did more than any other modern philosopher to support and legitimize those who seriously question faith in a transcendent God.”54

Seven years later, in his Critique of Practical Reason (1788), Kant returned to the subject again.55 Here, however, he endeavoured to present a pragmatic case for believing in God’s existence. This is because “it is morally necessary to assume the existence of God.”56 Kant calls this postulate a “hypothesis” or “pure rational belief”.57 Thus morality compels him to believe that “there must exist a being who rules the world according to reason and moral laws”,58 and “a universal judgment of the world”.59 In his third and final critique, Critique of Judgment (1790), he even goes so far as to delineate a moral proof for the existence of God.60 But Kant’s theism amounts to little more than an expedient abstraction, postulated for pragmatic reasons. To quote him:

“This proof … does not imply that it is as necessary to assume the existence of God as it is to recognize the validity of the moral law [emphasis added].” 61

“The actuality of a supreme morally legislative author is, therefore, sufficiently proved simply for the practical employment of our reason, without determining anything theoretically in respect of its existence [emphasis added].”62

In other words, Kant realizes that he needs God to have a basis for morality, but at the same time he refuses to accept these grounds as sufficient proof for His existence. To quote the German poet Heinrich Heine (1797–1856), Kant “has stormed heaven, he has disposed of the whole crew, the ruler of the world swims, unprovable, in his own blood”, but then, “as with a magic wand, he again animates the corpse of deism which had been killed by theoretical reason.” 63

But the idea of God continued to trouble Kant. In the last 10 years of his life, he wrote hundreds of pages on this problem.

Kant creates god

The unpublished project, later published as Kant’s Opus Postumum, was considered by him to be his “chief work, a chef d’oeuvre”, a “keystone of his entire system … to demonstrate conclusively the tenability and real application of his philosophy”, “his most important work”.64 Here we have Kant’s final thoughts on “the problem of transcendental philosophy” which “still remains unresolved: Is there a God?” 65

As before, Kant realizes that he needs God to make morality meaningful. But he will not allow God to be God. Instead, God is redefined as a “thought-object”, a “rational concept”, a “legislative force”, a “hypothetical being”, but without personality or any existence outside of Kant’s mind.66 God becomes a figment of Kant’s rationality, a necessary construct to underpin his moral framework, “a principle of the categorical imperative”.67 Kant quotes Spinoza, “we make God for ourselves”. Even more provocatively, after describing God as an object created by the mind, he quotes from Genesis 1:26:

“Transcendental philosophy is the self-creation (autocracy) of ideas, into a complete system of the objects of pure reason. In the Bible it says: Let us make man, and, behold, every thing was very good.” 68

In Kant’s Genesis, therefore, “it is the human mind that creates the world out of nothing.” 69 If there exists any real God in Kant’s system, it is Kant himself.

In 1784, Kant wrote An answer to the question: what is enlightenment? In this short essay, Kant defines the “motto of enlightenment” as the “courage to make use of your understanding” or “freedom to make public use of one’s reason in all matters”.70 It is important to notice that the freedom conceived of here is a freedom from the tyranny of any religious authority which he views as “being the most harmful” and “also the most disgraceful of all”.71 This is where we find the real heart of Kant’s Enlightenment: the desire to be free from God,72 or, as we have already seen, the desire to be God.

If this assessment is justified, Kant’s legacy is inextricably connected to how he dealt with Genesis 1–3. It is of great interest to note, therefore, that just five years after finishing the Critique of Pure Reason, Kant returned to Genesis.

Kant reinterprets Genesis

In 1786, he wrote an essay entitled Conjectures on the beginning of human history. This time, instead of ignoring the first three chapters of the Bible, he sought to reinterpret Moses to suit his critical philosophy. The fact that he felt the need to do so is interesting in itself. At minimum, it shows that, for Kant, Genesis was a book too important to be ignored.

His main interest regarded the Fall of man. Instead of viewing Adam and Eve’s sin as man’s first step into slavery, Kant reenvisages it as man’s first step into freedom:

“He discovered in himself an ability to choose his own way of life without being tied to any single one like the other animals … . He stood, as it were, on the edge of an abyss. For whereas instinct had hitherto directed him towards individual objects of his desire, an infinite range of objects now opened up, and he did not yet know how to choose between them. Yet now that he had tasted this state of freedom, it was impossible for him to return to a state of servitude under the rule of instinct.” 73

To complete the picture, Kant equates God with “guardianship of nature”, the command of God with man’s instinct or “voice of nature”, the sinless state of Adam as “purely animal existence”, the temptation to sin as the “guidance of human reason”, and the sin itself as man’s liberation from being like the animals to becoming truly human.74 Kant believes, therefore, that the fall of man was a necessary step in man’s “progress towards perfection”.75 Thus Kant turns Genesis 1–3 into a manifesto for the Enlightenment.

Given his radical reimagining of the Fall, it should not be surprising to find that Kant reinterprets the days of creation to suit his own ends. His claims that Adam and Eve had already existed for a “considerable interval of time” before we encounter them in the garden.76 This is because, in Kant’s mind, it would not be possible for them to walk, talk, and think without having acquired these skills progressively like a child. We know that he does not trust the chronology found in Genesis because in the aforementioned The Conflict of the Faculties he calls the “epochs of sacred chronology” ‘questionable’.77 But his real rationale for an older Earth can be found in his treatment on Physical Geography (1802). Here, Kant once again offers a hermeneutic for dealing with Genesis. This comes in the midst of a discussion on the implications of lava layers in the Italian province of Catania, which, according to contemporary geologists, required at least 16,000 years to form. The following advice is offered to Christians before they read Genesis:

“Moses gives [us] the age of mankind but not the age of the earth. The earth may have been formed some thousands of years earlier, for we should not allow ourselves to be prevented by Moses’s statements from giving consideration to physical evidence. For God, a period like a day is too long for creation; and for the formation of the earth it is too little.”78

This kind of sophistry is merely patronizing because, for Kant, the Bible has no real epistemic value.

Conclusion

Kant was both a product and proponent of the Enlightenment. Despite his pietistic roots and subsequent theological training, Kant became convinced that man “must reason autonomously and must never reason in any other way”.79 One of the first steps taken in this direction was his rejection of Genesis. In fact, Kant’s attitude towards the whole Bible is represented by how he treated its first three chapters. Put another way, Kant’s rejection and subsequent reinterpretation of Genesis 1–3 was foundational to his religion of reason.

References and notes

  1. Frame, J.M., A History of Western Philosophy and Theology, 1st edn, P&R Publishing, NJ, p. 252, 2015. Kreeft, P., Socrates Meets Kant: The father of philosophy meets his most influential modern child, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, CA, p. 11, 2009. Return to text.
  2. This was a name he was particularly proud of, although he later changed it to ‘Immanuel’ because he believed it was a more accurate transliteration of the Hebrew (Kuehn, M., Kant: A biography, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 26, 2002). Return to text.
  3. Kuehn, ref. 2, p. 28. Return to text.
  4. Kuehn, ref. 2, p. 46. Return to text.
  5. Kuehn, ref. 2, p. 47. Return to text.
  6. Kuehn, ref. 2, p. 48. Return to text.
  7. Leibniz has been regarded as the “pre-eminent architect of the mainstream, moderate Enlightenment in Germany”. He was responsible for bringing Baruch Spinoza’s Tractatus theologico-politicus into France in 1672. He also adopted a rationalistic approach to miracles. Although Leibniz accepts most of Genesis as history, he still argues, for geological reasons, that the world is older than suggested by the text (Israel, J.I., Radical Enlightenment: Philosophy and The Making of Modernity 1650–1750, Oxford University Press, New York, p. 502, 2001. Lambe, P.J., Biblical criticism and censorship in ancien régime France: the case of Richard Simon, The Harvard Theological Review 78(1/2):149–177, 1985; pp. 155–156. Cook, D.J., Leibniz on Creation: a contribution to his philosophical theology, in: Dascal, M. (Ed.), Leibniz: What kind of rationalist?: Logic, epistemology, and the unity of science, Springer, New York, p. 454, 2008. Leibniz, G.W., Leibniz to Abbé Claude Nicaise, Die philophischen Schriften von Gottfried Wilheim Leibniz (Ed.), Gerhardt, C.I., vol. 2, Weidmann, Berlin, p. 590, 2008. Strickland, L., Taking Scripture seriously: Leibniz and the Jehoshaphat problem, The Heythrop J. 52(1):40–51, 2011; pp. 40, 47. Return to text.
  8. Both Kant’s family pastor, Franz Albert Shultz (1897–1971), and physics teacher, Martin Knutzen (1713–1751), were Wolffians. At the time, Wolff was one of the foremost proponents of the German Enlightenment. Wolff believed that certainty was obtained through experience or reason, and that our concept of God was derived from the concept of ourselves, not Scripture. He also asserted that the historicity of creation ex nihilo needed to be proved by the philosophical method. We know that Kant admired Wolff because he calls him “the greatest of all dogmatic philosophers” in the preface to his Critique of pure reason (Gulyga, A., Immanuel Kant: His life and thought, Birkhäuser, Boston, MA, pp. 6–11, 1987. Wolff, C., The Law of Nations Treated According to The Scientific Method, Liberty Fund, IN, pp. 32, 52, 2017. Wolff, C., Preliminary Discourse on Philosophy in General, The Bobbs–Merrill Company, Inc., Indianapolis, IN, p. 72, 1963. Kant, I., Critique of Pure Reason, 2nd edn, Palgrave Macmillan, London, p. 33, 2007). Return to text.
  9. Kuehn, ref. 2, pp. 61, 81–82, 84–85. Return to text.
  10. Kuehn, ref. 2, pp. 13, 20. Return to text.
  11. Cassirer, E., Kant’s Life and Thought, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, p. 16, 1981. Return to text.
  12. Cassirer, ref. 11, pp. 16–17. Return to text.
  13. Kuehn, ref. 2, pp. 95–96. Return to text.
  14. Kuehn, ref. 2, pp. 98–99. Return to text.
  15. Kant, I., Universal natural history and theory of the heavens or essay on the constitution and the mechanical origin of the whole universe according to Newtonian principles; in: Watkins, E. (Ed.), Natural science, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 194, 2012. Return to text.
  16. Prior to 1740, under the reign of the previous monarch, Frederick William I (1688–1740), the Pietists enjoyed a period of intolerance towards any dissenters. As Kuehn relates, this meant that “No theology student who cared about his future could afford to disagree openly with the Pietist professors or to be friendly with those who were not Pietists” (Kuehn, ref. 2, p. 69). Return to text.
  17. Kuehn, ref. 2, p. 82. Return to text.
  18. Kant, ref. 15, p. 200. Here Kant retains God as a first cause while trying to explain how matter could arrange itself into the present universe over time. Return to text.
  19. Even though the Nebular Hypothesis is often attributed to Laplace, “he only restated and developed it” (Pearson, K., Laplace, Biometrika 21(1/4):202–216, 1929; p. 205. Return to text.
  20. Kant, ref. 15, p. 204. Calinger, R., Kant and Newtonian science: the pre-critical period, Isis 70(3):348–362, 1979; p. 352. Kuehn, ref. 2, p. 105. Return to text.
  21. Kant, ref. 15, pp. 266, 296, 267. Return to text.
  22. Kant, ref. 15, p. 201. Return to text.
  23. Kant, ref. 15, p. 307. Return to text.
  24. Kant, I., “This fellow was quite black … a clear proof that what he said was stupid”; in: Eze, E.C. (Ed.), Race and The Enlightenment: A reader, Blackwell Publishers Inc., MA, pp. 40–41, 1998. Return to text.
  25. Kant, I., On the use of teleological principles in philosophy; in: Zöller, G. and Louden, R.B. (Eds.), Anthropology, History, and Education, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 210–211, 2007. Return to text.
  26. Kant, ref. 24, p. 55. Return to text.
  27. Kant, ref. 24, p. 57. Return to text.
  28. Kant, ref. 24, p. 63. Return to text.
  29. Kant, ref. 24, pp. 53–54. Return to text.
  30. Watkins, E. (Ed.), Kant: Natural science, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. x, 2012. Return to text.
  31. Kuehn, ref. 2, p. 241. Kant, ref. 25, p. 635. Return to text.
  32. Kant, ref. 25, p. 272. Return to text.
  33. In Prolegomena to any future metaphysics that will be able to come forward as science (1783), Kant famously relates how Hume had stimulated the development of his critical philosophy: “I freely admit that the remembrance of David Hume was the very thing that many years ago first interrupted my dogmatic slumber and gave a completely different direction to my researches in the field of speculative philosophy” (Kant, I., Prolegomena to any future metaphysics that will be able to come forward as science; in: Allison, H. and Heath, P. (Eds.), Theoretical Philosophy After 1781, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 57, 2002). Return to text.
  34. Kant, ref. 25, pp. 273–274. Return to text.
  35. Frame, ref. 1, p. 257. Return to text.
  36. Frame, ref. 1, p. 256. Return to text.
  37. Frame, ref. 1, p. 264. Return to text.
  38. Kant, I., Religion within the boundaries of mere reason; in: Wood, A. and Giovanni, G.D. (Eds.), Religion Within The Boundaries of Mere Reason and Other Writings, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 65, 1998. Return to text.
  39. Kant, I., The conflict of the faculties; in: Wood, A.W. and Giovanni, G.D. (Eds.), Religion and Rational Theology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 285, 2001. Return to text.
  40. Kant, ref. 39, p. 252. Return to text.
  41. Kant, ref. 39, p. 284. (NB: The parentheses are in the original) Return to text.
  42. Kant, ref. 39, p. 286. Return to text.
  43. Kant, ref. 38, pp. 81–83, 98–99. Return to text.
  44. Kant, ref. 38, pp. 119–120. Return to text.
  45. Kant, ref. 38, p. 33. Return to text.
  46. Kant, ref. 39, p. 288. Return to text.
  47. Kant, ref. 38, pp. 120–121, 1998a. Kant, ref. 39, p. 284, 2001a. Kant, I., Lectures on the philosophical doctrine of religion (1817); in: Wood, A.W. and Giovanni, G.D. (Eds.), Religion and Rational Theology, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 444, 2001b. As a case in point, Kant’s abhorrence of the imprecatory psalms elicits the question: “whether morality must be interpreted in accordance with the Bible, or the Bible, on the contrary, in accordance with morality” (Kant, ref. 38, p. 118). Return to text.
  48. Kant, ref. 39, pp. 284–287. Return to text.
  49. Kant, ref. 38, p. 122. Given that this criterion functions independently of Scripture, Kant logically infers that Christians, Muslims, and Jews are all manifestations of the same “one (true) religion” (Kant, ref. 38, p. 116). Return to text.
  50. Frame, ref. 1, p. 265. Return to text.
  51. Kant, I., The only possible argument in support of a demonstration of the existence of God (1763); in: Walford, D. and R. Meerbote (Eds.), Theoretical Philosophy, 1755–1770, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 201, 1992. Return to text.
  52. Kant, ref. 51, p. 201. Return to text.
  53. Kant, ref. 25, pp. 495–524. Bernstein, R.J., The secular–religious divide: Kant’s legacy, Social Research 76(4):1035–1048, 2009; p. 1037. Return to text.
  54. Bernstein, ref. 53, p. 1036. Return to text.
  55. Kant, I., Critique of Practical Reason, Cambridge texts in the history of philosophy, Ameriks, K. and Clarke, D.M. (Eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 100–106, 2015. Return to text.
  56. Kant, ref. 55, p. 101. Return to text.
  57. Kant, ref. 55, p. 102. Return to text.
  58. Kant, ref. 47, p. 407. Return to text.
  59. Kant, ref. 47, p. 418. Return to text.
  60. Kant, I., Critique of Judgement, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 276–290, 2007. Return to text.
  61. Kant, ref. 60, p. 279. Return to text.
  62. Kant, ref. 60, p. 284. Return to text.
  63. Heine, H., On The History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany, Cambridge texts in the history of philosophy, Ameriks, K. and Clarke, D.M. (Eds.), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 87, 2007. Return to text.
  64. Förster, E., Introduction; in: Förster, E. (Ed.), Opus Postumum, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. xvii, 1998. Return to text.
  65. Kant, I., Opus Postumum, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 223, 1998. Return to text.
  66. Kant, ref. 65, pp. 206–208, 210, 214, 217, 227, 235–236. Return to text.
  67. Kant, ref. 65, p. 213. Return to text.
  68. Kant, ref. 65, p. 250. Return to text.
  69. Frame, ref. 1, p. 269. Return to text.
  70. Kant, I., An answer to the question: what is enlightenment?; in: Gregor, M.J. (Ed.), Practical Philosophy, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp. 17–18, 1999. Return to text.
  71. Kant, ref. 70, p. 21. Return to text.
  72. If the contemporary assessment of his last years is accurate, Kant began his life as a Christian but ended his life as an atheist (Kuehn, ref. 2, pp. 318, 391–392). Return to text.
  73. Kant, I., Conjectures on the beginning of human history; in: Reiss, H. (Ed.), Political Writings, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 224, 1989. Return to text.
  74. Kant, ref. 73, pp. 223–227. Kant also reinterprets the putting on of clothes in Genesis 3 not as evidence of guilt and shame, but as evidence that man had developed a “sense of decency” (Kant, ref. 73, p. 224). Return to text.
  75. Kant, ref. 73, pp. 226–227. Return to text.
  76. Kant, ref. 73, p. 222. Return to text.
  77. Kant, ref. 40, p. 282. Return to text.
  78. Kant, I., Physical geography; in: Watkins, E. (Ed.), Natural Science, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 535, 2012. Return to text.
  79. Frame, ref. 1, p. 252. Kuehn, ref. 2, p. 34. Tomaszewska, A., Kant’s reconception of religion and contemporary secularism, Roczniki Filozoficzne / Annales de Philosophie / Annals of Philosophy 64(4):125–148, 2016; pp. 139–140. Return to text.

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