Ludwig Andreas Feuerbach (1804-1872) was a German naturalistic philosopher. His one contribution to philosophical discourse is his belief that human beings are part of nature, that there is no soul in them that survives when they die; that there is no immortality, that they are just part of nature.
Nature, as manifested in animals and tress, blooms and dies (actually, changes form, from form of energy to another). The human beady is composed of the same materials in animals and trees. Like animals and trees people live and die. Their bodies decompose into the various elements, atoms, particles and sub particles that composed them. That is all there is to them. Their so-called mind is epiphenomenal, is a product of the particular configuration of matter in their brains.
Feuerbach seems to agree with Spinoza that man is part of nature and when he dies he is reabsorbed into nature. In so far that there is a force actuating man it is the same force actuating animals, trees, rocks and nature in general; there is no personal soul that survives death, the naturalistic philosopher said.
As you can see, this thesis is a direct attack on the great superstition called Christianity. The man declared war on Christianity, for what is Christianity but the sop that people have personal souls that are immortal and that lives after they die, that a god either welcomes them into his heaven or condemns them to his hell.
Well, if there is no soul, God has nothing to condemn or reward, has he? God is now superfluous, so there is no god.
As Feuerbach sees it, what people call God is what men wish to be in existence; God is a projection of the attributes human beings see in themselves or wish to see in themselves.
When we think of God we are really thinking about ourselves, Feuerbach observed. Simply stated, Feuerbach did not recognize a god that is separate and apart from man, as he sees it, god is man’s self projected out.
This does not mean that Feuerbach did not believe in some sort of God; he believed in God alright, Spinoza’s kind of god: God that is part of nature. What that god, substance is, Feuerbach did not explain.
Freidrich Engels, Karl Marx’s associate, wrote eloquently about Feuerbach, whom he believed is atheistic and materialistic.
I doubt that Feuerbach saw himself as an atheist and materialist; he was just another Western philosopher engaged in mental gymnastics, speculating about God or no god. His writings, Like the of Spinoza are interesting reading.
Ludwig Feuerbach. The Essence of Christianity. (1841)