A Monumental Figure of Western Thought Wrestles with the Question of God
Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) is one of the most influential philosophers in the history of Western philosophy. His contributions have had a profound impact on almost every philosophical movement that followed him.
Kant's teachings on religion were unorthodox in that they were based on rationality rather than revelation. Though logically proving God's existence might be impossible, it is morally reasonable to "act as "if" there be a God." His strictly rational approach was considered so scandalous that the King of Prussia forbid him to teach or write further on religious subjects, which Kant obeyed until the king's death.
A work of major importance in the history of Western religious thought, "Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone" represents a great philosopher's attempt to spell out the form and content of a type of religion grounded in moral reason and meeting the needs of an ethical life.
"Of the many attempts to interpret Christianity solely in ethical terms, Kant's effort seems to me to be the most profound and illuminating. His "Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone "illuminates primarily the great philosopher's understanding of man's moral life, but also casts light, indirectly and directly, on some of the fundamental beliefs of Christian religion. The book is indispensable to students of ethics, important for theologians, and significant for all who are concerned about the human condition."--H. Richard Niebuhr"One of the most interesting and most human of Kant's works. Although Kant speaks in the language of the Eighteenth Century, he is wrestling with problems which force themselves on us today--unless we dismiss all religion as pathological or swallow it blindly at the behest of some external authority."--H.J. Paton"One does not have to agree with Kant's conclusions--and I do not--in order to acknowledge this as a great work in the history of philosophical theology. It is the product of Kant's mature years, an effort to connect his religious thought with the rest of his epoch-making philosophy as presented in his three "Critiques.""--Morton White