Schleiermacher's Religion

In Friedrich Schleiermacher's second speech, entitled On the Essence of Religion, he outlines his interpretation of religion. The result is an entity separate from morality and metaphysics; separate in comparison to Kant's perception of the two in that it stems from an attempt to intuit the universe. Schleiermacher's view differs with Kant's in a number of respects, especially concerning the involvement of morality in religion. There exist, however, some similarities involving the origin of religion. Religion, for Schleiermacher, transcends the worlds of morality and metaphysics; it transcends yet includes them: If it is an attractive force of its own, then you must confess that religion is the highest in philosophy and that metaphysics and morals are only subordinate divisions of it; for that in which two varied but opposed concepts are one can only be the higher under which the other two belong. (p. 99) In his view, Schleiermacher contends that religion is more than merely an extension of morality, as Kant would have it, but rather an entity removed from the "character of speculation as well as from that of praxis" (p. 102). Schleiermacher sees his intuitive religion as sharing a common ground with both speculation and praxis. Further, he states that an intuitive religion is a necessary dimension of human nature. Schleiermacher's religion is far more emotional and sensory: something Kant would disagree with. While Kant would argue that the senses cannot be trusted to perceive the nuomenal world, Schleiermacher would contest that feelings are necessary to find "the point from which one's relationship to the infinite can be discovered" (p. 109). Schleiermacher includes all of reality into his perception of religion. When true religion is maintained, both the holy and unholy are respected for their place in the universe. "Religion is the sworn enemy of all pedantry and all one-sidedness" (p. 109). A very prominent similarity between Schleiermacher and Kant concerns the origin of religion. Whether intuitive or not, both maintain that religion stems from within: Every human art runs aground trying to restore the products of living nature out of their separated constituent parts, and thus you will not succeed in doing it with religion, even tough you have imagined its individual elements ever so completely from outside; they must proceed from within. (p. 114) Here, Schleiermacher argues that true religion cannot be pieced together from what he considers to be lifeless external sources. He believes that the laws and not the masses, or the individual components of the external world, but the universal laws that govern it. Schleiermacher also resembles Kant in his description of how action is to proceed, according to religion. He contends that "religious feeling should accompany every human deed like a holy music; we should do everything with religion, nothing because of religion" (p. 110). Kant, too, makes a great distinction between illusory moral action and that action that is done solely for the sake of duty. Only the latter is moral. Schleiermacher does not dispute Kant in his claim that Man should make every action a moral one. He does, however, believe that religion is separate from action, in that action can never be perfect, and that religion lies alongside of metaphysics and morals as the only true path to intuit the universe.