Man created God in his own image
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"Much has been made by critics of the human origin of the belief in God and of the anthropomorphic character of our conception of Deity. It has been said that "God is the noblest work of man" ; and to Heine we owe the taunting remark that "if God made man in his own image, man made haste to return the compliment." Back in the early days of Greek philosophy Xenophanes satirized the anthropomorphisms of his day by saying that "the Ethiopians make their gods black-haired and flat-nosed, and the Thracians make theirs red-haired and blue-eyed." "Yes," he added, "and if the beasts had hands and could paint and carve, the horses would make their gods like horses, and the oxen make theirs like oxen." The assumption underlying such utterances as these, which have been repeated through the centuries, is that the idea of a personal God is man's creation, the giant reflection of his own personality, and that on this account it cannot have objective validity* But in response it may first be pointed out that nothing can exist for us except as we think it." --The Doctrine of God by Albert C. Knudson
- "Denn nicht Gott schuf den Menschen nach seinem Bilde, wie es in der Bibel heißt, sondern der Mensch schuf, wie ich im »Wesen des Christentums« zeigte, Gott nach seinem Bilde."
It is often shortened to "Der Mensch schuf Gott nach seinem Bilde."
In English it reads "God did not, as the Bible says, make man in His image; on the contrary man, as I have shown in The Essence of Christianity, made God in his image. (tr. Ralph Manheim), shortened to "Man made God in His image."
Here is that passage of The Essence of Christianity:
- "[...] it is only in the origin of a thing that we can discern its true nature. Man first unconsciously and involuntarily creates God in his own image, and after this God consciously and voluntarily creates man in his own image." (tr. George Eliot)
In The Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1900) Freud describes how he found himself reversing the well-known text of Genesis, "'God created man in His own image," into "Man created God in his own image."
Freud's original German reads "'Gott schuf den Menschen nach seinem Bilde' und dessen veränderte Fassung 'der Mensch schuf Gott nach dem seinigen'."
- But if cattle and horses and lions had hands, an idea by Xenophanes
- Religion is society worshipping itself, Durkheim
- Anthropology of religion
- Image of God
- God created man in his own image
- Ludwig Feuerbach
- Psychological projection