— Ludwig Feuerbach
Context: Religion is indeed essential to or innate in man, but … this is not the religion of theology or theism, not an actual belief in God, but solely the religion that expresses nothing other than man’s feeling of finiteness and dependency on nature. … I distinguish religion from theism, the belief in a being distinct from nature and man. … Today theism, theology, the belief in God have become so identified with religion that to have no God, to theological being, is considered synonymous with having no religion. But here we deal with the original elements of religion. It is theism, theology, that has wrenched man out of his relationship with the world, isolated him, made him into an arrogant self-centered being who exalts himself above nature. And it is only on this level that religion becomes identified with theology, with the belief in a being outside and above nature as the true God. Originally religion expressed nothing other than man’s feeling that he is an inseparable part of nature or the world.
Lecture V, R. Manheim, trans. (1967), pp. 34-35