Nowhere is the creative genius of man more perfectly exemplified than in the creation of his gods. He is able to take the Scriptures, any Scriptures, it seems, and from them create a God to his liking that he convinces himself and others is the one true God. And once convinced, he and his followers not only feel justified, but righteous jubilation in condemning, excommunicating, and burning at the stake anyone who does not see that their God is the one true God, and they know their God will reward them for it.
This is from: Religion - The Autonomist Notebook
This is from the commentary on the same:
Almost all theology and religious teaching is an attempt to make God apprehensible to man, in some way it is supposed He is not already perfectly apprehensible. The result is that God, when the theologians and religious teachers get through with Him, is always something less than He actually is. This is because the method of making God more approachable and more familiar is to make Him more like man.
Interestingly, when God actually became a man, when he was more approachable than ever, we would think, if the theologians and religious teachers were correct, the world would have flocked to and embrace Him. Did they? Of course not. They hated Him and killed Him and were very glad to be rid of Him, so they could go back to practicing their religion. Most religion today fulfills the same purpose in a more subtle less violent way. Be sure, however, when he returns, the religions will show themselves to be what they are, and will return to their former ways of dealing with Him.
For every question there are an infinite number of possible wrong answers, and one correct answer. That mankind attempting to make a religion that fits what they want, instead of what is true, produces an endless variety of absurd and evil superstitions is not at all surprising. Only an idiot would expect anything else.
Since reason will never be able to justify the life that most people live, all religion is ultimately an attempt to create a belief that will comfort one in their own irresponsibility and rejection of the truth.
And that statement is not correct.
Then along came the greeks and romans who saw the gods as being human, but made them too human cuz they were incredibly foibled like humans, too. Then Christianity came along and develops a religion that's a bit more complicated cuz of the whole trinity thing, and which makes the human part of god less foibled than the greek/roman gods (who raped and lied and carried on badly). I expect religion will evolve again as consciousness progresses, cuz we sure aren't done understanding ourselves and figuring out what the mind is (why for example do thoughts seem to be a conversation, and with whom are we conversing? mind talking to itself?) but jeez I hope it's not the deal where we think we will BECOME gods (like the mormons, and maybe the scientologists).
Probably terribly oversimplified this, so apologies to Hegel if I got this wrong.
Here's something swiped off a Hegel website, probably says it better:
As finite reason progresses in understanding, the Absolute progresses toward full self-knowledge. Indeed, the Absolute comes to know itself through the human mind's increased understanding of reality, or the Absolute. Hegel analyzed this human progression in understanding in terms of three levels: art, religion, and philosophy. Art grasps the Absolute in material forms, interpreting the rational through the sensible forms of beauty. Art is conceptually superseded by religion, which grasps the Absolute by means of images and symbols. The highest religion for Hegel is Christianity, for in Christianity the truth that the Absolute manifests itself in the finite is symbolically reflected in the incarnation. Philosophy, however, is conceptually supreme, because it grasps the Absolute rationally. Once this has been achieved, the Absolute has arrived at full self-consciousness, and the cosmic drama reaches its end and goal. Only at this point did Hegel identify the Absolute with God. God is God, Hegel argued, only in so far as he knows himself.
And more, swiped from a different site: 2. He begins his analysis with NATURAL RELIGIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS, meaning the first stirrings of religiosity within minds which saw Nature as God, or as a series of gods. Ancient people worshipped Nature as the sun, the moon, the stars, the volcanoes, the animals, and so on. There are today many religions which still insist upon a minimum reverence to certain animals and/or elements in their rites.
3. As people evolve, however, humans are found more wonderful than animals, and the Sun is found to be more indifferent to human affairs than was hoped. Piety moves on. What is truly sacred, it was concluded, are sacred people and their sacred activities. Religion was sought in great works of human hands, especially the Temple itself, and in the science of architecture which created it. Also, the Temple arts, like sculpture and painting (idolatry), music, dance, theater and amazing culinary delights; these became the seeds of a new development, the ARTISTIC RELIGIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS. Those who are familiar with the history of art know that Art and the Church coincide in many points.
4. For Hegel, as for Aristotle, there is a hierarchy of the Arts, where music and literature play the highest roles, because of their close resemblance with consciousness itself. Literature reveals the Word itself, the thought, the idea, exquisitely, subtly, over the long period of time of reading. Not just ideas, but clear ideas, personalities, relationships, conflicts, and even sacred conflicts and sacred ideas, over the medium of literature. It is through this medium, sacred literature, that humanity discovers the highest religious consciousness, the REVEALED RELIGION CONSCIOUSNESS. In this moment of consciousness, beyond natural religion, beyond artistic religion, the Word is uppermost, Morality is uppermost, Love is uppermost, with its promise of harmony, resolution, synthesis, cooperation and a positive feeling far beyond peaceful coexistence.
IV. THE PHILOSOPHER
1. With this last stage in evolution, one might think Hegel would complete his study, since Christianity, the apex of Revealed Religion by its own self-opinion, has been deduced and that is that.
2. But this is the point where Hegel confused his followers, and split them into Left and Right wings. Hegel saw an even higher consciousness than Revealed Religion Consciousness, and so, to some extent, transcended religion, which convinced some novices that he was an atheist, and convinced others that he had a higher vision of Christ than the average minister.
3. This is how it goes. Religion seeks the Highest of the High, but its methods are not the highest. Religion is burdened by its method which it retains from the Arts, namely, imagery.
4. Religion is steeped in imagery, in images, in pictures, and so works very well with mythology, portraits and theater. This is helpful in reaching the masses, the young and the old, but it is not as precise as concrete thinking.
5. When one seeks the precision and clarity of concrete ideas, one transcends the methodology of religion, and so on attains to the SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS, or perhaps, GEIST CONSCIOUSNESS.
6. SPIRIT in this context is not mystical or religious in the Sunday School sense. We talk freely of School Spirit, or Community Spirit, or Team Spirit, and that is all that Hegel means by this term. Spirit is an invisible reality which is all-important in social organizations, and is probably best represented by the leader of the social group. It is very subjective, even intra-subjective, but it is also objective, precisely because it is shared by many. It is the synthesis of the subjective and the objective, the self-contained resolution of both, and so is closer to any definition of the absolute than we have yet approached.
7. Now, to become aware of Spirit is to have climbed the heights of human consciousness, to have achieved the philosophy of virtue, asceticism and reason, to have become a leader in one's society on the basis of virtue, to have achieved morality, that is, love of society and a willingness to serve (all the things Ayn Rand would call altruism and would condemn), and to appreciate the power of this invisible force called Community Spirit.
8. But it is one thing to have community spirit, and quite another thing to be excellent at it. To be excellent, one must be able to communicate to others the details of one's consciousness, and explain to children the reasons for State decisions. One has to be more than an example at this level. To be a superior social leader one must also be able to explain one's actions and motives and visions in detail, yet in simple terms. To do this one must once again rise to a higher level of consciousness, the PHILOSOPHICAL CONSCIOUSNESS.
9. One may object that the Stoic and the Skeptic were also philosophers, and they are set much lower on his list. Hegel's answer is that the Stoics and Skeptics were mainly interested in explaining their own self consciousness. The religious consciousness is higher precisely because it focuses on the entire society with a certain tenderness and wisdom, tolerance and social understanding. Philosophical consciousness builds upon this social leadership only by providing its intellectual component. And when the love of the religious consciousness joins the analysis of the philosophical consciousness, the highest consciousness, ABSOLUTE CONSCIOUSNESS, is the shining result.
10. With Absolute Consciousness one may approach heaven. Love, Harmony, Wisdom, Social responsibility, experience, all converge in one consciousness, where one can glimpse the End of Time, meaning, the dimension beyond mere appearances, the dimension beyond phenomena. The goal of the Phenomenology is reached, then, in the transcendence of phenomena and the attainment of Noumena, Geist, Spirit, the Absolute. And what is that Absolute? It's conscious Love.
11. How is it experienced? As the End of Time. Well, then, does the person who experiences the End of Time simply die? No. The vision involves turning around and looking again at all the phenomena of human history, there in front of one's eyes, and witnessing humanity coming up behind one, rising toward the same vision, this one closer, this one farther away, all converging toward one vision, the vision of God, of Universal Harmony, of the Absolute, the highest possible satisfaction. Then one sees the absolute truth--the world of phenomena doesn't disappear when one transcends it, but it keeps right on going.
12. Absolute Consciousness does not negate phenomena, rather, it assimilates phenomena, and so co-exists peacefully with it. It only brings to its members the social responsibility that comes with Wisdom. One must now learn to love the entire world, and to help each person one meets along to their next stage of consciousness.