A Critical Narration About Enlightenment: The Hegelian Concept of Religion

Dawei Bao, Le Yang


This article tries to clarify the interaction of Hegel’s critique upon enlightenment and religion. Inspired by the long term cliticization about Hegel’s conservative inclination towards toward religious belief, the main research object of this article would be a defense for Hegel’s concept of religion as well as enlightenment. Through reducing the Hegelian concept of religion back to a dialectical link in the development of spirit, Hegel’s critique both on enlightenment and religion would be performed on a holistic logical chain.Though the enlightenment(die Aufklärung) essence of the concept of religion in Hegel’s philosophy of right is undoubtedly, still, because of the ambiguous meaning of religion as a link in the dialectic movement of reason, some scholars insist that Hegel is trying to defend the absoluteness of Christian theology under the cover of dialectics. As one of the most important German philosophers after Immanuel Kant,  Hegel goes much further than the German enlightenment philosophers before him in the pursuing for the veridicality  of human intellectual in the view of rationalism. Compared with Kantian philosophy, the enlightenment characteristic of Hegelian philosophy cannot be easily identified intuitively or distinctly. The concept of religion, generally be considered as the object for the critique of enlightenment, however appeared as an objective historical movement in the Hegelian dialectic narration about the development of spirit, which is showed by the world history. The opposition between ration and belief is sublated in the spirit by the ultimate religion realized by the idea of absolute knowledge. The Hegelian dialectic narration in history provides a philosophic methodology for the further understanding about the alienated world under the representation of religion, as well as an insight for the modern philosophy based on the critique towards enlightenment.

Keywords: Hegel, Enlightenment, Religion, Critique

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