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Catholic Dictionary




Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), the German philosopher who systematically analyzed and questioned the foundations of the Lutheran faith in which he was reared and died. His notion of religion was consistent with his general theory of knowledge and reality. Just as he held that phenomena are not in themselves things, "They are nothing but ideas, and cannot exist at all beyond our minds," so he believed that revelation and the Church are only "adventitious aids." Man's ultimate religious authority is his own mind. "The inner voice of reason is always his surest guide." Kantian ideas shifted the whole focus of Protestant liberal thought in the modern world, away from the Bible toward sentimentalism and dogmatic voluntarism.