Kant and religion : between ethics ans religious hope
Kant is not a theologian, but religion is exposed in all his philosophical work, the Prolegomena to the Peace Project, but none directly addresses that Kant in Religion within the Limits of Reason.
Before discussing the latter work, we must nevertheless remember the achievements of the Critique of Pure Reason: the metaphysical objects (me, the world and God) is unknowable. But these ideas of reason are not human experience, they provided a regulatory role because they guide human action. These three ideas are the postulates of practical reason, ie. Although none of them refer to an object of empirical knowledge, Kant argues that it is reasonable for us to apply as a matter of rational faith. This kind of belief, subjectively justifiable, represents a balance between the certain knowledge, which is objectively and subjectively justified, and the mere arbitrary opinion, which is not even subjectively justified. These religious beliefs can be rational.
From there, can we prove the existence of God? If it meets Kant, God becomes an object that can be known, the reason for reverting so dogmatic. The argument may then exist on the practical and moral.
In the second Critique (Critique of Practical Reason), Kant states that God and human immortality assumptions are “morally necessary”, questions of “rational faith”. It is also the basis of the Kantian idea of moral religion. Kant then defines religion as “the recognition of God’s commandments.” So the moral argument is purely speculative, but has a practical orientation. The moral argument addresses instead of God as a regulative idea. The famous phrase at the end of the second Critique provides an ideal bridge between it and the third: “Two things fill the mind with admiration and awe constant: the starry heavens above me and the moral law within me” . Kant morality leads to God and religion.
In Religion within the Limits of Reason, Kant presents his rational theology by posing the question: what can reasonably expect?
Kant considers our innate predisposition to good and evil. The man is praised or blamed only according to his use of his free will. Kant demystifies the Christian doctrine of original sin. Kant then distinguishes the false religion (in which believers act to save themselves) of the truly moral religion (based on virtuous behavior). We must act virtuously, according to Kant, in order to get salvation, to act for salvation.
In the end, Kant thought that morality will make of what he calls the kingdom of ends, moral kind of paradise where all wills are admitted good.
Kant’s rational theology is revolutionary in that it derives from his critical philosophy. Indeed, Kant moves the religious question of the land to the metaphysical moral ground, in which God is a regulative idea (assistant to postulate the immortality of the soul) which allows men to behave morally.