Early enough on in the Religion, he does say:

Now there appeared at a certain time among these very people, when they were feeling in full measure all the ills of an hierarchical constitution, and when because of this and perhaps also because of the ethical doctrines of freedom of the Greek sages (doctrines staggering to the slavish mind) which had gradually acquired an influence over them, they had for the most part been brought to their senses and were therefore ripe for a revolution, – there suddenly appeared a person whose wisdom was purer even than that of previous philosophers, as pure as though it had descended from heaven. This person proclaimed himself as indeed truly human with respect to his teachings and example, yet also an as envoy from heaven who, through an original innocence, was not involved in the bargain with the evil principle into which, through their representatives, their first parents, the rest of the human race had entered, and “in whom, therefore, the prince of this world had no part.”

But somewhat later, as if to allegorize the preceding imagery, he says:

The coming forth from the corrupted into the good disposition is, in itself (as “the death of the old man,” “the crucifying of the flesh”), a sacrifice and an entrance upon a long train of life’s ills. These the new man undertakes in the disposition of the Son of God, that is, merely for the sake of the good, though really they are due as punishments to another, namely to the old man (for the old man is indeed morally another).

And even later, then:

... we have a duty which is sui generis, not of men toward men, but of the human race toward itself. For the species of rational beings is objectively, in the idea of reason, destined for a social goal, namely, the promotion of the highest as a social good. But because the highest moral good cannot be achieved merely by the exertions of the single individual toward his own moral perfection, but requires rather a union of such individuals into a whole toward the same goal – into a system of well-disposed men, in which and through whose unity alone the highest moral good can come to pass – the idea of such a whole, as a universal republic based on laws of virtue, is an idea completely distinguished from all moral laws (which concern what we know to lie in our own power); since it involves working toward a whole regarding which we do not know whether, as such, it lies in our power or not. Hence this duty is distinguished from all others both in kind and in principle. We can already foresee that this duty will require the presupposition of another idea, namely, that of a higher moral Being through whose universal dispensation the forces of separate individuals, insufficient in themselves, are united for a common end.

So "under the circumstances," e.g. modulo Kant's rigorism as is especially vivid in the Religion, does it follow that beliefs in individual heroic figures, up to and inclusive of divinely-appointed saviors, because they weaken the motivation of such believers in general to attempt the cosmopolitan development or even salvation of the world, are morally corrupt beliefs? If the world must save itself, as the world, then do the subconscious processes of belief-corruption, such as lead to degenerate or depraved actions and culpable inactions, admit of being represented (allegorically) as "demons" that seek to instill beliefs in heroes and saviors in the common folk (and in the elites who often misthink of themselves as such deliverers of the masses), so as to "trick" people into not doing what must actually be done to "save the world"?

Edit: some other "clues"

From the Religion again:

To found a moral people of God is therefore a task whose consummation can be looked for not from men but only from God Himself. Yet man is not entitled on this account to be idle in this business and to let Providence rule, as though each could apply himself exclusively to his own private moral affairs and relinquish to a higher wisdom all the affairs of the human race (as regards its moral destiny). Rather must man proceed as though everything depended upon him; only on this condition dare he hope that higher wisdom will grant the completion of his well-intentioned endeavors.

And in the Critique of Practical Reason, he writes:

It is more necessary than ever to direct attention to this method in our times, when men hope to produce more effect on the mind with soft, tender feelings, or high-flown, puffing-up pretensions, which rather wither the heart than strengthen it, than by a plain and earnest representation of duty, which is more suited to human imperfection and to progress in goodness. To set before children, as a pattern, actions that are called noble, magnanimous, meritorious, with the notion of captivating them by infusing enthusiasm for such actions, is to defeat our end. For as they are still so backward in the observance of the commonest duty, and even in the correct estimation of it, this means simply to make them fantastical romancers betimes. But, even with the instructed and experienced part of mankind, this supposed spring has, if not an injurious, at least no genuine, moral effect on the heart, which, however, is what it was desired to produce.

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    I do not follow how "individual heroic figures... weaken the motivation of believers to attempt the cosmopolitan development". If the duty presupposes "higher moral Being" why cannot higher than average "saviors" provide motivation and encouragement for said development instead? Leading by example, as they say. In RLRA, Kant constantly emphasizes the difference between authentic religion of virtue and phony clericalism. It is more natural to attribute belief corruption and depravity to false prophets of "pseudo-service", rituals and obedience, than to genuine moral role models.
    – Conifold
    Commented Apr 10 at 23:40
  • +1 Great comment. I would have given a +2 if I could.
    – How why e
    Commented Apr 11 at 6:39

1 Answer 1


Kantianism... Garbage. The only viable one truly would have to be virtue ethics to find utopia with the son of God as the one to aspire to in society via incentives. The way of the good Samaritan. Jesus wasn't religious either. He was not a fan of organized religion at all. He was resurrected however, prolly should listen to him. Aristotle seems to logically be correct with virtue ethics, but it may need a reworking for modern times, to like cap greed and allow the cap to move up by reward from direct meaningful charity, like the only way a CEO makes more capital once reaching the cap, he must raise wages across the board, stuff like this. kant, just shouldn't lol.. tbh


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