Philosophy: Religion and Views Human Nature

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"Man's life is a line that nature commands him to describe upon the surface of the Earth without ever being able to swerve from it, even for an instant…His organization does in nowise depend upon himself, his ideas come to him involuntarily, his habits are in the power of those who cause him to contract them…He is good or bad, happy or miserable, wise or foolish, reasonable or irrational, without his will being for anything in these various states." -D'Holbach

I believe D'Holbach is trying to convey essentially that man is deprived of "free will." Mankind in no way possesses any control of their actions, being, personality, or will. Every aspect of a person's life is predetermined. He says people have only adopted the views of religion and put their faith in supreme beings such as God.

Nietzsche, on the other hand, views human nature in a different perspective. He believes man originated the idea of "free will" solely for the purpose of accountability to give men authority in crime and punishment. He also writes of the injustice in common misinterpretations of causation. Nietzsche focuses mainly on the relationship between cause and effect and "free will" whereas D'Holbach speaks more assertively about man's predetermination and ignores any opposition one might have towards his point of view. Nietzsche also believes a person cannot be held accountable for their existence or living environment (also accountability is a major part of his idea). He states "No one gives a human being his qualities: not God, not society, not his parents or ancestors, and not himself." On the contrary, D'Holbach believes some superior being is responsible for having a "master plan" for each human and giving them their characteristics, hence "we are cogs in the universe." I interpret the ideas of these two philosophers to be closely related. Nietzsche inadvertently addresses the idea of man not possessing any control over their actions and behavior while...
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