Kant, Immanuel - Dreams of a Spirit Seer - The invalidity of the threat of hell
Type of Spiritual Experience
Kant is examining here the ineffectiveness of religion's invention of 'hell' as a place of punishment after death
A description of the experience
Dreams of Spirit Seers - Immanuel Kant
Can he be called honest, can he be called virtuous, who would like to yield to his favourite vices if only he were not frightened by future punishment?
Must we not rather say that indeed he shuns the doing of wicked things, but nurtures the vicious disposition in his soul; that he loves the advantages of actions similar to virtue, but hates virtue itself?
In fact, experience teaches that very many who are instructed concerning the future world, and are convinced of it, nevertheless yield to vice and corruption, and only think upon means cunningly to escape the threatening consequences of the future
But there probably never was a righteous soul who could endure the thought that with death everything would end, and whose noble mind had not elevated itself to the hope of the future.
Therefore it seems to be more in accordance with human nature and the purity of morals to base the expectation of a future world upon the sentiment of a good soul, than, conversely, to base the soul’s good conduct upon the hope of another world.
Of that nature is also that moral faith, the simplicity of which can do without many a subtlety of reasoning, and which alone is appropriate to man in any state, because, without deviations, it guides him to his true aims.