According to Schleiermacher, being is based at absolute world unity, the “whole”, or God. Everything depends on God, but this dependence is expressed in the general connection of nature, and not in revelation or grace since God is not a person.
Schleiermacher uses the expressions “God”, “world spirit”, “world whole” as synonyms. God’s activity is equal to causality in nature. In other words, the philosopher implies that God never existed besides the world, and people know him only in themselves and in things. Human being differs from other creatures neither by free will nor by eternal existence. People, as well as all other separate beings, are only a passing state in the life of the universe, which having arisen must also perish. The ordinary ideas about immortality with their hope of reward in the afterlife are not correct, according to Schleiermacher’s views.
“The he goal and the character of the religious life,” writes the philosopher, “is not the immortality desired and believed in by many or what their craving to be too wise about it would suggest pretended to be believed in by many. It is not the immortality that is outside of time, behind it, or rather after it, and which still is in time. It is the immortality which we can now have in this temporal life; it is the problem in the solution of which we are forever to be engaged”.
According to On Religion, religion is underpinned neither by theoretical knowledge nor by morality. Schleiermacher views its basis is intuition or feeling of the universe. The essence of religion is contemplation of the infinite and the “feeling of dependence” on it in indivisible unity. In Schleiermacher’s own words, “true religion is sense and taste for the Infinite” (Schleiermacher). It means that religion arises from the striving for infinite, for absolute unity: it is the direct comprehension of world harmony. Religion leads a person in connection with the absolute, teaching him to feel and recognize himself as a part of the whole.
Fundamentally, Schleiermacher believes that there has always been a single, universal, eternal religion in the world. The diversity of religions speaks only about the difference in the strength and direction of those religious feelings that inspired the creative geniuses who created religions, but not about the truth or falsity of any of the religions. Thus, religion in Schleiermacher’s belief is a feeling of infinite in a finite or a sense of complete dependence, and, therefore, every religion is a true religion, since it is a matter of feeling, it has nothing to do with truths of knowledge.