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condemns all who place truth above dogma. Its mar-
velous genius for organization is offset by its lack of
bold inventors and discoverers of new truth and origi-
nal, pioneer investigators, although there are some



most striking exceptions to this general rule. Its su-
preme pontiff condemned modernism, proclaimed the
infallibility of his office, and announced that the
Holy Mother was miraculously conceived. It has al-
ways felt itself the spiritual heir to the Roman em-
pire, and has wrought into its institutions and cults
many of the best things from all the culture of an-
tiquity, as well as of the early medieval and Christian
centuries ; and these it has made into one of the most
marvelous social, moral, cultural, and even political
structures that the world has seen, to which its lead-
ers are sincerely proud and happy to subordinate
themselves. It has thus made itself a solidarity and
a power that has to be reckoned, with in every great
question in every country of the w r estern world. It
has produced saints who were paragons of virtue and
self-effacement, that seem almost exotic and too beau-
tiful to belong to this selfish world; while hundreds
of thousands of celibates have lavished on it the love
that was meant for husband, wife, and children.

It is more fecund than Protestantism and is grow-
ing faster, but its faith and cult are transcendental.
It is so intent that no good thing from the past be lost
that it is often blind to the present and future good.
It puts theology above philosophy, and both above sci-
ence. Its universe is theocentric, not anthropocen-
tric. For it the next life conditions this, and it would
fain place the Church above the State. Its political
and patriotic loyalty is generous, sincere, and de-
voted, as was abundantly demonstrated beyond criti-



cism by the late war. But it believes in a higher al-
legiance and looks with almost horror upon all theo-
ries of the absolutism of the State (e. g., in the sense
of Hegel) or upon any which substitute the State for
the Church, and of course was still more shocked by
Rothe's plea that the Church should now be abolished
and the State take its place. In fact, the German
idea of supreme authority in the state is a transfer
from Catholicism. But the Church, as Zeller long
ago proved, got it from Plato's Republic and Aris-
totle's Politics. The point that we would stress here
is that the whole idea of a super- or metaphysical state
is aristocratic, as is Catholicism. Both are products
of generations of hard, conscious theorizing, and thus
both are also and. alike opposed to the prime postu-
late of democracy, viz., that state and theocracy
alike were evolved unconsciously from and by the
folksoul, by the tribal spirit, and in ways which Durk-
heim 1 has best shown.

Thus every rigid hierarchy is essentially un- or
anti-democratic, and despite all the rivalry there will
always remain a deep analogy and a strong sense of
kinship between the Teutonic worship of the State
and the Latin propensity to submit their personal
lives to ecclesiastical control. Both theocracies, that
of Berlin and of Rome, are anti-democratic.

Like Teutonism, too, Catholicism has its own

1 See, too, L. T. Hobhouse : The Metaphysical Theory of the State,
N. Y., Macmillan, 1918: W. Willoughby: Prussian Political Philoso-
phy, N. Y., Appleton, 1918 ; and H. J. Laski : Authority in the Mod-
ern State, New Haven, Yale U. Press, 1919.



highly evolved morale; but both are artifacts, prod-
ucts of a unique Kultur, and thus very different from
those institutions which we know are the spontaneous
evolution of the mind of the demos. As the Church
holds the keys of Heaven and claims to be the only
way through which God can be approached, so the ab-
solute state bars the people from the control of gov-
ernment, which is administered for not by them, and
the real folksoul now no longer speaks through either.
One condemned Darwinism in exactly the same spirit
as the other condemned Nicolai. It would be difficult
to-day to say which of these two is more intolerant of
heresies, although certainly it is only the State now
that persecutes.

Between the extremes of Romanism and Unitarian-
ism we have, according to a recent estimate, sixty-
three sects and denominations in this country rang-
ing from the largest, most enlightened, and beneficent
down to the smallest, poorest, meanest, most super-
stitious, and fanatical. No human institution is so
conservative of things outgrown as is religion, and
nothing has done so much harm and also so much
good in the world. Nothing can vitalize so many ab-
surdities in both thought and conduct. Because its
vital index is so high that it can vitalize anything, it
needs incessant reformation and molting of old
forms, and without this its morale can sink to a very
low and formal level. It is liable to almost every
form of psychic disease lethargy, a rigidity that is
almost cataleptic, stereotypy, depression and exalta-



tion, fixed ideas, arrest, with every characteristic
symptom of dementia praecox, and is prone to illu-
sions, delusions, hallucinations, etc. 2 Its proclivity
to superstition and even ghost cults is just now since
the war so much in evidence that in England the
very church leaders have felt called on to protest.
The issue we now face is whether the enhancement of
religiosity that all wars, and most of all this by;
bringing death so near, have generated in all minds,
secular and ecclesiastic, shall find expression in the
widespread revival of effete superstitions, or whether
we can find and make the war a point of departure
for nothing less than the new, long-expected, and
long-delayed third dispensation of Christianity some-
what in the sense long ago described by Renan, which
would put an end once and for all to the age-long
conflict between science and religion, so well described
in A. D. White's monumental Avork on this subject as
the world's greatest tragedy and waste of energy.
This is perhaps the chief of all the culture problems
bequeathed to us by the war.

As the culminating task of the world in all Chris-
tendom I would conclude this volume by attempting
to sketch in rough outlines what this new dispensa-
tion now struggling to be born essentially is, or at
least seems to be, to one psychologist. It is in general
anticipatory words, the substitution everywhere of
immanence for transcendence; it is a restatement of
the essential old dogmas in terms of the human needs

'Josiah Morse: Pathological Aspects of Religions, 264. Worcester,
Clark U. Press, 1906.



from which they sprang, or an attempt to state and
meet these needs by more adequate, modern modes of
thought and life. It sees a great rapprochement be-
tween reason and faith. It will show that what lay
concealed in the latter is now beginning to stand re-
vealed to and by the former.

1. Every religion, from the most savage to the
highest, postulates the need of some kind of rebirth,
and science finds this need performed in the changes
involved in puberty and adolescence. Before these
years each individual normally lives for himself. The
young must be clothed, fed, educated, protected, but
with the dawn of sex maturity comes a new instinct
to serve, merge with the tribe or community, 3 and
subordination of the individual to the herd. The new
altruism, if not completed here, leaves man an unfin-
ished or an arrested being. Every savage tribe has
its ceremonies of initiation, and every religion believes
in some kind of conversion or confirmation symbolic
of Nature's regeneration at this age. Thus religion
has institutionalized and formulated in its creeds
and ceremonies this great change, and we know now
enough about the latter -to see that it is precisely its
needs that all these religious forms seek to meet.
Each to be a good member of society must be un-
selfed and subordinated to it, and in this sense the
scriptural admonition that "unless a man be born
again he cannot enter the Kingdom of God" is true
to anthropology.

*See my Adolescence, 11, chap. 13, N. T., Appleton, 1904, which
is devoted to this subject.


2. The Christian doctrine of the Holy Spirit is
another attempt to formulate a large group of phe-
nomena which both psychology and psychiatry are
now coming to understand as an essential need of
men. The so-called adrenalin type of man perhaps
best illustrates this. Most of the great work of the
world has been done by man's higher powers or by
those under the influence of some kind of afflatus or
second-breath; arid, what is far more important, we
are coming to realize that these experiences, which
may be truly called inspirational, are a very funda-
mental need, especially in the plastic, erethic stage of
our physiological life. Genius in all its great produc-
tions has felt itself caught up, carried on by a power
not itself which has been variously interpreted as a
Muse or as a goru, and in the Scriptural record of the
phenomena of Pentecost we have a very graphic and
objective story of the way in which all great causes
take hold of great souls and impel them with a mo-
mentum that has behind it the whole nisus of evolu-
tion to attack the greatest of all problems.

3. The New Testament is a love story, and its
moral is that man is perfect when the greatest and
best thing in him, love, is fixed upon the supremest
object, viz., God. Dante idealized it, and the Freud-
ians are showing that it is the most plastic thing in
Mansoul and the most all-determining for his career.
Almost anything or any act may become an erotic
fetish, and the calentures of love are seen not merely
in the best amorous literature but in the passionate



impulsion of mystics to be completely absorbed in
the Divine nature. Very much of that which makes
or mars life is due to whether man's affections grovel
or climb, and no psychologist can fail to see that love
of God and the libido have the same mechanisms, and
that religious and sex normality and abnormality are
very closely connected. "Love rules the camp, the
court, the grove ; for love is God and God is love."

4. The doctrine of sin or harmatology plays a
great role in all theologies. Men, like races, are deca-
dent or ascendant. The story of degeneration as
presented by Nordau is a modern amplification of the
patristic idea of sin. The best survive; the worst
perish. This moral dualism is found in the biological
history of all species, so that near the beginnings of
life there is a kind of dualism and it is only the law
of selection that sinners die. The evolutionary nisus
is impelling the whole human race onward and up-
ward, and while the true ideal superman is a very
different thing from the medieval saint, both doc-
trines imply the indefinite perfectibility of men, of
whose struggles the old doctrines of sin and tempta-
tion are the most ostensive of old historic illustra-
trations. Instances are found in all the dis'harmo-
nies within the body which Metchnikoff describes,
and in all the conflicts and repressions and impul-
sions that psychanalysis tells us of.

5. Prayer is described in the old hymn as the soul's
sincere desire "uttered or unexpressed." In other
words, it is a wish, the potency of which in the field



of science it was left for the Freudians to set forth.
Every man strives upward and onward. He has not
only the will-to-live but wants to make the most and
best of himself; and. to formulate our strongest de-
sires definitely aids to their realization, just as the
fervent, effectual prayer of the righteous is said to
avail much. The wish, if it is strong enough, can do
great things, extravagantly symbolized in the phrase
"move mountains." The modes of constraining the
gods to help us are really only modes of enlisting the
active cooperation of our own deep unconscious na-
ture, which is the most effective agent in bringing the
fulfillment of our right wishes, for the yearning to
fulfill bad wishes is prayer to the devil.

6. Confession has been a great institution in the
church, and we are told, that to confess is to forsake.
But it has also lately become, with a slight change of
terms, one of the most important of all psychothera-
peutic agencies. The analyst is now the father con-
fessor, and he knows as well as the priest does that
to bring up clearly to consciousness, and especially to
oral expression, a complex, an error, or a lapse is the
first step toward cure. In fact, consciousness itself
is extradition or objectivization, and hence comes its
cathartic quality. Religion sees a very vital part, but
as yet only a part of this great truth. Consciousness
is attracted to anything within us that goes wrong
and focuses where there is uncertainty or hesita-
tion, and all of its protective function is simply
remedial. Perhaps if we could be wound up like a



clock always to do right without choice or hesitation,
as Huxley wanted to be, sin and error would vanish,
and we might attain a life as perfectly fitted to our
nature and needs as that, e. g., of instinct in the in-
sect world, where extremely complex life histories
and social organizations seem to have been developed
with perfect automatism, because these creatures we
call lowly -nave been in the world so vastly longer
than man that their adjustment to the conditions of
life is more perfect.

7. Heaven and hell have served their chief func-
tion in the world by keeping alive perhaps the very
most fundamental of all moral instincts, viz., justice.
Nothing so goads the soul of the individual, of work-
ing classes, communities, or states, to desperation as
a condition in which the bad win and the good lose the
great joys of life. There is no deeper moral instinct
than that which affirms that merit should meet its re-
ward, and demerit its punishment. Man long tried to
construe human experience so optimistically that a
case for justice could be made out without transcend-
ing his present life, as we see, e. g., in Job. But the
tyrant, the extortioner, the enslaver made this view
entirely impossible, so that man would have been
driven to desperation if he had not found effective
recourse in belief in another life in Which the in-
equalities of this life would be compensated for. This
is the psychological genesis of all forms of belief in
future rewards and punishments, and indeed it was
a great step in the world when the long-cherished be-



lief in ghosts was thus enlisted in the service of vir-
tue. On this view, if all the good people in the world
had always been happy in proportion to their good-
ness, and all the bad wretched in proportion to their
evil, there could have been no belief in transcendental
moral compensations.

8. Hence doctrines of immortality in its several
forms. Here we have first the vulgar one of the medi-
cine-man, the spiritists, and some of the psychic re-
searchers, viz., belief in a subtle, material, ghost-like
form that survives. This is the oldest and most crass,
and the church has happily long trancended this in
its more refined contemporary convictions. Again, in-
fluential immortality teaches that the effects of what
men do live after them. The founders of institutions,
great discoverers and reformers, soldiers who die to
save liberty or country, and not only those who were
anxious to survive in the memory of their friends or
even the race but who are ready to give their lives for
great causes in the service of which they know they
will always be anonymous, are likewise animated by
a desire for mundane immortality. Third comes the
plasmal immortality of Weismann and eugenics,
which Galton thought is to be the religion of the fu-
ture. Sooner or later all of us who live to full ma-
turity desire to pass on the torch of life to posterity,
and shrink from the extinction of our line, which
goes back to the amoeba. Childlessness has a tragic
pathos all its own, and one of the great motives of
life is to provide for the successors in our stirp. The



motives to virtue for the sake of offspring, so actively
discussed, just now, have great possibilities of de-
velopment. True family pride always tends toward
purity, and especially the scientific man now realizes
that the supreme function of the soma is to contrib-
ute something, infinitesimal though it may be, to the
greatest of all wealths, viz., heredity, or to the immor-
tal germ plasm. Now, these three are the primal im-
mortalities, and the belief in continued personal con-
scious existence after death is only a byproduct, or
vicariate, or surrogate, or symbol of them; and we
find it entirely consonant with the laws of psychan-
alysis that when these latter two forms are ade-
quately developed, the selfish lust of the individual to
live again after death and get all possible happiness
for himself abates. Thus the theological formula of
immortality has been the locum tenens, and one
source of the rare tenacity with which it has been
held is because it is so surcharged with all the sym-
bolisms of these less egoistic forms of belief in the
continuity of souls. If in addition the above motive
of compensation for injustice were taken away, the
lust for a future life would be a product of luxury
and self-indulgence, and man would be ready and even
glad to face in the end the conception of absorption
into the great One and All as his supreme apocatas-

9. Belief in God is one of the most precious and
inalienable articles of every creed but the time has
now come when we must realize frankly that this su-


preme thesis must be subjectified. The Russian dra-
matist, Andreev, describes the objective God as a
dwindling figure standing in the corner, holding a
light that is burning out, and looking on the tragic
history of man, even this war, with no emotion and
with no attempt to influence human affairs. His
theme really is not the twilight but the death of deity,
and he seeks to represent thus the pallid, tenuous,
and moribund faith in a deity who shapes things from
without. Now the histories of religion show that
nearly everything in nature has been somewhere,
sometime, an object of worship rocks, hills, heavenly
bodies, clouds, the sky and sea, trees, totemic animals,
and last came the anthropomorphic deities. There are
really two gods, one that presides over nature, the
great compelling One and All partly typified by the
tinmen trcmendum of Sinai, and the other a more
kindly being who represents and cares chiefly for
man as the crown of creation. Science worships
the god of the forces and laws of nature, while
the Christian god symbolized by the historic fig-
ure of Jesus, represents Mansoul in its acutest
struggles and its highest aspirations. The the-
ology of this god is, as Feuerbach long ago showed,
simply anthropology, and what the Christian really;
worships is the good upward tendencies in the human
soul in all its wonderful achievements, conscious and
perhaps in some sense especially unconcious. This
is the deity that created all human institutions
language, society, science, and religion itself. All



these sprang out of the great heart of humanity, and
the time has now come when we must understand
that the worship of every kind of objective deity is at
best a refined form of idolatry. The true and living
God is the developmental urge "Some call it evolu-
tion, and others call it God." His activities of course
culminate in the soul of man, the sublimest product
of which is the conception of a perfect God. As the
primordial urge He created man, and endowed him
with a soul which enabled him to evolve the concept
of a sublime creator and upholder of the universe.
Feuerbach was only partially right when he would re-
duce theology to anthropology, because nature no less
than man is God's work. He might better have said
that the theology of the future is science in its largest,
broadest aspect. He might have said, too| that the
field of individual consciousness is too narrow to be
the projection field of any adequate conception of the
source of nature and of man. If we now dispense
with all extradited conceptions of deity, and frankly
recognize that the supreme object of worship and
service is the power that in the beginning started the
course of evolution and in the end became for human
life the power that makes for righteousness, we shall
at once not only experience a great eclaircissement
and have a new sense of the unity of the cosmos, but
we shall redeem God from the age-long suspicion that
He is a hypocrite saying one thing in His works and
another in His word, and shall realize that the leaves
in Nature's great bible laid down in the rocks and



the essential story imperfectly expressed in our sa-
cred Scriptures belong together, and can neither of
them be understood aright without the other. Man's
religious instincts will then have not only a genuine
renaissance but an indefinite extension in scope, and
we shall see that there is a sense in which everything
is divine, and that what we call the personality of
deity is simply the highest expression of anthropo-

Again, all the old conceptions of any kind of Did-
bolos or a counter-realm of forces and persons over
against the kingdom of God have already now been
pretty well subjectivized thus, and there are very few
who believe in a personal devil. But during all the
ages of vivid faith in an objective God a belief in His
great adversary was hardly less strong. The fact that
God's counterpart has thus undergone the very in-
wardization we postulate, cuts the psychological tap-
root of our belief in an outward god whose existence
was more or less bound up with that of his great anti-
thete. Thus in the fate of Didbolos we see a sure
prophecy that the same fate of interiorization awaits
deity itself. Does anyone believe that man's concep-
tion of evil in the world has been weakened by the
lapse of the belief in a malign personal agent? Has
it not rather given us a deeper realization of the true
nature of sin, error, degeneration, and all the agencies
obstructive to real progress; and may we not confi-
dently expect that the same process of resubjectiviza-
tion would bring not at all the atheism that timid



churchmen fear but a deeper, stronger, and more
effective theism?*

Something like the abow will be the religious atti-
tude of man's maturity if he ever reaches it. Rites,
ceremonies, and creeds belong to the projicient ado-
lescence of the race which the "harvest home" of
senescent involution, if complete, always reverses.
Max Miiller tells us in substance that in many typi-
cal homes in the Punjab, long the heart of the classic
culture of India, one often sees in the same family
the grandchildren reared with implicit belief in all
the gods of the most fecund of all mythologies, with
their minds saturated with all the folk superstitions.
These the typical parents have outgrown, revering
only the great epics and a few of the superior gods
henotheistically, addressing each in turn as supreme
as the mood of the worshiper changes. The grand-
fathers have passed these and all intervening stages,
regarding all deities as shadows which the soul pro-
jects in its ascending steps, intent solely on the pur-
gation of sin and error, and looking forwkrd with
equanimity and often longing to the great absorption
into the One and All which is the fate of all men, gods,
and the worlds themselves. Thus all stages of re-
ligious evolution are completed in the span of a single
life. This would be somewhat paralleled in the Chris-
tian world if the child passed, as it matured, from Ca-
tholicism on through liberalism to pantheism; or in
the larger field of comparative religions, if he passed

4 See my Jesus, the Christ, in the Light of Psychology, N. Y.,
Doubleday, Page & Co. 1917. 2 vols.


from the crass savage fetishism on to the worship of
sun, moon, stars, clouds, rocks, stones, trees, plants,
animals, and finally totemized men, as the race did.
Another suggestive but more remote parallel would
be the postulate of Du Buy 5 that each child might
with advantage be brought through first a Confucian
stage, focusing on social forms and obligations as a
kind of discipline in psychic attitude; then a. Mo-
hammedan period of passionate affirmation of unity
in the world; then a .stage of discipline by this one

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Online LibraryG. Stanley (Granville Stanley) HallMorale, the supreme standard of life and conduct → online text (page 23 of 25)