The Interpretation of Religious Experience - Vol. 1

The Interpretation of Religious Experience - Vol. 1

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The Interpretation of Religious Experience - Vol. 1

The Interpretation of Religious Experience - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Anyone who attempts to construct a philosophy of religion at the present time is met by two difficulties: he finds, on the one hand, that popular theology contains many ideas that have not been subjected to criticism, and, on the other hand, that there is no recognized philosophy which he can apply in criticism of them. These difficulties seem less formidable, however, when we reflect that our ideas have come to us as the result of a long process of development, and that, if we have faith in the essential rationality of man, we must conclude that neither in his ordinary religious consciousness nor in his reflective formulation of its contents can he have fallen into absolute error. It would thus seem that any attempt to interpret our religious experience must be based upon a critical estimate of the results of experience, both in its direct and in its reflective forms. To ignore the process by which ideas have come to be what they are, must result in an abstract and one-sided theory. No doubt one may have made an historical study of the development of experience, and, having in this way reached conclusions satisfactory to himself, he may not think it necessary to trouble the reader with an account of the process through which he has himself passed; but this method, while it may be satisfactory to oneself, can hardly be convincing to others. In any case a neglect of the historical method . . .

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