A Study of Religion, Its Sources and Contents - Vol. 1

A Study of Religion, Its Sources and Contents - Vol. 1

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A Study of Religion, Its Sources and Contents - Vol. 1

A Study of Religion, Its Sources and Contents - Vol. 1

Read FREE!

Excerpt

I cannot better introduce my readers to the main purport of these volumes, than by relating a conversational criticism, by an eminent English Positivist, on a no less eminent American representative of the Spencerian system of thought. Friendly relations had grown up between them, when Professor Fiske, of Harvard, was in this country; -- relations, none the less cordial from the tacit assumption, supposed to be warranted by his 'Cosmic Philosophy,' of their common rejection of religious beliefs. On the appearance, in 1884, of his interesting Address to the Concord School of Philosophy, entitled 'The Destiny of Man in the light of his Origin,' a report of its argument, contained in a private letter, was read to his English friend; who listened attentively enough till it came out that the Professor found, in the psychical evolution of Man, an intimation of individual immortality; but then broke in with the exclamation, -- 'What? John Fiske say that? Well; it only proves, what I have always maintained, that you cannot make the slightest concession to metaphysics, without ending in a theology!' -- a position, in which the speaker has no doubt been confirmed by the author's second Concord Address, in 1885, on 'the Idea of God.'

A more fortunate criticism there could hardly be: for, if it answers the speaker's end, it certainly secures the author's too; being but the naive confession, 'If once you allow yourself to think about the origin and the end of things, you will have to believe in a God and immortality.' The . . .

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