The Sources of Religious Insight: Lectures Delivered before Lake Forest College on the Foundation of the Late William Bross

The Sources of Religious Insight: Lectures Delivered before Lake Forest College on the Foundation of the Late William Bross

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The Sources of Religious Insight: Lectures Delivered before Lake Forest College on the Foundation of the Late William Bross

The Sources of Religious Insight: Lectures Delivered before Lake Forest College on the Foundation of the Late William Bross

Read FREE!

Excerpt

THE RELIGIOUS PROBLEM AND THE HUMAN INDIVIDUAL

My first task must be to forestall possible disappointments regarding the scope of our inquiry. In seven lectures upon a vast topic very little can at best be accomplished. I want to tell you at the outset what are some of the limitations to which I propose to subject my undertakings.

I come before you as a philosophical inquirer addressing a general audience of thoughtful people. This definition of my office implies from the outset very notable limitations. As a philosophical inquirer I am not here to preach to you, but to appeal to your own thoughtfulness. Again, since my inquiry concerns the Sources of Religious Insight, you will understand, I hope, that I shall not undertake to present to you any extended system of religious doctrine. Upon sources of insight we are to concentrate our attention. What insight may be obtained from those sources we shall only attempt to indicate in the most general way, not at length to expound. What theologians would call a system of dogmas, I shall not undertake to define. What philosophers would regard as a comprehensive philosophy of religion I shall have no time to develop within our limits. I am to make some comments upon the ways in which religious truths can become accessible to men. What truths thus become accessible you must in large measure discover by your own appeal to the sources of which I shall try to tell you.

These somewhat narrow limitations may have, as I hope, their correlative advantages. Since I am to speak of sources, rather than of creeds or of philosophies, I may be able to appeal to people of decidedly various opinions without directing undue attention to the motives that divide them. I need not presuppose that my hearers are of the company of believers or of the company of doubters; and if they are believers, it matters little, for my present purpose, to what household of the faith they belong. I am not here to set people right as to matters of doctrine, but rather to point out the way that, if patiently followed, may tend to lead us all toward light and unity of doctrine. If you listen to my later lectures you may, indeed, be led to ask various questions about my own creed, which, in these lectures, I shall not attempt to answer. But I shall be content if what I say helps any of you, however little, toward finding for yourselves answers to your own religious questions.

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