Religion

Religion

Religion

Religion

Excerpt

A striking feature of contemporary thought is the widespread awakening of interest in the deeper questions of religion. There has been a general clearing up of the controversies over the problems of historical criticism, evolution, and authority, and there are other signs of the passing of the warfare between science and religion. A calmer and more constructive spirit of inquiry has appeared which is providing the means for a more adequate assessment of the nature of religion, both in its practice and in its doctrines.

This book endeavors to present certain aspects of religion as they appear in the light of its history and of social psychology. Religion is here viewed as a natural, social, cultural process. The doctrines, which have often been regarded as the essence of religion, are seen to have intimate relation to the religious activities, being at once deposits or products and also instruments of such activities. Religion arises as a phase or quality of the complex life of the human spirit in its idealistic outreach, and is continually subject to restatement under the influence of the flowing stream of that life.

The conception of religion as a social process was clearly stated by John Stuart Mill, but the rapid and extensive development of the social sciences since his time has vastly enriched that conception. I have attempted to use the point of view and the method of these sciences throughout this work. After considering the origins and the values of religion, a comparison is . . .

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