CHAPTER VI
THE MORAL JUSTIFICATION OF RELIGION1

I

IT is generally agreed that religion is either the paramount issue or the most serious obstacle to progress. To its devotees religion is of overwhelming importance; to unbelievers it is, in the phrasing of Burke, "superstitious folly, enthusiastical nonsense, and holy tyranny." The difference between the friends and the enemies of religion may, I think, be resolved as follows:

Religion recognizes some final arbitration of human destiny; it is a lively awareness of the fact that, while man proposes, it is only within certain narrow limits that he can dispose his own plans. His nicest adjustments and most ardent longings are overruled; he knows that until he can discount or conciliate that which commands his fortunes his condition is precarious and miserable. And through his eagerness to save himself he leaps to conclusions that are uncritical and premature. Irreligion, on the other hand, flourishes among those who are more snugly intrenched

-214-

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The Moral Economy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Table of Contents ix
  • Chapter I - Morality as the Organization Of Life 1
  • Chapter II - The Logic of the Moral Appeal 34
  • Chapter III - The Order of Virtue 72
  • Chapter IV - The Moral Test of Progress 123
  • Chapter V - The Moral Criticism of Fine Art 171
  • Chapter VI - The Moral Justification Of Religion 214
  • Notes 257
  • Index 263
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