The Wrestle of Religion with Truth

By Henry Nelson Wieman | Go to book overview

THE WRESTLE OF RELIGION WITH TRUTH

INTRODUCTION

I. RELIGION AND ILLUSION

If religion has any peculiar way of salvation to offer it can be only because it brings to light certain facts of vital importance which would otherwise be ignored, or because it suggests better adaptation to facts. We believe that religion at its rare best does both of these and hence does offer a peculiar way of salvation; and that without it men are lost.

But for the most part religion has not done either of these two things. Most religion most of the time, both within Christendom and without, has blinded men to facts, has magnified illusion, and has hindered men from making adaptation to things as they are. We believe that nothing has so persistently and effectively blocked the way to salvation as religion, because nothing has done so much to confuse and darken the discernment of cold, hard facts. Next to religion, in this evil work, is art. And yet the concrete facts of most vital importance can never be discerned except by means of religion and art. Nothing can ruin human life so completely as that upon which it must depend for its greatest good. For this reason we pronounce religion the most horrible of all evils, and next to it art and science. But the hope of the race lies in religion. And art and science must be the indispensable collaborators of any saving religion.

Religion is cherished chiefly for the illusions it pro-

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