The Rise of Modern Religious Ideas

By Arthur Cushman McGiffert | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VII
THE REHABILITATION OF FAITH

TOWARD the close of his famous essay on miracles, published in 1748, Hume remarked: "Our most holy religion is founded on faith, not on reason, and it is a sure method of exposing it to put it to such trial as it is by no means fitted to endure."

The words, whatever their motive, meant a complete reversal of the common rationalistic position accepted in his day by both deists and orthodox. According to them no one should believe anything without good and adequate reasons for his belief. But Hume's remark was prophetic of the overthrow of the rationalistic school in religion and of the appearance of a new spirit and attitude which became very common in the nineteenth century.

The remark reminds us of the position of Occam and other schoolmen of the late Middle Ages with their recognition of the complete divorce of reason and faith. The truths of Christianity, so they maintained, have no basis in human reason; some of them indeed are quite irrational; but they are to be accepted on the authority of the Roman Church. They might have been even more irrational than they are and yet it

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The Rise of Modern Religious Ideas
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Editorial Note vii
  • Preface ix
  • Contents xi
  • Book I - Disintegration 1
  • Chapter II - The Enlightenment 11
  • Chapter III - Natural Science 24
  • Chapter IV - The Critical Philosophy 45
  • Book II - Reconstruction 61
  • Chapter VI - The Rebirth of Speculation 81
  • Chapter VII - The Rehabilitation of Faith 104
  • Chapter VIII - Agnosticism 144
  • Chapter IX - Evolution 166
  • Chapter X - Divine Immanence 187
  • Chapter XI - Ethical Theism 222
  • Chapter XII - The Character of God. 240
  • Chapter XIII The Social Emphasis 254
  • Chapter XIV - Religious Authority 279
  • Index 311
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