CHAPTER XIII
PROPAGANDA AND RELIGION*

The human race has never been, so far as can be learned, without what its members have called religion. (The terms magic and religion are sometimes differentiated, but not so Where.) But what is religion? Out of the hundreds of definitions or brief statements that are available we select only two to help us into the subject; and it may be pointed out here that almost any other two would do equally well for our purposes.

D'Alviella begins by listing those elements which he holds to be "common to all organized religions," as follows: "(1) The belief in the existence of superhuman beings who intervene in a mysterious manner in the destinies of man and the course of nature. (2) Attempts to draw near to these beings or escape them, to forecast the object of their intervention and the form it will take, or to modify their action by conciliation or compulsion. (3) Recourse to the mediation of certain individuals supposed to have special qualifications for success in such attempts. (4) The placing of certain customs under the sanction of the superhuman powers." Then comes the definition: Religion is "the conception man forms of his relations with the superhuman and mysterious powers on which he believes himself to depend."1

In an attempt to make a full if brief listing of the elements common to all religions, Julian S. Huxley, the eminent British scientist, says: "The religious spirit is by no means always the same at different times and at different levels of culture. But it always contains certain common elements. Somewhere at the root of every religion there lies a sense of sacredness; certain

____________________
*
I am indebted to Professor B. H. Bode for reading and criticizing this chapter.
1
W. G. Sumner and A. G. Keller, The Science of Society, II, 1427. This volume explains and illustrates at length almost every phase of religion the world over, from the primitive to the modern forms.

-330-

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