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not have taught him that lesson. It was a look backward and forward beyond the horizon of our experience—though not in his case, a look upwardthat alone could have taught Buddha that faith in absolute justice and eternal right which has made his religion the wonder of the world.
THE HISTORICAL METHOD.
Criticism of My Definition. THE definition of religion at which we arrived in
our last lecture has received the support of a large number both of philosophers and historians; but for that very reason, it would seem, it has also provoked a great amount of very determined opposition.
Now we ought always to be truly grateful for adverse criticism. It generally gives us something, it teaches us something which we did not know before, whereas assent and laudation, though they may give us more confidence in our own opinions, add but seldom to our own or to the general stock of knowledge. After all, every one of us is only a labourer, each having his special work assigned to him in raising the temple of knowledge. It is of that temple alone that every honest workman ought to think, and not of himself, for he is but one in a million of hewers of wood and drawers of water. If he is planing and polishing his beam carelessly, or if he is spilling the water on the way, he should be thankful for his own sake, and still more for the sake of the great work which is entrusted to him, if his fellow-labourers will warn him, correct him, advise him, and help him in his work. Who knows now the workmen that built the pyramids, or even
the architect that devised them ? But if one single block of granite had been placed at a wrong angle, the very pyramid would probably have collapsed long ago, or would have remained blemished for ever?
Pfleiderer's Criticism. I feel truly grateful therefore for the criticisms which have been passed by Professor Pfleiderer and others on my former definition of religion, and I fully admit their justness. I had defined religion simply as 'a perception of the infinite,' without adding the restriction 'a perception of the infinite under such manifestations as are able to influence the moral character of man.' The fact was that in my former writings I was chiefly concerned with dogmatic religion. I was anxious to discover the origin of religious concepts, names, and theories, and I left the question of their influence on moral actions for further consideration. We cannot do or say everything at the same time, and it is perhaps hardly fair that we should be supposed to have negatived what we simply had left unmentioned. Still, I plead guilty to having not laid sufficient emphasis on the practical side of religion ; I admit that mere theories about the infinite, unless they influence human conduct, have no right to the name of religion, and I have tried now to remedy that defect by restricting the name of religion to those perceptions of the infinite which are able to influence the moral character of man.
Professor Gruppe. But a much more determined attack came from a different quarter. As I had meant to treat the Science of Religion in a strictly scientific spirit, I had carefully excluded all theories which ascribe the origin of religion either to innate ideas or to supernatural revelation. I had placed myself completely on what is called the positivist platform. “We are told,' I said , “ that all knowledge, in order to be knowledge, must pass through two gates and two gates only, the gate of the senses, and the gate of reason. Religious knowledge also, whether true or false, must have passed through these two gates. At these two gates therefore we take our stand. Whatever claims to have entered in by any other gate, whether that gate be called primeval revelation or religious instinct, must be rejected as contraband of thought; and whatever claims to have entered in by the gate of reason, without having first passed through the gate of the senses, must equally be rejected, as without sufficient warrant, or ordered at least to go back to the first gate, in order to produce there its full credentials '
Religion a Psychological Necessity ? Of course, if the psychological analysis of the earliest religious concepts as I had given it is correct, —and no one, I believe, has denied the simple facts on which it rests—it follows that religion is a psychological necessity, and not, as positivist philosophers maintain, a mere hallucination or a priestly fraud. This, I believe, is the real reason why my own explanation of religion, though admitted to be im
Hibbert Lectures, 226; Gruppe, p. 218. 3. Das ist das berühmte Müller'sche System, welches eine beson. ders eingehende Würdigung erfordert, nicht allein wegen der persönlichen Bedeutung seines Urhebers, sondern mehr noch weil es der beredteste und systematischeste Ausdruck einer Auffassung ist, von welcher aus eine ganze Reihe hervorragender religionsgeschichtlicher Werke anderer Forscher geschrieben sind.' Gruppe, p. 220.
pregnable, has been so fiercely condemned by the positivists themselves. But it is one thing to condemn, another to refute. I should have thought that my critics would have welcomed my admission, Nihil est in fide quod non antea fuerit in sensu, with open arms. But no, they will hear of no psychological, of no historical explanation of one of the greatest psychological and historical facts in the world, namely religion. If anything, however, is absurd, it is surely to imagine that by shutting our eyes, we can annihilate facts. Is not religion as solid a fact as language, law, art, science, and all the rest ? We may, if we like, disapprove of every one of these achievements of the human mind ; but even then we cannot get rid of the problem as to how they came to exist. Unless, therefore, some intelligible arguments can be advanced against what I have put forward as the conditio sine quâ non of all religion, I shall for the present consider the following points as firmly established :
1. That, like all other experience, our religious experience begins with the senses ;
2. That though the senses seem to deliver to us finite experiences only, many, if not all, of them can be shown to involve something beyond the known, something unknown, something which I claim the liberty to call infinite;
3. That in this way the human mind was led to the recognition of undefined, infinite agents or agencies beyond, behind, and within our finite experience; and
4. That the feelings of fear, awe, reverence and love excited by the manifestations of some of these agents or powers began to react on the human mind,