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and stately worship of God. People take every kind of liberty with this old word. Young poets will tell you that poetry is their religion, young artists, that their religion is art, while it has been said of old that
pure religion is to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep yourselves unspotted from the world 1.!
We cannot contest the right of every one to define religion as he understands it. For see how the matter stands with regard to definition. We have the etymological meaning of religion, but that is not binding ; and we have the various historical meanings of religion, and they again are not binding. What criteria then can we discover for testing the truth of what I call the dogmatic definitions of religion? Some are clearly far too narrow, others far too wide. Some are faulty in themselves, others prove deficient when we try to apply them to historical facts. We must examine the most important of them, and though such an examination, even of the most important definitions only, will no doubt occupy some time, we ought to remember how often a whole dialogue has been devoted by Plato to this kind of philosophical reconnoitring, and ought not to grudge the time which we have to devote to this preliminary inquiry.
Religion and Theology. In conducting this inquiry we must be careful in the choice and use of our own words, and we must try, as far as possible, to use every word in one sense only. We must distinguish, for instance, between religion and theology, though these words have often
1 Ep. St. James, i. 27.
been used promiscuously. By religion we should always understand the subject itself, by theology the study or science of that subject. This terminology, so far as the word theology is concerned, has prevailed ever since the time of Abelard, and there seems to be no reason for changing it.
The Greek word theologos was used originally in a different sense. Thus Homer and Hesiod were called theologi (Herodotus, ii. 53), not in the modern sense of theologians, but as conversant with the origin and history of the gods. Hesiod's Theogony might have been called his Theology, or, at all events, a part of it, and that name is applied to similar works, such as the Theology of Thamyris, and of Orpheus, who is specially called ó Deodóyos by the Neo-platonists 1. Plato and Aristotle used theology in the sense of' doctrine concerning Deity and Divine things,' loyol Tepi Toll 0 coû και περί των θειών.
In Latin theologia was taken by Varro in the sense of what we call religion, there being according to him three kinds of theology, the mythical, the physical, and the civil. The mythical theology contained the fables about the gods, and many things, we are told, contrary to the dignity of immortal beings. The physical theology was described by him as beyond the capacity of the vulgar, while he considered the civil theology, the received religion of Rome, as best for a good citizen to believe.
In Christian phraseology theologos meets us first as the name of the author of the Apocalypse, John the Divine, or the theologos. This name, however, we are told, was given to him, not simply because he was
" See Gruppe, Die griechischen Culte, pp. 632–637.
what we call a theologian, but because he maintained the divinity of the Logos. In the third and fourth centuries theologos is said to have meant usually one who defended that doctrine.
Later, and particularly during the middle ages, theology came to mean religious doctrine in general, as studied by theologians or priests, and Abelard's Theologia Christiana was meant to represent what was afterwards called Summa theologiae, a body of systematical knowledge concerning Christian religion'.
Dogmatic and Practical Religion. The fashion which prevailed for some time, particularly in Germany, of using religion in the sense of practical and moral religion, while reserving theology as a name of dogmatic religion, is objectionable, and can only create confusion. We may distinguish between dogmatic and practical religion, and we may equally distinguish between dogmatic and practical theology. But as a theologian is now always used in the sense of a man who studies religion professionally or who belongs to the faculty of theology, it will be best to reserve theology as a name of this study. A mere believer in the dogmas of any religion is not yet a theologian. I therefore propose to retain religion in its general sense, comprising both dogmatic and practical religion, and reserve theology as the name for a scientific study of both. This will prevent all misunderstanding, unless we prefer to drop the name of theology altogether, and replace it by the name of the Science of Religion.
1 See Flint, in Encyclop. Brit. s.v. Theology.
Comparative Theology. It is likewise a mere abuse of technical terms to speak of Comparative Religion. There is religion and there is a science of religion, just as there is language and a science of language. But no one would speak of Comparative Language; neither ought we to speak of Comparative Religion. It is different with mythology. Mythology may be used, not only for a collection of myths, but likewise for a scientific treatment of them, and in the latter sense therefore it would be correct to speak of Comparative Mythology. We have thus far distinguished between:
Religion, dogmatic and practical, and
Theology, dogmatic and practical. To some philosophers, and theologians also, such a division between practical and dogmatic religion seems objectionable, nay, impossible, because they maintain that morality cannot possibly exist without some belief in a divine, or, at least, a rational government of the world, and that dogma again would be useless, unless it became the motive of practical morality. This may be true, but we need not enter into that question at present, for by simply qualifying religion as either dogmatic or practical, we only distinguish, we do not separate ; and without committing ourselves as yet to any opinion as to whether morality can exist without dogma or dogma without morality, we do no more by our nomenclature than admit the existence of a common element in both.
Schleiermacher's Definition of Religion. Some philosophers, however, and particularly Schleiermacher, claim the right of using religion in a still higher sense. They deny that religion is either dogmatic or moral; they deny also that a combination of dogma and morality would give us religion. They point out that when we say that a man is without religion, we do not mean simply that he does not believe in Judaism, Christianity, or any other form of faith, or declines to submit to their inoral codes. We mean really that he is without any religious sentiment. Schleiermacher explains religious sentiment as being the immediate consciousness that all that seems finite is infinite, that all that seems temporal is eternal. “To seek and find what is infinite and eternal in all that lives and moves, in all changes and chances, in all doing and suffering, in fact by an immediate sentiment to have and know life itself as the infinite and eternal life, that,' he says, ' is religion.'—
From that point of view, if once reached, all events become real miracles, all miracles become real events; all experience becomes revelation, all revelation experience.'— If we do not see our own miracles around us, if we do not perceive within us our own revelations, if our soul does not yearn to draw in the beauty of the whole world and to be pervaded by its spirit; if in the highest moments of our life we do not feel ourselves impelled by the divine spirit and speaking and acting from our own holy inspiration, if we do not at least feel all that we feel as an immediate influence of the universe, and yet discover in it something that is our own, that cannot be imitated, but can prove its pure origin within ourselves, we have no religion.
We shall have to consider this ineaning of religion when we come to examine the Upanishads, the Ve