An excerpt from the beginning.
Dr. Everett's method is not dogmatic but, as the title suggests, objective and psychological. His object is to find out what religion really is as matter of fact and history. He wishes to ascertain all (and only) the essential elements of religion, and also the
An excerpt from the beginning.
Dr. Everett's method is not dogmatic but, as the title suggests, objective and psychological. His object is to find out what religion really is as matter of fact and history. He wishes to ascertain all (and only) the essential elements of religion, and also the highest forms or form of the same-that is, to reach an inclusive or extensive definition, and a typical one. I can only state here his results, with some incidental criticism.
At bottom, he finds religion to be a state of feeling. It is not an answer to a question, certainly not the question as to the origin of the world. "In the history of religion the cosmogonists come late; people did not wait for the religious feeling until they knew how the world was made" (p. 54). Nor is religion primarily a relation to the infinite-the conscious recognition "of the infinite as the object of religion comes late; religion does not begin with it" (p.83). Chapters i to iv are an elaboration of the thesis that religion is essentially feeling, along with an attempt to maintain the priority of feeling as contrasted with any intellectual process. The latter is a separate and (to the writer) questionable proposition. For instance, in speaking of the supernatural he says that religion is not only a belief in It, but a feeling toward it (p. 88)-but could there be feeling without belief (of some kind? Dr. Everett even speaks of feeling as filling gaps which the intellect cannot fill (p. 20). But is not this assigning specific intellectual functions to feeling? An illustration is given of what is meant, namely, fear in a dark room creating an object for itself in the thought of a person under the bed or behind the door (p.96); but is there not always some sensible impression suggesting such an object, is it not the imagination (an intellectual factor) that creates the fear? Moreover, Dr. Everett speaks in other connections of feeling as being determined by the idea of its object (p. 15), and of our feeling toward the supernatural as varying with our thought of the supernatural (p. 89)-so that what his real view is is not quite clear. It may well be admitted that the elementary mental processes on which feeling depends often antedate any "reasoned account" of them; and perhaps this is all that is meant by saying that the religious feeling is in advance of intellectual recognition.
Chap, v and vi are a criticism of Spencer and Schleiermacher With chap, vii begins the inquiry, If religion is feeling, what kind of feeling? The answer is, Feeling toward the supernatural. The author cites the savage, whose religious feeling is aroused by some object which has influenced his life for good or for evil, without the medium of the physical organs through which such influence is ordinarily exercised, that is, by spirits of the dead, or by a plant or a stick or a stone, which, without any external, physical contact, but simply by good will or ill will, have made themselves felt in his life. "The action of such objects he considers divine or magical" (p. 87). But sometimes religious feeling is excited, not by the extraordinary, but by the usual and patent action of objects. For example, Agni and Poseidon (who, as Dr. Everett aptly says on p. 54, were not the creators of fire and the ocean, but personifications of their own power and majesty) excited veneration by their direct, sensible and, so to speak, natural influence. Again, the author's definition of religion as feeling toward the supernatural encounters difficulties when Buddhism is considered. Freely admitting that Buddhism is atheistic, he makes out that it is a religion because of its thought of a hereafter (pp. 88, 92). But it was just the hereafter as currently conceived (and as conceived by Buddhism itself) from which Buddhism was a way of deliverance''...
-"International Journal of Ethics"! 1904]
- Category: Classic
- Binding: Paperback
- Language of Text: English
- Author(s): Charles Carroll Everett, Edward Hale
- Publisher: Createspace
- ISBN: 9781511707169
- Number of Pages: 230
- Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.48 inches