Skip to main content

Full text of "Current Events and Discussions"

See other formats


STOP 



Early Journal Content on JSTOR, Free to Anyone in the World 

This article is one of nearly 500,000 scholarly works digitized and made freely available to everyone in 
the world by JSTOR. 

Known as the Early Journal Content, this set of works include research articles, news, letters, and other 
writings published in more than 200 of the oldest leading academic journals. The works date from the 
mid-seventeenth to the early twentieth centuries. 

We encourage people to read and share the Early Journal Content openly and to tell others that this 
resource exists. People may post this content online or redistribute in any way for non-commercial 
purposes. 

Read more about Early Journal Content at http://about.jstor.org/participate-jstor/individuals/early- 
journal-content . 



JSTOR is a digital library of academic journals, books, and primary source objects. JSTOR helps people 
discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content through a powerful research and teaching 
platform, and preserves this content for future generations. JSTOR is part of ITHAKA, a not-for-profit 
organization that also includes Ithaka S+R and Portico. For more information about JSTOR, please 
contact support@jstor.org. 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 



A Scientific Substitute for the Doctrine of Tithing. — It is generally 
recognized that while the doctrine of tithing represents the sound 
principle of deliberately setting aside a definite percentage of one's 
income for philanthropic purposes, the proposal that all individuals, 
regardless of income, should contribute one-tenth is neither practicable 
nor just. A very elaborate study of the problem of giving has been made 
by Paul and Dorothy Douglas and Carl S. Joslyn in What Can a Man 
Afford? published as a supplement to the American Economic Review, 
December, 192 1. The study includes the examination of the data which 
are available in regard to living expenses, the various family budgets 
which have been proposed by economic experts, the figures on benevo- 
lent gifts taken from the exemptions claimed on this score on income tax 
returns, and other items. The results of the inquiry are tabulated in 
tables indicating what may reasonably be expected in the line of giving, 
ranging from one-tenth of r per cent in the case of the minimum living 
salary of $1,250 up to 27 per cent for incomes in the region of $100,000. 
Emphasis is also laid on the desirability of investments which serve to 
enhance the amount of capital without which civilization cannot advance. 
Percentages of investment are also represented on a graded scale. This 
study, correlating the problem of gifts to the church and to philanthropies 
with all the other needs of humanity, is an unusually valuable contribu- 
tion to a broad understanding of personal obligations. It might very 
well be carefully studied by pastors, and its use recommended, not 
simply to increase a sense of responsibility for the support of the church, 
but also to introduce a wholesome budget system of administering the 
family income in all directions. 

Does the Golden Rule Administer Itself? — Widespread publicity 
has been given during the past year or more to the experiment which 
Mr. Arthur Nash made in Cincinnati in organizing his clothing industry 
according to the Golden Rule. The reports made public seemed to 
indicate that the Golden Rule in industry was a distinct financial 
asset. An article by S. Adele Shaw in the Survey for March 18 gives 
the results of a careful expert investigation of the Nash shops. It 
was discovered that, trusting wholly to the Golden Rule, Mr. Nash had 
not provided for any form of organization among the employees. He 

310 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 311 

believed that where the Golden Rule is in force there are no grievances, 
and hence no necessity for committees of adjustment. As a matter of 
fact, the investigator discovered that the workers did have certain 
grievances and that owing to the lack of organization it was extremely 
difficult to discover any way in which the grievances might be brought 
to the attention of Mr. Nash. Again, a comparison of the wages paid 
in the Nash shops with wages generally in the same industry indicates 
that the Nash employees are not receiving more than the average wage 
paid in the industry. The fact that Mr. Nash took over one of the 
worst sweatshops in the city made it possible for him to increase wages 
enormously as compared with the standards in force when he took the 
shop, without bringing them to a higher rate than was paid in shops 
which had responded to the pressure of demands from the wage-earners. 
It would seem that even the Golden Rule cannot be left to work itself, 
but that the careful planning of organizations for the adjustment of 
relations is as necessary in a Golden Rule shop as in any other. 

The Death of Professor Wilhelm Herrmann. — For thirty or forty 
years the most notable exponent of the Ritschlian theology has been 
Professor Wilhelm Herrmann, who taught in the University of Marburg. 
His recent death will be felt as a keen loss by the hundreds of students 
who have felt the unusual stimulus of his lectures. Professor Herrmann 
combined in a rare degree the qualities of keen intellectual analysis and 
religious fervor, and was a powerful influence in establishing the religious 
value of a genuinely scientific spirit. His best-known work has been 
translated into English under the title The Christian's Communion with 
God. His numerous critical writings made him a constant factor to 
be reckoned with in the development of theology in Germany. 

The Death of Professor Williston Walker.— In the death of Williston 
Walker, March 9, 1922, at the age of sixty-one, not only has Yale Uni- 
versity, but also the theological world of America, sustained a distinct 
and irreparable loss. He taught first at Bryn Mawr, then in Hartford 
Seminary, 1889-1901, and finally as successor to Professor George P. 
Fisher in the chair of church history in Yale, where as teacher, author, 
counselor, and administrator he contributed without stint, not alone to 
the higher life of the University, but also, and more particularly, to the 
field of ecclesiastical history, in which he was a tireless and indefatigable 
student and investigator. 

His writings include The Reformation (1900), John Calvin (1906), 
Great Men of the Christian Church (1908), The History of the Christian 



312 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

Church (1918, probably the best one-volume church history in the 
English language), as well as valuable interpretations of the history of 
his own denomination, viz., Creeds and Platforms of Congregationalism 
(1893), History of the Congregational Churches of the United States (1894), 
and Ten New England Leaders (1901). 

But apart from the fame of high scholarship and literary achieve- 
ment, Williston Walker will be held in loving memory by associates, 
pupils, and friends who have had the rare gift of his friendship, and have 
shared the atmosphere of his unhurried, untroubled, beautiful soul. 

A Modern Theory of Guardian Angels. — Winston Churchill expresses 
his ideas on immortality in the April number of the Yale Review. Under 
the title "An Uncharted Way" the author attempts to prove a life 
after death by certain effects that we experience in this life. The writer 
maintains that "one who has what is called the religious experience in 
any intense degree is brought into contact with mental forces of a power 
hitherto unimagined. Such a one understands then that the visible 
world is part of a more spiritual universe from which it draws its chief 
significance." There is in this experience something akin to that 
creative feeling which we call inspiration. There are times when we 
feel the power and presence of this productive force, but we know not 
whence it came or whither it went. Invariably we ask, What is the 
source of such an expression of energy ? The author answers this ques- 
tion by saying that individuals in the unseen realize themselves by 
giving energy in will, emotions, and intuitions to persons in this world. 
"Individuals in the unseen retain and perhaps acquire interests in 
persons here whose lives they wish to mould, to whom they desire to 
give opinions or ideas." They are "the right hands" who, when condi- 
tions permit, supply us with that creative energy which we call inspira- 
tion. By prayer or wishing the conscious mind also draws strength 
from a "right hand" that is supplying it. In concluding his theory of 
immortality the writer says, "If we act as if immortality were true, we 
gain more and more abundant life." Such action will inspire and vitalize 
us in this life and, if there is another life beyond the grave, we will not ar- 
rive there in a state of separation from our friends until our unbelief is 
overcome, but shall at once enjoy the blessings of fellowship and friend- 
ship. 

The Religious Inadequacy of Creeds.— One reason why creeds are 
growing more and more inadequate is because they lack reality in rela- 
tion to personal experience and also in relation to other epochs than those 
in which they were formulated. It is on this ground that many earnest 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 313 

Christians have refused subscription, and that later ages have revised, 
conventionalized, or ignored creeds. "A deeper objection to formal 
creeds," says the editor of the Congregationalist of March 30, "is their 
lack of definite relation to human needs. Their contents and expression 
alike are dominated by the speculative and the critical. It is this that 
marks them so far below the declarations of faith contained in the teach- 
ing of Jesus. There is hardly a word of the Master's teaching that 
sounds outside the range of definite human need. God is defined in 
terms of his relationship to the soul. It is doubtful if there is a word 
regarding his absolute being, or of metaphysics, divorced from ethics 
and salvation." Likewise if the needs of humanity were ever before 
our minds, the elaborateness and exactness of theological dogmas would 
be exchanged for a simple and refined interpretation of God in the 
soul's own language and experience. 

Defining Human Nature. — What is the characteristic mark of 
human kind ? An answer to this inquiry is given by Cassius J. Keyser 
in the January number of the Hibbert Journal. Dr. Keyser is professor 
of mathematics in Columbia University and consequently speaks as a 
mathematician. He feels that a right conception of the nature of man 
is prerequisite to the solution of the great world-problems. Our genera- 
tion has inherited two concepts of man. "One of them is biological or 
zoological. According to this conception man is an animal — a kind of 
species of animal. It is this misconception that has marred our social 
life. If this idea is continually retained, our ethics will be in the future 
what it always has been in a large measure — a zoological ethics, animal 
ethics, the ethics of tooth and claw, the ethics of strife, violence, combat, 
and war. The other conception of man which must be relinquished is 
the mythological conception. Here man has strictly no place in nature. 
He is neither natural nor supernatural but both at once — a kind of hybrid 
of the two." Suffice it to say that if we humans do not constitute a 
perfectly natural class of life, then there never has been and never can 
be a human ethics having the sanction of natural law. Then our ethics 
will continue to carry the confusion and darkness produced by the 
presence of mythological elements. "A natural view of life shows us 
that plants constitute the lowest order of life. They can transform 
basic energies of the soil, but they cannot move in space. They con- 
stitute life-dimension I. Animals also transform the energies of sun, 
soil, and air, but they have the power to move. They constitute life- 
dimension II. Human beings can move in space, but if that were all, 
they would be nothing more than animals. Years ago when they 



314 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

appeared on this globe without guiding maxims, precedents, science, art, 
philosophy, or instruments, they initiated the creative movement called 
civilization. This creative power the animals have not. It is this 
distinction that man needs to meditate upon in order to get an ethics 
that will be human." And a genuinely human ethics will give him a 
freedom in accord with natural laws, and a righteousness that will not 
contravene these laws. 

Making the World Better. — "The war is too much with us," says 
General Booth in the March number of the Review of Reviews. " We 
have won almost everything but peace and pursued every line but 
gratitude." Peerages and pensions and promotions, monuments and 
mandates and votes of thanks, leagues and conferences and referenda, 
campaigns in favor of tariffs and reparations and the rest — all these 
may be well enough in their way. But we have not yet seen the peace 
that has come to us in its true light. "The peace in its way seems as 
great a test as the war and if we neglect to make ourselves worthy of 
it, it will certainly not come our way in its fulness of opportunity again." 
It seems as if many consider the coming of peace a pass into the whirl- 
pool of pleasure. And a lowering of the civic currency is assisting this 
dangerous craze for pleasure. "But pleasure rather than happiness — 
which is a very different thing — means extravagance; extravagance 
breeds debt, and debt breeds crime." This passion for pleasure will 
not make the world better. It is a disease which must be remedied. 
General Booth finds such a remedy in self-denial. " I think, " says he, 
" if the people went in for less pleasure and more mutual service, they 
would enjoy life ten times more than they do. Pleasure such as I have 
discussed soon wears out its welcome, and the appetite grows as the food 
loses its flavor. But practical altruism grows sweeter and more attrac- 
tive every day." Its power for making the world better is unlimited. 

Is the Mind a Separate Entity? — "Science and Religion" is the title 
of an article in the February number of Harper's Magazine in which 
Mr. Charles P. Steinmetz discusses the possibility of the existence of a 
separate entity called mind. In the past, chemists accepted as true 
the equation 2H 3 plus 2 equals 2H 2 0. "Innumerable times it had 
been experimentally proven by combining 4 parts of hydrogen and 32 
parts of oxygen into 36 parts of water vapor. Today this has been 
corrected and the equation now stands: 2H 2 plus O a equals 2H 3 plus 
293,000/. Chemists now recognize that the transformation of energy 
is coincident with the transformation of matter. Every time the 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 315 

experiment is made this energy makes itself felt as flame, as heat and 
mechanical force. Now this means that the transformation of matter 
is dissoluble from the transformation of energy. But when mental 
activity occurs, chemical and physical transformations accompany it, 
and are coincident with it. Now if for a hundred years the first equation 
was considered complete until we found that one side was lacking, the 
question may well be raised: Should not the second equation be written 
2H2 plus 2 equals 2H a O plus 293,000/ plus X, involving all three 
entities, matter, energy, and mind ? We have no satisfactory means of 
recognizing entity 'X' except in those rare instances of high intensity 
when it appears in a mental process. But entity 'X' may have many 
forms in which it is not recognized even as the flame was not recognized 
as the entity energy for a long time. Assuming then that mind were a 
form of the entity 'X', how would this bear on the problem of immor- 
tality ? Just as energy and matter continually change their forms, so 
entity 'X,' would continuously change, disappear in one form and 
reappear in another." The writer conludes by saying that since entity 
"X" cannot be conceived as existing permanently in one and the same 
form, the permanency of the ego — that is, individual immortality — 
would still be illogical. 

The Social Translation of the Gospel. — "For every Christian life 
taken seriously there is a task of translation. Not only those who teach 
Greek and Hebrew are translators. The men who constructed our 
systems of theology have been rendering history and experience into a 
different language. The builders of cathedrals were translators of the 
gospel. And now for many years there has been a demand for another 
translation — the social translation of the gospel." So writes Henry J. 
Cadbury in the Harvard Theological Review of January. And what the 
writer emphasizes is not so much the word "social" but the word "trans- 
lation " ! The gist of this translation may be stated thus: Jesus' attitude 
was to the problems of his time as the Christian's attitude should be to 
the problems of our time. This means that we must study the problems 
of Jesus' time, the attitude of Jesus to them and the problems of our 
time. Some of the factors that have been so translated and may help 
us to deal soundly with the perplexing questions of our day are: 

1. The moral earnestness of Jesus. Jesus' teachings deal not 
primarily with theology but with conduct. In contrast with some 
theologians today Jesus' emphasis was not on the speculative but on 
the moral. Both implicitly and explicitly he stands for moral 
values. 



316 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

2. Jesus contributes to our social questions a distinctive method. 
He resolutely rejected as of Satan the adoption of evil means for a good 
end, and though it pointed to the way of the cross, he felt bound to 
follow God's thoughts rather than men's. But nowhere is his method 
so unique as when he deals with evil. He thought that evil could be 
overcome with good. He desired not the punishment of the wrong but 
the making right of him who was wrong. Jesus dealt not with symptoms 
but with diseases. And this is the index to the social translation of the 
gospel today. It is a translation that requires loyalty to the spirit of 
Jesus. 

Ancient Wisdom Needed in Modern Times. — An article on evolu- 
tion by Mr. Bryan which appeared in the New York Times of February 
26 drew forth a significant reply from Mr. Henry Fairfield Osborn, presi- 
dent of the American Museum of Natural History. In this connection 
Mr. Osborn calls attention to the attitude of St. Augustine, who in the 
fifth century was more advanced in liberality toward science than many 
present-day defenders of literal interpretation. Mr. Osborn quotes a 
passage where St. Augustine says: "It very often happens that there is 
some question as to the earth or sky, or the other elements of this 
world .... respecting which, one who is not a Christian has knowledge 
derived from most certain reasoning or observation, and it is very dis- 
graceful and mischievous and of all things to be carefully avoided, that 
a Christian speaking of such matters as being according to the Christian 
Scriptures, should be heard by an unbeliever talking such non-sense 
that the unbeliever perceiving him to be as wide from the mark as east 
from the west, can hardly restrain himself from laughing." As has 
often been noted, the Fathers in the early church would have been far 
less disturbed by the doctrine of evolution than are some modern 
defenders of the faith. 

Tolstoy's Quest for Truth. — Alexander Kaun, a member of the 
Slavonic department of the University of California, has written a very 
illuminating article on "The Last Days of Leo Tolstoy," in the March 
number of the Atlantic Monthly. He bases the article on some unpub- 
lished documents recently released from the secret archives of Soviet 
Russia. The writer gives us a closer view of the personality of Leo 
Tolstoy. His life was a constant pursuit of one "hero" who had 
attracted him since his childhood, boyhood, and youth — Truth. Every 
detail in his life and work illuminates the difficult road which he followed 
in his quest of this "hero." After his excommunication from the 
Russian church, he wrote a dignified reply to the Holy Synod which was 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 317 

characteristic of his ever-growing conception of truth. "I began by 
loving my orthodox faith more than my repose" ran the conclusion to 
his reply to the Holy Synod; "then I came to love Christianity more 
than my church ; and now I love Truth more than all else in the world. 
And for me Truth still coincides with Christianity, and in the measure 
in which I profess it, I live calmly and joyously, I approach death." 
These words are very significant in the light of many tragedies 
through which Tolstoy passed. And among these his domestic tragedy 
with Countess Tolstoy is not the least significant and instructive. It 
is particularly this personal Golgotha of his that reveals the meaning of 
this quotation from one of his writings: "As the sensation of pain is a 
necessary condition for the preservation of the body, so is suffering a 
necessary condition of our life from birth till death." 

The Universality of Life in Space.— "The Multiple Origin of Man" 
is the caption of an article by W. H. Ballou published in the April 
number of the North American Review. In connection with the theory 
of the multiple origin of man the writer says: "Nor is it essential to hold 
that life evolved on this earth. Is it not more reasonable to admit that 
life is universal throughout space, on planets fitted for it, and during a 
period which includes the whole Infinite of time? That being so, 
small forms of life, such as one-celled organisms and even some many- 
celled types, could easily reach this globe, borne on wandering bodies. 
There is ample proof, succinctly stated by Lord Kelvin, that there was 
an era when the earth was in such a position in space that climatic 
conditions were favorable to living organisms, arriving here on meteor- 
ites. He also found that living organisms flourishing in the long warm 
tails of comets, were landed when the earth was enveloped in such tails. 
Hahn, who examined cross-sections of chondrites with a microscope, found 
just such fossilized organisms. The great litholite which fell near 
Knyahinya, Hungary, proved a veritable mine of fossil forms. They 
have been tabulated as sponges, corals, crinoids, etc. Thus Hahn 
established the universality of life in space." It must be remembered 
that this little bit of an earth is only one of a billion worlds, perhaps 
with animal and vegetable life. Human conceit has too long assumed 
that all the orbs in space exist only for the delectation of mankind. 
An appreciation of the magnitude of the universe and the limitations 
of human knowledge will make for a humility which ought to go far 
to prevent dogmatism. 

Are We Intelligent Enough to Preserve Civilization ?— That the 
mental and moral disorder of the world may be due to the fact that 



318 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

one-half of our population are children mentally is suggested by an 
article by Cornelia James Cannon which appears in the Atlantic Monthly 
for February. Mrs Cannon analyzes the results of the army tests 
applied during the war. These intelligence tests were applied to 
1,726,966 officers and enlisted men. Of the white men tested 47.3 
per cent were rated at a mental age of twelve years or less — that is, as 
morons. Of the entire negro draft, 89 per cent were graded at the 
mental age of twelve years or less. Taking blacks and whites together, 
it is apparent that a large percentage is of the moron type. The same 
proportion found in the 1,726,966 probably obtains for our whole male 
population. Of all the foreign born 46 per cent were rated at the mental 
age of nine years or less. Our mentality is probably not lower than 
that of other nations, and we may not be worse off than other generations; 
but we evidently have a great problem upon our hands. What can be 
expected when a majority of our population have the appetites, passions, 
and brute strength of adults and the mentality of children ? No wonder 
that we have been witnessing crime waves, rebellion against established 
standards, self-indulgence, and irresponsibility. The reform and salva- 
tion of the world rests upon the small percentage of men and women of 
superior intelligence. 

New York's Church-Hotel.— According to present plans a unique 
structure will be erected in New York upon the site where the Metro- 
politan Tabernacle now stands. The building will be a seventeen-story 
hotel, with a church occupying part of the first three floors, a school for 
missionaries on the roof, and guest rooms in the rest of the combination 
building. There is to be strict supervision of guests so as to insure the 
highest moral tone of life in the church-hotel. It will cater mainly to 
church members, of whatever denomination they may be. The new 
church-hotel no doubt will meet the real need, and out-of-town guests 
will probably find it an inviting place to stay. 

How Can India Be Educated for Self-Government? — The question 
is being faced quite frankly by many leaders in Indian thought. K. T. 
Paul, the national general secretary of the Y.M.C.A. in India, suggests 
( Young Men of India, May, 192 1) that a fertile field lies near at hand 
which may be cultivated through a widespread system of adult educa- 
tion. He shows convincingly that the education of the young is not 
sufficient to enable India to face her responsibilities in the immediate 
future. There must be some way of developing the present generation 
of adults to an intelligent appreciation of their problems and duties, 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 319 

that they may use their best powers for the welfare of the community 
and the empire. 

Mr. Paul suggests that there are three existing social organizations 
which may be made effective in promoting adult education: viz., (1) the 
co-operative society, (2) the theater, (3) the weekly rural market. It 
is significant that all three of these have a strong community emphasis 
that would tend to train for social responsibility in an admirable way. 
At the same time all these are the natural expressions of Indian life 
and not importations from the West. The whole program suggested 
by Mr. Paul shows a keen understanding of India's needs, and an intense 
eagerness to see her take her place as one of the great democracies of 
the world. It is worthy of the most careful consideration by all who 
are interested in this great empire of the East. 

The Lynching Infamy. — That our nation's conscience is awakening 
to see some of the evil and injustice it has permitted within its borders 
is evidenced by our changing attitude toward lynching as a method of 
dealing out justice to offenders against society. Charles Frederick 
Carter's discussion of "The Lynching Infamy" which appears in Current 
History (March, 1922) sets forth some interesting facts regarding our 
changing attitude toward this evil. There has been a steady decrease 
in the number of lynchings for the last thirty years. In 1892 the number 
was 208 and in 1921 they numbered 63. The number for the decade 
ending with 1921 when compared with the decade ending with 1901 
shows a decrease of 58.6 per cent. Congress has begun an effort to aid 
the states in preventing further lynchings. On January 26 the House 
passed a bill the purpose of which is "to assure persons within the jurisdic- 
tion of every state the equal protection of the laws, and to punish the 
crime of lynching." The bill provides a heavy penalty for participants 
in the offense and requires the county in which a lynching occurs to 
forfeit $10,000 to the family of the victim. If this bill becomes a law, 
mob rule may become distinctly discouraged.