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CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 



Is There Anything in Prayer? — This is the title of a very suggestive 
discussion by J. Edward Park in the Atlantic Monthly for October, 192 1. 
He declares that the conventional way of picturing prayer is artificial. 
A triangle is imagined in which the petitioner and the object of his 
solicitude are bases, and God is the apex. The praying person " sends 
up a prayer to God, which God considers, and, if it seems good to him 
sends down the answer." In reality there is no such triangle. The 
experience of prayer and of its "answer" are simple aspects of one and 
the same total experience. In any crisis of life where intense desire for 
some event exists, there is a surplus of emotion which cannot be expressed 
in action. When one has done all he can, he must await the outcome. 
If the unsatisfied desire meanwhile finds no wholesome outlet, worry, 
fear, and morbidness result. In prayer one gives a constructive outlet 
for longing, and assumes a co-operative attitude toward the cosmic 
forces which determine the outcome. The situation is thus changed by 
prayer, and different results in experience actually occur. "Prayer is 
not asking God to change the course of things, but asking him to help 
me to be a part of that course of things." 

Is Naturalism Really Scientific? — ^Professor Herbert A. Youtz raises 
this pertinent question in a stimulating discussion entitled "A Missing 
World" (the Personalist, April and July, 1921). Just as the movements 
of the planet Uranus showed inexplicable variations until the new planet 
Neptune was discovered, so a purely mechanistic philosophy encounters 
disturbing phenomena so long as it attempts to do away with human 
personality. Professor Youtz insists that a real science must face all the 
facts. He contends as earnestly as do the advocates of naturalism 
that we must interpret all reality in terms of an evolutionary process. 
Personality is not to be saved by withdrawing it. " Man is bound up 

in the cosmic process as definitely as any animal All of our 

highest powers and capacities are linked by processes to the earlier 
stages and the lower animal powers. Mind itself is inseparable from 
brain. It is all one process, parts of one fact." But when beings with 
intelligence and conscience emerge, "you have an actor and not a thing 
or a puppet." "The cosmic process goes on, but man measurably 

646 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 647 

controls it and directs it and makes it work his purposes." To ignore 
or to obscure this fact is unscientific. Those who interpret the meaning 
of personal life — the theologians and philosophers — are as essential in 
a genuinely scientific world as are the scientists themselves. 

What about Social Radicalism in the Churches? — Professor Harry F. 
Ward in the Methodist Review (September, 1921), raises this question 
in an article entitled "Which Way Will Methodism Go?" Shall the 
church become a defender and bulwark of the present social order ? Or 
shall it be expected and encouraged to ask critical questions and to 
arouse debate over unsatisfactory conditions? There have been some 
notable attempts of late — especially in connection with the financial sup- 
port of the Young Women's Christian Association — to persuade those 
interested in capitahstic control to withhold funds wherever Christian 
organisations are suspected of sympathy with radical social reforms. 
Professor Ward calls attention to the fact that the bulk of Methodist 
membership is rural and small town. "This section has long had an 
economic grievance against the financial world and its control of credit, 
transportation, and distribution." Pubhc sentiment may thus be 
counted on to support a sober criticism of industrial conditions. The 
attempt to obscure the issue by bringing to the front theological con- 
troversy will fail, for not all theological modernists are social radicals, 
nor are "fundamentalists" inevitably conservative on industrial ques- 
tions. A real passion for social regeneration will, Professor Ward 
believes, arouse a spirit of enthusiasm in Methodism. His diagnosis 
would seem to fit equally such a denomination as the Baptists, and 
all whose membership is recruited by evangelism among the common 
people. 

What about Religious Leadership in Protestantism? — ^Professor 
Franklin H. Giddings in the Independent, August 20, 1921, presents a 
startling situation in Protestant churches. There are five thousand 
vacant pulpits this year in America and another five thousand will 
need ministers next year. But the seminaries have turned out only 
one thousand six hundred graduates this year. And not all of them 
can be counted on for ministerial service. While colleges and uni- 
versities are over-crowded, why has the theological seminary a small 
attendance? Dr. Giddings' analysis of the present situation of the 
Protestant churches and their failing influence in the last generation, 
finds three outstanding causes: (i) bad theology, (2) bad Christianity, 
(3) bad Protestantism. His solution is concretely stated: "TheProtes- 



648 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

tant churches can save themselves if, and only if, they stand with courage 
and conviction for: (i) Intellectual honesty, attested by a respectful 
demeanor toward scientific thinking and historical scholarship; (2) Re- 
generation, attested by honest work and honest dealing; (3) Faith in 
regenerative forces, attested by liberty of conscience and respect for 
the free, moral agency of individual fellowmen." 

The same facts form the basis of Glenn Frank's editorial comment in 
the Century for September. It is evident that for some reason the 
Protestant ministry does not attract students enough to supply the need 
for educated leaders. The precise difficulty is hard to determine. 
Undoubtedly the economic situation is a potent factor. Until churches 
are ready to give financial support to men of ability they cannot expect 
the best service. Even more important, however, is the sense of an op- 
portunity to accomplish really big things. Here freedom to experiment 
is imperative. But the conservative tendencies of reUgion tend to put a 
premium on conventional activities and ideas. 

The Religion of G. Bernard Shaw. — In the Independent, July 23, 
Preston Slosson teUs of the religious experiences of Shaw. He was 
brought up in traditional Calvinism with its emphasis on supernatural- 
ism and divine interventions. He regarded the teachings of Charles 
Darwin as destructive to the foundations of this religion. But gradually 
Shaw came to believe that Darwin was an honest naturalist trying to 
work out the theory of natural selection. But evolution could not be 
wholly explained on that theory for Shaw held that the creative energy 
of organic nature did not merely result from chance survival. It was 
through biology that Shaw found his present creed. He now believes that 
life is divine and that God is doing his best unceasingly in human evolu- 
tion toward better things. Man has a sacred moral obligation to help 
God to perform this great task. 

Should the Churches Scold the Colleges or Help Them? — This 
important question is raised by Rev. T. H. Taylor, in the American 
Church Monthly, August, 1921. Children both at home and in the 
church are too often fed religiously with mere conventional doctrines. 
When they are suddenly plunged into the freedom of the colleges and 
universities, they become bewildered. The wreck of faith is not entirely 
due to storms of the sea or the dangers of the voyage but largely to the 
improper fitting out of the ships before they leave the sheltered harbor of 
home and church. The intellectual difficulties of our day are inevitable. 
The church must be ready to help her youth to face the crises. First, 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 649 

the ministers and the Sunday-school teachers need more definite courage 
to recognize the changes wrought in the traditional ideas and to be 
intellectually honest in dealing with the youth. Secondly, the minister 
should make more definite systematic efforts to acquaint people in his par- 
ish with the proven results of modem thought and to interpret these 
conclusions in a religious way. 

Has the Church the Right to Judge Economic Questions? — Eco- 
nomic heresy hunters are a feature of modem religious Ufe. They 
discredit certain leaders of the social movement in the churches, or cut 
off fxmds from reUgious organizations that utter moral judgment con- 
cerning industrial conditions and relations. This situation is discussed 
by Professor Harry F. Ward in the Nation, August 24, 1921. If the 
church has any right to give moral judgments on economic questions, 
that right must be derived from its abiUty to know the exact facts and 
on the basis of these to make a plan for human rights. It is deplorable 
that so frequently ministers are handicapped by inadequate knowledge 
in their endeavors to interpret the world of human passions. None the 
less the church must insist on its right to stand in defense of the spiritual 
interests of men. And this right it is staunchly defending today. 

Democratizing Philanthropy.— Social betterment has been, in the 
past, a gift from the few to the many. Should it not rather be the co- 
operative effort of all ? Mrs. Comelia J. Cannon, in an article called 
"Philanthropic Doubts" m the Atlantic Monthly for September, states 
the case for organized activity, to replace the "orgy of charitable activ- 
ity" that has characterized the last thirty years in America. "Our 
task is," she says, "not buttressing the weaknesses of our fellows with 
our strength, but organizing the energies of mian to reconstruct his 
world." 

Writing as a Side-Line for Ministers. — ^The Writer for August has a 
suggestive article, "Writing as a Side-Line for Ministers": "It would 
help many .... ministers .... to keep from growing rusty if they 
would use their spare time for side-line writing for magazines. It 
would quicken them intellectually, inspire them to better service, 
increase their audience, and awaken them to renewed interest in life. 
.... Being a mmister," the author, Mr. William S. Poole, continues, 
"I find much difference between preaching a sermon to the people of a 
congregation who take what I give them because I am their minister, 
and submitting an article to some editor at "usual rates" and getting 



650 THE JOURNAL OF RELIGION 

a rejection slip because I did not measure up This grindstone 

keeps my ax sharpened." He mentions the many ways in which a 
minister has the qualification for doing effective Christian work through 
the press. 

The Women's Congress in Vienna.^The Third Congress of the 
Women's International League for Peace and Freedom was held in 
Vienna during the month of July, with Miss Jane Addams presiding. 
Representatives from twenty-eight countries came as delegates, fra- 
ternal delegates, or visitors, and conferred with each other upon matters 
relating to the peace and freedom of a reconstructed world. Miss 
Florence Kelley, reporting the congress in the Survey for September, 
says: " In general the resolutions introduced by the national sections and 
from the floor, by their number, variety, and the tenacity with which 
several were advocated, registered growth in confidence, keeping step 
with the growth of women's political power since the first congress at 
the Hague in 1915." 

Significant among the resolutions adopted were those bearing upon 
the problems of education, such as the resolution in favor of abolishing 
corporal punishment in all institutions, including reformatories; and 
for protecting children against misuse for political purposes. The 
focal point of a discussion of state or ecclesiastical control of education 
was a question put by Madame DuchSne of Paris : " If the self-governing 
nations cannot control their schools in the interest of the people, and of 
the future peace of the world, what is the basis of our hope that we can 
control any part of our government ? " 

A cable message from the congress carried congratulations to Presi- 
dent Harding on calling an International Conference for the Limitation 
of Armaments, and the congress committed itself to a program of demon- 
strations in favor of inunediate world-wide disarmament in the week 
previous to the conference. 

Mobilizing Christian Public Opinion. — The Federal Council of 
Churches of Christ in America is performing an invaluable service in 
voicing the sentiments of Christian people. The following letter to 
President Harding is significant: 

The Federal Council of the Churches of Christ in America, through its 
Commission on International Justice and Good-Will, desires to express to you 
its profound satisfaction in your invitation to other nations to join in a Con- 
ference on the Limitation of Armaments. 

We rejoice in the step thus taken and earnestly hope that it may lead to 
some concerted plan by which general disarmament may be brought about. 



CURRENT EVENTS AND DISCUSSIONS 651 

We are convinced that this action would be of incalculable significance in 
making larger funds available for the constructive tasks of peace, in removing 
suspicion and misunderstanding among the nations, in abolishing war, and 
in promoting international good -will and brotherhood. 

In declaring our conviction on this great moral issue, we are confident that 
we are voicing the sentiment of the overwhelming majority in all of the thirty 
denominations that comprise the Federal Council. At the meeting of the 
whole council last December, attended by official representatives of all these 
churches, action was taken urging our government "to co-operate fully with 
the governments of the world for the achievement of general disarmament." 
Similar action has been taken independently by practically all official church 
assemblies since that time. Beyond any question the religious forces of the 
nation are imited in their desire to secure the early adoption, both nationally 
and internationally, of a thorough-going policy for the limitation of armaments. 

We are, therefore, grateful to you for the step you have taken, pledge our- 
selves to use our best efforts to arouse the minds of the people to the moral 
principles that are at stake, and assure you that your action is supported by 
our united prayer that the coming conference may result in rich blessing to 
mankind. 

A Creed for Peace-loving Christians. — The Commission on Inter- 
national Justice and Goodwill, of the Federal Council of Churches, 
has formulated the following: 

CREED FOR BELIEVERS IN A WARLESS WORLD 
Isaiah 2 : 2-4 
I. We Believe in a sweeping reduction of armaments. 
II. We Believe in international laws, courts of justice, and boards of 
arbitration. 

III. We Believe in a world-wide association of nations for world 
peace. 

IV. We Believe in equality of race treatment. 

V. We Believe that Christian patriotism demands the practice of 

goodwill between nations. 
VI. We Believe that nations no less than individuals are subject to 

God's immutable moral laws. 
VII. We Believe that peoples achieve true welfare, greatness and 

honor through just dealing and unselfish service. 
VIII. We Believe that nations that are Christian have special inter- 
national obligations. 
IX. We Believe that the spirit of Christian brotherhood can conquer 

every barrier of trade, color, creed, and race. 
X. We Believe in a warless world, and dedicate ourselves to its 
achievement.