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Full text of "[untitled] International Journal of Ethics, (1912-10-01), pages 88-92"

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entered his own inner life" (p. 253). Loyalty also defines a 
kingdom of God, as it were, called by Royce the Invisible Church. 
All the loyal, — whatever their cause, — constitute one genuine 
religious brotherhood. And thus the loyal co-workers in any 
field, — in art, science, society, — are, according to Royce, religious 
devotees and in communion with the Absolute Spirit; for they 
are loyal to super-individual causes whose meaning and ration- 
ality can only be understood in terms of one super-human Life. 
Those who are repelled by Idealism on account of its alleged 
thin abstractions and remoteness from life should read this 'sun- 
clear' and 'life-intoxicated' book. 


Harvard University. 

The Psychology op the Religious Life. By George Malcolm 
Stratton. London: George Allen & Co., 1911. Pp. 367. 
(Published in the. Library of Philosophy. Edited by J. H. 

Although Professor Stratton is a professional psychologist, 
he has found occasion to refer in the text of this book to only 
one of the psychologists who have made their names known in 
the field of religion, and that reference is insignificant. The 
mention of this fact is intended here as an acknowledgment of 
the originality of Professor Stratton in the treatment of his 

His data come first from the great canonical collections, the 
epics, the reliable accounts of customs and observances, and 
only in the second place from introspective reports of indi- 
viduals. For, as the author believes, not the statements of in- 
dividuals in answer to questions or otherwise, but "the prayer, 
the hymn, the myth, the sacred prophecies . . . furnish to the 
psychologist the best means of examining the full nature of 
religion, in its diverse forms" (Preface). If one's purpose is 
to give a vivid and definite impression of the conflict of motives 
and practices in religious life, this method is undoubtedly the 
better one. But there are problems for the solution of which 
individual records are the more precious, and even the only 
sufficient source of information. 

Students of religion owe Professor Stratton a debt of grati- 
tude for having opened more systematically and widely than 


had been done before, the treasure-house of social religious rec- 
ords. No race, and hardly any people, remains unrepresented: 
Australians, North and South Americans, Mexicans, Chinese, 
Japanese, Malays, Hindoos, Egyptians, Greeks, Jews, Arabs, 
Persians, are made to contribute from their sacred writings, 
or unwritten customs and beliefs, to an admirably compre- 
hensive picture of the varieties of motives, practices, and ideas, 
which enter into the almost endless forms of religion. 

The book is divided into four parts with the following titles : 
Conflicts in Regard to Feeling and Emotion; Conflicts in Re- 
gard to Action; Conflicts in Regard to Religious Thought; Cen- 
tral Forces in Religion. This last part is much the shortest ; it 
includes forty-two pages, divided into three chapters: The 
Idealizing Act, Change and Permanence in the Ideal, Standards 
in Religion. 

The manysidedness, the breadth of sympathy, the careful 
moderation, and the literary taste evinced in this book give it 
a place apart. Concerning the outcome of the work, it can be 
said truly that the author has achieved his end, namely, to give 
"a vivid and definite impression of the war of motives in re- 
ligion" (Preface). This conflict he has succeeded in making 
evident, in explaining, and in illustrating by like conflicts that 
are not religious. We are shown in an impressive array of facts 
drawn from every quarter of the earth, that there is in religious 
life both appreciation and contempt of self, breadth and nar- 
rowness of sympathy, acceptation and renunciation of the world, 
gloom and cheer, coolness and fondness for rites, activity and 
passivity, trust and jealousy of intellect, opposition of picture 
and thought in the representation of the divine, many gods and 
one god, divinities at hand and divinities afar off. (I have 
merely reproduced, more or less textually, headings of chapters.) 

These merits acknowledged and appreciated, there remains in 
my mind a regret that Professor Stratton treated his subject as 
he did. But he performed a task of his own choosing, and 
many will doubtless disagree with me and feel that a more profit- 
able point of view than the one from which he proceeded in his 
investigation of religious life, could hardly have been found. 
In any case there will be unanimity, I suppose, in the opinion 
that the book is as much a study of the rich diversity of human 
nature seen in religious life, as a study of religion itself. 

The only criticism I shall offer will bear upon the author's 


definition of religion and his defense of the noetic value of re- 
ligion. The formula in which he expresses the dominant charac- 
teristic of religion seems to me deficient in that it places the 
emphasis upon appreciation, i. e., upon a class of feelings and 
not upon active desire. The sense of value is no more a specific 
characteristic of religion than is any other feeling. "Religion," 
he tells us, "is the appreciation of an unseen world, usually an 
unseen company ; and religion is also whatever seemB clearly to 
be moving toward such an appreciation or to be returning from 
it. Or perhaps it might better be described as man's whole 
bearing toward what seems to him the Best or Greatest." A 
little further on he adds: "Religion is the gradual awakening 
to the weight and import of a peculiar order of objects. The 
sense of value, of significance, has found a new medium, a new 
direction" (pp. 343, 345). The deeper aspect of religion, — 
because the deeper aspect of life, — is in my opinion a desire for, 
and an attempt to secure things that are valued. But that which 
differentiates religious from secular life is the kind of power 
from which the gratification of desire is expected. To be re- 
ligious is better defined, in my opinion, as entering into or stand- 
ing in dynamic relation with an unseen hyperhuman company 
because of one's appreciation of the outcome of this relation. 

I find myself in complete agreement with the author's under- 
standing of the relation of feeling to religion as set forth in a 
passage on pages 341-2, beginning with the sentence, "The truth 
is missed when some special feeling is believed to be religion's 
characteristic mark." 1 

The chief interest of the last chapter (Standards of Religion) 
lies in its defense of the proposition tha^ "Religion is justified 
in taking part in the discovery of the truth." This old ques- 
tion is again much in evidence since the advent of the pragmatic 
philosophy. I shall use Professor Stratton's presentation as an 
occasion for a brief expression of my own views. 

I wish that instead of insisting upon the right of the heart 
and of the conscience to a share in the establishment of objective 
truth, he had insisted rather upon the nature of that influence 

1 See also pp. 121, 122, 125;f, and compare my similar statements in 
' ' Eeligion as a Factor in the Struggle for Life, ' ' Am. Jr. of Psy. and Educ, 
II, 1906, pp. 314-318. See also the two first chapters of "A Psychological 
Study of Eeligion: Its Origin, Function, and Future," Macmillan & Co., 


and indicated the limitations of the function of desire and need 
in the determination of objective truth. What are exactly the 
respective legitimate functions of heart and intellect? Man has 
not waited for the permission of the philosopher to accept the 
guidance of his moral needs in determining reality. Religious 
souls have usually done more; they have behaved as if the 
moral needs were not merely one of the guides to knowledge, 
but its own instrument. It is because of this wantonness of 
piety that the dominant religious beliefs of the present, in- 
stead of harmonizing with and completing those of science, 
are altogether alien or antagonistic to them. The Eitschlian 
school of theology, for instance, in order to save 'faith,' claims 
in behalf of theology a complete divorce of science and meta- 

The relation of human needs, — whether the need of causal ex- 
planation, of logical consistency, of moral harmony, or of any 
other kind, — to the discovery of the reality through which they 
may be gratified is expressible in the following propositions. All 
human needs have the same function in the discovery of factual 
truth: they constitute merely demands and incentives. It is 
the intellect which passes upon the validity of each factual 
proposition made in the interest of any need. The determina- 
tion "of the concrete system of facts" qualified to meet the 
demands of the heart and of conscience belongs thus also to 

Can those who would reject these propositions say why and 
wherein the rights of the intellect should be different when the 
question is one of the satisfaction of the body from when it is 
one of the satisfaction of the heart? In the first case, there is, 
for instance, a craving. The object desired may take a definite 
form, let it be some particular food or medicine. The desired 
food or drug taken, the body is satisfied. In the second case, the 
heart yearns for friendship or love; the object of the craving 
may here also assume a definite form; it may be a man, a 
woman, or a god. Presently the heart has found its satisfaction. 
The need as felt, and the gratification as experienced, are incon- 
trovertible, absolute facts. It would be as absurd for science to 
challenge them as to challenge bare sensation or simple feeling. 
But it is otherwise when it is affirmed that one particular sub- 
stance is the cause of the relief to the body or that the objective 
existence of a particular transhuman Order or Being is the 


cause of the moral comfort. Here science is in both cases in its 
rightful province. 

What is the intention of those who in this connection remind 
us, as does Professor Stratton, that science proceeds upon as- 
sumptions that cannot be fully verified, that "scientific labor is 
always a sifting and a rearranging and supplementing of what 
the senses offer." What of that? Is it implied that an equal 
freedom is refused to religion? Would that religion were as 
careful in establishing its factual truths as is science! The 
only proper use that may be made of this reminder, is as a 
warning to religion that although it, as well as science, pos- 
sesses the right to make hypotheses, it cannot claim for them 
equal certainty with those of science until, when examined with 
all possible 'critical cunning,' these religious hypotheses have 
been found to fit the facts for the explanation of which they 
were devised as well as the scientific hypotheses agree with the 
facts to which they refer. Does, for instance, the hypothesis 
of a righteous and benevolent personal God in direct communi- 
cation with man and in control of the physical world fit the 
facts as the known physical phenomena fit the hypotheses of 
science ? The only possible answer to this query is negative. 

James H. Leuba. 

Bryn Mawr College. 

The Stability or Truth: A Discussion op Reality as Re- 
lated to Thought and Action. By David Starr Jordan. 
New York : Henry Holt & Co., 1911. Pp. 180. 

The gist of this little volume, — the substance of six lectures 
delivered on the John Calvin McNair Foundation, in the Uni- 
versity of North Carolina, in January, 1910, — is expressed in 
the following passages : ' ' The purpose of this book is to set 
forth the doctrine that the final test of truth is found in trust- 
ing our lives to it. Truth is livable, while error is not, and the 
difference appears through the strain of the conduct of life. 
Science is human experience tested and set in order. ... It is 
often claimed that the real nature of the thing in itself is so 
distant from our experiences, so absolutely inscrutable, in- 
comprehensible, and unknowable, that we can have no truth 
whatever in regard to it. All we have is our expression of cer- 
tain effects on our consciousness. We assume, without real