"An examination of the methods employed by these 'witches,' as shown by their confessions, give us a key to the mystery. These 'witches' would fix their minds upon other people, or their animals, and by holding a concentrated mental picture the... Read more of The Secret Of Witchcraft at Occultism.caInformational Site Network Informational

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Activity Of Consciousness
Aim And Method Of Naturalism
Autonomy Of Spirit
Consciousness Of The Ego
Constructive Criticism
Contrast Between Darwinian And Post-darwinian Views
Creative Power Of Consciousness
Criticisms Of The Mechanistic Theory Of Life
Crities Of Darwinism
Darwinish In General
Darwinism And Teleology
Darwinism In The Strict Sense
De Vries's Mutation-theory
Differences Of Opinion As To The Factors In Evolution
Eimer's Orthogenesis
Evolution And New Beginnings
Feeling Individuality Genius And Mysticism
Freedom Of Spirit
Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism
Goethe's Attitude To Naturalism
Haeckel's Evolutionist Position
How All This Affects The Religious Outlook
How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict
Individual Development
Intuitions Of Reality
Is There Ageing Of The Mind?
Lamarckism And Neo-lamarckism
Machnical Theories Criticism
Mind And Spirit The Human And The Animal Soul
Mystery : Dependence : Purpose
Natural Selection
Naturalistic Attacks On The Autonomy Of The Spiritual
No Parallelism
Other Instances Of Dissatisfaction With The Theory Of Descent
Pre-eminence Of Consciousness
Preyer's Position
Religion And The Theory Of Descent
Spontaneous Generation
Teleological And Scientific Interpretations Are Alike Necessary
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Space
The Antimony Of Our Conception Of Time
The Antimony Of The Conditioned And The Unconditioned
The Characteristic Features Of Darwinism
The Conservation Of Matter And Energy
The Constructive Work Of Driesch
The Contingency Of The World
The Dependence Of The Order Of Nature
The Development Of Darwinism
The Ego
The Fundamental Answer
The Law Of The Conservation Of Energy
The Mechanics Of Development
The Mystery Of Existence Remains Unexplained
The Organic And The Inorganic
The Position Of Bunge And Other Physiologists
The Problema Continui
The Real World
The Recognition Of Purpose
The Religious Interpretation Of The World
The Spontaneous Activity Of The Organism
The Supremacy Of Mind
The Theory Of Descent
The True Naturalism
The Two Kinds Of Naturalism
The Unconscious
The Unity Of Consciousness
The Views Of Albrecht And Schneider
The Views Of Botanists Illustrated
The World And God
Theory Of Definite Variation
Theory Of Life
Various Forms Of Darwinism
Virchow's Caution
Virchow's Position
Weismann's Evolutionist Position
What Is Distinctive In The Naturalistic Outlook
What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook

How The Religious And The Naturalistic Outlooks Conflict

Religion comes into contact with naturalism and demands to be reconciled
with it, not merely at its periphery, but at its very core, namely, with
its characteristic ideal of a mathematical-mechanical interpretation of
the whole world. This ideal seems to be most nearly, if not indeed
completely, attained in reference to the inter-relations of the great
masses, in the realm of astronomy, with the calculable, inviolable, and
entirely comprehensible conditions which govern the purely mechanical
correlations of the heavenly bodies. To bring the same clearness and
intelligibility, the same inevitableness and calculability into the world
in general, and into the whole realm of nature down to the mysterious law
determining the development of the daintiest insect's wing, and the
stirrings of the grey matter in the cortex of the brain which reveal
themselves to us as sensation, desire, and thought, this has always been
the aim and secret faith of the naturalistic mode of thought. It is thus
aiming at a Cosmos of all Being and Becoming, which can be explained from
itself, and comprehended in itself alone, supported by its own complete
and all-sufficing causality and uniformity, resting in itself, shut up
within itself, complete in itself--a God sufficient unto himself and
resting in himself.

We do not need to probe very deeply to find out how strongly religion
resists this attempt, and we easily discover what is the disturbing
element which awakens hostile feeling. It is of three kinds, and depends
on three characteristic aims and requirements of religion, which are
closely associated with one another, yet distinct from one another, though
it is not always easy to represent them in their true proportions and
relative values. The first of these interests seems to be "teleology," the
search after guiding ideas and purposes, after plan and directive control
in the whole machinery, that sets itself in sharp opposition to a mere
inquiry into proximate causes. Little or nothing is gained by knowing how
everything came about or must have come about; all interest lies in the
fact that everything has come about in such a way that it reveals
intention, wisdom, providence, and eternal meaning, realising itself in
details and in the whole. This has always been rightly regarded as the
true concern and interest of every religious conception of the world. But
it has been sometimes forgotten that this is by no means the only, or even
the primary interest that religion has in world-lore. We call it its
highest and ultimate interest, but we find, on careful study, that two
others are associated with and precede it.

For before all belief in Providence and in the divine meaning of the
world, indeed before faith at all, religion is primarily feeling--a deep,
humble consciousness of the entire dependence and conditionality of our
existence, and of all things. The belief we have spoken of is, in relation
to this feeling, merely a form--as yet not in itself religious. It is not
only the question "Have the world and existence a meaning, and are
phenomena governed by ideas and purposes?" that brings religion and its
antagonists into contact; there is a prior and deeper question. Is there
scope for this true inwardness of all religion, the power to comprehend
itself and all the world in humility in the light of that which is not of
the world, but is above world and existence? But this is seriously
affected by that doctrine which attempts to regard the Cosmos as
self-governing and self-sufficing, needing nothing, and failing in
nothing. It is this and not Darwinism or the descent from a Simian stock
that primarily troubles the religious spirit. It is more specially
sensitive to the strange and antagonistic tendency of naturalism shown
even in that marvellous and terrifying mathematical-mechanical system of
the great heavenly bodies, in this clock of the universe which, in
obedience to clear and inviolable laws, carries on its soundless play from
everlasting to everlasting, needing no pendulum and no pedestal, without
any stoppage and without room for dependence on anything outside of
itself, apparently entirely godless, but absolutely reason and God enough
for itself. It shrinks in terror from the thought that the same autonomy
and self-regulation may be brought down from the stage of immensity into
the play of everyday life and events.

But we must penetrate still deeper. Schleiermacher has directed our
attention anew to the fact that the most profound element in religion is
that deep-lying consciousness of all creatures, "I that am dust and
ashes," that humble feeling of the absolute dependence of every being in
the world on One that is above all the world. But religion does not fully
express itself even in this; there is yet another note that sounds still
deeper and is the keynote of the triad. "Let a man examine himself." Is it
not the case that we ourselves, in as far as the delight in knowledge and
the enthusiasm for solving riddles have taken hold of us, rejoice in every
new piece of elucidation and interpretation that science succeeds in
making, that we are in the fullest sympathy with the impulse to understand
everything and bring reason and clearness into it, and that we give hearty
adherence to the leading ideas which guide the investigations of natural
science? Yet on the other hand, in as far as we are religious, do we not
sometimes feel a sudden inward recoil from this almost profane eagerness
to penetrate into the mystery of things, this desire to have everything
intelligible, clear, rational and transparent? This feeling which stirs in
us has always existed in all religious minds and will only die with them.
And we need not hesitate to say so plainly. For this is the most real
characteristic of religion; it seeks depth in things, reaches out towards
what is concealed, uncomprehended, and mysterious. It is more than
humility; it is piety. And piety is experience of mystery.

It is at this point that religion comes most violently into antagonism
with the meaning and mood of naturalism. Here they first conflict in
earnest. And it is here above all that scientific investigation and its
materialistic complement seem to take away freedom and truth, air and
light from religion. For science is seeking especially this: Deeper
penetration into and illumination of the world. It presses with macroscope
and microscope into its most outlying regions and most hidden corners,
into its abysses and fastnesses. It explains away the old idea of two
worlds, one on this side and one on that, and rejects heavenly things with
the notice "No Room" of which D. Fr. Strauss speaks. It aims at
discovering the mathematical world-formulae, if not indeed one great
general formula which embraces, defines unequivocally, and rationalises
all the processes of and in infinity, from the movements of Sirius to
those of the cilia of the infusorian in the drop of water, and which not
only crowds "heaven" out of the world, but strips away from things the
fringe of the mysterious and incommensurable which seemed to surround

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Previous: Fundamental Principles Of Naturalism

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