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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

The Religious Interpretation Of The World

The title of this book, contrasting as it does the naturalistic and the
religious interpretation of the world, indicates that the intention of the
following pages is, in the first place, to define the relation, or rather
the antithesis, between the two; and, secondly, to endeavour to reconcile
the contradictions, and to vindicate against the counter-claims of
naturalism, the validity and freedom of the religious outlook. In doing
this it is assumed that there is some sort of relation between the two
conceptions, and that there is a possibility of harmonising them.

Will this be admitted? Is it not possible that the two views are
incommensurable, and would it not be most desirable for both sides if this
were so, for if there is no logical antithesis then there can be no real
antagonism? And is not this actually the case? Surely we have now left far
behind us the primitive expressions of the religious outlook which were
concerned with the creation of the world in six days, the making of Eve
out of Adam's rib, the story of Paradise and the angelic and demoniacal
forces, and the accessory miracles and accompanying signs by means of
which the Divine control of the world was supposed to manifest itself. We
have surely learnt by this time to distinguish between the simple mythical
or legendary forms of expression in the religious archives, and their
spiritual value and ethical content. We can give to natural science and to
religious feeling what is due to each, and thus have done for ever with
tedious apologetic discussion.

It were well indeed if we had really attained to this! But the relations,
and therefore the possibilities of conflict between religion and
world-science, are by no means so easily disposed of. No actually existing
form of religion is so entirely made up of "feeling," "subjectivity," or
"mood," that it can dispense with all assumptions or convictions regarding
the nature and import of the world. In fact, every form, on closer
examination, reveals a more or less fixed framework of convictions,
theoretical assumptions, and presuppositions in regard to man, the world,
and existence: that is to say, a theory, however simple, of the universe.
And this theory must be harmonised with the conceptions of things as they
are presented to us in general world-lore, in natural and historical
science, in particular sciences, in theories of knowledge, and perhaps in
metaphysics; it must measure itself by and with these, and draw from them
support and corroboration, and possibly also submit to contradiction and

There is no form of religion, not even the most rarefied (which makes
least claim because it has least content), that does not include in itself
some minute Credo, some faith, implying attachment to a set of doctrines
and conclusions however few. And it is always necessary to show that these
conclusions are worthy of adherence, and that they are not at variance
with conclusions and truths in regard to nature and the world drawn from
other sources. And if we consider, not the efflorescences and artificial
products of religion, but religion itself, it is certain that there is,
and always must be, around it a borderland and fringe of religious
world-theory, with which it is not indeed identical, but without which it
is inconceivable; that is, a series of definite and characteristic
convictions relating to the world and its existence, its meaning, its
"whence" and "whither"; to man and his intelligence, his place and
function in the world, his peculiar dignity, and his destiny; to time and
space, to infinity and eternity, and to the depth and mystery of Being in

These convictions and their fundamental implications can be defined quite
clearly, both singly and as a whole, and later we shall attempt so to
define them. And it is of the greatest importance to religion that these
presuppositions and postulates should have their legitimacy and validity
vindicated. For they are at once the fundamental and the minimal
postulates which religion must make in its outlook on the world, which it
must make if it is to exist at all. And they are so constituted that, even
when they are released from their primitive and naive form and
association, and permitted speculative development and freedom, they must,
nevertheless, just because they contain a theory of the world, be brought
into comparison, contact, or relation of some kind, whether hostile or
friendly, with other world-conceptions of different origin. This relation
will be hostile or friendly according to the form these other conceptions
have taken. It is impossible to imagine any religious view of the world
whose network of conceptions can have meshes so wide, or constituents so
elastic and easily adjustable, that it will allow every theoretical
conception of nature and the world to pass through it without violence or
friction, offering to none either let or hindrance.

It has indeed often been affirmed that religion may, without anxiety about
itself, leave scientific knowledge of the world to go its own way. The
secret reservation in this position is always the belief that scientific
knowledge will never in any case reach the real depth and meaning of
things. Perhaps this is true. But the assumption itself would remain, and
would have to be justified. And if religion had no other interest in
general world-theory, it would still have this pre-eminent one, that, by
defining the limitations of scientific theory, and showing that they can
never be transcended, it thus indicates for itself a position beyond them
in which it can dwell securely. In reality religion has never ceased to
turn its never-resting, often anxious gaze towards the progress, the
changes, the secure results and tentative theories in the domain of
general world-science, and again and again it has been forced to come to a
new adjustment with them.

One great centre of interest, though by no means the only or even the
chief one, lies in the special field of world-lore and theoretical
interpretation comprised in the natural sciences. And in the following
pages we shall make this our special interest, and shall endeavour to
inquire whether our modern natural science consists with the "minimal
requirements" of the religious point of view, with which we shall make
closer acquaintance later; or whether it is at all capable of being
brought into friendly relations with that point of view.

Such a study need not necessarily be "apologetic," that is to say,
defensive, but may be simply an examination. For in truth the real results
of investigation are not now and never were "aggressive," but are in
themselves neutral towards not only religious but all idealistic
conceptions, and leave it, so to speak, to the higher methods of study to
decide how the material supplied is to be taken up into their different
departments, and brought under their particular points of view. Our
undertaking only becomes defensive and critical because, not from caprice
or godlessness, but, as we shall see, from an inherent necessity, the
natural sciences, in association with other convictions and aims, tend
readily to unite into a distinctive and independent system of
world-interpretation, which, if it were valid and sufficient, would drive
the religious view into difficulties, or make it impossible. This
independent system is Naturalism, and against its attacks the religious
conception of the world has to stand on the defensive.

Next: What Is Distinctive In The Religious Outlook

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