Chapter 4: Religious Organization
§1. The nature and origin of religion
Many theories as to the origin of religion have been constructed, and many definitions of religion have been formulated in agreement with the theories. It is a significant fact that these definitions have in general been failures; that no definition has been offered which has met wide approval, but each of the many definitions has its own group of partizans. This fact should make us sceptical concerning the corresponding theories of origin. By way of illustration it will suffice to refer briefly to four of the most important of these definitions.
Religion has been defined in terms of sex and sex desires, and its origin referred exclusively to the repressions, suppressions, and inhibitions of the sexual life. This is an old theory, recently popularized by the psychoanalysts.
It has long been known that sex has had an important bearing on religion. In fact, the sex-life is an important factor in religion today. We shall show later just what that bearing is; and what has been the influence of sex upon the development of various religions. But we know also that there are religions into which sex hardly enters at all; and that there is vastly more than sex in every religion.
Religion, again, has been defined in terms of God or gods, and its origin attributed to the belief in such a being or beings. This theory is perhaps nearer to the truth than is the sex theory, but our acceptance of it is checked when we consider the existence of religions held by millions of people into which the conception of God does not enter at all. It may be claimed that these godless religions are formed from religions which began theologically, and lost the divine element in the course of progressive transformations. But this uniform development has not been proved, and even if true, it would still not make it possible to define religion in theological terms.
Belief in immortality, or belief in ghosts or spooks, assigned by
( 98) another school as the origin of religion, is likewise an impossible foundation, since many ancient religions reject this belief. The theory of religion as evolved from the worship of ancestors also goes into the limbo of mere interesting speculation, along with the spook doctrine, of which it is but a variant form.
The form of the ghost theory which has had a wide vogue is that religion has its origin in "animism." "Animism" is a protean conception assuming various forms in various theories, but in its more moderate forms the doctrine is the tendency, assumed to be common to the human race, to postulate a conscious principal, the anima, occurring in all animals, or at least in man. This anima is the ghost or spook of popular conception, and the eidolon or "shade" of the Greek mythology; the "soul" in other words, in one of the many meanings of that term. In some cases, perhaps, the conception of the anima, as held, approaches to the Greek conception of the psyche, which was an impersonal force, not to be compared with the "soul" as usually conceived.
This ghost, anima, or spook, is conceived by many people as separable from the body, not only after death, but even temporarily before death. Dreams in which the dreamer apparently visits distant places, are explained by some savages, we are told, as actual separations of the ghost from the body; the ghost really visiting the places dreamed of, while the body remains unmoved.
The animistic theory of religion assumes that the doctrine of an "other world," of demons, angels, gods and other superior beings arises from the primary conception of the ghost. No direct evidence for this view is available, since the origin of religion in all races goes back beyond the reports even of tradition. But it is easy to imagine that the belief in ghosts would quickly be absorbed into a religious system, and would very greatly influence the development of that system. We cannot accept the theory that religion is a development of animism, since, as we shall show, religion is a necessary antecedent to the development of animism.
It might be claimed that no conception of religion, and no course of religious development is universal; but that some religions are of one nature and origin, other religions of other natures and origins.
( 99) This claim would overlook the fact that we have always called these things all religion, and have unanimously felt that they should be classed together, although we have not been able to formulate a definition which would include them all. And we find uniformly in these matters, that collective judgment on total situations has some-thing reasonable at the bottom, not to be swept away by theoretical analysis of the same situations. If we accept the fact that there is a common factor in religion, and then seek for that factor, we will be pursuing the course which has the greatest probable value.
The only theory of religion which today seems to have value as a scientific working hypothesis is the theory that religion has its origin and its support in dissatisfaction with life, resulting from reflection on the failure of life to satisfy the primary desires of man.
Man desires food, shelter, protection, rest, activity, progeny, and sex gratification, as well as conformity and preeminence. If he did not consciously desire these, but merely had a mechanical tendency to seek the corresponding gratifications (which he has also), it is inconceivable that he would develop religion; although it is quite possible that magic and ethics, which have commonly been associated with religion, might have been developed. It is possible that the lower animals are in this condition of possessing satisfaction-tendencies, without desires. But such a supposition is needless, both because one cannot conclude that certain animals, such as apes, are entirely devoid of rudimentary religion; and also because there are still other necessary conditions of religious development.
The essential conditions, beyond the occurrence of desires, is that these desires shall not be abundantly gratified, and that this failure shall be reflected upon. An animal possessing highly conscious desires, but whose desires are abundantly gratified whenever they arise, can possess no religion, except as he adopts it by "imitation" or "suggestion," (terms to be explained later), from fellow animals who have developed it. An animal whose conscious desires are very inadequately satisfied will not develop religion, unless he is conscious of that lack of satisfaction, not merely in each particular case perceptually, but by thought-consciousness, through which the particular lacks of the past and the present are brought together in a general view.
Man possesses all these qualifications. He has vivid, not to say violent, desires; they are to a very large extent ungratified, or their gratification is delayed, and conjoined with the compensatory loss of gratification of other desires; and man thinks; and thinking, he is conscious of his deficiency of satisfaction. Hence, man pretty uniformly is religious.
Associated with man's desire of conformity is a tendency of thought and action which may for convenience be called vicarism. This tendency comes to the front in many forms, but it comes forth characteristically in a tendency to accept dissatisfaction of desires, without protest, provided some one, in some class, whom the individual accepts as his superior, but with whom he forms a close group in the superior-inferior relation, has its desires abundantly satisfied. Dependents, serfs, slaves, retainers, and a host of inferiors whom it is difficult to name, are in many cases content with limited satisfaction of their desires, provided such limitation contributes to the fuller satisfaction of the desires of their leaders, lords, chiefs, and owners. In other words, these individuals obtain vicarious satisfaction. The sex desires are the most difficult to satisfy vicariously, but even these are in many cases amenable to the same treatment. This tendency to vicarism is obviously a specific form of the more general tendency to conform, based on the desire for conformity.
The vicarious tendency of man has not seriously interfered with the development of religion. Although large numbers of the less fortunate of the race have been reflectively content with their lot, and have assumed it to be "natural," others have been less desirous of conforming, and have not been vicariously satisfied. The leaders, again, have themselves seldom been completely satisfied and have tended to develop religious conceptions. Religious notions, developed by any member of a group, tend to spread, and have a very profound practical effect in promoting the very vicarisms which might inhibit the formation of the notions by the group of inferiors. Leaders have not been slow to take advantage of this practical result, and a very great incentive to the promotion of religion has been the use it serves in keeping the less fortunate class content with their lot.
Dissatisfaction with life has produced two religious tendencies
( 101) which have largely been cooperative, although not always combined. First, it has given rise to the conception of gods, demons, and other superior beings, who enjoy the fuller satisfactions desired but not obtained by man. The satisfactions ascribed to the gods are various. Sometimes the desire most emphasized is the desire for rest; some-times desire for activity (play); very often the desire for food; or sex desire; and always the desire for preeminence. Universally, the desires which are least gratified in the human race are those which the gods (or demons) gratify most abundantly.
Man, in other words, derives vicarious satisfaction from the satisfaction which he ascribes to his divinities (whether gods, devils, or both). But always these divinities must be his divinities: he must identify himself with them as belonging to a closely organized social group.
Second, by contemplating the failure of life as man knows it, he comes to the consideration of another life for himself. And at this point his conclusions separate into two opposite types. In one case, the intensity of his desire leads him to believe that another life, in which desires will be fully gratified, is possible: and having accepted this view of immortality, he is more content with his life here. This is another point of advantage which crafty leaders have not been slow to grasp, and on account of which they have greatly promoted the spread of religion among their unfortunate brethren whom they have wished to keep unfortunate.
The full satisfaction of desire in another life might theoretically be obtained by retaining the desires in vivid form, and providing abundant means for their gratification. Thus, the Mohammedan religion provides, in the paradise of the faithful, unlimited powers of sexual intercourse, and an abundant supply of nymphs or houris.
( 102) On the other hand, in a future life, the desire may be reduced to zero, in which case also, satisfaction is complete; because there are no desires to satisfy. This is the solution adopted by the Sankhya system, and by many others.
But man may conclude that no life with full satisfaction of desires is possible. He accepts the doctrine that life, as be knows it, is typical of all possible life, here or hereafter: that where there is life there is desire, and that desire can never be adequately satisfied. Hence, he consoles himself by concluding that life may be terminated at death, and distracts his attention from the sorrows of life by busying himself with rituals by which he believes he can obtain permanent release from it. Thus, the adherents of many Hindoo religions work for "salvation" through annihilation or absorption as industriously as adherents of Western religions work for "salvation" through entering Heaven.
These two elements of religion, the purely selfish one of "saving one's soul," and the relatively social one of vicarious satisfaction, are intermingled in various religions in various proportions. In none of the great religions of the world is either entirely absent. Even in the Mohammedan religion, the vicarious enjoyment of the believer of the superior positions of God, his prophet Mohammed, and Mohammed's numerous family is an important matter. Among the Jews, although the Sadducees are reported to have eliminated the element of salvation entirely, other classes included it. In
( 103) Christianity both factors are prominent. As regards savage religions, we can be less definite, as we are concerning every thing else among savages; but apparently the God-element has occurred among some groups without the immortality element.
The God-element in religion, obviously, makes it at once social. Man is united to man through his relation to a common God or group of gods. The social organization of religion has its foundation in this religious element. But the social factor has also been strongly developed in concurrence with the immortality element of many religions, through the introduction of ethical means of obtaining salvation.
Returning now to the animistic theory of religion, we see that animism needs another element before it can become religion, and that this element can be accounted for only on the grounds we have outlined. Even if animism had preceded religion in order of organization, it would not of itself have become religion, but would be absorbed into religion only when the conviction of this life as a failure should have arisen.
Furthermore, since modern man accepts animism only because he has been taught it, or because of his religious desire, and since we have no reason to assume that the situation was different with primitive man; we are forced to assume, tentatively at least, that religion arose before animism; and that animism developed from religion, or within it; with far-reaching effects on the total religious system. This assumption is strengthened by the existence of religions quite free from animism.
2. Religion and magic
Magic and religion have been closely associated among all peoples, religious beliefs and practices being so intimately mingled with magical beliefs and practices that to the casual observer they have often seemed to be. the same thing; and it has even been supposed that religion has developed from magic. Close analysis shows, how-ever, that the two are quite different in origin and in nature, however
( 104) much the development of the one system may have influenced the other. An examination of magic and its differentiations from religion is profitable because it leads to a definite conception of the nature of religious activity, and through that conception, to the conception of the nature of social religion.
Magic is really the primitive form of science, and science has developed from magic in part through the accumulation of an in-creasing body of accurate knowledge, and in still larger part through the erection of a scientific method which magic lacks or ignores. Science and magic alike attempt to discover the laws of causal succession in nature, and by making use of these to control the course of natural phenomena. Having found the sufficient cause of a phenomenon, it is readily conceivable that the phenomenon can be produced if the cause can be set in operation; or that the phenomenon can be inhibited by inhibiting the cause. If it be true that the secretion of the thyroid gland causes certain phases of physiological development, and that the absence of this secretion results in cretinism, or the absence of such development; then, obviously, by feeding thyroid extract, or thyroid glands, to children who tend toward cretinism, normal development can be produced. This is science and its application. Obviously, also, if tying a red string around the neck of a child has causal efficiency in warding off nose bleed, then the thing to do for a child subject to nose bleed is to tie a red string around its neck.
The results which should follow the operations of the scientific man and the magician are capable of being checked up to determine whether the alleged causal sequences are real or fictitious. Science makes such check experiments, and accepts no hypothesis which is not shown by such means to be valid. Magic makes no such checks; and this is the decisive difference between magic and science. Science, therefore, differs from magic not in intent or purpose, nor in fundamental presuppositions, but in method and thoroughness. The barbarian, and the superstitious civilized man, are satisfied with a plausible rule. The scientific man puts the rule to the test, or demands assurance that other scientific men have made the test by full scientific method. Magic is really due in part to lack of imag-
( 105) -ination; of which science makes more abundant use, both in thinking of manifold possibilities, where magic thinks of but one, and in planning the ways of putting these possibilities to the test.
The savage medicine man attempts to produce rain, to ward off disease, to cast out "devils," to attract a herd of game, to give him-self or his clients maximal strength in battle, or in the chase, to kill his enemy surreptitiously, to increase the fertility of his fields, and so on through a long line of practical matters, and he uses means which he believes will accomplish these results. But his belief happens to be erroneous, and he holds to it because he does not check up on his operations to find out errors. Some of these results which the magician aims at are actually accomplished by applied science, and many more will be accomplished eventually. But the accomplishments of science are due to its more careful observation, and its system of experimental tests through which the false theories are discarded and the true ones retained.
In some cases magic hits on true causal relations. It would be strange indeed if man in noticing what seem to be causal relations in the world did not notice some sequences which are actually causal. In other cases, a crude form of scientific observation by trial and error has undoubtedly developed within a system of magic. In the case of the savage "medicine man" it is frequently impossible to determine which process has resulted in the selection of valid means, where these valid means have been attained.
The use of actual poisons to kill an enemy, and the use of charms, such as maltreating a clay image of the enemy, or engaging in other rituals and incantations, are frequently viewed by the savage in the same light. He believes in the one method as in the other, and has no reliable evidence that the one works better than the other. Both, therefore, are really magical; although science knows that one technique is uniformly efficacious and the other works only when "suggestion" operates. On the other hand, the prevalent use of poisoned arrows and the dependence on the poisoning rather than on the use of magic rites for the charming or "blessing" of the weapons, is probably due to the cumulative observation that the one method works better than the other.
Civilized man has frequently underestimated the success of savage or "primitive" science because of its admixture with mere magic.
( 106) Yet savage and primitive civilizations are not without their crude scientific attainments. Perhaps the most striking illustration of the knowledge of actual cause and effect which scientific men treated with contempt, was the discovery by the Arabs of East Africa that malarial fevers are transmitted by mosquito bites. Captain Burton, usually so appreciative of barbaric attainments, set this down as a magical belief; and it was not until half a century later that civilized man applied scientific methods to test it.
It would be a mistake to suppose that magic is largely restricted to savage, barbaric, or "primitive" peoples. Magic flourishes throughout all civilization, and is rampant today. Vast numbers of superstitions, such as those involved in using a red string to prevent nose bleed, carrying a potato in the pocket to ward off rheumatism, avoiding thirteen at the table, and communicating venereal diseases to a virgin to cure the diseased person, (the most frequent cause of the rape of young girls), are held and practiced by "civilized" people. The extensive patronage of palmists, clairvoyants, astrologers, soothsayers, seers, prophetesses, character analysts and psycho-analysts, and the eager interest in telepathy, spirit photographs, "ectoplasm," and other spiritualistic phantasies, shows clearly that so far as magic is concerned, the Hottentot, the Malay, and the Louisiana negro have little on the white man.
The history of "medicine" in the modern sense of the term is an instructive illustration of the slow growth of science in a magical system. Until the last generation, fearful and wonderful doses were poured into patients under the supposition that they produced this, that, and the other effect, although there was no scientific evidence for the truth of these theories, and many of them were grounded on error. "Regular" medicine is by no means free from this system of magic even today, although its reductio ad absurdum in homeopathy, New Thought, and Christian Science led to the rapid growth of a really scientific medicine. Between the magic of the Christian Science practitioner who reads a few pages from "Science and Health" over the patient, and that of the old school doctor who poured a mis-
( 107) -cellaneous assortment of drugs into him, there is little to choose, except in the fact that the drugs taste worse.
It has been pointed out by a number of authors that magic bases its beliefs and practices largely on observations of similarities and partial identities, and on the efficacy of contact. Things which resemble each other must be causally related, it is assumed. Other-wise, why should they be alike? Perhaps a fallacious notion of reversibility of causal relations is involved also. The image of the enemy resembles the enemy, and there is a cause for the resemblance; the savage fails to see that this causal relation runs only in one direction; that the actual characteristics of the enemy determine the characteristics of the image through the reaction of the maker of the image; but that the reactions expended upon the image will not so simply affect the enemy.
The simple inference from resemblance has been clearly exemplified in savage therapeutics, and has not been absent from more civilized medicine. A plant whose leaf, flower, or root resembles the liver, the heart, or some other human organ, must, it is assumed, have some effect on the corresponding organ when administered. The resemblances upon which dependence has been placed have not all been in form, or in visible characteristics. Eating the flesh of a powerful animal or of a valiant enemy should give strength or courage to the eater. If it is assumed that courage has its seat in the heart, then eating the heart of the courageous animal or man should do the trick. Animals or plants whose odors resemble the odors of certain human secretions have been widely credited with power to influence these secretions when eaten.
The efficacy of contact is easily observed. In order to move a stone, you place your hands upon it, or use a stick in contact with your hands and with the stone. A weapon, in order to wound a deer or leopard, must come in contact with him. Poison must be swallowed, or rubbed on the skin, to be deadly.
Far more important is contact between human beings. Hence, something which has touched the enemy; a bit of his clothing, or a stick he has held; if worked into the clay image or other means of working magic upon him, makes the charm more efficacious. Still more effective are actual parts of the enemy; the parings of his nails, a lock of his hair, or a piece of his skin or flesh removed in ceremonial mutilations. Hence, the extreme care which savages use in disposing of such trimmings, as well as of cast off clothing and ornaments lest they fall into malevolent hands.
But magic is not based exclusively upon the exaggeration of the importance of similarities and contacts. As an illustration of other important factors, the power of names will suffice. This again is an assumption due to generalization of real observed causal relations.
Knowing the name of another person does give you real power over him. You can compel his attention; and this compulsion frequently leads to significant and important consequences. If you want to make another man do something for you, you must first get his attention. Hence, the practice of having a secret "real" name, known only to trusted friends; and the existence of many taboos or prohibitions guarding the use of names.
The beliefs of science and those of magic are all practical. Genuine religion, unlike magic, does not involve practical beliefs, and its activities aim at no practical results. By "practical" we mean here, literally, beliefs concerning actual causal relations within the mundane realm of nature, and activities intended to produce effects within this realm. The effects postulated by magic are capable of test by experiment and observation; the effects postulated by religion are in the "other" world, and cannot be subjected to tests. The beliefs of genuine religion are beliefs concerning the "other" world. Science, therefore, can never have any such bearing on religion as it has on magic. Whatever success may sometimes attend the efforts of the psychic researches, (and none have so far been demonstrated), can have no effect on religion, unless to demolish it, by demonstrating that the supposed "other world" is really a part of this mundane realm. But the results of psychic research so far are wholly in the field of magic; and it is highly improbable that it will ever succeed in destroying religion.
It seems inevitable that religion, arising in any society, should
( 109) absorb the concepts and technique of magic. In fact, it is probable that from its very origin, what is called religion has been an impure mixture of magic and the genuine article, although neither element in the mixture has arisen out of the other. Not only are the functions of the priest and those of the medical man commonly exercised by the same individual in the most "primitive" and barbaric societies of which we have records; but also even the highest forms of religion today are thoroughly saturated with magic.
As soon as there arises a conception of another world in which superior powers reside, this conception is seized upon by magic. The missing link between the magic ritual and the desired effects is assigned to the other-worldly powers, and magic thereupon faces about from the line of development into science.
For modern evidence one may look at prayer and divine healing. Prayer, in the religious sense, is the establishment of a rapport with the power of the other world; often merely for the strengthening of the social bonds between the human individual and an other-worldly person; but frequently for the promotion of the individual's other-worldly salvation. But prayer, once admitted as an effective contact with superior powers, becomes a magic rite for the production of mundane effects. The priest prays for rain; for the relief of disease; and for the success of his people in war. All such effects are theoretically capable of scientific tests: that is, they are magical. The use of rituals, medals, ikons, amulets, prayer wheels, and "religious"ceremonials of various sorts today, is far more magical than it is religious.
But that magic, even among savages and barbarians, is very frequently free from this religious element there is much evidence. The theory of much magic comes under the concept of mana, or power of a natural sort residing in objects and persons in this world. Just as the electric eel has the definite power (mana) of shocking another animal, and phosphorous has the power to ignite, and certain plants have the power to kill those who eat them, so many other objects, in magical theory, have resident powers: mana: which science finds non-existent, but which the savage believes to be as real as heat, light, and electricity. The relation of magic to science comes out clearly in these cases.
The mana attributed to persons, and to personal acts, is apparently
( 110) in its origin not conceived animistically, but in the same way in which the mana of inanimate objects is conceived. The power of the king's touch to cure scrofula or "king's evil" is like the power of the touch of the hangman's rope to cure barrenness in women. The baleful power of female "ceremonial uncleanness" and the closely associated power of the "evil eye" are like the power of vegetable and mineral poisons. The method of rain making in vogue in Java (two men thrashing each others backs with rods until the blood flows), does not differ essentially from the method in vogue in Australia (throwing pulverized quartz crystals over the women), or that in vogue in Maryland (hanging up a dead snake by the tail).
Not only has the development of religion contributed to magic, but magic has made its contribution to religion. The magic efficacy of contacts is utilized in the "laying on of hands" for religious purposes. The mana of medals, baptisms, and blessings, has its function in assisting the soul's salvation. And the magic importance of the name has become invaluable in many religions. The names of the gods or of the demons are of great aid to magicians in invoking their assistance; and the secret of the god's true name is often sedulously guarded in order that unauthorized persons may not use this powerful mana. Even in prayer of a purely religious nature the name of the divinity addressed gives the petitioner a powerful claim to his attention.
§3. Personal religion and social religion
We have seen that religion as an individual affair begins in dissatisfaction with the mundane system, and is completed in the belief in an extra-mundane world. This extra-mundane realm may be a realm of more abundant life, (more abundant satisfaction of desires), to be attained by man after death; it may be merely a realm in which superior beings have life more abundantly than is possible for man; or it may be merely a continuation of the mundane life, and there-
( 111) -fore to be avoided if possible. Any system of belief which fulfills one of these conditions is by common consent classed as a religion, and such classification is fully justified. It is not essential that each individual should take a pessimistic view of life before accepting a religious belief, and in the vast majority of cases the reverse is true; the individual accepts the belief in the other world during the optimistic period of youth, before the dissatisfactions of life have affected him. He is taught the religious belief which has been handed down from the past, and he is therefore already prepared for the intellectual and emotional synthesis when the conviction of evil finally strikes into him. This is the "conviction of sin," which plays such an important part in the transition from the faith that has merely been taught, to the faith that is personally accepted.
That pessimism in regard to life is well nigh universal is easily demonstrated. Ask an adult what he would choose if he were offered the alternatives of total annihilation, or of beginning his life over again, living it up to the present moment exactly as he has lived it, to face again the same alternatives. Make it clear that he is not, in his second life, to be allowed to profit by what he has experienced in the first; and the answer almost always is that he would choose annihilation. In other words, all life that has been lived is unsatisfactory, and man wishes to live because he hopes that the future will be different. Alexander Pope expressed this fact very neatly in his well-known lines: "Man never is, but always to be blest."
Personal religion has many consequences, both individually and socially. The most important social effect is the development of social religion, which begins almost as soon as personal religion commences. Having been once developed as a social system, social religion may persist with a minimum of personal religion, and many of its adherents may never have had any personal religion; for social religion, like personal religion is something that is very largely learned, not developed by the individual; and it is sometimes wholly learned.
The individual effects of personal religion are chiefly emotional. The person who has the faith in the God, or in the spiritual order, which will right his wrongs eventually, takes a different attitude towards the world from that of the man who has not that faith.
( 112) The calmness or happiness, and the greater power of endurance, which comes from the life of religious faith is well known. A similar ease, and heightening of passive endurance comes to the man who accepts the oriental religion of salvation through the cessation of the "wheel of life." But the total emotional effects of the Western and Eastern religions are not the same. There is less passivity, more initiative, resultant from the Western. In both, however, the emotional situation resulting from religion does increase the tolerance of suffering and deprivation, and hence religion of all sorts has been deliberately inculcated in the populace as a means of keeping the less fortunate classes patient and subservient, and thus maintaining the advantages of the more fortunate. Religion has been called the great "social opiate."
There are profound personal effects in the way of repentance, con-version, and so on, which vary from religion to religion, depending upon the subsidiary doctrines inculcated by various religious systems in connection with their modi operandi, or techniques of salvation. These phenomena of individual religions have their social aspects which are important matters for investigations, but not in connection with religion directly.
That there are, aside from the well marked phenomena mentioned, powerful effects of personal religion on the individual is evident from the extreme sensitiveness which almost all religious persons show in all matters connected with their religion. You cannot discuss the religious beliefs of the religious person in his presence, or in any way touch upon them, without eliciting some emotional response. It can safely be predicted that if a man or woman were so harnessed up that his breathing, blood pressure, pulse rate, and skin moisture were accurately recorded, (leaving out the far more important changes in other glandular and muscular systems), from changes in these alone we should be able to detect the presence or absence of real religion. If such a one, for example, should pronounce the solemn words of the Apostles Creed, and his pulse, blood pressure, breathing, and skin moisture should remain essentially unchanged, or changed only as the speaking of meaningless words would affect them, we would be certain that the formula has for him no religious aspect at all.
It is probable that social religion begins with the recognition of
( 113) the community of life. When one recognizes that his lot is the lot of all, and his chances of salvation the chance of all, he has attained to one of the fundamental factors in social life, the social consciousness. And this, because of the emotional foundation of religion, easily takes on an affective tone; the "group feeling," or "sympathy," as the older writers termed it. The recognition of the brotherhood of man is by no means essential to religion, but religion strongly tends to engender it. In many religions, this consciousness and this emotional attitude are deliberately intensified. In other religions they are deliberately limited to the special group, race, or fellowship which adheres to the religion, and their extension beyond these limits is inhibited. In some religions the group spirit, (as the consciousness of the group and group feeling together are called), is developed into an ethical system, in which duty to one's fellow is involved. But ethical considerations are not constituents in religions generally.
Social religion cannot be defined in terms of belief, or faith; for faith is on the personal side of religion. Social religion can be de-fined only in terms of feeling and action, and action is the paramount factor. Religious faith, since it is extra-mundane in its application, is non-practical. That is, it is a faith in extra-mundane things, and it is a faith which can in no wise be verified or checked up by the methods of science. The purposes involved in religion are also extra-mundane or non-practical. One does this or that, not in order to accomplish something in this world, but in order to achieve salvation, or to placate the gods in the other world, or to establish a social rapport with the extra-mundane order. The purpose to lead a holy life, for the sake of the peace of mind it might bring, is as distinctly practical and non-religious as if the purpose were to gain admission to a society clique, or election to the legislature, through the same means; and the results of such activity can be checked up as practically as can the results of dieting to grow thin. It would be belief in the efficacy of the means which would lead a man to adopt any of these courses; but it would not be religious belief.
Similar considerations apply to all religious activity. So far as this world is concerned, religious activity has no purposes beyond the activity itself. One does not go to church for the sake of the effects on this life's affairs, or rather, one frequently does; but such
( 114) attendance is by common consent non-religious. One goes to church religiously for the salvation of one's soul; or for the establishment of a comity with the extra-mundane realm; or one goes for the pure sake of going; and this latter purpose is distinctly religious in the social sense, if not in the personal.
Social religion, in short, consists in the seeking of common stimulations, of common feelings, and of common activities, with nothing further in view, except perhaps the purposes of the personal religion already described. Social religion is non-practical social experience and social activity.
It must be understood that this classification of activities as practical on the one hand, and non-practical on the other is based on purposes or intentions only. It is a fundamental principle of psychology that no activity, and no experience, (for experience is after all a form of activity), is devoid of consequences in the further life of the individual. But even these consequences are determined in part by the intentions or purposes involved in the activity. What-ever the effects any religious observances may have on the individual's further life, it is obvious that the effects will not be the same on the man who engages in the observance for religious reasons and the man who engages in them for business reasons, or because he dare not refrain, or for other practical reasons.
The distinction between "practical" activities and "non-practical" is, therefore, a vital one, and it is essential to an understanding of religion. If we should omit purposes from consideration we would have no occasion to discuss religion at all; and to a really "behavioristic" psychology "religion" is merely a name to be explained away.
In respect to religion as in respect to every other phase of life, we must distinguish between immediate purposes and ultimate purposes. The child in school, for example, may have at a given moment the immediate purpose of finishing a certain arithmetic problem; but he has also the ultimate purpose of going out to play, and must finish the problem in order to carry out that ultimate purpose. The ultimate purpose is not continuous; when we say he has the ultimate purpose, we mean actually that he has had it, but that the effects of the ultimate purpose persist in the immediate purpose. The actual continued persistence of ultimate purpose would inter-
( 115) -fere with the execution of the purpose through interference with the immediate purpose.
In the same way, the religious purpose may be the ultimate one, seldom occurring, but determining and strengthening certain other purposes which maintain the religious activity. It is not to be sup-posed that every time one goes to church he has in mind the purposes which have in the past determined him to the religious life. We have here one source of the endless and sometimes perplexing mixture of purely religious and semi-religious purposes and activities in the religious life. Although mundane satisfaction and happiness have no part in religious purposes, they are frequently experienced as a result of the carrying out of religious purposes, and may even be the objective of the immediate purposes which are dominated by ultimate religious purposes. One man, for example, derives great satisfaction going to church, another does not. The source of the first man's satisfaction is in the ultimate religious purpose of attending church for his soul's sake, and is the normal satisfaction of the various desires involved in the carrying out of a planned course of activity; the other man having no such religious purposes, is merely bored by the dull sermon and discordant choir.
Ultimate purposes and immediate purposes alike contribute to the formation of habits of action which function subsequently in the abeyance of the purposes. We need not be astonished when we find that the religious life, both social and personal, is in all cases pre-dominantly a matter of habit, into which purposes enter but seldom after they have done their work. Furthermore, we should expect to find, and do find, many persons of well developed religious habits, who have never had any religious faith or religious purposes. For these habits are usually inculcated socially, prior to the arousal to the faith and purposes, through the routine of home and school training. Such persons are by no means hypocrites, for they are
( 116) not pretending. They are, in fact, socially religious, although not personally so.
Religious activities may be classified roughly under three heads: (1) the seeking of common stimulation, (2) general motor activities, (3) complex systems of action and inhibitions.
1. Common stimulation is an important aspect of social religion. For such purposes noises, as of drums, cymbals, devil-devils, bull roarers, organs, orchestral instruments, and human songs; lights, as of candles, torches, sacrificial flames, stained glass windows, and more complicated lighting systems, along with the gleam of gold and jewels; odors, as of incense, the smell of burnt offerings; and the flavors of wine and foods are employed. Beyond serving the purposes of being subjected to the same stimulation to which the others in the group are subjected, many of the stimulating objects are symbolic, and the human speech employed is directly significant, so that common ideas are aroused by the common stimulations. Through these ideas, and also through the stimulations more directly, common feelings and emotions are aroused; and these are perhaps the most important results.
Even the sermon, in church religious ceremonies, has its powerful function in the arousing of common emotions through common ideas, and to far less an extent the function of teaching, or developing the religious ideas. The most successful sermons are those which are made up of phrases which are entirely familiar to the audience, and which have acquired the power to arouse certain types of religious feelings, often with little of the ideational meaning which the language originally had. Yet, the educational function of training the audience to form ideational and emotional habit is at times an important function of the sermon.
2. Under the head of more general motor activities, we include dancing, genuflecting, bowing the head, making the sign of the cross, and a long line of definite acts in savage and civilized religion which derive their importance wholly from the fact that they are common activities; that others of the religious group are engaged in them, or will engage in them, or have engaged in them in the past. The psychological value of a ritual which has been used for ages and is used throughout great areas of the world is enormously important. Applauding a speaker by the ejaculation of "amen!", for example,
( 117) is of religious value only in those groups in which it is commonly done and has long been done. The ejaculation of "atta boy!" would hardly serve the same purpose at present, although in the course of time it might become perfectly serviceable.
3. Among the complex system of activities and inhibitions we have a vast group of observances of high religious significance. The building of churches, monuments, and shrines, is a very significant religious activity, occupying sometimes long periods of time; an activity the significance of which transcends the mere obtaining of the completed edifice. The various systems of religious bodily mutilation produced throughout the savage world are important primarily as social activities, and the scars resulting from these mutilations are important as signifying that the activity has been carried out. Among many of the tribes of Africa and the Pacific Islands, who circumcise males, and sometimes females, and perform other mutilations of the body as symbols of initiation into tribal fellowship, the mutilations are but parts of an extensive ritual which accompanies them; and the scars are badges indicating that the individual has undergone not only the surgical operation, but also the other rites. The records of baptism, confirmation, and other ceremonials of the civilized churches serve the same purpose. Among the savages generally the various bodily decorations and ornaments employed in addition to scars are badges indicating the social status of the individual which has been conferred or recognized through the ceremonial activities which he has carried out; and indicating also the activities he is thenceforth entitled to carry on systematically. The question as to the extent to which these classifications are socially religious and the extent to which they are otherwise social, is one not easily solved in any society.
Social religion everywhere has involved complicated systems of acts which may not be done (which are tabooed), and acts which are obligatory; extending through the spheres of everyday life, quite outside of specific religious observances. In certain religions, one may not labor on the seventh day of the week. In certain religions the flesh of this or that animal may not be eaten. In certain others wine may not be drunk. In some religions one must always execute certain ceremonial acts before eating and drinking. To varying extents in different religions, religious activities and inhibitions are
( 118) commingled with the various practical activities of life. These systems are modified by the more independent rituals above mentioned. Foods, for example, which are tabooed to the young boy may be permitted after circumcision, or other initiation ceremonies; and the acquiring of higher badges of rank usually involves the assumption of further obligations of a religious nature.
Because of the impressively social aspect of religion everywhere, there has arisen a theory that religion is in its origin purely social, and that the personal elements were later added; a theory promulgated (although perhaps not originated) by Robertson Smith. According to this view, first comes the ritual: social actions which have no practical purpose. Then this ritual is given an interpretation; and as the interpretation becomes standardized and accepted, belief is thereby added. While it seems improbable that ritual could have actually arisen in this way, it is probable that through a process of progressive reinterpretations of the ritual, the original purposes may be lost sight of, and the beliefs essentially changed; or that the personal side of religion in which it originated may largely disappear. Certainly, in many savage religions, and in the religions of the ancient civilizations the personal element is reduced to a minimum. In these religions it makes little difference what the man believes, it matters much what he does religiously. Shaw has expressed this forcibly in "Androcles and the Lion," in which the Christians are told that they need only burn a little incense to the gods; that no one cares what they believe about them.
§4. The desires involved in religion
If one wishes to speak in terms of the "instincts" of the faculty psychology, then one may reasonably speak of a "religious" instinct. The so-called "instinctive" tendencies in man everywhere, as they are developed and modified by reactions to the environment, result in the production of religion. It is as reasonable to summarize these tendencies in terms of their results and call them collectively the "religious instinct," as it is to summarize the "reproductive" and "combative" tendencies as the "reproductive instinct" and the "instinct of pugnacity."
But it is more useful to consider religion from the point of view of the desires, which are actual psychological facts. There is no
( 119) reason to suppose that there is a "religious desire" except in the secondary form in which we have also a desire to go to the movies, a desire to teach mathematics, and so on ad infinitum. Religion is the resultant of all the primary or general desires, not of any one of them exclusively. Sex desire is no more involved in religion than it is in life generally, and all the other desires are involved in religion and in practical life. If man in general satisfied abundantly all desires except one, and if that desire were of paramount importance, a religion based on that desire might arise. Undoubtedly, the relative satisfaction of various desires varies greatly from individual to individual, and from social group to social group. For some persons whose sexual desires are relatively the least satisfied, religion may have a predominantly sexual basis. In others, it is the desire for power or for conformity or for shelter or for rest, or some other desire which is maximally significant. The sexual desires, being the most fully satisfied among primitive people, have obviously had the least to do with the early development of religion; the desire for food, shelter, rest, and conformity the most. In very few religions is the notion of sexual gratification an important aspect of the fuller life of the other world.
Religion as such has to do with the whole life of man, even though in particular religions now this aspect of life, and now that, have been emphasized. This is a fact which has been stressed so frequently and strongly that it needs no amplification, and the psychological basis of religion explains it.
§5. The language of religion
Among the stimulus patterns which are efficacious in arousing common ideas, common perceptions, and common feelings, we may distinguish three types, although these three shade into each other.
We have first the stimulation addressed to the various senses, which are primarily impersonal, and more or less directly efficacious in arousing feelings without the interpolation of ideas. Such stimulations, for example, as the odors of incense, the sounds of drums, musical instruments, and choirs, the dim radiance of candles, the glitter of brass, gold, silver, and gems, the richness of stained glass, and the glare of electric lights, and even many tactual and muscular stimulus patterns are widely used by religious organizations.
In the second place, the sight, sound, and frequently the odors, which emanate from other members of the group are profoundly efficacious. Concerted action in rising, bowing, and performing similar ritual acts contributes strongly to the social consciousness. The sounds of the voices of others repeating the same words, the sounds of their breathing, and the subtle "human odor" even in the cleanest congregation, all contribute. If one should study analytically the behavior of other members of the congregation, one could make many inferences as to their lives, habits, feelings, attitudes, but without this analytical attention, emotional effects are produced through the mere perception of activities connected with common beliefs and feelings and actions.
These two classes of religious stimulation are, however, but elementary forms. A still more powerful type of stimulation is found in language, including spoken, written, gesture, and symbol language. Without entering at this point into a discussion of the origin and development of language, we may describe language as made up of acts, and the effects of acts, to which ideational significance has become attached through a learning process. Among language-acts we include such things as nodding and shaking the head, the speaking of words, and the gestures of the deaf and dumb and other sign language. Among activity-effects in language we include written language and various types of pictorial and plastic representation which are called symbols.
Religion makes use of all these means of communicating ideas, and, through the use of the ideas, of communicating feelings. It even goes back and attaches ideational significance to the stimuli of the first class mentioned, so that the incense, the choir, the drums, and the contacts with the priest, become symbols of this, that, and the other phases of religious doctrines. The use of symbols of the
( 121) pictorial and plastic types is of special interest because of certain features of religious symbolism which have been used by theorists in interpretation of the psychology of religion.
The interrelations of verbal language and symbols are close and complicated. The representative principle involved in the two is obviously the same, and written language in fact had its beginnings in pictorial symbols. The symbolism developed in pictorial and plastic representations also resorts to ordinary language as a means of presentation, so that verbal or other language reference to the symbols serves in place of the symbol itself. The cross, for example, may be utilized in the form of the actual cross, of wood or of metal; or a picture; or the gesture of making the "sign" of the cross; or through the mere oral or written word "cross." In highly developed religions many symbols are presented almost exclusively in linguistic forms. But apparently, in earlier developments, the picture or object symbols predominated.
Many of the ancient symbols of religion, some of which have been handed down to Christianity through the Greek and Roman religions, are drawn from the sex life and the sex organs. Designs such as the "American" cross, the ankh, the inverted triangle, the pointed oval, and the crescent, each of which signifies the female principle, and therefore the female divinity; designs such as the tau-cross, the stable triangle, the fleur-de-lis, the spear or arrow-head, signifying the male principle or male divinity; and conventionalized representations of certain obviously distinguishable features of the human male and female have been widely used. Many natural objects were similarly utilized because of their resemblances in form, growth, or odor to details of sexual nature. Thus the dolphin and fish, the pomegranate, the palm tree, the dove, the garden, the moon 
( 122) and the earth are symbols of the female; the goat, the spear, the fig and fig leaf and the sun are symbols of the male.
Symbols of "perfection," or the highest form of life, are uniformly conventionalized representations of coitus; hence they are also mystic symbols of "union." Frequently these symbols are constructed by mere combination of male and female symbols: the six pointed star is the combination of the male and female triangles; the five pointed star of the female triangle and the arrow head. Sometimes, however, the symbols are more directly constructed, as in the case of tah-gook, of Korean origin, which represents "perfection" or the "generative power of nature" through two fish spawning; the swastika, the development of which is not so obvious; the Egyptian sign of coitus; and others which are still more naive and unmistakable.
The understanding of these symbols invests with significance a vast range of ancient tradition and religious ritual; as well as a mass of still prevalent superstition, such as that concerning the "evil eye," the "horse-shoe," etc. A superficial understanding of the subject, however, has led many people to suppose that the ancient and primitive religions were especially salacious or even obscene, and has led some of the older theorists whose speculations have more recently been adopted by Freud and his disciples to suppose that religion had its origin exclusively in the sex desire. Both of these suppositions are quite erroneous.
We have shown that religion has its root in all the desires of man, and the symbols of religion clearly exemplify this origin. In the Christian religion for example, although many of the symbols are sexual in their origin, the range of symbols is comprehensive. If we consider lilies, snow, leaves, the anchor, sowing and reaping, the path, the crown, the cross, the tree of life, Gethsemane, the Lamb of God, the purifying blood, baptism, the Eucharist, the flaming sword, the rock, the armour, the fire, the Lion of Judah, the ark of the covenant, the water of life, and an innumerable number of symbols, we find that some of these are sexual, but the vast majority refer to
( 123) other desires, and only an ingenious sophistry can give a sex interpretation to them. And the same principle applies to every religion which uses symbols extensively.
The importance of the symbols drawn from sex characteristics and sex functions came about through the emphasis which religion universally places on the ideas of creation and origin. This is true of the atheistic as well as the theistic religions. The notion of a power above the world upon which man can depend, as a means through which he can attain to the other life or escape from this one, is inevitably connected with the conception of the power which maintains and rules this world, and which perhaps creates it. Worship, or other activity having reference to creative energy, whether personal or not, is accordingly characteristic of religion almost universally.
For primitive man, and for man not so primitive, creation (or even maintenance) is always a vital process. That which becomes or is transformed, either grows vegetatively, or is produced through animal activity. Vegetable growth, and animal reproduction are the striking examples of creation, and it is natural that man should think of both of these in connection with the problem of ultimate origin. Notions drawn from the observation of both animal and vegetable reproduction have actually played a large rôle in the development of religion, although the cultus arborum has played a lesser rôle as compared with that of the animal cults.
Of all the creative manifestations in the world, the creation of a new human being is the most highly significant to other human beings, and it is no wonder that the procreative act, and those things and processes most closely connected with it, should have deep religious significance. Moreover, primitive man who is more frank and pure minded than is civilized man, treated these matters with an explicitness which shocks our prudish temperaments, and which is therefore misunderstood. We can readily understand why primitive man chose as the highest symbol of creative power the human generative organs; and why he chose sexual union as the supreme symbol, not only of the original process of creation, but of the re-generation which gives the life to come.
In later developments of religion, the representations of those symbols are substituted for the primary symbols, and results or final
( 124) processes are substituted for initial processes. Thus in Christian symbolism we speak of God as the father of all, and especially as the spiritual father of our rebirth, and have somewhat protected our sensibilities by largely (but not entirely) omitting reference to a mother, although the mother idea was regnant in the religions of Greece and Rome, and the religions of Asia Minor and of Egypt from which the Christian religious symbols were derived.
Among primitive religions the tendency to worship male and female divinities was widespread. The earth is the fruitful mother of all, the sun the father who causes the earth to bring forth. The arrow represents the sun's rays—and also the copulative organ of the human male; the "male" triangle represents fire, but more directly represents an obvious detail of the man's body. And so the symbols chosen to represent the female principle have in many cases a double origin.
In later religions the generative principles are multiplied. Thus, in the Roman theology there were Apollo, the sun; Jove, the thunder; Dionysus, the vital force in plant life; Neptune, the power of the sea; and Mercury, the power which urges the male to seek the female, and therefore the principle of discovery, invention, and science. The distinctions among female goddesses were on a more naively humanistic basis: Diana, the virgin goddess, symbolizes the generative capacity, as the power which calls upon the male to seek it, and she is therefore the goddess of knowledge, the wisdom who cries aloud in the street, challenging him who hath understanding to understand. The Great Mother and her prototypes are symbols of the female generative principle in action, creating under the stimulus of the male; not potential wisdom but wisdom understood, and made part of the life of man. Aphrodite and her numerous prototypes represent the amorous principle which primitive man recognized as distinct from the reproductive, although not isolated from it.
Through all these symbolizations, (for the gods are symbols), runs the conception of creative power and creative wisdom. In ancient literatures the characterization of sexual intercourse as "knowledge" is no mere accident. In many of the rituals of worship a great range of secondary sex symbols and sexual acts were involved. In many of the fully developed religions of ancient civilizations the
( 125) principal gods are twain. Osiris and Isis in Egypt; Moloch and Astarte in Phoenicia; Nebo and Istar in Chaldea; Bel and Belit in Nippur; Attis and Cybele in Phrygia, Odin and Friga among the Europeans; Shiva (Siva) and Durga in India. The process of creation of the world is described as an actual act of divine copulation. Shiva, in order to create life, formed a wife from himself, and the two generated the whole gamut of living beings. The god of the ancient Semites (the Sun) first created the Earth (female), and by fertilizing it, created all else. Indications of similar ideas are conspicuous in the religious tradition of many other peoples. We need not be surprised, then, at the multiplicity of sex symbols in religion, the apparent worship of the sex organs, or of representations of them, and the actual practice of sexual intercourse as a truly religious rite. These things are not the worship of sex, nor even the symbolization of merely sexual purposes, but are the indications of the foundations of religion in the whole life of man, including the sex life.
That the symbolism is often lost, and the symbols become the worshipped object, instead of the means to worship, is not surprising. The constant fight in religious progress is to prevent the transfer from the thing symbolized to the symbol, and it seldom succeeds.
§6. The social value of religion
It is apparent that social religion, as above described, is not sharply distinguishable from social play. Both are activities engaged in primarily for their own sake, although various other motives are
( 126) interwoven with both groups of activity. Individual religion, and individual play are distinguishable, it is true, but it is not clear that social religion and social play can be definitely distinguished except on the basis of their individual correlates. Certain types of social religion can be described as play determined by, or developed by, religious faith. Perhaps our concept of social religion might be restricted to those forms. On the other hand, it is difficult to draw the line between social religion and the play embodied in the rituals and symbolism of modern secret societies, organized athletic institutions, and many other formally and informally organized social groupings. The persistence of social religion after the loss of the personal element, and the existence of play organizations in which definite elements of religious faith are involved, seriously complicate the problem of distinguishing play and religion in their social form, which is perhaps after all a problem of definition. When we speak of the practical values of social religion, therefore, we must consider various social forms of play as well, as the distinction is not of paramount importance.
Social religion has two sets of values. It enlarges the means for the satisfaction of certain desires, limited as to their gratification; especially the desire for conformity, and the desire for preeminence. In addition to positions of importance in the public gaze attained by priests, medicine men, and other varieties of the clergy, and by the various types of "church workers" in the occidental churches, there is in the more complex religions an abundance of opportunity for individuals to attain preeminence through the holy life; as pilgrims, penitents, dervishes, religious recluses, conspicuous church attendants, and in a still simpler way as patrons, and donors of stained glass windows, charity funds, and other appurtenances of ecclesiastical organizations. The conspicuous uniforms of the Salvation Army and of the monastic orders, the green turbans of the descendants of the Prophet, and the titles of nobility granted by the papacy are not simply means of binding the individual to the organization; they are also rewards for his adherence. The lack of sharp distinction between religious and play organizations is illustrated by the similarity in the types of decorations and titles of rank conferred by the ecclesiastical hierarchies and by various modern "fraternal" or "secret" societies.
In earlier civilizations, religious organizations were important in the sexual gratification of the males, prostitution having been fostered first as a religious institution. Later churches, while abandoning prostitution, have never relinquished their claims to the regulation of sexual desires, and to the confirmation of marriage as an ecclesiastical function, although the state is slowly limiting the church in this respect in Europe and America.
The desire for activity has an important rôle in all social religion. Outlets for activity through worship, rituals, and various church functions are offered to those whose activities in other respects are limited largely to tedious routine, and this opportunity is of great value to many individuals. With the greater organization of other play activities, the church is seriously affected, and has not been regardless of its own integrity in setting its face against them. One of the most significant indications of modern times is the recent official abandoning by the Methodist Church of the ban against social dancing.
In addition to the furthering of individual satisfactions, which has, of course, further influence on social relations, religion has a direct social value of great importance, in its contribution to the formation of group consciousness and group spirit. When the same group is organized both religiously and economically, or religiously and martially, the group consciousness engendered by social religion carries over directly to the other organizations of the same people, and makes them more effective in war or in industry, as the case may be. Even a family, divided in its religious observances, is not so strong a family in other regards as the family united in a common worship. Furthermore, the training in subordination and cooperation, so essential to the efficiency of any large group, may be assumed to carry over from the religious organization to the practical ones, without contradicting modern conclusions regarding the transfer of training. Political imperialism and ecclesiastical hierarchism have always gone together, and although we may assume that both are the results of the same causes, rather than either the cause of the other, yet we must assume that each influences the other. Loosening the ecclesiastical bonds always accelerates the democratization of government, and vice versa. The antagonism of the Russian Soviets to the old Russian church is at least an intelligent antagonism.
( 128) At the present time the socializing function which was formerly so predominantly exercised by the church is to a large extent exercised by play organizations. Foot-ball as an organizer of college group-consciousness, and the Rotary Clubs as organizers in a wider field, are perhaps the most striking illustration of these agencies; but organizations of many sorts are at work in the same way. The iceman's ball, and the all-day excursion of the federated butchers, exercise what have been in other times and other places ecclesiastical functions, and the churches are forced into competition with their rivals even to the extent of installing dance halls and billiard parlors.
The fostering of ethical conceptions and ethical attitudes has been one of the methods used by the Christian churches and by some of the more ancient churches in the higher development of group consciousness; and morals undoubtedly have been advanced some-what by this connection. There are, however, two grave social dangers in the tying together of morals and religion, one of which concerns social religion, the other, personal religion.
A changing social religion offers an unstable basis for morals, and the morals involved in a fixed social religion are necessarily fixed also. The rapid overthrowing of the morals of a savage or barbaric society which adopts European customs is too well known to need description. Very frequently the change in religion is first accomplished; but the morals of the new religion do not get established before the old system is lost, so that the whole social fabric is wrecked. The converse proposition may be more difficult to establish, but it is a fact that moral progress everywhere is always opposed by established religious organizations, as the emancipation of women is opposed by the Moslem Church, and divorce-reform is opposed by the Christian Church. The tendency, where social religion and morals are combined into one system, is for that system to remain static, as the savage and so-called primitive cultures remained for long periods. It would seem, therefore, that there must come a time in every civilization when progress can best be served by the separation of religion and morals.
On the personal side, the union of religion and morals frequently has unfortunate results in a society which is not thoroughly static. Individuals who are taught to respect the rights of others merely because such respect is commanded by the powers of the other
( 129) world, frequently feel that the reason for morality is destroyed when their conceptions of the other world change. Many men and women have admitted that they accept moral obligations only because they believe that they will go to hell if they do not; or because they believe that in some other way they will be punished for moral delinquency; and that if they did not believe in hell or in God, they would have no reason for refraining from any crime they pleased to commit, and would have no compunctions against the commissions. A more damning indictment of religious faith could hardly be conceived. In dealing with college students, even, there is always the very serious danger that in changing their religious conceptions, whether upwards or downwards, one is undermining their morals. Until we can succeed in teaching morals quite apart from religion, the structure of society and the progress of the individuals within it are in serious and continuous danger.