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This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated.1908 Excerpt: ... CHAPTER H THE PHILOSOPHICAL ASPECT OF RELIGION It would, perhaps, be well to define at the very outset, if possible, the thing which we propose to...
This historic book may have numerous typos and missing text. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. Not indexed. Not illustrated.1908 Excerpt: ... CHAPTER H THE PHILOSOPHICAL ASPECT OF RELIGION It would, perhaps, be well to define at the very outset, if possible, the thing which we propose to discuss. But we do not indulge the foolish hope of condensing religion once for all into a bit of a formula. The time is probably not yet come for such a final definition, either descriptive or logical; and verbal definitions are, after all, only of secondary importance. But it ought to be possible to frame at least a tentative one that will answer the immediate purpose of this thesis, in which we are concerned, not so much with the philosophy of religion, as with its social significance. The sole question before us, let it be borne in mind, is what functions does religion subserve in society, understanding by society a psychically interacting group of people? But perhaps our tread will be firmer in the end if we first review, briefly, some past attempts of eminent philosophical, theological, anthropological, and, especially, sociological thinkers to precipitate, so to speak, into a few words what the human mind seems always to have held in solution. Of course here, as in all controversial fields, definitions are numerous, divergent, and contradictory. The phenomena are so voluminous and complex that they seem to baffle logical arrangement. Individual thinkers seem always to have appreciated clearly enough some particular aspect of religion, as their mental structure inclined them to sympathy either with the affectional, intellectual or ethical element revealed by it. Too often, also, controversial exigencies and dogmatic requirements have had a baneful effect upon these efforts, and every kind of liberty has been taken not only with the word religion itself but with its connotations. A definition that is at once...
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