RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY OF.
The philosophy of religion is that aspect of philosophy which employs itself with the fact of religion in view of its intellectual formulation. The conception of the philosophy of religion differs not only according as religion is defined, but also as the relation of philosophy to it is formulated. Religion may constitute the content of philosophy, so that the latter may absorb the former and become itself religious. Philosophy may easily become theosophy, or may even approximate mysticism, while satisfying all religious requirements. To such an extreme a religious philosophy would be superfluous. Again, as soon as a system of thought deals with the idea of God, and regards this as essential to its completion, or perhaps to the understanding of the entire world of experience, a religious philosophical side can not be denied to the same. Religion would always be touched upon, although such a thought-system would be unsatisfactory to a deeply susceptible religious disposition. If in these two related varieties a philosophical explanation is to be secured, this does not obtain for the later view of the philosophy of religion, the object of which is to recognize and explain religious phenomena or religion in general, both subjective and objective, by means of thought. This must take place on the basis of psychological investigation and the collection and use of historical materials. The first is to determine religion as such; the second is to present the evolution of religion and at least throw some light on its primal forms. This differs from the old view according to which religion was more or less philosophy, and the philosopher was assumed to be religious himself; or he at least professed the truth of the views about God and divine things set forth by him. Here the object of investigation is religion itself, and the investigator is not necessarily an adherent of such religion, or even religiously minded. An approximation to the first would occur where the investigator would preclude the impartiality of the result by bringing his own convictions into the test. The two forms are occasionally combined and first demand a historical review.
I. History.--l. Ancient: (§ 1). Early Greeks. Strictly considered every philosophical system of the universe involves a religious tincture, even if no religious feelings are brought to light. Here only those are to be selected in which a philosophy of religion comes into prominence, and of such only the principal ones. The statement of Xenophanes that the heaven or the world was God, appears as a religious affirmation, especially when compared with his vigorous attacks on anthropomorphism. Anaxagoras in his distinction between matter and spirit, in which he assigned the construction of order from chaos to the latter, did not call spirit by the name of the deity; yet he introduced the principle of dualism and furnished the basis for the development of the later deism. Socrates was a man of pious mind as shown in his teaching of the "dæmon" and in his conviction that the distinction between the rightness and wrongness of certain actions was to be referred directly to the deity, with which he believed himself to be in connection. For theology and the philosophy of religion he struck the keynote for the future in founding teleology as a world theory and relating all things in the interest of human welfare to the ordaining benevolence of the first cause from whose reason the human understanding is descended.
(§ 2). Plato and Aristotle. Plato's view of the world was not only ethical but religious. God is conceived as the absolute good; the phenomenal world is the sphere of evil and wickedness. The object of man is to flee to the world of ideas and so become like God, although this world is a copy of the higher one and can not be therefore contemned. The kinship of the soul to ideas, that is, the supramundane, constitutes its immortality. A considerably developed philosophy of religion appears in the metaphysics of Aristotle (q.v.) though the inner religious element as found in Plato is retired; yet Aristotle's system exerted a deep and manifold influence upon the philosophy of religion. He excludes from his ethics the inquiry of Plato into the metaphysical good or idea as the impulse of acquiring and practising good qualities. In his "First Philosophy," which he named also theologike, he presents his idea of God more definitely and clearly in strict deduction from his metaphysical principles. He distinguishes between the possible or potential and the actual. Every change into actuality requires an actual as agent. God must be the first agent, and must be pure energy, which is absolute form or immaterial spirit, and therefore unchangeable and one. As Spirit he thinks and the object of his thought is himself, and this is his activity, in which he enjoys the supreme felicity. In relation with the world he moves all, but neither creates nor transacts, he is the good or end toward which all things strive, just as one beloved, though unmoved and at rest, always exercises an influence upon the lover. The world, uncreated, always existed and will never cease to be; and, ever gaining in form and losing in matter, it strives after perfection, toward a similarity with God, the highest form of all. The idea of deification as it occurs in the later mystics indeed did not materialize in Aristotle, but the efficacious forms in nature may be taken as the representative content of God. God is in the world with his ideas, and while elsewhere Aristotle holds firmly to the transcendence of God, here there appears an immanence. It would follow, that, alongside of an expressed theism, there exists a pantheism. Aristotle sought to illustrate the relation by that of a general who is outside of the army yet prevails within with his authoritative plans. He became the esteemed authority for scholasticism, by his doctrine of God as well as by his logic, physics, and ethics.
(§ 3). Neoplatonism. Neoplatonism (q.v.), starting from the idealistic tendencies of these two prototypes, far exceeded them in subtle speculation and emphasis upon the religious. Not stopping at knowledge or mental activity as the highest aim of man with Aristotle, it pursued the example of Philo (q.v.) in the supreme union with the highest principle by means of ecstatic transport, indeed, only transiently, since the corporate soul can not wholly release itself from the earthly. In this unity which ultimately becomes continuous and eternal, man becomes deified, and a duality of the seeing and seen ceases in a complete unity called by Photinus, aplosis. Where the limit of intelligible thought is thus transgressed, it is doubtful if philosophy of religion can cover the ground. Certainly such doctrine issues not from speculation but inner experience; and those offshoots of superstition, such as the theurgy and magic of Jamblicus, must be excluded. But the theodicy is the most developed of all antiquity, and the prototype of that of the present. In Plotinus' argument for the divine justification, the individual must be viewed in the harmonious unity of the whole, and the worst fits into the harmony to set off the excellence of the good. He shrinks from defining the deity or unity, following Philo and the eclectic Platonists in regarding it as transcending all thought and being, of which there was to be predicated merely that it forbade all difference, multiplicity, or similarity. Here Pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite (see DIONYSIUS), Scotus Erigena (q.v.), and other German mystics fixed their points of contact. The last of this school, Proclus, presents the world development from unity.
(§ 4). Stoicism. Stoicism (q.v.) was preeminently entitled to the name of religious philosophy. Although it was materialistic, both in principle and results, and pantheistic, yet it not only presented the deity theoretically, but was richly tinged with religion, a fact which serves to account for its wide-spread popularity in the Roman world. The most distinguished save one of this school, the poet Cleanthes, proves his piety in his hymn to Zeus by praising the omnipresent, eternal reason of deity, which rules all and restores what human folly has subverted. The last representatives of the Stoic school, Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius (qq.v.), display deep piety in connection with their philosophic thoughts. On the physical side, the Stoics follow the Heraclitean principle that the primal matter was fire. The active power in the whole cosmic process is deity, giving all things form and support, permeating the world as a warm breath, as reason ordering all things, and containing within itself the separate rational germ forms from which individual appearances develop. The beauty and adaptability of the whole world and its parts point to the existence of a thinking, foreseeing, creating Spirit. The universe or God is to be regarded as having a consciousness, and from this follows the conclusion that the world has conscious parts; and as the whole is more complete than any part, it must have consciousness in a real measure. If deity is absolute reason it must reign everywhere, and all that is must be logical or rational. Thus on the physical basis there was optimism; on the ethical otherwise. Chrysippos compared men to maniacs. Human life was full of errors and moral faults, and it was the most woful of all dramas. Like the later Neoplatonists, whom they anticipated in some essential elements, the Stoics had to develop a theodicy, in order to save their logical deistic principle. However, to win ordinary acceptance for their doctrine, they were wont to make application to the individual and carry it to the absurd. Moral evil. on the other hand, was a burden, imposed upon guilty man. The Stoics were fond of the antithesis that on the physical side ruled the law of necessity by the inevitable connection of cause and effect; on the ethical side, if it was a question of will and act, man should be capable of free choice. The efforts to demonstrate the transition from the possession of the Logos to the bad as well as the relation of necessity and freedom were unsuccessful. An interesting side to Stoicism is its explanation of myths, in which it is the successor of Cynicism. Anxious to make a connection with the popular mind and unable to adopt polytheism and its myths, it resorted to the allegorical method. Myths were explained as allegories of natural or moral life, and the gods as personifications of powers. This method was taken over by Jewish writers, particularly Philo, and became popular in patristic Christian Scripture interpretation. As the supernatural or supramundane did not come within the horizon of the Stoics, their physical theory was theocentric in the nature of their hylozoic heritage, and their ethics was in close adjustment with nature as a whole, as shown by their sharp ethical interest in necessity and freedom. To live in harmony with nature and reason was not infrequently a religious enthusiasm. Religious philosophy touches upon Epicureanism (q.v.) so far as this undertook to explain religious ideas by ignorance and fear and looked upon them as causes of the worst evils.
(§ 5). Eclecticism. Though Stoicism permeated Christian thought with its influence, it was not transplanted like Neoplatonic idealism or mysticism. Pseudo-Dionysius in coupling Neoplatonism with Christianity took much from Proclus. In his "negative theology" God the nameless transcends both positive and negative predicates. In his "affirmative theology" God the all-named embraces all realities. In addition a symbolic theology takes its nomenclature from the world of sense. Essential is the abstraction from all positive and negative attributes as God, a sort of mystical negation of knowledge combined with a transport to God and a "theosis," or deification, the final ideal of the Neoplatonists as well as of the Church Fathers, such as Clement, Origen, Hippolytus, and Athanasius. Closely following him in identifying true philosophy with religion and in the distinction of negative and positive theology was Scotus Erigena (q.v.). The procession of individual things from deity, which he conceives somewhat like the emanation theory of the Neoplatonists, he calls unfolding; the reunion of multiplicity in God is effected by the Logos. Pure pantheism, represented by Amalric of Bena and David of Dinant (qq.v.), was doubtless related from Scotus and with him branded as heretical, but mystics like Bernard and Hugo and Richard of St. Victor (qq.v.) were tolerated, although they indulged transport and absolute submission to God as the highest aim not to be attained by human will and power, but by divine grace. Not speculation, but practical mysticism in the fullest form appears with Meister Eckhart (q.v.) and his followers, who were professed pantheists. The souls fall into ecstatic transport while the body is as dead; and upon their return, no expression of what transpired is possible in words. It claims to have been where it was before its creation, where God is and he alone.
(§ 6). The Church Fathers. The Christian Gnostics (see GNOSTICISM) may be said to have made the first attempt at a Christian philosophy of religion. Their system consisted not so much of speculative conceptions as of the presentation of a fantastic world, or Christian mythology, which was not to be acknowledged by the Church. Aloof from this kept Justin Martyr (q.v.) who, the first of the apologists, regarded himself a Christian and philosopher, and assumed all the true and rational to be Christian also. Hellenic in speculation, he presents God as nameless and indescribable, yet one, eternal, unbegotten, and unmoved. He reigns over the heavens and first begat the Logos by whom he created the world. Less pronounced as Christian were Athanagoras and Minucius Felix. The former argues for monotheism on rational grounds. The gods are supposed to be localized, but this is impossible as God, who created the world, was in the space outside the world, where no other God could be; and, if localized there, could not concern those in the world; and he would, as circumscribed in his presence and operation, be no true God. The latter deduces the knowledge of God, though in- complete, from the order of nature and organic adaptability, and monotheism from the unity of nature. The earliest originality of thought appears with the Alexandrine school, which entered a closer inquiry into the relation of believing and knowing; and employed philosophy to lift the former to the latter. According to Clement (q.v.) no positive knowledge of God is possible; knowable is the Logos, the mediator between God and the world, wherefore the order of the world is rational. Indebted to Philo, yet he exceeds him and the subsequent Neoplatonists in teaching that the real gnostic becomes not only like God but is incarnate god himself; and that he swathes divinity not only in special ecstatic hours but enjoys eternal rest in God. With Origen (q.v.) the conception of "restitution" takes the place of theosis; after being cleansed from sin, men are restored to the original state of happiness and goodness. His "First Principles" is an attempt to systematize Christian dogma, and presents much for the philosophy of religion; especially, in the beginning, where God is declared to be the eternal ground of all existence, and much that is Neoplatonic appears. Dependent on him are the Greek Fathers of whom Gregory of Nyssa (q.v.) was the speculative representative and the precursor of medieval scholasticism by explaining that the name God stands for the essence of deity and not the persons (hypostases); so that the three divine persons constitute one deity. His superior speculative gifts are evidenced also in the attempt to prove the church doctrines by reason, in which the Scripture was included. Augustine (q.v.) was as much philosopher as theologian, so that he may well-nigh rank as a Neoplatonist; but above speculation rises his strong religious feeling. The ground of all knowledge is in the consciousness of man's spiritual processes. The only eternal truth is God, who embraces all true being and is the supreme good. The Aristotelian categories can not be applied to him. He is "good without quality, great without quantity, a creator without want, reigning without position, upholding all things without condition, everywhere whole without place, eternal without time" (De trinitate, v. 2; Eng. transl., NPNF, 1st ser., iii. 88). He is the supreme essence, has given being, though not the highest, to things created in graded series, and upholds the world by incessant re-creation, without which it would sink into primal nothing. Here beside transcendence is immanence. The "City of God," which presents historical development from the religious point of view, at the conclusion carries the temporal over into the eternal, and marks a distinction for all time between the eternally blessed and the eternally damned.
2. Medieval: (§ 1). Anselm and Successors. Augustine's influence upon scholasticism was considerable, especially by the Platonic and Neoplatonic elements. The axiom of Anselm of Canterbury (q.v.), "I believe that I may understand," was taken from him, and from the Alexandrines preceding. Reason is above faith like a superstructure above the foundation; not to dispute its right and content, but, assuming at the outset what is to be proved, to set it forth in a clearer light. Beside the cosmological argument that the ascending series of the created things must presuppose a final self-existent being as first cause, Anselm definitely formulated the ontological argument, that the highest which is God must be not only in thought but in reality as well, otherwise a higher could be thinkable. In the history of the argument for the existence of God, Anselm's position is one of the most eminent; for it must be acknowledged that the being of God, as securely established for the religious consciousness, can never be omitted from the definition. His doctrine of the Trinity, that the speaker and the spoken word are two and yet one so that there occurs a "reflex," is somewhat artificial. In his atonement theory he conceives the guilt of mankind, because committed against the infinite God, to be infinitely great, to be atoned for by an infinite punishment or its equivalent. The whole human race, unable to give satisfaction would fall under total condemnation; hence, satisfaction could be only vicariously rendered, and by God himself, that is, by the second person of the Trinity, who must needs become incarnate. The death of Christ is a positive act, satisfying God's justice by virtue of his goodness, not by a penalty. Anselm had advanced so far in his rational proofs of even specific doctrines that the leading scholastic successors had to retrench. Albertus Magnus (q.v.) gave up the proof of the Trinity and introduced a distinction sharpened by his pupil Thomas Aquinas (q.v.), between such propositions as, given by revelation, were above, though not contrary to, reason; and such as were established by reason alone, the Trinity being among the former. In the proof of the unity of God, he rests on the monotheism of Aristotle, who is his philosophic basis throughout. Anselm's argument for the existence of God is, for him, not binding. Although it is a matter of faith, yet Aquinas offers a series of proofs partly Aristotelian. On the other hand, even before Anselm, there were among scholastics partizans of the reason. Berengar of Tours (q.v.) stated that contrary to truth is equivalent to contrary to reason, a sentence that could be readily inverted. Abelard (q.v.) went so far as to invert the axiom of Anselm into, "I understand that I may believe," to rationalize Christian verities, and to designate the persons of the Trinity as power, wisdom, and goodness. Raymond Lully (q.v.) declared that all Christian dogmas could be proved; while the nominalist William of Occam (q.v.) affirmed that whatever is beyond experience must be resigned to faith, and that the existence of God could not be shown either by experience or on rational grounds. Thus, the relation between believing and knowing, revelation and reason, philosophy and theology, occupied the place of prominence from Clement throughout the Middle Ages. The same problem continued in the Renaissance, in which an independent philosophy of religion was reawakened, in more or less indebtedness to antiquity. Without mentioning further the schools hitherto treated, which continued in their philosophical significance, among those contributing peculiar aspects of thought appears Nicholas of Cusa (q.v.), who was indebted to Neoplatonism, Meister Eckhart (q.v.), and, particularly, to scholasticism. Denying with the nominalists that Christian dogmas are to be demonstrated by reason, he teaches that God is the absolute maximum and absolute minimum, present in all things, resolving in himself irreconcilables, unknowable in his essence, cognized by the negative of knowing (docta ignorantia), and immediately to be perceived, yea by ecstasy to be reached. The world of phenomena is the unfolding of what is contained in God, and each individual thing represents the infinity of God. The search for the truth constitutes religion, which is knowledge apprehending God, and its end is blessedness. On the whole he shows himself a pantheist and mystic in what is characteristic of his views, and his advance step is his inclination to the exact sciences; particularly, the infinity of space and time in the universe, taken up by his pupil Giordano Bruno (q.v.). To Bruno the universe is deity, and he scarcely distinguishes between God and nature. The three ideal principles of form, moving cause, and object he makes one in the organism with matter. Tomaso Campanella (q.v.) sought to prove that all religions were originally one and the same, namely, purely natural, and that all things strive for self-preservation, which is to return to their real principle, which is the deity. The four varieties of this process are the four kinds of religion: natural, animal, rational, and supernatural. Beside reason supplemented by revelation there is an "inner touch," united with the love of God. For God's existence, he adds to innate and supernatural knowledge another proof. Man as a finite being can not originate the representation of the infinite being which he possesses; therefore, the infinite which causes it necessarily exists.
3. Modern: (§ 1). Descartes; Spinoza. The same argument was reproduced by Descartes (q.v.), who thought to prove the existence of God beyond a mathematical certainty. The above he develops into a particular cosmological argument: man, inasmuch as he possesses a realization of God, would not exist if God did not exist. Had he created himself he would have given himself all possible perfections; but sprung from his ancestry, there must be for the series of descent a first cause. The ontological argument is stated differently from Anselm. All perfections are to be predicated of the being or idea of God; existence is a perfection; therefore, God necessarily exists. God is the eternal, unchangeable, omniscient, omnipotent, self-existent substance, and this created the extended thinking substances. Matter is inert and all changes take place by cause and effect. God's control of nature is the mechanical; the sum of matter and movement is constant. Though he was lacking in religious inwardness, yet a concern for religion in putting up these arguments for the existence of God can not be denied to Descartes. Spinoza (q.v.) in his Tractatus theologico-politicus endeavors to point out the essential difference between religion and philosophy. Each has its own peculiar object; reason dealing with truth and wisdom, theology with piety and obedience. It is not necessary to reconcile them, and not possible, since the Bible deals with moral laws only. In the philosophy of the identity of spirit and matter he is wholly a pantheist (deity being equivalent to substance or that which is) and a naturalist. He may be regarded as a strong religious personality, if absorption in the universal, in love for the universal or God, which rests upon intuition, may be called religion; but irreligious if the counter-relation of God and man be included. The personality of God is excluded since even will and reason are denied to him; and there can be no designing providence, since the process of becoming follows after mechanical, mathematical laws. All things proceed from the nature of God by inevitable necessity, and his power and being are identical. The good is a conception of the human imagination, which obtains for man only; and there is no absolute good. God is both spirit and body. The essence of spirit is thought which issues in the intuition of God, bringing perfection, freedom, salvation from suffering, and joy, which is love, to its object.
(§ 2). Leibnitz. In place of the dead mechanism of Spinoza, Leibnitz offers his postulate of a development from within, toward distinct ends, by a scale of monads instinct with life and power. With this he attempts to combine the mechanism. On the antithesis of faith and reason, he maintained that some acceptable truths of revelation are incapable of rational proof; but they are valid, if only they be not contrary to reason. The latter he limits to what is contrary to the eternal and absolutely necessary truths; and thus he makes room to accept the church doctrines as possible, including that of the Trinity. God is the final absolute monad, the primal unity and highest good, yet present to all the individual monads. He necessarily exists, as the cause common to all the finite monads; otherwise the mutual adaptability between the monads and between body and soul would not be possible, whereas the universal harmony among them must be a preestablished one. The first cause has so organized each monad that it reflects the whole more or less perfectly. The ontological argument he deemed valid only if the idea of the perfect being be shown to be possible, which he regarded to mean as including no limits or negation. The cosmological argument he construes so that, starting out with the contingency of finite things, a necessary absolute first cause must be presupposed. Inasmuch as every monad is a reduced reflex of the highest, God's attributes may be deduced by exaggerating those of the soul to the utmost. The world composed of distinct monads rising in their scale according to the clearness of representation must be the best possible world; for, if not, God either would not or could not create a better. The first is contradicted by his goodness; the second by his omnipotence. In his theodicy he recognizes metaphysical, physical, and moral evil which he explains as a negative condition of the imperfection of the finite monads. In addition, without evil there would be no good; moreover, it multiplies the good, like Adam's sin, the occasion for Christ's redemption. On the ground that the being of all monads is representation, religion is based on the representation of the highest monad, that is, God. This knowledge of the perfect toward which the human monad strives originates love for it. Human souls have a sense of kinship to God, whose attitude toward them is not as to creatures but like that of sovereign to subject or father to children. Here is the point of departure for the antithesis of the kingdom of nature and the kingdom of grace. Inasmuch as love to God is dependent on correct representation or cognition, intellectualism is implanted upon the domain of religion. Ascending degrees of illumination bear with them corresponding degrees of religion, morality, and happiness. The path is open to the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century.
(§ 3). The Enlightenment; English and French Deists. Christian Wolff (q.v.), chief representative of this period, sets himself the task of providing a clear, distinct knowledge, without which the aim of mankind or happiness can not be reached. In his Theologia naturalis he treats extensively the proofs of God's existence and attributes. He prefers the a posteriori argument that the contingency of the world presupposes necessarily a first cause, without which it is not intelligible. But to be considered an adequate ground for the world, reason and free will must be ascribed to him, and he must be infinite Spirit. To this, the a priori concept of his predecessors is added. Revealed theology is not disputed, and revelations transcending reason are not contrary to reason. As God is omnipotent, he can afford immediate revelation by miracle. H. S. Reimarus (q.v.) is to be classed as a deist so far as he denied all divine miracle save that of the original creation. Any miracles in addition would negate the wisdom and perfection of the Creator, since they would imply later interference as necessary. Most distinguished in the rationalistic Enlightenment was Lessing (q.v.), who conceded to historical revelation a temporary significance to be superseded as soon as reason had deduced its truths from its own ground. The early English philosophers show a minor appreciation for the religious. Francis Bacon (q.v.) entertained the idea of parallels; religion and science can not be merged. The result of mixing science with religion is unbelief; vice versa, fantasy. Thomas Hobbes (q.v.) finds the motive of religion as well as of superstition to be fear of the unseen powers. It is the former when acknowledged by the State, otherwise the latter. To oppose personal conviction to the faith enjoined by the sovereign is tantamount to revolution. Herbert of Cherbury (see DEISM, I., § 1) asserts the independence of reason in the domain of religion, finding the "marks in common," and obtaining five natural truths of religion, to which belong the existence of God, duty, and retribution. It is customary to regard him as the first deist. His view that the idea of God is innate is denied by Locke in his empiricism. The existence of a Supreme Being is more certain, however, to him than the reality of the external world, but by way of reflection, supported by the cosmological argument. Divine revelation is not denied, but must not contradict reason. John Toland (q.v.), the first to be designated "free thinker," claimed that Christianity did not necessarily contain anything mysterious and that the Christian doctrines presented nothing above or contrary to reason. A chief work of English deism was William Tyndall's (q.v.) Christianity as Old as the Creation, in which it is taught that natural religion was perfect from the beginning, and was restored by Christ. Radical opposition to rational dogmatism in religion, as well as against deism and natural religion, appears with David Hume (q.v.) in his skeptical theory of knowledge. Religious principles can not be proved by reason, but must be accepted by faith. In his Natural History of Religion (1755) he laid the permanent foundation for a philosophy of religion, the purpose of which is psychological analysis and the investigation of historical development. This method did not present monotheism but polytheism as the primitive form. The roots of religion were passive, fear and hope, not the perception of nature and reflective thought. Pressed by natural necessities, and anxious and restive before the uncertain accidents of life and impending evil, particularly death, men asked what the future would bring, and encountered with surprise traces of deity. To refer all to one being was not possible among the varying circumstances; and the tendency of comparison with self led to the anthropomorphic conception. Monotheism came not by reflection and the perception of a universe conformable to law, but from practical reasons beginning with the idea of God as Creator and Ruler. Oscillations between monotheism and polytheism occur later, even in Christianity. As regards tolerance, monotheism is behind the other, which by nature may admit contemporary forms. The principles of English deism were transferred to French soil by Voltaire (q.v.), whose famous sentence was: "If God did not exist he would have to be invented, but all nature acclaims that he is." He attacked Christianity violently as based on illusion, and spreading fanaticism and superstition. [In justice to Voltaire it should be borne in mind that his antagonism was not to religion itself, but to degenerate religion as exemplified by the extremely corrupt forms and practises current in the France of his day.] Baron d'Holbach (q.v.), on the other hand, in his Système de la nature (1770) taught radical atheism, claiming that the divine potencies were products of a deceived imagination, prompted by fear and ignorance, and that the idea of God was unnecessary and injurious, the cause of unrest instead of comfort.
(§ 4). Kant and Criticism. Kant (q.v.) revolutionized the status of religion in shifting the basis to morality, though he belongs to the Enlightenment. In his earlier Allgemeine Naturgeschichte und Theorie des Himmels (1755) he postulates a first cause upon the purposive operations of the powers of nature. In his Der einzig mögliche Beweisgrund zu einer Demonstration des Daseins Gottes (1763), a skepticism about proofs for the existence already appears. He states that Providence did not leave the views necessary to happiness dependent upon subtle deductions, but to the immediate perceptions of natural common sense. Yet he reasons a priori that it is impossible that nothing exists; for that would mean that all that is requisite for the possible was made void; but that whereby all possibility is removed is itself impossible. In the statement at this place, that it is necessary that one convince himself of the existence of God but not necessary that he demonstrate it, he anticipates the foremost conclusion of his critical work; that, where knowing ends faith begins, which has a sure foundation on the moral. Significant is it that intellectualism for religion was here dethroned. In the "Critique of Pure Reason" the proofs for the existence of God are subjected to severe criticism. The ontological argument is void because existence can not belong to the real predicates of the most perfect being along with the others, but is rather a judgment of the object together with all its predicates. The cosmological and physico-theological arguments require the ontological for their completion, and are therefore not conclusive. Even if the cosmological were conclusive, it would yet fall short of proving the perfectness of the final cause, which the idea of God calls for; and if the teleological argument would show a supermundane being, such would not be an omnipotent Creator but the cosmic architect, in view of universally manifest design. Proceeding to positive theology in the search for the certainty of the existence of God, Kant does not dismiss rational belief from philosophy, as was formerly done in the absolute separation of knowledge and faith, but he does not admit it as knowledge. The existence of God obtains as a practical postulate alongside of freedom and immortality. The combination of virtue and happiness is an a priori-synthetic judgment and thus necessary, but does not become actual on account of the non-agreement of the natural and moral laws. Hence a supernatural being is postulated holy and just, who effects this reconciliation by reason and will. This is known as the moral argument, the central point in the moral theology in the "Critique of the Practical Reason." Again, belief in God's existence is based on the conscience, as the consciousness of the inner court in man, which appears in dual personality of accuser and judge. The accuser must conceive himself under another being, almighty but moral, God. The fact remains undetermined whether this is a real or an ideal person invented by reason. The keyword of Kant's ethics is duty, the categorical imperative in man, whereby he legislates for his own choice and conduct. All duties are divine commands; wherefore God and the legislator in man would coincide. This might point to a form of pantheism, which Kant, however, could never have confessed. The moral ground or moral consciousness of "religion within the limits of reason alone" is emphasized by the omission of other motives of religion; he would mark the limits against whatever of revealed religion is not rationally apprehended. All religious practise or conduct which issues not from ethical law is sham. The moral order is inverted by the ceremonial element in religion, which is fetish worship. Such also is prayer considered as an inner formal act of service, as a means of grace. The spirit of prayer is the consciousness with every act, of doing it in the service of God. In the "Critique of Judgment," with reference to the existence of God, all things are to be explained, of course, by mechanical laws, but this does not exclude the reflection, with reference to forms of nature or even to nature as a whole, upon the fundamental principle of their objective causes. Not to be able to escape the idea of purpose argues for the dependence of the world upon, and origin from, a being existing beyond the world, and this is rational because of design. God's existence, however, is not proven but here merely rests upon reflection upon design in nature.
(§ 5). Fichte; Schelling. J. G. Fichte (q.v.) in his Versuch einer Kritik aller Offenbarung (1792) at first adopted Kant's moral view of rational faith; but, in addition, assumed that, where there is a state of moral depravity, miracle and revelation may serve as stimulants to morality. Later in his treatment of the ground of faith in a divine government of the world, which gave rise to the atheistic controversy, he made religion to be faith in the moral order, which in its energy and operation is God. To assume beyond this that God is a special substance is impossible and contradictory, and his opponents are the real atheists who have no God, inasmuch as they set up an idol which debases the reason and multiplies and perpetuates human misery. The positive religions are institutions which morally preeminent men have set up to effect in others the development of the moral sense. They employ symbols to present abstract thoughts to sense and propagate religion in wider circles; but the essential element is that of something supersensible not contained in nature, and the end of the development is the rational ethical faith. Soon after, however, Fichte passed from subjective idealism or the absolute Ego over to the absolute as the middle ground of philosophy. God is absolute being, in whose absolute thought nature is opposed as the unreal non-ego. Religion is no longer mere morality, a mystical strain is added. The world of changeable phenomena is merely unsatisfying appearance, a mirage. To think oneself and all the universe in terms of unchangeable being is faith. True life is in God, the really unchangeable being, and this is the love of God. Philosophy and religion are identified. Finite being has a share in deity, varying according to degrees of consciousness. Religion is merely assertory; philosophy explains the how. Hence there must underlie a cosmic theory, so that metaphysics is the immediate element of religion, even religion itself. Schelling (q.v.), far from being religious, regarded matter or nature itself as the divine, in his natural philosophy (1797-99). But in his philosophy of identity (1800-1802), the absolute, which is the identity of subject and object, and is the condition of the existence of every individual thing, is to him as God. Philosophy and religion consist in the intellectual perception of the infinite or absolute in the finite. Paganism consists in degrading the infinite to the finite; Christianity reverses the process. He approximates a mysticism of the kind of Jakob Boehme (q.v.) in his Untersuchungen über das Wesen der menschlichen Freiheit (1809) and in his reply to F. H. Jacobi against the charge of atheism and naturalism he states that God is to him first and last; the former as impersonal indifference or the absolute; the latter as personality, the subject of existence. The usual theism was impotent and empty; the mystical and irrational are the real speculative. In his "Positive Philosophy," which is religious, philosophical, and mystical, he would not show from the concept of God his existence, but from existence would demonstrate the divinity of that which exists. If a positive exists as transcendent, it is to be taken up with the historical religions. But religion is either mythology or revelation, i.e., incomplete or complete. Therefore positive philosophy is essentially philosophy of mythology and revelation. Though furnishing no united system, Schelling stimulated much activity in the field of philosophy of religion. Of his followers, the fantastic K. A. Eschenmayer attempted to convert philosophy into its negative, or religious faith; and K. C. F. Krause, who called his doctrine panentheism, sets forth fundamentally God or being as the one good, and the perception and inner appropriation of the same as religion, or the participation in the one life of God.
(§ 6). Schleiermacher. From the ethicized types of religious philosophy of Kant and Fichte, Schleiermacher (q.v.), in his Reden (1799), made a signal departure, and from the rationalistic as well, not without a certain degree of shallowing. The same views are essentially reproduced in his Dialektik (1811) and Der christliche Glaube (1821). He finds in man as the basis of religion a particular faculty, the pious sense or feeling, for the thought of which he was indebted to Romanticism (q.v.). By means of it there is an immediate intuition or feeling of the infinite and eternal amid the finite. To feel everything as a part of the whole and to become one with the eternal is religion. Piety or subjective religion is neither a matter of cognition nor action, but a determination of feeling or self-consciousness. When it is stated that religion is based upon the feeling of absolute dependence, it follows that in this consciousness the infinite being of God is given with the being of self. This feeling springs from the sense of contingency in everything, where from the self and the external universe are related back to a final ground, the deity. No cognition of God precedes this feeling but every judgment of God arises from it. God is the absolute unity of the ideal and the real. As we think only in antitheses, we can not apprehend the notion of God clearly in thought. Attributes of God do not represent real aspects of his being or activity but obtain only for the religious consciousness; the same is true of personality. Life, however, is the one thing necessary in God, whereby Schleiermacher escapes the inert idea of Spinoza. Pantheist he has been declared, not unjustly in view of such statements as that God could never have existed without the world. The unity of nature in relation to consciousness precludes interference or miracle. A determinist, freedom to him is no more than development of personality. Natural or rational religion is a mere abstraction. The various religions are representations of the idea of religion rising in scale according to the degree of the feeling of God and the elimination of differences in generalization. The influence of Schleiermacher must be taken as a wholesome reaction from the sterile rationalism and hard ethicism of the eighteenth century.
(§ 7). Hegel. More one-sided is the view of religion of Hegel whose panlogistic or even pantheistic system is the science of the evolving, absolute reason, whose evolution for thought and being is one and the same. Religion is a stage in the unfolding of spirit and takes its place in the last part of his philosophy of spirit, that of absolute spirit, which is the combination of the objective and subjective spirits. This means the spirit in the form with reference to self, and the spirit which objectifies itself in right, morality, and ethics. The absolute spirit reveals itself in the objective form of sense as art; in the subjective form of feeling and representation as religion in the narrower sense, while in the wider sense the absolute spirit is religion on the whole, and in the subjective-objective form of truth it is philosophy, which is the self-thinking Idea, the self-apprehending consciousness, the self-realizing truth. The content of religion is also truth; not as it appears to the really apprehending consciousness, but as it appears in the lower stages of representation as images and myths. Philosophy is to engage itself with religion as with art, either to operate or abolish it. This does not mean a degradation of religion, but that philosophy is to justify the exalted content of religion for the thinking consciousness and reason. Though he places representation in the forefront, this does not deny the place of feeling, which he occasionally strongly emphasizes. It is of importance to him that in feeling is the ground for the assumption of the existence of God, though inconceivable from this source; yet he would place it in the earliest stage of development. The different religions represent stages of development, of which the Christian only is the complete. Bound by his dialectic method of triads he finds three main divisions: the religion of nature, of spiritual individuality, and the absolute religion. Each of these has its three stages. The first includes the stage of immediate naturalism, that of the bifurcation of consciousness, where God the absolute power towers over the individual; and that of the transition to freedom. The second includes the religions in which God is viewed as subject; that of sub1imity, the Jewish; that of beauty, the Greek; and of the practical, which is the Roman. Christianity is the absolute religion, knowing God as externalizing himself to finiteness and in unity with the finite; revealed, realizing that God comes to consciousness in the finite ego, first apprehending God as Spirit. The nature of spirit being to posit something outside of and then to reenter self, three forms result: God, the eternal Idea in and with itself, the kingdom of the Father; the form of manifestation, the difference, the eternal Idea in consciousness and representation, which is the kingdom of the Son; the return to itself, the atonement, the kingdom of the Spirit. If a contradiction be pointed out in this idea of the Trinity, it remains that all the living is contradiction in itself and in the Idea the contradiction is resolved. Expressions in the idea of the Trinity objectionable to reason such as son, begotten, occur because representation can not free itself from the intuitions of sense.
(§ 8). Post-Hegelian. The influence of Hegel in this field was more tremendous even than that of Schleiermacher. The left and right wings ranged themselves with reference to the position to be given to religion; whether, as basis of church doctrine, it was to retain its independent right, since Hegel had determined its content and that of philosophy as the same; or religious dogma was overthrown by philosophical concept. The one supported theism and individual immortality, the other took up pantheism, inasmuch as God came to self-consciousness only in man, and it accepted only the idea of the eternity of spirit in general. Distinguished on the left are D. F. Strauss and L. A. Feuerbach (qq.v.). The former, in his Leben Jesu (1835-36) and Glaubenslehre (1840-41), taught that Hegel himself early overthrew the representative form; that Biblical narrative rested mostly on myths; that Christian dogmas had to exterminate themselves in their development; and that God was not a person but an infinite substance, thought in all the thinking, life in all the living, and existence in all being. Feuerbach illustrates in his sentence, "God was my first thought; reason my second, man my third and last," his passage from Hegelian pantheism to radical anthropomorphism or naturalism. In Das Wesen des Christentums (1841) religion and philosophy are claimed to be distinct, related like fancy or sensibility to thought, the sick to the healthy. Considering religion in humanity in its source, it is found that its object is not to know or represent but to satisfy. The necessities, the egoism, have so ordered religion that it has a thoroughly eudemonistic character. Man projects his own being into the infinite, places this opposite himself and reveres it as deity, in the hope of procuring his wishes otherwise unattainable. Feuerbach does not mean to deny God, but to rescue his reality from theological contradictions and absurdities. His anthropomorphism is here evident, but also his naturalism in assigning as the ground of religion the feeling of dependence upon nature and its purpose to liberate itself from this. God is contrasted with nature, but the properties attributed to him are of nature. Many philosophical thinkers attached themselves to Hegel but compromised with Schleiermacher or pursued their own courses. E. Zeller places the origin of religion in the necessities of sense or fear and hope, but estimates its value by its importance for the spiritual life. Religion is to be comprehended as neither intellectual nor moral alone, but as pertaining to the whole life of man. In Wilhelm Vatke's Religionsphilosophie (1888) religion is attached essentially neither to morality nor reason, but is a state of the inner feeling concealing within itself an insoluble mystery, and employing itself with the perfection of the ethical personality, by the practical mediation of the finite with the infinite, or God. Most zealous and prolific in this department has been Otto Pfleiderer (q. v.), Religionsphilosophie (1878-94), who apprehends God as the Ego in distinction from all the finite, who at the same time has all things not in, but in subjection to, himself. Thus a monotheism is to be vindicated by the overthrow of deism and pantheism. A. O. Biedermann (q.v.), in successive works, holds that religion is not wholly a matter of the representative faculty, but includes also moments of volitional acts and states of feeling. Infinity is the formal and spirituality is the material element, and the two together constitute the idea of God, the absolute Spirit, from which the idea of personality must be far removed. On the other side, C. H. Weisse, Herman Ulrici, and I. H. Fichte (q.v.) specially emphasize the personality of God and thus violently attack the Hegelian doctrine although much indebted to it. With still greater positiveness, they threw themselves against materialism, but availed themselves of the idea of experience in order to bring philosophy nearer to theology. Their avowed object was to demonstrate a speculative theism.
(§ 9). Herbart and Lotze. An altogether different course from that of Hegel was taken by J. F. Herbart, who wrote no religious philosophy, but expressed religious views sporadically in his works. Religious belief is to proceed from the view of nature. The higher organisms especially argue a designing intelligence, and it can not be safely assumed that this teleological feature exists only in representation and not in nature itself. Still, no binding proof of this intelligence can be adduced; a natural theology is impossible; and to bring the representative concept of God in comparison with nature or the real results in contradictions. Hence God can be more closely apprehended by the ethical predicates-wisdom, holiness, power, love, righteousness-derived from practical ideas but not adaptable to a pantheistic conception. Herbart has a high esteem for religion on account of its solacing and disciplinary efficacy. Wilhelm Drobisch (1840) carries out Herbart's position more fully, not without some impressions from Kant. The sense of impotence and limitation-physical, intellectual, and moral-gives rise to desire for liberation and the ascent above the finite. A divine existence is not only to be wished for but must be subject of proof for the sake of objective significance. The inadequate teleological argument must be supplemented by practical moral reasons of belief. The moral world-ideal is to be realized as the highest good; but this is possible only if God is the cause of that ideal as well as of the means in nature necessary to its realization. J. F. Fries, followed by E. F. Apelt and W.M. L. de Wette (q.v.), is notable for emphasizing the esthetic element for religious philosophy. In the beautiful and the sublime are viewed the finite as manifestation of the eternal. The esthetic view of the world subserves the ideas of faith. Of more recent thinkers the most influential in this connection is Hermann Lotze (q.v.), who produced no philosophy of religion but furnishes glimpses in his lectures and his "Microcosm." He does not find the main field of religious philosophy in the analysis of the moments of consciousness, but would inquire first how much light reason alone can afford concerning the supersensuous world, and then how far a revealed religious content may be combined with these fundamental principles. The central point for him is the existence of God, for which he, however, does not furnish adequate proofs. In support of it, he lays considerable stress upon a form of the ontological argument: it is impossible that the greatest thinkable object does not exist; therefore, there must be a greatest. The universal substance, at once the ground of the real and the ideal world, attains its full content first in the concept of God; and God may not be thought without personality, to which the antithesis to a non-ego or actual external world is not essential. Personality is spirit already when in antithesis with its own states; that is, with its own representations, it knows itself as the simple, uniting subject upon which they are merely contingent. The being of the personal God appears only imperfectly in the known, empirical personality; it must, in a measure, be superpersonal, whereby the concept of personality seems again to vanish. The relations of God to the universe, subjoined to the three categories of creation, preservation, and government, occasion the designation of attributes (see PROVIDENCE); of which the metaphysical determine God as the ground of all reality in the finite, and the ethical satisfy the desire to find in the supreme existence also the supreme values. The religious feeling transcends cognition, in that man apprehends himself as divine being, as united with God, who conditions his being and reveals himself in him. Here Lotze approximates pantheism as he does also in his metaphysics, inasmuch as, for him, the single substantial cosmic ground comprehends all individual realities. Gustav Glogaus, upon whose views a cult was established after his death, held that the existence of God was the summit of all philosophy. Its certainty is deduced from that of self-existence. From God are derived the ideas of the true, the beautiful, and the good, which constitute the essence of the spirits created by God after his image. Opposing extreme intellectualism, he regards feeling and experience of God as the essentials of religion. The same tendency as Lotze's is shown by Guenther Thiele, in Die Philosophie des Selbstbewusstseins (1895), depending also upon J. G. Fichte. At the root of the acts of the individual ego appearing in the succession of time is the absolute supertemporal Ego. The concept of God has its termination in the absolute Ego rising from animism to the god of the sun or the celestial sphere, and thence to the absolute substance, implying necessarily the concept of the all wise and omnipotent Creator. Much deserving recognition has been accorded to Hermann Siebeck, who in his Lehrbuch der Religionsphilosophie (Freiburg, 1893) defined this subject to be the application of philosophy, as the science of the nature and activity of the spiritual life upon the fact of religion, for its particular, distinct formulation. He defines religion as the intellectual, emotional, and active practical conviction of the existence of God and the supramundane and, in connection therewith, of the possibility of redemption. The aim of science and metaphysics is to gain a knowledge of the ground of things and their unity as an impersonal subject, and it arrives at the idea of a spirit immanent in the world, which may, not inconsequently, be thought of as personality. On the other hand faith or religion concerns itself with the consciousness of a personal relation of man with the divine ground of things and with knowledge only so far as it mediates this consciousness. As this does not lie in the empirical world, therefore faith postulates and seeks a personal highest and absolute beyond the empirical unity.
(§ 10). Von Hartmann; Ritschl. A diametrical opposite to the above is Eduard von Hartmann (q.v.) in his works on the philosophy of religion-Das religiöse Bewusstsein der Menschheit im Stufengang seiner Entwickelung and Die Religion des Geistes (1882), of which the first (historicalcritical) part treated of the religious consciousness of humanity in the scale of its evolution and the second (systematic) part presented the "Religion of the Spirit." He puts the impersonality of God directly as postulate of the religious consciousness. Deity is for him as absolute Spirit one, and as such the absolute subsistence of the world. The consequence is cosmic monism; and this includes the real multiplicity as its internal manifold. From the ground of immanence is necessarily derived the impersonality of God. The world is in need of redemption; hence, pessimism is justified; but since the world is capable of redemption, teleological optimism is likewise warranted. At this point appeared a proposed total separation of religion or theology and metaphysics on the part of A. Ritschl (q.v.), and his followers, chief of whom are J. G. W. Herrmann and J. Kaftan (qq.v.), who are more or less attached to Kant but do not place their value-judgments of the religious perception on the same plane with their ethical judgments and do not profess the derivation of these from them. These value-judgments call forth feelings of pleasure or displeasure, whereby man maintains his supremacy over the world which he acquired by the help of God, or dispenses with such help for this end. The religious truths or facts of redemption must be realized in experience, without which there is no religious certainty. Certainty of the reality of God is dependent on the experience of the divine operation in man, arousing feeling and will; a sense of sin and a desire for blessedness are present, to which correspond an angry God and a merciful God. Additional proofs of the existence of God can avail no more than the recognition of him as the supreme law of the world. Only the moral proof is of value. More influenced by Kant on the side of the theory of knowledge is R. A. Lipsius (q.v.), who lays stress upon the antithesis between the empirical dependence in the world and moral freedom within. Religion is the ascent of the spirit to inner freedom in transcendent dependence upon God; a reciprocal relation between God and man, based upon the authentication of the Spirit of God in the spirit of man or divine revelation. With ethics as the basis of religion he would break entirely.
(§ 11). Contemporary Thought. Among thinkers of most recent date philosophy of religion is placed on a par with science of religion. The Dutch scholar C. P. Tiele (q.v.) in Elements of the Science of Religion, Gifford Lectures, 1896-98 (2 vols., Edinburgh, 1897-99) and Grundriss der Religionswissenschaft (1904), in which he presents the two divisions of Morphology and Ontology of the Philosophy of Religion, took the ground that the philosophy of religion was neither philosophical dogma on religion, nor a confession of a so-called natural religion, nor that part of the old philosophy which dealt with the origin of things; but that it was a philosophical investigation of the universal phenomenon ordinarily called religion. It is to attempt to comprehend the religious in man, and thus announce its nature and establish its origin. For this purpose it is necessary to observe its historical evolution, its various tendencies, and the conditions and laws to which it is subject. An analysis is to follow; that is, a study of its various elements and revelations as psychological phenomena, in order to ascertain what is common and permanent in all religions. According to Tiele, religion is a spiritual state, or piety, which appears in word and act, representation and conduct, doctrine and life. Its nature is worship-religious respect to a superhuman, infinite power, as the basis of the existence of man and the world. Max Müller (q.v.) lays far more stress upon the historical, especially comparative history. He has the distinction of bringing into the science of religion the service of philology. True philosophy of religion is to him nothing else than the history of religion. He defines religion as the realization of the infinite, which he amends later, to the effect that only such realizations of the infinite come under the category of religion as are capable of influencing the ethical character of man. George Runze, who emphasizes the philological basis in his Sprache und Religion (1889), would condition all thinking by the nature of language to construct metaphor and myth. Recently an abundant literature has sprung up. In Holland, L. W. E. Rauwenhoff, Religionsphilosophie (Brunswick, 1887), postulates belief in the supersensible. Much recognized has been L. A. Sabatier's (q.v.) Esquisse d'une philosophie de la religion d'après la psychologie et l'histoire (Paris, 1897; 6th ed., 1907; Eng. transl., Outlines of Religious Philosophy based on Psychology and History, London, 1897), the tendency of which is shown by the title. In England Edward Caird in the Evolution of Religion, Gifford Lectures, 1890-92 (Glasgow, 1893), presents the religious principle as a necessary element of consciousness; John Caird (q.v.) in Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion attempts to reconcile faith and knowledge; and G. J. Romanes in Thoughts on Religion (London, 1895) would combine the doctrine of evolution with the concept of God. Among Italians, L. Valli, in Il fundamento psicologico della Religione (1904), has treated the subject in an individual but very sensible manner.
II. Analysis of Religion: (§ 1). Method. After this historical review, it is in order to assume a position in regard to certain questions already raised: Is, on the whole, a philosophy of religion warranted? Is it necessary? As soon as a scientific philosophic investigation is opened the religious side becomes a subject of inquiry, otherwise an element of first importance would be absent from human knowledge. Besides, philosophy of religion must constitute a part of the whole philosophic system. Philosophy of religion as such in name dates from the close of the eighteenth century. Previously its problems were treated in connection with metaphysics or ethics. Its position is properly after the series composed of metaphysics, psychology, and, possibly, after ethics and esthetics. If it forms the conclusion of the philosophic series, then it is also the climax, since it pertains to the most momentous transactions of the soul-life. As to the division, the first step is an investigation of what is essential in all religions, upon a historical and psychological basis. This is to include not only what appeals to the susceptibility of a refined religious consciousness, but everything to which a possible standard of value may be applied to what constitutes the essence of religion from the lowest stages of development to the highest. As there is no common definition of religion, it depends upon every individual investigator how far he will extend the inclusive limits of religious phenomena, hoping that he may not be too much at variance with universal opinion. If the nature of religion in its essence is presumably found, the next step is to estimate the truth-value of religion and the representations formulated by religious persons. Should this vanish wholly and only an estimate of feeling remain, such representations could not maintain even this, for the intellect might possibly present them as nugatory. Here is the point of contact with metaphysics.
(§ 2). Representation. The activities and processes in the human soul are to be viewed in the threefold distinction of representation (cognition), feeling, and will; though it is understood that these are operated by the soul in complex combinations. This division is of advantage, since the three leading modern contributors to the problem distinguish themselves accordingly: Kant representing the religion of ethics or will; Schleiermacher, of feeling; and Hegel, of the intellect. That religion was a matter of representation, thought, knowledge, was always held, and intellectualism prevailed from the age of Socrates. Wherever religion has been recognized representations play their part, and generally of a superhuman being; in the highly developed forms, of the transcendent spiritual being, God, the One. However, does the possession of truth, even the highest, constitute religion? Aristotle claimed knowledge of the prime Mover of things, but was not therefore religious. If anyone knew God and divine things from the innermost unity of nature, if he even possessed absolute certainty of the beyond, and yet did not realize a relation with this supramundane or universal, or had not reconciled the variance between the infinite and himself the finite, or did not at least make the attempt, he would not possess what is called religion. Not even if for knowledge were substituted faith in the usual sense; that is not submission to the superhuman, but the lower step, as in the Alexandrine sense of "faith" in comparison with "knowledge." He could not be called pious, because the attitude toward the higher or highest is not yet present. Every religion develops representations, which supplant metaphysics. The mystic sets the highest before his mind, before he sinks into it; the Buddhist must have representation of Nirvana; yet either is concerned about something wholly different.
(§ 3). Feeling. Feeling, on the other hand, plays a part, without which a religion is unthinkable, This occurs first in a sense of dependence, which may be upon any incidental object to which power is ascribed (fetish); or a useful or harmful part of nature (animal worship, star-cult, Sabaism, and perhaps animism); or nature with its inflexible laws as a whole, regarded either as animate or as pure mechanism (naturalism, Stoicism, Spinoza); or upon spirits, particularly of the deceased (ancestor-worship, and with it totemism). See COMPARATIVE RELIGION. Many like Herbert Spencer would derive all religion from the revering of the departed or ancestors. The mythological gods probably originated from the personification of the powers of nature, as at a later stage the gods of the myths were allegorically reversed to powers of nature. By knowledge of his dualistic nature, man could conceive of the powers as persons and as spiritual, not without some degree of material form. The final view was that the infinite greatness and power over all was a spirit upon whom man was in all things dependent, yet possessing a certain self-existence and freedom. With these representations of the powers or of dependence upon them, feelings are bound up, either of like or dislike. The latter may accompany a representation of the contraction of human power and the diminution of the sense of self, and become strong aversion, such as fear of impending natural calamity. This feeling is still more intensified, if the sense of guilt be added. If feeling of dependence involves no more than fear, it is not religion. In the religious fear of God the element is much reduced, and the sense passes over into obedience and reverence. Neither can it be said that fear created the gods, because it must have been preceded by the representation of superhuman powers. The sense of fear or the resultant pain, physical or spiritual, leads to liberation from necessity, or salvation, which is hoped for or petitioned from the deities. This hope of salvation, which may pass over into certainty, is bound up with great joy over the sense that a beneficent power watches over man, so that no harm can befall him. A mode of fellowship or union with God develops, though not necessarily mystical; a vanishing of consciousness, though not a theosis; but a complete rest in God, the state of being hid in him, which constitutes blessedness. This is the climax of religion; it is joy without end. The feeling of dependence which starts with the utmost displeasure culminates with the highest bliss of submission to God, of the dissolution of personality, as in Buddhism; in Christianity the union with God in the celestial. The ultimate aim of religion is thus a feeling of good fortune, to use the expression; and as a practical concern of human spirit, religion thus corresponds to ethics.
(§ 4). Will. If this be the case, desire next claims consideration with reference to the nature of religion. It must be admitted that religious phenomena in their evolution can not be understood without the activity of the will. Necessity, or the desire to escape it, impels to a relation with the highest principle, by which liberation, salvation from evil, or even the escape from individual isolation from God are sought. First, the desire seeks earthly goods, then the higher, for this life and the next. Beside and above physical necessity appear mental anxiety, earnest concern for the safety of the soul, and the desire for individual immortality. Necessity begets prayer. Sacrifices for the most part represent the effort to avert necessity. Specially active appear the religious phenomena when the moral precepts are taken as the commands of God; and their violation obscures the relation with the divine, or threatens with estrangement from God. Painful remorse results; in the lower stages with fear of punishment here or hereafter, in the upper in view of the inner longing for the highest. The ethical life may lose its self-dependence and be absorbed in the religious or at least be intimately complicated with it. At all events, in the case of a man who is inwardly religious, morality can not subsist without religion, but he must also be moral in practise. The religious state of life will then include all of man's activity, all of life; so that it may be observed as a continuous service to God. A conclusion of religiousness can not be made from acts which outwardly seem moral, not even those known as the forms of worship, often divided into prayer and sacrifice. To these performances belong the most manifold ceremonies, which are characteristic of all religions, and are, in part, symbolic in significance. For the greater multitude, the essential in religion manifests itself in these forms of worship; and, though they can not originate, they may reinforce the content, specially in communal fellowship. As the incorporation of the religious spirit of the community, they are symbols of unity as well as the medium of consensus on articles of belief. Through both, objective religion is constituted. It is striking how those who have rejected the previous metaphysics and all objective religion, like A. Comte, nevertheless revert to the construction of a ritual to the minutest detail, embracing both prayer and sacrament. Outward worship, though indispensable to objective religion, is not absolutely such to subjective religion. Those who realize supreme satisfaction in inner communion with the highest superhuman and feel themselves freed from all bodily and spiritual necessities may be said to possess religion, although they do not bring their inner states to outward representative acts of manifestation. For many the external must be regarded as a great aid in mediating the subjective with its supreme infinite object, though it be not regarded as essential. Self-expression is only natural, and the continued association of form with spirit clothes it with a validity that seems indispensable to the inner life.
(§ 5). Generalization. To generalize from the foregoing, it may be said that religion pertains to the entire soul-life. It is practical not theoretical; though the latter is warranted in the sphere of representation. The religious process opening with a feeling of necessity proceeds to desire of relief and happiness, and culminates in the reconciliation of the aim with the transcendent or immanent infinite. Optimism and pessimism are thus interrelated. Redemption (or salvation) is the most adequate term in the religious vocabulary. It implies first something to be released from, then, in succession, the inclination, the inmost yearning, and the final attainment. Law and Gospel, sin and grace, are the antitheses in Christianity, to be reconciled in salvation; the latter appearing also in Buddhism, although, as also in the Kantian ethics, here man must save himself. Although the common principle of all religions, from the lowest fetishism, is the aspiration for redemption, yet the representation of the higher powers as the objective of the desire is very much diversified; variously, according to geographical situation, customs, stages of civilization, as also the creative imagination, and, specially, according to the tremendous influence of divinely gifted personalities as mediators of a revelation, who deepen, illumine, and inspire, not only the representations but also the entire religious life. In Christianity thus is presented the God-man as Redeemer. Though representations are indispensable to religion, subjective and objective, yet they can not claim to belong to the concept or essence of religion. Monotheism may or must be assumed to satisfy religious requirement; yet it is not exclusively the only religious form. In the sphere of representation evolution takes place, while the essential remains constant. On the whole, it is to be assumed that evolution was ascending toward the purer and more spiritual; but it is uncertain whether the original form was not monotheistic, and there was a downward process. Ethnic religions would not then be primitive, but degenerate growths. To regard henotheism as primitive is impossible because it can occur only with polytheism. Proper is it, indeed, not to assume only one primitive form but various forms that have developed gradually in different zones.
(§ 6). Relative Estimation. To estimate the relative truth-value of religion, it is necessary to distinguish between the religions that turn toward a higher universal for redemption and those that seek it by themselves. The latter are represented by Buddhism, although this soon, for the greater masses, reverted to the other form. The question of truth depends on whether its aim is actualized, and there is no doubt that this comes to reality in experience. The same standard must hold true for the other religions as well. However, there is involved also in this estimation of the true reality of a religion its relation to the representations of its highest being or beings. The question would then be whether the representations correspond to the reality which philosophical thought professes to attain. In monotheistic faiths and Christianity, which are regarded as the highest forms, a foremost subject of consideration is the existence of God with reference to which the community is to be established, and its closer determination. Briefly, scientific thought arrives at the certain assumption of a being, which is absolute, infinite, and as such is unity, and is all-inclusive, even of man. If man finds himself constrained to regard the ultimate elements of being, as analogous to his subjective self, to be apprehended as spiritual, inasmuch as this is immediately given in consciousness and matter dissolves in the effort to conceive it, then infinite being as such is spiritual, and man has his ground in the infinite spiritual Being, and is dependent upon it. If the religious consciousness assumes this final universal as God, it is easy to regard the same as transcendent, without this being essential for religion. If it further ascribes to God personality and ethical attributes, these involve the conception of the being of God in contradictions, and can not define the same metaphysically; they become matters of faith, or objective conceptions adaptable to human need, whose satisfaction may be regarded as necessary; but according to their content these determinations defy proof. The intellectual proofs for the divine existence from the time of Aristotle, as also the apologetic arguments, are not final. Most convincing is the teleological, yet this halts before the evidence of much that is not purposive, and before evil in the world, which is regarded by the religious as belonging to the plan of the whole and is overcome, but not convincingly explained, by intellectual thought. The weakest is the moral argument, which assumes unproved premises. Though not final, these arguments at most increase probability. Proofs for other specifically religious, in a measure Christian, dogmas, such as that of the Trinity, are still less convincing. Here appeal must be made to faith, not to reason. See RELIGION; GOD, IV.