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basis of realism, or pragmatism, or instrumentalism, one will not have quite the same sort of religion, or of God, that he has under idealism. While it does not seem to me personally that the God or the religion of these newer forms of philosophical thinking will be quite as good, big, inclusive, suggestive, and influential in one's life as the God and religion based on some form of idealism; yet to the realists and the pluralists themselves, it doubtless seems quite the reverse. I see nothing to fear in what is sometimes called “the New Materialism.' I am perfectly willing to let anyone say that man is a mechanism who, also, says that he is a mechanism that thinks, that evolves religions and civilizations and comprehends the solar system and comes close even, now and then, to understanding himself-because by such a use of the word, mechanism, he simply does not mean what it has always meant. Or if you say that mind has come out of matter, and that matter has the potency of mind in it, that only means that matter is not what we used to think it was, but is somehow a mental thing. Theologians have sometimes attempted to explain mechanical processes in spiritual terms. If the philosophers try now to explain mental and spiritual processes in material or mechanical terms, that is only turn-about, and so, fair-play. But one of those attempts is no more destined to succeed than the other.
While therefore, speaking humbly, and with much hesitation as a layman, I do not believe that pragmatism, pluralism, realism, humanism, and instrumentalism represent a permanent philosophic mood, and, while it seems to me that the tide which carried them to their height is already receding, it is quite clear that current-day philosophy owes them a great
debt. They have done one thing in particular that has to be done ever so often to philosophy—they have brought her out of the clouds of speculation back to earth, and tied her securely to psychology and the scientific method generally. They have tightened her grasp upon the real, the concrete and the actual. They have given her a new reputation as the servant of man. And they have established the claim, upon the attention of philosophy, of other aspects of man's nature than his intellectual needs. It ought to be a good many years before philosophy can ever become again so remote, so doctrinaire, so a priori, so barren, as it was before this modern movement began. Our debt to it here is obvious and great. The pragmatic approach to education, for instance, one may hail with delight, even though he is unconvinced by James' arguments regarding the making of truth.
Neither do I attempt to conceal from myself, that in this conflict between idealism and the systems opposed to it, there lies the germ of a tremendous revolution in religious thought, the beginnings of which one may observe in some philosophical thinkers of the present time. For these two contrasted ways of looking at the world do seem to me to go back to, or to lead out into, two contrasted conceptions of God and of the moral and spiritual universe in which we live. No real transcendence or transcendentalism; truth, a thing in the making and made entirely by men; no absolute goodness anywhere yet attained but merely a universe pushing toward it; no part nor corner of it in which any ideal is or has been reached, but even God imperfect, still completing himself, and doing his best like the rest of us;—something like this (not to speak disrespectfully) I take to be the spiritual uni
verse that you get out of pluralism, pragmatism, instrumentalism, realism, and all the other "isms” except idealism. But from idealism I take it you get a universe in which perfection has been, somewhere, attained, in which the ideal has been somewhere realized, where God at least is not imperfect and unfinished. It is this latter kind of universe in which for my part I prefer to live. Man's life will not necessarily be, in the famous words of Hobbes, "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short,” in a universe of any other kind. It may not even be true, as Dean Inge says, that "there is no deeper cleavage in human thought than that which divides those who believe in an eternal, independently existing City of God from those who do not believe in it." 15 But at any rate, there is a satisfaction in living, as, for my part, I believe we do live, in a universe in which the conversation which closes the ninth book of Plato's "Republic," is still in order: "If that be his motive,” he said, "he will not be a statesman?" "By the dog of Egypt,” replied Socrates, "he will: in the city which is his own, he certainly will, though in the land of his birth, perhaps not, unless he have a divine call.” “I understand," is the reply, “You mean that he will be ruler in that city of which we are founders, and which exists in idea only, for I do not believe that there is such an one anywhere on earth.” “In heaven," replies Socrates, "there is laid up a pattern of it, methinks, which he who desires may behold, and, beholding, may set his house in order."
* Outspoken Essays, Second Series, pp. 91-92.
CURRENT THEOLOGICAL THOUGHT
THE fundamental idea in theology is the idea of God. Everything follows from that. What you think of Revelation, what sort of book the Bible is to you, what you mean by the divinity of Christ, what you think about the trinity and the atonement, what you mean by salvation, what kind of hell you fear and what sort of heaven you hope for, all go back to what you think about God. Let us start there.
It is a commonplace of recent religious thought that God is inside his world rather than outside it. The old conception which placed God outside his world and thought of him as coming in at the time of the creation, and then breaking into human experience, mostly in one small corner of the world, upon special occasions, does not seem to fit.
The doctrine of evolution has spoiled it. For each of these appearances of God, in a natural order where : he did not belong, necessitates a break in that order.
Evolution has abolished these breaks. The history of the world is a continuous process. Therefore, God must either be in the whole process or he cannot be in it at all. Modern theistic thought accepts this reading of the situation and takes the stand that he is in the whole thing.
Only on the basis of this choice, is there any possibility that modern thought could know God. Either God is in the process of human life and physical de
velopment, or he is outside it. Since what we know is the process, then we can know God, if God is in this process. But if he is outside of it, we have no way of knowing him. For instance, take the position that he is in this process only at certain points where he has broken through, and he isn't in it very much, and is, consequently, not much of a god. For if the process could get along except for an occasional interference without him, then we would be more sure of the process than we were of God. Divide the universe between nature, and a god, independent of each other, and nature then would have about as good right to be called God. An infinite with something outside of and beyond it ceases to be infinite. For that which is outside it, destroys its infinitude. An infinite, which does not somehow include everything, is a contradiction in terms.
It makes little difference whether you say that God is in the universe, or that the universe is in God. If you say God is in his world, you mean he is realizing his will and purpose in it, living some part of his infinite life in it. Or, if you say that the universe has its existence in God, you mean that it finds its unity and its meaning in him. It might be better to drop both these modes of statement, and to say that we live and move and have our being in God, and God lives and moves and has some part of his being
All these terms are more or less misleading. But they all indicate with perfect clearness how completely modern theological thought has broken with the old notion that God is separable from everybody and everything else, and lives by himself. That conception seems to be incompatible with current thought.
But we have made only a beginning when we say