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CHRISTIANITY

similar appropriations of prevalent science and philosophy, similar conservative insistence upon ancient truth, and similar claims to an exclusive authority.

With this interest is involved an attitude of mind toward the supernatural. As already pointed out, nature and super-nature were taken as physically and spatially distinct. The latter could descend upon the former and be imparted to it, neither subject to nature nor intelligible by reason. In science the process has been reversed; nature ascends, so to speak, into the region of the supernatural and subdues it to itself; the marvellous or miraculous is brought under the domain of natural law, the canons of physics extend over metaphysics, and religion takes its place as one element in the natural relationship of man to his environment. Hence the new world-view threatens the foundations of the ecclesiastical edifice. This revolution in the world-view is no longer the possession of philosophers and scholars, but the multitude accepts it in part. Education in general has rendered many familiar with the teachings of science, and, moreover, its practical benefits have given authority to its maxims and theories. The world’s problem is not only therefore acute, but the demand for its solution is wider than ever before.

The Roman Catholic Church uncompromisingly reasserts its ancient propositions, political and theological. The cause is lost indeed in the political realm, where the Church is obliged to submit, but it protests and does not The attitude of the Roman Church.waive or modify its claims (see the Syllabus of 1864, paragraphs 19 ff., 27, 54 and 55). In the Greek and Protestant churches this situation cannot arise, as they make no claims to governmental sovereignty. In the intellectual domain the situation is more complex. Again the Roman Church unhesitatingly reaffirms the ancient principles in their extreme form (Syllabus, paragraphs 8-9-13; Decrees of the Vatican Council, chapter 4, note especially canon 4-2). The works of St Thomas Aquinas are recommended as the standard authority in theology (Encyc. of Leo XIII., Aeterni Patris, Aug. 4, 1879). In details also the conclusions of modern science are rejected, as for example the origin of man from lower species, and, in a different sphere, the conclusions of experts as to the origins of the Bible. Faith is defined as “assent upon authority,” and the authority is the Church, which maintains its right to supremacy over the whole domain of science and philosophy.

The Greek Church remains untouched by the modern spirit, and the Protestant Churches also are bound officially to the scholastic philosophy of the 17th century; their confessions The Greek and Protestant Churches.of faith still assert the formation of the world in six days, and require assent to propositions which can be true only if the old cosmology be correct. Officially then the Church identifies Christianity with the position outlined above, and hostile critics agree to this identification, rejecting the faith in the name of philosophic and scientific truth.

On the other hand there are not wanting individuals and even large bodies of Christians who are intent upon a reinterpretation. Even in the official circles of the Church, not excepting the Roman Church, there are many scholars who find Com-
promises.
no difficulty in remaining Christian while accepting the modern scientific view of the world. This is possible to some because the situation in its sharp antithesis is not present to their minds: by making certain compromises on the one side and on the other, and by framing private interpretations of important dogmas, they can retain their faith in both and yet preserve their mental integrity. A large literature is produced, reconciling science and theology by softening and compromising and adapting; a procedure in accordance with general historical development, for men do not love sharp antagonisms, nor are they prepared to carry principles to their logical conclusions. By a fortunate power of mind they are able to believe as truths mutually inconsistent propositions.

Thus the crisis is in fact not so acute as it might seem. No great institution lives or dies by logic. Christianity rests on great religious needs which it meets and gratifies, so that its life (like all other lives) is in unrationalized emotions. Reason seeks ever to rationalize these, an attempt which seems to destroy yet really fulfils. As thus the restless reason tests the emotions of the soul, criticizes the traditions to which they cling, rejects the ancient dogmas in which they have been defined, the Church slowly participates in the process: silently this position and that are forsaken, legends and beliefs once of prime importance are forgotten, or when forced into controversy many ways are found by which the old and the new are reconciled: the sharpness of distinctions can be rubbed off, expressions may be softened, definitions can be modified and half-way resting-places afforded, until the momentous transition has been made and the continuity of tradition is maintained. Finally, as the last step, even the official documents may be revised. Such a process in Christianity is everywhere in evidence, for even the Roman Church admits the modern astronomy. So too it accepts the changes in the world of politics with qualified approval. In the Syllabus of 1864 the separation of state and church was anathematized, yet in 1906 this separation in the United States was held up as an example to be followed by the French government. In the Protestant Churches the process is precisely similar. No great church has yet modified its articles of religion so as to admit, for example, that the Garden of Eden was not a definite place where Eve was tempted, yet the doctrine is contradicted with approval by individuals, and the results of modern science are accepted and taught without rebuke. In all this the Church shows its essential oneness with other organizations of society, the government, the family, which are at once deeply rooted in the past, and yet subject to the influences of the present. For Christianity is by no means wholly intellectual, nor chiefly so. It would be fully as true to facts to describe this religion as a vast scheme for the amelioration of the condition of humanity. In education, in care for the sick, the poor, the outcast, it has retained the spirit of its Lord. Though it has at times denied this spirit, been guilty of crimes, persecutions, wars and greed—still the Church has never quite forgotten him who went about doing good, nor freed itself from the contagion of his example. No age has been so responsive to the needs of man as our own; whatever doubts men have as to the doctrines or the cults there is an agreement wider than in the past in the good works whose inspiration is a divine love.

Yet the intellectual crisis cannot be ignored in the interest of the practical life. Men must rationalize the universe. On the one hand there are churchmen who attempt to repeat the historical process which has naturalized Theories of development.the Church in alien soils by appropriating the forces of the new environment, and who hold that the entire process is inspired and guided by the spirit of God. Hence Christianity is the absolute religion, because it does not preclude development but necessitates it, so that the Christianity that is to come shall not only retain all that is important in the Christianity of the past and present but shall assimilate new truth. On the other hand some seek the essential Christianity in a life beneath and separable from the historic forms. In part under the influence of the Hegelian philosophy, and in part because of the prevalent evolutionary scientific world-view, God is represented under the form of pure thought, and the world process as the unfolding of himself. Such truth can be apprehended by the multitude only in symbols which guide the will through the imagination, and through historic facts which are embodiment of ideas. The Trinity is the essential Christian doctrine, the historic facts of the Christian religion being the embodiment of religious ideas. The chief critical difficulty felt by this school is in identifying any concrete historic fact with the unchanging idea, that is, in making Jesus of Nazareth the incarnation of God. God is reinterpreted, and in place of an extra-mundane creator is an omnipresent life and power. The Christian attainment is nothing else than the thorough intellectual grasp of the absolute idea and the identification of our essential selves with God. With a less thorough-going intellectualism other scholars reinterpret Christianity in terms of current scientific phraseology. Christianity is dependent upon the understanding of the universe; hence it is the duty of believers to put it into the new setting, so that it adopts and adapts astronomy, geology, biology and