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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

teach more effectively. He will become so familiar with, his work that he will find himself being transformed from a mere hearer of lessons from the book into an enthusiastic co-worker with his pupils.

 

WHY SO MANY DEFINITIONS OF RELIGION?
By FRANK N. RIALE, Ph.D.

RELIGION is now recognized, as never before, to be a universal factor in race development. "Whether we descend into the lowest roots of our intellectual growth, or ascend to the loftiest heights of modern speculation, everywhere we find religion a power that conquers even those who think they have conquered it." This fact is to the scientific student of religious thought what the "cogilo ergo sum" was to Descartes, and what "justification by faith" was to Luther—the foundation on which all must rest, and the unquestioned presupposition from which he must start. It is certainly the fact that can not be doubted, and the one which no aqua regia of thought will dissolve.

But there are about as many definitions of religion as there are forms of religious belief. Herbert Spencer defines it as "an a priori theory of the universe." Matthew Arnold says it is "ethics heightened and lit up by emotion; or, more simply stated, morality touched by emotion." Max Müller seemingly differs widely from both, and calls it "the sense of dependence on something or some one not ourselves"; while Schleiermacher carries the idea still further and says, "It is a feeling of absolute dependence on something which, though it determine us, we can in no sense determine." Feuerbach makes religion "a mere covetousness, which manifests itself in prayer, sacrifice, and faith." Strauss combines the elements brought out in the last two definitions, and describes it as a "combination of absolute dependence and covetousness." To Hegel, the great genius of German thought, "religion is perfect freedom, for it is nothing more nor less than the Divine Spirit becoming conscious of Himself through the finite spirit." Very similar to this are the definitions of Luthardt and Martineau. The former says, "Religion is the human mind standing in reverence and inspiration before the infinite energy of the universe, asking to be lifted up into it, opening itself to inspiration"; while the latter expresses nearly the same idea, though more tersely, "Religion is mere assent through the conscience to God." Mr. Andrew Lang says: "Religion may be defined as the conception of divine or at least superhuman powers, entertained by men in moments of gratitude, need, or distress; when, as Homer says, 'all folk yearn after the gods'" Flint, in