Philosophy And Religion: Their Relations And Results -- By: James Lindsay

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 059:236 (Oct 1902)
Article: Philosophy And Religion: Their Relations And Results
Author: James Lindsay


Philosophy And Religion: Their Relations And Results

Rev. James Lindsay

There are few more hopeful signs in the thought of recent times than the drawing-together of philosophy and her elder sister, religion. Asperities have been softened, antagonisms removed. They have had their harmonies of aim and result, while retaining divergence of process and method. Philosophy has ennobled the spirit of religion; religion has reenforced the strength of philosophy. Each has been seen to be necessary to the other; each has at times tried to absorb the other. Philosophy has no deeper problems than that craving for absolute values in the sphere of truth, and that demand for ultimate spirituality, which religion carries with it. For the philosopher, no less than for the religionist, the fundamental reality of the universe can only be spirit: its highest energy can be no other than that of spirit. Philosophy finds God to be the prius of the universe—its Ultimate Ground and the Fundamental Reality. But it knows him, not only as he reveals himself in the universe, but also as he reveals himself to the religious consciousness. The Absolute Being can be no less than personal spirit: the personal and self-conscious alone can love. For philosophy and religion alike, the acme of personality is in God; and, for both, personality is the highest blossoming of man’s conscious spiritual life.

The presupposition of any religious grounding on the inner side of religion clearly lies in the spiritual nature,

affinities, and possibilities of man,—a nature to which the spiritual world is the great reality, a reality that is being built up by his creative energies and activities in their part and measure. The reality, inwardness, and depth of the spiritual life itself, or in its essence, is that which this spiritually creative religion must maintain. But, while religion solves, in its own practical way, the difference between the Deity and man, philosophy has its own call to explain this very problem. Religion has no more urgent need than to be lifted above the workings of the merely subjective and individual, narrowly human, affective, and practical self, into the lofty sphere of the universal. There the broadest culture is realized, and the vast whole of life and reality—or of human possibility—is apprehended.

These are services which philosophy stands always ready to render. Philosophy and religion coalesce in their aim—each to produce, in its own way, a new world out of the warring elements that go to make up the world that is. For philosophy does not merely, as is so often said, interpret the world of reality, but, in so doing, also lays open a new world—a world of thought—hidden from the senses....

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