Modern Scientific Sociology And The Christ -- By: William Wallace Everts

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 082:327 (Jul 1925)
Article: Modern Scientific Sociology And The Christ
Author: William Wallace Everts

Modern Scientific Sociology And The Christ

W. W. Everts

IN the records of the Congress of Arts and Sciences (Vol. V, p. 788) an epitome is given of the principles of the leading schools of sociologists. Spencer and Schaeffle treat society as a botanist treats a plant, as a physical organism. The psychological school claims that society is a mode of mental activity. The utilitarians look at society from the angle of usefulness. Durkheim and LeBon regard society as hypnotizing the individual by suggestions. Tarde discovers the secret of the formation of society in imitation stimulated by sympathy. Gid-dings treats man as a political animal whose mind responds to sensitive matter. Mallock finds that society breaks down when tested by the demands of the times.

Gumplowics sees in society nothing but a never ending struggle in which the weak are exploited by the strong. Loria, Novikow, and Sighele likewise follow Marx and dwell on the class struggle with no care for the general welfare. Ward is a disciple of Comte the Positivist. Carey identifies sociology with political economy. Gumplowics says, “In these schools, as at Bethlehem’s inn, there is no room for Christ. They count it a glory that sociology is now called a science and therefore has no need of revelation.” The famous leader Marx explicitly excluded all religion from his system. It is easy to see why Christ is not needed in this science, if, as Gumplowics asserts, it does not pretend to answer the three important questions, wherefore, whence, and whither? There were political economists before Christ, and, if sociology confines its attention to material benefits, it may get on without Christ. The “Biblical World” (1895, p. 5) warns preachers against dabbling in social reforms. It says: “There is real danger that in their endeavor to be social reformers and municipal censors our religious teachers may forget that religion is at the bottom of every lasting reform and that the Christ they preach, so far as men

thus far know, is the one sure means of arousing religious emotions and of satisfying religious desire.” Harnack (Social Gospel, p. 71) takes the same position, “The improvement of economic conditions is not the duty of religion. The chief task is to preach the Gospel. If not, Christianity will cease. The Gospel is not a social manifestation but a faith to overcome the world. Social workers can never do the work of ministers. The church is secularized if ministers discuss land tenure, taxation, insurance, and price regulation. Christians have nothing in common with those who inculcate a life devoid of religion (p. 13.). The Gospel contains no teaching concerning temporal good that could be summed up in an economic program....

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