Greece Palestine and India – Eastern Religions and Western Thought – S. Radhakrishnan


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VII

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

To what is this phenomenon of spiritual waywardness in
the West due? May it not be that it is motived by a deep
instinct for self-preservation and a longing for world
unity? The attraction of Eastern forms may be traced to a
failure of nerve akin to what occurred at the beginning of
the Christian era, which experienced a similar phenomenon.
We seem to be vaguely aware that in spite of our brilliant
and heroic achievements we have lost our hold on

the

 

primal

 

verities.

 

itself in

 

many

 

forms.

 

The instability The affirmation

 

of life is manifesting of the sovereign State,

 

owing allegiance to none and free to destroy its fellows,
itself open to a similar fate without appeal, racial and
national idolatries which deny the corporate life of the
whole, the growing tyranny of wealth, the conflict between
rich and poor, and the destruction of the co-operative
spirit threaten the very existence of society. Insecurity of
nations and

destitution of peoples have always been with us, but
periodic sanguinary upheavals have also been with us. The
two are

 

which is really primitive in Greek culture was born in
strife, in strife of cityStates and against foreign foes.
The Roman Empire was formed by a series of destructive and
often savage wars, though it became the home and cradle of
Western civilization. The period of the Middle Ages, when
Europe had the formal unity of a common religion, was also
the period of the most incessant war. It will not be an
over-statement to say that never a day passes but the Great
Powers are engaged in wars small or great in some part of
their vast dominions. Even now we have the struggle within
for juster and better conditions of life, and without for
independence. Man has not grown worse. In some points he is
an improvement on his predecessors, but we need not exult in
it. When Mrs.

different sides of a social order

 

character,

 

if

 

Rosita Forbes visited the penitentiary at Sao Paulo she
asked there were many thieves among the inmates. The
warden

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

was shocked.

honest.

 

253

 

‘Oh, no,’ he replied, ‘Brazilians are very

 

Nearly all these men are murderers/ Augustine with
approval the reply of the pirate to Alexander quotes the
Great. ‘Because I do it with a little ship, I am called a
robber, and you because you do it with a great fleet, are
called an emperor/ The final test of every social system is
the happiness and well-being of men and women. Those who
live for economic power and for the State are not concerned
with the development of a true quality of life for the

a national industry. people and are obliged to adopt war
as Our habits of mind and our relations to our neighbours
have not altered much, but the mutual antagonisms and
reciprocal incomprehensions are turning out most dangerous
in a closely knit world with new weapons of destruction.
Enormous mechanical progress with spiritual crudity, the
love of economic power, and political reaction, with all the
injustice that it involves, have suddenly startled us out of
our com-

 

whether the props by placency. We are asking ourselves
which society has hitherto maintained itself precariously
are moral at all, whether the present order with its slave
basis of canons of justice. society and petty particularism
is based on When universal covetousness has outstripped the
means

of gratifying

it;

 

when

 

the unnatural conditions of

 

life

 

de-

 

mand

 

for their defence the conversion of whole nations
into

 

mechanized armies; when the supremacy of power-politics
is threatened by its own inherent destructiveness; when
the

 

common

 

people

 

feel in their

 

depths ‘blessed are the

 

wombs

it is

 

which never

challenge to

 

bare, the breasts that never gave suck’

 

:

 

a

 

our principles and our faith. The perception of the
tragic humiliation of mankind must make us think surrounded
by quacks deeply. The world is a moral invalid witch-doctors
and medicine men who are inand charlatans,

 

The

 

terested in keeping the patient in the bad habits of
centuries. treatment. His mind must be patient requires
drastic led out of the moulds in which it has been
congesting and set free to think in a wider ether than
before. Ultimate reality

 

cannot be destroyed. Moral laws cannot be mocked. George
Macdonald has a parable in which a strong wind tried to blow
out the moon, but at the end of it all she remained
‘motionless miles above the air’, unconscious even that
there had been

 

254

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

It is

 

a tempest.

 

because

 

we have not developed

and

initiate policies

 

the spiritual

 

injustices by the strength of arms. The alternatives are
either a policy of righteousness and a just reorganization
of the world or an armed world. That is the issue before us.
It is of the utmost for it is even now upon us. seriousness
and greatest urgency, It is a fact of history that
civilizations which are based on

 

equipment and tolerance that we have to secure our

 

to face facts

 

based on truth

 

truly religious forces such as endurance, suffering,
passive resistance, understanding, tolerance are long-lived,
while those which take their stand exclusively on humanist
elelike active reason, power, aggression, progress make for
a brilliant display but are short-lived. Compare the

 

ments

 

relatively long record of China and of India with the
eight hundred years or less of the Greeks, the nine hundred
years on a most generous estimate of the Romans, and the
thousand

 

years of Byzantium. In spite of her great contributions
of democracy, individual freedom, intellectual integrity,
the Greek civilization passed away as the Greeks could not
com-

 

bine even among themselves on account of their loyalty to
the city-States. Their exalted conceptions were not
effective

forces, and, except those who were

 

brought under the mystery the Greeks never developed a
conception of human religions, society in spite of the very
valuable contributions of Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics.
The Roman gifts to civilization are of outstanding value,
but the structure of the Empire of Rome had completely
ceased to exist by A.D. 500. Empires have a tendency to
deprive us of our soul. Extension in space is not
necessarily a growth in spirit. Peace prevailed under the
Roman rule, for none was left strong enough to oppose it.
Rome had conquered the world, and had no rival, none to
struggle with or struggle for. The pax Romana reigned, but
it was the peace of the desert, of sullen acquiescence and
pathetic enslavement. The cement of the whole structure was
the army. The head of the army was the head of the State,
the Imperator, answering to our ‘Emperor’. In the middle of
the third century all manner of upstart soldiers who were
able to gather a few followers took over the governments,
each in his own region and over his own troops. With the
weakening of the Imperial government,

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

 

255

 

moral anarchy increased. With the raids of pirates on the
coast and of marauding bands on the frontiers, insecurity
was rife. At the end of the third century, Diocletian
attempted a reorganization of the whole State, but nothing
could arrest the decline in standards. There are some
scholars of the Renaissance who attribute the fall of Rome
to the spread of the ‘superstition* of Christianity, thus
echoing the cry of the Chronicler of the pagan reaction
under Julian the Apostate, ‘The Christians to whom x we owe
all our misfortunes .’. Possibly the appeal of as outward
fortunes sank lower. Christianity grew stronger The fall of
Rome is not to be explained solely by the barbarian
invasions. Treason from within was its cause quite as much
as danger from without. 2 Greed and corruption, growth of
vast fortunes and preponderance of slaves threw society out
of balance. It was a period of disorder, the collapse of the
higher intellectual life and the decline of righteousness.
European civilization had fallen so low that many thought
that the end of the world was near. ‘The whole world groaned
at the fall of Rome’, said Augustine. ‘The human race is
included in the ruin ; my tongue cleaves to the roof of my
mouth and sobs choke my words to think that the city is a
captive which led captive the whole world’, wrote St. Jerome
from his monastery at Bethlehem. To Christian and pagan
alike it seemed that the impossible, the unthink.

 

.

 

able, had happened. Rome, the dispenser of destiny, the
eternal city whose dominion was to have lasted for ever,
fell.

 

into two parts, the Western and the Eastern with
Constantinople. By the end of the fifth century the whole of
western and north-western Europe was in the hands of the
barbarians. Italy had fallen to the Ostrogoths; Gaul and a
large part of

 

The Empire was broken up

 

with

 

Rome

 

for

 

its

 

capital

 

M. Renan says that ‘Christianity was a vampire which
sucked the lifeblood of ancient society and produced that
state of general enervation against which patriotic emperors
struggled in vain’ (Marc Aurtle> p. 589). 2 Mr. Stanley
Casson writes: ‘The barbarian intrusions were more the
consequence than the cause of her sickness. What had
happened was that standards hadfallen. Elements wholly alien
to Roman rule and Roman freedom had emerged. In the letters
of Sidonius we hear of censorship, of political murder
disguised as accident, of bribery and corruption in high
places, and even of the persecution of the Jews’ (Progress
and Catastrophe (1937), p. 203).

1

 

256

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

 

is now Germany to the Franks; northern Africa to the
Vandals ; and Spain to the Visigoths. The Eastern Empire

 

what

 

was called the Byzantine, as its capital, Constantinople,
was founded by Constantine on the site of the ancient
Byzantium, a town formed by nature to be the centre of a
great

the approaches joined East and West. In all this darkness
the single ray of light which remained to kindle
civilization once again was preserved within the narrow
walls of Byzantium. Theodosius built the

 

empire.

 

From

 

its

 

seven

 

hills it

 

commanded

narrow

 

to both

 

Europe and

 

Asia.

 

Its

 

straits

 

great fortress, and Justinian, who succeeded him, rebuilt
its institutions. But the fear of attack by barbaric hordes
from

1 every part of the world was constantly present, and the
values of spirit could not be fostered in an atmosphere of
constant fear and imminent catastrophe. Philosophy
failed,

 

and religion became rigid and superBefore Byzantium fell
to the Turks in A.D. 1453 she had succeeded in spreading in
the Western world the light of civilization and culture
derived from Greece and Rome. And modern civilization, which
took its rise after the fall of Byzantium, seems to have
worked itself out, for it is exhibiting to-day all the
features which are strangely similar to the symptoms which
accompany the fall of civilizations: the disappearance of
tolerance and of justice; the insensibility to suffering;
love of ease and comfort, and selfishness of individuals and
groups; the rise of strange cults which exploit not so much
the stupidity of man as his unwillingness to use his
intellectual powers; the wanton segregation of men into
groups based on blood and soil. world bristling with
armaments and gigantic intolerances, where all men, women,
and children are so obsessed by the imminence of the
catastrophe that streets are provided with underground
refuges, that private houses are equipped with gas-proof
rooms, that citizens are instructed in the use of gas-masks,
is conclusive evidence of the general degradation. Through
sheer wickedness, by advocating disruptive forces, not
co-operative measures, by allegiance to the ideals

literature languished,

stitious.

 

A

 

There were attacks by the Persians and the Arabs in A.D.
616, 675, 717, by the Bulgarians in A.D. 813, by the
Russians in A.D. 866, 904, 936, 1043.

 

1

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

of power and

 

257

 

profit, preparing to destroy even the little that his
patient ingenuity has built up. Instead of

is

 

man

 

gress in charity

live

is

 

we seem

 

proincrease of hostilities. In order to to have lost the
reason for living. World

 

we have

 

peace

 

and modern civilization is not worth saving if it
continues on its present foundations. The Chinese and the
Hindu civilizations are not great in the high qualities
which have made the youthful nations of the West the dynamic
force they have been on the arena of world history, the
qualities of ambition and adventure, of nobility and
courage, of public spirit and social enthusiasm. We do not
find their people frequently among those who risk

a wild dream,

their lives in scientific research,

 

who

 

litter

 

the track to the

 

North or the South Pole, who discover continents, break
records, climb mountain heights, and explore unknown regions
of the earth’s surface. But they have lived long, faced many
crises, and preserved their identity. The fact of their age
suggests that they seem to have a sound instinct for life, a
strange vitality, a staying power which has enabled them to
adjust themselves to social, political, and economic
changes, which might have meant ruin to less robust
civilizations. India, for example, has endured centuries of
war and invasion, pestilence, and human misrule. Perhaps one
needs a good deal of suffering and sorrow to learn a little
understanding ana tolerance. On the whole, the Eastern
civilizations are interested not so much in improving the
actual conditions as in making the best of this imperfect
world, in developing the qualities of cheerfulness and
contentment, patience and endurance. They are not happy in
the prospect of combat. To desire little, to quench the
eternal fires, has been their aim. ‘To be gentle is to be
invincible’ (Lao Tze). The needs of life are much fewer than
most people suppose. If the Eastern people aim at existence
simplified and selfsufficient and beyond the reach of fate,
if they wish to develop gentle manners which are
inconsistent with inveterate hatreds, we need not look upon
them as tepid, anaemic folk, who are eager to retreat into
darkness. While the Western races crave for freedom even at
the price of conflict, the Easterns stoop to peace even at
the price of subjection. They turn their limitations into
virtues and adore the man of

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA few longings as the most
happy being. Diogenes annoyed Plato with the taunt that if
he had learned to live on rough vegetables he would not have
needed to flatter despots. The future is hidden from us, but
the past warns us that the world in the end belongs to the
unworldly. A spiritual attitude to life has nourished the
Eastern cultures and given them an unfailing trust in life
and a robust common sense

258

in looking at its

tion, with

its

 

more

 

myriad changes. A purely humanist civilizamilitary and
forceful mode of life like

 

the modern, faced by the risk of annihilation, is turning
mood of disenchantment. In Greek mythoIcarus was made to fly
too high until the wax logy, young of his wings melted and
he fell into the sea, while Daedalus, the old father, flew
low but flew safely home. This is not a mere whim. The
qualities associated with the Eastern cultures make for life
and stability; those characteristic of the West for progress
and adventure. The Eastern civilizations are by no means
self-sufficient.

to the East in a

 

to-day to be chaotic, helpless, and incapable of
themselves together and forging ahead. Their peoples,
pulling unpractical and inefficient, are wandering in their
own lands lost and half-alive, with an old-fashioned faith
in the triumph of right over might. They suffer from
weaknesses which are the symptoms of age, if not senility.
Their present listless and disorganized condition is not due
to their love of peace and humanity but is the direct
outcome of their sad failure to pay the price for defending
them. What they have gained in insight they seem to have
lost in power. They require to be rejuvenated. So much
goodness and constructive endeavour are lost to the world by
our partial philosophies of

If modern civilization, which is so brilliant and heroic,
becomes also tolerant and humane, a little more
understanding, and a little less self-seeking, it will be
the greatest

life.

 

They seem

 

achievement of history. East and West are both moving out
of their historical past towards a way of thinking which
shall eventually be shared in common by all mankind even as
the material appliances are. We can speak across continents,
we can bottle up music for reproduction when desired,
animate photographic pictures with life and motion; but
these do

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

 

259

 

not touch the foundations of culture, the general
configuration of life and mind. These are cast in the old
moulds which have never been broken, though new materials
have been poured into them. They are now beginning to crack.
The rifts which first made their appearance decades ago have
now become yawning fissures. With the cracking of the
moulds, civilization itself is cracking. Further growth in
the old moulds is not possible. need to-day a proper
orientation, literally the values the world derived from the
Orient, the truths of inner life. They are as essential for
human happiness as outer organization. The restlessness and
self-assertion of our civilization are the evidence of its
youth, rawness, and immaturity. With its coming of age, they
will wear off. The fate of the human race hangs on a rapid
assimilation of the qualities associated with the mystic
religions of the East. The stage is set for such a process.
Till this era, the world was a large place, and its peoples
lived in isolated corners. Lack of established trade-routes
and means of communication and transportation and primitive
economic development helped to foster an attitude of
hostility to strangers, especially those of another race.
There has not, therefore, been one continuous stream into
which the whole body of human civilization entered. had a
number of independent springs, and the flow was not
continuous. So*ne springs had dried up without passing on
any of their waters to the main stream. To-day the whole
world is in fusion and all is in motion. East and West are
fertilizing each other, not for the first time. May we not
strive for a philosophy which will combine the best of
European

 

We

 

We

 

humanism and Asiatic religion, a philosophy profounder
and more living than either, endowed with greater spiritual
and ethical force, which will conquer the hearts of men and
compel peoples to

 

acknowledge

 

its

 

sway?

 

n

 

may be asked whether Western civilization is not also
based on religious values. Greek art and culture, Roman law
and organization, Christian religion and ethics, and

It

 

scientific enlightenment are said to be the moulding
forces of modern civilization. It will be useful if we
consider the

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA exact nature of the
religious life of the West and the extent of its influence
on Western civilization. At the risk of overthe
simplification, which is inevitable when we describe

260

 

development of centuries in a few paragraphs, it may be
Western religious tradition three currents which frequently
cross and re-cross can be traced. We may describe them for
the sake of convenience as the GraecoRoman, the Hebrew, and
the Indian.

said that in the

 

The Graeco-Roman

 

has for

 

its

 

chief elements rationalism,

 

humanism, and the sovereignty of the State. The spirit of
speculation which questioned religious ideas and sought
to

follow truth regardless of the discomfort it might cause
us started with the Greeks. Xenophanes fought hard to
emancipate his people from superstition and lies. against
belief in gods who could commit acts

 

He

 

preached

 

which would be a disgrace to the worst of men. Democritus
found the self-existent in the atom and Heraclitus in fire.
The latter said ‘The world was made neither by one of the
gods nor by man and it was, is and ever shall be an
ever-living fire, in due measure self-enkindled and in due
measure selfextinguished.’ Nothing is, everything is
becoming. For Protagoras, man is the measure of all things,
and as for God, He cannot be found even if He exists. He
says ‘Concerning

:

 

;

 

:

 

can say nothing, neither that they exist nor that do not
exist; nor of what form they are; because there they are
many things which prevent one from knowing that, namely,
both the uncertainty of the matter and the shortness of
man’s life.’ For Critias ‘nothing is certain except that
birth leads to death and that life cannot escape ruin*.
Acthe gods

I

 

cording to Gorgias, every man was free to fix his own
standard of truth. Unless Plato is wholly unfair, certain
of

the Sophists were prepared to justify philosophically the
doctrine that might is right. The orthodox suspected even
Socrates and accused him of impiety and corrupting the youth
of Athens. Doubts run through the poetry of Euripides, the
rationalism of the Stoics, the schools of the sceptics, and
the materialism of the Epicureans. In spite of a different
tendency, both the Stoics and the Epicureans adopted
physical explanations of the universe. They treated

 

the world, including man’s soul, as something
material.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

at constructing a minds from fear

 

261

 

Epicurus revived the atomic view of Democritus. He aimed
world on scientific principles to free men’s of the gods and
the evils of superstition. Man’s soul at death dissolves
again into the atoms which made it. He conceded to popular
beliefs when he admitted the existence of the gods, but they
did nothing except serve as models of ideal felicity. They
are indifferent to human affairs and so prayers to them are
futile. Faith in gods could not last when gods were being
made before men’s eyes. The Ptolemies of Alexandria were
freely spoken of as gods. In an inscription at Calchis as
early as 196 B.C. Quinctius Flamininus was associated in
inscriptions with Zeus, Apollo, Heracles, and the
personified Roma. Julius Caesar received divine honours even
in his life; and the day after his death, the Senate decreed
that he should be treated as a god; in 44 B.C. a law was
passed assigning him the title of

JivuSy

 

and the great Augustus dedicated in 29 B.C. the new 1
temple of Divus Julius in the Forum. All this confirmed the
scepticism of Euhemerus that the gods were only great

 

men deified. Though classical Rome was

it

 

far less

 

speculative than

 

Greece, produced one of the greatest sceptics of
antiquity, Lucretius. With the fervour of a religious
enthusiast he attacked religion and hurled defiance and
contempt on it. Through his poem De Rerum Natura he tried to
free men’s minds from the fears which beset and haunted
them. He accustomed men to the idea of complete annihilation
after death. In the early days of the Roman Empire even such
an austere Stoic as Marcus Aurelius looked upon the
Christian religion with fear and contempt. Independent
thought was efficiently suppressed by the tyranny of the
Church till the

 

period of the Renaissance, though in the thirteenth
century the Emperor Frederick II declared, if the story be
true, that the world had been deceived by three impostors,
Moses,

Jesus,

 

Roger Bacon was a definitely thinker. Machiavelli in his
Prince revived the old sceptical conception that religion is
an instrument for keeping the people in subjection. He did
not disguise his intense dislike

1

 

and Mohammad.

 

See

 

Cyril

 

Bailey,

 

Phases

 

in

 

the

 

Re/igion of Ancient

 

Rome (1932),

 

pp. 138-40.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA of Christianity. Rabelais
(1690) was impatient with asceticism and conventional
religion. Science in the Middle Ages was largely occultism
and magic nature was full of spirits and to meddle with it
was to risk damnation. Friar Bacon was imprisoned as a
sorcerer. The scientific movement of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, with such names as those of
Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Harvey, and Newton,

262

;

 

discouraged the supernatural explanations of natural
phenoled to the conception of the universe as a great
machine working by rigidly determined laws of causation. The
thrill of new discoveries and mental activities raised great
expectations. Men seemed to be on the eve of surprising the
last secrets of the universe and building a stately fabric
of enduring civilization. They seemed to become the lords of
creation, though not the heirs of heaven. While some of the
leading representatives of the scientific movement, like
Descartes and Boyle, Bacon and Newton, were not

 

mena and

 

anti-religious, the

 

movement

 

as a

 

whole encouraged free

 

thinking. religious conflicts which followed the
Reformation contributed to the growth of scepticism and
wars.

 

The

 

The Church was

 

up into a number of sects and disand wars became more
frequent. Monputes; persecutions taigne (153392) was
nominally a Catholic but was really an Agnostic. He says:
‘Death is no concern of yours either dead or alive: alive
because you still are; dead because you are no longer/
Leonardo da Vinci rejected every dogma that could not be
tested and was a complete sceptic. Shakespeare was no
better. J. R. Green writes: ‘The riddle of life and death he
leaves a riddle to the last, without heeding the theological
conclusions around him/ For Francis Bacon

split

 

‘the mysteries of the Deity, of the Creation, of the

tion’ are

 

Redemp-

 

‘grounded only upon the word and oracle of God, and not
upon the light of nature’. 1 Hobbes’s scorn of
supernaturalism and revealed religion is undisguised. All
that we can legitimately say of God is that He is the
unknown cause of the natural world, and so our highest duty
consists in implicit obedience to the civil law. He reduced
religion to a department of State and held that the
sovereign power was absolute and irresponsible. 2 Locke
defended theism more on

1

 

Advancement of Learning,

 

2

ii.

 

See further, p. 388.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA 263 It was for social
security. His pragmatic grounds. necessary work on The
Reasonableness of Christianity aims at proving

with reason.

that the tenets of the Christian religion are in
accordance It is assumed that their rationality is what

 

makes them worthy of acceptance. So for him reason is a
completely reliable source of knowledge and an infallible
guide in the quest for certainty. But the materials on which
reason works are provided not in a rational intuition which
penetrates into real being but in sensation and reflection
on

sense data. If these are the only material for knowledge,
it follows that religious truths lie beyond the scope of
man’s reason. Locke admits the reality of revealed
knowledge, though he himself would prefer rational knowledge
even in the realm of religion. He believes that the central
conceptions of religion can all be proved rationally. 1
Toland, Locke’s young Irish disciple, defends the deistic
position and finds support for it in the Gospels. 2 ‘All men
will own the verity I defend if they read the sacred
writings with that

 

equity and attention that is due to mere humane works,
nor there any different rule to be followed in the
interpretations of scripture from what is common to all
other books.’ The Deists contend that all the truths
necessary for a religious life could be gained rationally
and such a natural religion is the only one worthy of the
respect of men. ‘All the duties of ‘he Christian religion’,
says Archbishop Tillotson, ‘which respect God, are no other
but what natural light prompts men to, excepting the two
sacraments, and praying to God in the name and by the
mediation of Christ/ ‘And even these’, Anthony Collins
observes, ‘are of less moment than any of those parts of
religion which in their own nature tend to the Happiness of
human Society.’ 3 cannot be sure that Christianity is a
revealed religion, when no one

is

 

We

 

1 ‘Since the precepts of natural religion are plain, and
very intelligible to all mankind, and seldom seem to be
controverted and other revealed truths which are conveyed to
us by books and languages, are liable to the common and
natural obscurities and difficulties incident to words:
methinks it would become us to be more careful and diligent
in observing the former, and less magisterial, positive and
imperious in imposing our own sense and interpretations on
the latter* (Essay Concerning Human Understanding, HI. ix.
23). 2 Christianity not Mysterious, n. iii. 22 (1696).

;

 

3

 

Discourse of Free-thinking

 

(1713)^. 136.

 

264

 

seems to

to

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA know what is revealed or
perhaps everybody seems

that his

 

know

 

own

 

version of the faith

 

is

 

the true revela-

 

deadly error. The fact that the Bible is an inspired
document has not prevented its official interpreters from
disagreeing on all fundamentals. Deism developed, and the
Deists are rationalists with a feeling for religion. Their
rationalism took them away from orthodoxy

tion

 

and everything

 

else a

 

and their religion kept them from atheism. According to
some seventeenth-century Nonconformists a clergyman answered
their demand for the scripture texts on which the
Thirty-nine Articles were based by quoting 2 Timothy iv. 13:
‘The cloak I left at Troas, bring with thee, and the books,
but especially the parchments/ If Timothy had not been
remiss in executing St. Paul’s command we would have had the
parchments which provided the missing authority. When
Anthony Collins was asked why, holding deistical opinions,
he sent his servants to churches, he answered: ‘That they
may neither rob nor murder me!’ Lord

.

. .

 

Bolingbroke considered Christianity a

a statesman

 

‘fable’,

 

but held that

 

ought to profess the doctrines of the Church of England.
1 Thomas Woolston in his six Discourses on the

ratives

 

Miracles of Christ (1727 9) maintained that the Gospel
narwere a ’tissue of absurdities’. declared that miracles
were impossible and accepted arguments for the

 

Hume

 

existence of God were untenable. Baron d’Holbach stood
for a materialistic conception of the universe and denied
the existence of God and the immortality of the soul.
Voltaire,

 

Mr, Noyes

 

tells us,

 

was a

 

he was a bitter

 

critic

 

theist, but there is no doubt that of the Church, which
he looked upon

 

as the instigator of cruelty, injustice, and inequality.
Look at his prayer which breathes the humanitarianism of
the

 

French enlightenment:

 

we may hate one another, nor one another, but that we may
help each strangle other to bear the burden of a wearisome
and transitory life; that the small distinctions in the
dress which covers our weak bodies, in our

‘Thou

hast not given us a heart that

 

hands that

 

we may

 

Leslie Stephen in his English Thought in the Eighteenth
Century writes, referring to the later Deistic period:
‘Scepticism widely diffused through the upper classes, was
of the indolent variety, implying a perfect willingness
that

 

1

 

rhe Churches should survive though the Faith should
perish’ (vol.

 

i,

 

p.

 

375).

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

inadequate languages, in our absurd usages, in

in all our senseless opinions, in all our social are so
different and to thine so alike, that

differentiate the

all

 

265

 

our imperfect laws, grades, which to our eyes

the fine shades which

occasions for hate

 

all

 

“atoms”

 

called

 

“men” may not be

 

and persecution.’

 

He

 

was

 

illness

 

who summoned him to confession. ‘From whom do you come?*
inquired the sick man. ‘From God’, was the reply.

 

certainly not an orthodox churchman. During an towards
the close of his life he was visited by a priest,

 

When

 

Voltaire desired to see his visitor’s credentials,
the

 

priest could go no farther and withdrew. Diderot and the
Encyclopaedists had unqualified contempt for conventional
religion. Diderot cried out at the end of his Interpretation
of Nature

:

 

I ask nothing from Thee; if Thou art not, the course of
an inner necessity; and if Thou art, it is Thy command; God,
I know not whether Thou art, but I will think as though Thou
didst look into my soul, I will ask as though I stood in Thy
presence. … If I am good and kind, what does it matter to
any fellow creatures whether I am such because of a happy
constitution or by the free act of my own will or by the
help of Thy Grace ?*

 

*O God,

is

 

nature

 

O

 

is little in common between Rousseau’s sentimental theism
and Christian orthodoxy. Leibniz rejoiced in the ‘religion
without revelation’ of China. Kant tells us that there can
be no theoretical demonstration of the existence of God,
though we need Him for practical life. Hegelian dialectics
have no place for a God to whom we can pray and offer
worship. The Prussian State was for him ‘the incarnation of
the divine idea as it exists on earth’. National Socialism
continues the Hegelian tradition and looks upon, not the
Prussian State, but the Nordic race, as the ultimate and
noblest self-expression of the cosmic intelligence. Its
official

 

There

 

the Twentieth Century (1930), faith in the transcendent
God

 

Herr Rosenberg, in his book on The Myth of makes it clear
that he has no of the theist. His deity is the human spirit
and the racial society. Fichte in his Addresses to the
German Nation developed at length the notion of an ‘elect
race’. His doctrine is continued in the work of Gobineau and
his well-known theory of the inequality of human races. In
Houston Stewart Chamberlain’s Foundations of the

philosopher,

 

266

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

Rosenberg’s Myth

reappears in a pseudo is the classic on the

 

igth Century the racialist legend

scientific setting.

 

question. Each race has its particular soul in which its
most intimate being is expressed. Its special virtues are
regarded as the specific qualities of the blood. The human
species is an abstraction we have only a number of races
determined by differences in the hereditary composition of
the blood. Human races are not only diverse but of unequal
value. The superior race is the Nordic. Its branches are to
be recognized in the Amorites of Egypt, the Aryans of India,
the Greeks of the early period, in the ancient Romans, and
above all in all the Germanic peoples, whose chief
representatives are the Germans. The spirit of this race is
personified in the god Wotan, who embodies their spiritual
energies. Contamination with inferior races is tjie great
danger which menaces the superior race in all periods of
universal history. India and Persia, Greece and Rome are
witnesses to the process of racial degeneration. religion of
universalism is to the Nordic race. Catholic religion,
freemasonry, foreign Communism are the enemies of Nordic
superiority. The Germanic soul will be manifested in the
Third Reich with the symbol of the Swastika in place of the
Cross. The aim of the National Socialist Party is to rescue
from contamination and develop this precious Nordic element.
Lessing conceives the whole religious history of mankind as
an experiment of divine pedagogy. He declares that
accidental historical truths can never be the evidence for
eternal and necessary rational truths. Hamann observes that
Kant’s moralism meant the deification of the human will and
Lessing’s rationalism the deification of man’s reason.
Nietzsche drew a distinction between the morality of masters
and that of slaves. The Romans are for him the strong and
the whole, the aristocratic and the noble. Christianity is
the moral rebellion of the slaves based upon the resentment
of the weak against the strong. Their victory over Rome was
the victory of the sick over the healthy, of the slaves over
the noble. Out of a feeling of resentment the slave decided
to be the first in the Kingdom of Heaven. Auguste Comte put
Humanity in the place occupied by God. morality of service
in a godless universe is the ideal of the positivists.

:

 

A

 

A

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA 267 G. H. Romanes (1848-94)
in his A Candid Examination of

Theism writes ‘It is with the utmost sorrow that I find
myself compelled to accept the conclusions here worked out:
I am not ashamed to confess that, with the virtual negation
of God,

:

 

the universe has lost to

 

me

1

 

its

 

abandoned this

 

position.

 

Even

 

soul of loveliness.’ He later the Christian thinkers
them-

 

selves tried to reinterpret Christianity. Schleiermacher
reduced religion to a feeling of dependence on God.
Ritschl

 

meant by redemption the belief that God has revealed an
ideal for man to work towards. 2 To many Christians their
religion meant only love of man and unselfish service. Even
though the orthodox may use the old terminology of grace,
communion, and redemption, they stress only pure morality or
^humanitarian ethics. The works of Strauss and Renan, Karl
Marx and Nietzsche, and the scientific doctrines of
evolution

is

 

have made atheism popular. A general tendency to
irreligion in the air. Unbelief is aggressive and
ubiquitous. The strain of scepticism has been a persistent
feature of the Western mind. It takes many forms, modernism
in religion,

 

humanism, or naturalism. Modernism is not conmovements
which assume that name. All those who wish at the same time
to be traditionally religious and rationalminded are
modernists in different degrees. In the Introduction to the
Report of the Commission on Christian Doctrine in the Church
of England the Archbishop of York writes ‘In view of my own
responsibility in the Church I think it right

scientific

 

fined to

 

:

 

here to affirm that

 

I

 

wholeheartedly accept as historical

 

facts the Birth

 

of our Lord from a Virgin Mother and the Resurrection of
his physical body from death and the tomb. But I fully
recognise the position of those who sincerely affirm the
reality of our Lord’s Incarnation without accepting one or
both of these two events as actual historical

occurrences, regarding the records rather as parables
than as history, a presentation of spiritual truth in
narrative form.’ 3

 

What we

 

intellectual conscience.

2

 

accept of revelation depends on our piety and The issue,
however, relates not to

 

See p. 389. ‘By the Kingdom’, according to Dr. A. E.
Garvie, Ritschl means ‘the moral ideal for the realization
of which the members of the community bind themselves to one
another by a definite mode of reciprocal action*
(Encych*

 

paedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. x, pp. 812-20). 3
Doctrine in the Church of England (1938), p. 12.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA this or that item of belief
but the way in which any part of the content of religion is
arrived at and justified. It is not

268

 

a question of the articles of belief but of the
intellectual habits

 

and methods. There is only one method for ascertaining
fact and truth, the empirical method. While modernism and
humanism are more or less compromises, dialectical

materialism

its boldest expression. It has its own cosown
interpretation of the origin and nature of mogony, man, its
own economic and social scheme, and its own reliis

 

its

 

gion. It proclaims a passionate plea for the spread of
light steady and serene which will help us to get out of the
darkness and barbarism of a monkish and deluded past, to
shake off the imbecility of blind faith with its fogs and
glooms,

 

broad highway of sanity, culture, and speak of heaven and
God we ‘give to airy nothing a local habitation and a name*.
They are outworn superstitions, subjects of antiquarian
interest. Religions have rendered a useful service in that
they have exhausted all the wrong theories in advance.
Everything can be explained in terms of matter and motion.
Marx accepts the Hegelian view of an immanent reality
unfolding itself by an inner dialectic. But he substitutes
matter for Hegel’s immanent spirit. Matter is invested with
the power of self-movement, auto-dynamism. A
self-determining moveto the

civilization.

 

and get on

 

When we

 

ment whose highest expression

 

is

 

human

 

personality

 

is

 

regarded as material, and the self of man is denied
freedom and responsibility. Criminals and sinners who were
once upon a time consigned to eternal damnation are capable
of being turned into healthy and moral citizens, not by the
grace of God, but by a supply of iodine to the thyroid. Hell
or heaven depends on the twist of heredity or proportion of
phosphorus. Even though man is a product of material forces,
he is still deified. As the individual man is obviously too
small to be deified, human society gets the honour. With the
Greeks, we reaffirm that the true line of progress

lies in positive action,

 

oppose nature to custom and repudiate the latter as a
fraud and an imposture. The elaborate framework of customs
which we call morality, which we have built up in our rise
from savagery, and to which we attribute an absolute

 

We

 

concrete reasoning, and public spirit.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA 269 value, is dismissed as a
convention. Nature knows nothing of justice or mercy. It
knows only the power of the stronger. The prospects of peace
and brotherhood which religion holds up are only a mirage.
To understand the factors and conditions which determine the
life and health of societies we must turn to the realms of
biology. The behaviour of man is not much different from
that of a cell in the human organism. Strife and war are
factors in the evolution of mankind. The funeral oration of
Pericles sets the tone the glorification of the State and
death on the battle-field. In their argument with the men of
Melos the Athenians proclaimed the doctrine that what serves
the cause of Athens is

not merely expedient but right, making themselves the
ultiarbiters of truth and falsehood, of right and wrong. The
Christian religion has not been able to change this habit.
‘All cannot be happy at once/ said Sir Thomas Browne in his
Religio Medici^ ‘for the glory of one state depends upon the
ruin of another/ ‘Such is the condition of human affairs’,
said Voltaire, ‘that to wish for the greatness of one’s own
country is to wish for the harm of its neighbours.’ ‘Always
without exception’, said Fichte, ‘the most civilised State
is the most aggressive.’ Treitschke wrote: ‘War will endure
to the end of history. The laws of human thought and of
human nature forbid any alternative, neither is one to be
wished for ‘Man is an animal of prey’, says Spengler, and
our dictators remind us that ‘war is to man what motherhood
is to women a burden, a source of untold suffering and yet a
glory’. Mussolini says ‘War alone brings up to its highest
tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon
the peoples who have the courage to meet it.’ For Dr.
Goebbels ‘war is the most simple affirmation of life’. In
the book Bio-politics y which Sir Arthur Keith places by the
side of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, 1 it is said, ‘War
is unreasonable and so are earthquakes and disease.
Profound

 

mate

 

 

:

 

and

 

lasting peace is death; peace at its best is only an a
reciprocal endurance.’ armistice. Peace is a tolerance And
again, ‘a subdued or latent hostility is a factor in all

1

 

politics

 

In a review of Bio-politics, An Essay in the physiology,
pathology and of the Social and Somatic Organism, by Morley
Roberts (The Observer,

 

16 Jan. 1938).

 

270

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

 

evolutionary progress’. Thus we are accustoming ourselves
to the idea or war as a normal part of civilized lire. It is
essential to recognize that in a large part of our lives we
are materialists. worship physical force and the machine; we
have a passion for power. Power, not spirit, rules our
planet. Humanitarianism is a form of selfindulgence, not an
ideal. Communism in Russia and Mexico has openly repudiated
religion. In Germany a new tribal religion is growing. In
England, as usual, nothing is logically carried out. There
are no saints as there are no atheists. There is neither
active faith nor active unbelief. The cultivated
Englishman’s attitude to the Church is much the

 

We

 

as his attitude to monarchy. Even if he does not go
church or say his prayers, he respects the Church, as he
does the monarchy, as hallowed venerable institutions.
Orthodoxy is a matter of prudence. The British are
pre-eminently

to

 

same

 

and their political instinct tells them that old when he
urged that if a city would be an autonomous one, it must
possess two things God and a seat of local government, a
church and a town-hall. They respect religion for its
political value. If they go to church and kneel

a political people,

 

Plutarch was right

 

in prayer, it is the tribute they pay to the social order
but such a view is bound to produce religious deadness. God
may be or may not be. Either way it does not matter very
much. Religious indifference, not denial, is the rule. The
cultivated do not interfere with those who believe, even as
they do not prevent children from playing nursery games.

;

 

down

 

in

one.

 

The second current in Western religious life is the
Jewish The great prophets are Israel’s abiding glory, and
their

humanity

is

 

essential contribution to

 

an ardent monotheism,

 

Supreme as a concrete living God whose thoughts and ways
are not man’s thoughts and ways. 1 The Jews believed not in
a metaphysical absolute but in a personal God eternally
acting and ceaselessly interested in His creatures,
specially bound up with their own history. The spirit of the
West with its emphasis on reason and exaltation of the State
got mixed up with the Jewish elements and

the conception of the

1

 

Isaiah lv. 8.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA 271 over the non-dogmatic
and universal sides of the prevailed Christian faith which
started as a revolt against the tribal and the
intellectualist conceptions of the Supreme. The Semitic
ideas exclusiveness and particularism appealed to the
forceful instincts of the Western man, who expressed them in
the Greek language and embodied them in Roman

For a time when the political fortunes of were down, when
the Roman world broke up, inEurope volving its populations
in heavy losses and miseries, and exposing them to brutal
barbarism, fear was on Europe and Christianity to a weary
and heavy-laden people. appealed It came with healing in its
wings for souls mortally afraid of life. But its whole
spirit is foreign to the temper of Europe. The West has
always believed that the race is to the swift and the battle
to the strong. Meek natures might take refuge in flight or
submission, but to the energetic and full-blooded, meekness
is a contemptible and dangerous vice. Christianity with its
cult of the simple life and emphasis on other-worldliness is
the natural refuge of men who have lost faith in the
material ends of life but will not give up faith

organization.

in the spiritual. It caught Europe in a mood of
depression and world-weariness, and so its message that the
sun still shone in heaven, though on earth it was eclipsed,
found a wide welcome. (See further, p. 389.)

 

has been the religion of Europe all these has not yet
been perfectly assimilated by it. St. Paul’s Epistles to the
Corinthians show how far the patience and energy of the
earliest apostles were taxed by their attempts to persuade
their converts to put away earthly things. The victory of
Christianity over the life of the West has always been a
remote vision, and the history of the Christian Church is
the record of the gradual adaptation of an Eastern religion
to the Western spirit. It is not the pale Galilean that has
conquered, but the spirit of the West. The ascetic creed of
withdrawal from life rather than of participation in its
fierce conflicts and competitions has been transformed. The
Western races were not prepared to abandon the world or look
upon its ends as impermanent. Their ener1 gies were too
great, the natural man in them unsubduable.

 

Though

 

it

 

centuries,

 

it

 

1

 

See Dixon, The

 

Human

 

Situation (1937), PP-

 

37~ 8

 

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA Jesus had an abhorrence of
dogma and never encouraged the metaphysical and theological
complications which are responsible for a good deal of
casuistry, intolerance, and obscurantism. His chief
opponents were the high priests and the pharisees, who
insisted on salvation by orthodoxy alone. In both the
Catholic and the Protestant forms, though in different
degrees, Christianity has become a religion of

272

 

authority, finding

 

its

 

seat in a tradition believed to be super-

 

naturally imparted. Instead of the contemplation of the
formless we have the definitization of the deity in the
personal God or His incarnation. Instead of indifference to
rites and formulas, we have the greatest insistence on them.
Though Jesus paid little attention to organization,
elaborate

 

have emerged from His teaching. In the effort to
establish a kingdom not of this world, the most realistic of
ecclesiastical organizations has been built up on earth. The
teaching of Jesus had for its aim the making of spiritual
souls who are above the battle of creeds and of nations, but
it is used to make loyal members of the Church. There is the
emphasis on the material ends of life. Religion is treated
as a means for procuring worldly peace and

ecclesiastical structures

 

of the State has come down to us from Greece and Rome,
and we have made religion Into a national institution,
allying itself with political causes. The interpretation of
God’s will at the Council of Clermont (A.D. 1095) as a
behest to go forth and slaughter the Saracens marks the
victory of the European West over the crucified

in the next.

 

prosperity

 

in this life

 

and escaping

 

hell

 

and winning heaven

 

The worship

 

Religion is employed to sanctify human passions. tragedy
of man is keenest when his love of power puts on the garb of
spiritual dignity. Of all fetters, worldliness assuming the
garb of religion is the most difficult to break. It is the
unseen enemy of true religion, the invisible assassin who is
not recognized as such, and is therefore more subtle

Jesus.

 

The

 

and dangerous.

it

 

religion ceases to be a universal faith if universal men.
contemplative spiritual religion becomes a dogmatic secular
one, a system of belief and ceremony, which pro-

 

A

 

does not

 

make

 

A

 

lives.

 

duces sentiments and emotions but fails to change men’s
Let us briefly trace the process of this transformation.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

 

273

 

entered into the inheritance of Alexander and his
successors and established an empire over all the known
Western world, she did not institute any inquisition into
men’s religious beliefs so long as they did not interfere
with the administration of the State, If certain major rules
relating to matters of property and contract were
observed,

 

When Rome

 

and

 

if

 

private wars

 

free to hold

 

and brigandage were avoided, men were any beliefs, and
practise any rites they pleased ;

 

only they should not outrage the conscience of the ruling
caste. There was no worship common to the whole State except
that of the emperor. In course of time Christianity, which
had all the qualities of a mystery religion, was accepted by
the people. Adopting the practice of the mystery cults, the
Church, which was endowed with a personality, claimed due
authority to teach and admit into its membership by specific
forms of initiation those who wished to join it and were
found worthy. It traced its foundation to a God-man, and its
officers claimed to derive their authority through
appointment by the founder, who gathered a small group tor
that specific purpose. In unbroken succession from this
group are descended, it is said, the officers who hold sway
over the whole body of Christians. The Church was a strict
corporation, a secret society like that for the celebration
of the mysteries called ecc/esia, with its own initiation
ceremonies, rites of sacrifice (the Eucharist), baptism, the
laying on of hands, and confession. All over the empire a
number of small organizations grew up, each called a church,
presided over by an Episkopos or bishop. The Church as a
whole included them all. Soon the ecclesia developed a body
of writings which it preserved for the instruction of its
members and the continuity of doctrine. When controversies
developed in regard to doctrine, the Church had to decide
what was the true Christian tradition. These doctrines were
later sifted and a certain number of them were accepted as
scrip-

 

The process was more than deliberate. The Canon of the
New Testaspontaneous ment included the Four Gospels, a few
letters written by the missionaries of the early Church
called Epistles, one record of the early Apostolic action
called the Acts of the Apostles, and one work of prophetic
vision known as the

ture,

 

inspired and authoritative.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA Apocalypse. When St. Paul
and the Apostles refer to the ‘scripture’ they mean the
sacred writings of the Jewish Church known to us as the Old
Testament. Free thinking was not encouraged. Tertullian
criticizes severely the thesis of Clement of Alexandria that
philosophy is a praeparatio evangetica as genuine as Old
Testament revelation: ‘What

274

 

kinship has the Christian with philosophy, he exclaims in
a well-known passage, ‘the Child of God with the Child of
Greece?’ 1 One of the reasons which led to the success
of

Christianity was its dogmatism. Men had grown weary and
disinclined to seek farther. Any creed that promised to calm
the troubled mind, give certainty in place of doubt, a
final

solution for a host of perplexing problems, found a ready
welcome. Sick with the hesitations of thought men turned
greedily to a cult which gave them theology instead of
philosophy, dogma instead of logic. Reason could not
promise

 

 

or give happiness here or hereafter; religion offered the
assurance of happiness, at least beyond the grave. Attempts,
however, were made to reconcile Christian tradition with
Greek thought, through what has come to be known as the

 

Logos theology. Justin Martyr (c. A.D. 155) followed the
Fourth Gospel and identified Jesus with the Eternal
Logos.

This started the theological problem of the person of
Jesus and His relation to God. The Logos theology was
widely

accepted in spite of the difficulties. When the Church
became a State within a State, it came into conflict with
the civil power. This difficulty disappeared when
Constantine accepted Christianity. But a theological crisis
arose. Arius, in his anxiety to preserve the unity of the
godhead, explained the conception of the Logos in a way
which provoked great opposition. He held that the Word was
the master of creation and was therefore more than man, and
as the creator of all other things He could rightly be
called God. But as the Son He was less than the Father.
Since He was begotten He was in some sense a creature and
was certainly not eternal. Though He was formed before time
itself began, yet there must have been a time when He was
not. He was obviously subject to pain and change, but
remained good by the exercise of His will. Knowing from the
beginning that

1

 

^7.46.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA 275 this would be so, the
Father had adopted Him proleptically as His Son. The Spirit
is related to the Son as the Son to the Father. A council of
bishops was summoned at Nicea, near Constantinople, to
discuss and define the full doctrine of Christ’s divinity,
for the Arian Controversy split the Church into warring
factions. Unity was the essence of the matter and dissent
was not tolerated. The enemy of God was looked upon as the
enemy of Caesar. Creeds and confessions developed to

 

make

 

the ecclesia were the idea of the God by nature. of the
Christian

sian Creed:

 

sure that new candidates for admission into not tainted
with heresy. Athanasius opposed created Logos and affirmed
that Jesus was Faith in God-man was for him the essence
religion. Here are the words of the Athana-

 

‘Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation:
that we also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord
Jesus Christ. *For the right Faith is, that we believe and
confess: that our Lord

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and Man; ‘God, of
the Substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds: and
Man, of the Substance of his Mother, born in the world;

‘Perfect

 

God, and

 

perfect

 

Man: of

 

a reasonable soul and

 

human

 

flesh subsisting;

 

‘Equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; and
inferior to the Father, as touching his Manhood. ‘But
although He be God and Man: Yet he is not two, but one

Christ.’

 

strife between Arius and Athanasius still continues in
the hearts of men. Athanasius weaned the Church from her
traditions of tolerance and scholarship, of Clement and
Origen. Nicene orthodoxy gained victory over Hellenistic and
heretical systems. Those who had a natural bent for
speculative doubt exercised their scepticism on Christian 1
dogmas. Soon after, Origen was condemned by the Church.
Theological speculation became a servant of the tradition of
Justinian, who closed the schools at Athens, codified
the

 

The

 

law, and restored the Byzantine Church. Learning was
lost, and with it the capacity for speculation. In
proselytizing

 

the pagans Christianity absorbed

1

 

many of the pagan

 

beliefs

 

In the opinion of Chrysostom, Archbishop of
Constantinople in the fifth century, the number of Christian
bishops who would be saved bore a very small proportion to
those who would be damned.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA and practices and obscured
the simplicity and rationality of

276

 

the faith of Jesus. In its anxiety to spread,
Christianity used the language of every race and class and
country. 1 It seemed

to be all things to all men. By its sacramental doctrine,
its encouragement of relics and charms, by its cults of
saints and martyrs it lost its distinctiveness. Its
hierarchical organization became stronger in administration
than in religion. In the Dark Ages, which may be regarded as
extending from the end of the fifth century to the
establishment of

 

feudalism in the eleventh century, Europe weltered in
ignorance and misery and lived in constant peril and
pressure.

 

In the Middle Ages, eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth

centuries, faith

 

The

 

ecclesiastical

 

was dominant and doubt was suppressed. tyranny was so
ubiquitous that it was

 

breathe a word against accepted dogmas. Authority was
supreme and the Inquisition was actually established at the
beginning of the thirteenth century. The heretic was the
enemy more than the infidel. In Spain under

perilous

to

caliphs, Averroes, the Moslem thinker, dean independent
movement which was suppressed veloped

 

the

 

Moorish

 

by Pope John XXI. The Church endeavoured by the stake and
the thumbscrew to preserve the faith once delivered to the
saints and became alienated from the spirit of Jesus. If He
had returned to Europe in the Middle Ages, He would

certainly have been burnt alive for denying the dogmas
about His own nature. During three centuries, three hundred
thousand persons were put to death for their religious

 

opinions in Madrid alone. The lurid fancies of
theologians about the torture chambers of Gehenna did not
outrage their moral feelings. Since they thought these were
permitted by divine justice, they did not shrink from
adopting refinements

‘Except with regard to its fundamental tenets, it adapted
itself to the needs and customs of the various nations. In
the famine-stricken regions of Anatolia its preachers
promised a heaven with ever-bearing fruit trees; for the

1

 

overworked

 

it provided refuges in monasteries; to the Berber gave a
holy cause for crusading, especially against rich and
oppressive landowners; to educated Romans, like Minucius
Felix and Lactantius, it permitted the reading of Cicero and
Virgil, nor did it attempt to deprive the real Greeks of
Homer and Plato* (Tenney Frank, Aspects of Social tochaviour
in Ancient Rome, p, 63).

 

serfs in

 

Egypt

it

 

mountaineers of Africa

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA 277 of cruelty in human
affairs. This period saw the rise of the universities,
parliaments, and the Gothic cathedrals, as well

as the Crusades.

 

Philosophy in the Middle Ages was scholasticism, and the
greatest of the schoolmen was Thomas Aquinas. He attempted
to reconcile philosophy with religion, Aristotelian wisdom
with Catholic orthodoxy. It is difficult to summarize a
metaphysical system which is so massive and closely knit as
Thomas’s, but its central features may be briefly set

 

down. St. Thomas conceives reality as an ordered
hierarchy of existence ranging from God, whose being is
wholly from Himself, who is in no sense corporeal, and who
is perfect actuality. God alone is pure being, pure Act; all
other existents are individual but imperfect and owe their
real but limited status to Him who alone truly is. In Him
there is neither limitation nor contingency. He exists by
His very essence. His being is the condition of all our
thinking. From motion and change or becoming we can argue to
an unmoved mover, from the causal series to a first cause,
from the contingent to independent necessary being, from the
gradation of excellences in limited beings to supreme
excellence in the

 

highest being, and from the purposiveness and government
of the world to the highest person. The existence of matter
is wholly dependent on higher orders of being, its essence
is pure corporeality, its natural mode is that of wholly
undetermined potency. The world is not an undifferentiated
chaos or an insuperable dualism. The lower orders of being
are not mere shadows or emanations of the reality from which
they derive their existence but are distinct and
discontinuous. Each order of being has its own
characteristic can argue from one to another functions and
modes. on the principle of analogy, not that of identity.
only Through this analogical reasoning we can pass from
sensible existence to the source of all existence or pure
being. Even though we cannot know God by the direct
operations of reason, we are not altogether helpless, since
analogy provides the means. It follows that we must know the
truth about the sensible universe which our minds are
capable of fully

 

We

 

apprehending,

 

the intelligible. For this reason the entire Aristotelian
system is taken over as

if

 

we would

 

rise

 

to

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA a complete account of all
that reason had hitherto been able to attain by the study of
nature. By a consideration of the

278

 

implications of things

 

we can

 

reach the conception of God,

 

as a metaphysical being with the attributes of
intelligence, will, and goodness, but it is only revelation
that gives us

 

His triune

 

character.

 

altogether different from God. His place in the scheme is
intermediate between non-intelligent matter, on the one
hand, and pure intelligences, on the other. On the

is

 

Man

 

principle of analogy,

distinct

 

it

 

is

 

asserted that his perfection

 

is

 

from that of the brutes or the angels. As wholly a being
composed of soul and body, man should not aim at either an
animal or an angelic life. God is the end to which

all

 

things move, but each order of existence has its own mode
of reaching that perfection. The life of man is incomplete
if the faculty of intelligence which he shares with other
beings does not attain its natural development.
Contemplation of truth is the highest end of man and that
requires bodily health, freedom from the disturbance of
passions achieved by moral virtues. St. Thomas is definite
that a human life is not the divine, and therefore
sense-pleasures, though not the whole of human good, are
genuinely a part of it. The body is relevant to human
perfection. It is by no means a fetter of the soul. He
affirms that the beatific vision requires a beatified
consciousness (lumen g/oriae) which is distinct from
ordinary consciousness (lumen naturale) and prophetic
consciousness (lumen gratiae). Even then the divine essence
will not be comprehended. By the contemplative life, St.
Thomas means ‘the life of study and passion for truth’. 1 It
is not an intuitive vision of the divine essence. On earth
it is impossible for us to have a direct vision of mental
images (phanGod. partial knowledge of God by If Moses and
St. Paul is all that can be had. tasmata) received the
divine vision in their ecstasy, it only shows that 2 ecstasy
is not impossible or contrary to nature. Athanasius

 

A

 

Chapman, Encyclopaedia of “Religion and Ethics* vol. ix,
p. 96. Dr. Kirk says: ‘For lesser beings than Moses and St.
Paul, such as St. Peter and David, he provides two kinds of
ecstasy in which the contemplation of God is less remote
from that which the ordinary class may hope to achieve

1

 

Dom

 

2

 

in this

 

life’

 

(The Vision of God (1951),

 

p. 392).

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

 

279

 

admitted that the soul is in its own nature destined for
and capable of the direct beatific vision and that its
condition is 1 St. Thomas does not purity of heart. agree.
For St. Thomas, good life is one of obedience to the law.
Wrongdoing is the violation of it. It is assumed that the
commands of God are not arbitrary and capricious. When we
look upon morality as mere conformity to commands imposed on
us by external authority and obeyed in the last resort not
from any sense of the intrinsic goodness of the act
commanded, but because it is commanded and disobedience will
mean unpleasant consequences, it becomes a species of
self-seeking. To make virtue a means to the avoidance of
unhappiness in after-life is to degrade it, and that is what
the medieval theologians did with their lurid pictures of
future torments. Superstitious legends grew up and
indulgences were turned into something like a mechanical
service.

 

Men

 

believed in buying spiritual benefits as

 

we

 

buy drugs from a store. Ecclesiastical endowments, which
covered a good proportion of the surplus wealth of the
country, came to be treated as private fortunes in which men
could invest as in stocks and shares. They could buy
prebends or abbacies for their children.

Scholasticism kept alive intellectual vigour. By its
powers of definition and subtle inference, and its
intellectual energy, it nourished the roots of scientific
culture. Copernicus is said to have conceived the hypothesis
of the movement of the earth round the sun as a mere
inference from the doctrine of the Trinity. Towards the end
of the Middle Ages we have an increasing knowledge of the
world by science and discovery. Men were filled with
vitality and the spirit of adventure. At the beginning of
the fourteenth century signs of decline of faith became
evident and the authority of the Pope was contested. Doubts
of doctrine as well as of titles to authority increased, but
the dogmatists always are conservative and disciplinary, not
progressive and prophetic.

 

Authority,

life

 

when

 

it

 

is

 

most powerful,

 

acts like a ruthless

 

mechanism, an almost organized opposition to the values
of

 

and spirit. In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
there was a regular reign of terror in the name of
religion.

1

 

Contra Gentes,

 

3.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA European society became more
and more unstable. We find ourselves in a fierce and warring
world of jarring sects, furious

280

 

and revolting persecutions. The spread of the disturbed
men’s minds on doctrine even as corruption among the clergy
threw doubt on the validity of the sacraments. A sacrament
is not valid if the person administering it is not in a
state of grace. This led to the belief that the sacramental
power of the clergy was an illusion. The movement led by
Wycliffe in England was motived by this idea. There was
great resentment against the abuse of Church property. Even
the masses were affected by doubts of the Real Presence. The
cult of relics, payments of alms, abuse of indulgences and
masses for the dead suggested to the popular mind a kind of
religious barter, the buying and selling of spiritual power.
The

controversies,

scientific spirit

 

opposition expressed itself through the Reformation, when
Christendom became a house divided against itself. When
Luther and other reformers rejected certain doctrines and
opposed certain practices maintained by the Roman Church
they did so taking their stand on the scripture, especially
the New Testament. The controversy revolved round the ground
of belief. While the Roman Church maintained that men
believed its doctrines because they were declared to be true
by an infallible Church interpreting an infallible Book, the
Protestant Scholastics rejected the tradition and accepted
the Book. They were both agreed on one point,

 

of the inability of man to interpret for himself the
witness of God is accepted, the Catholic canposition is
sounder and truer than the Protestant. not take our stand on
a Book, the whole Book, and nothing but the Book. Are its
different parts equally inspired and

 

When

 

that an infallible external authority

 

is

 

essential for belief.

 

once

 

this position

 

We

 

therefore equally authoritative? Are they due to a human
author or the inspiration of the Holy Spirit ? Do they
contain a complete, consistent, and coherent system of
doctrine ? If so, what is it ? Luther said ‘We have a right
touchstone for testing all books in whether they witness to
observing Christ or not.’ Also: ‘What does not teach Christ
is not apostolic even though St. Peter or Paul teach it.
Again, what preaches Christ, that would be apostolic, though
Judas,

:

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA Hannas, Pilate and Herod did
it.’ While the Catholic

 

281

 

tradi-

 

tion gives us an infallible interpretation of an
infallible Book, the Protestant Churches speak in an
uncertain voice and

 

give a hundred different answers.

 

They

 

oscillate

 

two extremes which are both

judgement. The

 

central to their position,

 

between uncon-

 

and the right of free of science requires us to admit
that spirit truth is not what is stated in a book or what is
asserted by a Church, but what is in accord with reality.
The Protestant Reformation was to lead to a new
interpretation of the creeds in accordance with the
principles of universal religion, to help us to find out
what is true and good not by the teachings of tradition but
by the light of reason and conscience. This essential trait
of the Reformation has not even now fulfilled

ditional assent to an external authority,

 

all its promise. Early Protestantism, however, had for
its avowed aim the foundation of a religious system which
should be as dogmatic and exclusive as the one which it
assailed and which should represent more faithfully the

 

teaching of the early Church. Luther’s lecture on The
Epistle to the Romans (151516) begins with the words *The
essence of this Epistle is the complete destruction and
eradication of all wisdom and righteousness of the flesh,
however great these may seem in the eyes of man and to
ourselves, and however sincere and upright they may be, and
the planting and firm establishment of sin whatever the
degree of its absence or apparent absence/ To be saved we
must learn to despair of ourselves. Dogmatism remains only
the universalism disappears. The Catholic European God
became

:

 

:

 

nationalized. Luther asked,

 

‘What have we Germans

 

to

 

do

 

with

 

Peter ?’ God was becoming a German deity. The Churches
themselves took on a national colour. Luther’s

St.

 

between Papists, is a vast difference and us who have the
word* prove that the Turks, Jews, spirit of dogmatism was
not deficient in him. Calvin erected a new Church with a
well-developed doc’that

 

words

 

there

 

divine will is supreme, Man’s good deeds are of towards
the salvation of his soul, as they do not proceed from his
soul. The sovereignty of God and the predestination of man
were Calvin’s chief doctrines. The sovereignty of God is
pressed to the point of excluding any freedom in

trine.

 

The

 

no

 

effect

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA man. The individual can do
nothing to change

282

 

his fore-

 

ordained

 

final

 

end.

call

:

 

If

if to

 

we

 

are born to be saved,

 

we

 

will

 

be damned, we cannot respond. Of his own nature man is
inclined only to evil. This view of the total depravity of
man’s nature logically tended to an exaltation of
unnaturalness of living. ‘If heaven is our country, what is
the earth but our place of exile ? If to depart out of the
world is to enter into life, what is the world but a
sepulchre? What is a continuance in it but absorption in
death? We must learn to hate this terrestrial life, that it
make us not prisoners to sin.’ 1 Calvinism provided the
framework of the new Protestant movement which spread over
Europe, almost for a time dominating England, and

 

respond to the

 

in Scotland. the break-up of the feudal organization of
society, competitive spirit and the profit motive covered
the whole field of man’s activities. The early Christian
thinkers insist that earthly possessions should be reduced
to a minimum and man must learn to despise the vanity of
this world, but in the practice of Calvinism the pursuit of
wealth, once regarded as perilous to the soul, acquired a
new sanctity. Covetousness is not such a great danger to the
soul as sloth.

 

becoming the established system

 

With

 

Paul’s exhortation, ‘not slothful in business’, was
interpreted as meaning that commercial prosperity and not
poverty is meritorious. With the rise of the new science,
the opporsoulless system tunities for capitalist enterprise
increased. of economics and the building of empires
involving the subjection of vast populations received the
blessing of the

 

A

 

Church. 2

1

 

The

9. 4.

 

use of force in the interests of trade and

This writer

 

/*//.

 

iii.

 

2

 

Cf.

 

Max Weber, Protestant Ethics and the Spirit of
Capitalism.

 

argues that the capitalist system of modern days has
grown out of the Protestant Reformation, more especially out
of the Calvinistic theology and attitude to life. In his
Foreword, Professor R. H. Tawney states these
conclusions

thus:

 

*The pioneers of the modern economic order were, he

 

argues, parvenus,

 

who elbowed their way to success, in the teeth of the
established aristocracy of knd and commerce. The tonic that
braced them for the conflict was a new

as conception of leligion which taught them to regard the
pursuit of wealth not merely an advantage but a duty What is
significant is not the strength of the motive of economic
self-interest, which is a commonplace of all ages and
demands no explanation. It is the change of moral standards
which converted a natural frailty into an ornament of the
spirit, and canonized as the

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA 283 was sanctioned by
religion. Cromwell could feel that empire he was called of
God to lead his Ironsides against the tyranny of kings. With
the rise of the new machinery and the facilities

for transport, social checks on wealth diminished in
efficacy, and by the end of the eighteenth century
capitalism grew up, and became all powerful in the
nineteenth century. The vast masses slowly became conscious
of their misery and prepared for revolt. Christianity under
Calvin’s followers the capitalist regime and condoned the
growing supported evils and the mechanization of life. In
religion, hatred of Catholic and Protestant grew up.

 

Wars of

tion

 

religion increased.

St.

 

The

 

savageries of the Inquisi-

 

and the massacre of

 

of religious

 

Bartholomew and the intrigues teachers such as Luther,
Calvin, and Knox

religiously Christians could hate one another

labels.

 

showed how

 

simply because they bore different

 

was adjusted in practice to national needs, doctrinally
it remained narrow and persecuting. Servetus (1511-33) was
burnt alive on a slow fire on the hill of

religion

 

While

 

Champel overlooking

 

the lake at Geneva. Protestant leaders

 

who were opposed to Calvin expressed their approval. Even
the gentle and humane Melanchthon expressed his delight

memorable example

at the execution of the heretic Servetus as ‘a pious and
for all posterity’. 1 Religion became a

 

useful ally of the despotic State. ness and intolerance
in theory and

 

These features of narrowaccommodation to political

 

and economic

 

policies of the State in practice have characterized both
the Catholic and the Protestant developments. Fundamentalism
is again to the fore and it is not confined

 

America. There are new dogmatisms which would reChurch,
or creed and effecthe spirit. We have in Karl Earth a
crusader tively quench and a fundamentalist. For him
humanism and modernism

to

habilitate the authority of gospel,

 

are the heresies.

 

They seem

 

to

 

commit the grave offence

the gulf that divides

as vices.

 

of ignoring the sinfulness of

economic virtues habits which in

 

man and

 

earlier ages

 

had been denounced

 

The force which produced it was the creed associated with
the name of Calvin.

Capitalism was the social counterpart of Calvinistic
theology* (p. 2). 1 See also a letter from Melanchthon to
Calvin in J. B. Kidd, Documents

 

of the Continental Reformation (191

 

1), p.

 

647.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA him from God. ‘For what has
actually happened’, he says in his Credoy ‘is that man has
made himself master, would like, under the signature “Jesus
Christ”, to become himself a complete whole, would like
himself to speak the creative word and be the living spirit,
would like himself to forgive sins and sanctify himself.’
And again: ‘God never and nowhere becomes world. The world
never and nowhere becomes God. God and world remain over
against each other.’ ‘The uniqueness of God is not a
religious postulate

284

 

nor a philosophical idea, but something that corresponds
1 Revelation exactly to the uniqueness of God’s revelation.’
is God’s own self-disclosure. It is something
inaccessible

except to

this

faith, which is itself a divine gift. Those who adopt
view quote scripture in defence. When Peter confesses, ‘You
are the Christ, the Son of the living God’, Jesus

 

answers, ‘You are a blessed man, Simon Barjona, for it
was in heaven, not flesh and blood, that revealed this If
flesh and blood could reveal it, it would be to you.’ human
knowledge. It is thus inevitable that Barth should refuse to
compromise with modern thought or to bring Christianity ‘up
to date’. ‘It is forced down my throat’, he says, ‘that the
Dogmatic theologian is under the obligation to “justify”
himself in his utterances before philosophy. To that my
answer is likewise, No. . All our activities of and speaking
can only have a secondary signithinking ficance and, as
activities of the creature, cannot possibly coincide with
the truth of God that is the source of truth in the world.’
3 I do not suppose that any one wishes to exalt the undivine
self to the divine status. To realize the self, one requires
self-control, self-denial, not self-indulgence. Barth
condemns the attempt of theology to satisfy the rational
mind of man by reasoned justifications of what it has
accepted from faith. For Barth it is a disservice to
religion to try to illuminate it by arguments from
philosophy. The proper duty of the theologian is to see how
far the proclamations of the Church are in conformity with
scripture. ‘Holy Scripture is the object of our study, and
at the same time the criterion of our study of the church’s
past.

 

my Father 2

 

.

 

.

 

1

 

Credo, p. 15.

 

2

 

Matthew

 

xvi.

 

16 and 17.

 

3

 

^7.46.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

 

285

 

As

 

read the writings of the “fathers”, the witness of Holy
Scripture stands continually before my eyes; I accept what
interprets this witness to me: I reject what contradicts it.
So a choice is actually made, certainly not a choice
according to my individual taste, but according to my
knowledge of Holy Scripture/ These are sentiments that could
have been expressed by the first reformers or by Calvin.
Briinner in his Philosophy of Religion takes up a stand
against Schleiermacher’s view that ‘the true nature of
religion is immediate consciousness of the deity as he is
found in ourselves and the world* and defends Protestant
dogma. Revelation is the intrusion of divine power into the
stream of history. The gulf between God and nature is wide.
There are no pathways to God from the side of human nature.
Man can only wait for the hour when God in His infinite
mercy will claim him as His own. Man is completely alienated
from divinity and cannot therefore take even the first steps
towards a spiritual life. If ultimate convictions rest on
revelation and not reason, it is not easy to distinguish the
revelation from its doctrinal setting. The supra-doctrinal
character of the prophetic religion of Biblical realism is
the faith that Jesus is the Son of the Living God. know in
the Qur’an, which is the basis of the Muslim faith, Jesus’
sonship, his death on the Cross, and such doctrines as the
Trinity, Reconciliation, or Atonement are repudiated in the
name of Revelation. To reject Christianity is a part of the
religious creed of Islam; to admit Christianity would be to
repudiate Islam as an error. Such dogmatisms are the
vehicles of human pride and not humility. Faith cannot be
opposed to reason. It has no power to overrule
conscience

I

 

We

 

and

 

intellect.

 

of these narrow orthodoxies is a spiritual the failure to
face realities. They are likely to cowardice,

destroy religion altogether. The heroic stand which the
Confessional Churches are making against the encroachments
of the State is much appreciated, but in our admiration we
should not forget that under the leadership of Karl Barth
the liberal Christianity of the pre-war days which tried to
combine the spirit of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment
with the legacy of the

 

The weakness

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA past is killed. For over a
hundred years before the War, under the influence of men
like Kant and Hegel, Schleiermacher and Ritschl, Herder and
Hermann, Christian theology tried to come to terms with
modern thought. For them the knowledge of God was the
knowledge of man at

286

his best. Earth declares that Christianity cannot lay
claim to absolute supernatural truth so long as it tries to
compromise with humanism, liberalism, psychology, and
philosophy of religion. Even the Catholic Church tries to
build

 

half-way houses between Christianity and Plato
(Augustine) or Aristotle (Aquinas). But Barth deprecates all
attempts at the adjustment between reason and
revelation.

 

As

 

a Protestant, Barth denies the claims of the

 

Roman

 

Church:

tion in the

its

 

‘The Tridentinum which recognized tradition as source of
revelasame manner as Holy Scripture, and the Vaticanum
with

 

dogma of the

 

infallibility

 

of the Pope signify the self-apotheosis of

 

the Church, which is one of the most serious and enormous
errors of the Roman Catholic Church. In contrast to that the
Reformation

Scripture-principle placed the Church permanently under
the authority of the prophetic-apostolic Bible-word/ *

 

In spite of their opposition to each other, the
Dialectical Theology of Karl Barth and the National
Socialism of Hitler are the religious and political
expressions of a common reaction against liberalism which is
so evident on all sides of German life. Both are based on
the Hebrew view of history as a sequence of mighty acts of
the Creator leading up to a long-foreseen and intended
climax. Barth argues that the highest act of revelation was
in Jesus ; the Nazi adds that the revelation was not closed
then. The type of mind is the same in both. If Barthian
theology is less effective than Nazism, it is because its
Church has not the temporal authority of a Fiihrer. It calls
upon us to cling confidingly to the account of the universe
given by the Church, and has little if any conception of the
logical and ethical values other than those proper to its
own world. The attraction of such a message is natural,
though it cannot be lasting. In a world in which there is
perpetual unrest and no abiding city, where there are no
fixed standards and no goal whither all are striving,

1

 

Credo, pp. 179-80.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

the

 

287

 

of one idea has an opportunity to make his voice heard
above the din of the cavalcade, but he will not be heard for
long. Heaven is not a totalitarian State with concentra-

 

man

 

There are many mansions in it The new German Faith is an
answer to orthodoxy. If only a new and vital form of
spiritual Christianity had arisen in Germany to capture the
minds of post-war youth, the German Faith movement would
not

tion

 

camps

 

for unbelievers.

 

to suit different tastes.

 

have had such success. National Socialism by its decree
of toleration that each can choose his way to blessedness
shows itself to be more liberal at least in religious
matters than the orthodox Churches. 1 The revolt against the
Church in Germany is not to be

explained exclusively by the political motive.

Professor

 

Hauer

claim

 

says :

 

‘Christianity claims to possess the absolute truth, and
with this is bound achieve salvation in one up the idea that
men can

 

only

 

way, through Christ, and that it must send to the stake
those whose faith and life do not conform, or pray for them
till they quit the error of their ways for the Kingdom of
God. Of course there is a difference between sending men to
the stake and praying for them. But the attitude which lies
behind both is much the same at bottom. In both cases the
whole stress is laid on forcibly rescuing the man of another
faith from the peril of hell fire into which the pursuit of
his own path would inevitably plunge him.’ 2

 

Just as these varying creeds divide the world, they
divide the people of the countries. have the conflicts of
Hindus and Muslims, Protestants and Catholics. Religion in
Germany is represented by two sharply opposed creeds,
Catholic and Protestant, which divide men’s hearts from
their infancy. If the nationalist leaders in their anxiety
to weld the people into a unity cry ‘a plague on both your
houses’, it is not unintelligible. Professor Hauer, who
spent some years in India as a Christian missionary, is much
impressed by the

 

We

 

1 ‘No National Socialist may suffer any detriment on the
ground that he does not profess any particular faith or
confession, or on the ground that he does not make any
religious profession at all. Each man’s faith is his own
affair

 

which he answers to his own conscience alone. Compulsion
may not be brought to bear in matters of conscience* (Decree
of 13 Oct. 1933, Germany’s New Religion (1937), p. 32). See
also Reichsminister Kerrl, Religion * *nd Philosophy of Lift
(1938), p. 3. Germany’s New Religion, p. 45.

for

 

288

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

 

Hindu attitude of toleration. He says: ‘If the attitude
and the conviction, that there is only one road to truth and
one way to God, form an inalienable characteristic of
Christianity, then Christianity is fundamentally opposed to
the German genius.’ 1 He accepts also the religious
presuppositions of this attitude. In Hinduism the attitude
of freedom and generosity to other faiths is bound up with
the conviction that the religious life has its source and
certainty in the eternal deeps of man’s soul. Professor
Hauer says: ‘We who hold the German faith are convinced that
men, and especially the Germans, have the capacity for
religious independence, since it is true that every one has
an immediate relation to God, is, in fact, in the depths of
his heart one with the eternal ground of the world.’ The
doctrines of the completeness of God’s transcendence and the
corruption of human nature when exclusively stressed do not
find an answering echo in the human soul. Possibly the
upholders of Dialectical Theology were led to the position
when they can witnessed the helplessness of man in the last
war. derive help only from above. sense of man’s passionate
weakness led the fundamentalists to doctrinal obscurantism.
But the new German faith reverts to type when it affirms
that an individual’s religion is determined by his race and
stock, and that as long as he follows the peculiar religious
instincts of his own race, he achieves as much knowledge of
God as is possible for him. Whatever truth this principle
has is perverted when attempts are made to purify German
life from everything non-Aryan and therefore Semitic
Christianity. To hold that the will of the nation is the
will of God is opposed to the spirit of religion, though,
along with credalism, nationalism has always been imposed on
Christianity. Both the Greek and the Semitic religions look
upon God as a useful ally of political groups. Zeus protects
the Greeks and Yahweh the Jews. call upon God to further our
plans and frustrate our enemy’s. Sophocles makes Philoctetes
pray

 

We

 

A

 

We

 

:

 

But, O

 

my

 

fatherland

 

And

 

all

 

ye gods

 

who

 

Avenge me on them all If ye have pity on me. 2

1

 

look on me, avenge, in time to come,

2

 

Germany’s

 

New

 

Religion, p. 45.

 

Plumptre’s E.T.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

 

289

 

Electra cries in the Choephoroei ‘Right against the
unrighteous I demand, suffering against the wrongdoers.’ For
the Jews it is well known that God is the Lord of Hosts. Our
national anthems breathe the same spirit. Two different
lines are adopted in this matter of using religion for our
If we are a little conscientious and feel the practical
ends.

disparity between our professions that we should not mix
up religion

 

and and

 

practice,

life.

 

we

 

affirm

to

 

It

 

would be

 

But it religion is to live at all, it spoil two good
things. must be fitted into the framework of life, be in
intimate relation with our occupations and judgements. The
withdrawal of religion from life does not receive much
support.

level

 

general tendency is to reduce religion to the of our
practice, to argue that the pattern of our civilization is,
if not completely religious, at least on the way to it. Even
though we have costly and magnificent churches and gorgeous
ritual and music, we are not quite so brazen as to say that
our commerce and athletics, our selfish nationalism and
international anarchy are religious. Among both individuals
and nations we admire the rich and the successful, and the
strong and the powerful. Any one who has not at least five
hundred a year is a figure to be sneered at, and any weak
nation which believes in selflessness in others is to be off
the map. If any pitied, for it deserves to be wiped out,

 

The more

 

people are unwilling to convert their corporate manhood
into a military arm, they are decadent. To succeed in life,
we must

believe in

political

life

 

and

 

its

 

power.

if

 

By

 

values, which are economic success and a multitude of
sophisms we persuade

 

ourselves that

 

help us

 

God expects us to believe in them and will we pursue them
with vigour and enterprise and deceit and cunning, if
necessary. Whatever we do, we do in the name of God. We
seize our opportunities and thank God for them. We strike
down our enemies and thank God

take risks, meet danger half-way, push our way along,
exploit people, and build empires, and thank God for them.
The British are committed to the rule of half the world and
will fight to defend it, for they are sure that

for aid.

 

We

 

they are doing God’s work. If they relinquish their
heritage they are not certain that it will get into cleaner
hands and the will of God and the ideals of humanity will be
better served.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA Hitler says *The blessing of
the Lord is with Germany and not with her enemies/ Whatever
he does, he does as the

290

:

 

1

 

servant of Providence. The devotion in Spain to the
bullring is so great that the arena is described as ‘the
sands of God’. 2 Dr. Alfred Rosenberg in The Myth of the
Twentieth Century rejects the dogmas of the Catholic Church
and sets up a new German faith which requires the love of
fellow men to be subordinated to the honour of the nation.
The Pope blesses the Italian aggression in Abyssinia and
shows himself to be a priest, not of the Catholic Church,
but of the

Italian nation.

 

welter of superstitions and taboos, primitive myths and
unhistorical traditions, unscientific dogmatisms and
national idolatries, constitutes the practising religion of
the vast

 

A

 

majority of

 

mankind

 

to-day.

IV

 

would by no means be a triumph divine or human if
atheistic Communism of Russia were to be overcome by the

It

 

exclusive religions. Opposition to both these extremes is
perhaps the greatest tribute that a mind of any spirituality
can render to God. If we are to work our way to a larger
measure

 

of moral and spiritual unity, we must avoid mere
oscillation between the extremes and seek truth in its
ultimate depths. The mystic tradition has been a persistent
one in the religious life of the West. Its origins, as we
have seen, may possibly be traced to India. Professor F.
Heiler observes that

of religion knows only three great independent currents
of development, which may possibly go back to two. There
runs an unbroken chain from the Atman-Brahman mysticism of
the Vedic upanisads to the Vedanta of Sarhkara on the one
side and on the other through the mystical technique of the
Yoga system to the Buddhist doctrine of salvation. Another
line of development equally con*the history

 

and the

1

 

tinuous leads from the Orphic-Dionysiac mysticism to
Plato, Philo later Hellenistic mystery cults to the
Neoplatonic mysticism

 

The Times, 28 March 1938. Writing to an American friend
after the events of 30 June 1934, a German lady exclaimed:
‘Hitler has killed his friends for the sake of Germany.
Isn’t he wonderful?’ The same writer tells us of a German
boy whose prayer on making his first communion was *that he
might die with a French bullet in

2

 

his heart* (Philip

 

Gibbs, European Journey).

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

of the

Infinite of Plotinus

 

291

 

the source of the “mystical theology” of the
pseudo-Dionysius the Areopagite. Perhaps this second chain
is only an offshoot from the first, since the Eleatic
speculations and the cryptic doctrine of redemption have
borrowed

in turn

is

 

which

 

possibly

 

elements from early Indian mysticism. The prophetic of
the Bible which is poles asunder from mysticism manifests
religion the same continuity. Starting from Moses perhaps
from Abraham it runs through the prophets and psalmists to
its culmination in Jesus and is perpetuated by Paul and
John. This line continues in the

essential

 

succeeding Christian centuries though it becomes weaker
under the influence of mysticism and a syncretistic
ecclesiasticism, until it again

finds

its

 

pristine strength in the biblical Christianity

 

of the Reformers.’ 1

 

Ih other words, he distinguishes two types of religion,
the mystic and the prophetic, or the Biblical or
evangelical. The former he traces partly to India, though he
recognizes that in Indian thought there is a theistic
current, which refuses to blur the distinctiveness of
individuals and looks upon God not only as immanent but as
transcendent, and advocates prayer and personal appeal to
the Infinite instead of quiet and contemplation. The
tivetatvatara Upanisad, the Bhagavadgtta, the theistic
reformers such as Ramanuja and Madhva, and

 

such as Tukaram, Tulsldas, represent this tendency. In
them we find a fervent and tender, frank and vigorous life
of prayer and communion with a personal God. Yet the other
tendency is the more prominent one, and Christian mysticism
owes to it a good deal of its development. It need not,
however, be assumed that the two are exclusive of each
other. As a matter of fact, the Upanisads do not look upon
them

saints

 

The contradiction appears only if we define mysticism in
the one-sided way in which Heiler does. For him it is ‘that
form of intercourse with God in which the world and self are
absolutely denied, in which human

as irreconcilable. 2

 

dissolved, disappears and is absorbed in the of the
Godhead*, 3 While in the moments of insight the individual
is impressed by the community of nature between the soul and
God, when he lapses from them a feeling of unworthiness, the
desolation of a separate life, disturbs his soul to its
depths. He shudders before the awful

 

personality

 

is

 

infinite unity

 

1

 

2

iii

 

Prayer, E.T. (1932), pp. 116-17. See also the writer’s An
Idealist Flew of Life (1937), 2nd ed. chapters 3 and iv.
Prayer, E.T., p. 136.

 

292

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

 

majesty of the great God, quivers in anguish, prays for
forgiveness of sins, for aid and protection. The ascent to
the supreme light and the prayer for pardon, the joy of the
blessed union with the infinite God and the stern, harsh
mood of penitence, represent two sides of mystic life. The
super-personal and personal aspects of the Supreme may be
distinguished in thought but cannot be separated in fact.
According to true mysticism, each individual life represents
a distinct value, a unique purpose, which will be retained
so long as the cosmic process lasts. The ends and values
though striven for in time have their source and
consummation in eternity. The inner meaning and reality of
each individual life remain a distinct fact in the world of
spirit, until they are in eternity, when time and the cosmic
process terperfected minate. 1 Nor is it fair to contend
that in Jesus, John, and Paul the strain of mysticism is not
decisive. have referred to this question in another place.
The declaration that the ‘Kingdom of God is within you*
carries the implication that the Divine King is within us.
In the papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, which is assigned to about
A.D. 200, there is a saying attributed to Jesus, ‘And the
Kingdom of Heaven is within you, and whosoever shall know
himself shall find it.’ Dr. Inge in his Christian Mysticism
refers to the mystic strain in the early thinkers. He,
however, agrees with Heiler in looking upon the negative
descriptions of the deity and the world-denying character of
ethics as Indian in origin. He says ‘The doctrine that God
can be described only by negatives is neither Christian nor
Greek, but belongs to the old religion of India.’ 2 These
are pervasive characteristics of Christian mysticism and
show the decisive influence of Indian thought on it. To give
a negative account of God is to affirm His immensity of
being. When personality is denied to Him, it is only in the
interests of super-personality. When we are asked to
recognize the ephemeral character of earthly goods, it is to
help us to live in the light of the eternal values. This is
the lesson of the Upanisads and the Bhagavadgita. The
unknown author of Theologia Germanica describes the soul of
Christ as having two eyes. The right

 

We

 

:

 

1

 

Sec* Idealist View of Life, pp. 303 2 Christian Mysticism
(1899), p. in.

 

An

 

ff.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA 293 is fixed on and on the
Godhead. It has a full eternity eye intuition and enjoyment
of the divine essence and eternal perfection. The left eye
sees created things and things of time. While the right eye
of His soul remained in full consciousness of His divine
nature, the left eye was in possession of His perfect
suffering and earthly experience. The created soul of man
has also two eyes. One gives him the power of seeing into
eternity, and the other helps him to see into time. If the
right eye is to see into eternity, the left must be closed.
‘Therefore whosoever will have the one must let the
other

 

man can serve two masters.’ 1 The author attributes this
view to Dionysius the Areopagite. There is thus enough
justification for regarding the mystic element in the West
as Indian. This should not lead us to think that there is
anything exclusive or peculiar about In different places and
times, and under the shadow of it. may take it every
religion, mysticism has developed. that under conditions
generally similar, the human mind has expressed itself under
similar forms. Though the ways of human thinking are varied
and its conclusions often contradictory, if there is
anything that can be called universal truth, it is only
natural that intuition, philosophy, and ethics should in
different conditions sometimes attain similar results. In
Indian mysticism this universality is openly acknowledged
and a philo? Dphy of religion is built on it. It affirms
that the strain of is everywhere latent in humanity and
mysticism only requires favouring conditions to reveal
itself. To-day,

go, for no

 

We

 

when we

minded.

 

are breaking

 

away from

 

incredible beliefs

 

and un-

 

social traditions,

 

mysticism has a deep appeal to the spiritual-

 

Science cannot minister to the needs of the soul ;
dogmatism cannot meet the needs of the intellect. Atheism
and dogmatism, scepticism and blind faith, are not the only
alternatives. They are the twin fruits on the same branch,
the positive and negative poles of the same tendency. cannot
combat the one without combating the other. In the
battle-fields of Spain we find massacre, arson, despotic
con-

 

We

 

trol.

 

Both

 

sides are as ruthless in their action, in their

1

 

war

 

of creeds, in their determination to stamp out the
bestial

viii,

 

Winkworth’s E.T.

 

294

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

 

Marxist atheism or dogmatic Christianity. Is it a thing
matter for surprise that some people believe that a
malignant demon sat by the cradle of the unfortunate human
race ? require a religion which is both scientific and
human-

 

We

 

Religion, science, and humanism were sisters in ancient
India; they were allies in Greece. They must combine to-day
if we are to attract all those who are equally

istic.

 

indifferent to organized religion and atheism, to
superneed a spiritual home, where naturalism and
nihilism.

 

We

 

we can live without surrendering the rights of reason or
the needs of humanity. Reverence for truth is a moral value.
It is dearer than Buddha or Jesus. Truth is opposed, not to
reason or the Greek spirit, but to dogma and fossilized
cannot rest the case of religion any more on tradition.
dogmatic supernaturalism. Celsus tells of many prophets who
went about in Syria and Palestine begging and moved

 

We

 

as in prophecy:

‘It is

 

divine

 

men, are going to destruction because of iniquities. I
wish to save you, and you shall see me carrying out again
with heavenly power. Blessed is he who has worshipped me
now; on every one else on cities and lands, I shall cast
everlasting fire. And men who do not know the penalties
which they incur will in vain repent and groan; but those
who

have obeyed

 

O

 

easy and usual for each to say, I am God or the Son of
God or a have come, for the world is already perishing and
you, spirit. I

 

me

 

I shall

 

keep in

 

1

 

eternity.’

 

When rival creeds appeal to us, are we to leave it to
chance

which we shall adopt? Celsus asks, ‘If they introduce
this one [Christ] and others another and all have
the common formula ready to hand, Believe if you would be
saved or go away; What will be done by those who really wish
to be saved ? Will they cast dice and so get an omen for the
path which they are to take and the people whom they are
to

join

?’

 

2

 

Mysticism takes its stand on verifiable truth and not on
the correct solution of credal puzzles. It is not opposed to
science and reason. It is not contingent on any events past
or future. No scientific criticism or historical discovery
can refute it, as it is not dependent on any impossible
miracles

1

 

2

 

Celsus in Origen, Contra Celsum, vii. 9. Quoted in Nock,
Conversion (1933), p. 206.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

 

295

 

or unique historical revelations. Its only apologetic is
the testimony of spiritual experience. It is not committed
to the authenticity of any documents or the truth of any
stories about the beginning of the world or prophecies of
its end. Writing to the Corinthians, Paul said: ‘God who
said “light shall shine out of darkness” has shone within my
heart/ Religion is a creative act of power and strength in
the soul. If God is not found in each soul, He is
unfindable. Religion’s standard of values is absolute and
eternal. The whole cosmic process has for its consummation a
kingdom of

ends,

 

whose

 

realization

 

The code

austere.

 

is contingent on human effort. of ethics adopted by
mysticism is noble and

 

It insists that suffering and renunciation are the
life-blood of religion. In the splendid phrase of
Wilamowitz, we must give our blood to the ghosts of our
ideals that they

 

may

 

drink and

 

live.

 

The

 

world-accepting suggestions of

 

religions can be easily incorporated in our codes, but
the stark element of world renunciation is supremely
difficult

 

and we are only too ready

 

to

 

make any

:

 

shifts

 

and adopt any

 

expedients to eliminate it. In the noble passage with
which he concludes his Ethics Spinoza writes ‘The wise man
is scarcely at all perturbed in spirit, but being conscious
of himself and of God, and of things, by a certain eternal
necesspirit.

 

never ceases to be but always possesses true acquiescence
of his If the way which I have pointed out as l.eading to
this result seems exceedingly hard, it may, nevertheless, be
discovered. Needs must it be hard since it is so seldom
found. How would it be possible

sity,

 

to our hand, and could without great labour be should be
by almost all men neglected ? But all things excellent are
as difficult as they are rare.’

if salvation

 

were ready

it

 

found, that

 

The command to control the fleshly lusts and concentrate
our

thoughts and affections on things that are good and true
and lovely and the cult of the simple life and disinterested
love of humanity, which thinks of no reward, appeal to the
adherents of all religions. Mysticism finds itself in
opposition to all those tendencies which put authority above
truths and nation above humanity. It looks upon them as a
menace to spiritual life

 

and

 

civilization,

 

evil to consolidate itself.

 

and by acquiescing in them we help what is So it protests
often passionately and

It revolts

 

indignantly against abuses of organized religions.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA against institutionalism and
stereotyped forms of religious life. The mystics of all
religions have at some point or other

296

in their careers protested against outside authority,
credal

 

bonds, and spiritual dictatorships.

 

There is a great European tradition of mysticism which
from the mystery religions of Greece and develops through
Pythagoras and Plato, Alexandrian religious philosophy,
Jesus, Paul and John, Clement and Origen, the Neostarts

 

medieval Christian mystics, the Cambridge and scores of
others. We need not adopt the Platonists, official attitude
of the Churches to the mystic developments.

platonists, the

 

about the dogmas of the divinity notions of spiritual
religion remain, the plain easy truths, the pure morals, the
inward worship, and the world loyalty. This spiritual
religion is based on a firm belief in absolute and eternal
values as the most real

 

They may

 

fight furiously

 

schools, but the

 

common

 

things in the universe, a confidence that these values
are

 

knowable by man by a wholehearted consecration of the
intellect, will, and affections to the great quest, a
complete indifference to the current valuations of tribes,
races, and nations, and a devotion to the ideal of a world
community. These are of the very stuff of truth, however
hostile they may seem to the orthodoxies. They are the
common possession of the great religions, though they are
often embedded in superstitious accretions and irrelevances.
The universality of the great facts of religious experience,
their close resemblance under diverse conditions of race and
time, attest to

 

the;fiisisfe^

this creed are the citizens

is still

 

adherents of

 

bFthe world yet unborn, which

 

in the

 

womb

 

of time.

 

They belong

 

to a

 

movement

 

world-wide; their temple is not the chapel of a sect but
a vast pantheon ; the believers in this movement are not

that

is

 

eccentric or isolated ones,

 

but are scattered throughout

 

space, though united in their struggles and ideals, and
their numbers would increase if vested interests were
removed and

1 The mystics form an invisible brotherhood scattered
through all lands and times; though separated by space and
time they reach hands to each other and agree in saying that
God and man are separated only in outer appearance,

 

prayer”!

 

both are indissolubly one. In spiritual transport they
utter the great mystical am Thou and Thou art I”\Heiler,
Prayer, E.T., p. 191).

 

if there

is

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA 297 were no penalties for
religious convictions. Mysticism

 

It is

 

there latent in the depths of the world’s
subconsciousness. what all sincere people dream of but what
earth hath

 

not yet known. It is coming and is well below the
horizon. The modernists in every religion are preparing the
way for it. Ernst Troeltsch and Dr. Inge 1 declare that
Christianity, if it is to be saved from formalism and
excessive institutionalism, must return to the mystic
standpoint. In their opinion only such a movement can
revitalize Christian life, purify the Christian faith of the
deadweight of tradition, stripping off the many lifeless
accretions that hamper its progress, and inaugurate a new
society based on justice and

generosity.

It is

 

unfortunate that, at a time

to

its

 

when mysticism

 

is

 

once

 

own, again coming Karl Earth, regarded by 2 living
thinker’, should remain a stranger to its true spirit and
implications. If we consider well, we will see that mystic
religion has room for some of the fundamental motives of
Earth’s theological crusade and his criticisms of it are
somewhat misdirected. For example, Earth looks upon mystic
states as psychopathic conditions, and not states of
consciousness in which we are in actual contact with a world
of eternal reality. It cannot be denied that some of the
manifestations of mysticism have been too emotional. Its
defenders have made too much of the unusual and the
spectacular. The mystic, it is true, looks to his personal
experience, but he speaks of a reality which is over all and
yet in all, which is different from the world of space and
time and yet its inspiring principle. Earth contends that we
are in the region of the subjective in mystic experience and
God as the objective will always remain on the other side of
experience. So long as we rest in experience, Earth tells
us, we have in the place of God ‘the questionable figment of
our thoughts’. If what Earth calls the ‘miracle of the

In his book on The Platonic Tradition in English
Religious Thought (1926) Dr. Inge pleads ‘for the
recognition of a third type of Christian thought and belief
by the side of the two great types, which for want of better
names, are usually called Catholic and Protestant* (p.
v).

2

1

 

a theologian of the eminence of some as the ‘Church’s
greatest

 

Credo, E.T. (1936), p.

 

vii.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA absolute moment* is not
subjective, then mystic experience

298

is

 

not.

 

It is

 

the submission of the

all

 

turning away from

 

that

 

is

 

human to the merely human and

 

divine, the

 

subjective.

 

From the side of psychology it is a process of
self-emptying, when the vacuum is filled with a divine
content. The characteristic features

 

to

 

which Barth mentions about faith are those which the
mystics bear witness, that it is sui generis, that it is its
own guarantee. The real which he sees comes from beyond
himself, and does not belong to the region of doubt

or speculation, hypothesis or opinion. Briinner in his
Theomodes of apprehension the which deals with external
facts; the metaphysical, scientific, which is concerned with
underlying principles; and a third mode, ‘when one no longer
seeks with Philistine concern for practical values; when one
seeks not with cold scientific objectivity, or with a serene
aesthetic outlook upon the world, but with the passion of a
drowning man who des1 It is the perately cries for help’.
burning quest of the total

:

 

logy of Crisis distinguishes three

 

personality on which the mystic also lays stress. The
fundamental emphasis of the Barthian theology is preserved
in the mystic religion, for, in all its forms, it insists on
a second birth. Even as we were born into our temporal

life,

 

we must be ‘born again* into the life of spirit. need not
wait for this second birth until the hour of physical death.
can be reborn into eternity while in time. Plato tells us
that, if a man is to enter upon the life of immortality,
which is a life centred on truth, goodness, and beauty, his
whole outlook on the world must be reversed. ‘The soul must
be turned about’, if the rays of the true light are to fall
upon it. There must be a conversion, a new creation which is
not a mere extension of the old. The negative descriptions
of the Supreme and the doctrine of mdyd which are said to be
the characteristics of Hindu mysticism are employed to
denote the distance between time

 

We

 

We

 

and

 

eternity,

 

sionate antithesis between the real

 

between appearance and reality. The pasand the unreal,
the true

 

and the false, gives the urgency to the religious effort.
God is the unknown, the absolutely different, the Beyond who
cannot be comprehended by our concepts or recognized by

1

 

Lecture

 

II.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA 299 our understanding. ‘God
is ever transcendent to man, new,

remote, foreign, surpassing, never in man’s sphere, never
man’s possession: whoso says God says miracle/ 1 Man cannot
determine God, for God is the subject, never the predicate.
He can only be described negatively or through

 

seemingly contradictory descriptions.

‘God, the pure limit and pure beginning of all that we
are, have and do, standing over in infinite qualitative
difference to man and all that is human, nowhere and never
identical with that which we call God, experience, surmise
and pray to as God, the unconditioned Halt, as opposed to
all human unrest, and the unconditioned Forwards as opposed
to all human rest, the Yes in our No and the No in our Yes,
the First and the Last, and as such the Unknown, but Nowhere
and

 

Never a Magnitude amongst others in the medium known to
us, God that is the true God.’ 2 the Lord, the Creator and
Redeemer

 

As God is the totally other, knowledge of God must come
from God himself. The Upanisad says: ‘He whom the Self 3
chooses, by him the self can be gained/ The power of truth
is identical with God Himself. The disclosure of this truth
is a free gift. It is God’s own choice. The only way in
which we can prepare for it is by sacrificing our life and
all, by

standing stripped naked before God. Unless the individual
is wholly impoverished, he cannot earn his saving. Mysticism
recognizes the double movement in the religious effort, how
the supreme at once fascinates and disturbs, how it is very
near and far away, how it is at once the fulfilment of man’s
nature and its transfiguration. Conflict, disbecause we have
an apprehension of tress, sin are

 

something absolute. When we struggle against sin and
disapprove of it we are not altogether sinful. Even utter
despair as echoed by the words ‘Why hast thou forsaken me?’
is rendered possible by the implicit faith in the Supreme.
The infinite imposes on us acute tension and makes us feel
how unworthy and carnal-minded we are. It does bring a
sword, The is born in agony. disruption, and discord.
Religion one cry of the man who has an apprehension of the
Absolute and his own distance from it is that he is a
sinner, papo’ham.

1

 

possible

 

Karl Earth, The Epistle

Ibid., p.

 

to the

 

Romans, E.T. by Sir

3

 

Edwyn Hoskyns

i.

 

( 933)>iv. 21.

1

 

2

 

315.

 

Katha Uf.

 

2. 23.

 

3 oo

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

he

is

 

When

its

 

feels this utter isolation,

 

he

 

is

 

miserable. But this

 

also the glory of man. Even at the tragedy he feels the
utter transcendence of the divine,

 

moment when

he

is

 

affirming

 

immanence. The very ability of man to receive and retain
an impression of God’s revelation, his struggle to give
visible

expression to the divine life, is the proof or the God in
him. It is an exaggeration to assert that ‘the power of God
can be detected neither in the world of nature nor in the
souls of men’. 1 On such a view the human being entirely
loses significance. The Catholic Church also holds that man
has not the power to attain salvation by his own efforts,
but adds that he has the freedom to choose between the
acceptance and refusal of grace. Such a view may be
illogical, but it is certainly more significant. God is not
only the unknown and the inaccessible but one so much within
human consciousness that His otherness is vividly felt. He
is so terribly

near. When we feel our difference from Him, it is His
transcendence that strikes us. While the mystic will be
ready to grant the infinite qualitative difference between
time and eternity and the utter transcendence of God and a
sense of his utter unworthiness or depravity in the presence
of the Supreme, he will not agree that man is totally
depraved and utterly incapable of getting back to God. Even
the suffering which crushes all powers of resistance does
not necessarily effect the destruction of the sense that he
is intended for a higher life. This sense endows the
desolation with significance.

 

In the religious effort there are two modes: one in

is

 

which man

 

broken from God; another in which he

 

is

 

restored to God. So long as he is in revolt, his
creatureliness is a fetter. Death is his fate. When the
crisis, which is an essential side of religious life, is
overcome, when the man is

 

one with himself because he is at one with God, he has
else can we the consciousness of the indwelling deity.
account for the joy of religious experience of the prophet
and the apostle, of the seer and the saint, who feel that
they are new men, no more broken in twain, with the duality
of their life dissolved ? Barth describes it in glowing
terms :

at

 

How

 

‘There

 

is

 

dissolved the terrible weight

1

 

here no fear, for perfect love has cast it out. . . .
Here is which infinity imposes on what is finite.

Romans, p. 36.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

Dissolved also

is

 

301

 

which everything finite imposes upon infinity. Dissolved
is the duality of our life by which at every moment we are
pressed up against the narrow gate of critical negation. For
it is this duality which gives us to fear, which makes us
appalled by the ambiguity of our being and by the riddle of
our existence. The Spirit, which we have received and by
which we have passed from death to life, brings this duality
to an end.’ 1

that embarrassment

 

says brahmabhayam, there is no fear in God. the vision is
attained, duality is at an end ; the otherness of God and
our own otherness are overcome. ‘God himself and God only.
This spirit of sonship, this new man

 

The Upanisad

 

When

I

 

who

 

am not, is my unobservable existential ego. In the of
this unobservable ego, I must now pass my visible light and
corporeal life/ Surely it is not necessary to look upon the
divine as totally unlike the human, for Earth himself speaks
of our present human existence as ‘itself not eternity, 2
yet bearing within it eternity unborn’. Eternity and
time,

‘immortality and death’, says the Mahabharata, ‘the two
together are found in the human being; by delusion we enter
into death by the pursuit of truth we gain life eternal’. 3
Human life is complex, it is both confusion and clarity,
sinfulness and hope. When the Upanisads speak of ‘That thou
art’, they do not mean that we are divine in an easy and
obvious way; they assert that divinity is the manifest
destiny of man. ‘As that shalt then be manifest with effort
and struggle, when you shake off your natural ego. The death
or the rebellious ego is the condition of the birth of the
Son of God, If there are no crucifixions, there will be no
resurrections. The mystic would agree that creeds and dogmas
are not faith but what lead to faith. They must cease to be
logical

;

 

propositions and become living movements. ‘Words are
weariness*, as the Upanisad says, if they do not transfigure
us. Earth’s view that ‘the word which enters human ears and
is uttered by human lips is the Word of God only when the
miracle takes place; otherwise it is just a human word like
any other’, 4 is accepted by the mystic. For him

1

 

Romans, p. 297.

 

2

 

Ibid., p.

 

301.

30.)

 

3

 

amrtam

 

mrtyuka dvayam dehe prati$thitam mrtyur apadyate mohat
satyenSpadyate amrtam. (xii. 174.

caiva

 

4

 

Romans, p. 366.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA the knowledge which is the
illumination of the soul is not an addition to his logical
knowledge but something which transforms it. When he exalts
faith and declares that it is

302

 

non-ethical, he ethical progress

1

 

is

 

and

 

referring to the incommensurability of what the mystics
spiritual perfection,

 

affirm

 

say that the spiritual condition takes us The spiritual
cannot be achieved by the ethical. Nasty akrtah krtena. All
work is dust and ashes for Samkara. Salvation by works is
impossible, for all action is empirical and cannot have
transcendental consequences. Actions take place in the world
of phenomena and can be expiated and atoned for only in the
world of phenomena. While all this emphasizes the distance
between the empirical and the transcendental, the mystic
religion affirms that there can pass from time to is a
relation between the two. from appearance to reality;
otherwise philosophy eternity, and religion are an
irrelevance and there is no point in such passages as ‘Be ye
holy even as I am holy* or ‘Be ye perfect*. If faith lives
by the call to which it responds, the responding itself is
human. The capacity to recognize the self-disclosure can
understand the Word; we of the divine is in us. can hear the
summons from eternity, and that is due to our participation
in the divine spirit. If the world and the soul are the
creations of God, will not the Creator’s presence be evident
in them ? Time is the moving image of eternity, and
experience is the appearance of the Absolute. If we dig a
ditch between the two, there can be no passage from the one
to the other. Barth is exaggerating the dualism to its
breaking-point when he says: ‘Whenever men claim to be able
to see the Kingdom of God as a growing organism as a growing
building, what or to describe it more suitably see is not
the Kingdom of God, but the Tower of they Babel.’ 2 He makes
out that ‘evil is the inert mass of human activity as
such’,* and so nothing that we do matters, for nothing
depends on us. ‘The encounter of grace depends

 

when they

 

beyond good and

 

evil.

 

We

 

We

 

upon no human possessions

 

;

 

for achievement, even

 

awe and

 

1 ‘Works bring men into relationship with a God whom they
can com9 prehend and such a God is not the God who of
necessity doeth miracles

 

*

 

(Romans, p. 367). 2 Ibid., p. 432.

 

3

 

Ibid., p.

 

467.

 

awakening

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA is of no value and has no
independent

 

303

 

validity

 

Barth asserts the utter disconof nature and grace and
rejects any shadow of synertinuity gism or collaboration of
the human soul with God in the realm of faith. Faith is a
gift of the grace of God which calls us and at the same time
gives us the power to respond. It is a divine miracle, a
hidden thing. Naturally Barth, who holds that the finite is
incapable of the divine, is inclined to underrate the
humanity of Jesus. The Logos constitutes

in the presence of God.’ 1

 

his personality; Virgin Birth and Resurrection become all
important. As to why Jesus took over human nature and

 

died on the Cross, it is a mystery unfathomable by man.
can only say that it pleased God so to do. God stands
outside the process and calls men according to His purpose.
He creates crises in the lives of men and the affairs of
mankind. He breaks into the course of events, as He did
decisively at that point of history marked by the coming
of

 

We

 

Jesus Christ. His choosing and being chosen have nothing
to do with our growth or response. Grace is superior -to
nature. get back to a crude type of Calvinism. ‘The with all
its consequences, was predetermined ages before Fall, the
Creation and was the necessary consequence of that
predetermination. The Almighty irrevocably decided the fate
of each individual long before he called him into existence
and has predestined millions to his hatred and to eternal
damnation and with that object he gave them being/ 2 This
despair of human nature which underlies Barthian theology is
the reflection of the social situation. Any one who thinks
of the way in which the most advanced States of the world
are pursuing suicidal policies, with an utter disregard of
the lessons of history and the counsels of reason, in human
nature and talk as if irreis likely to lose faith sistible
forces were hurrying us into inevitable disaster. For the
blind fate of the materialists Barth substitutes the
overcalled Abraham from Ur. ruling providence of God. God He
brought up Israel out of Egypt. He gave the law at Sinai. He
raised up David to be King. He sent us Jesus Christ. Such *a
view persuades us to believe that everything that happens is
divine, and for effecting changes in the world

 

We

 

1

 

*

 

Ibid., p. 59.

 

Institutes,

 

iii.

 

ax. 3.

 

304

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

to wait for miracles.

 

we have

 

Faith, however, in the re-

 

silience of the

 

human spirit, the responsibility of man for human
affairs, is an indispensable mark of true moulding

religion.

 

If our situation is desperate to-day, it is only the
nemesis of our past mistakes and sins. Self-will and charity
are in conflict in our institutions because they are in
conflict in ourselves. If civilization has broken down, it
is because

 

we

 

still believe and practise the faith that all is fair in
the interests of class or nation. Faith in a Kingdom which
is

 

not of this world, where life consists, not in meat and
drink, but in righteousness, peace, and joy, is what the age
needs. With all its ascetic and other-worldly emphasis,
mysticism is more adequate to the facts of religious
experience and social needs than Barthian theology. Every
attempt on the part of the historical religions to regain
universality is bringing them nearer the religions of India.
The increasing interest in Indian religions is due to the
consciousness that mysticism has had a more successful
chance in them. 1 That it originated in India is now
practically admitted. That it influenced the Western
tradition is not denied by the learned. That the mystical
rendering of religion has persisted there for a longer
period than anywhere else is common knowledge. If thousands
of the

 

more open-minded among Christians and Agnostics find that
these new ideas from the East have more power to quicken

and if they hold that the teaching of Jesus requires
reinforcement from these mature conceptions which are by no
means unfamiliar to Christendom, it is a matter for
rejoicing. Max Mtiller declared: ‘If I were to ask myself,
from what literature we here in Europe, we who have been
nurtured almost exclusively on the thoughts of the Greeks
and the Romans, and of one Semitic race, the

their religious aspirations,

 

Jewish, order to

hensive,

 

may draw that corrective which is most wanted in make our
inner life more perfect, more compremore universal, in fact,
more truly human, a life,

life

 

not for this

 

alone but a transfigured and eternal

 

life,

 

1 I may warn the Western reader against much that passes
for Indian wisdom in Europe and America. The highest
mysticism of India is thoroughly rational and is associated
with a profoundly philosophical culture: it has

 

nothing in

 

common with

 

esoteric quackeries.

 

GREECE, PALESTINE, AND INDIA

I

 

305

 

should point to India.’ 1 Perhaps Christianity, which
again arose out of an Eastern background and early in its
career

got wedded to Graeco-Roman culture, may find her rebirth
to-day in the heritage of India. The coming together of two
great civilizations not so widely separated in some of the
main sources of their strength has caused some harsh
spiritual discords, political tragedy, and personal agony.
It has, however, unrivalled opportunities for the shaping of
the future. Indian life and thought have been transformed
and her mind has been given

a

 

new

 

direction.

 

If,

 

before

 

it is

 

too

 

late,

 

India’s legitimate

 

hopes and just aspirations receive their fulfilment, her
influence on the British Commonwealth and the world at
large

be exerted towards the development of a higher quality
the individual and the establishment of a world commonwealth
based on the ideals of spirit. Her political subjection has
not completely deprived her of her soul. The of India, Lord
Linlithgow, addressing the present Viceroy of the Indian
Science Congress and the British joint meeting Association
of Science in Calcutta early last year, said

will

 

of

 

life in

 

:

 

‘Even the most enthusiastic believer in Western

feel

 

civilization

 

must

 

to-day a certain despondency at the apparent failure of
the West to dominate scientific discoveries and to evolve a
form of society in

 

which material progress and spiritual freedom march
comfortably together. Perhaps the West will find in India’s
more general emphasis on simplicity and the ultimate
spirituality of things, a more positive

example of the truths which the most advanced minds of
the West are now discovering. Is it too much to hope that
you, gentlemen, will be a channel through which India will
make in an increasing degree that contribution to Western
and to world thought which those of us who know and love
India, are confident that she can make in so full a

degree?’

1

 

Cf.

is

 

W. J.

 

Grant:

 

*

 

India indeed has a preciousness which a materialistic

 

age

 

in danger of missing. Some day the fragrance of her
thought will win the hearts of men. This grim chase after
our own tails which marks the

 

present age cannot continue for ever. The future contains
a new human urge towards the real beauty and holiness of
life. When it comes India will be searched by loving eyes
and defended by knightly hands.’ (The Spirit of India
(1933), p. vi).

 

VIII