Religion and Morality

We have arrived at the conclusion that all religion has an intellectual element; that this element is a creed or theology and at the same time a cosmology or philosophical theory of the world ; and that therefore religion is so far identical with philosophy. But we have still to determine what other elements it contains, and how these elements are related to one another.

Religion, we are told again and again, is more than mere intellect, more than mere thought, more than philosophy. It may indeed find room within itself for an intellectual element, but that is not the whole of religion ; there are other elements of equal value. Indeed, intellect is only one single aspect of life ; and if philosophers sometimes treat it as if nothing else existed, that is only because philosophers are human enough to magnify their office. Granting freely that religion has its intellectual side, it has also a practical side which is no less important.

Religion and Morality

If this language is justified, religion is not merely a theory of the world ; it is also a system of conduct. Just as any definite religion prescribes to its adherents certain definite convictions, so it inculcates certain definite modes of action. We have to ask whether this is true ; and if we find that religion does really contain these two distinct elements, we shall be compelled to determine so far as possible the nature of their connexion.

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