Religion and Philosophy

Religion and Philosophy

To determine the relation in which religion stands to the other activities of the mind, philosophy, conduct, and so on, might seem impossible without previously defining both religion itself and the other activities or forms of consciousness.

But we cannot frame a definition until we have investigated these relations ; and to offer it dogmatically at the outset would be to beg the very question we wish to solve. This is a difficulty common to all philosophical, and indeed in the last resort to all other investigations. No science is really in a position to define its subject-matter until it has brought its discoveries to a close.

Consequently we offer no definition of religion at the beginning, but hope to arrive at one in the course of our inquiry. In fact, these introductory chapters are intended to lead to a general conception of religion ; abstract indeed, because its content will only be examined in the latter part of this book, but sufficient for the purpose of preliminary definition.

We start here with only one presupposition : namely, that the form of consciousness called religion really does exist. What it is, and of what it is the consciousness, are questions we shall try to answer in the course of our inquiry.