The Intellectual Element In All Religion Creed

The Intellectual Element In All Religion Creed

The first relation to be examined is that between religion and the intellect, that activity of the mind by which we think and know.

The question before us is whether religion involves this activity or not ; whether or not the intellect has a part in the religious life. At present we do not ask whether it constitutes the whole of religion, and whether religion contains also nonintellectual elements. We only wish to determine whether it has an intellectual element ; and if so, what is the general nature of this element.

This question naturally leads us to investigate certain views of religion which place its essence in something other than thought, and exclude that faculty from the definition of the religious consciousness. It has, for instance, been held that religion consists in the performance of ritual acts, and that all else is secondary and irrelevant ; or that it is neither more nor less than a system of practice or morals ; or again that it is a function of a mental faculty neither intellectual nor moral, known as feeling.

We shall examine these views as mere types, in the abstract, not criticising any particular exposition of them, but rather treating them on general grounds as alternative possible theories.