an introduction to the philosophy of religion

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER I. EXAMINATION OF OBJECTIONS TO THE SCIENTIFIC TREATMENT OF RELIGION:—THE RELATIVITY OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE. T3ETWIXT that knowledge which can properly be termed science, and religion a distinction in recent times has been drawn by certain acute thinkers which, if valid, would be fatal to the claim of theology or of a philosophy of a religion to be ranked among the sciences. Science, it is said, deals with nature, religion with the supernatural. But can we know anything of the supernatural, or anything, at most, beyond the bare fact that it is? Is the supernatural accessible to human intelligence in such wise that you can build up, by the rigorous processes and methods with which in our physical investigations we work, a science that can claim co-ordinate rank with astronomy, or chemistry, or biology? The answer which has been given is, No! we deny the possibility of a science of the supernatural. The fact andimportance of the religious sentiment we admit. All history and our own experience tell us that there are irrepressible instincts which point to something above the domain of nature—to a realm of mystery which transcends the finite and phenomenal world. When we have done our best in the field of human knowledge, in the observation and generalisation of facts and phenomena, we know that there lies beyond, a vast, unsearchable region out of which all phenomena spring, and we recognise in this the proper sphere of the religious sentiment, of those feelings of reverence, awe, submission which are awakened in every rightly constituted mind in the presence of the unknown and inscrutable. But when you try to go further than this—to find in this region available data of knowledge,—both experience and reason pronounce the attempt to be futile. And when theologians or philoso...
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