RELIGION AS AN OBJECTIVE PROBLEM
cause or vague general principle. The realization that: magic Is a
false principle, and that control is to be achieved by science and its
application, has removed the meaning from sacrificial ritual and
petitionary prayer. The analysis of the human mind, witli the dis-
covery of its powers of projection and wish-fulfilment, its hidden sub-
consciousness and unrealized repressions, makes it unnecessary to
believe that conversion and the like are due to any external spiritual
power and unscientific to ascribe inner certitude to guidance by
And theological logic, inevitably tending to unify and to universal-
ize its ideas of the Divine, has resulted in a monotheism which is self-
contradictory and incomprehensible, and in some respects of less
practical value than the polytheism which it replaced.
If you grant theism of any sort, the logical outcome is monotheism.
But why theism at all? Why a belief in supernatural beings who stand
in some relation to human destiny and human aspirations? Theistic
belief depends on man's projection of his own ideas and feelings into
nature: it is a personification of non-personal phenomena. Personi-
fication is God's major premise. But it is a mere assumption, and one
which, while serviceable enough in earlier times, is now seen not only
to be unwarranted, but to raise more difficulties than it solves.
Religion, to continue as an element of first-rate importance in the life
of the community, must drop the idea of God or at least relegate it to
a subordinate position, as has happened to the magical element in the
past. God, equally with gods, angels, demons, spirits, and other small
spiritual fry, is a human product, arising inevitably from a certain
kind of ignorance and a certain degree of helplessness with regard to
man's external environment.
With the substitution of knowledge for ignorance in his field, and
the growth of control, both actually achieved and realized by thought
as possible, God is simply fading away, as the Devil has faded before
him, and the pantheons of the ancient world, and the nymphs and
the local spirits*
Peor and Baalim
Forsake their temples dim . . .
Milton wrote of the fading of all the pagan gods; and Milton's God
too is joining them in limbo. God has become more remote and more
incomprehensible, and, most important of all, of less practical use to
men and women who want guidance and consolation in living their
lives. A faint trace of God, half metaphysical and half magic, still
broods over our world, like the smile of a cosmic Cheshire Cat But