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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

MAN IN THE  MODERN  WORLD
With the aid of our analysis of the nature and functions of religion,
we can accordingly make certain definite assertions as to its future.
The prophecy of science about the future of religion is that the re-
ligious impulse will become progressively more concerned with the
organization of society—which, in the immediate future, will mean
the organization of society on the basis of the nation or the regional
group of nations.
The process, of course, has already begun. Many observers have
commented on the religious elements in Russian communism—
the fanaticism, the insistence on orthodoxy, the violent " theological"
disputes, the teworship" of Lenin, the spirit of self-dedication, the
persecutions, the common enthusiasms, the puritan element, the
mass-emotions, the censorship. A very similar set of events is to be
seen in Nazi Germany. In that country, of especial interest to the
scientist and the student of comparative religion are such phenomena
as the falsification of history and anthropological theory in the interest
of a theory of the State and of the Germanic race which serves as the
necessary4'theological" rationalization of the emotions underlying the
Nazi movement, and the dragooning of the Protestant churches to fit
them into the Nazi scheme of things. The modern persecution of
the Jews, which has its real basis in economic and social dislike, is
justified on the basis of this new religiously-felt Germanism, just
as the medieval persecution of the Jews, which equally sprang
from economic and social dislike, was justified on the basis of
Christianity.
These are the first gropings of the human mind after a social em-
bodiment of the religious impulse. They are as crude and in some
respects as nasty as its first gropings, millennia previously, after a
theistic embodiment of religion. The beast-headed gods and gocl-
* desses of those earlier times, the human sacrifice, the loss of self-
criticism in the flood of emotional certitude, the sinister power of a
privileged hierarchy, the justification of self, and the vilification of
critics and the violence toward opponents—these and other primitive
phenomena of early God-religion have their counterparts in to-day's
dawn of social religion. And the general unrest and the wide-
spread preoccupation with emotionally-based group movements
such as Fascism and Communism, is in many ways comparable
with the religious unrest that swept the Mediterranean world in
the centuries just before and after the beginning of the Christian
Era.
To achieve some real understanding and control of the forces and
processes operating in human societies is the next great task for
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