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Full text of "Man In The Modern World"

MAN IN THE MODERN WORLD
dualities in our educational system—one created by the class-cleavage
between rich and poor, the other by the ideological cleavage between
religious bodies and society as a whole.    Only by abolishing both'
cleavages can we achieve that unified (but diversified) system which
we need.
It would cost less in the long run for public authorities to buy out
all the non-provided schools than to continue paying full grants for
an indefinite period, and the essential step of unifying all the ele-
mentary schools would have been taken.
The other demand is even more obviously to be resisted by those
who look forward to an educational system which shall play a really
vigorous part in vitalizing society and projecting its ideals into the
future. It is a fact, which many may deplore but which remains ob-
stinately a fact, that the interest of the people of this country in ortho-
dox Christianity, of whatever complexion, has enormously declined
during the last few decades. The Christian ethic and doctrine have
played an essential role in shaping our civilization; but there are un-
mistakable signs that they no longer satisfy our modern societies, and
that some new formulation/ both in the moral and the intellectual
field, is becoming urgent if we are to reach a common foundation of
thought and values for our national life. The religious revival we
hear about at the moment is clearly a temporary phenomenon, of a
sort familiar to all sociologists, due to war emotionalism. It has been
accompanied by a much larger revival of non-religious superstitions,
such as astrology.
In such circumstances, the insistence on religious observances in
schools when religious influence is declining in the world outside will
recoil on the heads of its proponents. Children are infallible detectors
of unreality. As with culture, they will feel the contrast between the
artificial religious atmosphere inside the school and the irreligious or
indifferent atmosphere outside. This will in the long run promote in
most of them an even more suspicious or even hostile attitude to
orthodox religion than they would otherwise have acquired. But the
mischief does not end here. A sense of unreality attaching to one
portion of formal education tends inevitably to spread to the re-
mainder. The introduction of more religious teaching and observ-
ance into the schools at this particular juncture will seriously hinder
the development of an educational system which is to be an effective
and organic funqtion of our general social life.
The remedy again lies outside the schools. The religious impulse
is a strong and persistent force in human life. But it is a complex
impulse, differing radically in emphasis and aim from age to age as
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