We can no longer hold, even from the scientific view, to the conceptual belief that the physical universe within the range of our five special senses comprises the whole of reality. We know that by far the greater portions of it are "unseen," and that our personal environing realities contain both cosmic and atomic elements with which our five recognized senses are unable to deal. Still, we do deal with them by means of speech and conceptual thought. And conspicuous among the words and concepts that serve us for this purpose are "God" and the "atom," the one manifesting in religious behavior and the other in scientific behavior.
No one has seen God, and no one has seen a single atom. So far as these or any other concepts manifest in human behavior (serving as guides to action or research), it makes not the slightest difference whether they are "true" or not. But the knowledge of God has come to man in the same way as any of the generalizations of science.
We define "magnetism" as that unknown cause or power to which the magnetic force of our experience is due. We may define "gravity" as that unknown cause or power to which the gravitational forces of our experience are due. And we may define "God" as that unknown cause or power to which are due those compulsions of human experience that are to be found in love, faith, inspiration, and so on, and which transcend sex, our ability to reason, and our capacity as rational animals to understand.
Thus, as far as man transcends sex and self in his relation with others, he has admitted into his life of emotion and behavior something "above" nature, i.e., something "supernatural." For nature contains sex and life, but not love and inspiration, by which alone the beast in man is subdued to permit a higher evolutionary process.
Today, we are all the victims of world conditions that have been brought about by power politics without love, as devised by intellect without God. We have been smothered mentally by a great logomachy (war of words without deeds) as an intellectual smoke screen of propaganda to hide what is really going on. For we have been living in a primitive state of world civilization dominated by purely rational animals in the form of self-preservative men, among whom the process of reasoning has reigned supreme as intellect without God. And the future outlook of such a civilization (in which material progress has exceeded spiritual development) is dismal indeed unless we can learn to understand and preserve a world-wide peace in an age of atomic weapons.
Science is now fully aware of this conditional outlook. But religion has for ages had priority over the best methods of controlling human behavior. And only now, when forced by circumstances to do so, scientists are waking up to the fact that the only alternative to the way of religion, i.e., love and faith, is the way of totalitarian regimentation by fear, discipline and force. For it has been found (too late to prevent damage already done) that knowledge and intelligence are not enough to create and maintain righteousness in the world. Neither scientific nor philosophic or liberal literary education is capable of preserving peace on earth through human behavior.
The situation is ironic. For many of our most intelligent men have in the past half century turned from religion because they were unable to accept the various faiths, dogmas, and doctrines as "true." They have reared and educated a generations of young rationalists, some of whom are still open-minded as agnostics, and some of whom are aggressive and even militant theists. And now (again too late to undo the damage) we find scientific rationalists realizing that the "truth" of a faith (as they define the truth) is entirely irrelevant to the survival value and progress value of its function in human behavior.
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What people believe manifests in their behavior whether or not it be "true" by any criterion whatever. And here is where scientific men have made the greatest and most costly error of all history: in assuming that the scientific criterion of truth could be applied to the evaluation of human speech and conceptual thought as manifest in beliefs and opinions.
It is not necessary for human ideas to correspond with past or present realities in order to create future realities through human behavior. The test of faith is not in "facts" but in "works." The sole virtue and only legitimate psychological criterion of truth (as applied to human belief) is prophetic. The power and truth of a word or a conceptual thought is creative. It acquires meaning or truth only when it is "made flesh" in deeds, action, behavior.
From this view the scriptures of the world take on astonishing significance. Doubt if you will, but, unless you believe, nothing happens to change the biological behavior pattern of yesterday. For since man can think only with what he already possesses to think with, he resists change until experience makes it a part of his memory. Hence religion in its purely intellectual or speculative aspects has derived largely from the fact that man doubts, hence gives birth to reason in order to believe what he fears to doubt.
These rationalized beliefs may or may not be "true," and so far as they are effective in the constructive guidance of human behavior, it does not matter. The true secret of life can be known only by him who is able to eliminate the mental concept of life. Neither sense impressions, words, nor mental concepts are capable of encompassing the truth of whole situations. But they provide data whereby intuition with the aid of memory and imagination integrates and synthesizes this sensory data together with extra-sensory assistance into a more complete understanding than a merely logical method of reasoning can provide.
This leads to the realization that truth is not to be defined in terms of the evolving organism and its sensations, or reactions to sensations, but in terms of the environing reality to which ultimate adaptation is essential both for self-realization and for the continued progress of survival.
Only intuition escapes words and concepts, including space and time. Only intuition can evoke from memory in imagination those recombinations that make up new and prophetic concepts to meet the needs of further progress. The only alternative to our self-guidance on the path of evolutionary progress by the costly trial-and–error, hit-or-miss method of rational experimentation is in the dynamic inspiration of a psychological orthogenesis evoked by intuitive faith.
I has been said that "man is created in the likeness or image of God." Science is unable either to affirm or to deny such a statement. But a scientific investigation of God (I speak as one who has for fifty years been engaged in such an investigation) does lead directly to the proposition that God manifests in the likeness of man (for man) and in the likeness of nature (for nature). If one dips water from the ocean, the water will take the shape of one's cup. And we must investigate and analyze the water as we find it in that cup. Thus a personal God is the basis of individual and sociological evidence of a phenomenal nature. So we say, on the basis of such evidence, that "God is Love." And we affirm this God of man as his Creator, not in a historic but in a dynamic, and immediate, and a prophetic sense. For creation is continuous - and man is not Man as yet.
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It is precisely because man is free to accept or reject the "Substance of things hoped for, the [intuitive] evidence of things unseen" that a scientific investigation of human faith is possible. We can learn more about the kind of love that is Godlike than we can about gravity, for the very reason that life is possible without love, whereas it is impossible to escape gravity for the sake of comparison.
The historians, the psychologists, the sociologists, and the editorial commentators have long been at work analyzing the origins of present-day, world-wide conflict. We have heard all about the war-mongering of profiteers, power politics, population pressure, ideological differences, and so on. But all these things are consequences; not one of them goes deeply enough to get at the source of the trouble. It has taken centuries for man to recognize in the "new commandment" of Jesus, not a mystical, but a scientific prescription for the world's ills.
Still, some of us knew. Years ago, a scientific friend half-jokingly asked, "Can you tell me in two words what it is all about - what is really the cause of all this turmoil and confusion in the world today?" He did not really mean "two words." That was just a figure of speech to him, but I accepted the challenge. I replied, "Sexual accidents." And by this I meant "unwanted children" who, unloved and the fruit of loveless unions, grew up to manifest not only the "population pressure," but the neurotic behavior, the compensatory substitution of selfish motives, excessive intellectual specializations, and the internal conflicts that are evident in the external conflicts of the world today. The world's wanted children are being sacrificed to universal sexual and intellectual perversion. From loveless soil spring the personnel of war-mongering and the power politics of intellect without God.
But "intellect without ‘God" does breed its own destruction. There are signs that the splitting of the atom has brought the Age of Reason to an end. Reluctantly the somewhat dazed intellectual individualists are being forced to admit that they belong to a biological brotherhood from which they are unable to withdraw; that there are "many members but one Body," and that the harmony of its parts depends upon behavior that neither science nor philosophy have thus far been able to induce.
Now we find thousands displaying a credulity and hunger for any assurance bearing the semblance of truth, and with a thirst for faith miracles and a humility of childlike appeal as if proud "reason" had never claimed and wielded world-wide supremacy.
And it now appears that the works of the intellect have advanced man not an inch from the view of ultimate survival value. We find even scientists once more admitting that they have arrived at the solution of many problems in a manner "indisguishable from inspiration." We see articles in the press and in journals and in books revealing that "Science has discovered Love and is prescribing it as medicine," "Power of suggestion and faith result in cures that puzzle medical science," "Doubts plague scientists; skeptical of ‘knowledge,' they turn to mathematical yardstick," "Religion needed to meet atomic power challenge," and so on.
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But did we not know this all the time? Were not the Golden Rule, the doctrine of love, the works of intuitive faith, the poverty of knowledge without God, and the correlativity of Christ all simply set forth in the words of Jesus? Was not this enough? Evidently it was not, for men failed to understand it as a profound gospel of far-seeing and prophetic scientific value. And in order to become effective universally it has had to be established as such, and it has had to be freed from its basis of belief based on authority, by wide phenomenal reaffirmations.
To understand all this, and to avoid the errors of misinterpretation that perpetuates the vicious circles of religious-scientific logomachy, we must escape the tyranny of words that keeps the pendulum of reactionary minds ever swinging between skepticism and mysticism. Billions of words have poured from the presses of periodicals and publishers - to the confusion of those who seek for truth and understanding outside themselves. Men have ever rushed here and there, crying, "Truth! Truth!" where it does not matter - and rejecting it where it does.
Let them consider the answer that was given to the young Egyptian medical student (in King of Dreams) when he asked his wise old teacher whether he believed that the Master of Healing was truly Son to the Lord of Life and had walked on earth, or was it a fable?
The teacher asked, "Do you think that it matters?"
Said the student, "I think it does matter whether we are taught the truth or lies."
"Then tell me, what is truth?" asked the teacher.
"Why - " but the student could not answer.
Said the teacher, "Yes, it is like that. We draw Truth with her feather, and call her co-worker with the Lord of Life, but we do not know her, nor can we hold her. We say, "There is truth in that man's heart'; but did you search that heart with your scalpel, you would but thrust her forth to seek another home - you would not find her. Truth is not a thing of flesh and blood, but of the spirit. That is why I say it does not matter whether or not our Master was divine and walked on earth, for his spirit is among us now wherever there is charity and the desire to heal. Men make their gods - I do not say they make them out of nothing, or that no great Ones ever came down from Heaven in pity for our need - and while men are, they will comfort their souls with the image of some Good Physician who cares for them, though they may not always call him Imhetep of Memphis. Again, in ages to come men of your blood and mine in Alexandria may forget Isis, whom we call Our Lady; but because so long as men love their mothers they will worship motherhood, our far-off descendants will bow before the images of another Mother and another Child. Nor will one faith be truer than the other, for Truth is eternal and faiths are but her perishable garments."
Wise were the teachers of old who taught man never to speak the "Everlasting Name." For to speak it is but to record it on the graphophone records of human intellects, and there to rob it of power and meaning by endless repetition of mechanical utterance. And thus man substitutes a false god in a mental concept that intelligent men are perfectly right to "deny." For it is nothing but a mental echo and a vibration of the human larynx to which men bow in their ignorance, while the very soul of man, the spark of god within him, cries out against it, saying, "That is not I!"