Paper 101 The Real Nature of Religion Page 1107
the material and the spiritual, even between the creature and the Creator, between man and God.
The contemplation of nature does logically point in the direction of intelligent guidance, even living supervision, but it does not in any satisfactory manner reveal a personal God. On the other hand, nature discloses nothing which would preclude the universe from being looked upon as the handiwork of the God of religion. God cannot be found through nature alone, but man having otherwise found him, the study of nature becomes wholly consistent with a higher and more spiritual interpretation of the universe.
Revelation as an epochal phenomenon is periodic; as a personal human experience it is continuous. Divinity functions in mortal personality as the Adjuster gift of the Father, as the Spirit of Truth of the Son, and as the Holy Spirit of the Universe Spirit, while these three supermortal endowments are unified in human experiential evolution as the ministry of the Supreme.
True religion is an insight into reality, the faith-child of the moral consciousness, and not a mere intellectual assent to any body of dogmatic doctrines. True religion consists in the experience that “the Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.” Religion consists not in theologic propositions but in spiritual insight and the sublimity of the soul's trust.
Your deepest nature—the divine Adjuster—creates within you a hunger and thirst for righteousness, a certain craving for divine perfection. Religion is the faith act of the recognition of this inner urge to divine attainment; and thus is brought about that soul trust and assurance of which you become conscious as the way of salvation, the technique of the survival of personality and all those values which you have come to look upon as being true and good.
The realization of religion never has been, and never will be, dependent on great learning or clever logic. It is spiritual insight, and that is just the reason why some of the world's greatest religious teachers, even the prophets, have sometimes possessed so little of the wisdom of the world. Religious faith is available alike to the learned and the unlearned.
Religion must ever be its own critic and judge; it can never be observed, much less understood, from the outside. Your only assurance of a personal God consists in your own insight as to your belief in, and experience with, things spiritual. To all of your fellows who have had a similar experience, no argument about the personality or reality of God is necessary, while to all other men who are not thus sure of God no possible argument could ever be truly convincing.
Psychology may indeed attempt to study the phenomena of religious reactions to the social environment, but never can it hope to penetrate to the real and inner motives and workings of religion. Only theology, the province of faith and the technique of revelation, can afford any sort of intelligent account of the nature and content of religious experience.
3. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF RELIGION
Religion is so vital that it persists in the absence of learning. It lives in spite of its contamination with erroneous cosmologies and false philosophies; it survives even the confusion of metaphysics. In and through all the historic vicissitudes of religion there ever persists that which is indispensable to human progress and survival: the ethical conscience and the moral consciousness.