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luctant indictment little, if any, discrimination can be made between allied, enemy, and neutral peoples. We were all guilty of the sin of surrender to pagan ideals. We practised paganism while we professed Christianity. All of Western civilization was thus a sort of corporate hypocrisy. And this meant that it had no inner peace. For a generation before the war it stirred uneasily in its dreams, and pricked by an accusing conscience, it shivered with a sense of impending disaster.
The verdict of history will be that Germany caused the war, but for a deeper reason than propagandists or politicians have yet guessed. As Charles A. Ellwood, in his highly significant book on "The Reconstruction of Religion," points out, the pagan program of self-interest, material satisfaction, and brute force was dominating all Western civilization before the war. This program simply came to a head in Germany first. Germany caused the war because Germany led in repaganizing the world. Germany caused the war not because she alone had sinned, but because she sinned more perfectly than the rest of us. The basic paganism of politics, of business, and of social life that the rest of the world denounced and practised, Germany openly adopted as her creed and practised. Germany was the Samson that pulled down the pillars of the temple, but the temple was rotten. Not in the cheap sense of war-time hysteria, but in a very real sense, Germany was the antichrist, the perfect embodiment of the pagan and antichristian ideals that were leading all of Western civilization straight to destruction. All this is said in no sense of apology for Germany,
but only that we may see ourselves more clearly and repent while it is yet time.
The war brought a brief armistice between the new paganism and the old spirituality that had been battling for control of Western civilization. Every country, of course, had its profiteering and patrioteering traitors, but for the mass of common men and women politics became for a season the supreme spiritual adventure of the race. It was everywhere predicted that the most ruthless war of history would result in the spiritual regeneration of Western civilization. But this colossal paradox was not to come true. After Versailles the search for the Holy Grail of a new world degenerated into a sordid struggle for existence, with little thought of the quality of that existence.
And so men are again speculating upon the possible breakdown of Western civilization. Dean Inge closes an essay by saying, "I have, I suppose, made it clear that I do not consider myself specially fortunate in having been born in 1860, and that I look forward with great anxiety to the journey through life which my children will have to make." About a year ago a group of distinguished leaders of religious thought in England issued a statement the burden of which was: "No lover of mankind or of progress, no student of religion, of morals, or of economics, can regard the present trend of affairs without feelings of great anxiety. Civilization itself seems to be on the wane. Never
turn, which, if persisted in, may lead to the destruction of civilization." There is a whole literature of despair from which I could quote.
Now, nothing can prevent Western civilization from entering the long winter of Mr. Santayana's prophecy except a vast spiritual renaissance, a vast process of moral renewal sweeping through the world like another Reformation. Only it must be a more fundamental reformation. Personally, I believe that we are in the morning hours of such a renaissance. I believe that the raw materials for such a renaissance are lying all about us, waiting only for some truly great spiritual leader to bring them together and to touch them into life.
Let me make clear what are not the grounds of this hope. I am not reviving the exploded notion that the war stimulated in the soldiers a spirituality that will be the basis of a religious revival. I do not believe that war ever ministers to spirituality. Much of the apparent spirituality of men under fire is a mere scurrying to cover under the lash of fear, an attempt, as H. G. Wells phrased it, "to use God as a gas mask." The spiritual renaissance that will redeem Western civilization will not spring from war-stimulated emotions.
I am not resting my faith upon the new mysticism that has swept the world in the wake of the war. I do not believe that the new popularity of mediums and all the current hammering at the gates of the other world have any basically spiritual significance for our time. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is our guest as I write. Sir Oliver Lodge was with us a while ago. They bring us what they regard as indisputable proof of contact with the other world.
Our printing-presses pour out a stream of spiritualistic literature. Never was there such wide interest in spiritualism. All this is only natural when a great war has left empty chairs in millions of homes but it has nothing to do with the spiritual and moral renewal of which I am writing.
In fact, this next great revival of religion will not be a religious revival in the accepted sense of that term. Many of its most striking episodes will not occur in the carpeted aisles of cathedrals or in the sawdust aisles of evangelistic sheds, but in laboratories, in school-rooms, in factories, and at political headquarters. I do not mean to suggest that the church will play no part in this spiritual renaissance. The church should furnish the leadership for this adventure in the depaganizing of Western civilization; but before the church can do this, it must have the vision and the courage to substitute the religion of Jesus for the Christianity that has for long taken its place. Intimations of such vision and courage are not wanting. On a shelf, within my reach as I write, are a dozen books that would usher in this moral renewal of Western civilization if the church really followed the paths they blaze. At one end of the shelf stand Walter Rauschenbusch's "Christianity and the Social Crisis" and "Christianizing the Social Order." By them is a little volume on "What Must the Church Do to Be Saved?" by Ernest Fremont Tittle. Next is Charles A. Ellwood's "The Reconstruction of Religion," a volume that is finely illustrative of the spiritual renaissance of which I am writing, for it is concerned with something beyond speculative theology and the coddling of private souls; it is a challenge to the
new paganism and a summons to the church to fit itself for leadership in the political, industrial, and social regeneration of modern society.
When the church has scrapped its ancient vocabulary and begun to talk to the men of this generation in figures of speech they understand; when a ceaseless search for truth has supplanted dogmatism; when the church spends more thought upon its service than upon its services; when denominationalism has been recognized as the twin brother of the nationalism that has plunged the world into its periodic wars; when the church has undertaken the redemption of institutions with as sincere conviction as it has brought to the redemption of persons; when the church adds to its preaching of abstract virtues a continuous moral analysis of modern social, political, and industrial life in order that men may know the new and subtle ways that ancient sins may be committed; when, in short, the church becomes its severest critic and takes the whole of modern life for its field, it will be on the way toward effective leadership in the depaganizing of Western civilization.
The renaissance of which I write, however, will not be essentially a church movement. Its prophets will not thrill the world with any new doctrine. Their service will consist rather of the bringing together in a new synthesis the new idealisms that have been springing up as a by-product of the "secular" thought and investigation of creative-minded scientists, educators, industrialists, and statesmen. This spiritual renaissance will not mean the imposition of an alien idealism upon the secular activities of mankind, but will consist rather of
what, for want of a better phrase, I shall call the recovery of the lost spirituality of public affairs.
The John Wesley of this moral renewal, perhaps, will not appear in surplice or gown. The man who lights the fires of this renaissance may be a statesman. When the partizanship of our time-sorry product of small minds --has had time to die, some man may arise who will lead the world past the bogies of covenants, entangling alliances, and sovereignties into a creative internationalism that will be the rallying-point not only for the political, but for the social and spiritual, hopes of mankind. The leader may be an educator who will transform the sterilities of scholarship into the creative adventure of helping students to make themselves at home in the modern world, of giving them standards of civilized values, of equipping them with hopes as well as with habits. Again, this new reformation may find its Luther in some biologist who will rid eugenics of its barn-yard and stockfarm implications, and put behind it a racial conscience that men will recognize as a logical development from the individual and social consciences that have preceded it.
At any rate, whatever may be the point of departure for this renaissance, it will draw its power from two sources-science and religion. As Dean Inge has put it, "The spiritual integration of society which we desire and behold afar off must be illuminated by the dry light of science, and warmed by the rays of idealism, a white light but not cold. And idealism must be compacted as a religion, for it is the function of religion to prevent the fruits of the flowering-times of the spirit from being lost."
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