The Characteristics of Religion
Religion is so vital that it persists in the absence of learning. It lives in spite of 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.
Through religious faith your soul reveals itself and demonstrates the potential divinity of its emerging nature by the characteristic manner in which it induces your mortal personality to react to certain trying intellectual and testing social situations. Genuine spiritual faith (true moral consciousness) is revealed in that it:
- Causes ethics and morals to progress despite inherent and adverse animalistic tendencies.
- Produces a sublime trust in the goodness of God even in the face of bitter disappointment and crushing defeat.
- Generates profound courage and confidence despite natural adversity and physical calamity.
- Exhibits inexplicable poise and sustaining tranquility not- withstanding baffling diseases and even acute physical suffering.
- Maintains a mysterious poise and composure of personality in the face of maltreatment and the rankest injustice.
- Maintains a divine trust in ultimate victory in spite of the cruelties of seemingly blind fate and the apparent utter indifference of natural forces to human welfare.
- Persists in the unswerving belief in God despite all contrary demonstrations of logic and successfully withstands all other intellectual sophistries.
- Continues to exhibit undaunted faith in the soul’s survival regardless of the deceptive teachings of false science and the persuasive delusions of unsound philosophy.
- Lives and triumphs irrespective of the crushing overload of the complex and partial civilizations of modern times.
- Contributes to the continued survival of altruism in spite of human selfishness, social antagonism, industrial greeds, and political maladjustments.
- Steadfastly adheres to a sublime belief in universe unity and divine guidance regardless of the perplexing presence of evil and sin.
- Goes right on worshiping God in spite of anything and every- thing. Dares to declare, “Even though he slay me, yet will I serve him.”
It is known, then, by three phenomena, that humans have a divine spirit (along with other spirit influences) within them: first, by personal experience – religious faith; second, by revelation – personal and racial; and third, by the amazing exhibition of such extraordinary and unnatural reactions to their material environment as are illustrated by the foregoing recital of twelve spiritlike performances in the presence of the actual and trying situations of real human existence. And there are still others.
And it is just such a vital and vigorous performance of faith in the domain of religion that entitles us to affirm the personal possession and spiritual reality of that crowning endowment of human nature — religious experience.
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