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RELIGION OF PHILOSOPHY
THE UNIFICATION OF KNOWLEDGE:
CHIEF PHILOSOPHICAL AND RELIGIOUS SYSTEMS
OF THE WORLD
MADE WITH A VIEW TO REDUCING THE CATEGORIES OF THOUGHT, OR THE
MOST GENERAL TERMS OF EXISTENCE TO A SINGLE PRINCIPLE,
THEREBY ESTABLISHING A TRUE CONCEPTION OF GOD.
WILLIAMS AND NORGATE
THERE is a popular dictum among priests and philosophers that God, or the First Cause, is unknowable, and yet all religions aim to teach the nature of God, and all philosophies strive to define the First Cause.
Here is a manifest contradiction; but the questions involved are of such magnitude and require so much study that, for the most part, it is allowed to pass unchallenged.
The cultivated mind, whatever its antecedents, holds a judicial position. That is to say, the educated and thoughtful members of society are looked to, to pass impartial judgments upon questions concerning the general welfare. This impartiality is particularly necessary in philosophy, for thought is hedged about with prejudices, and almost every man represents some logical sect or school which he feels it his duty to support.
The great obstacle which religion and philosophy alike encounter, in offering an explanation of the universe, is the difficulty of finding a symbol of divine power or unity. A symbol to have any real value must represent some fact, it must be the emblem of some experience. Otherwise it is a purely negative form of speech, a mere confession of ignorance.
The symbol which philosophy proposes for divine unity has precisely the same meaning as that which religion offers. They are both emblems of mystery ; they are both confessions of ignorance. In so far, therefore, as these two great spheres of knowledge, called philosophy and religion, have attempted an ultimate analysis of existence they have failed; the labor of both is incomplete.