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Religion & Sex

Religion & Sex

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Published by eliforu
BEING A SERIES OF WORKS DEALING WITH
QUESTIONS AS HANDLED BY DIFFERENT
SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT, IN RELIGION,
ETHICS, PHILOSOPHY & PSYCHOLOGY
RELIGION
& SEX
STUDIES IN THE PATHOLOGY
OF RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT
BY CHAPMAN COHEN
BEING A SERIES OF WORKS DEALING WITH
QUESTIONS AS HANDLED BY DIFFERENT
SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT, IN RELIGION,
ETHICS, PHILOSOPHY & PSYCHOLOGY
RELIGION
& SEX
STUDIES IN THE PATHOLOGY
OF RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT
BY CHAPMAN COHEN

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Religion & Sex, by Chapman CohenThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.orgTitle: Religion & SexStudies in the Pathology of Religious DevelopmentAuthor: Chapman CohenRelease Date: October 21, 2009 [EBook #30306]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-8859-1*** STARTOF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK RELIGION & SEX *** Produced by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, S.D., and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
THE OPEN MIND LIBRARYBEING A SERIES OF WORKS DEALING WITHQUESTIONS AS HANDLED BY DIFFERENTSCHOOLS OF THOUGHT, IN RELIGION,ETHICS, PHILOSOPHY & PSYCHOLOGY
RELIGION
 
& SEX
 
STUDIES IN THE PATHOLOGYOF RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT
 
BY CHAPMAN COHEN
 
T. N. FOULIS, PUBLISHER 
 
LONDON, EDINBURGH, & BOSTON
 
 Published October 1919
 
 Printed by
M
ORRISON
&
 
G
IBB
L
IMITED
,
 Edinburgh
 
THE LIST OF CHAPTERS
I. S
CIENCE
&
THE
S
UPERNATURAL
 
 page
 1 II. T
HE
P
RIMITIVE
M
IND
&
ITS
E
 NVIRONMENT
 35
III. T
HE
ELIGION OF
M
ENTAL
D
ISEASE
 51
IV. S
EX
&
 
ELIGION IN
P
RIMITIVE
L
IFE
 89
V. T
HE
I
 NFLUENCE OF
S
EXUAL
&
 
P
ATHOLOGIC
S
TATES ON
ELIGIOUS
B
ELIEF
 120
VI. T
HE
S
TREAM OF
T
ENDENCY
 145
VII. C
ONVERSION
 169
VIII. R 
ELIGIOUS
E
PIDEMICS
 205
IX. R 
ELIGIOUS
E
PIDEMICS
 — 
(
concluded 
)226
X. T
HE
W
ITCH
M
ANIA
 243
XI. S
UMMARY
&
 
C
ONCLUSION
 269
[vii] 
PREFACE
In spite of all that has been done in the way of applying scientific principles to religious ideas,there is much that yet remains to be accomplished. Generally speaking science has only dealtwith the subject of religion in its more normal and more regularised forms. The last half-centuryhas produced many elaborate and fruitful studies of the origin of religious ideas, whilecomparative mythology has shown a close and suggestive relationship between creeds andsymbols that were once believed to have nothing in common. But beyond these fields of researchthere is at least one other that has hitherto been denied the attention it richly deserves. When theanthropologist has described those conditions of primitive culture amid which he believesreligious ideas took their origin, and the comparative mythologist has shown us the similaritiesand inter-relations of widely separated creeds, religious beliefs have yet to submit to the test of ascientific psychology, the function of which is to determine how far the same principlesapply to all phases of mental life whether religious or non-religious. Moreover, in addition to the normal psychical life of man, there is that vast borderland in which the normal merges into the abnormal,and the healthy state into a pathologic one. That there is a physiology of religion is nowgenerally admitted; but that there is also a pathology of religion is not so generally recognised.The present work seeks to emphasise this last aspect. It does not claim to be more than an outlineof the subject
 — 
a sketch map of a territory that others may fill in more completely.[viii]From another point of view the following pages may be regarded as an attempt morecompletely to apply scientific principles to religious beliefs. And it would be idle to hope thatsuch an attempt could be made without incurring much hostile criticism. In connection with most
 
other subjects the help of science is welcomed; in connection with religion science is stillregarded as more or less of an intruder, profaning a sacred subject with vulgar tests andimpertinent enquiries. This must almost inevitably follow when one has to face the opposition of thousands of men who have been trained to regard themselves as the authorised exponents of allthat pertains to religion, but whose training fails to supply them with a genuine scientificequipment. It should, however, be clear that an attitude of hostility to science, veiled or open,cannot be maintained. Mere authority has fallen on evil days, and in all directions is being freelychallenged. There is increasing dislike to systems of thought that shrink from examination, andto conclusions that cannot withstand the most rigorous investigation. And if science really hasanything of value to say on this question it cannot be held to silence for ever. Sooner or later theneed for its assistance will be felt, and the self-elected authority of an order must give way. Itis,moreover, impossible for science with its claim, sometimes avowed, but always implied, tocover the whole of life, to forego so large a territory as that of religion. For there can be noreasonable question that religion has played, and still plays a large part in the life of the race.Whatever be the nature of religion, science is bound either to deal with it or confess its main task to be hopeless.Whether or not it is possible to apply known scientific[ix] principles to the whole of religion will be a matter of opinion; but the attempt is at least worth making. So much that appeared to be beyond the reach of science has been ultimately brought within its ken, so many things thatseemed to stand in a class by themselves have been finally brought under some morecomprehensive generalisation, and so become part of the 'cosmic machine,' that one is impelledto believe that given time and industry the same will result here. And it should never be forgottenthat one aspect of scientific progress has been the taking over of large tracts of territory thatreligion once regarded as peculiarly its own; and just as psychology and pathology were found tohold the key to an understanding of such a phenomenon as witchcraft, so we may yet realise thata true explanation of religious phenomena is to be found, not in some supernatural world, but inthe workings of natural forces imperfectly understood.The defences set up by theologians against the scientific advance may be summarised under twoheads. It is claimed that the 'facts' of the religious life belong to a world of inner experience, to astate of spiritual development which brings the subject into touch with a super-sensuous worldnot open to the normal human being, and with which science, as ordinarily understood, isincompetent to deal. In essence this is a very old position, and contains the kernel of 'mysticism'in all ages, from the savage state onward. This position involves a very obvious begging of thequestion at issue. It assumes that all attempts to correlate religious phenomena with phenomenain general have failed, and that all future attempts are similarly doomed to failure. Of coursenothing of the kind has[x] been shown. On the contrary, the aim of the present work is to showthat no dividing line can be drawn between those states of mind that have been and are classed asreligious, and those that are admittedly non-religious. For various reasons I have dealt almostentirely with those conditions that are admittedly pathological, but I believe it would be possibleto prove the same of all normal frames of mind and emotional states. Any human quality may beenlisted in the service of religion, but there are none that are specifically religious. It is a pureassumption that the religious visionary possesses qualities that are either absent or rudimentaryin other persons. Human faculty is everywhere identical although the form in which it isexpressed differs according to education, the presence of certain dominating ideas, and thegeneral influence of one's environment. To admit the claim of the mystic is to surrender all hope

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