Commentary

Disciples


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Saturday, February 15, 1890

     7.50 P.M. W. reading the paper. Referred to the weather at once, questioning me— "Is the moon up?" &c.—and explaining that though the day had been "beautiful" he had not been out, Mrs. Davis being away, and they not wishing to leave the house alone. W. said: "I have had a card from Mrs. O'Connor. She is quite melancholy, saying that she don't know which way to turn for difficulties. It seems that the man—or one of the men—to whom William loaned money—

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is not paying up according to promise. It is a sad plight—and yet I suppose she will come out it some-way—as a fellow from the very nature of the case must."

     W. was considerably amused by an announcement in today's Press that preachers would tomorrow discuss the question, why so many pews were empty. "It seems to me a very plain case," he said, "a case easily explicated to anyone who cares to see. The simple truth is, from time immemorial theology has built itself upon mythology—and now the time has come when that mythology can no longer be believed—believed by any one of any account. We need a reconstruction—are having a reconstruction in fact—of theology, so to call it—perhaps properly so to call it. I have heard it said that the church and genius are divorced—the church and the masses, too—and when we ask why, the preacher will say, from pride in the genius, stupidity in the others—that contrarity is at fault whatever. Damn the preachers! what do they know or care to know? The churches have constructed a god of moral goodness—wholly, solely, moral goodness—and that is its weakness. For if there is one thing that is not true, that is the thing: not but that moral goodness has its part. See what we get out of science, democracy, the modern—on this point! According to such a standard of moral goodness—the standard of the churches—probably nine-tenths of the universe is depraved—probably nine-tenths denied a right in the scheme of things—which is ridiculous, outright: might have satisfied an older intelligence, but will not ours. Our time, land, age, the future—demands readjustment—demands the fuller recognition of democracy—the ensemble: these have hardly been recognized at all in the old theology. What can science have to do with such a spectre as the present church? All their methods are opposed—must be opposed—utterly opposed: for one means restriction, the other freedom: the church—ill-adjustment, science—harmony." He referred at one point to "the smooth-faced, self-satisfied preachers."


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