Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/586

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566
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

to think about difficulties of which he can get no solutions; so, a little later, the contradictions between the things taught to him in school and in church, at first startling and inexplicable, become by-and-by familiar, and no longer attract his attention. Thus while growing up he acquires, in common with all around him, the habit of using first one and then the other of his creeds as the occasion demands; and at maturity the habit has become completely established. Now he enlarges on the need for maintaining the national honor, and thinks it mean to arbitrate about an aggression instead of avenging it by war; and now, calling his servants together, he reads a prayer in which he asks God that our trespasses may be forgiven as we forgive the trespasses against us. That which he prays for as a virtue on the Sunday, he scorns as a vice on the Monday.

The religion of amity and the religion of enmity, with the emotions they respectively enlist, are important factors in sociological conclusions; and rational sociological conclusions can be produced only when both sets of factors come into play. We have to look at each cluster of social facts as a phase in a continuous metamorphosis. We have to look at the conflicting religious beliefs and feelings included in this cluster of facts as elements in this phase. We have to do more. We have to consider as transitional, also, the conflicting religious beliefs and feelings in which we are brought up, and which distort our views, not only of passing phenomena in our own society, but also of phenomena in other societies and in other times; and the aberrations they cause in our inferences have to be sought for and rectified. Of these two religions taught us, we must constantly remember that during civilization the religion of enmity is slowly losing strength, while the religion of amity is slowly gaining strength. We must bear in mind that at each stage a certain ratio between them has to be maintained. We must infer that the existing ratio is only a temporary one, and that the accompanying bias to this or that conviction respecting social affairs is temporary. And if we are to reach those unbiased convictions which form parts of the Social Science, we can do it only by allowing for this temporary bias—only by analyzing and criticising the sentiments and dogmas they respectively sanctify, with the view of discovering how far these need qualification.

To see how greatly our opposite religions respectively pervert sociological beliefs, and how needful it is that the opposite perversions they cause should be corrected, we must here contemplate the extremes to which men are carried, now by the one and now by the other.

 

As from antagonist physical forces, as from antagonist emotions in each man, so from the antagonist social tendencies men's emotions create, there always results, not a medium state, but a rhythm between opposite states. The one force or tendency is not continuously