The UK Bible Students Website
Christian Biblical Studies
ON THE FACULTY OF RELIGIOUS FAITH
With the advent and growth of Evolutionism as a quasi-philosophy, there are many sceptics who condemn the religious sentiment as being an immature product of Man’s imagination and fantasy, the delusion of stupid minds. The near-universal urge to seek out and put trust in a Supreme Being has been dismissed as “the stream of tendency by which all things strive to justify the law of their being” (Matthew Arnold). Religious faith, say they, is not only irrelevant, but a hindrance in the way of social and intellectual advancement.
As to the origin of this religious sentiment, we have at least two options open to our consideration:
First, that it was implanted or created in Man as a special or deliberate act. Viewed this way, the question would be settled.
Second, that in common with the rest of human emotions, it arose through a process of Evolution.
If we adopt this second view, we are faced with two additional questions:
A. What are the circumstances to which the genesis of this sentiment is due?
B. What is its purpose?
As to A, if we regard all human faculties to be the result of accumulated modifications caused by the interaction of the organism with its environment, we must conclude that there exist in the natural order certain phenomena which have determined the growth of religious feeling, and that it is, therefore, as normal as any other faculty.
As to B, assuming the development of simpler forms into the more complex, the end to which the progressive changes tend must indicate adaptation to the requirements of life. Therefore we are compelled to infer that religious feeling is in some way conducive to human welfare.
This might lead us to ask why Evolution has bestowed on Man a faculty which impinges upon the powers of his mind, thus depriving him of true intellectual progress and rendering the majority of the race unable to appreciate the atheistic arguments of the minority. (A. Prentice)