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Vol. 61 No. 9 SEPTEMBER 1956 Threepence Notes of the Month Custos East and West Archibald Robertson Liberal Religion in A merica L. D. Maerntyre St. Swithun W. E. Swinton What is Vital in Shaw? Archibald Robertson What Religion is Dead? Professor Sir Ernest hennaway Dr. Swinton in the New World Correspondence Society's Activities Society's Activities S

SOCIETY - Conway Hall · SOCIETY O'CLOCK Revival" by LANGLEY. Mozart 73. Twentieth Century" Piano Solos by PHILLIPS and CAMERON Elegie Faure Sicilienne Faure 38 Public" C. DOWMAN

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  • Vol. 61 No. 9 SEPTEMBER 1956 Threepence

    Notes of the Month Custos

    East and West Archibald Robertson

    Liberal Religion in A merica L. D. Maerntyre

    St. Swithun W. E. Swinton

    What is Vital in Shaw? Archibald Robertson

    What Religion is Dead? Professor Sir Ernest hennaway

    Dr. Swinton in the New World

    Correspondence Society's Activities

    Society's Activities



    September 16—RECTOR HAWTON—"The Catholic Revival"Piano Solo by JOYCE LANGLEY

    Sonata in C No. 16 .. . Mozart. Hymn : No. 73.

    September 23—ARCHIBALD ROBERTSON, M.A.—"This Terrible TwentiethCentury"

    'Cello and. Piano Solos by LILLY PHILLIPS and FIONA CAMERONElegie FaureSicilienne Faure

    Hymn : No. 38

    September 30.MRS. MARY STOCKS, B.Sc.—"Radio, Press and Public"Bass Solos by G. C. DOWMAN

    Merrow Down Edward GermanLinden Lea .. Vaughan Williams

    Hymn: No. 50Octob2r 7—MRS. MARGARET KNIGHT—"Ithellectual aml Emotional Beliefs"

    Annual Reunion

    The Annual Reunion will take place on September 23 at 3 p.m. Particularsmay be found on page 3 in the Notes of the Month.

    SOUTH PLACE SUNDAY CONCERTS, 66th SEASON66th Season (1956-1957) will open on Sunday, October 7, 1956.

    OfficersHon. Treasurer: E. J. FAIRHALLHon. Registrar: Mas. T. C. LINDSAY Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, W.C.1Secretary: J. HuTroN HYND

    The Monthly Record is posted free to Members and Associates. The Annualcharge to subscribers is 4s. 6d. Matter for publication in the October issueshould reach the Editor, G. C. Dowman, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, W.C.1,by September 10.

    The Objects of the Society are the study and dissemination of ethical principlesand the cultivation of a rational religious sentiment..

    Any person in sympathy with these objects is cordially invited to become a Member(minimum annual subscription is 10s.), or Associate (minimum annual subscription5s.). Life membership 810 10s. Associates are not eligible to vote or hold office.Enquiries should be made of the Registrar to whom subscriptions should be paid.2


    RECORDVol. 61 No. 9 SEPTEMBER 1956 Threepence



    NOTES OF THE MONTH, Custos 3

    EAST AND WEST, Archibald,Robertson 6


    ST. SWITHUN, W. E Swinton.. 15

    WHAT IS VITAL IN SHAW?, Archibald Robertson 17

    WIIAT RELIGION IS DEAD?, Professor Sir Ernest Kennaway 19




    The views expressed in this journal arc not necessarily those of the Society

    Notes of the MonthMEMBERS AND FRIENDS of the Society will be pleaed to note that the firstSunday morningraddress of the 1956-7 season will be given by Mr. HectorHawton. The work which the Society hopes to accomplish during thecoming season will be seen on the background of "The Catholic Revival"—the subject chosen by Mr. Hawton. It is hoped that a large audiencewill greet this opening occasion.

    Mr. Archibald Robertson will discuss Sir Winston Churchill's phrase,"This Terrible Twentieth Century", in his Sunday morning discourse,September 23. Mr. Robertson will attend the Reunion in the afternoon tointroduce the Guest of Honour, Mr. Richard Clements, who will give abrief address. The informal gathering of members and friends at 3 p.m.


  • will open the Reunion. Mr. J. Hutton Hynd will preside over the moreformal programme of speeches and music. Mr. G. Hutchinson, Hon.Secretary, Sunday Evening Concerts, will make brief reference to the DoraMary Clements Memorial instrument, and will introduce Joyce Langleyas pianist and accompanist. Songs and duets will be sung by PamelaWoolmore and Andrew Gold. Tea will be served at 4.45 p.m., and agenerous margin of time will remain for an exchange of greetings betweenfriends old and new. A cordial invitation is given to our friends of theEthical Union, the Rationalist Press Association, the National SecularSociety, and the Brixton, Chiswick, Orpington and Sutton Humanist Groups.

    Mrs. Mary Stocks, of B.B.C. "Any Questions", will receive a warmwelcome on her second appearance on our Sunday morning platform,September 30. In her timely address, on "Radio, Press and Public", Mrs.Stocks will share with her audience her wide and varied experience aspublicist and broadcaster.

    Conway Discussions will open on Tuesday, October 2, 7.15 p.m.—inpart a social occasion, with panel discussion and interval for light refresh-ment. Conway Discussions is "a public forum for open discussion of currenttopics of importance. Topics introduced by outstanding speakers". All whoare interested are very cordially invited.

    Advance notice is given that Mrs. Margaret Knight will give an addresson "Intellectual and Emotional Beliefs", Sunday morning, October 7. (Itshould be noted that Mrs. Knight will speak at• a public meeting in CaxtonHall on the evening of Wednesday, October 3. The meeting has beenarranged by the Humanist Council as an attempt to arouse public interestin the right of religious minorities to a fair proportion of time on sound-radio and television to express their points of view.)

    Freedom of the AirAfter his recent dispute with the B.B.C. Television authorities, the

    Humanist Cotmcil have asked Colin McCall, secretary of the NationalSecular Society, to undertake arrangements for launching a campaign forfreedom of the air for the expression of Humanist views. The first meetingwill be held at Caxton Hall on Wednesday, October 3, when Mrs. MargaretKnight will be among the speakers. This, then, is the time that humanistsmust begin to press to the utmost their claims to be heard through, asThe Freethinker has put it, "the greatest propaganda medium ever invented."

    The American LinkDr. Henry Neumann, editor of The Ethical Outlook, and one of the

    leaders of the New York Ethical Society, has complimented The MonthlyRecord. He considers it ."so full of good,. things': Mat he often wants to"lift" some of tEem for The Ethical Outlook: We hAve given him per-mission to reprint Archibald Robertson's article on Ibsen and a paragraphin the Notes of the Month: "Lamentation and Shame." The EthicalOutlook, once called The Standard was, at one time, edited by our goodfriend Geo. E. O'Dell, who is once again resident in England. The linkwith our American cousins thus happily continues.

    Christianity and CommunismTwo different sorts of people are engaged in finding a parallel between

    Communism and Christianity. A distinguished Jesuit, Father MartinD'Arcy, has written a hook in which he declares (not without reason)that Communism today "is the most serious competitor to the Christianity4

  • which has up to now been the greatest influence in the Western World".Most Catholics from the Pope down probably agree with Father D'Arcy.On the other hand Rationalists of the old liberal tradition see in Christianityand Communism two rival authoritarian systems both claiming infallibilityand both, therefore, equally bad. Lord Russell, we believe, is on record assaying that Communism is the worse of the two, since no sensible mancan believe in Christian dogma, whereas sensible people have unfortunatelyfallen for Marxism!

    An Old ParallelThe parallel is not new. Friedrich Engels, co-founder with Marx of

    modern Communism, himself pointed it out. In an article written for theGerman Socialist magazine Neue Zeit he drew attention to the parallelbetween the appeal made by early Christianity to the slaves ahd poorfreemen of the Roman Empire, and the appeal made by. modern Socialismto the workers of the world. Engels drew attention to other similarities,e.g. the analogy between the church organisation of early Christianity andthe branch organisation of the Socialist movement, and the liability ofboth to be victimised by 'dishonest impostors (the adventurer yeregrinusdescribed by Lucian in the second century, to whom Engels might havecompared—but did not, for he never saw through him—the adventurerEdward Aveling in the nineteenth). Engels even compares Paul's appealfor funds in the Epistles with the eternal worry over finances which doggedthe organisers of the First International.

    This-Worldly and Other-WorldlyThe parallel and the accompanying contrast were developed by Engels'

    friend Belfort Bax, one cd the pioneers of British Socialism, in one of hisEssays in, Socialism New and Old, published in 1907. Bax, like Engels,points out the likeness, but he also points out the radical difference.Christianity as we know it (whatever we may conjecture about its origins)offers salvation not in this life, but in a future life. "Socialism, on thecontrary, teaches that there is no salvation for the individual save in andthrough society." Or as the poet of The Internationale says:

    "No saviours from on high deliver,No trust have we in prince or peer;

    Our own right hand the chains must shiver—Chains of hatred, of greed and fear."

    Humanism and CommunismA Humanist may object that the difference between "this-worldly" and

    "other-worldly" is irrelevant, that the point is that Christianity and Com-munism alike claim to know all the answers, and that it is that claim—not the kind of answer given—which.leads to the enslavement of the mindand to intolerance of dissent. The Communist may retort that no systemdevised by man is proof against disastrous error. Parliamentary government,the pride of the West, was not proof against the power-politics and secretdiplomacy that deluged the earth in blood twice over in a lifetime, noris it proof against Southern lynching or South African. apartheid. Nor wasMarxism proof against its perversion under Stalin. As old Herodotus said2,400 years ago: "If every nation were to bring all its evil deeds to exchangewith some other nation, when they had all looked carefully at their neigh-bours' faults, they would be truly glad to carry their own back again."The test of a!system is not the abuses to which it falls victim, but its abilityto correct them. Criticism, like charity, begins at home.


  • 80th Anniversary •The American Ethical Union which celebrated its Eightieth Anniversary

    on May 15 received, on that occasion, messages of congratulation fromPresident Eisenhower, Adlai E. Stevenson, Averill Harriman and others. ThePresident concluded his message with the words: -All of you have mywarm best wishes for the continued fruitfulness of your efforts to advancethe well-being and happiness of your fellow men."

    Mr. Harriman spoke of their "carrying high the torch of inspiration andlearning". Mr. Stevenson said: "I know of your splendid work in the serviceof human need and wish you many more decades of great achievement.-

    Deeds not CreedsThe New York World Telegrant and Sun of April 21 carried an article

    on the American Ethical Union's eighty years spent in social reform. "Amovement that is well known but often not too well understood . . . whoseemphasis is on deeds not creeds." The ethical marriage service was discussedwith its belief in Human Dignity. "May the blessing of all who are just andmerciful, your own honour and chivalry and the Eternal Order of things,be your strength and peace unto the end."

    Why an Ethical,Union?Why hot a Moral Union? Because, according to Henry Neumann of the

    Brooklyn Society : "We have in mind not merely obeying laws or acceptedrules, but trying to understand the underlying principles of human relationsand their importance." The Union wishes to develop co-operation betweenliberal religious groups, "the emotional dimensions" of ethical religion, andstudy and planning for "a new type of youth programme".

    East and WestB Y


    Two THOUSkEID FOUR HUNDRED years ago Herodotus began his history ofthe war between Greeks and Persians with a half-humorous sketch of theorigin of the feud between East and West. It began, he says, with theirstealing each other's women. That led in time to the Trojan War, andthat to lasting bad blood between Asia and Europe, of which the wars Cfhis, own day were an outcome.

    Nowadays it is more usual to explain these things by rivalry over wealththan over women. It is a more plausible explanation; for, as. Herodotussays, only fools make a stir about women who let themselves be abducted.Gold and silver, spices and diamonds, -rubber and oil are a more seriousmatter.

    Be that as it may, ever since those days there has been one long see-sawof alternating predominance between East and Wet. The East had a lungstart; for it was there that men first founded civilisations. But those firstcivilisations decayed, as things under the sun are apt to do. The Greeksand then the Romans turned the tables and set up their own empires—Aristotle justifying Greek imperialism on the ground that Asians were


  • cowards and always the slaves of somebody or other, so that on the wholejustice was done.

    A thousand years after Aristotle the East had its revenge. The Arabssurged out of their deserts and set up the reign of Islam from the Pamirsto the Pyrenees. They proved quick learners, mastered and improved onGreek science, and introduced it to western Europe, where it had beentotally forgotten. They forgave Aristotle his aspersions on ,their part of the:world and translated him into Arabic, with the result that the Westrenewed its acquaintance with him through translations from Arabic intoLatin long before the Greek original became accessible. An impartialspectator in the Middle Ages might plausibly have predicted that theMoslem East Would conquer and civilise poor, backward, ignorant Europe,where men lived in holy dirt and grovelled before phony relics of saintsthat made an enlightened Moslem spit with contempt.

    Yet the impartial spectator would have been wrong. Ptherty was forcingthe West to live by its wits. lust because they had no vast empire fromthe Pamirs to the Pyrenees at their command, but only a confined spacebetween Islam and the ocean—just because they had no unlimited supplyof slaves from foreign conquest, but had to live by their own labour orany they could hire—Western merchants and master-craftsmen weredeveloping free industry and the inventions that go with free industry.And when the Moslem East pressed them hard, and trade openings in thatdirection were closing, Western adventurers sailed round Africa, and theeround the world, and took Asia in the rear.

    From those days of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries until our ownday the West has had its own way. The earth has been its football. Americahas been settled, North and South; Asia has been cut up into dependenciesand spheres of influence; Africa has been partitioned. To the learnedit seemed as if old Aristotle were right after all. To the less learned,who do not read Aristotle, but who know that gold and silver are usefuland that cotton, oil and rubber pay good dividends and are indispensableto modern industry, it seemed that the "Lord God of Hosts" had giventhein -dominion over palm and pine" in order that they: might teachthe "lesser breeds without the law- to live by honest labour to their ownreformation and to the exceeding great profit of their masters.•

    • And yet we nnght have known better. A study of history would havetold us that the whole process was a see-saw, and that as invention andknow-how had given a lead to the \Vest, so the diffusion of inventionand know-how must in the long run cancel the handicap and restore thebalance. TOday* I learn (not from Communist sources—I should not citethem—but from the Washington correspondent of The Times) that morethan twice as many scientists graduated last year in the.U.S.S.R. as in theU.S.A. Twenty-five years ago our experts guffawed at the very notion thatRussia could ever overtake the West in anything. Who looks silly now?And what Russia can do, China, India or any other part of Asia can doif it puts the same pep into the job.

    It is against that background that we must see the Egyptian decision•to nationalise the Suez Canal. The Arab world no longer believes thatAllah has given the West dominion over palm and pine, and refuses tosee itself as a lesser breed without the law. I do not know how events willdevelop, but today I read (again in The Times) that all is orderly and quietin the Canal zone. It is to everybody's interest that it should remain so.But it will not remain so if our public-school-educated politicians get their

    * August 3.7

  • way. Reading the House of Commons debate and the demands of this,that and the other honourable fool for ultimatums and force, I feel that weare governed by the dead and the damned. These men are still livingin the days of Dizzy and Joe Chamberlain. What do we expect? Theylearn nothing at school that is worth learning. I know, for I learnt theirstuff myself and have spent the rest of my life unlearning it.

    What is a Humanist to do? A Humanist is not a Westernist or anEasternist or an Anglo-Saxonist. East and West have to live together, orbe destroyed together. It is everybody's interest, including the Egyptians'.that the Canal should keep open and that goods should move freelythrough it. To. imagine that Nasser nationalised it in order to stop our oilis plain lunacy. We can have our oil by paying for it—which after allis the most honest way to have anything. If we are afraid of Nasserraising the Canal dues (which he has not yet given any sign of doing)we can save money in other ways, for example by cutting the call-upand reducing armaments by all-round agreement. Force will save nothingand nobody, and may destroy us all.

    Liberal Religion in America


    L. D. M AcINTYRE(President of the American Ethical Union)

    IT IS A great privilege, a rare privilege, to speak to you here this morningin this fine meeting place which bears the name of one who, as an American,came to serve the cause of liberal religion. Since I am not a minister orEthical Leader but an administrator, I doubly appreciate Mr. Hynd'sinvitation. May I also express my gratitude to the Executive Committee ofthe International Humanist-and Ethical Union for rearranging our sessionsto leave this time free so that I might accept (members of the ExecutiveCommittee are here with us this morning).

    It was necessary to limit the subject so that it might be covered withinthe scheduled period and the limits of your patience. I shall confine myremarks on the present state of liberal religion to the United States ofAmerica and leave the rest of the hemisphere alone. I hope to presentbriefly some aspects of the current religious revival and its implicationsfor religious liberals or non-conformists, the progress of the Ethical Move-ment in the United States, and our hopes for the Second World Congressof the International Humanist and Ethical Union.

    In any presentation by an American to a British audience both face ahazard. The hazard is our possession of a common language. Because wordsare spoken and heard in English we may be misled into assuming thatunderstanding is automatically achieved. This was brought out in therecent book Cousins and Strangers. There S. Gorley Putt records hisexperiences in the United States, where he tripped over this hazard. He says,"Early in my stay I informed an acquaintance that I thought Rooseveltwas one of the greatest men of the country, that Acheson would go downin history as the man who had forged the Western alliance against Com-munism, that I admired Truman and thought Stevenson the greatest states-man the West—including England—had produced. His reaction was to ask,If you are so damned anti-American what are you doing here?' "


  • There is at least one way to know if we are talking about the same subject.An old Scotsman used to begin each discussion with the admonition: "Mon, 'define your terns." (I can see now that I should have asked Mr. Hyndto speak for me!) Anyway, let us define the term used in the title of thismorning's talk, "Liberal Religion".

    To Dr. David Saville Muzzey, noted American historian, author andEthical Leader, Religion means the devotion of man,to the highest idealthat he can conceive.

    To Delisle Burns, former lecturer here •t South Place, Religion was anactive enthusiasm for a fine quality of life. And his definition has remainedone of my favourites.

    To Dr. A. Eustace Haydon, Emeritus Professor of Comparative Religion,noted Humanist .and Leader of our Chicago Ethical Society, Religion isthe shared quest for the values of a good life.

    To John Dewey, noted American educator, philosopher and .humanist,Religion is to order one's life for the good of mankind.

    And to Thomas Paine, American patriot and deist, a definition was verysimple, for it was compressed in his statement, ". . . to do good is myreligion". Any one of you could multiply my examples many times.

    But most recently, in my nation's capital, a Unitarian minister was amongthose testifying before the Tax Court of the District of Columbia in defenceof the religious nature of the Washington Ethical Society, of which 1 am amember. He explained to the court, in which we were suing for propertytax exemption, that religion need not be defined only as leading orthodoxdenominations understand it. Mr. Ross Alan Weston, as President of theUnitarian FelloWship for Social Justice, answered the judge's question abouthis religious beliefs with these words: Truth is Gail and Religion is thatwhich binds a man together. And the judge, a Catholic, said to the opposingattorneys, "1 hope you understand this. It is all over my head."

    My position is summed up in the official note of thanks I sent to Mr.Weston. I wrote: "If religion legally can only be theistic supernaturalismthen all liberal religious thought is in danger. You have aided greatly thedefence of a position we hold in common."

    Any approach to liberal Religion in the United States would have torecognise the diffuse nature of the situation. Liberalism cannot be assumedbecause a person is officially a Unitarian, Universalist of a member of theSociety of Friends. One would have to know to what particular church hebelonged and, further, what he personally believed.

    For example, within Unitarianism there is a divergence between the viewsin the eastern and western sections of the United States. Of the eastern ithas been said that if the Unitarians ever achieved a creed it might be abelief in "the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man and the Neigh-bourhood of Boston!" In any case the official publication of Unitarianismis called "The Christian Register".

    But the Western Unitarian Conference is something quite different. Dr.Curtis Reese, former president of the Conference and a good friend ofMr. Hynd, has "for thirty years consistently advocated a type of religioushumanism which dispenses with the God-concept". In our central andwestern sections the trend is toward humanism.

    One of our national magazines, Look, devoted a series of articles toreligions. In the article on Unitarianism the minister justified the use ofthe term Christian as applied to Unitarians and Universalists because theyare attempting to put in practice the teachings of Jesus. But both theUnitarians and Universalists are barred from the Christian EcumenicalMovement and other formal Christian bodies because neither requires ofits members a belief in Jesus Christ as God and Saviour.


  • • And Dr. Reese considers that "the difference between a right-wingUnitarian Church and a left-wing Congregational Church is practically nil".But, he adds, "the differences between a 'right-wing theistic CongregationalChurch and a left-wing Humanist Unitarian Church are so great that onewould find it difficult to belong to both without the constant use of apsychiatrist to save him from becoming a split personality". This is under-standable when one recalls that the Unitarians left the CongregationalChurch and Ralph Waldo Emerson left the Unitarians!

    . Some save themselves from the dilemma posed by this leftward trend bybelieving deeply in nothing and subscribing to a vague diluted Christianity.

    - All churches are doing good, they say, or are at least trying to, so whatdifference does it make to which one you belong? One such was probablyresponsible for the view that the Middle East problem could be settledpromptly if only the Jews and Arabs would behave like Christians!

    There is no doubt that the trend among many churches is to minimisedifferences and to take tentative steps towards eventual merger. As• anorganisational step toward what is termed federal union, the Unitarians andUniversalists have joined in creating the Council of . Liberal Churches(Unitarian-Universalist), Inc. The council is designed to carry on servicesof Education, Publications, Public Relations and hopefully Social Relations.It was expected that other liberal religious groups might participate on anational scale. The American Ethical Union was exploring avenues for jointaction on social questions.

    But the limitations in the title prevent this now for we are not a churchand obviously are neither 'Unitarians nor Universalists. We are not evenChristians. However we have succeeded in publishing a song book We Singof Life for the use of all liberal religious groups. We are looking forwardto other ways of co-operation without sacrifice-of principle.

    Liberal Religion in the United States should be viewed in relation to thetotal religious situation. Religion, as a whole, has shown steady progress,both numerically and proportionally. Numbers of adherents to organisedreligious bodies have grown faster than the increase in population. In itsbeginnings probably not more than •10 per cent of the population of theUnited States had any formal church affiliation. Now 974 million or sixout of every ten persons are listed as church members. Since 1920 churchmembership has increased four times as fast as population!

    Membership in all religious bodies has gained about 35 per cent in thepast ten years. Both conservative and liberal groups share in the religiousrevival. Over two billion dollars is given annually to churches of all faiths.Church• construction is now ten times the level of •a decade ago. TheAmerican Iron and .Steel Institute estimates that within the next ten years70,000 new churches will be built at a cost of seven. billion dollars. This isan amazing success story in terms of numbers of members or money spentor both! But let us take a look at, some of the underlying factors.

    The current popular method of finding answers to queXtions is to take apoll, either of people in general or of the opinions of experts. What doesthe man in the street have to say?

    A poll taken among persons aged twenty-one years and over shows -that46 per cent of those interviewed had attended church the preceding week.Thirty per cent accounted for the increase in church-going to fear, unrest,uncertainty of the future; 19 per cent to a renewal of faith in God as theSupreme Being; while 11 per cent attributed it to the post-war reaction.

    I would consider that the period of sound growth of Protestantism inthe United States after the turn of the century was directly related to theyiews and work of the Baptist minister, Walter Rauschenbusch. He gained10

  • acceptance of the Social Gospel—the attempt to change people and institu-tions by the application of Christian principles. It was applied Christianityin the sense that emphasis was placed upon good works and social better-ment rather than upon ritual and dogma.

    Many Protestant churches in the United States, while conservative intheology, are liberal in social action and hopefully will continUe so.Methodists, Baptists and Presbyterians, among others, have asked theirchurch congregations to accept Negro members and so recognise theFatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man in practice.

    The Catholics and Unitarians seem to be making progress in racialintegration.•Certainly, if the churches blindly follow the prevailing patternsof their communities, regardless of the Christian principles churches profess,they will forfeit their leadership. National religious leaders of most faithsare trying 'hard to meet this test of our times.

    For example, the pastor of the Calvary Methodist Church in Washingtonhas started an integrated—that is, non-segregated—recreation programmefor neighbourhood children. Ile would be likely to consider that• theobjective of Religion was to help develop better people: And he would notbe misled by success in terms of statistics. You will recall that Ralph WaldoEmerson's measure of worthwhile growth was not the census but the kind •of people the country turned out.

    But other statistics on crime, suicide, mental and moral breakdowns inAmerican society raise legitimate questioas. Church authorities are reallyworried about what may be a superficial gain. The authors of a report(from which I secured the membership figures I have used this morning)say they would like to know more about spirit, motive, behaviour, faithbefore judging success! "Are we a better people because more of us belong,to churches?" they ask, and "What is being done about moral conditions insociety?" Authorities are concerned about "confidence derived from pros-perity" and conclude that "popular success may be a hazard". They aretroubled by how little difference there still is between average churchmembers and non-members and the degree to which the average churchconforms so that it will not "sharply challenge the prevailing behaviourof the community".

    In the midst of statistical success, two orthodox Christian religious leadersmade some surprising statements last year. The fundamentalist evangelist,Reverend Billy Graham, was stumped by your London newspapermen toexplain the increase in piety with a decline in morality. In the United States,the Rev. Dr. Henry P. Van Dusen, President of the important UnionTheological Seminary, said that while religion is gaining ground, morality islosing ground. He had no answer for the apparent anomaly.

    Neither of these gentlemen asked my opinion but here it is for what itis worth to you. To ilia an upsurge in orthodox religion and a decline inmorality is a surprising situation only if one assumes that revealed religionand morality arc interdependent. We do not believe that morality isdependent upon orthodoxy in religion. But it may be true that an assump-tion of man's natural sinfulness and incapacity for self-help, the placing ofMan's goals in some other world than this, could well discourage effortsto lead a good life.

    To me, a return to revealed religion is a sign Of hopelessness. It placesupon God and removes from Man all responsibility for the direction of hislife. It assumes "the failure of human knowledge, understanding and controlto help man achieve a tolerable home and worthwhile life on the face ofthe globe-. It is a revolt against reason. •

    So I would agree with Margaret Knight's position in support of "Morals

    • 11

  • Without Religion" provided that the word "revealed" was inserted beforeReligion. It is necessary to make that qualification if one is to maintain theposition that Ethical Culture is a valid religion for modern man.

    In presenting the status of liberal religion in the United States, I omittedreference to the Ethical Culture Societies and to the activities of theAmerican Humanist Association, of which I am a member, and which is aneducational and religious organisation with the emphasis upon education.The membership is largely individual and many members are on the staffsof colleges and universities. The average age of members, I am told, isforty-five years. Some members are organised in groups for the purposeof fellowship and discussion.

    The official publication is The Humanist which furnishes a common linkamong members. The organisation is not listed in the census of religiousbodies. Corliss Lamont has published a book, Humanism as a Philosophy(I understand there is a copy in your library at Conway Hall), which expresslyuses the term philosophy because he accepts the common definition ofreligion as man's relationship to an acknowledged Supreme Being. Thebook Humanism as the Next Step by Lloyd and Mary Morain considersHumanism as a scientifically guided approach to life. They make clearthat "there is no officially organised humanist ministerial group" but speakof Humanism in America as not only an American religion but a worldreligion and philosophy.

    In presenting the general aims of Humanism, one of the leading Humanistsin the United States has called for a general appeal to all men who -wantto work for a sane, humane, science-oriented civilisation without muchattention to formal organisation, such as exists in Ethical Societies. Thelocal groups are often attached to liberal Unitarian Churches or EthicalSocieties where they exist, and rarely do they have quarters of their ownor provide religious education for children. The loose form of organisationwould make this difficult.

    The American Humanist Association, in addition to publishing TheHumanist, functions in the fields of publishing, speaking and counselling. Itarranges radio talks and lecture tours, of which Dr. Julian Huxley's wasan outstanding example. It would progress by permeating and secularisingall religions rather than be another religion. It is my imprcssion that allHumanists could be members of Ethical Culture Societies while all EthicalSociety members might not be Humanists.

    Aside from the different organisational approach, I see the AmericanEthical Union as a Federation of Ethical Societies in the United Statescommitted to emphasising non-creedal religion, education and communityservices in that order.

    Since the founding of the Ethical Movement in the United States (thisis our Eightieth Anniversary year), most members have considered anEthical Society a religious home for themselves and their children, free ofcreed or doema.

    Individual members may have their personal views regarding theirrelation to a divinity, an after-life, the efficacy of prayer etc., but they donot impose them upon others. These are personal, private speculations whichare not the centre of concern. We want to save our souls alive! Theconcern which knits us together in each Society and in the Ethical Move-ment is to improve man's relation to man and. to realise in our own livesthe best of which we are capable. We believe that man can be perfectedand that we develop ourselves as we bring out the best in others.

    By helping to develop better people we hope to improve our standardof living together and leave this world a better place than we found it.12

  • Now these are not commonly accepted views of religion. The dominatingtrend is in the direction of creedal religion. All other forms of belief aresuspect. The glib term "godlessness" is used to describe religious views notbased on divine sanctions. Humanists, Ethical Culturists and other groupswithout formal creedal commitments are included in this over-all description.

    If people are to be driven to conformity because it is less troublesome,or safer, or pays better, or makes things easier, then surely we have losteverything vital in our country. Religion induced by slogans, by fear, orby mass social and economic pressure can never produce vitality andeffectiveness. May I repeat, for this I believe is the key to our presentsituation.. Religion induced by slogan's, by fear, or by mass social andeconomic pressure can never produce vitality and effectiveness. lf, as Ibelieve, this is the basis for the growth of revealed religion in the last tenyears, then it cannot have permanence. Religious commitment mustgenerate from a Profound conviction to be meaningful and must translateinto the lives and abilities of men to become the force it should be—at leastthat is a guiding commitment of Ethical Culture.

    All of us who are alive to the problems of today that press us forsolution have been conscious of the growing emphasis upon ethical standardsof conduct—whether in the professions, in government or simply dailyliving with one's fellows. Along with this concern has been an assumptionthat this elevation of ethical conduct cannot be brought about except as werecognise revealed religion as the basis for morality. The religious sanctioncomes first and moral behaviour follows.

    So today there is a quite logical revival of concern about man's dependenceupon divinity and his place in the universe. Along with this go pressures forconformity, social, economic and religious, with a view of man as animpotent creature whose salvation must come from faith in an outsidepower rather than his own constructive effort.

    You may ask where these pressures come from and what form do theytake? A pervading fear and a desire for security have been increasinglyevident since the blast at Hiroshima. Hitler's atrocities also blasted anyblissful assumption of the natural goodness of man. There is a growingconviction that intelligence and scientific progress uncontrolled by .any moralstandards can lead to universal disaster.

    And these efforts can be understood if one accepts the assumption thatbetter conduct is possible only if revealed religion is recognised as thebasis of morality. In this view the religious sanction comes first and moralbehaviour follows.

    Following official government acts and on such premises, a growingnumber of companies have hired .industrial chaplains, encouraged theformation of prayer and religious discussion groups among employees andbuilt meditation chapels. The General Electric Corporation conductedLenten services this year in a 1,500-seat auditorium. They must believethat orthodoxy pays.

    Need I cite any more examples to prove that liberal religion in theUnited States is facing troubled times? Yet the outlook is not all dark!All of the time has not been devoted to the problems of the AmericanEthical Union. I have only sketched among public matters of ethical import.Since 1946 the movement in the United States has engaged in a NationalDevelopment Programme to acquaint more people with the aims and purposesof Ethical Culture, to help new groups to become established and 'to trainfull-time/part-time leadership for Ethical Societies as they develop.

    The test of any movement is the death of its founder. Felix Adler died13

  • in 1933. There was an overlong period of quiescence but in the past tenyears we have grown from six societies in metropolitan centres to twenty-three societies, associate societies and fellowship groups over a wider area.For what the statistics may be worth, this expansion has brought about a netincrease in membership of 90 per cent. New groups are being aided andleaders trained with funds from the American Ethical Union Foundationestablished for this purpose. So far, special individual appeals for its supporthave resulted in contributions totalling $56,000 or £20,000.

    The essence of a movement is that it niores and the motive power isfound in dedicated people. We feel that the movement is very much aliveand is meeting the religious needs Of more and more people who cannotaccept the formal creeds but want a religion that meets the needs of modernman. Even our bi-monthly magazine, The Standard, has been refurbishedafter forty years and is now called The Ethical Outlook! We are doingour part in the world of today as best we can and I am proud of ourparticipatioin in the International Humanist and Ethical Union, of whichthe Executive Committee is meeting here this week-cnd. Any religion worthyof the name should be global in scope, and this international federation,which replaces and broadens the old International Ethical Union is movingin that direction. The old organisation had to its credit the Moral EducationCongress and the Universal Races Congress in the early 1900s. OurInternational Congress at Amstcrdam in 1952 will be followed by thesecond World Congress. to which you will be hosts in July, 1957, underthe leadership of Lord Boyd Orr. We have high hopes for the new interna-tional union of those who believe in man's ability to build a good life forall. And there is room in it for those who view their commitments as areligion and those who do not. We are proud to co-operate with theEthical Union here, the Humanistisch Verbond and others in this importantinternational movement. We hope that together we can help to solve theproblems of existence with our fellow man. It is either do that or perishtogether

    For I believe that Lord Russell and those associated with him in thestatement they released to the world, foresaw the possible future with clearvision. Those who join a revealed religion through fear have reason fortheir fear and grasping for security, even though we may think they haveabandoned hopes for this world too soon in a footless search for certainty.

    When Robert Oppenheimer, noted physicist, was faced with the questionof whether any of humanity would be left. after an atomic war he said:

    "Yes, some would be left. But," hc added, "it would take an effort ofthe human imagination to recognise what was left as human."

    At a time when the very foundations of earth itself are shaking, it isnatural to seek security. Because stability and certainty are comforting, largenumbers are still seeking a way of life that is an academic mirage. Somewill seek it in an authoritarian formula of guarantees encased in dogmaand ritual. But I submit that the genius of man has constructed a world oftoday in which change and uncertainty are typical conditions.

    A liberal religion—a faith for free men—does not mean freedom fromresponsibility through some escape from the problems of this life. It leadsone instead to accept responsibility for one's acts, to try to live withintegrity. In the midst of a mad rush for security such a faith makes onerealise that to have complete certainty one would have to abolish change!So I believe we must learn to live with uncertainty but not be paralysed byhesitation. And we must proceed to act upon beliefs tentatively held. Onlyso can we act and still hold open the many ways to truth.

    In closing I wish to emphasise that there is- a movement back to revealed14

  • religion in the United States. To me this appears to be the adopting of aconforming religiosity—the colour, form, patterns of religion without thespiritual essence. I see no reason why the term religion should be left totheists alone. There is an ethical core in most religions which man hascreated through the timeless ages he has worked on a pattern of life. It isbecause man has done this that I prefer to believe in man and the valueshe can create.

    The first obligation of an Ethical Society in the United States, and shallwe say in Great Britain, and an obligation that cannot be met elsewhere,is to serve as a liberal religious fellowship. We are dedicated to "an ever-increasing knowledge, love and practice of the right". It is our privilege tounite intellectual freedom with moral aspiration in a common quest fortruth. And we choose to call that shared quest religion—a religion withoutrevelation.

    I believe that members of our Ethical Societies belong because we wantto keep in tune with a future we hope to make be;ter through our efforts.We know that there is not a shop in the land where one can buy a sinaleyard of character or integrity. Nor can an inner satisfaction and content-ment be purchased. For truth and honour, love and justice are found inpeople by those with the vision, to find them and help them grow. And inour search to discover and foster these values in people we are buildinga greater unity—not of creed but of deed., And with confidence in man'sability to find solutions for the problems man has created, we can face thefuture with hope, not fear.

    In the words of Dr. George E. Beauchamp, Leader of the WashingtonEthical Society:

    The most necessary of all faiths is fai:h in men.Faith that men can select their own aims better than any other man

    can select for them.Not faith that men will be wise, for men are often foolish; but faith

    that men at their best are capable of wisdom, and that they can be taughtto be wiser than' they are.

    Not faith that men will be good, for men: are sometimes wicked; but

    faith that men can, be inspired to greater goodness and compassion.Not faith that men will be always strong and brave, for the best of men

    are often weak; but faith that man is capable of strengTh, and that throughfaith in the potentialities cf man comes multiplied streng:h and greaterfirmness.

    Not faith that men are wise, or good, or brave, or strong, but that theyare capable of becoming wise enough and good enough, brave enough andstrong enough to make a habitable world together.

    (An address delivered on July 8)

    St. SwithunB Y

    W. E. SWINTON, Ph.D.

    TODAY IS THE fifteenth of July, traditionally the day of St. Swithun or, lesscorrectly, St. Swithin. If it rains today, some people will have uneasyumbrellas for the next forty days.

    Saints and rain are not unusual companions, though it should be remem-15

  • bered that they have their dry spells too. But how did Swithun gain hisfame and his sanctity?

    Despite a number of references to him in medieval MS. very little is reallyknown about him today. A learned monk, writing in the year 1002 or 'so,had to confess that but little was known of his life; but depositions andoaths, references in charters and other writings remain, so that we knowwith assurance that he was Bishop of Winchester, and perhaps a deaconbefore then. That he was the scion of a noble family sacrificing himself tothe Church, that he was a• monk of ability, are probably untrue and thereseems every reason to believe that, on the contrary, he was a secular clerkwho happened to catch the eye or the car of Egbert, King of the WestSaxons. At any rate Egbert sent his son Ethelwulf to Swithun for education.In, the fullness of time Ethelwulf became King and appointed his tutor tobe Bishop of Winchester. It is said this was done with the full consentof •he clergy, which is a statenient that may well mean less than it says.That his accession to the episcopal throne took place on October 30, 852,•is known and his oath still testifies.

    That he was an ecclesiastical adviser to the King seems certain; and whentroubles assailed that kingly house in the Saxon revolt, Swithun is saidto have remained loyal to his patron. He was also something of a scholarand is said to have contributed,to an edition of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicleby his careful supervision of earlier Latin annals. He is credited with beingsomething of a builder or supervisor of builders with bridges as well aschurches to his name. In this connection it is related that he always walkedto his work and to the dedications of his churches so it may have been inkeeping that he decided that his body should be buried where the feet ofpilgrims and visitors and the ordinary passers-by should tread, and also(and this may be a later interpolation) where the drips of rain from thecaves of his cathedral should fall.

    During his life he was known to have done at least one miracle. A poorwoman dropped her basket of eggs and the Bishop made them whole. Butafter his death in 862 his miracles began to increase. One man said he hadbeen cured of a hump on his back by the Bishop. On July 15, 971, it wasdecided to rebury the body in a more agreeable or suitable situation. Then,it is alleged, the very heavy rain interfered with the project, though miraclesbecame obvious. In fact 200 were reported in the first ten days and "in thefirst year the number was incalculable". But not, alas, to the monks. Itwas the new Bishop's custom that the monks should assemble on theevidence of a miracle and Swithun's activities almost caused a monasticstrike. But Swithun appeared to the monks and presumably put them toshame. This incident would seem to shed a good deal of light on con-temporary beliefs but so far as I know the subject has not been developedand the appearance of Swithun•is not one of the pillars of the theory ofimmortality.

    Eventually, with the consent of most people, Swithun was canonisedand his church was rededicated to him until, in 1540, that stout guardianof holy principles and defender of the faith, Henry VIII, caused it to berenamed Holy Trinity. Henry was always a believer in plurality.

    On July 15, 1093, the body was again exhumed and the relics exhibited,probably to gather financial support for a new church building. Silver andgold and gems were obtained but the new church was burned down later andthe fires revealed that most of the gold and the gems were false. Anotherundeveloped sidelight into contemporary faith.

    The current ideology about St. Swithun is short.16

  • St. Swithun's day if thou dost rain,for forty days it shall remain;

    St. Swithun's day if thou be fairfor forty days 'twill rain na mair.

    What seems to be clear is that the idea of forty days rain and so on isolder than St. Swithun and the story has been switched for his benefit. As1 have said, there is a long and tangled history between saints and water.whether rain or lakes. France has its St: Medard (June 8) and Sts. Gervaiseand Prothaise (July 4); Germany the story of the Seven Sleepers (June 27)and the Lowlands'St. Godelieves.

    •• St. Swithun was therefore not alone in his legend. Whether the associa-tion of saints with this restricted part of the calender are variations of anearlier legend or special need for weather information at the time •of theharvest is not easy to say. But St. Swithun had special prayers dedicatedto him and at least forty churches. And this is no small measure for afame that is almost wholly legendary and which at any rate has no supportat all from the records of the Meteorological Office. •

    (Summary of an address given on July 15)

    What is Vital in Shaw ?B Y


    "I CAN'T STAND saying one.thing", says Mrs. Warren in Shaw's play, "wheneveryone knows 4 mean another. What's the use in such hypocrisy?"And in a later argument with her daughter, she says : "You think thatpeople are what they pretend to be—that the way you were taught atschool and college to think right and proper is the way things really are.But it's not: it's all only a pretence, to keep the cowardly, slavish commonrun of people quiet. . . . The big people, the clever people, the managingpeople, all know it."• This protest against conventional hypocrisy 'is central to Shaw's teaching.

    And his case is that conventional hypocrisy pervades current thinking notonly about sex, but about pretty well everything. Political and religiousidealism—all the common talk about country, empire, Christian civilisationand the rest of it—is' a myth shedding fictitious glory on robbery, crueltyand cupidity; and the business of the reformer is to stop founding institutionson these spurious ideals and to found them instead on "a genuinely scientificnatural history".

    The impact which Shaw made on his time was due to the fact thatwe, his contemporaries, had been brought up on concentrated doses ofthe spurious idealism which he attacked. We were taught from our tenderyears to believe in Christianity—a religion which commands us not to kill,not to resist enemies, not to lay up treasure on earth, not to judge—andat the same time we were taught on no account to take these commandsseriously, but on the contrary to admire people whose main title toadmiration was successful killing, successful resistance to enemies, successfullaying up of treasure on earth and successful judging. A society which atthe same time preaches a religion and treats those who take that religionseriously as impossible cranks is obviously rotten with hypocrisy. At thetime when Shaw made his first impact, honest Freethinkers were courtingobloquy by saying that Christianity was not true. The •favourite argument


  • against them was (and still is) that if Christian faith goes. Christian moralsare doomed. Shaw came to the rescue of the Freethinkers and said ineffect: "Yes, Christian morals are doomed; and as Christian morals are amass of rotten hypocrisy, let's give three cheers!" And we, who were alreadyholding our noses at the hypocrisy of our governors, teachers, spiritualpastors and masters, cried: "Flip, hip, hip, hurrah!"

    But if you puncture spurious idealism, you must substitute a true philo-sophy. And the vital thing in Shaw is his philosophy. In the preface toThree Plays for Puritans he repudiates any claim (such as ignorant ormalicious people often imputed to him) of writing better plays than Shakes-peare. No one, he says, will ever write better plays than Shakespeare'sbest. Where he claims to be different from Shakespeare and to advanceupon him-is in his philosophy of life. Shakespeare wrote at the beginningof the age in which we are still living (though night is falling on it) andhe gave supreme dramatic expression to the ideals of that age. Shaw writesat the end of that age and claims, not to give: better dramatic expressionto those ideals, but to give such dramatic expression as he can to thephilosophy of a new age of which he is one of the prophets.

    What is that philosophy? Briefly, it is that to live a worth-while lifewe must not drift, but steer, and that to steer—to put a meaning into life—the only thing to do is to identify oneself with a mighty purpose otherthan oneself and, as he puts it in the preface to Man and Superman, tobecome "a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little cloud of ailmentsand grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to makingyou happy". To scramble blindly for a living, to pursue riches for thesake of riches or private happiness for the sake of private happiness, isto drift; to work to build a scientific social organisation is to steer. Hence,says Shaw in the same preface, "there is no future for men, howeverbrimming with crude vitality, who are neither intelligent nor politicallyeducated enough to be Socialists." The contrast between drifting andsteering is developed allegorically in the interlude of Don Juan in Hell.Hell is not a place of punishment after death; it is the state of those whodrift through life. Heaven is not a place of happiness after death; it is thestate of those who devote themselves to "helping life in its struggle upward",to doing away with waste and mutual obstruction and destruction, and toorganising civilisation. The urge to do this, Shaw says, is a passion justlike other passions, except that those in its grip have a sense of directionwhich can (as I suppose a Freudian would say) sublimate the other passionsor (as Shaw puts it) turn "a mob of appetites into an army of purposesand principles."

    Just because such steering is a whole-time job, those who aspire to ithave no time for the pretences which others find a necessity if the worldis to be endurable. They have no time for a religion -which is "a mereexcuse for laziness"—which sets up "a God who looked at the worldand saw that it was good" against the instinct which looks at theworld and secs that it can be improved. They have no time for patriotismin any flag-wagging sense. "A healthy nation", says Shaw in the prefaceto John Bull's Other Island, "is as unConscious of its nationality as a healthyman of his bones." Nationalism is an unhealthy symptom—a sign that anationality has been broken, and that it will not be well till, like a brokenbone, it is reset. We may have to co-operate with the- nationalist to get hisbroken nationality set, just as we may have to co-operate with the religionistfor some limited purpose which he shares with us. But Shaw warns usagainst idealising either one or the other.

    Since for Shaw the integrating of life's discordant purposes into a commonpurpose is the supreme aim, he ruthlessly dismisses all minor aims whichconflict with this. "Morality 'can go to its father the devil," says Tanner to18

  • Ramsden when rebuked for his championship of a supposed unmarriedmother. Consistently with this attitude, Shaw has no scruples about the useof force to further his object. He sees—what his idealist opponents do notsee—that any form of state is based on force. Force is equally force whetherit is used by a policeman on a dynamiter or by a dynamiter on a policeman.The only question for Shaw is whether the force used furthers his aim oforganising civilisation or not. "Ought, ought, ought, ought, ought!" saysUndershaft in Major Bat'bare. "Are you coing to spend your life sayingought, like the rest of our moralists? Turn your oughts into shalls, man.Come and make explosives with me."

    That was in 1905. There was no inconsistency , therefore—there was acertain inevitability—When Shaw, once he was convinced that Communismcould be successful, became its supporter. It took Shaw some time to beconvinced; for he had no use for unsuccessful revolutions. To Shaw failurewas 'always a proof of incompetence. There is a certain weakness in hiscase here; for trial and error is the road to success, and errors are necessarystages on the road. But Shaw never had any illusions about Parliamentarydemocracy. Constitutional monarchs who act only on the advice of theirministers, ministers who only carry out the wishes of the electorate, arefigments in which he firmly disbelieves. If you can use them, well and good;if you can dispense with them, good luck to you. By 1929 Shaw seemsto have come to the conclusion that Communism was not just anotherunsuccessful revolution like the Paris Commune, but was a way forward,if not the way forward. Thenceforth Ile never turned back.

    Since then we have had the experience of the Second World War, thethreat of the.atom bomb and the hydrogen bomb, and the recognition bystatesmen, East and West, that the alternative to co-existence is no existence.Never was it more certain that to drift will lead to hell, and that we musttake hold of our destiny and make it. Never were Shaw's attacks on thelesser loyalties that stop the road more justified than now.

    (Summary of an addres.v delivered on July 1)

    What Religion is Dead ?B Y


    In the Conway Memorial Lecture on March 23, 1954 (Monthly Recordof the South Place Ethical Society, p. 59, May 1954), Dr. J. Bronowskimade the amazing statement, "Religion as it existed up to and in the nine-teenth century is dead". We are not told what happened to "Religion" inthe twentieth century.

    Subsequently I pointed out (Rationalist Review, vol 1, p. x, October1954) that "If this obituary announcement covers any large portion of theworld's numerous religions, it is simply untrue; if it refers to some particularreligion, we are offered an example of careless expression", and I gave anexample of the activity of the Roman Catholic Church in England at thepresent time.

    However, this extraordinary statement received immediate officialapproval from the Rationalist Press Association (Rationalist Review, vol. I,p. vl, June 1954) and provided support for official recommendation of twobooks ("Inside BuChmanism" and "Jehovah's Witnesses") describing


  • Protestant religions, which are very far from dead. We have not been toldhow to distinguish a live from a "dead" religion.

    How is it that the religion of the Church of England, which has notchanged since the nineteenth century, is still sufficiently alive to evoke aprotest, signed by 'the Chairman of the R.P.A. and by two others, againstits stranglehold on the B.B.C. (New Statesman and Nation, June, 16, 1956)?

    This delusion, that any religion has died since the nineteenth century, isthe greatest of all dangers to Rationalism. A considerable population isgrowing up among the children of parents who, while in no way activelyrationalistic, are just indifferent to Christianity although they may utiliseits ceremonies to give respectability to birth, marriage, and burial. Theseyoung people will not hear criticism of the Christian religion from theirparents, nor at school, nor on the wireless, and they will have no chanceof hearing it at all if such criticism is, shall we say, discouraged amongRationalists. Yet the Church remains in their midst, a well-organised bodyexploiting to the full its enormous social prestige which has no religiousquality whatever. They will knoW nothing of the Resurrection of the Body,Eternal Punishment, Damnation for Doctrinal Error, the retention orforgiveness of sins by Priests, and the revolting stories in the Old Testament.Their ignorance will greatly facilitate the contemptible process by whichthe Church is discreetly ignoring some of its own teachings, without anyhonest disavowal, not because these have been shown to be wrong, butbecause they have become unpopular; and there will be no one to ask thevery obvious question: "Was the divinely inspired Church right before, orafter, the abandonment of these doctrines?" *

    The object of this letter is to call attention, if that is possible, to thewarning offered to us by the present state of affairs in the United States.On April 21, 1955, Dr. Homer W. Smith, Professor of Physiology in theNew York University College of Medicine, a well-known author of booksof a rationalist characterj gave a lecture entitled "On a Proper Knowledgeof Man" before the University of Washington Research Society, whichgives an alarming picture of the advance of Fundamentalist ProtestantReligion, and of Roman Catholicism, during the present century. The wholelecture is of great interest, and is very suitable for popular distribution, butonly a few short extracts can be given here.

    "Let me start with the teaching of biology. It was estimated in 1940 thatscarcely more than one-third of those teaching biology in our high schoolswere trained in any sense tel teach that subject. Only half of them taughtevolution as a fact or principle underlying all plant, animal and humanorigins; the other half taught evolution as an 'unsubstantiated hypothesis',or left the matter hanging in mid air for their pupils to draw such inferencesas they wished. In nearly 10 per cent of our high-school courses of biologyevolution was entirely omitted or openly denied, and there is reason tobelieve that this figure is larger today. The situation is no worse in smallcommunities than in Philadelphia, where recently a high school principalpublicly denounced the teaching of the evolution of man; and it definitelyis worse in New York City and New York State where an increasing numberof teachers of biology at the high school level are Catholics for whom theacceptance of evolution as a fact is interdicted. . . ."

    [Dr. Homer Smith tells us that the Income Tax Authorities of the U.S.A.recognise "175 varieties of Protestantism". Are we expected to believe thatthese are all dead?]

    * See chap. xvi of my Some Religious Illusions in Art, Literature, and Experience.Watts and Co. 1953.

    1-Man and his Gods; and From Fish to Philosopher (Little, Brown and Co.,Boston);Kamongo (The Viking Press, New York).


  • • "Do not think that because I have referred specifically to Catholicdoctrine that the anti-evolution bias is less evident among Prdtestants. Inthe third decade of this century, acting under the constitutional loopholeof States' Rights, a succession of laws was passed by Protestants prohibitingthe teaching of evolution in public schools generally; first in Utah, thenin Florida, then in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas. The trial of biologyteacher Scopes in Dayton, Tennessee, in 1925 led only to a Worsening ofthe situation: embittered legislative fights were engendered in all theSouthern states except Virginia (which remembered Jefferson), and in eightNorthern states. High school and college text books came under censor-ship in California, North Carolina and Texas, and some local school boardsabsolutely excluded biology from the curriculum, while a mob atMorristown, New Jersey, made a big bonfire of scientific books—so softwere the intellectual foundations of the time. After thirty years the threaten-ing hand of condemnation still rests heavily on the shoulder of the highschool teacher from Maine to California."

    "Between 1800 and 1913 only Massachusetts had enacted a statuterequiring Bible reading in tax-supported public schools. In 1913, however.Pennsylvania: in 1916, New Jersey; in 1919, Alabama; between 1921 and1926, Georgia, Maine, Kentucky, Florida, Idaho, Arkansas, and the Districtof Columbia, made Bible reading compulsory; and as of 1950, thirty-sevenstates either required or permitted this practice. In 1953 bills requiring Biblereading were pending in the legislatures of Maryland and Oregon. permissivelegislation was being sought in California, and a pending resolution in Ohiowould require prayer as a part of each day's programme. In Pennsylvania,as of 1950, any teacher in a public high school could be discharged forfailing to reaePthe Bible at the opening of school on each school day; andin Florida teachers arc required by law to certify to this activity in theirmonthly reports before they can be paid. In New Jersey the law requiresthc daily reading of five verses from the Old Testament and the recitalof the Lord's Prayer. . . ."

    "In North Dakota the Ten Commandments of the Christian Reliiion'must be displayed in a conspicuous place in every classroom of state-supported higher education."

    We are in danger of losing everything that freedom of thought andspeech has gained in the last hundred years. We may have to fight againthe battles of the Bradlaugh era, and, if that day comes, we shall befortunate indeed if we can find another Bradlaugh.

    Dr. Swinton in the New WorldOn the eve of his American visit Dr. W. E. Swinton wrote :It may interest some of your readers to know that for three months or

    so I am deserting South Place for wider spaces in the New World.I leave Southampton on July 26 in the Queen Elizabeth. I first saw her

    on the stocks of Clydebank in 1938 when her grand shape for long formed alandmark beyond the Renfrewshire countryside where for a long time Ilived. Later I was to know her grey silhouette in the western approaches andbeyond during the war.

    Now, things are different and the palatial hotel at sea, with its greatrestaurants, its cinema, and all the amenities of the most civilised shipin the world are at timcs a climax or an anticlimax to these former views.

    Yet, pleasant as it is to travel we shall arrive on the morning of the31st at New York. There are only two days in the city for me now; then


  • we (Dr. Colbert of the American Museum of Natural History and I) areoff to Southern Texas where we must be by August 8.

    Only when one drives or rides a large fast automobile over the never-ending roads of America can one realise the immensity of this country andthe many-sidedness of its people.

    Sunrise from a mmel, burning midday in hitherto unknown villages,and the nearby blue hills and lazy waters past townships with names likemusic. That is the routine of our first journey. We go by the ShenandoahValley, through country where many men have fought for differentfreedoms, though nearly all are united now. Indian names and Civil Warmemorials; there are dozens of historical episodes worth writing roundevery corner there.

    But we are not to write modern history. We are going to Texas to lookfor fossils. Texas is huge. i:s men are big, the oil fortunes are immense,and in keeping with all this the remote past was of the utmost importancein the history of life. The bones now scattered on the bare and dustydeserts may be those of Amphibia from an age in which they weresupreme. Or they may be much less old and yet be parts of giantdinosaurs that fought a losing battle against equally giant enemies. We shallalso see remains of mammalian conquests of comparatively. recent date.

    In September we cross the Rio Grande to see the geology of NorthernMexico. From September 4-11 we attend the International GeologicalCongress in Mexico City; a city built in a valley, yet over 7,000 feet abovethe sea, overshadowed by the nearby volcanoes with the Indian names—Popocatopetl and Ixtaccihuall.

    There is a further excursion into Southern Mexico aftef the Congress,down to Oaxaca, and passing sites where some of the early history of thefossil horses was worked out.

    But, interesting though this is. like the whole of Mexican history andlife, there are also the Maya remains. Dr. Colbert and I plan to fly toYucatan to see some of the most famous of the ruins; those at Chichenltza. Here at least we can photograph and try to reconstruct the dreadfulsacrificial rites that once were practised.

    When October comes we must be back in the States. I shall see againsome of the collections of the great museums and be interested in a numberof purely museum projects. But I have scientific lectures in Universities inIllinois and Michigan and perhaps elsewhere and will -go on to Canadawhence I shall return early in November.

    That is the programme. What success I shall have will be much clearerby Sunday, November 25, When 1 next appear at Conway Hall to discuss"Some Aspects of the American Scene".

    Correspondence"Above Common Sense"To the Editor of the Monthly Record.Dear Sir,

    Mr. Cutner approves the use of encyclopaedias, "but not on specialisedsubjects". Surely this is topsy-turvy. I know without encyclopaedias that thereare milestones on the Dover Road. But if I want to know who put themthere, I must do some research into the history of roads. How can I startbetter than by looking up roads in the encyclopaedia? If it does not say22

  • who put the milestones on the road, it will at least refer me to otherauthorities who can.

    Mr. Cutner accuses me of ignoring what he says and asking questionsinstead. He should look nearer home. In my March article I said that thefinal argument for Shakespeare's authorship is the direct testimony of hisfriend Ben Jonson. Mr. Cutner is silent about this and prefers to cataloguewhat this, that and the other "distinguished scholar" says on somethingelse. I agree it is "the easiest way".

    I do not rate Rembrandt "a poor painter" for painting Bible charactersas Dutch burghers, nor do I rate Shakespeare a poor poet because heknew very little about ancient Athens or contemporary Vienna. But 1should not dream of pretending that Rembrandt's painting of Bible charactersproved him a fine authority on the way ancient Jews dressed. Nor do 1pretend that Measure for Measure and Tinzon were written by "a greattraveller" or "a fine classical scholar". They just weren't!

    Yours faithfully,


    (This correspondence must now close—The Ed.)


    Activities of Kindred SocietiesAutumn Programme

    Sutton Humanist Group •Meetings at 7.15 p.m. (doors open 7 p.m.), 332 Carshalton Road (corner

    of 'Cambridge Road, near -Windsor Castle").

    Sunday, September .I6—K. P. Brown (Caterham Vegetarian Society):"Vegetarianism".

    Sunday, October 2I—H. J. Blackman, B.A.: "Rise of Communist move-ments in other countries."

    Sunday, November IS—Mr. C. K. McDonald: "Morals in Medicine."Sunday, December 16—"Jesus, Man or Myth?"

    Orpington Humanist GroupSunday, September 30—Ramble Knockholt and Cudham. Trains 10.4

    Victoria, 10.4 Charing Cross to Orpington. Leader will meet at OrpingtonStation (town side).

    Sunday, October 14—Sherry's Restaurant, Orpington, at 7 p.m. G. F.Allen, "Buddhism, the Philosophy and Religion"

    Society's Other ActivitiesRambles

    Sunday, September 9. Ramble to join the Ethical Union Conference atHigh Leigh. Meet at Liverpool Street Station to catch 12.28 train toBroxbourne, arriving approx. 1.20 p.m. Leader: Mr. Brazill who will meetthe party at Broxbourne.

    Sunday, September 30. Walk through Monks Wood to Epping. Tea at"The Bell", Epping. Meet at "The Crown", Loughton. Leader: Mr. B. 0.Warwick.


    The Libfarian will be in attendance on Sunday mornings.

  • S. K., Ratcliffe „A visit to the home of Mr. Ratcliffe was an inspiring experience.

    In his eighty-ninth year he still reveals the wonderful activity of mind which,for forty years, me jso admired in his addresses to South Place audiences.At the tea-table he called on his prodigious memory to keep us entertainedby his wealth of reminiscence.

    As we have said, the visit was an inspiring one. The more so that Mrs.Ratcliffe was there with her lively intelligence to remind us that the worlds:ill holds two folk of matchless integrity.

    The author of the Story of South Place came to the door to see us depart.


    The 47th Conway Memorial Lecturewill be given on

    020 icy ,u at 7.30 p.m.by Fred Hoyle, M.A.

    on the subject of

    "The Time Scale of the Universe"8 L.-L.-a Ls.)

    Fred Hoyle, who is a 1416414e€ of St. John's College, Cambridge,and a lecturer in mathematics there, gained a wide reputation asa cosmologist by a series of popular broadcast talks a few years agoon "The Nature of the Universe". These, and the book which wassubsequently published, dealt in a most fascinating manner with thechanges which have taken place in cosmology since the work ofJeans and Eddington and which were made possible by the use by the

    'astronomers of a newly constructed giant telescope in America. Hoyleis an adherent of the "continuous creation" theory of the origin ofthe universe, which he demonstrates is in a dynamic state of expansionthrough the ever continuing creation of matter. His latest book,Frontiers of Astronomy, published at the end of 1955, is a still moreup-to-date and comprehensive exposition of the whole evolution ofinanimate matter.

    His views on contemporary religious beliefs and of the origins ofChristianity which appear in his books are of special interest to aSouth Place audience.

    Mr: Hoyle's reputation as a thinker and a writer, his gifts of lucidexposition, and not least the intriguing title he has chosen for hislecture, should attract a largo audience, and it is certain that he willmaintain the high tradition of this annual event.

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