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Theological reconstruction is commonly said to wait upon philosophy. While there is much truth in such a belief, a study of creative periods in theology will show that its fundamental doctrines and systems are only incidentally the outcome of philosophy. Theology deals primarily with experience and experience is far more extensive than rational processes. Theology arises when men undertake to organize their religious experience, beliefs, and customs in harmony with other elements of experience. The organizing principle is all but invariably dramatic, a presupposition born of social experience which the community producing the theology has unconsciously accepted as a basis of social activity and the standard of social values. Most frequently such an organizing principle is that already operative in the state. A second, or apologetic, period begins when men undertake to defend their right to hold religious belief by means of appropriating current elements of culture. The creative and the apologetic stages of theology are indispensable, but the former is primarily social, the latter philosophical. It is the purpose of this paper to establish the former as preliminary to an examination of the principles of theological reconstruction.

Religion is personal, but it is also a phase of social experience.
Although by no means to be identified with social custom, its


development involves such custom and particularly the preservation of tribal sanctions for various social activities. Yet to limit religion to merely social experience and to make God a symbol of an authoritative totality of social experience is to neglect outstanding elements of personality and its relations. Religion is a word of experience, but it has a correlate in an extra-experiential Reality which is a dominating factor in the situation out of which religion develops. To eliminate an objective God from religion is as illogical as to eliminate the soil and air from the life of a plant. A theology in the nature of the case must therefore contain its metaexperiential elements. A pragmatic view of the world is highly fruitful for the discussion of the psychological and social aspects of religion, but it is not sufficient for a theology which shall include the cosmic processes in which men find themselves.

But after this has been admitted it still remains true that the first creative attempts to rationalize religious experience into harmony with elements of culture have not found their organizing principles in metaphysical processes. Metaphysical treatment of religion has always been a second or even third stage in the rationalizing process. Prior to it are the mythology and theology, each structurally dramatic.

I. Recent discussions in the history of religion have made evident the fact that mythology has played no inconsiderable part in the early stages of religious development. Myths might be described as a method of combining rationalized religious aspiration with observed cosmic phenomena by the use of elementary experience, generally of individuals rather than of groups. In this, mythology differs from theology which organizes religious thought on more genuinely social concepts than combats, love-making, and individual careers. In the case of practically all religions with the exception of the Christian and other religions which like Mohammedanism have been derived from the Bible, the philosophical stage followed immediately upon the mythological and served to destroy confidence in the myth, even when, as in Greece, mythology continued as a form of popular religion long after Plato and Aristotle had all but universalized the philosophical attitude of mind.

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In the case of the Hebrew religion, whatever may have been its roots in early Semitic thought, it is all but impossible to discover any period of myth within its biblical stage. Both in it and in Christianity religious syncretism, it is true, did to some extent show itself, as in the influence of Baal-worship upon the Hebrews, and in the appropriation of pagan customs and institutions on the part of the Christians. But Hebraism in its constructive principle was germinally monotheistic. It never was characterized by the mass of mythological details which most polytheistic religions have included. As will appear later, Hebraism used for its structural religious ideas not the adventures of individuals, as in the case of classical mythology, but the universalizing conception of monarchy. Zeus was never a law-giver, but Yahweh's relations with his people were always those existing between a king and his subjects. That is to say, while like mythology in being dramatic rather than philosophical, the material of Hebrew religious thought was organized about an essentially political experience.

2. A distinction between theology and philosophy is hard to draw in terms of definition, for both alike seek to give some sort of unity to the highest thought of mankind. Furthermore, philosophy like theology is largely conditioned by social experience. Of the two, philosophy is by far the more frequent framework for religious thought. Indeed one might even say that there never has been but one well-rounded theology, namely, that which has been produced by the Christian thought of western Europe. The other great religions which have used biblical material have resembled western orthodoxy to some extent, but in the case of Mohammedanism and Judaism no theological system has been developed in any way comparable with that even of the arrested theology of the Eastern church. Yet practically all religions have had their philosophies and in some cases, notably in Hinduism and the religion of Egypt, there has been developed an esoteric system of teaching for the cultured classes often alongside of gross superstitions among the masses. Western Christianity has, it is true, developed its secondary form in the practices of the Roman church, but this secondary Christianity has always become at length organically embodied in a real theology, the subject-matter of which is the relationship of God and humanity, and which is only apologetically cosmological or metaphysical.

Further, while it is difficult to distinguish formally between theology and philosophy, the 'content and tendency of the two show marked differences. Philosophy as it has existed in the western world has been concerned primarily with the construction of some world-view which finds its unity in a general conception such as the Ideas of Plato and the Idea of Hegel. Once having gained such an a-priori principle, instead of working toward experience, it has by a process of abstraction worked away from experience. In the place of personal relations, it substitutes those of logic. Pragmatism, it is true, is an exception to this general tendency, but pragmatism itself is more concerned with the problems of reality and knowledge than with the systematic presentation of the relations of man and God as theology conceives them. And there is a further distinction between pragmatism and theology in that theology cannot be content to find its subject-matter wholly in the region of experience. Theology, since its subject-matter is primarily religion, must always involve a metaphysical reality and relations which condition experience.

A comparison of philosophies with theology will show still another difference. Whereas the organizing, unifying principles of philosophy are, with the exception of pragmatism, in the realm of the meta-experiential, in the case of theology the unifying principle is some presupposition which determines social experience as a whole. In giving form and rational acceptability to its formulations, the theology of the schools has utilized dominant philosophies, but this process belongs to the second rather than to the original and creative stratum of the organizing process. A theological system as distinguished from its amplification has sprung from the same subconscious social mind as that from which has sprung political theory. Interplay between politics and theology is always to be noted, but neither is strictly the origin of the other. The parallelism between the two is due to their common origin. It is this fact that in part explains the survival in highly developed types of theology of those concepts which are fully intelligible only when they are historically valued as drawn from the experience of differ

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