Second, toward the close of the nineteenth century a great impetus was given to the science of psychology, and this is reflected in another extension of Hume’s “Natural History of Religion,” in what is called “Psychology of Religion.” There is the question of the genesis of the religious consciousness from instincts and sentiments such as fear and reverence. There are psychological types of religion such as James’s “sick soul” and “religion of healthy mindedness.” There is the elaborate analysis of the mystical experience, with its “rhythm,” its “disconnection,” and its characteristic stages. Special psychological importance attaches to religious crises, such as “conversion,” and their relation to physiological conditions such as adolescence. Certain religious states border upon hysteria and belong to the domain of abnormal psychology, others illustrate the play of the great social forces of imitation and suggestion. Professor James’s great book has given currency to its title “Varieties of Religious Experience,” and these varieties are being collected, described, and catalogued by an ever-increasing body of observers.

But both Hobbes and Hume, as we have seen, attempted to name the generic essence of religion. What amid all its varieties external and internal, amid its bewildering manifoldness of ritual, dogma, and mental state, is its common character? Were these authors correct in tracing all religion to man’s fear of the influence of the deeper causes of nature on his fortunes? This question is still the interesting question which vitalizes the patient empirical studies in comparative religion and the psychology of religion, and constitutes the problem of philosophy of religion.

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