Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

150 Inquiries into Human Faculty 
and of the kneeling to pray, had been absolutely unintelli¬ 
gible, and a standing puzzle to them. The ritual touched 
no chord in their untaught natures that responded in 
unison. Very much of what we fondly look upon as a 
natural religious sentiment is purely traditional. 
The word religion may fairly be applied to any group 
of sentiments or persuasions that are strong enough to 
bind us to do that which we intellectually may acknowledge 
to be our duty, and the possession of some form of religion 
in this larger sense of the word is of the utmost importance 
to moral stability. The sentiments must be strong enough 
to make us ashamed at the mere thought of committing, 
and distressed during the act of committing any untruth, 
or any uncharitable act, or of neglecting what we feel to be 
right, in order to indulge in laziness or gratify some passing 
desire. So long as experience shows the religion to be 
competent to produce this effect, it seems reasonable to 
believe that the particular dogma is comparatively of little 
importance. But as the dogma or sentiments, whatever 
they be, if they are not naturally instinctive, must be in¬ 
grained in the character to produce their full effect, they 
should be instilled early in life and allowed to grow 
unshaken until their roots are firmly fixed. The con¬ 
sciousness of this fact makes the form of religious teaching 
in every church and creed identical in one important par¬ 
ticular though its substance may vary in every respect. In 
subjects unconnected with sentiment, the freest inquiry and 
the fullest deliberation are required before it is thought 
decorous to form a final opinion; but wherever sentiment 
is involved, and especially in questions of religious dogma, 
about which there is more sentiment and more difference 
of opinion among wise, virtuous, and truth-seeking men 
than about any other subject whatever, free inquiry is 
peremptorily discouraged. The religious instructor in every 
creed is one who makes it his profession to saturate his 
pupils with prejudice. A vast and perpetual clamour arises 
from the pulpits of endless proselytising sects throughout 
this great empire, the priests of all of them crying with one 
consent, “This is the way, shut your ears to the words of 
those who teach differently ; don’t look at their books, do 
not even mention their names except to scoff at them;
        

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