(b) Nor does our idea of God come primarily from tradition, for ?tradition can perpetuate only what has already been originated? (Patton). If the knowledge thus handed down is the knowledge of a primitive revelation, then the argument just stated applies ? that very revelation presupposed in those who first received it, and presupposes in those to whom it is handed down, some knowledge of a Being from whom such a revelation might come. If the knowledge of a being from whom such a revelation might come. If the knowledge thus handed down is simply knowledge of the results of the reasoning of the race, then the knowledge of God comes originally from reasoning ? an explanation that we consider further on. On the traditive theory of religion, see Flint, Theism, 23, 338; Cocker, Christianity and Greek Philosophy, 86-96; Fairbairn, Studies in Philos. Of Relig. and Hist., 14, 15; Bowen Metaph. And Ethic, 453, and in Bibliotheca Sacra, Oct. 1876; Pfleiderer, Religionsphilos., 312-322.
Similar answers must be returned to many common explanations of man?s belief in God: ?Primus in orbe deos fecit timor?; Imagination made religion; Priests invented religion; Religion is a matter of imitation and fashion. But we ask again: What caused the fear? Who made the imagination? What made priests possible? What made imitation and fashion natural? To say that man worships, merely because he sees other men worshiping, is as absurd as to say that a horse eats hay because he sees other horses eating it. There must be a hunger in the soul to be satisfied, or external things would never attract man to worship. Priests could never impose upon men so continuously, unless there was in human nature a universal belief in a God who might commission priests as his representatives. Imagination itself requires some basis of reality, and a larger basis as civilization advances. The fact that belief in God?s existence gets a wider hold upon the race with each added century, shows that, instead of fear having caused belief in God, the truth is that belief in God has caused fear, indeed, ?the fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom? ( <19B110>Psalm 111:10).
2. Not from experience, ? whether this mean
(a) the sense perception and reflection of the individual (Locke),
(b) the accumulated results of the sensations and associations of past generations of the race (Herbert Spencer), or
(c) the actual contact of our sensitive nature with God, the supersensible reality, through the religious feeling (Newman Smyth).
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