“It made these things beautiful”

. . . no religion was quite so blasphemous as to pretend that it was scientifically investigating its god to see what he was made of. Bacchanals did not say, ‘Let us discover whether there is a god of wine.’ They enjoyed wine so much that they cried out naturally to the god of it. Christians did not say, ‘A few experiments will show us whether there is a god of goodness.’ They loved good so much that they knew that it was a god. Moreover, all the great religions always loved passionately and poetically the symbols and machinery by which they worked -– the temple, the coloured robes, the altar, the symbolic flowers, or the sacrificial fire. It made these things beautiful: it laid itself open to the charge of idolatry. And into these great ritual religions there has descended, whatever be the meaning of it, the thing of which Sophocles spoke, ‘The power of the gods, which is mighty and groweth not old.’

The Illustrated London News, 14 April 1906.

Published in: on September 17, 2008 at 8:05 am  Leave a Comment  

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