This work undertakes an investigation of the religious aspect of normal human experience. The point of view employed is that of functional psychology, which is necessarily genetic and social. The method adopted involves the use of much material from anthropology, the history of religion, and other social sciences, but an attempt has been made to organize this material and to interpret it from the psychological standpoint. The hypothesis that religion is the consciousness of the highest social values arose from studies in these fields, and this conception has been strengthened by further investigations. These highest social values appear to embody more or less idealized expressions of the most elemental and urgent life impulses. Religion expresses the desire to obtain life and obtain it abundantly. In all stages the demand is for daily bread and for companionship and achievement in family and community relationships. These cravings constitute the inner continuity and identity of motive in all the diverse types of religion, primitive and modern. Pagan and Christian. The social consciousness arises in every group in the mediation of these needs, in the struggle for existence, and in the aspiration and endeavor to make life more varied, more adequate, and more ideal.
(Typographical errors above are due to OCR software and don't occur in the book.)
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