DISCUSSION ON PROFESSOR HARTSHORNE'S PAPER
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DISCUSSION ON PROFESSORHARTSHORNE'S PAPERPublished online: 28 Jul 2006.
To cite this article: (1939) DISCUSSION ON PROFESSOR HARTSHORNE'S PAPER, ReligiousEducation: The official journal of the Religious Education Association, 34:3, 151-163, DOI:10.1080/0034408390340304
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DISCUSSION ON PROFESSOR HARTSHORNE'S PAPER 151
ulated people to do things for themselvesand never did anything for them. He wasa catalyst. Things happened when he wasaround, not because he had a doctrine toteach or a program to put over or a cur-riculum to transmit, but because hetreated every one as a person and took theinitiative in establishing between himselfand others a relationship in which whatthey did assumed a fresh importance andcreated self confidence and self respect.
Just how far children of any age can beexpected to rise to this level of interrela-tionship remains to be discovered. Nat-urally those not trained in the skills ofthese relationships and acts will not beable at once to exhibit them. They mustbe acquired by beginning wherever the in-dividual or the group is and moving al-ways toward greater flexibility, freedomof thought, and democracy of procedure.
The tragedy of our present world situa-tion lies in our not having done thesethings. We are the victims of our ownfailure to sort out the vital, growing fea-tures of our Jewish-Christian traditionand of our lack of faith in God's way with
men. We assert our belief in the spirit ofbrotherhood but deny that men can betaught to be brothers. If we wait longenough for God to teach us doubtless hewill, by the sore road of universal catas-trophe. We call it God's judgment, butwe do nothing to correct the situation weassert he is judging. Repentance, partic-ularly our repentance, is not enough. Thetimes demand action. We may be too late.But whether we are or not, we shouldhave learned by now that to adopt anypolicy which denies to men their fullrights as persons is to fly in the face ofprovidence and to continue the very con-ditions which we claim will result in thedestruction of civilization. Fail thoughwe may, our only hope is to move alongthe ways that we are learning are the waysof God and begin now, in every situation,to deal with men as persons, and most ofall to reconstruct every educational taskwe face so that it shall yield as much aswe can make it yield of those experiencesof fellowship and mutuality which are thelifeblood of both democracy and religion.
DISCUSSION ON PROFESSOR HARTSHORNE'S PAPER
THE chairman, Professor Elliott, sug-gested that there were three mainlines of thought in the paper which shouldbe kept in mind in the discussion: first,the present situation offers a threat to re-ligious values and security; second, in theparticular processes in which we are in-terested we have failed to. develop basesfor security comparable with those offeredby the older processes; and third, we'knowhow to transmit an authoritative form ofreligion, but we have not become skilledin the processes of creative religious edu-cation and it is in this area that we mustdo our experimenting in relation togrowth in religion.
The consideration of Dr. Hartshorne'spaper was opened by comments of three
people who had been asked in advance toopen the discussion. The first of thesewas Professor Paul Schilpp of North-western University; the second Dr. Eman-uel Gamoran, of the Commission on Jew-ish Education, Cincinnati, and the thirdMrs. Sophia Lyon Fahs of Union The-ological Seminary.
Professor Paul Schilpp*:I think Professor Hartshorne's paper
can make a significant contribution tothinking wherever the problems of childnature and nurture are discussed, andwherever men are concerned with theproblems of democracy, of personality, of
Professor of Philosophy, Northwestern Uni-versity.
152 RELIGIOUS EDUCATION
religion, and of the influence of culturepatterns.
He has laid his finger in a most sig-nificant fashion upon some of the majorproblems in these fields and made us con-scious, on the one hand, of some of thedifficulties and contradictions in educa-tional and religious theory and practice,and, on the other hand, of some of thedirections in which we need to go, iffrom the standpoint of intelligent religiouseducatorswe would wisely cope with theproblems and resolve the contradictions.
Permit me to limit myself in my partof the discussion to those problems inwhich as a philosopher I may have somemore or less well formed opinions.
Here, obviously, belong three aspects ofthe problem raised by Mr. Hartshorne'spaper which raise questions concerningthe basic philosophical or theologicalpoints of view, particularly with respect totheir perhaps reciprocal influence uponreligion and upon the development of thereligious lifeon the part, perhaps, moreof mature society than on that of thechild.
Here also belongs the question of thesocial and spiritual milieu in which it is(or is not) possible to raise personalities,as well as questions as to what type ofreligion can undergird our faith in a com-mitment to democracy; as well as thefurther question, on what religious andspiritual grounds democracy itself can bejustified; and the whole interesting prob-lem of the making of personality throughsocial relation and mutuality.
Professor Hartshorne has, I think, laidhis finger on a very important point in ourunderstanding of the growth of religionwithin the developing life of the individ-ual, and of religion in general, when hepoints out that religion has not kept stepwith man's other changing attitudes to-wards life, towards the universe at large,and towards society in particular.
There can be no denying the fact thatreligion, for the most part, is still in thepatriarchial imperialistic stage, where Godreigns as king or is, even when he is con-
ceived as Father, thought of in terms ofthe absolutism with which the Oriental"master of the house" ruled his house-hold. For most religious people God isstill today absolute ruler and monarch.This conception has definite, far reachingand continuous consequences in men's en-tire attitude towards any problems of orbehavior in religion. It colors the re-ligious man's entire outlook upon everyaspect of his religion.
How important this problem is mayalso be seen by the fact that in Europepopular and traditional religion, as well asacademic theology, is today definitelyswinging back to a new emphasis on thispatriarchal, imperialistic position. Nor isthis the case merely in the totalitarianstates. It is quite universal in Europe:almost as much in Englandwitness theto us almost medieval-sounding majoremphasis of the Edinburgh Conference of1937!-and in Sweden (I listened recentlyto Professor Lindstrom of Lund on thissubject) as in Germany. It is almost asmuch in evidence in Oxford Universityas on the Continent; as much in Barthian-ism as in the more orthodox formulationsof accepted Nazi theology. The notionof God as the "Wholly Other" is, afterall, only the logically extreme conclusionof a patriarchic, imperialistic religion.
Nor need we deceive ourselves intobelieving that these positions are confinedto Europe. Even in America they arefinding all too ready acceptance amongour fundamentalist friends, to whom sucha position is quite natural, of courseandalso, sad to. relate, among leading the-ologians who would be quite insulted ifyou c