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Psychology Of A Religious Revival
by [?]

As for the reaction and the cleaning up after the carnival, our revivalists are not concerned. The confetti, collapsed balloons and peanut shucks are the net assets of the revival–and these are left for the local managers.

Revivals are for the revivalists, and some fine morning these revival towns will arise, rub their sleepy eyes, and Chapman will be but a bad taste in the mouth, and Sunday, Chaeffer, Torrey, Biederwolf and Company, a troubled dream. To preach hagiology to civilized people is a lapse that Nemesis will not overlook. America stands for the Twentieth Century, and if in a moment of weakness she slips back to the exuberant folly of the frenzied piety of the Sixteenth, she must pay the penalty. Two things man will have to do–get free from the bondage of other men; and second, liberate himself from the phantoms of his own mind. On neither of these points does the revivalist help or aid in any way. Effervescence is not character and every debauch must be paid for in vitality and self-respect.

All formal organized religions through which the promoters and managers thrive are bad, but some are worse than others. The more superstition a religion has, the worse it is. Usually religions are made up of morality and superstition. Pure superstition alone would be revolting–in our day it would attract nobody–so the idea is introduced that morality and religion are inseparable. I am against the men who pretend to believe that ethics without a fetich is vain and useless.

The preachers who preach the beauty of truth, honesty and a useful, helpful life, I am with, head, heart and hand.

The preachers who declare that there can be no such thing as a beautiful life unless it will accept superstition, I am against, tooth, claw, club, tongue and pen. Down with the Infamy! I prophesy a day when business and education will be synonymous–when commerce and college will join hands–when the preparation for life will be to go to work.

As long as trade was trickery, business barter, commerce finesse, government exploitation, slaughter honorable, and murder a fine art; when religion was ignorant superstition, piety the worship of a fetich and education a clutch for honors, there was small hope for the race. Under these conditions everything tended towards division, dissipation, disintegration, separation–darkness, death.

But with the supremacy gained by science, the introduction of the one-price system in business, and the gradually growing conviction that honesty is man’s most valuable asset, we behold light at the end of the tunnel.

It only remains now for the laity to drive conviction home upon the clergy, and prove to them that pretence has its penalty, and to bring to the mourners’ bench that trinity of offenders, somewhat ironically designated as the Three Learned Professions, and mankind will be well out upon the broad highway, the towering domes of the Ideal City in sight.