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Newspaper Page Text
ANONYMOUS RELIGION; WHAT IS IT?
BY PAUL MOORE STRAYER
Pastor of Third Presbyterian Church,
Rochester, N. Y.
The state of religion is much more
healthy and robust than appears.
Charts and graphs seem to indicate
that it is passing through a period of
invalidism. The thermometer used
with the patient has been church at
tendance; so many people in church
on any given occasion, so much reli
gion. This spectacular side of religion is
of "the utmost value. Religion is a
social matter and requires culture and
expression. But the fact that a man
does not go to church does not mean
necessarily that he is unrellgious. The
spirit of religion is the mother of the
church, but has grown far beyond its
There is a tremendous amount of
"anonymous religion" in the world
What is religion? For most men
it is only a feeling. And it 1b the feel-
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ing that what is seen is not all there
f is. The religious man is the man who
reckons into life something other
than the things that are seen.
An old Greek sculptor when asked
why he finished the back of a statue,
which was to be against a building
and so invisible, as perfectly as its
front, said: "I am working for the
gods." Now any man who does his
work or lives his life "for the gods"
is religious. In so far as he does a
thing for the gods not for pay, nor
profit, nor reputation, but for prin
ciple, for an ideal he is religious.
The religious man is the man who
realizes that there is That in the
world which he cannot see. He feels
that it is worth while to do his best
today because the Invisible will carry
today over into tomorrow and give
performance to his life. There are
few men in this modern age who do
not believe that the great conserving
forces of life ace to be trusted. Man
is incurably religious.
Once more, religion ia the search
for reality. Men are after the real
thing. Where they make a mistake is
in making up their minds what is
real. What every man wants is really
to live. Even, the drunkard is seeking
life, a fuller and gladder life than he
knows, and he drinks because that
seems a short cut to it.
. The hope of today is that men are
discovering that they 'are not really
living. They are after the real thing,
but face in the wrong direction. They
have discovered that what they are
pursuing is not really life, and that
in pursuing it they are losing life.
They are learning what the real
All disinterested striving is reli
gious. The idealism 6i business arid
of the common man ought to be con
nected with the idealism of Christ and
this anonymous religion given its true
name. All the forces that belong to
gether should be united in the great
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