By John Dewey
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14. Many religions, however, are not deﬁned by beliefs or dogmas. Joseph Campbell, a scholar of world religions, told the story of a Westerner asking a Japanese Shinto priest what his ‘‘theology’’ was. The priest looked puzzled and replied, ‘‘We don’t have a theology. ’’ See Stephen and Robin Larsen, A Fire in the Mind: A Life of Joseph Campbell (New York: Anchor Books, 1991), p. 438. 15. Max Eastman, ‘‘John Dewey,’’ Atlantic 168, no. 6 (December 1941), p. 673. See discussion in Rockefeller, John Dewey, pp.
It is dispersive and withdrawing. Most religions have in fact added rites of communion to those of expiation and propitiation. For our dependence is manifested in those relations to the environment that support our undertakings and aspirations as much as it is in the defeats inﬂicted upon us. The essentially unreligious attitude is that which attributes human achievement and purpose to man in isolation from the world of physical nature and his fellows. Our successes are dependent upon the cooperation of nature.
It is regarded as a view entertained from mere tendermindedness, as an emotional hangover from childhood indoctrination, or even as a manifestation of a desire to avoid disapproval and curry favor. The heart of my point, as far as I shall develop it in this ﬁrst section, is that there is a di√erence between religion, a religion, and the religious; between anything that may be denoted by a noun substantive and the quality of experience that is designated by an adjective. It is not easy to ﬁnd a deﬁnition of religion in the substantive sense that wins general acceptance.