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But the essential purpose of religion remains the same.
King may have also considered the purpose of religion in a Morehouse paper that is no longer extant, as he began a third Morehouse paper, “Last week we attempted to discuss the purpose of religion” (King, “The Purpose of Education,” September 1946-February 1947, in ed.
Louis Finkelstein (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1948), p.
It begins and ends with the assumption that Christ is the revelation of God.
We might ask what are some of the specific values that Christianity seeks to conserve?
The conflict has been largely one of trespassing, and as soon as religion and science discover their legitimate spheres the conflict ceases. Their methods are dissimilar and their immediate objectives are not the same. Religion and science are two hemispheres of human thought. Both science and religion spring from the same seeds of vital human needs.
Religion, of course, has been very slow and loath to surrender its claim to sovereignty in all departments of human life; and science overjoyed with recent victories, has been quick to lay claim to a similar sovereignty. But there was never a conflict between religion and science as such. The method of science is observation, that of religion contemplation. Science is the response to the human need of knowledge and power.
Both are man-made, and like man himself, are hedged about with limitations.
Neither science nor religion, by itself, is sufficient for man. Science is organized knowledge; but civilization which is the art of noble and progressive communal living requires much more than knowledge. It is only when one attempts to be the oracle at the others shrine that confusion arises. Harry Emerson Fosdick says that the most hopeful thing about any system of theology is that it will not last. But is the purpose of religion the perpetuation of theological ideas?
First Christianity speaks of the value of the world.
In its conception of the world, it is not negative; it stands over against the asceticisms, world denials, and world flights, for example, of the religions of India, and is world-affirming, life affirming, life creating.