Religion and Joyousness

Whenever the Gospel ceases to be good news and glad tidings to all men, it ceases to be the true Gospel. Whenever any messengers of the Gospel so deliver it that it carries gloom and terror into the consciousness of men, they pervert its meaning and weaken its force and value. Any form of religion which is not essentially joyous cannot be the true religion.

It is easy to find in human history a sufficient explanation of the gloom and fear which have become too much associated with religion. Primitive man accepted everything as being what it seemed to be to his physical senses. If the sun seemed to rise in the east and set in the west, he did not stop to question the appearance. His superstitious fancies filled the earth, the water, and the sky with malign and mischievous deities, in order to account for the floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, and their like, which seemed constantly to menace him. He could not have done otherwise than mould his deific concepts into frightful mythologies, when he accepted the universe as really being what it appeared to be to physical sense. Devils innumerable were inevitable. And it was inevitable that he should seek to propitiate, by gifts suitable to their supposed traits, the evil powers which seemed to hold his destiny in their capricious and frightening grasp. Thus his religion became of necessity a religion of fear and anxiety.

The Gospel of Giving
January 14, 1905

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