In the Literary Digest for May 11 I have read several...

New York Evening Post

In the Literary Digest for May 11 I have read several extracts from an interview with Prof. L. P. Jack, editor of the Hibbert Journal, London, taken from the Evening Post of recent date. I regret that in my reading of the Evening Post this interview should have escaped me, for it contains matter of much interest. For instance, Professor Jack is represented as having said that Christian Science is "the over-emphasis of a partial truth." "It is the extreme revolt," said he, "against materialism—the revolt of those who think in metaphor—and it shows that all men are idealists at heart." Now I am conscious that for several years I have been leaning more and more toward the teachings of Christian Science, but if its teachings fail in logic, principle, or science, I should be most grateful, as a searcher for positive truth, to have this failing pointed out. There is a plain inference from the language of Professor Jack that he is acquainted with the whole truth, of which he says Christian Science is the over-emphasis of a part.

He declares that Christian Science is the revolt of those who think in metaphor. Do you know of any human being who does not think in metaphor? Do you know of any other possible means of thinking? Do you know of any word in any dictionary in any language that is not in itself a metaphor—a mere symbol of thought? Professor Jack declares that Christian Science is the "extreme" revolt against materialism. But what is materialism? It is the belief in the existence of matter and certain forces assumed to inhere in matter, is it not? Is there a physicist in the world to-day who claims that he is able to prove the existence of an atom of matter in the universe? Huxley reproved certain clergymen for classing him as a materialist, stating that he knew of no evidence that such a thing as matter existed anywhere. As early as the thirteenth or fourteenth century philosophers were burned at the stake for daring to maintain the non-existence of matter. ... If it be true that matter does not exist, then how can any revolt against materialism be called "extreme"?

Professor Jack further affirms that the growing success of this "extreme" revolt against materialism "shows that all men are idealists at heart." But surely the universality of this idealism (a sort of instinct of life, like the hope of immortality) is proof rather of its truth than of its untruth, isn't it? Would Professor Jack imply that pure idealism was irrational, irreligious, or unscientific? Hume once said that Berkeley's arguments left him unconvinced, notwithstanding he was unable to answer them. Thomas Huxley and John Fiske have also said that Berkeley's arguments were unanswerable. If Professor Jack can do what Hume, Huxley, and Fiske admit their inability to do, he owes it to the scientific spirit of the age to do so.

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