Signs of the Times

[Winifred Kirkland in The Atlantic Monthly]

After decades of materialism, a new mysticism is being born. All of us to-day perceive some great force let loose upon us—for our destruction or our regeneration? A power is certainly at work—is it God or devil, for no one dares longer to call it chance? Every instinct answers, God. God and immortality have become facts for our everyday life, whole before they were only words, and words avoided. The new thing about faith to-day is that it is voluntarily intuitive, and that its mysticism is not contemplative but active. This mysticism is conscious. The scientific, the materialistic; attitude was a stage of growth ordained for our adolescence, but it did not indicate the maturity that we thought it did. Our intuitions of God to-day are more to be relied upon than those of earlier periods that were unaware of pitfalls. The evidence of our mature wisdom is that, having experienced the pitfalls, we have voluntarily returned to a childlike trust. We do not argue about God: we accept Him. We do not argue about survival: we accept it. Universal destruction has swept from us every other dependence. It is frankly an experiment, this new spirituality, this new adjustment, this new death. For the first time in the world millions of people are making the adventure of faith, engrossed in the effect of immortality, the effect of God, not as a dogma of the next world, but as a practice for this one. There is nothing new about immortality, there is nothing new about God, there is everything new in the fact that we are at last willing to live as if we believed in both.

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