We have now passed in review the misconceptions, injurious to the spiritual life, which arise from ignoring the likeness and connections of the spiritual life with the rest of life. And we turn now to note the misconceptions which come from ignoring the real difference of the spiritual life, its unique sphere and contribution.

In the first place, we may get into great darkness from forgetting that the problems of religious faith have certain distinctive differences from those in natural science; for to forget these differences is to expect an impossible solution in religion.

This means, if we are to keep clear of delusion here, we must, first, carefully observe science's threefold restriction of itself to experience, to the tracing of purely causal connections, and to phenomena.

The restriction to experience implies a clear recognition of the fact that science cannot in any case anticipate results independent of previous experience in the same or similar lines. And this really means that the full cause of the next stage in the observed process is not present for it in the stage now under observation, in even the most favorable cases. Hume is right, here, in asserting that, in truth, we never really see the causal connection. At most only a part of the conditions disclose themselves to even the finest scientific analysis in the finite things and properties. It seems plain that in this aspect, then, natural science itself looks to and requires an ultimate ideal view to complete it.

The restriction to the tracing of purely causal connections—though even this, as we have just seen, is not ultimate—means that the one great question for natural science is the question of process—how the thing came to be—of mechanical explanation, not the question of meaning. Thus, to use Paulsen's illustration, there are two quite different questions as to a page of print: How did it come to be, what were the processes involved? and what does the page mean? Now the question as to process is the question of science. But the religious question is primarily and necessarily one of meaning, of ideal interpretation. This distinction holds, although it is to be not only granted but asserted, that in an ultimate philosophical view the two questions cannot be kept absolutely apart; there we must ask as to their mutual relations. Now it is to be observed that religion's question of the meaning of things cannot be solved in the same way as science's question of process; though religion, desiring to know exactly how God has acted, must take full account of all the facts brought out by scientific investigation, and must grant absolute freedom of investigation. But when all science's facts of process are fully set forth, the question of their meaning still remains unanswered; and the precise point now to be noted, I repeat, is that this question of meaning that presses upon the religious inquiry, it is impossible to answer in the same way as the scientific question of process. The attempt, therefore, to solve the problem of religious thinking and living just as the scientific problem is solved, is foredoomed to failure. We can know beforehand that such a solution is impossible. The two problems differ widely.

Once more, science's restriction of itself to phenomena means that all ultimate questions are left out of account as not so reachable. It is this very fact, probably, that makes it so easily possible for scientific investigators, when they turn from strict scientific inquiry to philosophical questions, to lose sight of the far reaching character of the assumptions involved in terms which they use as matters of course. A method of investigation that deliberately—and for its own limited questions, wisely—ignores all ultimate problems evidently will not solve these ultimate problems. Upon these we can get light only by extended inference from ascertained facts, guided by the laws and demands of our own being. Even a single science, like chemistry, when it tries to become in its own sphere a rational system of thought, is obliged to go quite beyond the phenomenal and bring in much of hypothesis and distant inference.

From the point of view, then, of any one of science's own three restrictions of itself, it is plain that the religious problem is not the same as the scientific problem, and hence cannot be solved in the same way. Science, therefore, as such, does not bar the way to faith.

Moreover, in tracing out the difference between the scientific and religious problem, it is worth noting that science itself is an ideal construction of the world—an attempt to think the world into unity in mathematico-mechanical terms. That is, science is itself an ideal which the mind freely creates, cherishes, and seeks to realize; and, as itself such an ideal, cannot, to follow Münsterberg's thought, legitimately rule out other ideals—aesthetic, ethical, or religious. Rather, as James suggests, the comparative success of science is an encouragement in the pursuit of the other more difficult ideals of thinking the world into unity in aesthetic, ethical, or religious terms.

Once more, the scientific problem may be called a purely intellectual one; although even here, in the highest scientific questions, imagination must be used; and Lange, though the sympathetic historian of materialism, believed that the greatest scientific discoveries have always been made by those who worked from the point of view of the ideal. Still, in general, it may be truly affirmed that the scientific problem is a purely intellectual one. In such investigations one may wisely set aside all reference to feeling and volition. The question is simply one of exact intellectual formulation, where any obtrusive feeling, or thought of extraneous purpose would only hinder the result.

That is never true of really ultimate questions, and never true in real living. We have already seen that even the problem of pure knowing cannot be solved in merely intellectual terms. While, then, in its proximate inquiries natural science may very properly cultivate the coldly intellectual mood and ignore all other appeals; for religion to do so would be to take the thoroughly unscientific position of ignoring most important data, and so making a true solution impossible. This is no attempt to evade truth, but the "appeal from a partial and fragmentary truth to a fuller truth." The contrast between scientific and religious faith may, perhaps, be put in this form: scientific faith takes account, and needs to take account, only of intellectual data; while religious faith takes account of the data involved in the feeling of dependence, in æsthetic feelings and in ethical feelings. Where these are overlooked, naturally, as Lotze says, "a very barren rationalism takes the place of that which the whole reason, acting in all directions would be able to produce."[23] "The whole man is the organ of the spiritual."

[23] Outlines of Philosophy of Religion, p. 7.