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By Jerome A. Stone

Seems on the background and revival of non secular naturalism, a non secular course with no best being.

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In tracing the natural history of the mythologies, Santayana restricts himself to the classical Greek and Roman and the Christian, the only two likely to have any continued effect on the Western mind, since they are the best articulated and the best known to us. The Vedic hymns constitute a sort of prehistory of Greek mythology for him, much like the Greek in spirit but less articulate. (This is a continuation into the history of myth of the old idea of Sanskrit being closest to the primitive Indo-European language.

They explained the popular myths as didactic fables and identified Zeus with the order of nature. This was a form of pantheism, which did not provide a solution to the religious problem. Nature is not and cannot be man’s ideal. Since life and death, good and ill fortune, happiness and misery flow equally from the universal order, they are declared, in spite of reason, to be equally good. The morals of pantheism, though post-rational, are not ascetic. The wise man will lend himself to the labors of nature.

Not only do Santayana’s sympathies with the Apollonian strand of Greek culture come into play here, but also his anti-Semitic sympathies, for he says clearly: “Among the Jews there were no liberal interests for the ideal to express” (85/219). He has completely ignored the Wisdom literature, not to mention the place of the Gentiles in Jewish eschatological imagery. 28 Religious Naturalism Today On this view there were two things which made early Christianity able to spread rapidly. One was the morality and mysticism, beautifully expressed in Christ’s parables and maxims, and illustrated by his miracles.

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