Sunday, October 25, 2015

religious, but only artificially so

"There was once a time when the terms 'Christian,' 'atheist' and 'agnostic' meant something definite. If they are to continue to mean anything definite, then a fourth term must be invented for that large class of persons which includes Professor Whitehead. They are 'religious,' without holding to any religion; they are also 'scientific,' in that they believe devoutly in the latest theory of any and every particular science; and they must be cast out by any congregation of Christians, Buddhists, Brahmins, Jews, Mohammedans or Atheists."

     T. S. Eliot, "The return of Foxy Grandpa" [1927], The New York Review of books 62, no. 15 (October 8, 2015), 31-32.  From The complete prose of T. S. Eliot:  the critical edition, vol. 3:  Literature, politics, belief, 1927-1929, ed. Frances Dickey & Jennifer Formichelli (Faber & Faber; Johns Hopkins University Press, 2015).  Eliot was probably right to consider this little review unsatisfactory.

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