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Thoughts On Religion At The Front - Ch. 11

( Originally Published 1917 )

THERE has been in this war a wonderful display of the heroism of men.

But their thoughts about God and religion are for the most part at a level below the highest in themselves.

They have come to themselves in giving themselves away. But they think that religion is mostly concerned with self - saving. They tend to recognise most easily the signs of God's favour in this or that instance of safety or escape. This means that they do not think of God in terms of Christ, but that they think of Him as outside the trouble and pain and cost of life, and in the immunity of heaven. They do not think of Him as involved in the risks and agonies of the world.

Though they do not formulate it to themselves, the glories of human nature go beyond anything they know of the divine. For them God is less wonderful than man. A fine soldier protested to me lately about the service which was read at the funeral of a very brave officer, " Why say more than here is a very gallant soldier' ?" as though there were nothing in the Author of our being akin to the gallantry in man. Not that such a man would deny the idea, but that he and the rest are not possessed by joy in its truth. Men of our race do not deny greatly, but then neither do they joyfully assert. They have not received the good news of God in Christ.

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