Monday, December 19, 2011

W.E.H Lecky on the religious impulse

Superstitions appeal to our hopes as well as our fears. They often meet and gratify the inmost longings of the heart. They offer certainties where reason can only afford possibilities or probabilities. They supply conceptions on which the imagination loves to dwell. They sometimes impart even a new sanction to moral truths. Creating wants which they alone can quell, they often become essential elements of happiness: and their consoling efficacy is felt in the languid or troubled hours when it is most needed. We owe more to our illusions than to our knowledge. The imagination, which is altogether constructive, probably contributes more to our happiness than reason, which in the sphere of speculation is mainly critical and destructive.

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