The argumentative strength of this Appendix, as a reply to those who call themselves “orthodox” Christians, is immensely increased by analysing their subsidiary doctrines, which pretend to relieve, while they prodigiously aggravate, the previous difficulties of Moral Theism; I mean the doctrine of the fall of man by the agency of a devil, and the eternal hell. But every man who dares to think will easily work out such thoughts for himself.
I here reproduce (merely that it may not be pretended that I silently withdraw it) the substance of an illustration which I offered in my 2nd edition, p. 184.
When I deny that History can be Religion or a part of Religion, I mean it exactly in the same sense, in which we say that history is not mathematics, though mathematics has a history. Religion undoubtedly comes to us by historical transmission: it has had a slow growth; but so is it with mathematics, so is it with all other sciences. (I refer to mathematics, not as peculiarly like to religion, but as peculiarly unlike; it is therefore and a fortiori argument. What is true of them as sciences, is true of all science.) No science can flourish, while it is received on authority. Science comes to us by external transmission, but is not believed because of that transmission. The history of the transmission is generally instructive, but is no proper part of the science itself. All this is true of Religion.