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On religion

Protestantism denied the authority of the organization qualified to interpret legitimately the religious tradition of the West and in its place claimed to set up ‘free criticism’, that is to say any interpretation resulting from private judgment, even that of the ignorant and incompetent, and based exclusively on the exercise of human reason. What happened in the realm of religion was therefore analogous to the part to be played by rationalism in philosophy: the door was left open to all manner of discussions, divergencies, and deviations; and the result could not but be dispersion in an ever growing multitude of sects, each of which represents no more than the private opinion of certain individuals. As it was impossible under such conditions to come to an agreement on doctrine, this was soon thrust into the background, and the secondary aspect of religion, namely morality, came to the fore: hence the degeneration into moralism so patent in present-day Protestantism. There thus arose a phenomenon, parallel to that to which we have referred in the case of philosophy, as an inevitable consequence of the dissolution of doctrine and the disappearance from religion of its intellectual elements. From rationalism, religion was bound to sink into sentimentalism, and it is in the Anglo-Saxon countries that the most striking examples of this are to be found. What remains is therefore no longer even a dwindling and deformed religion but simply ‘religiosity’, that is to say vague and sentimental aspirations unjustified by and real knowledge.

Guenon the crisis of the modern world p. 61

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