New Find: Leslie Weatherhead

“As I see it, all questions regarding the factual accuracy of Biblical statements—notably such ‘miraculous’ events as Virgin Birth, Resurrection, etc.—are wholly irrelevant to the true issues. Indeed, I should go so far as to say myself that the whole value of the Gospel story to mankind—and it is very great—lies not in its historical but in its legendary, mythical, or ‘typical’ character. It is not, I think, the Sermon on the Mount—or at least not this alone—that constitutes the peculiar contribution of Christianity to human thought, for very similar maxims are to be found elsewhere, and in any event could be deduced from first principles. It is to be found, rather, in the affirmation that all that is best and highest in man, as typified in the person of Jesus, is bound to arouse opposition, is often persecuted and apparently destroyed—yet is in fact indestructible and does perennially ‘rise again’, triumphant over seeming disaster.”

“Men glibly turn to an infallible Bible, or an infallible church, or an infallible Pope, or an infallible conscience, or an infallible Christ, and say that that authority is sufficient for them and enables them to accept truth. I believe all that kind of talk is false. It is false psychology or a failure of insight, and it is the fruit of mental laziness; a refusal to think things through. The most important convictions in religion cannot really be reached on the word of another. We can assent to propositions out of laziness of thought, or a desire to please, or an inability to argue, but one of the reasons why, in a crisis, men often feel let down by their religion is that they glibly assented to this or that, and falsely called their assent ‘belief.’”

“I am not prepared to hand over to any other person, though wise and learned, or to any institution however ancient or sure of its position, my inalienable right to search for ever-growing and ever-expanding truth. I believe the craving for security in belief is one which arises from within ourselves, and can only be met adequately from resources which are within ourselves. It seems to me that it is far more important for a soul in evolution to believe a few things because it has struggled, thought and suffered to discover and possess them, than it is for it to have a comfortable and orderly faith which it has adopted from any source outside itself.”