Religion and sex - (1919) PDF book by Chapman Cohen

Religion and sex -  Studies in the pathology of religious development 

Religion and sex

Studies in the pathology of religious development 

In spite of all that has been done in the way of applying scientific principles to religious ideas, there is much that yet remains to be accomplished. Generally, speaking science has only dealt with the subject of religion in its more normal and more regularised forms. The last half-century has produced many elaborate and fruitful studies of the origin of religious ideas, while comparative mythology has shown a close and suggestive relationship between creeds and symbols that were once believed to have nothing in common. But beyond these fields of research, there is at least one other that has hitherto been denied the attention it richly deserves. 

When the anthropologist has described those conditions of primitive culture amid which he believes religious ideas took their origin, and the comparative mythologist has shown us the similarities and inter-relations of widely separated creeds, religious beliefs have yet to submit to the test of scientific psychology, the function of which is to determine how far the same principles apply to all phases of mental life whether religious or non-religious. 

Moreover, in addition to the normal psychical life of man, there is a vast borderland in which the normal merges into the abnormal, and the healthy state into a pathologic one. That there is the physiology of religion is now generally admitted, but that there is also a pathology of religion is not so generally recognised. The present work seeks to emphasise this last aspect. It does not claim to be more than an outline of the subject a sketch map of a territory that others may fill in more completely.

Whether or not it is possible to apply known scientific principles to the whole of religion will be a matter of opinion, but the attempt is at least worth making. 

So much that appeared to be beyond the reach of science has been ultimately brought within its ken, and so many things that seemed to stand in a class by themselves have been finally] brought under some more comprehensive generalisation, and so become part of the ' cosmic machine/ that one is impelled to believe that given time and industry the same will result here. And it should never be forgotten that one aspect of scientific progress has been the taking over of large tracts of territory that religion once regarded as peculiarly its own; and just as psychology and pathology were found to hold the key to an understanding of such a phenomenon as witchcraft, so we may yet realise that a true explanation of religious phenomena is to be found, not in some supernatural world, but in the workings of natural forces imperfectly understood. 


I. Science & the supernatural . . . Page I 

Ii. The primitive mind and its environment. 35 

Iii. The religion of mental disease ... 51 

Iv. Sex & religion in primitive life ... 89 

V. The influence of sexual & pathology states on religious belief . . . .120 

Vi. The stream of tendency 145 

Vii. Conversion 169 

Viii. Religious epidemics 205 

Ix. Religious epidemics (concluded) . . .226 

X. The witch mania 243 

Xl summary conclusion 269 

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