By John Dewey
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The determining factor in the interpretation of the experience is the particular doctrinal apparatus into which a person has been inducted. The emotional deposit connected with prior teaching ﬂoods the whole situation. It may readily confer upon the experience such a peculiarly sacred preciousness that all inquiry into its causation is barred. The stable outcome is so invaluable that the cause to which it is referred is usually nothing but a reduplication of the thing that has occurred, plus some name that has acquired a deeply emotional quality.
A synopsis of Rockefeller’s views can be found in his essay ‘‘Dewey’s Philosophy of Religious Experi- xxxiv INTRODUCTION ence,’’ in Reading Dewey: Interpretations for a Postmodern Generation, ed. Larry A. Hickman (Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1998), pp. 124–25. 11. ’’ See his The Dynamics of Faith (New York: Harper & Row, 1957), especially chaps. 1 and 6. 12. See Rockefeller, John Dewey, pp. 461–62, 484–85, and 523–24. 13. , ‘‘The Religion of Shared Experience,’’ in Philosophy after Darwin, ed.
This possibility is what I had in mind in speaking of the di√erence between the religious and a religion. I am not proposing a religion, but rather the emancipation of elements and outlooks that may be called religious. For the moment we have a religion, whether that of the Sioux Indian or of Judaism or of Christianity, that moment the ideal factors in experience that may be called religious take on a load that is not inherent in them, a load of current beliefs and of institutional practices that are irrelevant to them.