Review of Reviews,  16 (1897), 519–25.

The Book of the Month. How God Revealed Himself to Man. By Grant Allen



Regular Feature, Abstract

Publications abstracted:

Allen 1897


Agnosticism, Religion, Christianity, Anthropology, Evolution, Descent, Creation, Prehistory, Spiritualism, Scientific Practitioners

People mentioned:

Herbert Spencer , Edward B Tylor , James G Frazer

    Urges that this book by 'an agnostic of a very pronounced type' should be added to 'the library of Christian Evidence', and suggests that, despite his lack of 'admiration, much less reverence, for the central figure of the Christian religion', Grant Allen may well 'figure as the nineteenth century successor of the eighteenth century Paley' (519). Observes that in the book 'Allen succeeds in conveying the familiar idea that Christianity stands in the same relation to all other faiths of mankind that man does to the brute. In other words, as man is to the ape, so is Christianity to the primitive beliefs of the savage. It is an evolution, a natural evolution, whose existence is justified by the law of the survival of the fittest. Christianity, like man himself, may claim to be the heir of all the ages', and 'in Christianity, the final evolution of all creeds, the original deposit of faith is never for a moment obscured' (520). Praises the book for 'the testimony which it renders to the part which a belief in Spirit Return has played in the history of our race', but expresses concern on behalf of 'Those of us who know that they exist', that 'Allen, unfortunately, does not believe in ghosts. He does not know that they exist' (521). Also criticises Allen for the 'lordly way' in which 'he disdains to conduct the inquiries' that have led 'Professor Crookes, Alfred R. Wallace, and Camille Flammarion, to name only three among eminent men of science' to 'believe in Spirit Return, and the persistence of life after death' (522). However, in an appended footnote, Allen replies that 'I did once for some time inquire into spiritualism, and attended several séances in a spirit of pure inquiry; but nothing ever happened; I never saw any of the phenomena described by these men of science' (522n.).

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