Monism as Connecting Religion and Science

Ernst Haeckel
Monism as Connecting Religion
and Science

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Title: Monism as Connecting Religion and Science
Author: Ernst Haeckel
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B.Sc., PH.D.

The following lecture on Monism is an informal address delivered
extemporaneously on October 9, 1892, at Altenburg, on the
seventy-fifth anniversary of the "Naturforschende Gesellschaft des
Osterlandes." The immediate occasion of it was a previous address
delivered by Professor Schlesinger of Vienna on "Scientific Articles of
Faith." This philosophical discourse contained, with reference to the
weightiest and most important problems of scientific investigation,
much that was indisputable; but it also contained some assertions that
challenged immediate rejoinder and a statement of the opposite view.
As I had for thirty years been very closely occupied with these

problems of the philosophy of nature, and had set forth my convictions
with respect to them in a number of writings, a wish was expressed by
several members of the Congress that on this occasion I should give a
summary account of these. It was in compliance with this wish that the
following "Scientific Confession of Faith" was uttered. The substance
of it, as written from recollection on the day after its delivery, first
appeared in the Altenburger Zeitung of 19th October 1892. This was
reproduced, with one or two philosophical additions, in the November
number of the _Freie Bühne für den Entwickelungskampf der Zeit_
(Berlin). In its present form the Altenburg address is considerably
enlarged, and some parts have been more fully worked out. In the notes
(p. 9 I) several burning questions of the present day have been dealt
with from the monistic point of view.
The purpose of this candid confession of monistic faith is twofold. First,
it is my desire to give expression to that rational view of the world
which is being forced upon us with such logical rigour by the modern
advancements in our knowledge of nature as a unity, a view in reality
held by almost all unprejudiced and thinking men of science, although
but few have the courage (or the need) to declare it openly. Secondly, I
would fain establish thereby a bond between religion and science, and
thus contribute to the adjustment of the antithesis so needlessly
maintained between these, the two highest spheres in which the mind of
man can exercise itself; in monism the ethical demands of the soul are
satisfied, as well as the logical necessities of the understanding.
The rising flood of pamphlets and books published on this subject,
demonstrates that such a natural union of faith and knowledge, such a
reasonable reconciliation of the feelings and the reason, are daily
becoming a more pressing necessity for the educated classes. In North
America (in Chicago), there has been published for several years a
weekly journal devoted to this purpose: _The Open Court: A Weekly
Journal devoted to the Work of Conciliating Religion and Science_. Its
worthy editor, Dr. Paul Carus (author of The Soul of Man, 1891),
devotes also to the same task a quarterly journal under the title The
Monist. It is in the highest degree desirable that so worthy endeavours
to draw together the empirical and speculative views of nature, realism
and idealism, should have more attention and encouragement than they
have hitherto received, for it is only through a natural union of the two

that we can approach a realisation of the highest aim of mental
activity-the blending of religion and science
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