The Reverend Dr. John Roach Straton's attack upon American magazines is little short of ridiculous. To term such a magazine as the Atlantic Monthly a purveyor of deadly poisons because it sees fit to open its columns to one writer who wishes to justify divorce, and to another who desires to express his conception of God, is to play the dogmatist. It is obviously the purpose of a magazine to stimulate a discussion of ideas in an attempt to sift out the truth.
However undesirable Dr. Straton's attitude may appear, it but represents the Fundamentalist outlook upon life--carried to an absurd extreme. Once the Bible is accepted as the ultimate and sole source of absolute truth, this acceptance colors one's view of the whole universe. Evolution becomes an impossible theory, questions of monogamy are labelled as sinful, and speculations upon the nature of God are condemned as the direst sort of heresy. While the Bible will always play an important part in the life of mankind, when it is invoked to check suggestions of improvements in the social order..or used to hamper free comment upon the universe, it becomes a deadly reactionary and illiberal document.
If Dr. Straton were to show logically why monogamy is preferable to a system of plural marriages, or for what reasons he has adopted his conception of God, there could be no quarrel with his methods. The mistakes of rational beings must be attacked with reason, not with dogmatism. The conviction grows that a religious attitude that stubbornly refuses to face the facts of a new social order can hope for few converts in an age of scientific progress. The present generation is no whit less interested in religion than the age of Calvin, but it cannot countenance a religious attitude which fetters freedom of thought and freedom of press.