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(The Crimson invites all men in the University of submit signed communications of timely interest. It assumes no responsibility, however, for sentiments expressed under this head and reserves the right to exclude any whose publication would be palpably inappropriate.)
To the Editors of the CRIMSON:
A public expression in regard to the Student Volunteer Convention could hardly be more regrettable than the CRIMSON editorial which this morning greeted those of us who have just returned form Des Moines.
It can be conceded, indeed, to the delegates who returned Friday night, and for whom the CRIMSON claims to be spokesman, that they were genuinely disappointed. That a misunderstanding about the nature of the Convention became current is perhaps true, and, if so, the Volunteer movement may be in part responsible. But that does not justify one who left (for however necessary a reason) before the Convention was over in "shooting off half-cocked." On that same Friday night referred to in the editorial, Dr. Speer (who seems to have made such an unfavorable impression on the CRIMSON) gave another address--of a poignancy and frank, personal sincerity that impressed some of us as no talk on a religious subject had done for years. This was followed by a still more effective, penetrating talk the following morning by Dr. G. Sherwood Eddy, which made a still more favorable impression and which, together with other phases of the closing sessions, sent even the few dissatisfied delegations away Sunday night, not perhaps with a complete change of their standpoint, but with deep and openly expressed appreciation of the fundamental values given by the Convention.
Still more regrettable, however, are the obvious implications of the editorial about religion itself; the spirit of cold, half-cynical and superficial intellectualism which pervades it: No one can challenge the CRIMSON's right to regard Dr. Speer's words--"Think of the most beautiful thing in the world and then conceive of God as something still more beautiful"--as an example of "narrow sectarian religion." But I for one am unwilling that these opinions of the CRIMSON should stand to the world at large, unchallenged, as the Harvard attitude toward real, personal, dynamic Christianity. I am theologically a liberal and have no sympathy with the emotional piety that often masquerades as religion; but if any idealistic conception of God must be classed as "narrow" and "sectarian," and if any religious purpose must be suavely generalized; a priori, as impractical, I beg leave to register a protest. That sort of stuff is as narrow and dogmatic on the liberal side as the narrowest dogmatisms of the seventeenth century--and much shallower; and what is vastly more important, it does not represent the position of hundreds, perhaps of thousands, of men in this University. R. P. CURRIER, '12 AND 2G.
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