The news columns of this morning's CRIMSON contain the announcement of a widespread movement by leading educators to modernize religious teachings to conform to present-day science by adding to the Bible the humanistic utterances of such men as Lincoln and Carlyle and such documents as the Declaration of Independence. Quite a different point of view is shown in the statement reprinted elsewhere on this page reporting the progress of the Bryan Memorial University, a college in which every member of the faculty must swear to an implicit belief in the divine authorship of the Scriptures.
According to the plans outlined, the new movement, in which many prominent men, such as Dean Roscoe Pound of Harvard, are interested, is basically a remodelling of the teachings of Christ so that they will fit in with present-day beliefs. Such "medieval superstitions" as Heaven and Hell are entirely at variance with the modern trend of a philosophy built on science. While the leaders of the movement express no intention to undervaluate the Bible, a literal interpretation of the doctrines it expresses are to them impossible. Rather, they prefer to regard the Old and New Testaments as an allegory, an expression in literature of a great people. For that reason there is no argument for withholding the prophetic and inspiring writings of the modern age. The addition would, moreover, bring about the substitution of a fraternal spirit of humanity for an imperial deity.
On the other hand, the Bryan University is an epitome of the religion which accepts a personal God as the author of the Bible. His creation must be regarded as literally true in every phrase. There is a wide divergence in these views. If the Bible is merely the "time-worn literature of great men" it means one thing. If it is of "divine authorship" it is something else again. At Harvard, proud of the freedom that makes liberalism its fetish and unorthodoxy its boast, there would be found but scant support for the latter opinion. It is all the more instructive to note this latest example of the dominion over contemporary minds still retained by the spirit of past centuries.