the threat to a religious attitude

[pardon his exclusive language, but here are interesting thoughts on which modern realities most distort a healthy religious attitude]:

It is not conceivable that any discovery made by the natural sciences could become a threat to religious feeling. On the contrary, an increased awareness of the nature of the universe in which we live can only help man to become more self-reliant [as opposed to being neurotically dependent] and more humble. As for the social sciences, their growing understanding of man’s nature and of the laws governing his existence contributes to the development of a religious attitude rather than threatens it.

The threat to the religious attitude lies not in science but in the predominant practices of daily life. Here man has ceased to seek in himself the supreme purpose of living and has made himself an instrument serving the economic machine his own hands have built. He is concerned with efficiency and success rather than with his happiness and the growth of his soul. More specifically the orientation which most endangers the religious attitude is what I have called the “marketing orientation” of modern man.

– Erich Fromm, from Psychoanalysis and Religion (1950)

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