THE RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
HEW YORK BOSTON CHICAGO DALLAS '
ATLANTA SAN FKANCISCO
MACMILLAN & CO., LiMrrao
LOHDON BOMBAY CALCUTTA
THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, Lra
3 1! 131 .
r/;V ..v, r' ; ; v 1 ,
T'heir Literary Productions
OSKAR KUPKY, Pn.D. (LEIPZIG)
AUTHORIZED TRANSLATION WITH A PREFACE BY
WMf. CLARK TROW
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
All rights nsencd
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY.
Set up and electrotyped.
Published February, 1928.
SET UP BY BROWN BROTHERS LINOTYPERS
PBINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
BY THE CORNWALL PRESS
ADOLESCENCE Is still an enigma. Although the word
designates a period of development recognized as of
sufficient importance to be attended by state and reli-
gious ceremony since earliest times, its nature, its
boundaries, and its full significance have not as yet been
satisfactorily established. The monumental work of
G. Stanley Hall, though rich in suggestive detail, is
condemned even more vociferously by those who have
not read it than by those who have because of the fal-
lacies of his method. And present-day scholars are
uncertain whether to try to separate the wheat from
the chaff, or to let his whole harvest rot in the barns
and set out for fresh fields and pastures green.
Those which beckon the most temptingly just at
present are perhaps indicated by the rapid develop-
ment of the test and measurement movement. And
surely it seems more the part of wisdom to employ a
carefully controlled technique to investigate adoles-
cence than to ask adults what they were like during
that period, or even to ask adolescents themselves.
For if psychology has discovered any one thing, it is
the fact that we cannot trust ourselves, either as wit-
nesses of another's behavior or as apologists of our
And yet the mental measurers have thus far unfor-
tunately left unmeasured a large number of very
important things; and the laboratory experimentalists
vi " Preface
have a long path ahead of them before they can pro-
nounce with certainty concerning any period of human
development. While these methods beyond a shadow
of a doubt will eventually give us whatever of cer-
tainty we may attain to, meanwhile it is my great
pleasure to introduce in this country the author of
the present volume, in large measure because of the
method he employs. It is a method which in my
opinion will supplement our source material most
helpfully, and which will assist materially in furnishing
a better understanding of what is going on in the minds
and hearts of our young people.
Dr. Oskar Kupky of Leipzig has seen the possibili-
ties of this method and has made this preliminary
study in religious development, a phase of adolescence
which is perhaps the most striking, and which has
already received some attention at the hands of such
men as Leuba, James, and Starbuck. He has mar-
shaled his data masterfully, not only analyzing differ-
ences between his subjects but also following the
growth of individuals, thus furnishing a genetic con-
tribution of no mean value.
One of the most obvious limitations of the method,
one which Dr. Kupky clearly recognizes, is that a
selected group is studied. Not every one pours his
whole soul into a diary. In order to discover approxi-
mately how narrow this selection is, I inquired in four
classes of educational psychology, a course required
here of juniors who are preparing to teach, how many
had kept or do keep diaries of the personal sort, jour-
nals in which they confide. I had expected to find that
perhaps three or four out of a hundred thus recorded
their inmost feelings. What was my amazement,
therefore, to discover that, out of these 122 college
juniors, 63 or 60 per cent have kept or are keeping
such diaries and that 21 per cent still do. So that,
while we are dealing with a select group, it is one which
at least comprises no inconsiderable portion of our
college population. I trust that the value of this work,
therefore, will be recognized, as the author suggests,
as a contribution to the psychology of adolescence, and
that it will also bring assistance to those who are con-
fronted with the vexed problems of religious adjust-
I wish here to express my appreciation of the more
than nominal assistance given in the preparation of this
translation by Mr. F. C. Knapp, and also to thank
Miss S. C. Clark who has read the manuscript with a
view to including such changes as would more nearly
represent the real meaning and spirit of the original.
The rhymed and metered (I dare not say poetic)
translations of the adolescent verses are ventured with
the feeling that their spirit would thus be better con-
veyed. In them I have kept close to the German, even
declining to smooth out lines in translation which were
a bit irregular in the original.
W. C. T.
Ann Arbor, Michigan
June 30, 1927
I. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION . . . . . 13
II. THE RELIGION OF THE CHILD 26
III. THE PROGRESS OF RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT . 40
IV. THE DIRECTION OF DEVELOPMENT ... 62
V. BEGINNING AND DURATION OF DEVELOPMENT 65
VI. LOVE AND RELIGION IN ADOLESCENCE ... 68
VII. THE INTELLECTUAL UNITY OF YOUTHFUL
RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT .... 78
VIII. SOCIO-ETHICAL INFLUENCES 85
IX. AESTHETIC INFLUENCES gi
X. YOUTH'S "FIRST" RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCES . . 100
XI. THE MAIN OUTLINES OF RELIGIOUS DEVELOP-
APPENDIX: FURTHER ILLUSTRATIONS OF RELI-
GIOUS DEVELOPMENT 115
BIBLIOGRAPHY. . 132
THE psychology of adolescence is the youngest
branch of German psychology, even younger than that
of child psychology ; and the religious development of
the adolescent is one of its most recent special investi-
gations. This accounts both for certain merits and
certain defects in this work. The main investigation
. was brought to a close in 1922; the printing was de-
layed, however, in consequence of the unpropitious
economic circumstances following the war. This intro-
duction is therefore added to classify what has since
been done as well as to indicate the author's present
understanding of the religion of youth.
The beginnings of a scientific psychology of the
child are to be found in the eighteenth century, when
the great teachers, though they undoubtedly knew the
child mind, set forth their experiences in a somewhat
incidental fashion. The first systematic presentation
we discover in David Tiedmann's Eeobachten uber
die Entwicklung der Seeligfdhigkeiten bel Kindern
(Observations of the Development of the Mental
Capacities in Children) of the year 1787. Not till
after a long interval did there follow, in 1856,
R. Sigismund's book, Kind und Welt (The Child and
the World). General psychology, which received
considerable impetus from the researches of Wilhelm
Wundt, in Germany, enriched child psychology but
little. To be sure, the great master of experimental
2 V Introduction
psychology at the very beginning of his scientific labors
had been, impressed with the importance of a historical,
genetic method of studying mental life. And in his
later work in animal and folk psychology Wundt did
treat of these beginnings in the individual man, but
only on a small scale. Still, for a long time there
prevailed in scientific psychology the method of gen-
eralizing observations; and not until later did inves-
tigators learn to deal with mental irregularities. First
viewed as a source of error, these came finally to be
recognized as constituting a problem in themselves;
as William Stern put it: "Mental differences have as
much claim to psychological investigation as the usual
data." Hence the justification of a special psychology
of different age levels came to be recognized in theory.
The investigation of the child mind began in the
eighties of the last century, independently of the efforts
of scientific psychology in the narrower sense; and
since that time, child psychology has come rapidly for-
ward. We know something of the psychology of the
little child from birth to the beginning of school years,
thanks to the observations of parents and relatives.
After the pioneer work of W. Preyer in 1882 in Die
Seele des Kindes (The Mind of the Child), there
followed the valuable monographs of Clara and Wil-
liam Stern, E. and G. Scupin, A. W. Shinn, K. W. Disc,
and the comprehensive studies of W. Stern, Karl
Buhler and others, as well as the investigations of
Stanley Hall, Sully, and Tracy which have become
generally known through translations. As a result of
the investigations of Ernst Meumann, W. Stern,
Aloys Fischer and their pupils, the mind of the school
.child has come to be better understood. The psychol-
ogy of the adolescent was elaborated much later, as
may be shown by a comparison of the number of titles
in the extensive bibliography which Stern furnishes in
the first edition of his Difefentiellen Psychologic
(Differential Psychology), 1911. The writings on
child psychology, including superior children and dif-
ferences in school conduct, all put together, number
132; those on adolescents, however, only n, of which
number but two are of German origin. Not till after
the Great War did research turn in any greater degree
to the psychology of youth.
Like Rousseau, the philosopher Herbart, and
Schleiermacher possessed a deep insight into the prob-
lems of adolescence; and in the Erziehungslehre
(Education), 1829, of Fr. H. Chr. Schwartz, who had
been influenced by Schelling, there are together with his
philosophical speculations numerous pertinent observa-
tions which still hold. Yet for a century all these ideas
have been carried no further, and even the knowledge
of Stanley Hall's great work, Adolescence, is confined
to a narrow circle. Yet there have been important
social relationships, as I have pointed out in my
Jugendlichen- Psychologic (Psychology of Ado-
lescence), which really necessitated a scientific under-
standing of the adolescent psyche.
The carelessness and increase of criminality on the
part of youth which become especially noticeable in
time of war and revolution give rise to the question
how far on the one hand the spiritual individuality
of youth, and on the other economic and social con-
ditions, may be considered as causes of the deteriora-
tion of the younger generation. Through the so-called
"youth movement," which appeared at the close of
the century and had reached its climax before the war,
the youth themselves had attracted the attention of
science. The youth movement this emancipation of
the younger from the older generation could come
about only because the youth began to feel that they
were no longer understood by their elders, and so there
was again the necessity for a more scientific compre-
hension of adolescent individuality.
The first German studies of the psychology of
adolescence seek to give a unified picture of the gen-
eral nature of young people, based upon the experi-
ences which are to be found in occasional or regular
meetings with adolescent boys and girls. Doubtless
through these works derived from the observations
and experiences of juvenile court judges and neurol-
ogists, of teachers and pastors, the knowledge of ado-
lescent mental life was considerably advanced. On
the other hand, however, it should not be overlooked
that the "bird's-eye view" methods applied here may
furnish erroneous results, for their basic observations
are biased and many times cannot be checked.
So these subjective proceedings must necessarily be
supplemented by another and more rational method.
As a hypothesis for an inductive psychology of adoles-
cence, there is here offered the plan of making a sys-
tematic observation of young people together with a
collection and arrangement of the materials obtained
in this fashion as well as a collection and interpretation
of their spontaneous writings. Charlotte Biihler has
followed this road; for at the same time that this
investigation was being prepared, she was using the
diaries of young people as source material in her sug-
gestive book, Das Seelenleben des Jugendlichen (The
Mental Life of the Adolescent), Jena, 1922. The
number of diaries which stood at the disposal of Frau
Biihler has mounted from three in the first edition to
fifty-two in the fourth (Jena, 1927). Several diaries
of boys and girls are being published which present
valuable material for further research. In an essay,
Tagebucher von Jugendlichen als Quellen zur Psychol-
ogic der Reifezeit (The Diaries of Youth as a Source
for the Psychology of Adolescence), I have offered a
contribution to the methodical elaboration of this and
similar literary productions placed at my disposal in
their original form. Thus I have alluded to the
boundaries which the diary methods have established.
William Stern also in his book Anf tinge der Reifezeit
(Beginnings of Adolescence), in which in a masterly
fashion he has analyzed a boy's diary, emphasizes the
fact that the significance and genuineness of adolescent
notes can be evaluated only in relation with other data
obtained from the same writer.
The caution which maintains in Germany in the use
of the general inquiry method, and which is also to
be found in the earlier part of the present study, is
slowly beginning to give way to another attitude. It
is realized that by a careful procedure, suited to the
nature of a young person, he can be made to give an
informative account of himself. In expounding the
method, W. Weigel, in his book Fom Wertereich der
Jugendlichen (From the Value of Youth) has shown
more clearly than any one else that the obstacles in
the path to the inner life of youth can by these methods
be lessened or removed. Weigel' s adolescent self-
testimonies show how successful he has been in induc-
ing boys and girls to observe their emotional life and
to furnish a truthful disclosure of their experiences.
The general questioning can be undertaken orally
or in written form. An oral inquiry was made by
Th. Voss, in his Entimcklung von religiosen Vprstel-
lungen bet Folksschulkindern im alter von 5 bis 14
Jahren (The Development of Religious Ideas in
Volksschule Children from Five to Fourteen Years
of Age). Voss kept a stenographic account of the
statements of children concerning religious concepts,
such as devil, angel, God, Jesus, Savior, and Holy
Ghost. He found that "none of the children's reli-
gious ideas were particularly spiritual in nature, but
that they mixed concrete sensory ideas with spiritual
or transitional forms" a conclusion which agrees
with our own observations on the religion of the child.
Voss rightly points to the dangers which threaten the
religious development of the child when this conflict
between the sensory elements of his belief world and
his regular life experiences is discovered. In this he
is supported by Giinther Dehn in Die religiose
Gedankenwelt der Proletarierjugend (The Religious
Thought World of the Proletarian Youth). Follow-
ing the example of Masselons, Dehn gave the pupils
in the Berlin Berufsschulen, who were recruited from
the unskilled laborers and trade apprentices, three
keywords (for example, God, help, death; God, devo-
tion, nature), and asked them to write compositions
about them. On the basis of data obtained in this
way, ' augmented by the oral questioning of about
thirty-six hundred boys and girls, Dehn reached this
"The picture that youth offers us is that of religious
decay. Though this may not be true in every respect
of the girls, it is of the boys. Not even the constant
stream of youth who are interested in religion and
who defend the church and faith in God can deceive
us. The dissolution is a fact. It is shown clearly by
jhe lack of religious development at every age level;
it is shown by the decay itself, penetrating everywhere ;
it is shown finally by the nature of the religious pos-
session which, even when present, is pitifully inade-
The Berlin youths whom Dehn studied did not
differ essentially in their relation to the surrender of
religion from those in the large cities of Germany
containing a preponderantly Protestant population.
Most of them have received at least six years of
religious instruction in school besides about a year of
parochial teaching in connection with their confirma-
tion. When the results of religious instruction are
so very scanty, there is reason to suppose that they
have grown up in an environment in which all religious
life is benumbed. For the deciding factor in the
growth of religion in the individual's development is
always his cultural environment.
The religious thoughts of young people are never
based exclusively on their own unfolding life; they
always comprehend the form through its objective
aspects. The individual, as a being in the process of
becoming, can form concepts only in relation to the
whole situation, past and present. It is the task of
psychology as one of the cultural sciences to have these
data established and presented without prejudice.
Eduard Spranger, the leading exponent of this cul-
tural psychology, in his Psychologic des Jugendalters
(Psychology of Youth) takes the position that all
sensory experiences are to be viewed as religious which
to the subject disclose all that is highest in his relation
to the world. This concept of religion, which he
elaborates, is much broader than the one used in this
-study. In general, however, there is considerable
agreement in regard to the religion of the child and
8 v Introduction
the youth, and the manner in which .it develops.
Charlotte Biihler's idea likewise coincides in all essen-
tial particulars with the one here employed. The
results of an unpublished investigation mentioned by
Frau Buhler * on the religious development of adoles-
cents based on their diaries, by F. Frisch and H.
Helzer, also seem to confirm the main results of our
Even if I cannot justify the definition of religion
given by Spranger, preferring as I do to designate as
'Weltanschauung what for him is religion, I still admit
that there is much in common in the two forms of
experience. The normal child who grows up in the
bosom of his family feels himself, mentally, bound
closely to them ; he does not reflect, and so he is not
yet fully conscious of his individuality. First, as a
youth he discovers that he is an ego, that is, something
quite by himself; and when he makes this discovery
and reflects upon it, he has irrevocably lost the firm
hold which as a child he possessed on his natural life
circle. His whole youth, from then on, is filled with
striving to gain a new hold so as not to be swallowed
up in the stream of life. So long as the youth knows
he is without a hold, he is ruled by strong feelings of
aversion, and his inner insecurity also expresses itself
in his outward demeanor. The more the opposition
present in the world between the Should and the Is
becomes known to the youth, the more he suffers under
life's disharmonies, and there awakes in him the long~
ing for a First, a Highest, an Absolute, on which he
can lean in all life's ups and downs, and to which he
can hold fast.
The child in his need flies to father and mother and
1 Jena, 1927, p. 183.
finds in them comfort and support. But in the adoles-
cent years the boy and the girl lose touch with their
parents. After this, if the young person continues in
a friendly relationship with father and mother and
teachers, he yet knows that they cannot all his life be
his protection and support. Many a young person
seeks in some friend the support and fulfillment for his
own ego, of whose incompleteness he becomes more
and more clearly conscious with increasing maturity.
Still only too often he is disappointed in friends whom
he seldom sees as they really are, but rather as he
would wish them to be, and as they should be accord-
ing to his notion. Those of a deeper nature feel
lonely and thrown back upon themselves. And the
mentally active then seek to better understand the
world and thus give a firm hold to their own lives.
According to his disposition and environment the
experiences of the youth are either of a more religious
or a more worldly sort. Of the worldly development
of those who would not be called pious in the church
sense we know very little at the present time; and a
thoroughgoing investigation should be undertaken in
this direction. Especially should the researches in
adolescent psychology turn chiefly to such special inves-
tigations. The works cited have accomplished their
first task in drawing a general picture of the adoles-
cent. Now, therefore, it is a question of following
up the individual traits with greater care in order that
upon a background of such experiences and knowl-
edge the complete picture may stand out more and
more sharply. The method of special research will
have to adjust itself to the particular kind of traits
to be studied. The investigations by E. R. Jaensch
and O. Kroh on the ability of, adolescents, which have
sought to produce the pictures with hallucinatory
clarity, have demonstrated what valuable conclusions
on the "substructure" of adolescent mental life are
still to be awaited from experiment. For the "super-
structure" of mental life for the historical and cul-
tural influences on mental phenomena experimenta- .
tion comes less into the question; research here, as is
frequently the case, must resort more to the methods
of the cultural sciences.
Our investigation of the religious development of
adolescents, based upon their literary productions in
view of the proportionately meager data, is, to say
the least, a daring attempt. By drawing upon auto-
biographies and finally upon a questionnaire, the
course originally entered upon was partly abandoned.
Still, the investigation may have proved that this road
is traversable. I am convinced that research in the
application of a method is more worth while than the
mere theoretical construction of the method if its prac-
tical proving has to wait.
Nov. 28, 1927.
THE RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT
THE RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT
THE PSYCHOLOGY OF RELIGION
ALTHOUGH the religious development of youth is
.the subject here treated, the investigation may be
regarded primarily as a contribution to the psychology
of adolescence. This term probably needs no special
definition. We understand an adolescent to be a grow-
ing young person of from fourteen to twenty-one
years of age that period during which a normal indi-
vidual is ceasing to be a child and is maturing into a
man or woman.
Since we are here concerned with various problems
in the psychology of religion, we must first ask our-
selves what we mean by the term religion. At the out-
set we admit that it is impossible to give a satisfactory
definition. At the psychological congress at Geneva,
Leuba endeavored to present a survey of all the vary-
ing definitions of religion; but even such detail cannot
really be called comprehensive or exhaustive; religion
will always be defined in as many different ways as
there are attitudes toward it.
If, however, we try to be as impersonal as possible
in our judgments, it seems psychologically impossible
to approach the religious life without taking some posi-
tion. For Jhe purposes of the present investigation,
14 The Religious Development of Adolescents
therefore, we need do no more than set forth the
essence of religion as it is herein understood.
Religion, by its very nature, is the experiencing of
a reality of a being which, in contrast with the
reality perceived by the senses the natural being
comes to be known as something "entirely different." *
This "entirely different" something at the same time
is recognized as a thing "mightily effective" by which
the natural being is ordained. And finally this "entirely
different" something is experienced as the "highest
good" to which all other goods are incomparably
inferior. This highest power and highest good, which
comes to be known as something "entirely different,"
Some neuter word might better be used, because to
the expression "God" there clings an anthropomorphic
element not found unqualified on the higher levels of
religious experience. Although Scheler a writes that
"we may speak of religion only when its object bears
divine, personal form," the term "personal form" does
not appear to us applicable in every case. God can be
experienced as completely formless; and an extremely
high level of religion is recognized by Ekkehart a who
thinks that a complete unity of God and man cannot
exist so long as there is a place in the depths of the soul
for any image at all! The mystics speak of the "soul
depths" in which God is experienced. This expression
contains the important psychological suggestion that
we are concerned in religion with a process a mental
attitude which presents considerable difficulty to the
.When religion is understood as "the feeling of
1 Otto, p. 28, writes of the "Ganzandere."
a Scheler, p. 535.
* Ekkehart, p. 79.
The Psychology of Religion 15
direct dependence," then it is to be noted that religion
is not merely feeling. And since Schleiermacher has
somewhere defined religion as the "contemplation and
feeling of the universe," we may further object in that
with the thinking and feeling an element of the will is
indissolubly blended. Religious attitude is a complex
mental structure which resists reduction into its con-
stituent parts. If, however, an analysis is attempted,
it is always at the expense of the real, meaning of
religion; or, as is more often the case, the analysis
exhausts itself with the secondary elements of the
Careful consideration discovers the religious experi-
ence, as it were, in three strata: the inmost stratum or
the real core is the imageless, formless experience of
God. As the second stratum there appears the embodi-
ment of this experience, the beholding of God in a
definite role or form, for example, as Lord or as
Father. Finally, the third or outer stratum is the pic-
turing of God as some one or some thing that has
actually been seen.
Never can the spoken word or religious judgment
reveal adequately the inner core. Those attributes
seem most meaningful which remain negative in form
and describe God as inscrutable, infinite, ineffable,
supernatural, and supra-mundane. The religious man
will perceive these attributes of God not as negative
but, because of his own inner life experience, as posi-
tive, referring as they do to a more exalted condition
than their opposites. On the other hand, it may be
said that the unreligious man or the person not yet
ripened for religious experience by such external
means as articles of faith .will not attain to any real
conception of God if he does not already possess a
1 6 The Religious Development of Adolescents
bent or readiness for it. It is a true saying that if you
do not feel it, you will not acquire it. To cite an
analogy : one will not attain musical feeling and under-
standing by listening to the most finished production if
he does not already possess in himself a talent for
music. Just so, the knowledge of God has by no means
meant the experiencing of God, even though the latter
may be aroused or awakened by the former.
Religion cannot be analyzed into the associated
mental elements of feeling, perception, thought, and
will as if into closed and independent compartments.
Even less can it be traced back genetically from the
more elemental conscious states characterized by strong
affective elements such as "timidity, shyness, anxiety,
fear, worry, hope, a feeling of weakness and insuffi-
ciency, or astonishment and wonder." " Even fear and
astonishment can never be transformed into religion.
These are merely occasions or stimuli through whose
agency the previously latent religious consciousness is
released. Those who investigate the religious develop-
ment of man can, therefore, never consider it their
task to explain religious experience by attempting
to derive it from simpler mental images and associa-
Here we can do little more than sketch the religious
attitudes in their connection with other mental proc-
esses and define and describe some of the peculiarities
of each. In so doing, the stimuli giving rise to the
religious life and the influences promoting and limiting
it, as the individual experiences them in his environ-
ment, must be established; and their significance must
be evaluated in order that their tendency and inner
structure may be distinguished all the more clearly.
Jahn, pp. 136, 138.
The Psychology of Religion 17
Thus, somewhere along the road of careful analysis
and comparison of the given phenomena we hope to
arrive at an understanding of the religious develop-
ment of adolescence.
Like other American investigators who belong to
the waning Stanley Hall school of psychology, E. D.
Starbuck, in his investigation of the religious psychol-
ogy of adolescence, employed the statistical method.
Starbuck is well aware of its weaknesses and disad-
vantages. He even cites special difficulties with which
one has to reckon as follows : 6 Most persons have lit-
tle power of introspection, and their memory of past
events is imperfect. At best, the descriptions of subjec-
tive events are poor accounts of what has happened.
Finally, in the questionnaire method the personal equa-
tion of the investigator is certain to enter into the
It cannot be said that Starbuck completely overcame
the difficulties mentioned. At the outset, so far as the
answers which he receives from his questionnaires are
concerned, there is no possibility of testing their
dependability; and though Starbuck places full con-
fidence in the statements, that is no proof that they
are objectively true, even assuming that his subjects
possessed the desire to give true reports and were free
from the common weaknesses of vanity and the desire
to be interesting. Whoever is not trained in the tech-
nique of introspection will never be able to furnish
scientifically useful material for the investigation of
mental processes so intimate as those of the religious
life. Naturally, introspection of religious experiences
is, in the main, defeated by the limitations of intro-
spection as a method. At the moment when a religious
6 Starbuck, p. 13.
1 8 The Religious Development of Adolescents
experience is being observed, it loses its originality and
is changed and modified by consciously attending to it.
A religious experience can be fully perceived only when
it has passed, is contemplated from memory, and is, as
it were, reconstructed. Starbuck did not sufficiently
allow for the usual incapacity for such retrospection
or the remodeling and omissions of past events, which
are due to the fundamental nature of the memory
As to the manner of expression of those who answer
the questionnaires, W. Stahlin 6 has properly pointed
out that, given the spiritual forms of a religious organ-
ization, the subject almost always assumes a stereo-
typed religious manner of thought and expression;
Starbuck 7 himself refers to the common forms of
expression in cases of conversion. This condition all
but excludes an unprejudiced description of the nature
of one's own earlier inner life.
Every questionnaire, be it ever so skillfully drawn
up, exercises a suggestive effect on the reader, even
though it is due to no more than the focusing of the
attention with particular force on the matters with
which it deals. The best thing that can be said for
questionnaires will always be that at least the answers
are objective. But the inner experience, the essence of
the mental process, the scientific investigation of which
is of main importance, is slighted. Let it not be said
that the mass of observations and the conclusions
drawn from voluminous material can compensate for
the defects of single answers. Agreement of answers
reveals, as Binet once remarked, at times only the influ-
ence of a constant error.
a Archiv. f. Ges. PsychoL, XVIII, p. 5.
7 Starbuck, p. 368.
The Psychology of Religion 19
The experimental method may be even less well
adapted than the questionnaire to the investigation of
religious development for, as Stern and Kriiger pointed
out, an experimental situation may have an influence
upon the natural course of that development. What
I. Schroteler, 8 and other authors quoted by him feared
in studying the religious life of the child is quite as
applicable to the adolescent; namely, that a certain
freshness and originality would necessarily be sacri-
ficed. Furthermore, one cannot avoid the considera-
tion that the pumping method of inquiry has ethical
limitations, and that it is overstepping the authority
jpf the school if it compels young people either to expose
their most personal inner thoughts or else to deceive
the teacher. But if the questioner (it need not always
be the teacher) abandons the attempt to press into the
inner core of religious experience and contents him-
self with external secondary phenomena, which will
usually be the case, the scientific value of the investiga-
tion is correspondingly lessened.
In contrast with the questioning methods, the col-
lection and interpretation of spontaneous expression is
probably more dependable, even if it does not at first
give that impression of scientific exactness, which is so
engaging in the statistical method. The source mate-
rial for the compilation method grows partly out of
observations of parents, teachers, and pastors; so only
a reasonably modest disclosure of the religious atti-
tude of youth can be gained through this particular
kind of observation. The reason for this lies in the
fact that a youth cannot be observed apart from his
social environment as can a baby; furthermore, the
youth in religious matters is very shy in the presence
8 Schroteler, p. 72.
2<3 The Religious Development of Adolescents
of older people, especially when he no longer agrees
with their religious opinions.
A great deal of material derived from introspection
is scattered through autobiographies and autobio-
graphical romances. In the psychological evaluation
of these sources, the time factor is always to be taken
into account: the greater the distance in time of the
narrator from the incidents described, the more incom-
pletely they are reconstructed, for later attitudes
toward the world and life will tend to give a new inter-
pretation to earlier experiences. Thus, for example,
one can trace Feuerbach's influence on Keller in
Griinen Heinrich in the description of the latter's
childish faith. Attempts to justify his attitude or to
consider the whole life from the viewpoint of the
kindly guidance of God, which are made by the writer
of the autobiography, warn us to employ caution in
working with these sources.
After the autobiographical material, in which the
time factor is always to be especially considered, come
the spontaneous utterances of children and adoles-
cents, which as a rule exhibit a much higher degree of
originality. We possess excellent original material
concerning young people in the form of letters, diaries,
and poems. Obviously the value of these "sources of
the first rank" will be the greater, the more coherent
the single utterances are in themselves; the ideal case
is that in which we can group together all possible
utterances of an individual's religious life. Several
such individual developments placed side by side and
compared with each other will put us in a position to
work out on the one hand the general character of
religious development, and on the other the variability
in the possible types.
The Psychology of Religion 21
But before the discovery of existing similarities and
the formation of types, the material must be sifted
and interpreted. In the autobiographies, religious
experiences of adolescence are often already inter-
preted and arranged sometimes even by the subject
himself, which is generally to be considered depend-
able. This interpretation and arrangement of religious
experiences, however, is often determined, as has
already been suggested, by the later attitude of the
autobiographer toward the world. And in the diaries,
letters, and poems of youth, religious experience is not
restricted to its primary, immediate form. The writ-
ten report itself means an interpretation and arrange-
ment of original religious experiences. Still in many
ways the youth who is reporting his experience is
under its immediate influence. If it is represented and
in a certain way rationalized at the time of transcrib-
ing, this does not mean that the writer's attitude may
not change one way and another as time goes on.
Though the material contained in the literary products
of adolescence has the advantage of greater originality
and honesty, its collection, winnowing, and interpreta-
tion, on the other hand, present greater difficulties than
does preparing the matter preserved in the autobiog-
The present investigation depends mainly on the
psychological study of such material as is contained in
the diaries, letters, and poems of adolescents. A glance
at the extant literature of the field shows that rela-
tively little of such material has been published or
worked over. The literary productions mentioned in
the following pages were placed at my disposal in
manuscript form by friends. Some of the authors are
well known to me personally; and in the case of the
22 The Religious Development of Adolescents
literary productions of the others, there is no basis
for doubting their honesty. The manuscript material
is composed of the following items :
1. Diary notes of a religious nature by A (girl pupil in
an institution of learning, later a student), 12-23 y rs -
of age, p. 46ff.
2. Diary (complete) and poems by B (pupil in a semi-
nary for teachers, later a teacher), 15-23 yrs. of age,
pp. 49ff., 1151.
3. Diary notes of a religious nature by C (first attending
a seminary, later a student of philosophy), p. u6ff.
4. Diary (complete) of D (first seminary student, later
a teacher), 18-21 yrs., p. n8f.
5. Religious confessions of E (20 yr.-old officer), pp. 60,
6. Poems of F (first attending a seminary, later a student
of philosophy), 18-20 yrs., p. I2of.
7. Religious confessions of G (merchant), 21 yrs.
8. Religious confessions of H (candidate for degree in
philosophy; earlier, gymnasium student), 27 yrs. old.
9. Letter of religious nature by J (merchants' appren-
tice), 16 years old, p. 86f.
10. Poems of K (gymnasium student), 18-20 yrs. old,
pp. 97ff., 121.
11. Poems of L (a seminary student), 17-19 yrs. old, p.
12. Diary notes of M (gymnasium student), 18 yrs. old,
13. Poems of N (gymnasium student), 16-18 yrs. old.
Autobiography of N, 18 yrs. old, p. I23ff.
1/jf. Poems of O (gymnasium student), 17-18 yrs, old,
15. Diary (complete) of P (a seminary student, now
M.D.), 16-17 y fs - old, P- I28f.
1 6. Diary (complete) of Q (pupil in a higher school for
girls, later educator and teacher), 14-29 yrs. old, p.
The Psychology of Religion 23
The literary productions cited are, of course, of
unequal value in furnishing a knowledge of the reli- '
gious development of adolescence. The religious con-
fessions (of E, G, and H) in their originality and
honesty, resemble the testimonies contained in auto-
biographies. In the youthful verses religious experi-
ence is frequently less apparent than the aesthetic, and
the poems are often more significant for the latter than
for the former. The religious peculiarity of adoles-
cents appears most directly in their diaries. The
youth who in distinction from the child, is becoming
conscious of his peculiar, unique being, and likewise
feels himself much alone, seeks to conquer this loneli-
ness by a close companionship with a "thou." Among
adults he finds no proper understanding of his needs;
the friend whom the youth seeks often disappoints
him; therefore he creates for himself in his diary a
sort of "thou-substitute" ! In the diary the writer
expresses himself unreservedly and honestly at least
he usually entertains the desire to do so. The fact
that many a youth has employed a secret code shows
how much trouble he has taken to keep the diary
exclusively for himself.
Besides those who feel lonesome, who, as in the
case of the diary of a young girl published by Char-
lotte Biihler, "absolutely cannot help keeping a diary,"
there are young authors who keep one entirely from
force of habit, sometimes pedantically, solely for the
purpose of rescuing daily events from oblivion. Diary
keepers of this sort usually care nothing about keeping
their notes secret; on the contrary they are often
inclined to share them with other persons. The hand-
vpritten diaries serving as a basis for the present inves-
tigation, like the one published by Charlotte Biihler,
belong to the first mentioned type. The authors
2*4 The Religious Development of Adolescents
wanted to write only for themselves, not for others;
and they wanted to record their reactions to every-
thing which strongly affected their inner feelings and
which they could not express in any other way that
The present treatment does not rest upon com-
prehensive material which characterizes all adolescents
alike. Those youths who put their experience into
writing represent an entirely definite type generally
distinguished by theoretical, contemplative interests, a
type which we may designate as "literary" in contrast
with those of a more practical turn of mind. Whether
the religious development of both types runs the same
course will have to be shown by future investigations.
Further, the young people whose religion we are here
reporting belong to a certain social status; with the
exception of E, G, and J, they are students in higher
institutions of learning, and all profess Protestantism.
Thus the present circumscribed study must be consid-
ered as representing merely a first attempt, which
must, however, be ventured. Although a collection
of further materials is being made, perhaps the present
treatment, if it is published, may on its part contribute
to enrich the collection of matter and become the occa-
sion for further investigations, that from the observa-
tion of the religious development of these adolescents
the religious development of adolescence may stand
out more clearly. In this presentation we wish to be
mindful of the fact that a monograph implies an arti-
ficial abstracting and emphasis of a part of a whole;
the danger of forgetting the whole for a part we shall
try to avoid by always considering the religious devel-
opment of adolescence in its dependence upon the
whole mental development.
The Psychology of Religion 25
If we earlier cast any aspersions upon the statistical
method, we did not mean that it was to be denied
any value at all, but only that the biographical method
must first show the probable course of the develop-
ment; the comparative biographical method must
emphasize the inner differences within the single types
of development. Then the statistical method can
undertake the testing of the results which have come
from the biographical inquiry. In accordance with
this principle, the individual's development has always
been chosen as the starting point in this investigation.
But first of all for the testing and confirmation of the
results, the suggestive material which is to be found
in Starbuck's Psychology of Religion is drawn upon;
further, statistical findings as presented by Stanley
Hall, Weigl, Lobsein, and Lau are used in similar
manner. Finally, the results are also cited of an in-
quiry among fifteen- and sixteen-year-old girls in a
higher school in Leipzig, which was prepared as an
, appendix, the value of which, meager though its results
are, I find to lie in the fact that it shows a cross
section of the development of a certain age and in a
certain environment the large city.
THE RELIGION OF THE CHILD
IN order that the religion of the adolescent may
be more clearly characterized, we shall compare it with
the religion of the child. When we speak of the
religion of the child, we mean only a preliminary stage ;
for our observations will teach us that we may not as
a rule speak of a child's religion in the sense indicated
in the introduction ; rather we are dealing with a first
step only, of what we, borrowing from Scholz, will
call "religion in its fullest sense." Religion is not
inborn in the child, as the nativists maintain; nor is
it acquired from his environment, as the empiricists
think. The religious nature of a child will unfold
only if the environment does not prevent this unfold-
ing; and religious influence alone will not make a child
religious, if he is -not disposed to it from the start.
Heredity and environment must work together, "con-
verge," if religion is to develop in a human being.
If we observe that the child's world of religious ideas
takes a certain stamp from the community environ-
ment, and further, that the child accepts the religious
ideas and dogmas of his environment, this does not
prove that conjointly with it an inner adaptation or
comprehension must necessarily arise through the cen-
tral personality a real "experience with God."
However, the most favorable conditions for the
development of the religious disposition in young per-
The Religion of the Child 27
sons we may assume to be present when a child is
descended from religious parents and grows up in a
strictly religious environment. If a child is to have
any religion at all this religion must be able to develop
where father's and forefathers' influence is strongly
Karl Philipp Moritz grew up, as he tells us in his
autobiographical novel, Anton Reiser, under just such
favorable conditions. If we take the religion of the
boy, Karl Moritz, as a significant case of childish
religion and really seek to understand it, we may also
expect to establish certain general characteristics of
the religion of the child. Moritz tells how the little
Anton Reiser grew up in pietistic circles and was early
acquainted by his father with the teachings and views
of French Quietists. At nine the boy was reading a
book that treated of an "early fear of God," which so
"strongly affected his whole soul that he formed a
firmer resolve to be converted than most adults do."
At this time the boy literally obeyed everything that
he read in the book about "prayer, obedience, patience,
regulation, and almost considered every unnecessarily
quick step a sin." With his parents he sang Madam
Guyon's songs (in their German translation) and
learned them by heart. They possessed so much that
was "soul-ravishing," "such an inimitable tenderness,
such a gentle twilight in their recital," that they
exerted an indelible influence on Anton's heart. 1 The
frail and neglected boy consoles himself in his forlorn
condition with a "song of soul-outpouring and of sweet
annihilation before the Source of Being."
The father puts into the boy's hand a book by
Madam Guyon directions for inner prayer. Now
1 Moritz, p. 30.
28 The Religious Development of Adolescents
the boy sits for hours with closed eyes, just as his
father did, in order to perceive God's voice in his
heart. Partly compelled, partly voluntarily, the child
imitates the religious manner of his environment ; does
he adopt the religious content in all its depth and sub-
jectivity? Anton soon reaches a confidential inter-
course with God; and the nature and manner of this
intercourse is significant for the child's religion. The
boy speaks with God "as we speak with our equals,"
but he would become quite petulant with Him "when
a toy was broken or a wish frustrated. He would
exclaim, "Can't I be granted even this little thing?"
The child cannot by his very nature appreciate the
incomparable sublimity of Him whom he approaches
Another sign of childhood piety which we observe
again and again appears at the same time self-seek-
ing. The child in his weakness must be a little egoist
if he wishes to achieve in the world; and thus the
child's religion is thoroughly ego-centric. To him
prayers are only a means by which he tries to procure
for himself relief or pleasure. Little Anton learned
from his books that all childlike desire and happiness,
all jumping and playing are sinful. Yet he was not
able entirely to suppress all his genuine impulses for
movement and play. By chance he finds a wheel-
barrow, and takes the greatest delight in pushing it
about the garden. The consciousness of his sin
awakes, and Anton tries to appease it. And again,
the way he does this is delightfully childlike. In
Madam Guyon's writings he has read much of the little
Jesus, "that He was everywhere and one could go about
with Him constantly in all places." The diminutive
causes Anton to represent the little Jesus to himself
The Religion of the Child 29
as a little boy. As he has confiding intercourse with
God, the Father, just so he establishes a similar con-
fiding relationship with the Son. He plays with Him
as with an equal, puts Him into the wheelbarrow and
with touching diligence pushes Him about in the gar-
den until exhausted. "Thus finally he came to look
on this as a sort of service to God and no longer con-
sidered it a sin" 3 to push the wheelbarrow with the
boy Jesus a half day at a time. The outstanding char-
acteristic of the child's religion is to be found in this
incident: he represents to himself objects of his faith
clearly and anthropomorphically ; God the Father,
Jesus, and the angels are people of the sort we are
accustomed to know in daily life.
A new world opens up to Anton Reiser when he
becomes acquainted with the Graeco-Roman theology;
"with keenest appetite and with true rapture" he reads
the stories of Troy, the voyages of Ulysses, and
Fenelon's Telemach. Since he was not expressly told
what was poetry in it, he is soon inclined "to accept
as true the stories of the heathen gods with every-
thing that went with them." a And here is another
significant thing about the child's religion. As a rule, \
without criticism and without doubt, he accepts all the !
religious conceptions which are provided him by his f
The foundation for this credulity had been laid
early in Anton Reiser. From his second and third
years he recalled the torments of hell he has suffered
from the tales of ghosts and devils told him by his
mother and aunts. This horror fostered in the child
was further strengthened by the fear of thunder
2 Ibid. t pp. 33-34.
3 Ibid., p. 35-
30 The Religious Development of Adolescents
storms. "His only refuge at such times was to fold~
his hands as quickly as he could and not to unfold
them until the storm was over." And Anton imagined
death as a ghost. His mother's expression that
"death sat on a dying person's tongue" was taken
literally by the boy; and once when a relative died,
he looked into his mouth, to discover death on his
tongue, perhaps like a small black person/
One can always observe in the child's religion the
distinguishing characteristics of the figurative, mytho-
logical element, which we notice even in young Reiser's
world of faith drawn as it is from sensory impressions.
Gottfried Keller in Griinen Heinrich tells how in earlier
childhood he had thought of God as a golden weather-
cock glistening in the evening sunlight, later in the
form of a tiger which he had seen in a picture book.
Friedrich Hebbel and Otto Ernst report that to them
God was originally identical with their father. As a
rule, God is represented as a friendly old man. "The
dear God is good. I could just squeeze him," said a
three- (?) year-old girl. Love and omnipotence afe]
the essential characterictics which distinguish God.
Six- and seven-year-old children mostly have concrete
ideas of His appearance. "God has a long white
beard" probably borrowed from the idea of Santa
Claus "He has a blue cloak," "He is tall reaches
from the sky to the earth." Like God the Father,
Jesus the Christ child is thought of as clothed in white.
Angels, Santa Claus, and Knecht Rupprecht are other
celestial forms. As a rule, the child leans toward !
polytheism. Heaven is thought of as a castle or a
gorgeous city. An eleven-year-old girl reports, "In
Heaven everything is gold and silver," "The dear
4 ibid., p. 43.
The Religion of the Child 31
God looks around out of his golden window, and that
is what the sun is," thinks a six-year-old girl.
By the child Heaven is not looked on as beyond,
something "entirely different," but only as a continua-
tion, as a part, of the natural world. Death means
only a change in one's place of sojourn. Our five-year-
old Gudrun is still waiting, after months, for the
return of his little brother who died. Once the child
exclaimed: "I want to go to Heaven, too. There I'll
take Ottfried's hand and run away from Heaven with
him." The child cannot conceive of God as the high-
est power any more than he can a beyond. In a
thunderstorm, Gudrun suddenly begins to pray: "Oh!
dear God, please make it stop thundering, or some-
thing awful may happen." Then after it had light-
ened once, the thunder stopped. The child ascribed
the cessation of the storm to the prayer and he then
said: "Perhaps the dear God Himself was scared,"
when it lightened again after the prayer.
At times many children's ideas of God are so vivid j
that they even think they see Him. Schreiber reports
of a somewhat feeble-minded girl, that she confounded
the pastor in the church with God. A beginner in
school says: "I saw God when we lived in V. He
shined into a room at our house." Obviously the little
one considered the moon was God, a confusion which
was also observed by Schreiber. Lay tells of his son,
that at six he prayed to the moon. Our five-year-old
Marian said to her weeping sister: "The moon hears
it, he will tell the Christ-child, and He will tell the
dear God." From similar expressions Stanley Hall
assumes the revival of the race's primitive naturalistic
forms of religion in the individual, "the rudiments and
buds of every one of all the ancient religions are found
The Religious Development of Adolescents
in the child's soul." We renounce such speculations
and see in the above-mentioned sayings of children only
the expressions of a real myth-forming,! ancy, which is
surely in many respects like the fancy of man in a
state of nature. To try to explain the beginnings of
a child's religion by the primitive religion of mankind
on a biogenetic basis, as Stanley Hall, Starbuck, and
other American psychologists have tried to do, is try-
ing to substitute an x for a y, to explain an unknown
something by another unknown.
The observations quoted thus 'far have to do with
children up to nine years of age. The remarks of
eleven- and twelve-year-old boys quoted by Schreiber
show that the religious ideas of these age levels are
also full of images. The greater experience and the
further perception of older children appear in the
fact that they paint God's form still more clearly and
sharply: "He is the oldest man in the world"; "His
brow and cheeks have wrinkles, the hair of His beard
has long ago turned white"; "He makes lights to
shine upon the earth and when it rains He is sprinkling
with his watering pots." Life in heaven is depicted
in detail often bearing the closest similarity to life as
it is related in tales of Schlaraffenland. It is worthy
of notice that at this level there is a clear consciousness
that one cannot really see God. Christ's words, "God
is a spirit," are quoted as proof of this; however, God
continues to be represented as visible.
The ideas of God held by thirteen- and fourteen-
year-old boys were also anthropomorphic boys who
had had religious instruction in school-confirmation les-
sons. "What they have to say of heaven and hell
shows them to have great nai'vite, on a level of develop-
ment which is not clearly distinguishable from that of
The Religion of the Child) 33
the class just below." With these words Schreiber 6
condenses his judgment of the last age level of the
The thoroughly anthropomorphic character of chil-
dren's ideas of God is established by the statistical
findings which J. Weigl collected from a large number
of Catholic school children. To the question : "How
have you imagined the dear God?" 8 720 answers were
handed in; of them 139 (19.3%) said, old man; 116
(16.11%) ordinary man; 62 (8.16%) with splendid
clothes; 58 (8.06%) Christ-child; 24 (3.33%) rich
man. Other answers were similar: a king; like my
father; a priest; an angel. Only a few children had
thought of God as unlike man ; 3 as an eye in the
triangle, 2 as heaven, 2 as a dove.
As for younger, so for older children, there is no
noteworthy difference between God and man, here or
beyond. Eight-year-olds consider it possible to go to
heaven in an airship; but thirteen- and fourteen-year-
old boys, as Schreiber B reports, imagined "heaven on
a high mountain" or "behind the clouds." Death
means no complete turning away from this world;
there are degrees of being dead. When our seven-
year-old Marian heard of a cremation, she said:
"When I am dead, I want to be buried; then one is
merely impossible (unmoglich) ; but when one is
burned up, one is quite dead." On the basis of similar
observations, Hug-Hellmuth remarks: "To the child,
being dead means a condition of sleeping, from which
one can easily be awakened, or of being in a far-away
place which one can leave at will." 7
The child, filled with confidence in his expanding
6 Schreiber, p. 57.
6 Weigl, p. 12.
''Imago I (1912), p. 287; cf. Imago III (1914). P. 94 (by Th. Reik).
34 The Religious Development of Adolescents
environment, accepts its religious teaching just as
credulously and uncritically as he appropriates any
other possession of culture. Henseling reports on the
basis of his experiences that children believe in mira-
cles up to the third year in school. Probably, how-
ever, a belief in miracles lasts till the end of the school
period; and Henseling is right when he says that
doubt, when it appears in the child, has usually been
imposed from without. When Schreiber describes his
fourteen-year-old schoolboys as having doubts in
respect to the nature of heaven and hell, we are prob-
ably dealing with independent impulses of reason,
whose awakening and strengthening is characteristic
of the mind of the adolescent.
The credulity of the child is shown not only in faith
in miracles but also in the uncritical acceptance of all
possible superstitious notions. Miracles and charms
are jumbled about in the child's mind; in neither does
he see anything impossible or unnatural. In general,
I could establish the existence of superstitions in
greater number in nine-year-old children. Younger
children possess only a small number of superstitious
notions, but girls in the last classes of the Volkschule
are especially inclined to superstition. How numerous
and widespread are superstitious notions at the present
time, even among children of large cities, is demon-
strated by the expressions of children quoted by me in
Mittellungen des Fereins fur Sachsische Volkskunde*
I have the impression that adults can be only partly
held to account for the handing down and diffusion of
child superstitions. As children's games are passed on
for centuries from child to child, just so the children
themselves seem to pass on ancient superstitions. And
The Religion of the Child 35
to the question of the origin of certain superstitious
notions, usually the answer would be : "The children
say so," or "He (or she) told me."
The credulous acceptance of religious tradition,
from whatever direction it spreads, is the normal
thing; only very seldom do younger children raise
doubts. A familiar, oft-quoted example of it is that
of six-year-old Goethe. As he tells it in Dlchtung und
Wahrheit, the news of the Lisbon earthquake greatly
affected the boy: "God, the creator and preserver of
heaven and earth, whom the explanation of the first
article of the creed has represented to him as so wise
and merciful, had not shown Himself in any degree
fatherly, in that He abandoned the just and the unjust
to the same ruin. In vain the young mind tried to
strengthen itself against these impressions, which was
on the whole all the more impossible because the wise
ones and those versed in the scriptures could not agree
on how such a phenomenon was to be regarded."
Ellen Key reports of her childhood: "I remember
my hatred toward God when I heard at six years of
the death of Jesus as caused by God's demands for
atonement, and my denial at ten of God's providence,
when a young laborer died leaving five children who
needed him greatly." It seems to be socio-ethical con-
siderations, which lead to the earliest religious doubts.
Doubts of a purely intellectual sort, as cited by
Schreiber ("that there are angels above I do not
believe, for where there is not air they could not live")
clearly point to succeeding stages of development.
Finally there arise doubts, though of limited vital-
ity, from the unfulfilled wishes and prayers of children.
An example of this is afforded by the life story of the
iron-wright, Bareiss, in Levinstein's Proletariers
36 The Religious Development of ; Adolescents
Jugendjahre. The dear grandmother of the boy thir-
teen years old dies in spite of all his fervent prayers.
"The next night was the first time he doubted God's
justice and reproached Him in prayer," and when the
preacher is reading the burial service, the boy thinks :
"Surely this time the dear God made a mistake; or
did He hear my nightly prayers at all?" H. A.
Kriiger tells likewise in the Moravian juvenile story,
Gottfried Kam-pfer, how his grandmother's death
aroused most serious doubts about God and the world
in his passionate boy mind. In the unfulfillment of
lesser wishes and prayers a sullen child may break
with God after the manner of little Anton Reiser.
Indeed, similar dissatisfactions often come to the pray-
ing child. In this he is like man in a state of nature ;
for as with the primitive man, so with the child, as
far as he prays in his own words and does not mechani-
cally repeat learned sentences, the prayer has to do
with the personal welfare of the one praying. Gott-
fried Keller in Grunen Heinrich in an unsurpassable
manner described the contents of such child prayers.
Every one who associates with children can supply like
examples. The child feels himself as it were the center
of the religious world, about which everything revolves.
In Glauben und Wissen, a story of real inner develop-
ment, August Messer writes in this vein : "Thus it was
in reality my own well-being that I sought in religion.
The most powerful motive which drew me to God
was concern for my early welfare and my soul's
If one conceives religion as the experience of God,
as an "entirely different" and "higher" reality, 10 one
9 Messer, p. 2.
The Religion of the Child 37
may not impute to many children religion (in its fullest
sense!). Events by which a child is stirred to his very
depths and is made conscious of his own weakness and
the rule of a higher power are to be looked upon as ex-
ceptions. Even though such cases are reported in auto-
biographies, they are no proof to the contrary. In
such autobiographies, it is generally a case of people
who tower above the average. As there are youthful
artists, why should there not be a religious child? On
the other hand there is a possibility and no auto-
biographer should be charmed against this danger
that he may give a religious interpretation to the
experiences of his childhood on the basis of his later
Hebbel 11 tells in the story of his life unfortunately
uncompleted, how when he was once sitting with other
children in the Klippschule and a mighty thunderstorm
was raging, the instructors cried out: "God is angry."
"These words made a deep impression on me: they
forced me to look down on myself and everything
around me and kindled the religious spark in me."
When the boy reaches home and sees the damage
which the storm caused, he suddenly understands why
his father always goes to church on Sunday: "I had
become acquainted with the Lord of Lords ; His angry
servants, thunder and lightning, hail and storm had
opened wide to Him the doors of my heart. . . .
And what had happened in me was soon apparent;
for one evening when the wind was blowing hard down
the chimney and the rain was pelting heavily on the
roof, while I was being put to bed, the accustomed
chatter of my lips suddenly was changed into a genuine
prayer, and then the spiritual cord which until then
11 Hebbel e Ges. Werke, VIII. " ,
38 The Religious Development of Adolescents
had bound me inseparably to my parents was cut."
In similar manner Goethe also tells of a storm
which became his "intimate opportunity" to become
acquainted with the "angry God about whom the Old
Testament had so much to tell." Natural phenomena
such as storms may often awaken in children an almost
pre-religious fear ; if the child has already heard God
spoken of, the fear will be transferred to Him as the
cause of the storm ; but only in a few, especially gifted
older children, primitive fright seems to result in
religious fear and awe.
General inquiries and statistical assembling of
religious experiences of children will never produce
results that are not open to objection. Thus Weigl,
among others, asked Catholic school children the ques-
tion: "From what cause or on what occasion did you
first get an understanding of God?" It is entirely
out of the question that children will remember such
an experience after many years, even granted they
have had it, and that it is not suggested to them by
the question. If, after religious teaching at home,
prayer at home, and church going, storms are discov-
ered to be the fourth cause, there is a certain signifi-
cance to the fact in so far as it is another indication
that striking natural phenomena arouse in the child a
feeling of dependence on superior powers to which he
would otherwise have remained a stranger. The
remark of Weigl, who writes in regard to a storm
as cause, deserves notice: "That there is no influence
oil the part of the persons asking the questions is
shown by the fact that the 48 cases are divided fairly
proportionately into 25 classes with two to four
examples in each."
The Religion of the Child 39
In recapitulation we present again the following
characteristics essential to the "religion of the child."
1. The child accepts trustfully and uncritically the
religious ideas of adults ; the child's religion is, to use
Vorwerk's expression, "a religion of authority, custom,
or memory" with as yet no independent and personal
idea of God.
2. God is always portrayed as mythological and
symbolic; to the child God is always a man endowed
with higher and more forceful powers ("Phantasy
3. The child's religion is always of this world;
the child is not yet able to grasp God as something
4. The child feels himself as the center of exist-
ence; but the experience of God as of the highest
incomparable worth simply remains a stranger to him.
The child's religion is therefore not to be designated
as religion in the "fullest" sense, as we have used the
term. In opposition to Kabisch, Vorwerk, and other
theological authors, we are of the opinion that children
can be called religious only in the rarest cases. If
we deny the "child's religion" any real religious worth,
the question of its significance in the religious develop-
ment of the adolescent and the adult still remains open.
JHE PROGRESS OF RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT
THE religious training of young people has for
centuries been carried on by the Moravians, the Piet-
ists, and other sects with closer attention than in other
churches. These sects early admonished the youths
to take heed that they render a good account of them-
selves. Even if the reports of these youthful sec-
tarians are to be considered as special cases from the
standpoint of the church, we must nevertheless include
them in an observation of the course of the religious
development of young people; these "special cases," as
already mentioned, are more clearly described than
those which develop normally. Furthermore, they
show certain earmarks which are also characteristic
of the "normal" course, and which are delineated with
special clarity. And finally certain forms of develop-
ment, which by these sects are considered the rule,
also appear in the church where, however, they are
then considered exceptions. We cannot do better than
to study the different possible forms (types) found in
the course of religious development in connection with
the autobiographical novel of K. P. Moritz, who spent
the years of his later youth in a religious environment.
When the twelve-year-old Anton Reiser was com-
pelled by his father's command to leave the beloved
abode of learning, he was very unhappy as was shown
not only in his daily life but in religious matters as
The Progress of Religious Development 41
well. "In church, where formerly he had been a pat-
tern of reverence, he chatted all through the service
with his fellows. ... He became a hypocrite
toward God, toward others, and toward himself." At
times Anton has spells of repentance. But the "life
blessed of God," toward which he strove, does not
return. He is always compelled to fall back into his
sinful habits. "Then he began the process all over
again, and thus wavered continuously back and forth
and nowhere found rest and satisfaction, in vain grow-
ing embittered over the innocent pleasures of his
youth." Not until the end of adolescence did Anton
recover his mental serenity.
Examples of storm and stress, as Moritz reports
them in his autobiographical novel, are to be found
elsewhere in the lives of adolescents. The successive
stages of religious development with their emotional
disturbances and catastrophies are especially favored
by those who strive to bring about conversion and to
this end deliberately and systematically foster the con-
sciousness of sin and guilt in young persons, as was
and still is the case with Pietism and some other sects.
So we find this form turning up again and again at
The letters of youthful Friedrich Schleiermacher
and his sister Lotte, which they write from Gradenf rei
and Niesky to their relatives, tell of a violent struggle
toward conversion. In Plesz, the Schleiermacher
brother and sister had come under Moravian influence ;
the teaching of the natural depravity of man and the
supernatural works of divine grace, as the Moravian
brothers claimed to know they had been experienced,
caused a seething ferment in their souls. At this time,
seventeen-year-old Lotte writes : "My heart's restless-
42 The Religious Development of Adolescents
ness kept growing more and more. . . . One Sun-
day, it was September 23 (1872) I fell into deep
meditation earnestly considering what could really
bring me the peace of mind for which I so deeply
longed. Suddenly it seemed to me that these (the
brotherhood) were the ones in whose midst one could
get sustenance for the immortal soul, and far from
outside temptations, approach nearer the great goal;
at this thought an indescribably blessed feeling encom-
passed me." In his autobiography Schleiermacher
reports his own restlessness of spirit when with his
sister he was received into the Moravian denomina-
tion : "In vain I struggled for the supernatural sensa-
tions of whose indispensability I was convinced by my
every thought gained from my instruction concerning
a future day of reckoning; of whose reality I was con-
vinced by every sermon and every song, yes, every
sight of these men so winning to one in_such a mood.
But these sensations seemed to escape me only. Then
when I thought I had caught a shadow of them, it
showed itself at once as a product of my own fruitless,
But yet, in Gradenfrei, Schleiermacher appears
already to have experienced a sort of Pietistic awaken-
ing. 1 Let us present one of Lotte's reports as a typical
case of the quickly changing emotions in the days of
youth; in it she tells z how she is "blessed and happy
in the Savior" and "can associate with Him as a child
with his father" ; but a revulsion occurs, "as if a cover-
ing were suddenly torn from my eyes. I should think
of myself as a lost, human child; yet my own righteous-
ness made this difficult. Finally, however, when I was
1 Meier, p. 61.
3 Ibid., p. 67.
The Progress of Religious Development 43
forced to realize, that in spite of my virtuous conduct
I was full of sin, I despaired not knowing what to do."
Schleiermacher's teachers at Niesky had exerted them-
selves to indoctrinate their pupils with the thought that
"there is no more blessed lot than to associate with
Jesus," as he says in a birthday poem of the year 1784.
The result of these efforts is told in one of the boy's
letters written to his sister when by chance he was
enabled to partake of confirmation and the Lord's
Supper (March, 1784). And a half year later another
letter reports : "The Savior is never faithless, however
often we are; but the more tranquil, the better, the
more unvaried, the more peaceful and nearer heaven
preferably actually there." Thus the sixteen-year-
old is filled with longing for the beyond, although at
the same time he is zealously pursuing studies in Greek
literature. The calm, orderly life in the school pro-
tected Schleiermacher from external conflicts, and thus
his development remained a battle with his own nature,
until later at Barby the youth's critical understanding
triumphed over feeling and led to a break with the
religious tradition of the brotherhood.
Even more plainly than in Schleiermacher's religious
development dissension and wavering appear in the
case of the Swede, Brinkman, who at the same time
attended the seminary at Barby. The ninteen-year-
old Brinkman writes among other things in his diary,
given in abridged form by Meier: "Tormented by lust.
Pathetic prayer to the Savior." "I cannot describe
how horrible I appear to myself, for I continually
have the greatest loathing for all excesses of the sort.
I was always, shamed by every virtuous friend . . .
talked very simply with the Savior, who comforted me
by his nearness. . . ." "At the Lord's Supper I
44 The Religions Development of Adolescents
felt my Savior's nearness much more clearly than I,
poor dust, deserved or expected, and my heart grew
warm with love for Him." a
To a greater degree than is the case with Pietism
and Moravianism the practice of conversion is culti-
vated among Methodists and similar denominations
who lend to the religious life of North America a
special stamp of their own. Starbuck has dedicated
the whole first part of his Psychology of Religion to
the study of conversion; and likewise an extensive
chapter in Stanley Hall's Adolescence treats of con-
version; to how great a degree religious habits can
influence scientific convictions is shown by the fact that
both American psychologists consider conversion as
"a natural, normal, common and necessary process 1 '
for the stage of development in which life moves from
a basis resting on itself (autocentric) to a foundation
whose center is laid elsewhere (heterocentric).
How strong the influence of environment is on con-
version is proved by the fact that only one-fifth of
the cases investigated by Starbuck took place inde-
pendently of outside influence. A spiritual state in
the form of "consciousness of guilt or of sin" precedes
conversion. Let a few significant expressions quoted
by Starbuck* be presented here: 8 M 17. "I had
experienced nothing but a great and unaccountable
wretchedness." F 15. "I fought and struggled in
prayer to get the feeling that God was with me."
M 15. "A sense of sinfulness and estrangement from
God grew on me daily." F. 16. "I had an awful
feeling of helplessness."- These few examples, which
. 3 Ibid.,, p. 184.
* Starbuck, p. 6of.
E M. and F. stand for male and female. The numeral indicates
the age. (Tr.) ;
The Progress of Religious Development 4$
can be multiplied many times from Starbuck's abund-
ant material, show that the converted youthful Amer-i
icans of our time under similar external incitement had
experiences similar to those of Moritz, Schleiermacher,
and Brinkman who grew up under pietistic influences
in the eighteenth century.
The sect known as The Exclusive Society of Religh
ous Virtuosos or the Specifically Qualified, before the
reception of new members, has to examine them as to
their suitability ; the more suddenly and startlingly the
moral-religious change of mind occurs, the more clearly
recognizable it is. For this reason the sect favors
the catastrophic course of development with its emo-
tional disturbances, which reaches its culmination in
conversion. On the other hand, the church, "the uni-
versal institution for the saving of the masses," which
like the state, as Max Weber says, claims that every
child belongs as a member by birth, places a much
higher emphasis upon conversion. Thus in these
churches there is the possibility that more or less
sudden changes which might be considered as being
the essence of conversion, are not interpreted and
explained as such. At times the religious awakening
is connected with the confirmation or with the first
partaking of the Lord's Supper. A Catholic woman
says: "My brother was a model; after his first com-
munion he was transformed." Starbuck 7 has the fol-
lowing report of a young man: "When attending holy
communion at sixteen, I was filled with a wonderful
feeling and lifted up to a sense of duty. It was a
spontaneous awakening within me."
In a striking way Starbuck 8 compares the extremely
Weber, II, pp. an, 222.
7 Starbuck, p. 200.
8 Ibid., p. 298.
46 The Religious Development of Adolescents
emotional mode of progress with that of an insect,
which changes from the larva stage to that of the
pupa and finally to that of a full-grown butterfly.
Besides the "catastrophic" course there is another,
which is recognizable by the fact that the religious
person grows calmly and steadily, "as a tree which
gains a little year by year; and when the process is
completed, one can only say: "It was then a tiny
sprout, now it is a sturdy oak." Generally persons
whose development has a calm continuous course are
able to report little of it. As an evaluation of the
continuous course I am presenting a girl's diary notes,
a critical judgment of which follows at the end.
The girl is the only child of religious parents.
Father a merchant in good circumstances. Protestant.
1 2 1/2 years old: "Today I want to die. I lied
again, and I have prayed so often for strength. But
it will never be any different, I shall pray once more,
and I already feel that tonight I shall die (she had
a severe attack of dysentery), and if I do not die
tonight, I shall commit suicide. First before I am
dead, I shall quickly pray again. I remember how
our principal was recently speaking of pardon for
thieves. For if I live any longer, I shall have to lie
again and again."
141^ years old: "Now confirmation is over. The
door has been passed, through which the child steps
forth as an adult. Over my life's path is always to
stand the motto which hung over my door : Be faithful
unto death. . . .
"Many serious words were said to me by parents,
.aunts, and other relatives, and if I take them to heart
The Progress of Religious Development 47
they will help me to be able to fulfill my confirmation
motto, and so enable me to attain the crown of life."
A week later: "God help me so that my first Lord's
Supper may be a blessing."
15^ years old: "I wish I could take part once in
a Christian conference ; it must be wonderful, thus for
a week to speak only of one's Savior and hear Him
spoken of as my dear father is now doing." Two
days later: "I should so like to be first in the class.
I wonder if that is called ambition. But I should so
like to give my dear parents the pleasure. May the
Lord help me, for without Him it will not happen."
.Four weeks later: "I am being prepared for the
entrance examination in C. I pray my Lord and
Savior to help me in this significant turning point of
my life." Five weeks later, after failing this examina-
tion: "I did not pass the examination indeed the
ways of God are wonderful. I am preparing for
another school and if again I do not succeed, then I
shall understand by that that the LORD has some-
thing else in view for me."
1 6 years old: in the new boarding school: "I get
up at six o'clock, dress, converse with my God; then
we have coffee together, then have family worship. . . .
"I found a friend. She is a child of God, too. . . .
"I like it here very well, because I am much under
God's word and can hear so many really anointed
"A week ago there was a storm here that lasted
fully ten hours. Then God showed Himself again in
his omnipotence and greatness. Thus children of God
again recognized how great is the kindness of the
Almighty, who has preserved all of us who love and
48 The Religious Development of Adolescents
17 years old: "He is called Wonderful! I am
almost dying of joy! That is not caused by the air of
spring alone. In my heart it is spring too. Yester-
day's meeting with 'him' is a splendid answer to
20 years old: "I saw the sea with laughing blue sky
above it. I saw it enveloped in sea-mist, and when this
lifted I saw it kissed by the crimson rays of the setting
sun. LORD, how wonderful are Thy works! ...
"I said 'No,' I have talked it over with God. I
have no feeling for him at all. . . .
"Now I am reading all sorts of things about the
modern view of life."
22 years old: "I am making myself thoroughly
acquainted with commentaries of the New Testa-
"Much old stuff is disappearing from my beliefs,
like the beginning of the Second Article."
23 years old, after a severe illness: "Oh, if I did
not have God!"
In A's notes the influence of a godly environment
is clearly perceptible; the noun (Lord) and the pro-
nouns which refer to God, and further expressions
like "child of God," "crown of life," show the con-
ventional character of A's notes. In spite of that,
one has the impression that a personal development
of the writer occurred, a development, indeed, which
has to overcome no very strong opposition. The
steady, continuous course, as A's reports present it,
does not recur in such purity in the material accessible
to me. The doubts of one's own worth, as they
appear in the beginning of development, disappear, and
neither personal mishap (failing an examination), nor
love experiences, nor intellectual doubts, nor illness,
The Progress of Religious Development 49
nor natural phenomena can so seriously disturb her
that the calm course of development is interrupted. A
third kind of development takes place midway between
the catastrophic and the continuous courses ; it is illus-
B, the seminary student, later Volkschule teacher.
Forefathers, Protestant emigrants. Parents, crafts-
men, of deep piety, which, however, is never expressed
in words. An earlier teacher gives this opinion of B :
"melancholy, dreamy; no especially prominent capa-
bilities. Internally strong nature, compositions show
his original thoughts. No facility of expression.
Conduct appears awkward; also many conflicts with
ithe rules of the house are explained by this." As a
hild B prayed every day and expected for himself
&n especial interposition of God Himself; when this
idid not follow during the confirmation nor at the
partaking of the Lord's Supper, it had a certain sober-
ing effect upon him. Notes from his diary:
i$y 2 years old: "Again I feel miserable and
wretched, I do not know what may be the reason. ...
Lately doubts have come to me again followed by
grievous questionings: Is there S God? What is He
like? Then my character is altered in every respect;
for before, when I meditated, it was easy for me to for-
get myself. But now? I think I am going crazy. . . .
Today there was a fearful storm. Did not sleep prac-
tically all last night, but instead I reflected and medi-
tated; almost became convinced that there is no God,
or at least only a very severe one. I think I am about
crazy. . . . Last night after long thought I came to this
conclusion: I shall never be a regular Christian, for
50 The Religious Development of Adolescents
the reason so easily said and yet so momentous, that
way down deep I believe that there is no God. How-
ever I still believe. First an inner voice speaks to me ;
secondly faith works a quieting effect on me. For
example, I compare faith and myself to a wanderer in
the desert who is lying half fainting on the road con-
vinced that he has no longer a chance for rescue. Then
he suddenly finds a stone with various marks which he
does not understand, and yet he thinks : What other
reason can there be for this stone than as a sign post
to an oasis ? The half fainting one gains new courage,
he gets up quickly and reaches his goal. Much like
that is my faith constituted. I want to cease my
melancholy meditations Oh, that I may succeed ! and
believe in God, at one time so that, if there is a God,
I shall not be entirely estranged from Him, and so
that He will have to know my honest striving; at
another time, because thus I shall lay my foundation
for courage and endurance. Perhaps a way out will
be found from the labyrinth of questions. My chief
command is to be : Love thy neighbor ; let that be the
love, the love of God, that I shall have. If nothing
else comes of it, I shall at least hope for one thing,
namely, that whatever I do, that may be done to me,
whether it be good or evil. Let that be my reasonable
service to God. ...
"The melancholy meditation returns. For today
I considered this and that and discovered to my despair
that I no longer knew at all why I could write : There
is no God. I have been praying after a long time to
escape my doubts in some other way. To whom ? To
the invisible God, who is still unknown to me and
unrecognized, in whose existence I doubt and who, if
The Progress of Religious Development 51
He really exists, can be only a severe and zealous God.
... I had prayed to the unknown and doubted Being, to
give me a sign of which I might know whether the
Bible and our faith were fancies. I had idled about
my devotions and promised that if I were not discov-
ered I would take it as a sign. I have as yet got noth-
ing, but I have not yet reached insight; however, on
the other hand, I have become calmer. ... I have come
to God again. Have become calmer, and perhaps the
time is not far off when I shall be completely reconciled
with God and shall believe. My lessons in religion are
bringing me to this point. I have vowed to myself that
if I get a Very good' in industry and conduct, I shall
understand from that that there is a God. My gift of
thinking in religious matters, of composing, I want to
use for church songs. I have chosen, for my next
theme: 'Customary Folk Phrases, Characteristics of
Secular Song Writers, and the Motives of their
Poems. . . .
"If this vexation still keeps up I shall go crazy.
Again I have had so mean a view of God, that if there
is a God, He must be ashamed of Himself."
i $34 years old (after a bad school report):
"Thoughts that I may not pass have come to me again.
Prayed again today. . . .
"Been to church. Confirmation. I was fearfully
bored. God is a spirit ! God is life ! Life is na-
ture! The only answer not arising from man to the
question: 'What is God? What is God like?' Christ
gave us. He says to the Samaritan woman : 'God is a
spirit.' If God is a spirit, then that is not saying that
God is any person. For if God is a spirit, Christ may
mean by that that He pervades everything. Every
2 The Religious Development of Adolescents
breath of wind, every natural phenomenon, everything,
even the smallest creature conceals God in itself. Now
it will be said : 'Did not Christ represent Himself as the
Son of (this) God, and can he say He is God's Son?'
I say yes. For Christ, whom by our faith we can con-
sider the omnipotent Savior working through his love,
is the One who best conceived this Being God in nature.
Now if God is nature, the greatness of His attributes
is by no means obliterated; on the contrary, we can
even better view them. If God is the all-pervading
power, He can nevertheless be illumined by a spirit."
1 6 years old: "God the Holy Ghost. . . .
"As the third person of the triune Godhead, the
Holy Ghost is revered by Christendom. I would not
exactly say wrongly but yet unnecessarily. For can the
spirit be a person in its own right, which proceeds
from a person that we can think of only as a spirit ; can
he be something existent ? I say no. God is a spirit,
the Holy Ghost is His spirit. God's spirit is Holy;
there is no Holy Ghost besides. Therefore God's
spirit is the Holy Ghost. However, as with mankind
there are not two persons present or imaginable, -we
can probably think the same of God. God's being is
the only spirit, therefore God's spirit is equal to the
Holy Ghost; what is equal is not one and the same,
but just equal. It may be said: God's spirit = the
Holy Ghost. ...
"But since there is no other person in the Godhead
than Christ and God the Father, we may maintain
that God's spirit not only equals the Holy Ghost, but
by the term Holy Ghost only God's spirit can be
meant, proceeding out of God the Father and God the
Son; and besides God the Father and God the Son
there is no other person, the spirit of the diune God
The Progress of Religious Development 53
must be one and the same with the Holy Ghost for
reasons that permit no contradiction."
i6j^ years old (after no notes had followed for
half a year) : "A retrospect! I became characterless!
I no longer had strength over myself to defy the
devil, pleasure-seeking. I lived beyond my allowance,
and since one sin grows out of another, misrepresented
my expenses as in order ; consequently deceived my kind
parents. I neglected my parents. With horror I have
to admit to myself : I almost forgot my parents. For
if I had always had their sacred image before my eyes,
should I have got into debt?" "Now I have a letter
ready for the magazine. Would to God, it (a story)
may be accepted. A stone would be lifted from my
heart. Dear God, cause it (the manuscript) to be
accepted. I will give Thee, or if not Thee, then the
poor, a good part of my small fee. Then I would pay
my debt, enrich the treasury of our club, and give my
parents joy at Christmas. Dear God, pray give me the
strength not to yield this time. Strengthen that on
which I am now placing my whole hope. Great Spirit
in Whom I believe, Thou wilt not take it amiss if now
and then my senses are confused and go astray. God,
Thou madest me so! I act as best I can. Again,
great Spirit : grant that my manuscript be accepted, and
that I perhaps may get a little money."
PRAYER OF A THINKER
Art Thou God?
Light Thou art that outshines sunlight,
That above the stars doth flare,
Life Thou art which Thou hast wakened,
Nowhere yea and everywhere.
Art Thou God?
Art Thou God?
54 The Religious Development of Adolescents
Go into the silent darkness
See what wonderworking's rife
Underneath the snow's soft blanket,
Gentle whispers, there is life
There is God.
17 years old:
Beside the road in beggar's clothes
An old man in the snow.
I heard him weakly lisping: "God,
God, bread!" I shared his woe,
I stooped beside the gray old man,
But he was cold and dead.
But still I hear him call out: "God,"
And begging Him for bread. . . .
"Now I have become calmer. My heaven-storming
arrogance has been broken. My guiding star is to be
just hard work. Spiritually I am still dead. To be
sure, I pray, but only from prudence, not from faith.
I can't help it if I dissect or have to dissect everything
under the microscope and then can observe only germ
and atom. Yet in spite of that have grown calmer.
"What is the world?
A gloomy game.
What is the goal?
Fortune and fame,
And what kind of a hand
Holds the power?
The hand of Night.
Say, Brother Wind,
Whence comest thou
And whither bound?
Thou manchild, thou,
Whence comest thou
The Progress of Religious Development 55
And whither bound,
O Brother Wind.
Thou dost know!
Whether thou com'st from naught or no?"
1 8 years old :
Shall I pray for it? Thou wilt do it of Thine own accord
But let me, for working with Thee I fancy
I shall finish it. O truth be truth.
World be real ! Delusion, thou nothingness be so in fact.
Existence be truth, truth existence !
(To the 2 ist year there are notes like the following,
which tell of weariness with life and show the religious
strain not at all, or at least only slightly.)
20 years old: "Now I feel that way again. Dis-
satisfaction, disgust, indifference O insipid schoojboy
life such a taste. If I could make an end of living,
raging, writing I wonder if it will last like this. It is
nothing but suffering."
20J/ 2 years old (in a letter to his only love) :
"You keep me very busy. You are decadent. High
desires and little capacity finally you cannot help it.
you are just a link in the great chain of happenings,
which is continually paid out paid out, a chain ? Who
knows. You have attained such a pretty skepticism
so handsome underneath. Then why do you keep turn-
ing up ? Would it not be better for you to disappear
into nothingness? I wanted to live an ideal life. I
doubt whether after the many defeats and apparent
recoveries (apparent victories), a real recovery is pos-
sible. What am I writing? I wonder if I am too weak
for something definite, too cowardly for a last step
56 The Religious Development of Adolescents
into the bottomless pit The worst, most fearful thing
in the world is willingness without the ability. I have
thrown everything overboard, God first ; and yet I am
afraid to pay over the rest."
2i>^ years old: "Two souls in my breast. What
shall I write on my banner? Death, no, captivity of
love desire soul. Matthew 6, 24: No man can
serve two masters. Then I will let the soul of my duty
grow strong in the service of its grave and hoary mis-
tress. Now I shall serve the one strict, severe goddess,
Truth, or else her image, Science."
(From about 22 years of age the notes become less
frequent and shorter; they refer generally to experi-
ences of an external kind. Descriptions of states of
mind disappear, an external sign that a certain propor-
tion has entered into his mental life. After the 24th
year there are no more notes.)
23 years old: "God will not let me fall. Then what
have I to fear ? But if God does not preserve me, if I
cannot believe in the victory of truth, why shall I not
perish? In this case, dying is the only good deed that
is to be thought of or desired; better to be extinguished
than to live a false life My life will itself be a reve-
Let us ever ascend On holy heights
From peak to peak, We'll take our stand
Wandering on With joyful hearts
joyful to speak Survey the land
And when again
We descend to the vale ;
May laughter and joy
And song prevail.
The Progress of Religious Development 57
The course of B's religious development is especially
rich in violent emotional experiences. These find
expression in the diary in exclamations like "I am going
crazy" when he was fifteen, and in the thoughts of sui-
cide up to his twentieth year. But there is a significant
difference between this and the catastrophic course
which, in conversion, reaches a definite culmination in
which tranquillity suddenly appears, and the convert
has no realization of the agitation which may possibly
set in somewhat later. B's development does not show
this sudden transition from an experience full of strong
emotion to calmness; instead there follows a gradual
dying out ; the emotional agitations at twenty-one have
lost something in severity and strength, until at about
the twenty-fourth year tranquillity conies. The slowly
growing conviction of security in God has become so
strong that from now on proportion and steadfastness
of the whole mental life are assured. The poem at the
end of the notes with its thoroughly symbolical intent
points to the lofty frame of mind of a steady spiritual
growth. Since B's development shows evidences both
of the catastrophic course and of the continuous, it
must be designated as a mixed form. If we ask about j
the underlying causes of the different forms, we shall.'
find them in the differences of temperaments. A pas- 1
sionate, impetuous temperament doubtless inclines to a
highly agitated emotional development as Starbuck
has already shown. Weakened nerves and sickliness,
as we must assume in Reiser and as is reported by
Lotte Schleiermacher, surely tend to make the religious
development unsteady and impulsive. Allusion has
already been made to the encouragement which the
catastrophic course of development receives through
58 The Religious Development of Adolescents
the conversion customs of certain religious denomina-
The light-hearted and even-tempered in contrast
with the melancholy will usually have a calm and peace-
ful development. Starbuck presents several circum-
stances which in his opinion promote the calmer devel-
opment : in the first place he names the child's religious
environment. But not any religious environment is
meant, only one in which piety reigns, which avoids
excesses and does not put the emphasis so much on
religious doctrine as on life. Above everything, the
teachers and the pastors who instruct the youths in
religion must take care that no contradiction is to be
traced between their teachings and living. For the
youth who is naturally critical and inclined toward
radical interpretations, such contradiction is sure to
lead to considerable emotional disturbance. 8
A grew up in a family and a boarding school in an
atmosphere which was favorable to religious ^develop-
ment. In the literary productions of such gymnasium
students as sons of merchants, in cases in which the
development takes a "negative" direction, one does not
find that sort of violent inner agitation which the
diaries and poems of young seminary students display.
Religious instruction in the seminary, on which more
time was spent than in other schools and which at times
made no small demands ^on the intellect and on the
memory, and the regular family worship and church
going, the neglect of which was punished, often gave B,
and C, as well as D and P occasion for inner religious
conflicts. 10 The life in the boarding school, apart from
the periods of actual instruction favors the further
8 P. 59.
10 See Appendix D, p. 118.
The Progress of Religious Development 59
exchange of thought of young people and thus leads to
an, increase of the tension. Diversions, such as family
life affords, there are none. The natural impulse of
youths for freedom and activity, to which certain limits
are set by the house rules, tends to pursue its course
unhindered in the conversation of the intellectually
In the narrow common life at the brotherhood's
school at Barby, young Schleiermacher and some of his
friends at one time formed a club of "Independent
Thinkers," in which was forecast their later freedom
of the Moravians. The boys and young men of the
nineteenth-century schools of the brotherhood still live
in the two novels of H. Anders Kriiger, in which he
has given such a vivid account of their religious con-
flicts. Evidence of the degree to which the club
strengthened and deepened individual religious experi-
ence is furnished by the extravagant poems which six-
teen-year-old N dedicated to the Bible circle to which
he belonged." The youth who has become conscious
of his own individual ego keeps zealous watch lest his
personal freedom be touched. If in recognition of his
own weakness he has limits placed upon his freedom,
these violent disturbances of development may be the
consequence. Like any other constraint, one in reli-
gious things is calculated to interfere with a calm even
development. Starbuck 12 presents the report of a
man, who tells how powerfully Sabbath keeping was
impressed on him as a child; the report goes: "On
Sundays we could not whittle, go faster than a walk,
go down to the river, laugh, play in any way, whistle,
etc. No one who has not passed through it can imag-
11 See Appendix, p. 123.
l$ Starbuck, p. 302.
60 The Religious Development of Adolescents
ine how I felt as Saturday night drew on. It was as if
I were about to walk through the valley of the shadow
of death. We were obliged to spend the day at church
and Sunday School, both of which I loathed." The
affecting child tragedy of little Meretlein in Grunen
Heinrich, which Gottfried Keller composed from notes
of his Pietist days, will always furnish the best exam-
ple of a religious upbringing that seriously interfered
with a young man's spiritual and bodily development.
As a further condition for a steady course of devel-
opment Starbuck states that "it must correspond at
every point with the child's needs." He illustrates this
by the story of a clergyman known to him, who will-
ingly entered into the doubts of his youthful son and
thus helped him to overcome his mental unrest. And
Herman Anders Kriiger tells of the thorough under-
standing on the part of educators of the religious need
of a pupil in his Moravian boy's story, Gottfried
Kdmpfer. In order to avoid all unnecessary tension so
good a friend of the youth of big cities as the Ham-
burg pastor, Clemens Schultz, 18 considers necessary for
this a church opportunity, not a religious opportunity
("religious opportunity is nonsense!"). On the part
of the evangelical church there is an inclination to con-
sider religious disturbances in youth unavoidable, for
"a strong subjective autonomous element" 14 is charac-
teristic of Protestantism as a religion. If on the part
of Catholics the harmonious growth of the child's
religion into that of the adult is considered best, one
must also admit that the development is very hard to
attain without violent disturbances in the period of
storm and stress. Jakob Hofmann 1B reports of the
13 Schultz, p. 40.
"Richert, p. 47,
15 Hofmann, p. 247.
The Progress of Religious Development 61
Catholics questioned by him, that only a fifth had been
free of conflicts and struggles. The influence of the
Catholic Church is usually so strong that it "fixes per-
manently the mode of contemplation and the appro-
priate religious feeling even in the case of radical
changes of view," 16 as Wilhelm Stahlin brings out in
a discussion of Coenobium's Almanac of religious psy-
chology. August Messer's story in Glauben und> Wis-
sen, which tells of his inward development, illustrates
this fact in the case of a single individual. In the last
remarks we are touching a field that is to receive spe-
cial treatment under the title "Direction of Develop-
To recapitulate, we have pointed out the significance
of the religious community for the course of develop-
ment of an individual. The continuous course is un-
usual in all ultra religious communities, 'for these sects
favor that culminating in "conversion." Although the
church considers the continuous development as the
ideal, yet we have to accept the "mixed course" as the
commonest form among her members.
19 Z. f. Relig. Psy., VI, p. 153.
DIRECTION OF DEVELOPMENT
WHETHER the youth's religious development re-
sembles the continuous or the catastrophic form, he
strives to grasp the religious ideas imparted to him by
his environment, while they are generally accepted
uncritically by the child. Then, too, the child in most
cases shows merely a receptive attitude toward religion,
but the youth of his own accord begins to take the
religious tradition seriously. When I2j4 years old,
A has such a strong feeling of guilt after a lie that she
wants to die. From 15 on B worries over the existence
and the nature of God ; and as he doubts God, so does
he doubt his own worth. B is surprised that religious
questions take such violent hold on him, while earlier
he easily disregarded them.
Further development may lead to a deepening and
strengthening of transmitted religious ideas: it may
thus be positive as in A's case. But the development
may also lead to a rejection of the religious tradition,
to a break with it. The development then, as in D's
case, 1 takes a negative turn. It may also waver in the
direction it takes. Seventeen-year-old B broke with
the religion of his childhood; his prayer at 18 points
to a progressive religious ecstasy, as opposed to the
primitive petitions and vows of his I5th and i6th
years; at 20 he feels himself a materialist, and at 23
1 See Appendix.
Direction of Development 63
he is again in a positive relation with religion that is
It often happens that youths in large cities renounce
church and religion as E did. As to what Gunther
Dehn says, anyone who is at all familiar with the cir-
cumstances will agree : "I have never been able to dis-
cover traces of a painful parting with ideas that have
become dear to me in childhood; and more, I have
always found that one all too quickly appropriates the
fine phrases which testify less of pious mental conflicts
than of thoughtless superficiality as, for example, that
the priests are deceiving the world, that religion is
bosh and that science has proved that there is no God."
In this case one can no more speak of real development
than one can of a sudden change in the form of faith
when there is no inward motive for it ; in such a devel-
opment one has to understand nothing more than a
change in the existing environmental conditions.
Likewise if one means by development the steady
cultivation and extension of an existing talent, power,
or function* then in a violent break with traditional
religion, such as Gunther Dehn describes, one should
not use the word development : for even the concept of
"negative development," which may lead to a complete
rejection of religion, presupposes an overcoming of
the existing condition from within. Such a break as
Dehn describes, which consists in uncritically giving up
a tradition, means that another tradition will be
accepted just as uncritically and credulously. Within
the newly received tradition a development toward a
religious substitute is conceivable, somewhat as one
proceeds from mere imitative babbling of socialistic
dogmas to a deeper understanding of them, then learns
to prize the dogmas less, becomes more patient with
64 The Religious Development of Adolescents
those who think differently, but still holds to the social-
istic idea with credulous fervor and is ready to make
sacrifices for its realization. A negative development
of the religious substitute is just as possible : experience
and reflection may so operate that the value of the
community as over against that of the self-conscious,
happily creative individual is less highly prized, and
the ideal of a free and harmonious personality or of a
super-man may take on a religious coloring.
BEGINNING AND DURATION OF
ONLY in the cases that show a catastrophic course
can there be any certainty about the time of its begin-
ning. When the development runs continuously, the
transitions from the child's religion to that of the
youth are fluent and unnoticeable. Physical maturity
furnishes no dependable hint of the religious, since
bodily and spiritual developments do not run parallel.
The reserve which the youth often shows toward
adults in respect to his spiritual life considerably mini-
mizes the value of a stranger's observation. All state-
ments that are made from memory about the begin*
ning of the religious development one must accept with
caution: only when a first religious awakening is con-
nected with the confirmation, the first confession, or
some similar experience, or when conversion took place,
can the testimony as to time, made from memory, lay
any claim to trustworthiness. Sure signs that the reli-
gious development has begun, however, we can recog-
nize in the observations in the diary of the adolescent,
and likewise inferences can be drawn from the youth-
ful poems as to the time of the religious awakening,
for the heightened religious experience strives for
When the diary is given up, we may conclude that
the storm arid stress period is at an end. On the basis
66 The Religious Development of Adolescents
of the material available for this study, it would seem
that the religious development had definitely begun
with the completion of the ifth year and that after
the 22nd year came a definite cessation. Starbuck has
more carefully investigated the age at which the con-
versions occurred while incidentally furnishing evidence
of other matters. Other American investigators have
also tried to establish the age of conversion. From
the different investigations of Stanley Hall, 1 Coe,
Starbuck, and Lancaster it appears that the religious
awakening begins between 12 and 20 years of age.
But the conversions are not distributed evenly over
these years. In women the process usually begins
earlier than in men. If the statistical collections of
Starbuck and of Stanley Hall are dependable, in men
most conversion occurs at 16, while in women very
many conversions occur not only at 16 but at 13. As
early as 9 years of age conversions sometimes occur,
according to Starbuck, and according to Hammond's
investigation the loth year is one of the most frequent !
But we must ask somewhat doubtfully whether one
can at such an early age really have had experiences
which are of fundamental significance for the whole
future development. Hammond's important time dif-
ference is perhaps explained by the fact that he does
not employ the concept of conversion as a sudden
change in religious habits of life so sharply as other
investigators; perhaps where conversion at the age of
childhood is spoken of, a "first" deep impression is
meant, which is subsequently interpreted as religious.
By Catholics the day of their first communion is
sometimes given as the time at which they awake to a
religious life. Since the first communion occurs as
1 Stanley Hall, p. a88.
Beginning and Duration of Development 6,7
early as the 1 2th year or before, there is here a certain
contradiction to our supposition that we may speak of
religious development as more or less coincident with
the beginning of mental and physical maturation. We
meet this contradiction by admitting that we are deal-
ing not only with the experience connected with the
first communion but also, as in the case of American
child conversions, with those of the "first" impressions
of emotion, the seizure, the awful wonderment which
later gain a religious significance ; or we have to admit
the Catholic brotherhood of faith works for an early
beginning of development. On the basis of the exisk
ing observation material, the contradiction cannot be
reconciled. A later beginning of religious development
is indicated primarily by the fact that the other higher
spiritual functions in the normal youth usually unfold
at the earliest at about the I4th year. (By spiritual
functions we mean that complex of mental conduct
which has reference to the objective system of belief,
as well as to the social structures, to domestic economy,
to science and religion.) It is significant that the
religious development seems first to appear in the i6th
year in the life of the genial Otto Braun, whose spirit-
ual life developed with such astonishing rapidity.
LOVE AND RELIGION IN ADOLESCENCE
FEUERBACH and other defenders of materialism
have made the attempt to derive the spiritual life and
with it also the religious from physical experiences.
More recently Sigmund Freud and his disciples have
attributed the higher mental states and processes
including the religious to the physical sensations of the
sexual libido. Girgensohn, in his book on "the mental
components of the religious experience," has strikingly
criticized the psycho-analyst theories for they are
theories and not facts and prescribed proper limits.
If we here contrast our view with that of the psycho-
analysts, it is because there have been repeated
attempts made by them to explain youth's religious
development on the basis of the sexual. Even if no
sexual factors can be discovered in the religious devel-
opment of adults, still that of adolescents may possibly
be somewhat dependent upon them. We shall next,
therefore, have a few psycho-analysts speak, and then
we shall criticize them on the basis of our data.
In his very constructive essay "Leonardo da Vinci,
a Psycho-sexual Study of an Infantile Reminiscence,"
Freud writes: "In ,the parental complex we thus
recognize the roots of religious need; the almighty
just God, and kindly nature appear to us as grand
sublimations of father and mother, or rather as reviv-
als and restorations of the infantile conceptions of
Love and Religion in Adolescence 69
both parents. Religiousness is biologically traced to
the long period of helplessness and need of help of
the little child; the child grows up and realizes his
loneliness and weakness in the presence of the great
forces of life, perceives his condition as in childhood
and seeks to disavow his despair through a regressive
revival of the protecting forces of childhood. 1
In like manner the English psycho-analytical physi-
cian and psychologist, Havelock Ellis, 2 actually traces
a wife's frequent youthful storms and stresses to frus-
trated sex impulses. And in the appendix of his book,
as a typical example, he publishes the report of a cul-
tured English wife and mother: "As a child and girl I
had very strong religious feelings. ... These feelings
were much the same as I experienced later sexually;
I felt toward God what I imagined I should like to
feel for my husband if I married. 3
Stanley Hall, who was the first university professor
to recognize Freud,* refers to the close connection
which exists between the religious awakening and
puberty. For Stanley Hall 5 the new insight into the
parallelism between religion and love signifies perhaps
the chief of the many important contributions which
the modern psychology has made to piety and is one
of the most sublime and fruitful themes of our day.
He designates 12 points, in which religion and love
show the closest similarity, particularly in youth : e
1. Both risk death, but may however triumph over it.
2. Both make the soul highly sensitive to nature.
1 Freud, pp. 103-104.
2 Ellis, p. 197. ?^
3 P. 229; cf. M., p. I22f.
* Pfister, p. ii. '
5 Stanley Hall, Adolescence, II. 29'?.
Ibid., 2 95 ff,
70 The Religious Development of Adolescents
3. Both have their fanaticisms.
4. Lovers are nest builders; religious persons build
5. Religion, like love and the sea, ebbs and flows, modes
of abnegation alternating with those of aggression and
6. Love and religion incite the soul to rhythmic move-
ments in poetry, song and dance.
7. Not only do both abase but both exalt the self.
8. Both have their most varied and accurately prescribed
forms of etiquette and ceremony.
9. Love and religion tend to exalt all possible objects of
nature to fetishes and to worship them.
10. Man and woman in the course of history have mutu-
ally influenced each other, and thus man and God
mutually influence each other.
11. The Christian loves as the woman does; there is a
quiet, retirement and fond contemplation of the image
of the dear one.
12. Once more, love and religion are analogous in that
both vivify and lend the immense influence of their
vitality to almost every act or object.
Such parallels, according to Stanley Hall, might be
easily multiplied. True love and religious experience
are almost impossible before adolescence. The birth-
day of the strongest passion is the day of the greatest
need of religion, and is also the period when the calen-
tures of both are in greatest danger of becoming con-
fused one with the other, so that devotional and pas-
sional states may become mutually provocative. It is
only in later life that their spheres become more
Stanley Hall's analogies contain a few correct
observations, and much besides that is false and trivial.
Some of the similarities mentioned by him are so gen-
Love and Religion in Adolescence 71
eral that they suit other ages quite as well as adoles-
cence and may apply to other life situations. (For
instance, Point 3 : the desire for power and rule may
also degenerate into fanaticism ; Point 4 : the domestic
impulse may also cause building; Point 5: conditions
of exhaustion and lassitude follow those of mental
excitement.) Further the designated points assert all
sorts of things about the same and similar effects, with-
out anything convincing being asserted about the
mutual relation of love and religion. Concerning
Point 2 it is to be noted that love not only arouses a
feeling for nature but generally also the emotional life ;
for every true love causes an arousal and increase of
the customary psychic states designated as "feelings,"
a condition which is also favorable to religion.
Indeed love is able so to inspire a youth that he rep-
resents in poems the object of his affection as of divine
or heavenly appearance. But these are not cases of
religious experience; expressions and figures of speech
are only borrowed from the religious sphere. Let a
youthful poem of 1 6-year-old Friedrich Hebbel, 7 Long-
ing To L, serve as an illustration of this process :
Sweet one, divine one, give ear unto me
Give hope to my poor, pleading quest,
For I'm no more frightened by life's stormy sea
Thru night and thru mist I eome gladly to thee
To warm myself at thy breast.
Should worlds cast themselves from their limitless space
In my path, I'd fly eagerly through,
Heavenly exalted one, thee to embrace
I should fly to the clouds, even heaven I'd face
Yea, hell itself would I subdue.
The pathos of these lines discloses the devastating
'Hebbel, JPerke.'Vll, pp. 9, ai.
72 The Religious Development of Adolescents
experience which called them forth in a somewhat
In another youthful poem of 1 7-year-old Hebbel,
Friendship, also directed "to L" he actually creates a
myth which tells how Love comes down from heaven
and, together with Youth, pours "out of his eternal
abundance the warmest of divine feeling into his cold
heart," but how Satan "slyly steals the veil" from Love
and with it clothes "the very sly devil Perfidy," so
that he now goes about thus disguised in it to "kill by
lust and deceit the beautiful faith in the worth of man,
in God and eternity."
When Stanley Hall speaks of the interdependence
of puberty and religion, he should more fully substan-
tiate this claim. The conception of sexuality, even, is
not adhered to in its original physical meaning by
Stanley Hall and other psycho-analysts. While Freud
in his early writings defined this concept in strictly
physical terms, he later saw the need of giving it a much
broader interpretation. He writes: "We assign to
the sexual life also tender feelings, which are derived
from the primitive sexual emotions, even when these
emotions are shut off from their original sexual goal or
have exchanged this goal for another, no longer sexual.
For that reason we prefer to speak of psycho-sexuality,
laying stress on the fact that one should not overlook
nor under-value the psychic factor of the sexual life.
We use the word, sexuality, in the same comprehensive
sense as the word, love. 8 In this word of Freud there
is confession that it is no longer practicable to con-
ceive sexual physical sensations as the immediate cause
of spiritual experiences.
No more may it be proved that physical maturity
8 Freud, '20, I, 92.
Love and Religion in Adolescence 73
causally conditions the psychic. On the basis of his
material collected in the Berlin Fortbildungschule, Lau
arrives at this conclusion: "The period of most rapid
growth and of puberty is accompanied by the awaken-
ing of the ethical personality and the transition of the
child's emotional life into that of the adult." Star-
buck made similar statements in respect to the religious
life of youth ; according to Starbuck the period of most
rapid bodily growth is the time when conversion is
most likely to occur ; on the other hand conversion and
puberty tend to supplement each other in time rather
than to coincide. 8 The statistical collections of Lau
and Starbuck draw no conclusions which really supple-
ment or enrich the impression which the watchful
observer of young people gets from association with
them; the physical and psychic maturing processes
generally begin about the same time. But while the
sexual ripening process ends at about the sixteenth
year with boys, and with girls at about the fifteenth,
"psychic puberty" lasts till the twentieth year. But
for the religious development it is important that it
begin rather late and last over to an age in which the
process of physical maturing has long since reached its
For a great number of cases of morbid religiosity
Pfister " has shown sexual components. But when it
is maintained by psycho-analysts, as by Bleuler in the
Zeitschrift fur Religion Psychologie, 12 that onanism
and similar sexual perversions precede youthful con-
sciousness of sin, then surely this claim goes too far.
In the numerous cases given by Starbuck there is no
8 Starbuck, pp. 38, 41.
10 Cf. Chapter V.
11 P. 35i.
74 The Religious Development of Adolescents
evidence for this; and also in the manuscript material
on which the present work is based no confirmation of
this assertion can be found.
Neither have I as yet found proof of another claim
of Freud; namely, that psycho-analysis "reminds us
daily how youthful persons lose their religion and
faith as soon as their father's authority is destroyed."
In B's diary are passages which point to an intimate
relation to his father at a time when his faith in God
was already destroyed ; the cases of D and E are simi-
lar in this respect. A confirmation of Bleuler's claim
as well as of Freud's appears in Strindberg's autobi-
ography; 13 but here too the conflict with the parents
is neither the only nor the immediate cause of the
break with religious faith, and besides the conscious-
ness of sin is artificially increased by his reading.
In cases of sickness and degeneration, as those
reported by Pfister show, sex feeling may be the means
by which the religious life receives a special coloring;
but the religious experience itself is always independent
and primary and not to be accounted for by any of its
disparate elements ; and no psychological analysis will
ever be in position to reveal the mystery of the experi-
encing of God. Of psycho-analysis we must demand
that it point out the sexual components in the religious
experience itself, which it will never succeed in doing.
Girgensohn in his studies in the psychology of religion
observes that no sexual motives are visible to the
unbiased reader, and the subjects, Girgensohn calls
them "observers," "were aware in no place of the
concurrence of sexual motives"; and also that there
was "not the slightest cause" for concealing them. 1 *
13 P. 138.
l * Girgensohn, pp. 418-419.
Love and Religion in Adolescence 75
In the diaries and reports lying before me as in Flour-
noy's observation, the sexual-erotic factor appears in
no such way as to permit one to speak of it as a leading
or dominating motive in religious development. On
the other hand, when it is said by psycho-analysts that
unconscious sexual components, in changed or "subli-
mated" form, have participated in the building up of
the religious experience, Girgensohn truly remarks:
"Now that is the transforming function, the real domi-
nating motive, the real creator of the spiritual process.
Then indeed the sex feeling is not actually the substan-
tial one, but it is only matter for the mysterious spirit-
ual process which changes and transforms it." 16
In reference to the derivation of religion among the
adherents of psycho-analysis there are different concep-
tions; one of Pfister's publications ls attests this: "One
has to be on his guard against the inclination to con-
ceive of religion merely as libido at a higher level."
The normal civilized young man is not a pure creature
of sex to such an extent as is the youth of primitive
peoples, whose awakening sexuality immediately finds
satisfaction, indeed whose whole training is directed
toward this goal. 1 ' For, in the case of young people in
civilized communities, there is usually a longer time of
waiting between sexual maturity and sexual enjoyment,!
at least if there has been no untimely seduction during!
which time the sensuous desire, the libido, undergoes
"sublimation." The sexual-physical tendencies early
yield to more spiritual ones; for the "love" of youth
is not so much sexuality as amatory sentiment. Love
in this sense, which causes the young person to feel in
the object of his inclination not so much the sentient
16 Ibid., p. 430.
" Pfister, pp. 352, 266.
** Cf. Franke.
76 The Religious Development of Adolescents
being as the spiritual fulfillment of his own ego,
enriches his whole mental life in an unsuspected degree
and frequently makes him for the first time able to
understand the everlasting fullness and beauty of
existence. "His eye seeth the heavens open." In the
youth who is suffering from self-consciousness and lone-
liness, longing awakes to embrace the universe with
all his might ; but in this longing we see with Spranger
"the heart of the religious process, just as much as
when it appears as a struggle for God or for mental
The beatitude that begets pure love may lead one to
abandon himself to the universe with holy reverence
and feel himself one with it, or humbly and devoutly to
honor a higher Being as the giver of this happiness.
But when love has lost its spirituality and has the taint
of the ugly, bestial, and common, it may work dread
and horror in him who thus experiences it, and may
cause him to regard the whole world of sense as low
and despicable and to oppose to it a spiritual, ideal
world to come. Renunciation of the world, as both
Augustine and Tolstoy say in their confessions, is
caused by such experiences. But whoever does not \
possess the constructive power for the building of an \
ideal world, disgust for the world may drive into reli-
gious despair or into suicide. In the story "Volo-
dya," 1B Anton Chekhov represents such a case with
affecting realism. It is characteristic of eroticism and
religious experiences that in them the ego of a person
finds its fulfillment through another ego, and this devo-
tion to the "thou" is marked by an especially strong
feeling tone. Speaking figuratively, these feelings may
18 Kultur und Erziehung, p. 241.
19 In his collection, The Lady with the Dog and Other Stories.
Love and Religion in Adolescence 77
mix and strengthen each other, as is shown by a note
of 17-year-old A: "I am almost dying of joy. ... In
my heart it is spring too. . . . Yesterday's meeting with
'him' is a splendid answer to prayer."
Similar observations cannot disguise the fact that
religion by its very nature is quite different from
eroticism. Inasmuch as Girgensohn acknowledges "the
important problem of strengthening the emotions" in
relation to physical resonance and to religious feel-
ing, 20 a similar problem may be taken up for the more
spiritually directed love of youth. The adolescent
often borrows expressions and images from the lan-
guage of love, in order to express the meaning of his
religious experience. The writer of the diary pub-
lished by Charlotte Buhler, in which the clarifying and
enlightening tendencies come out strongly, sometimes
experiences religious moods. At such times the i6j^-
y ear-old Protestant girl turns in prayer to the Virgin
Mary! " "O Mary, I am so grateful, that thou hast
sent me a man, thou dear one." It is specifically the
feminine aspect of Godhood which the diarist experi-
enced, indeed, in such force that the tendency toward
enlightenment once natural to her and her Protestant-
ism sometimes gives way before this form of worship
required by Catholicism. Sometimes in other cases,
too, there may result from the love of youth a condi-
tion which is contrary to its intellectual unity so charac-
teristic that Stern in his history of mankind parallels
the age of youth with the age of enlightenment.
20 P. 415.
21 P. 71?
THE INTELLECTUAL UNITY OF YOUTHFUL
IF we closely examine the affecting style of Schiller's
youthful poems, in order to penetrate to the original
experience of the young poet, we find here, too,
especially in the songs dedicated to "Laura," the close
relation of love and religion. To both there is a
strong intellectual cast so that the religion of Schiller
then nearly twenty-one is almost metaphysics. In
Schiller's youthful poems the intellect exercises a con-
structive activity, by comparing his conception of the
world with religion. On the other hand, in the earlier
stages his thought exercises a solvent and destructive
effect on the religious ideas which the youth had held
in his childhood.
We have seen that the child in a normal manner
accepts credulously and uncritically the religious tra-
dition of his environment. With increasing years,
when he has sharpened his eye for reality and his
thought processes have strengthened, like others he
begins to review and examine his religious ideas more
closely. He discovers contradictions between sensu-
ously experienced reality, the conception of the world
furnished by natural science, on the one hand, and the
world of religious thought on the other. He tries to
harmonize his whole experience and knowledge, but
Intellectual Unity of Religious Development 79
he has to recognize that many of the religious thoughts
transmitted to him and the thoughts further developed
by him in imagination cannot be retained and recon-
ciled. In them doubt begins. First, such matters of
faith are questioned and overthrown as appear to con-
tradict sensuously experienced reality. "There are no
devils with horns and pitchforks, or someone must have
seen them," or "Heaven is only blue sky. Nobody
knows where Heaven is." 1 Biblical miracles are ques-
tioned: "No man can walk on water." Then his doubt
transfers to church dogmas, the divinity of Christ, the
Trinity. More and more of the church dogmas are
discarded, until at last the whole structure falls in
ruins along with the belief in the personality and exist-
ence of God.
The development here indicated, in which brooding
intelligence gives up one article of faith after another,
proceeds without interruption. In articulate, intellec-
tually inclined natures, this process may be typical.
But the trend of the development need not be uncondi-
tionally negative. It is possible that single dogmas
may cease to be given credence while the general direc-
tion remains positive, as A's example shows. And the
doubts mentioned by Messer did not at first change
anything in his positive development ; not until the end
of the adolescent period did his "central skepticism
begin, the doubt as to whether this world's misfortune
and misery excludes the possibility of faith in God the
Father"; then Messer was estranged from his church
and became, at least in theory, an adherent of material-
In many youths at certain times there appears a
leaning toward materialism. Haeckel's World-prob-
1 Schrciber, p. 58.
8o The Religious Development of Adolescents
lems are favorite readings in this period to which spir-
itual stirrings usually bring a quick recovery. The
period becomes dangerous for the whole later develop-
ment if a practical materialism grows out of the the-
oretical. At this stage, then, begins an estrangement
from the spiritual world. When Anton Reiser saw
criminals executed, "man seemed to him so worthless
and insignificant that as a result he became possessed
by the idea of bestial dismemberment." Sometimes he
"so far forgot himself in continued observation of an
animal that for a moment he actually believed he had
experienced the kind of existence of such a creature."
In B's notes there is this sentence : "O, what a pleasure
to be a dog and to bark at the world!"
Starbuck a distinguishes this period of alienation
from that of storm and stress and indicates the nature
of the difference by means of a few typical phrases.
Mental states during the period of storm and stress are
described in expressions like the following: "I had a
very bitter feeling." "I chafed against restraint." "I
was filled with mental distress." These, on the con-
trary, represent the feeling during alienation : "I was
gloomy and cynical." "I came to a state of desperate
indifference." "I gave up the search for God and no
longer cared even to die." Starbuck sees in alienation
"the natural outgrowth of doubt; one reasons, ana-
lyzes, and criticizes; there is less feeling of any kind."
He may not be correct in this one-sided, intellectual
conception of alienation.
In the case of Anton Reiser, the estrangement arose
from an unfortunate moral situation ; and B wrote the
words published at a time when he was suffering from
a troublesome cough and general lassitude. As a rule,
a Starbuck, pp. 244, 245, 250.
Intellectual Unity of Religious Development 81
the youth seldom thinks logically and consistently;
usually his thinking is mixed with strong emotions,
"intuitive" and often impulsive. We have already
referred to the intense feelings of dissatisfaction which
were accompanied by skepticism and which sometimes
in the case of B led to thoughts of suicide. Earlier,
B had heard doubts expressed concerning the existence
of God. "When I thought about it," he wrote, "it was
easy for me to treat it with indifference." Now night
after night he ponders and then arrives at a denial of
God's existence. A bit later he shrinks from this con-
sequence and consoles himself with a sort of prag-
matism, which he justifies in his allegory of the trav-
eler in the desert. He seeks for a substitute for his
abandoned religion in love for his neighbor. A few
weeks later he has become dubious about his denial of
God's existence again entirely through his own think-
ing; he even prays again. Further, the next notation
indicates a very primitive belief in miracles, which is
not even morally free from objection. When he desires
to influence God so that he may escape a deserved pun-
ishment, B has again drawn near to God and hopes
for another sign. Jle prays in his distress ; but divine
service at church consoles him little. Consequently he
makes the effort to understand a few dogmas and to
reconcile them with the understanding. In the con-
fused thought processes that proceed from the expres-
sion, "God is spirit," he arrives at pantheism. But a
little later meditation on the Holy Ghost brings him
to a belief in a diune personal God. The last words
at this time, "from reasons that permit no contra-
diction," are significant, for in them is the self-
confidence and assurance characteristic of youthful
82 The Religious Development of Adolescents
After a longer pause the diary notes begin again
with self indictments. Again B begs God for a sign
and even takes an oath. This points to an entirely
primitive worship. The poem, "A Thinker's Prayer,"
appearing not much later, when he was sixteen, carries
in it traces of confused thinking, and the last lines
indicate a belief that there is a soul in everything
(pantheism). The poem written when he was seven-
teen betrays doubts of God's goodness. But he prays
pnly "out of prudence." The next poems announce
disbelief arising from want of knowledge about the
last things in the world and in the life of man. In his
eighteenth year B again writes a prayer. The stage of
primitive religion is now finally passed ; beholding God
mystically, he feels himself working in harmony with
the Eternal, doing good in the world. But the devel-
opment proceeds. B again reaches a condition of
skepticism and materialism when at twenty he recog-
nizes that his youthful poetic dream is not being ful*
filled, for his self-criticism teaches him that his poetic
ability falls far below his desire. An unfortunate love
affair, during this same period, he feels to be less tragic
than having to give up the vocation of his liking. In
devotion to his calling as a teacher and in scientific
activity B at last finds satisfaction. Subsequently skep-
ticism is given up and positive religious development
finally sets in, pragmatic considerations having a part
in this last change.
B's development had its beginning in a dogmatic
belief in God; it led back again to faith in God having
followed a course of violent emotional disturbances
and of radical doubt and skepticism. But the belief in
God at the end is different from that in the beginning.
Intellectual Unity of Religious Development 83
Most of the church dogmas, like those of the Trinity,
and the divinity of Christ, have been given up, as has
also the belief in the personal interference of God for
the sake of one's physical well-being. Even in great
danger of battle B was not able to ask for the preserva-
tion of his life.
But thinking has not only worked negatively by
solving transmitted ideas of faith; it has also had a
positive influence: God has become greater, so great
and absolute that B prefers quietly to worship the
unsearchable without forming any definite concept of
Him. Instead of the selfish wishes, with which the
child and even the sixteen-year-old youth approached
the Most High, comes submission to the divine will
and the attempt, if possible, to do justice to every one
of life's demands. Among the influences which turned
B's thinking in this direction are especially to be men-
tioned the writings of German mystics, extracts from
Thomas a Kempis, and Ekkehart, as well as poems of
the Mohammedan Omar Khayyam (in the translation
of Count Schack). Personal encouragement on the
part of the teachers of religion or the clergy played a
very insignificant role in B's case. Heavy blows of
fate, sickness and the like, which exercised a traceable
influence on the religious thinking of A and C, 8 B did
not experience. How far his early life experiences
decisively influenced B's thinking, cannot be discovered
from the diary.
If we try to understand religious development by
reference to the intellectualistic demands of adoles-
cents, we may say that they take a personal attitude
toward the objective contents of belief, and analyzing
3 See p. 116.
84 The Religious Development of Adolescents
them try to justify them before their intellects, and so
form for themselves their own religious convictions;
with certain religious types to which the cases observed
by us belong, there comes also a rationalizing and
ethicalizing of the contents of faith,
"DOUBT seems to belong to youth as its natural
heritage," Starbuck affirms x on the basis of his statis-
tical collections; according to these it appears that
more than two-thirds of all adolescents pass through
a period of doubt. The value of Starbuck's results is
lessened by the fact that he did not distinguish sharply
enough between the occasions for doubt and the dif-
ferent kinds. Doubt does not necessarily arise from
purely rational reflection; often it has moral causes.
The doubt of God's fatherly love experienced by
Goethe and Ellen Kay in childhood and by Messer
toward the end of the adolescent period was due to
moral considerations. Of a socio-ethical sort is the
doubt which sometimes begins in the life of Christians
and generally leads to a denial of Christianity. In
one of the manuscript reports G, a young man twenty-
two years old, after he has told of the religious faith
of his childhood, writes: "People think they act
entirely in harmony with their belief; and yet how
often have I had to deal with those whose actions I
knew were very different from their talk. In this,
above all, greatness lies to lead a truly devout life
and not, like some who are very earnest about these
things, foolishly renounce the externalities of such a
1 Starbuck, p. 232.
86 The Religions Development of Adolescents
life, Sunday church-going and so forth." With C,
too, similar thoughts play a role. "There are clergy-
men who act in their sermons as if they had spoken
with the Lord God himself. . . ."). Starbuck pre-
sents a series of corresponding statements.
Very often, unanswered prayers give occasion for
doubting God's goodness and justice, as the example of
the boy Bareiss showed. 2 Stronger emotions are usu-
ally more characteristic of moral doubts, than of those
that follow purely rational reflection; when moral
doubt as to the object of worship attains any real
strength, there generally follows a renunciation of the
religion of childhood. Other youths reject prayer as
egoistic and selfish, which for the child's prayer is
usually true; of prayer as such, however, it is false.
But youth inclines to generalization, and particularly
in ethical matters his judgments are very severe. In
consequence youth is still inspired by the majesty of
Christ and his teachings when he has broken with the
church's belief in God.
B, at 15^, doubting God, recognizes love for one's
neighbor as the "first commandment" and describes
it as "the love of God." C writes: "The greatness of
Jesus is his profound thinking and the fact that he
gives to so many a deep tranquillity of soul . . . but it
is a mistake to represent Him as the actual Son of
God." In J's letter (to H) we read. "To me there
are two possibilities for the word religion. The first
is our present church belief, as it has been taught for
centuries by pastors and priests, belief in the omni-
present, all-seeing, all-controlling, omniscient God,
belief in heaven and in life after death, the communion
of the saints, and many other beautiful things. The
8 PP. 35-36.
Socio-Ethical Influences 87
second possibility, which I have also followed, is that
which understands by the term religion any love of
one's fellow-men, to help and aid them. That is the
true Christian religion as Christ practiced it. I cannot
possibly call good what the preacher preaches from his
Bible. That is stuff for little children, but never for
reasonable, thinking people who know exactly for
instance how earth and man began."
As in B's meditations J's last words exemplify that
certainty and sufficiency which is natural to youthful
thinking. Yes, just as B at the same time that he was
already inclined toward radical doubts was still cling-
ing to a notably primitive belief in miracles, so we find
the same contradiction in J's thinking, when he writes
in the continuation of his letter : "But I cannot get rid
of the thought of a power which controls my fate. Only
one example : One day in my business I was collecting
money and by mistake was given five marks too much.
After a moment's hesitation I gave the extra money
back to the customer. The evening of the same day I
found a five-mark piece on the street. Was that to be
considered merely a coincidence? The thought came
to me, 'The five marks were meant for you, you were
meant to have them ! Or is that only the everlastingly
hammered-in faith in an omniscient God? However
the matter caused me to ponder deeply and I don't
know what to think. I should like to free myself from
church mummery and turn my faith toward my own
self, and yet the thought of the power governing my
fate still binds me."
J is of a social nature and ethically disposed. In
spite of this he is led by his belief in signs to keep this
discovery to himself. But that does not keep him from
doubting miracles and providence generally. The
88 The Religious Development of Adolescents
influence of an environment hostile to the church is
clearly recognizable in the words "hammered-in faith"
and "church mummery," and likewise by his rejection
of the clergy and the Bible. The same hostility to the
church and free thinking does not prevent other youths
from being subject to confused superstitions. Belief
in omens, charms and fortune-telling is especially wide-
spread among young girls. Thoughts about the mys-
terious future, which arise in young minds, cause them
like the primitive folk of olden time to try to lift the
thick veil which hangs before the life to come. The
superstitious thoughts which appear among older
school girls (see above) are still to be found in those
who have left school. While children's superstition is
harmless enough, more seriously and passionately
embraced, it often leads them when a little older into
unhappiness or even into serious misdeeds. 3
As we have seen, ethical doubts are directed toward
the object of religious belief (for instance, in the prob-
lem of evil) ; but they may refer toward the subject,
that is toward the young person's own self. We find
this type especially among those religious communions
in which as with Pietists, Methodists, and similar
denominations, children are taught to consider their
natural, sensuous, impulsive life as sinful and depraved.
Thus especially those youths who naturally incline to
the type described by James as "sick souls" are tor-
mented by a consciousness of sin and at the same time
by doubts of their own worth. Anton Reiser's life
story is full of reports of such distress which often
nourishes thoughts of suicide.* The letters of the
Schleiermacher brother and sister which have been
8 See p. 131.
* See pp. 230, 258, 270.
Socio-Ethical Influences 89
mentioned also tell of such conflicts. Starbuck B mar-
shalls a whole series of such self-torments.
A few of Starbuck's numerous reports may be cited,
for they are characteristic of the consciousness of sin
of many youths. M.i6. "For three months it seemed
as if God's spirit had withdrawn from me. There
seemed to be a desolation of soul. Fear took hold of
me. For a week I was on the border of despair."
F. 17. "I was extremely nervous and passionate and
lacking in self-control. Alternately I would sin because
of weakness and then brood spasmodically over my
depraved nature. At times I came to the conclusion
that I could never be good and there was no use to try ;
then usually a long attack of conscience twinges would
follow." Sometimes the reporters say expressly that
they did not follow a "particularly evil way," and yet
consciousness of sin was extraordinarily strong in
While the child seldom realizes any lack of harmony
between the religious and socio-ethical elements which
have been imposed upon him by his environment, the
adolescent clearly recognizes the contrast between his
real and his ideal life; and it is the consciousness of
this contrast which may so embitter those of a nervous
or even sensitive disposition and which has such a
depressing effect upon their earlier years. And even
natures that are not actually religious, like D's, for
example, are sometimes laboring under a consciousness
of guilt. In many cases when there is no sufficient
sexual cause, no doubt actions considered as sexual
deficiencies by the prevailing moral code arouse an
especially severe feeling of guilt and sin. The moral
and religious storm and stress often ends with the
5 Starbuck, p. 6if.
90 The Religious Development of Adolescents
experience of conversion or "regeneration," receiving
"grace" or gaining "assurance." According to
William James 8 all these are "phrases which denote
the process gradual or sudden, by which a self hitherto
divided, and consciously wrong, inferior and unhappy,
becomes unified and consciously right, superior and
happy in consequence of its firmer hold upon religious
But sometimes even after the experience of pardon,
complete harmony between duty and desire, between
the moral and the instinctive fails to appear; Anton
Reiser's father furnishes an example of this, for his son
says that a "continuous wavering back and forth" was
characteristic of him up to his fiftieth year. Especially
active is the religious and moral ferment wherever dif-
ferent kinds of environments influence the youth. This
happens whenever in workshop or office opinions belit-
tling or denying religion come into opposition with the
religious influences of the family and widen still more
the chasm in the mental life of the adolescent. 7 Actu-
ally not until the end of his period of puberty does he
find the courage to make a decision; slowly he has
formed his religious conviction, on the strength of
which he rejects what is not suited to him or is alien
to his nature.
6 James, p. 189.
7 What Schopen (p. 76) calls "Self portrayals" offer examples
AESTHETIC INFLUENCES IN RELIGIOUS
THERE are people who remain a stranger to any con-
sciousness of sin even in youth. The American reli-
gious philosopher, F. W. Newman, expresses this fact
with these words: "God has two families of children
on this earth, the once-born and the twice-born." The
once-born or "healthy-minded" as James calls them,
are not troubled by moral doubts, and intellectual
doubts do not particularly stir up their inner life. The
religious development of these healthy-minded pro-
ceeds peacefully and continuously, it is a gradual har-
monious inner growth. If the direction of the develop-
ment remains positive, the healthy-minded love the
kindly Father in God, the Creator of the most beauti-
ful and best of all worlds, whose favored children
they feel themselves to be.
If this development takes a negative turn, then the
relinquishment of child faith proceeds painlessly, often
unnoticed. Joy in the world, belief in everything beau-
tiful, great, and good distinguishes the once-born
"unbeliever." E, who describes himself as a monist,
appears to belong to these ; he confesses : "When on a
journey I see the beautiful countryside or gaze into the
sky, or look into the water, or observe animals, or
study the planets, then something holy comes over
me, and I feel the infinitude of nature extending into
92 The Religious Development of Adolescents
the great and into the small ; these are my meditations
in the free majestic cathedral of nature. Then the
spirit is not confined in cold damp walls as it is in
church. And out of my meditations, out of this absorp-
tion in nature, I gain strength, courage, and pure
Credulous, healthy-minded, among whom we may
count A, are just as susceptible to the greatness and
beauty of nature, which they always conceive as God's
creation. Thus, with A, his impression of the sea cul-
minates in the exclamation, "O, Lord, how wonderful
are thy works !" 1 Of kindred nature, the ritualistic
service of the Catholic church exercises a special effect
on the once-born believers. Surely the "sick souls"
are susceptible to art's influences too, but for the
healthy-minded they appear to be the most effective
factors. In many experiences of the latter it is beside
the point to ask whether they are of an aesthetic or
a religious sort; perhaps that is true, too, of the
devotees of nature, as described by E, who play an
important role in the present youth movement.
An extraordinary intensity of the accompanying
feeling is characteristic of the religious experience as
well as of the aesthetic, and these naturally increase
the difficulty of distinguishing sharply between the
two. Nature worship is interpreted off-hand as a
religious experience by one for whom as for A. Messer
everyone is religious, "for whom there are heights and
depths of reality which he faces with awe ; yes, every-
one for whose feeling and wishing there are values
which are higher than his comfort and welfare and his
profit." s In contrast with such conceptions, it should
1 See p. 48.
2 Messer, p. 166.
'^esthetic Influences in Religious Development 93
be pointed out that the appreciation of art like that of
natural beauty is always an experiencing of the beauti-
ful, which is enjoyed for its own sake. No question
about the reality of the thing experienced is asked.
On the other hand, in religious experience the existence
and reality of the Deity is always presupposed, and
for the devout nature is always a likeness, symbol, or
expression of Deity. When E, who has completely
broken away from belief in the Church admits that
besides his "dry monism" he still has a "deep awe and
admiration for nature," and speaks of a worshipful
mood, it seems to me to indicate a longing which in the
last analysis is after all still religious.
Like every striking experience the religious, too,
strives for a corresponding expression. The simple,
sober form of diary notes no longer satisfied youth for
experiences which carry with them the tone of the
Majestic and Holy One. Strictly speaking there is no
adequate expression for the deity and every word that
is used means an incarnation and therefore a fore-
shortening; yet to worship Him silently, as a consistent
mysticism demands, is opposed to the storm and stress
of the youthful soul. Through an exalted, poetic
language, the youth tries to express his experience of
God, though the experience of the break with God is
also usually expressed in poetic form. If on the one
side art is the means which lends suitable expression
to the greatness of the religious life or even causes the
inexpressible to be felt, on the other hand, for the
youth with his lively fancy and his tendency toward
extremes, there is a danger that in the fervor of lan-
guage the originality of the experience may be lost or
distorted. For that reason religious veracity appears
to be particularly threatened. And in many cases it
94 The Religious Development of Adolescents
can hardly be said whether the attitude which gave rise
to the poems was aesthetic or religious.
When we turn to the content of the poems, we rec-
ognize in the literary productions of younger children
a simple repetition of biblical stories and ecclesiastical
dogmas. Significant of this are "A Church Song" 3
and the poem "The Entire Old Testament" * of a
seven-year-old boy. In these and similar productions
there is no trace to be found of a characteristic or per-
sonal religious point of view. In the poems of older
boys and young men, published by Giese, the negative
direction of development appears conspicuously beside
the positive. The ingress of the intellect is noticeable
in the following lines :
There are no miracles,
You can be told,
The only miracle is man's strength,
So fight against all gods;
Be Titans, be sons of Prometheus,
Be men, as is fitting for you.
This tendency toward the titanic, toward excessive
elevations of the ego does not appear so prominently
in the simple and objectively kept diary notes as it does
in the poems. The adolescent imagining himself a
Titan sees himself directly opposed to God, as the poem
of an eighteen-year-old, styled "Confession," shows:
Come, let us live,
Free of the Godhood,
Free of religion!
We are almighty
We shall live always
In spite of the Lord God.
8 Giese, Nos. 12 and 13.
* Ibid., No. 159-
? Jbid., p. 192,
Aesthetic Influences in Religious Development 95
The titanic consciousness, which represents the most
extreme antipode of the feeling of religious depend-
ence, is further found in the poems called "Vision" e
of a thirteen-year-old, "First Poem" 7 of a sixteen-
year-old, and "Man" " of an eighteen-year-old; like-
wise it is shown by the closing lines of F's "Striking a
Not a single one of the literary productions of fem-
inine authors published by Giese contains "titanic"
traces. The positive direction is not generally main-
tained in girls' poems, and the intellectual element
tends to disappear. All the more strongly do the feel-
ing or emotional situations appear. Erotic traces are
clearly recognizable in the poem "My Beloved"
(Christ) 10 of a ten-year-old girl and "Longing" " of a
poetess alleged to be still younger. Charlotte Biihler
has already questioned these statements about age and
spoken of "puberty-longing." 12 Some of the state-
ments of age furnished by Giese seem to me to need
verification, and I likewise consider it premature to
assume a climax of poetic production as early as the
thirteenth or fourteenth year. 13 At any rate, the
authors of the manuscript material at my disposal did
not until later years reach the point of expressing their
religious thoughts in verse. F reports that his first
poem appeared before his eighteenth birthday; B, D,
and L did not compose poems until after the end of
the fifteenth year; K's religious poems were begun in
6 Ibid., p. 62.
7 Ibid., p. 179.
8 Ibid., p. 144.
8 See Appendix, p. iao.
10 Giese, p. 213.
1 1 Ibid., p. 209.
12 Biihler, p. 86.
13 Ibid., p. 84.
96 The Religious Development of Adolescents
the eighteenth and nineteenth years. Just as Charlotte
Biihler assumes, the climax of poetic creation is not
reached in young men until after the eighteenth year.
A fragment of a prose poem written by K in his
twentieth year expresses his own religious thoughts
through an ancient hermit. The recluse says:
"Thousands of stars were sparkling in the canopy of
heaven which turned my thoughts above, to heaven,
to God. And then I fell down on my knees and out
of my overflowing heart I prayed to Him who lives
up there for us. And so I found the Highest, Whom
we can find on earth ; so I found God ! I found Him
not through silence, I found Him through my own
soul." The experience here described shows features
which are typical of the religion of many adolescents :
The youth discovers his own soul ; it is his entrance to
the kingdom of God from which it came. In K's poems
this thought keeps recurring. 1 * For B, too, his own
soul is a great mystery which he tries to penetrate. 15
The adolescent is clearly conscious of his own spe-
cial existence, and at the same time he suffers from his
loneliness. 18 In his friend he seeks the fulfillment of
himself; but he is often disappointed, and then a her-
mit's life appears to him ideal. There is only One who
never disappoints, the One to whom K prays: "O
Father! Thou wast my only friend in my life's sor-
rows !" 17 A prose poem by B treats of the flight of a
young man to the solitude of the primeval forest.
Here the fugitive meets a very old hermit, who tells
of his experiences in the loneliness, and challenges his
young guest to turn back: "Man should not flee from
14 See Appendix K z, 2, 3.
16 See Appendix B.
18 Neu Bahnen, 1923, p. 101.
17 See also Appendix K,
Aesthetic Influences in Religious Development 97
men, for only a brother brings another peace. ..."
The longing for solitude and peace of soul, which B
and K express in poetry, is what earlier caused many a
youth to become a hermit or a monk.
The thoughts of the hermit are turned to God by the
contemplation of the starry sky. And this is another
significant feature of the religious life of adolescence,
that it is so strongly stirred by nature. In the verses of
the adolescent as distinguished from those of a child
there is seldom any hint that his religious thinking and
feeling has received any special impulse through the
church or other association, through history, literature,
or individual personalities ; next to nature, it is most of
all the blows of fate, such as sickness (A, C), or the
death of beloved persons, which most enrich the
religious life. (It has already been mentioned that
nature worship does not have to be unqualifiedly
religious; the "Prayers to the Sun" 18 of a sixteen-
year-old poetess and the "Death in the Mountain
Wood" of B 10 may serve as further proofs of
The prayer-verses of adolescence give us an especial
insight into the nature of its piety; for in prayer we
see with Friedrich Heiler the "central phenomena of
religion," and we understand youth's religion best and
most immediately if we know its prayers. While the
prayers of sixteen-year-old B made thoroughly primi-
tive demands, at eighteen they bear unmistakable
witness of a spiritual growth. In K's beautiful prayer-
poems we notice the climax of youthful piety. No self-
seeking request for bodily welfare, only warm grati-
tude flows from his words:
18 Giese, p. 238.
19 See Appendix, p. 115.
98 The Religious Development of Adolescents
Thou wast my only friend in my life's sorrows !
Thou sentest me pain and anguish of soul
And knewest its worth.
1 retreated into myself, and oft, when my woe o'ercame me
Thou wast near.
I felt thy sway when the clouds covered the sky,
And I found Thee when I could again behold the rays of sun.
Tears soothed my sorrow: I thank Thee that I found tears.
Thou permittedst me to feel deep joy when I could barely
Everything comes from Thee, the gloom of life and its sun-
And thus I feel Thy nearness, wherever I may be.
I love Thee, my Father, mine only merciful God.
Grant that I may enjoy the happiness of a pure heart!
Unconditional devotion to the Highest and a trust-
ing acceptance of all that comes from Him speak out
of this prayer. The same writer feels the immediate
nearness of God in another of his poems :
I embraced Thee, my God,
In fervent prayer
Thou art so close to me,
That I hardly dare breathe.
I see Thee before me, my God!
Thou hearest my prayer,
And loosest my folded hands
And fillest them with blessings.
Here, sensations of sight, hearing and taste have
become symbols to make the nearness of the deity very
real; and thus nature in all her majesty and beauty is
only the symbol of something incomparably higher and
more exalted, which man only suspects but can never
fully grasp or fathom. 89
30 Cf. K 3, Appendix, p. 82.
Aesthetic Influences in Religious Development 99
The answer to the question, what is genuine religious
experience and what is only assumed, can be answered
only by considering each case separately. Though K,
like many youths, speaks rather frequently of his soul's
sorrow and takes it too tragically, this nevertheless
appears to me to furnish no reason for doubting his
religious sincerity. On the other hand, the poem of
the ig-year-old F, "In Church," 21 in which is expressed
regret over his lost faith, is "not entirely genuine, but
partly assumed," as the composer himself explains.
The same is true of L's poems, in which the pleasure
he finds in the rhyme and in the poetic image often
overshadows the religious experience. Just as there
are some youths whose religion assumes a particular
character through intellectual and socio-ethical ele-
ments, so the narrow and often inseparable union of
the religious and ethical experience is typical of others.
Schleiermacher's beautiful saying holds for them:
"Religion and art are close to each other, like two
friendly souls whose intimate relationship, although
they feel it, is nevertheless unknown to them. 23 Indeed
the pedagogy of religion does not seem to have ade-
quately recognized the significance of the artistic for
21 Appendix, p. 121.
22 Schleiermacher, p. 105.
YOUTH'S "FIRST" RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCES
ONLY in exceptional cases may we speak of childhood
religion. In general, however, it may be said that a
real religious experience may have its start at that time.
For as the child regularly imitates those about him in
language and gesture, so he also adopts the thoughts
and forms of religious tradition. Not till adolescence
may we assert that there are evidences of real religion.
Just as the opportunity to study and criticize works of
art which comes toward the end of childhood either
may develop one's appreciation to a really artistic
level or may stifle it, 1 so aside from other influences,
the intellectual milieu of youth brings about religious
changes which may proceed in a positive or negative
With what processes or occurrences are youth's
first religious impressions connected? The diary-
notes and verses contain no clear account. The literary
productions disclose something of the course of the
development, the factors influencing it and its goal;
but of the beginnings no adequate observations can be
made. In order to recognize the first religious impres-
sions, and the experiences in relation to which they
appear, and at the same time to determine how far
the development has advanced at a certain age, the
1 Cf. Kupky, Beobachten ilber die Entwicklung des Formeri. Z. f.
angew. PsychoL, Bd, .12, S. 186, 189.
Youth's "First" Religious Experiences 101
descriptive method, used up to this time, was aban-
doned. A questionnaire was prepared for the comple-
tion and expansion of the observation-material already
In six classes of higher vocational schools for girls
in Leipzig the fifteen- to sixteen-year-old pupils were
assigned the theme topic, "What Arouses My Rev-
erence." Because the expression "reverence" was not
entirely familiar to some of the girls, the following
suggestions were given them: "In a church hymn the
writer sings of Christ's birth : "When I try to under-
stand, my spirit kneels in reverence." A similar feel-
ing the poet Geibel expressed in his "Morning Stroll" ;
he tells how everything awakes in nature, and "then
adoration flows like a breath through all my senses.*'
As in nature or in the house of God, our reverence
may also be aroused through art or through events in
the life of people. You (the girls in the school) are
expected to report whether you have ever experienced
anything of the sort."
No further directions were given; an effort was
made to avoid any possible copying or exchange of
ideas on the part of the girls. Thirty-five minutes
were allowed for working out the answer. Altogether
148 themes were handed in in the six classes. Of these
twenty, almost a seventh, were in no way related to the
assignment; since this appears to have been thoroughly
explained, it may be concluded that some of these
pupils had never yet experienced reverence. Some did'
not answer the assignment, probably purposely, in
order not to lay bare an experience that is in their
minds veiled in mystery and holiness. And among the
girls who answered the question, doubtless some told
this experience with reserve. Naturally a prerequisite
loa The Religious Development of Adolescents
for even partially satisfactory returns from question-
naires in school classes is that the pupils have confi-
dence in the questioner; but even then the sources of
error appear to which I have already referred. 8
Only a few of the 128 papers which contained clear
answers showed any traces of religious experiences of
a deeper sort; the style flows in the usual form and
the note of feeling is seldom heard. When Stanley
Hall writes 8 that on the basis of observations carried
on for years he }ias arrived at the conclusion which
surprised him and which is contrary to the common
belief that the "budding girl" is utterly unreligious,
he may have exaggerated the case, but at least there is
no proof to the contrary to be found in these papers.
Stanley Hall's assertion contradicts the experience of
Mrs. Adolf Hoffman-Genf, who is one of the few who
really know and understand girls. 4 Elizabeth Jaekel G
similarly disagrees ; she writes that the "only spiritual
interest" of country girls in Christianity is what they
bring with them. In her opinion there is in this respect
a difference between country and city youth. It can
hardly be doubted that environment exercises a deci-
sive influence on the religious interest. Not till later
years, according to Stanley Hall, are girls supposed to
be susceptible to religious experiences, and even then
7oung men surpass them.
If we now turn to the answers given to the question-
naire, it appears that 68 out of the 128 point, to nature
and its phenomena as the thing that awoke their rev-
erence; here fundamentally religious and unreligious
feeling for nature cannot be sharply distinguished.
2 P. 17.
8 Stanley Hall, Educational Problems, II, p. 21.
* Frau A. Hoffman, p. 16.
s E. Jaekel, p. 19.
Youth's "First" Religious Experiences 103
Since the girls who answered the question are, with few
exceptions, children of large cities, who by experience
are not often in close touch with nature, it is some-
what surprising to hear what significance it has in their
religious experience. One girl makes a report of a
still winter night with a clear starry sky : "A feeling of
great reverence came over me. I understood how God
loves mankind. There one sees rightly how lowly is
man and how grateful man should be to God."
Another girl writes: "My heart throbs with deep
emotion. It seems to me as if I were borne away into
a better world. A feeling of holiness comes over me.
I fold my hands and gaze reverently up to the sky,
which is brimming over with stars." Next to the
starry heavens the quiet of the woods is significant for
the arousal of religious feelings ; one report reads : "A
feeling of dread came over me, and at the same time
the question arose: Who made all this? Was it rev-
erence that came over me? I almost believe so. At
that moment I became a better person. But the feel-
ing lasted but a moment."
In some answers God is thought of as thoroughly
human : "But how wisely everything is arranged. . . .
Everywhere we recognize the hand and finger of God."
Nature awakens recollections of the Bible: "God
made the whole world. First there were two persons,
now they are countless." While in the examples
already given, the Creator of the world is looked up
to, in others He does not appear, and nature as such
seems to be working alone; thus we read: "There are
times when man's heart is thronged with conflicting
feelings, confused thoughts and sensations, when he
is not master of himself. At such moments one has to
go out into majestic, exalted Nature, to find in her
IO4 The Religious Development of Adolescents
quiet greatness his balance of soul. When one becomes
tetter acquainted with Nature and better understands
her wonders, a deep reverence comes over him."
Another says in describing a sunset: "As I was listen-
ing to the slowly dying tones of the bell, I became con-
scious of how small and insignificant we are in this
world, and how we are almost nothing in all the great-
ness; for I saw how much life Nature really conceals
in herself and with what majesty everything is created.
It was the first time in my life that I was ever so medi-
tative and so melancholy."
Far behind nature, that is in only 31 out of 128
cases, were ecclesiastical forms and ceremonies named
as the thing that awoke reverence. Protestant girls
reported of their confirmation, that it awoke "holy
feelings." "I do not know how it happened that the
church seemed so different to me from before," writes
one pupil. Another (not in the same class) : "The
wide room had about it something holy and solemn."
Still another wrote : "After walking up to the altar
and partaking of the Lord's Supper, a peculiar feeling
came over me. For a long time I was plunged in deep
thought, and all day long I thought about this serious
and solemn act." Not one of the Catholic girls present
in the classes mentioned nature; they all reported on
the powerful impression which their first communion
had on them. In contrast with the usually very ani-
mated descriptions of the first communion, 6 in which
the aesthetic effect of the Catholic form of worship
plainly appears, the reports of the Protestant girls on
the effect of confirmation and communion seem some-
In the third place, in 1 8 cases, the life and f ate of
6 Cf, Appendix, p. 130.
Youth's "First" Religious Experiences 105
man are given as the events through which reverence
is aroused in young girls. One says of an old woman,
a widow, whose son fell on the field of battle : "You
never hear a complaint from his mother. She bears
her lot so calmly that one cannot but have an involun-
tary feeling of reverence of her." Another pupil
describes an occurrence that agitated her deeply: "A
woman jumped out of a car while the train was in
motion; a soldier jumped after her, but he was killed."
One's own, or a parent's illness is sometimes cited.
One girl reports of the death of an aged relative: "I
have stood at other biers, but I have never been so
strongly moved as at this one. I think that comes from
the fact that till now I had never really understood
what death means, and this taught me the deepest
reverence for God."
In the last place, in 9 cases, art is named as the power
which wakes reverence ; but it is immediately apparent
how closely the aesthetic and the religious attitude are
connected, and how hard it is to draw a line between
them. Of the effect of the playing of the organ in
church one writes: "It seemed to me as if another
spirit were ruling in me." Another pupil writes:
"Recently when I was attending one of Schubert's
symphonies and hearing the notes rolling over each
other, a feeling of reverence overcame me for Schu-
bert's great spirit." Next to music, it is painting which
arouses reverence; the art of poetry was not men-
tioned. One of the pupils writes of the Sistine
Madonna: "In the picture the painter has expressed
all his reverence for the Highest, which is so force-
fully conveyed to the beholder that he cannot but
remain standing before it. This is what happened to
me. I call that reverence." Similarly a pupil in
io6 The Religious Development of Adolescents
another class writes: "I could stand for hours before
many beautiful paintings. They contain so much
beauty and arouse in me the most varied feelings.
With reverence and admiration we look on them (the
great masters) and their work and cannot imagine
how a man can create such beauty." These words
show that we may class the last group with the pre-
ceding: not only the noble man, but also the creative
one, bears in himself the godly, and is to us like that
example and pattern, "the unknown and higher Being
whom we divine."
To be sure, reverence represents only one phase of
religion, but from this point we can take a general
look at the awakening of the religion of adolescence.
It is evident from the answers to the questions how
beauty and the exalted in nature and art may bring
about a religious experience. Now, according to
Schleiermacher, external nature does not form "the
inner holy of holies," but only the "outer vestibule" of
religion; and neither the forces, nor the beauties of
nature, nor even the world's wide expanse speak to the
religious sense," but the orderly coherence of the
world. Still it appears as if youth had to enter the
outer vestibule 7 in order to reach the holy of holies.
We possess 'evidence of this from Schleiermacher' s
own youth in the description of a boat trip in the
autumn of 1786 at the time when he and other "inde-
pendent thinkers" were having a violent conflict with
their pietistic teachers. 8 In an enthusiastically written
essay young Schleiermacher thanks Providence, "which
formed this beautiful nature and placed in my soul
susceptibility to all the beauties of her creation," and
7 Schleiermacher, p. 50 (78).
8 Meyer, p. 213.
Youth's "First" Religious Experiences 107
his eye feeds on the wonders of nature "from the
bright star to the lowly, despised blade of grass."
These are the same notes that we hear in the reports
of the school girls.
The aesthetic factor is recognizable also in the sec-
ond group of reports, when they tell of the effect of
organ-playing, congregational singing, or the broad
and high spaces of the church. Then ethical thoughts
are awakened by confirmation and communion, which
blend with the religious. We read: "When I was
standing before the altar, the consciousness came over
me that I had not yet completely fulfilled my life"; or
"I could not help thinking that I had not always
obeyed my parents and teachers." In nature the
thought of one's own unworthiness sometimes appears ;
but one does not then feel himself really conscious of
guilt, but only "small and lowly."
According to Schleiermacher, the inner life of man
is supposed to mean much more to religion than
external nature : "for in the inner life the universe is
copied and the outer is comprehensible only through
the inner." Above all, the Eternal is recognized not
in ourselves, but rather in the human association. "In
order to look upon the world and to be religious, man
must first have found humanity," " both in the associa-
tions of the present and in history.
Did the girls find traces in themselves of true rev-
erence toward man which, according to Goethe, is a
"higher interpretation" of human nature? Not in
many cases ; but yet in a few it appears as if the meeting
with a particularly distinguished individual had been
the starting point for a religious experience. On the
contrary, there are no evidences that mankind as a
9 Schleiermacher, p. 56 (89).
io8 The Religious Development of Adolescents
whole or the history of mankind awakened religious
thinking and feeling. Cessation of intellectual activity,
the significance of which for development has already
been referred to, does not especially appear in the
answers ; that is due, in part of course, to the choice of
By way of summary, certain conclusions may be
drawn concerning religious thinking in the narrower
sense. Only in a few cases was God thought of in
human form; a "spiritualization" of God had already
taken place in most of the girls. Furthermore, even
the thought of a personal God receded. That is no
accident. Influenced by an environment which rejects
the faith of the church, many girls came to a rejection
of the concept of God which had been taught them in
their religious instruction. In the romantic feeling
toward nature that is expressed in some of the themes,
we have to notice a sort of substitution for the religious
longing, which is in others. It appears from the ques-
tionnaire that the "first" religious impressions are
often connected with aesthetic experiences ; and moral
experiences may incite religious. On the other hand,
intellectual experiences, which are not accompanied by
intensity of feeling, appear to share only slightly in the
awakening of religion. In many cases, blows of fate,
such as severe sickness and death of a member of the
family, cause the first lasting religious impressions.
THE MAIN OUTLINES OF RELIGIOUS
WHEN we are speaking of the religious development
of adolescence, we do not imply that the religious func-
tion is isolated and develops independently. In reality,
the whole personality of a young person grows, and
with it his religion. Still, the observation of religious
development furnishes a remarkably clear insight into
the beginning and growth of the youthful personality.
In religion a person seeks to grasp at once the first
source of all being and the height of all worth ; and so,
in youth's struggles for the deepest and final meaning
of existence, there is reflected the chaotic and Proteus-
like quality, which is characteristic of the youthful
Religion is a complex function. Elementary spirit-
ual processes are, to be sure, recognizable in religious
experiences but religion cannot be deduced or under-
stood from them, as a sum of its component parts. In
the essence and fundamental character of religion,
there lies something more that can never be explained
from elementary 'processes.
The "first" religious impression contains in itself all
of religion : God is seen as such in a moment of intense
spiritual excitement; He "flares into being," as it were.
In rare cases this happens as early as the end of child-
hood, but ordinarily not before the beginning of
no The Religious Development of Adolescents
j puberty. One may not speak of religion in a child in
ithe real, "fullest" sense. To the child God is always
a man endowed with higher and mightter^powers. The
child feels himself the center of existence ; experiencing
God as the highest, incomparable worth is still denied
him. For his future development, however, the
"child's religion" is of greater significance. It fixes
the inner eye on the awakening of real religion and
gives meaning to the original religious experience.
Thus religious teaching in childhood gains the signifi-
cance of preparation and direction for the coming view
of God. The first religious impression may be com-
pared to the sudden appearance on the horizon of the
end of the day's journey which is recognized as such
because of the preceding preparation.
In the case of a child one cannot properly speak of
"religious" development; religious instruction usually
produces a thoughtless taking over of religious ideas ;
the child is highly receptive and accepts the religious
like the other values of his environment because he has
to. Youth finds out for himself, "spontaneously," the
real meaning, the true significance of religious thoughts
and values. He is not religious because he has to be,
but because he wants to be. Therefore we may not
speak of a religious development, of a steady growth
from within, before adolescence. Religion is present
in the first impression at the beginning of puberty, but
it is not completely developed until the end of this
p'eriod. In the beginning of development the religious
experience is still entirely under the influence of the
environmental society, and the first religious experi-
ences have the form, moods, or feelings of worship,
devotion, and reverence. Personal and conscious reli-
gious conviction, pervading and determining the young
The Main Outline of Religious Development 1 1 1
person's whole spiritual life, seems to be the "goal" of j
Criticism of the religious ideas and dogmas which
the child has adopted may precede religious develop-
ment through the influence of an environment of a dif-
ferent sort one that is hostile to religion ; but It may ,
also check it. The child's criticism of religious thoughts
is in itself not yet sure evidence that development has
begun. Not till the consciousness awakes in the youth
that religion has to do with matters which are of tre-
mendous significance to his own life may his religious
development begin ; and as a result of this insight he is
restless, oppressed with his own inadequacy and sinful-
ness. Only in rare cases does the development proceed
gradually; generally its course is accompanied by vio-
lent emotions which are increased by the emphasis
given them by many religious bodies (Methodists, for
instance) ; at conversion there comes a sudden, though
not always a permanent tranquillity. In contrast with
these denominations, some churches favor the gradual
course ; but with them also it seldom takes place with-
out inner conflicts and doubts. Since the "conversion"
of young people is not attempted by these churches, a
"mixed" course of development is what is found here;
with increasing years the emotions lose strength, and
gradually there comes a cessation of these states of
excitement. The development may take either a posi-
tive or negative direction. The environment of the
adolescent exercises a special influence on the direction
of his development, just as it does on its course. Even
when the development continues to be positively
directed, it seldom proceeds in a straight line, but
shows waverings, .so that one does not with certainty
recognize the real direction until at the end of adoles-
112 The Religious Development of Adolescents
cence. Positive religious development, as Litt has
already pointed out, teaches that it is never a question
of simple acceptance of the tradition of the society, of
a mere "assimilation," but of a "particularization," o,f
the whole personal embodiment of faith.
Religious experience, as a specifically spiritual func-
tion, follows the individual conditions of growth. It
cannot be shown that youth's religion is exclusively
determined by physical or by mental factors. Sexual
libido is surely not its root or controlling principle :
love may bring a heightening of the religious life but
it is nevertheless only one influence among others, no
more important than the intellectual attitude. It is
significant of the spiritual peculiarity of youth that
different moods often combat each other and that har-
mony between them comes only at the end of the period
of development. In the earlier years the inclination,
characteristic of many youths, for clearing up an "intel-
lectual doubt" has a predominantly analytical effect
upon their religious thinking. But even then, when
the development is in a completely negative direction,
this can hardly be traced to the logical attitude of the
individual alone, but likewise in part to a religious
tendency that is weak in itself. When the religious
tendency is strong, its development is hindered-neither
by contrary inner inclinations nor by an unreligious or
irreligious environment. In the later years the same
(i.e., logical) intellectual attitudes continue, while the
particular content of the religious experience is con-
ceptually expressed, and the structure of a religiously
founded view of the world and life is reared.
In many cases, "moral doubts," raised by certain
life experiences may influence religious development
more strongly than the "intellectual doubt" which is
The Main Outline of Religious Development 113
traceable in part to the enlightening ideas of "natural"
or rational religion, and in part to youth's own
scientific thinking. This "moral doubt" about religion
and God's kindness And justice sometimes comes with
such force that it gives the development a negative
turn. When it leads to a long estrangement, it is the
sign of a strong religious tendency which is made
stronger through the consciousness of sin and wins
inner tranquillity through the experience of divine
grace. The "moral" type of religious youth, compared
with the very intellectual and aesthetic, experiences a
development particularly rich in emotions. Corre-
spondingly, the religious development of aesthetically
inclined natures proceeds most calmly, whether it pur-
sues a positive or negative direction.
While the intellectual and moral factors have a
particular effect on the course and direction of devel-
opment, the "first" religious impression is acquired not /
orily through sorrowful but also frequently through;
esthetic experiences, climaxes of youthful religion:
being often connected with experiences of the beautiful
and exalted m nature and art. In his verses youth tries
to give his religious thoughts suitable artistic expres-
sion. The youth's poetry and diaries show that his
religion has the character of longing. In the literary
productions which we consider particularly religious,
as in the notes of B, C, and N, is told again and again
the longing which is never entirely stilled for a richer
and more complete life. In briefer form, a poem of
the seventeen-ysar-old O expresses the seeking for
the Highest ("When shall my yearning find its
Lord?" 1 Not before the end of adolescence does the !
search for the value of all values find its fulfillment.;
1 See pp. 125-126.
H4 The Religious Development of Adolescents
Even though Bohne, like Starbuck, distinguishes three
periods of development: "a first climax of religious
life, a time of religious estrangement, and a second
climax in which the religious development reaches its
conclusion," this conception is not confirmed by the
literary productions. The diary-notes teach, rather,
that after the first impression, which awakens the
sense of the holy and divine, the material of faith
received in childhood is compared and strengthened by
it. Doubts arise which are overcome by new religious
experiences. These in turn are doubted, and further
new experiences carry the development forward. This
process, which is accompanied by so many periods of
excitement and calmness, finally in the religious youth
ends in the conviction that Inner tranquillity comes
solely by yielding to God. With St. Augustine youth
admits at the end of his development: "Cor meum
irrequietum est, donee requiescat, Domine, in Te."
FURTHER ILLUSTRATIONS OF RELIGIOUS
19 years old.
I work and sweat
And hew my world.
And even yet.
If ruin swirled
My blood's cement.
But if it does not want to be,
Then let it crash
And bury me,
My world of love.
17 years old.
I would die in a mountain wood
In the evening's gold-lit pall
Outpouring my weary life
Into the silent All.
I would watch my bleeding songs die,
My fiddle smash on a tree,
Fling the songs to the serpents' dens
And woefully cry to thee.
1 See p. 82.
6 Pp. 82, 97.
n6 The Religious Development of Adolescents
Then thou, my mother, wouldst hear,
Wouldst hasten to cover me tight,
Wouldst rock me gently to sleep.
How I love thee, Mother Night!
Thou holdest me closer to thee
Embracing and comforting well,
Thou Brother Storm greet Lady Sun
And take her quickly my farewell.
18-19 years old.
O, my soul, plunge quickly, sink deep within thyself,
See whether in thy mirror gray (of consciousness) thou dost
O, my soul, seek darkly in the sea (of consciousness) for thee
Whether thou mayest find myself and so be known to thee.
O my soul pray tell me, tell me more of thee
O my soul pray bring thyself, O my soul, to me (to conscious-
ness, to recognition).
LIFE EXPERIENCES AND RELIGIOUS THINKING *
1 8 years old. Diary notes. "A lingering illness has
brought me farther toward religious feeling. I found
my God, and I really considered as stupid persons like
S, who once said to me after my sickness : I think you
believe something. This conviction remained in me in
spite of the anti-religious speech of Doctor N (the
natural science teacher) in the Quart a; now and then I
recognize the truth of such speeches, but that cannot
alter my conviction one iota ; I cannot live without
religion. I remember those hours in the hospital,
where I wanted to pray and could not. Lessing's
thoughts correspond to my thinking: Not the circum-
3 cf. p. 9 6.
4 See p. 83,
stance that a certain Christ lived 2000 years ago makes
me religious, but the fact that thru him many are made
18^2 years old. "Many people ascribe to fate
everything that they cannot explain. In such circum-
stances I come to the question: Why do they call it
fate? Anyone, who admits there is such a thing as
fate, can also call this power God. With the word
fate many will have, I suppose, also, jthe idea of a
"I am not interested for myself alone, but feel
myself compelled to help others, yes even want to
strive to be able to help others. I pass harsher judg-
ments than formerly on sermons and worship. At
the promotion of the sixth class boys, E preached on
Eph. 3:16 about the inner man. The sermon is wit-
ness of the fact that Director E is not a deep-thinking,
religious man. On the other hand, a service which the
same conducted next day again stirred my religious
thinking. It had for a text : Ascend."
19 years old. "For a long time I have not acknowl-
edged God's son-ship (Jesus). Contradictions with
natural science ! I consider Jesus a wholly simple man
of unusual tenderness, in whom there was a strong
sympathy for all the sufferings of mankind. His rela-
tion to God is a peculiar gift. He appears to me to
be for Christianity what Mohammed is for Islam. His
greatness lies in His depth of thought and in the fact
that He gives to so many peace of soul ; He has really
recognized the needs of the soul."
THOUGHTS ABOUT DYING
19 years old. Cause : death of a fellow pupil. "Why
1 1 8. The Religious Development of Adolescents
should this splendid fellow just in the flower of his
youth have to die ? It is not difficult to find an explana-
tion of that. He had lived a spiritual life, had thought
much, had high ideals. He must often have thought:
'If only this wretched injustice and lovelessness were
put out of the world!' The goals toward which he
strove were more than the life of man. His death
will make them (his teachers) think, who did him any
injustice. If there is still any good in them, they will
learn better. That this change is of advantage only to
others cannot injure so high a character. With death
he has attained what his braver thought pursued as
the highest goal. My task will be to help the poor
and miserable ; if heaven should give me strength, the
will shall not be wanting."
20 years old (during a sickness, to his parents) : "If
God should have decided differently for me, be satis-
fied with the certainty that His will rules us. His love
can free men from their pain. We often sorrow for
the loss of our kind, because we do not understand that
the Lord God can accomplish good even thru Death!"
1 8 years old (against compulsion in religious mat-
ters). 6 "Prayer and repentance-day bells are decoy-
ing to church. This compulsion to go so regularly to
church, is an everlasting, nauseous abomination. One
sits there like an imbecile and stares at people who do
not concern one at all; tries to sleep and seldom suc-
ceeds, out of sheer boredom sings a verse with the con-
gregation, and sighing deeply goes home ! My letters
home cause me much trouble humbug repentance
day desperation !
6 Cf. P. 58.
19 years old (at the death of a friend) 1 : "Farewell!
You were ours; we are thanking you while we are
escorting you for the last time. Accept thanks for your
songs ! Perhaps I am the only one to thank you for
just this, for I felt them very differently, I reveled,
sang, loved, and drank. You were misjudged, but
you are out of danger now, you whose soul once moved
in harmonies ; now your music is for the blessed realms
on high. How often your playing pleased us; it was
artistry, it was nature, it was laid in your cradle for
comfort." (After the burial.) 'To be human, and
to die, these belong together like water and the sea!
Earth to earth. Dust to dust. Ashes to ashes !' We
do not understand why you have to leave us now. And
no Christ helps us, yesterday or today you have to !
Yes, I understand this 'have to' but I don't want to
hear it from the mouth of the priest, for my God is
different from what the preacher represented Him to
me. Live your life, it is so fair and He who gave it
is great and good 1"
DESCRIPTION OF ONE'S SELF
"Stimulated by my confirmation, I had begun to
occupy myself more deeply with the Christian doctrine,
and had succeeded so far that I believed in God. I
imagined Him as a great spirit. In spite of many a
struggle, I was tolerably complacent in my belief. But
in the depths of my soul I was not satisfied. There
were many doubts. I thought that with time I should
reach inner peace and steadfastness of faith, because
I fancied myself on the right road. I reached fifteen
years of age. Then, however, a sudden revolution
took place in me. Almost at the same time everything
I2O The Religious Development of Adolescents
that I had believed before was dissipated. I actually
got hold of all sorts of books of information about
earth and heaven and out of them all I created my
new view of the world. I couldn't help seeing the
emptiness of my former belief. Almost at once it
went to pieces in me. I discovered that I did not stand
entirely alone in my new opinion when I came to read
the catechism of the monistic view of the world drawn
up by the great nature investigator and scholar,
Haeckel, who has but recently died. There I found
assembled everything that I in the course of time had
painfully collected piece by piece for myself I" e
1 8- 1 9 years old.
STRIKING A BALANCE
Of a better life beyond us
Let the people oft relate.
Thou believedst it in thy childhood,
Dreams and chains disintegrate.
For if thou wouldst learn to live here,
Fret not of Eternity.
If from out thy earthly body
Soars a spirit happily,
Wouldst thou, heaven-seeking mortal,
Earthly child of time and space,
Live a life that lasts forever,
Thyself before God's throne abase ?
Canst thou live the life there? Never.
And if in other form thou'lt be,
Whether that for Heaven be chosen
Shouldst thou have anxiety?
Cease thy searching for another,
In the present live thy life !
9 See, further, p. 91.
Listen to thy inner voices,
Listen to the earthly strife
And of this world a member be.
Believe what thou dost do and see.
19 years old.
The multitude is hushed and still
The priest to the pulpit climbs,
Like marble upward turns his face,
Like a bell his full voice chimes
Word on word; and like a hymn
He speaks. As the organ peals
I knew that here there was a man
Who God as Father feels.
A gentle sadness filled my heart,
Which tried me many a day,
That shattered is my dream of God,
That I ne'er again can pray.
Incomprehensible Thy ways O God!
With Thee near, joy and sorrow shake my soul.
For happiness and grief just as thou wilt
Thou givest men, who know not why they live !
Atonement wouldst thou have them make for sin
Of which they guiltless ar,e. They rise against
Thy dispensation, but they naught avail.
Yet gavest Thou them a soul to suffer grief,
And high and noble pleasure to enjoy.
Incomprehensible, eternal God:
Out of Thyself createdst Thou the soul!
Man's only true possession is his soul!
For everything that thrills an earthly heart
7 Pp. 97-98. ,
122 The Religious Development of Adolescents
Is idle emptiness! The selfsame hour
That pleasure brings doth carry it away.
But not so man's inseparable soul
Which only death alone is granted power
To bear from earth unto a better life.
How shall I ever fathom Thee, my God
In thy deep unfathomable meaning?
How shall I e'er the right solution find
Of when thou sendest joy and when distress?
Too full of brooding over what we are.
We think, and seek; and he who has found God,
Can he in his own power e'er more believe?
17 years old.
JUST PRAY 8
For peace it was my heart did yearn;
I thought and read, but still forlorn
Because I feared it would not come.
I wrote a poem the morrow morn.
But greater grew my yearning hope,
I sought the out-of-doors that day.
Within a wood I found a church,
I entered in and read: Just pray!
J 7/^ years old.
"Courage is the touchstone of thy faith."
"Doubt means to malign the welfare of thy soul."
RELIGION AND LOVE "
1 8 years old. Diary. "Today we had an interesting
debate in the class in religion. K (the teacher of
religion) went a long way, as always, for he is gen-
8 P. 99-
9 On p. 69.
Appendix 1 23
erally a fine fellow. He even went as far as Schleier-
macher's formulation of what may be called religious.
But for me that was much too little. I called religious
all that moves a person to the deepest emotions, that
makes him good. Thus, said I, one can be religious in
his love even if it is for a woman. Of course, I could
not say any more to him. Otherwise I should have
added: Anyone can be religious in the moments of
highest pleasure, when he completely receives the
woman into his embrace. Of course K would not have
understood. So we could not agree, and I suddenly
stopped. But I am very sure of my formulation which
came to me naturally while we were talking, for I
had not thought on the matter before. And naturally
every church refuses this conception of what is reli-
gious, for the church seeks valiantly for men who are
not religiously inclined (see my friend L. F., theolog-
1 5 y* years old.
THE SOUL Is Now FREE
The soul is now free
From earth's monotony.
All need hath now an end,
For God his peace shall send.
Is aught in death to daunt?
Freeing from every want.
All fears by then are past
The soul is free at last.
(Dedicated to the Bible Class)
The day's work now is ended for today,
And it is darkening in the west.
While each now homeward wends his weary way,
Where he can find his welcome rest.
124 The Religious Development of Adolescents
With God's help is the day's work fully done,
May God protect us from Dark's might.
So let us thank him for his favor won,
And pray He'll guard us through the night.
And even when at last life's measure's meted,
He will not let us be affright.
Then will he say: "It is completed,"
And light us on our way that night.
Thus in death's anxious somberness,
Jesus our Lord we shall behold.
In him we ever find true helpfulness
On earth as in the heavenly fold.
17 years old. "Blessed are they who have overcome
the spirit, for they have saved their souls from death
on earth. It is the spirit which denies God and the
eternal life. It cannot rule where the heart, the living,
true emotion has a right to be, in religion."
i7 l / 2 years old (incipient doubts). "You have to
go inwardly bankrupt in order to find God. But there
are people and they are not the worst ones who
meet inward ruin, and do not find God. Who can
1 8 years old. N is writing an autobiography. He
reports in it about his joining a Bible class. "The
B. C. made me a pessimist, for I considered every little
mistake fatal, and impotently comforted myself with
the expiatory death of my Master. ... I remember one
Sunday. The activities of the world disgusted me. I
had the feeling: It is all evil. And a dismal anxiety
seized me. What all of a sudden had become of my
faith? But I clung desperately to the B. C., and tried
to bring my friend [whom he had found] to the
Savior. What a fool I was ! We talked all day about
religion. I was deeply moved and sad, that he could
not agree. He was a free man and youthful. He
declared that life is joyous and that he did not under-
stand sin in the sense that I did." For about two years
N remains under the consciousness of sin ; in his despair
he is near suicide. He finds another friend with whose
help he attains a view of life that is comforting to
him; "That my friend believed in me, gave me
strength. And with the awakening of nature I, too,
awoke to life. My friend and I go out alone. We
live, we love nature. Feeling is victory. I love life.
No one here can ever rob me
Of what insight deep doth give,
Of my simple faith, and childlike,
That within my soul doth live.
Thus comes reconciliation
With dissensions of mankind,
Let the scoffers hurl derisions,
Here thou joyfulness canst find.
And his guilt is him forgiven
Who feels deeply, purified,
And who finds in nature's kindness
All his yearning pacified."
Later N came back to the Bible Class; the ip-year-
old seems to have finally overcome the consciousness of
guilt and sin, that troubled him in his early youth.
1 7 years old.
RELIGION AS YEARNING 10
Dark Night Splendor of the stars.
From afar the sound of bells finds its way to me.
Now it is near, now far away.
Ever near and yet so infinitely far;
And Thou, O God! I seek Thee!
10 On p. 113.
The Religious Development of Adolescents
Only a gentle yearning stirs my soul,
For whom is it meant? God,
Who are Thou?
And as I wandered thru the starry night
A voice behind me called :
" 'Tis I 'Tis I, Whom thou
Hast sought in many an hour."
There is fulfillment for every yearning.
"It is I. I am the firmness for thy
Uncertainty. Wouidst thou find Me,
Wouldst thou join the battle I require,
Wilt thou venture it?"
I spake: "Yea, Lord, I hear Thee.
I believe! Now have I found Thee.
I know Thee. And Thou art mine forever.
And can I be entirely healed of Thee,
I will be Thy faithful follower.
Why shall I still strive
To be one with Thee?
For Thee, and yet not to win Thee."
For a single hour gave me what I sought.
Then spake the voice: "Ah, no!
Until now hast thou naught but knowledge of Me,
And, mayhap, belief.
But thou art not yet one with Me.
For me thou must still fight;
Thou standest at the entrance, at the portal
Where thou sawest Me, where thou hast
Willingly received My words.
Now take on thyself a heavier burden."
Thus spake the voice.
And a gentle zephyr stirred. And all at once
Sounded the bells more loudly
And the voice was lost on the wind.
And again sounded the bells now near now far away
When shall my yearning find its Lord ?
1 8 years old.
My hands are cold and dead,
But when Thy will inspires
Blood flows and they grow red:
They raise cathedral spires.
God, Thou still small voice,
Thou great Infinity,
How can I comprehend
Thee, Thou Eternity.
Child, Seer, Thou Limitless
How Named art Thou, Nameless?
1 feel and know thou art,
But lose the way to Thee.
If me Thyself didst choose,
Oh show Thyself to me.
If only impulse dark from me would fall
And I erect could stand,
On up to my high destiny I'd gaze,
Yearning from the land.
But I am so bound
With chain and hook
That every look
Ope's a new wound.
I have no strength alone.
Man himself is weak.
'Tis Thee, O God, I seek,
Creator of Thine own.
O God Thou art a mighty sea,
An endless time, a towering height,
How helplessly I seek for Thee!
Art Thou far beyond my sight?
128 The Religious Development of Adolescents
Willing are my fumbling hands
To perform Thy dear behest.
Empty now my yearning stands,
If in Thee I may not rest.
Behold, who can his task complete
If to his art he's not confined.
Why in eternal strife . compete
If one no single stone can find?
Show me the stone for it is Thou.
That only it were squared by me!
Before Thee I abjectly bow.
O Holy One, I would build Thee. (Abbreviated.)
16-17 years old.
LOVE AND RELIGION "
"O Gertrude, if you could only comprehend my love !
I am about crazy, and would like to leave the house
at once; then again I feel so fortunate in the thought
of loving you, and I beg God to turn your love to me."
(A few months later:)
"I dream myself ten years ahead, by your side your
husband, a beautiful dream; who can fulfill it? God,
Thou alone I O, grant that my love may not be extin-
guished, grant that it may be cherished by Gertrude's
answering love for me ! Amen."
PROTECTION AGAINST BLASPHEMY
"We have a social-democrat in our class, who will
drive everyone distracted if he is not somehow made
harmless. It is H. I have always considered him a
free thinker, but not capable of such thoughts as he
brought to light today. The fellow does not believe
in anything any more. He treats religion with outright
11 On p. 75.
contempt calling it mummery. He thinks we should
ask God, if there is one, to blow the organ (in church)
for him. But I hid my feelings from him, though he
may be sure, altho I am not exactly his enemy, that I
will report him later if as teacher he leads children
19-20 years old. Diary. "I shall soon be twenty
years old. And now it is time to be serious, which is
not hard for me. I should like to assert first what I
believe. But that is so difficult; too easily the next
hour brings to nothing what is considered high and
holy. Nothing is sure. I am not sure of myself or of
anything else. I cannot avoid the thoughts and wishes
that come to me that I should not have. Only God is
sure. One can depend on Him, and even when they
shout: there is no God it is not true. I believe in
Four years ago I was confirmed. How immature
I was then and I had to make such an important vow
or rather confession, and that says and means even
more I often turned it over in my mind and read
much about it. And I am happy that I can say again :
I believe in Jesus It is hard to find one's way among
the varying views and thoughts. But faith is so beau-
tiful man cannot know everything he is only a piti-
ful little creature. He would be lost without the
kindly Leader above. How beautiful it is if one can
live. Difficult only, if one says to himself that he
must give account of everything that he does or does
not do. The guilt soon becomes gigantic. The spirit
is willing, but the flesh is weak. And how easily one
is persuaded to do something that one in his heart
would like to do "
130 The Religious Development of Adolescents
THE FIRST RELIGIOUS IMPRESSION
Answer of a fifteen-year-old school girl to the ques-
tion: "What aroused my reverence." 12
"When I think of reverence, I always think of the
day of my first holy communion What a fullness of
blessedness flooded my heart, as I stood at the window
in a white dress and a myrtle wreath and looked out
on flowering nature. I could not control my jubilant
and rejoicing soul. From my overflowing heart rang
out the song: 'Jesus, Jesus, come to me.' Then I
found myself in church and listened reverently to the
words of the preacher. He pointed out how Jesus, the
children's friend, had so loved the little ones. He told
how pleased they had been when He lovingly drew
them to him and blessed them. How happy must the
children have been then! But we were a thousand
times happier than they. Would that Jesus would just
enter our hearts. As I meditated on this loving kind-
ness, I became very reverent, so that I hardly dared
breathe. And ever nearer came the time, when I was
to receive my Lord and Creator, Him, the holy,
immeasurable God, who has such everlasting great
love for us poor children. Then came the holy moment
in which my soul sank in the sea of love. . . . But I can-
not describe in words the feeling which I then experi-
enced. Words for that are only poor, empty noise.
There was in me a great fullness of blessedness and of
holy, pure joy. Every fiber of my feelings belonged
to my Creator. At that moment I would have so liked
to die. Die ! O, it is no real death, it is only just the
releasing of our poor body, in order that the soul thus
freed may hasten back to the arms of its first Parent,
its Creator." (Abbreviated.)
ia See p. 103.
SUPERSTITIONS IN YOUTH ls
(One of Many Newspaper Notices)
"In Berlin two girls jumped from the Schilling
Bridge into the Spree. Someone succeeded in rescuing
one of the girls; the other, a sixteen-year-old worker,
Else Schmidt, sank quickly and was drowned. The two
girls had recently been to a woman who told fortunes
with cards, who said to Else Schmidt that a misfortune
was coming to her. From that time the girl was
obsessed with fear."
Eisenacher Zeitung, June 15, 1914.
13 On p. 88.
I. WRITINGS IN GENERAL PSYCHOLOGY AND THE PSYCHOL-
OGY OF CHILDHOOD AND OF ADOLESCENCE; BIOGRAPH-
1. Andreas-Salome, L., Im Zwischenland. Novellen. Stutt-
gart und Berlin, 1911.
2. Bobertag, Die Psychologie des Jugendlichen. Zeitschr. f.
prakt. Psychol. 1920.
3. Bohne, G., Die religiose Entwicklung in der Pubertatzeit
auf Grund von autobiographischen Zeugnissen. Leip-
ziger Dissertat. 1921.
4. Bosemann, Zur Psychologie der kindlichen Religion.
Blatter fur die Fortbildung des Lehrers. 1914.
5. Biihler, Charlotte, Das Seelenleben des Jugendlichen.
6. Classen, Das stadtgeborene Geschlecht und seine Zukunft.
Heft 9 der "Entwicklungsjahre." 1914.
7. Compayre, L' Adolescence. Paris, 1909.
8. Dehn, G., Grobstadtjugend. Berlin, 1919.
9. Dilthey, Ideen iiber eine beschreibende und zerliedernde
Psychologie. Sitzungsberichte der Berliner Akademie.
10. Dilthey, Leben Schleiermachers I. Berlin, 1870.
11. Driesch, Wirklichkeitslehre. Leipzig, 1917.
12. Ebbinghaus, Grundziige der Psychologie II. Leipzig,
1913. S. 51 if.
13. Ellis, H., Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. Ill, The
Sexual Impulse. Philadelphia, F. A. Davis, Co., 1908.
14. Evard, M., L'adolescente. Neuchatel, 1913.
1 The manuscript material, which serves as a basis for this
investigation is fully listed on page 20.
15. Franke, E., Die geistige Entwicklung der Negerkinder.
1 6. Freud, Leonardo da Vinci, a Psycho-sexual Study of an
Infantile Reminiscence. New York, Moffat Yard & Co.,
1916. (Tr. by Brill, A.A.)
17. Freud, S., Uber Psychoanalyse. Leipzig u. Wien, 1920.
1 8. Giese, Das freie literarische Schaffen bei Kindern und
Jugendlichen. Leipzig, 1917.
19. Groos, K., Zur Psychologic der Reifezeit. Intern.
Monatsschrift fer Wissenschaft, Kunst und Technik.
20. Grunwald, G., Padagogische Psychologic. Berlin, 1921.
21. Hall, S., Adolescence. New York, 1918; Educational
Problems. New York, 1910.
22. Hellwig, Aberglaube bei Jungendlichen. Zeitschr. f. pad.'
23. Henseling, Erfahrungen iiber die Stellung d. Schulkinder
zur relig. Tradition. Zeitschr. f. pad. Psych. 1910.
24. Hoffmann, W., Die Reifezeit. Leipzig, 1922.
25. Hofmann, J., Handbuch d. Jugendkunde u. Jugenderzie-
hung. Freiburg, 1919.
26. Huth, Groszstadtjugend u. Religion. Zeitschr. f. pad.
Psych, u. exp. Pad. 1917; Uber die relig. Vorstellungen
in der reifenden Jugend. Zeitschr. f. pad. Psych.
27. Ilgenstein, V., Die Gedankenwelt der modernen Arbeiter-
28. Jaeckel, E., Weibliche Dorf jugend. "Entwicklungsjahre"
Heft 3. 1912.
29. Jahn, Sittlichkeit und Religion. Leipzig, 1910.
30. Kabisch, Wie lehren wir Religion? Gottingen, 1913.
31. Kesselring, Ideale im hoheren Jugendalter. Zeitschr. f.
pad. Psych. 1919.
32. Kesselring, Uber die Probleme der Jugendlichen. Zeitschr.
f. pad. Psych. 1920.
33. Kretzschmar, Joh., Entwicklungspsychol. und Erziehungs-
wissensch. Leipzig, 1912.
34. Kriiger, Anders, Gottfried Kampfer. Roman; Kaspar
35. Krueger, Felix, tiber Entwicklungs-Psychologie. Leipzig,
36. Kupky, O., Zur Psychologic des Jugendlichen. Neue
37. Lau, E., Beitrage zur Psychologic der Jugend in der
Pubertatszeit. Langensalza; 1920.
38. Litt, Th., Individuum und Gemeinschaft. Leipzig,
39. Lobsien, M., Kinderideale. Zeitschr. f. pad. Psych. V.
40. Mahling, F., Die Psyche des Jugendlichen und das reli-
giose Moment in der Jugendpflege. "Entwicklungs-
jahre," Heft 7.
41. Maier, Heinr., Psychologie des emotionalen Denkens.
42. Messer, A., Glauben und Wissen.
43. Meumann, E. Vorlesungen zur Einftihrung in die experi-
ment. Padagogik und ihre psycholog. Grundlagen.
44. Meyer, F. R., Schleiermacher und C. G. Brinckmanns
Gang durch die Briidergemeinde. Leipzig, 1905.
45. Moritz, K. Ph., Anton Reiser. Leipzig (Verlag Reclam).
46. Pfister, O., Die psychanalytische Methode. Leipzig, 1913.
47. Priifer, Joh., Welche Vorstellungen haben meine Kinder
von Gott? Kindergedanken iiber den Himmel. Deu-
tsche Schulpraxis. 1906.
48. Richert, H., Handbuch fur den Religionsunterricht. Leip-
49. Schopen, E., Beitrage zur Erziehung der mannl. Jugend.
50. Schreiber, H., Der Kinderglaube. Langensalza, 1909.
51. Schroteler, I. Die Fremdbeobachtung in der religions-
psychol. Kinderforschung. Katechet. Blatter. 1921.
52. Schultz, CL, Die Halbstarken. "Entwicklungsjahre,"
Heft 2, 1912.
53. Schultz, C.I., Zur Charakteristik der volksschulentlassenen
Jugend. Saemann-Schriften. 1913.
54. Spranger, E., Lebensformen. Halle, 1921.
55. Spranger, E., Von der ewigen Renaissance. Kultur und
Erziehung. Leipzig, 1919.
56. Spranger, E., Humanismus und Jugendpsychologie. Ber-
57- Stern, W., Die Jugendkunde als Kulturforderung. Leip-
58. Stern, W., Die menschliche Personlichkeit. Leipzig, 1920.
59. Stern, W., Differenzielle Psychologic. Leipzig, 1911.
60. Stern, W., Grundfragen der Psychogenesis. Zeitschr. f.
pad. Psychol. 1907.
6 1. Stern, W., Tatschen und Ursachen der seelischen Ent-
wicklung. Z. f. angew. Psychol. 1908.
62. Strinberg, The Son of a Servant. Tr. by Field. New
63. Tolstoy, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth. Tr. by Hap-
good. New York, 1886.
64. Tumlirz, O., Einfiihrung in die Jugendkunde. Bd. I.
65. Valentiner, Die Phantasie im freien Aufsatz. Zeitschr. f.
angew. Psych. 1916.
66. Vorwerk, D., Kinderseelenkunde. Schwerin, 1914.
67. Vorwerk, D., Seelenkunde des Jiinglings- und Jungfrauen-
alters. Schw,erin, 1921.
68. Weigl, Kind und Religion. Paderborn, 1914.
II. WRITINGS IN THE PSYCHOLOGY AND PHILOSOPHY OF
1. Congres Internationale de Psychologie. Bericht von Clapa-
rede. Geneva, 1910.
2. Flournoy, Beitrage zur Religionspsychologie. Ger. Tr. by
Regel. Leipzig, 1911.
3. Girgensohn, K., Der seelische Aufbau des religiosen Erie-
bens. Leipzig, 1921.
4. Heiler, Friedr., Das Gebet. Miinchen, 1918.
5. James, W., The Varieties of Religious Experience. New
York, Longmans, Green, & Co., 1911.
6. Ko'pp, F., Einftihrung in das Studium der Religionspsy-
chologie. Tubingen, 1920.
7. Lehmann, H., Aus der Entwicklung eines religions-psycho-
logischen Fragebogens. (Deutsche Schule 1918.)
8. Meister Ekkeharts Schriften und Predigten. (Ausgabe
von H. Biittner.) Jena, 1921.
9. Nacke, Die angeblich sexuellen Wurzeln der Religion.
Zeitschr. f. Religionspsychologie II.
10. Osterreich, T. K., Einfiihrung in die Religionspsychologie.
11. Otto, Rudolf, Das Heilige. Breslau, 1922.
12. Scheler, M., Vom Ewigen im Menschen I (Religiose
Erneuerung). Leipzig, 1921.
13. Schleiermacher, Fr., Uber die Religion. Ausgabe von R.
Otto. Gottingen, 1920.
14. Scholz, Heinr., Religionsphilosophie. Berlin, 1921.
15. Starbuck, E. D. Psychology of Religion, New York,
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1899.
1 6. Traue, G., Die neueren Methoden der Religionspsychol-
ogie. Giitersloh, 1922.
17. Vblkelt, Job.., Was ist Religion? Leipzig, 1913.
1 8. Weber, Max, Aufsatze zur Religionssoziologie II, 1913.
19. Wieland, Das Problem der Religionspsychologie. Tubin-
20. Winkler, Rob., Phanomenologie und Religion. Tubingen,
21. Wirth, Wilh, Die Berechtigung und Verpflichtung zur
Religion. Leipziger Kirchenblatt, 1921. S. 323.
22. Wobbermin, Die Frage nach den Anfangen der Religion.
Zeitschr. f. angew, Psychol., 1915.
23. Wundt, W., Probleme der Volkerpsychologie. Leipzig,
24. Wundt, W., Volkerpsychologie. Bd. IV. Mythus und
Religion. Leipzig, 1910.
III. LITERARY PRODUCTIONS OF ADOLESCENTS (Not
included Under I).
1. Braun, Otto, "Aus nachgelassenen Schriften eines Friih-
2. Giese, F., Das freie literarische Schaffen bei Kindern und
Jugendlichen. 2. Teil (Belege), 1914.
3. Tagebuch eines halbwiichsigen Madchens. Internal.
Psych.-analyt. Verlag. Leipzig-Wien-Zurich, 1921.
4. Tagebuch eines jungen Madchens. Herausgegeben von
Charlotte Biihler. Jena, 1922.
IV. SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY ON THE PSYCHOLOGY OF
ADOLESCENCE SINCE 1922.
1. Biihler, Charlotte, Zwei Knabentagebiicher. Jena, 1925.
2. Biihler, Charlotte, Das Seelenleben des Jugendlichen.
3. Busemann, A. Die Jugend im eigenen Urteil. Laugen-
4. Dehn, Giinther, Die religiose Gedankenwelt der Proleta-
rierjungend. Berlin, 1923.
5. Fischer, Aloys. Religionspsychologische Untersuchungs-
metoden im Dienst von Kinderforschung und Padago-
gik. Zeitschr. fur pad. Psychol. XXVIII, 1927.
6. Fuchs, H., Die Sprache der Jugendlichen im Tagebuch.
Zeitschr. fur angew. Psychol., 1927.
7. Jaensch, E. R., t)ber den Aufbau der Wahrnehmungswelt
und ihre Struktur im Jugendalter. Leipzig, 1923.
8. Kroh, O., Subjektive Anschauungsbilder bei Jugendlichen.
9. Kupke, O., Zur Psychologic junger Madchen. Schulwort
XXIII, Leipzig, 1926.
10. Kupke, O., Jugendlichen-Psychologie. Leipzig, 1927.
11. Schlemmer, H., Die Seele des jungen Menschen. Stutt-
12. Spranger, E., Psychologic des Jugendalters. 1st ed. Leipzig,
1923; 8th, 1927.
13. Stern, William, t)ber die Entwicklung der Idealbildung
in der reifenden Jungend. Zeitschr. fur pad. Psychol.
14. Stockhaus, C., Die Arbeiter jungend zwischen 14 und 18
Jahren. Wittenberg, 1926.
15. Voss, Th., Die Entwicklung von religiosen Vorstellungen
untersucht auf Grund stenographisch aufgenommener
Aussagen von I2O Volksschulkindern in Alter von 5
bis 14 Jahren. Archiv. fur die ges. Psychol., Vol. 57.
1 6. Weigel, Vom Wertereich der Jugendlichen. Leipzig and
06 AU6 5 '81
PRINTED IN U.S.A.
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO
44 756 616
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO