Institute of Christian Sociology
Z. Swift Holbrook

Grace Millikan

He said that while sociology was divided into descriptive, statical and dynamic, the two great schools were the theoretical and the practical. Theoretical sociology is reaching out in the direction of an exact science and for that reason would monopolize the word scientific. It was, however, a speculative philosophy largely, and was worthy of being called scientific only so far as it had borrowed its terminology and its analogies from biology and the subsciences. Because society presented analogies to vegetable and animal organisms did not prove that society was an organism. Analogies are not identities. Theoretical sociology is not modest, it aims at the unification of all knowledge, and yet Herbert Spencer and Comte arrived at no practical conclusions that sociologists can build upon and hand over as data for the social reformer to use with any confidence in his effort to better mankind and add to the sum of human happiness. Mr. Holbrook quoted Kidd, Giddings, Patten, Ely, Ward and Gide in support of his point, that in sociology Spencer had accomplished little of practical use. The great forces of the world are the soul forces and unseen. They are not easily observed, discriminated or classified so that the safe generalizations can be deduced. It has been said that Divine foreknowledge cannot predict what a petit jury will decide. Unless we accept of fatalistic philosophy the presence of free will in the world renders prediction for a finite mind impossible. Theoretical sociology has accomplished little of real value. Its aim is at such long range that, lacking Divine precision, it hits wide of the mark.

But Christian Sociology is practical and it is scientific so far as sociology can be such; for an intellect observes, discriminates, classifies and generalizes, the phenomena of the spiritual world are brought into the domain of the intellect through a lens borrowed from the spiritual forces. It thus is descriptive; it is statical because it has the ideal which was divine; it is dynamic because it alone can enumerate the forces that will bring about the social ideal which Plato dreamed of as possible if only perfect units could be made. Christian sociology is not only practical and scientific, it is simple in its language though profound in its concepts; and like all impulses that are divine, it has come to help in the raising of humanity to a higher level and to solve the social problems that so vex the civilized nations of the earth. It is a condition and not a theory that confronts this Republic and hence practical sociological conclusion and not some vague theories is the demand today.


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