'that what such people miscall their religion, is a vent for their bad humours and arrogance.

Category: Mind | Type: Discussion | Title: David Copperfield (in Context) | Author: Charles Dickens | Ch: Return

Mrs. Chillip is savvy in her speculations that the practice of religion can camouflage mental aberrations.

Dickens's emerging point, developed more in later novels, is that hypocrisy is less a matter of moral calculation than an unconscious stratagem whose roots are in the psyche itself. It is not a large step to saying that dogma itself is the construction and projection of psyches that are working out their own desires and fears through institutionalized thought. (Dickens was for a time a Unitarian.)

Like a number of others in 19th-century England, beginning with Blake, Dickens sought to return to the New Testament's depiction of a Jesus devoted to children, the poor, and the simple, humble, and ignored, a human Jesus before Christianity in its many conflicting sects reconstructed Jesus to serve their own ends. 

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