The main idea was the idea of common sanctification – ideas which we have again and again in all Christian sectarian movements. This individual sanctification includes, first of all, a negation of the love of the world. And one point was very important in their discussion with the Orthodox theology, the question of the ethical adiaphora. (Adiaphoron means that which makes no difference, that which is not of ethical relevance.) The question was: Are there human actions which are of no ethical relevance, where we can do them or not do them, with equal right? Orthodoxy said they do exist; there is a whole realm of such adiaphora. The Pietists denied it, calling it love of the world. And as things of this kind often used to go, Spener was mild in his condemnation; then Franke and the Hallensian Pietists became very radical. They fought against dancing, the theater, games, beautiful dresses, banquets, too much shallow talk in daily life (which is something which should be taken up), and things like that, which produced an attitude very similar to some Puritan ideas; but in this connection I like to say that according to my very limited knowledge of American Puritanism, it is not so much the Puritans who have produced this system of vital repression, as we have it in most American people, but it was much more the evangelical Pietistic movements of the middle of the 19th century and before that, which are responsible for this condemnation of smoking, drinking» going to the movies, etc.
Now wherever this may be, in Europe it was not Orthodoxy or Puritanism, but Pietism. And I think in this country it was at least half-Pietism which had this influence of repression of vitality.
The Orthodox theologians were under strong attack by the Pietists and reacted accordingly. One of them wrote a book with the title Malum Pietisticum, “The Pietistic Evil.”There were different points in which they fought with each other, but finally the Pietistic movement was superior because it was a1lied with the whole development of the period, from the strict objectivism and authoritarianism of the 16th and 17th centuries to the principles of autonomy which appeared in the 18th and 19th centuries. And here I want to say something which is important for clear conceptual thinking: It is entirely wrong to put into contradiction the Enlightened rationalism with the Pietistic mysticism. For most popular nonsense-talk in this country, reason and mysticism are the two great opposites. If somebody doesn’t follow the reason either of rationalism or of naturalism, or of neither of them, and is restricted simply to logical positivism and its analysis of scientific endeavor, then he is called a “mystic” – and you all are mystics, for some people; everybody is a mystic for somebody, namely, everybody has a place in which he experiences levels of life which others do not experience, or refuse to experience; or, if they can help experiencing it – for instance, if they hear music or read poetry – then they push this whole realm into the dark corner of emotion: there it can stay and doesn’t do much damage to clear thinking. That is the general feeling.