I came across an interesting quote from this essay of the famous British philosopher and mathematician on another forums I’d like to share with you. A new online friend of mine shared both the essay and this quote on another primarily Christian forums.
…while fully developed mysticism seems to me mistaken, I yet believe that, by sufficient restraint, there is an element of wisdom to be learned from the mystical way of feeling, which does not seem to be attainable in any other manner. If this is the truth, mysticism is to be commended as an attitude towards life, not as a creed about the world. The metaphysical creed, I shall maintain, is a mistaken outcome of the emotion, although this emotion, as colouring and informing all other thoughts and feelings, is the inspirer of whatever is best in Man . Even the cautious and patient investigation of truth by science, which seems the very antithesis of the mystic’s swift certainty, may be fostered and nourished by that very spirit of reverence in which mysticism lives and moves.
I see this as dovetailing nicely with Ian McGilchrist’s distinction between the intuitive and the rational mind. In fact the title of the first section of the essay quoted from is “Reason and Intuition”, suggesting that for Russell too “intuition” and “mysticism” are synonymous.
But as you can tell from the quote Russell does not advocate basing knowledge claims on intuition alone. The gifts of intuition must ultimately stand on legs which reason provides even if it is intuition which shows reason where to look. But Russell suggests that a harmonious cooperation between the two facilities might be an optimal approach for humans. That in turn gives some support for supposing that the practice of both science and religion might be more than compatible. Of course that would suppose that those practicing religion were more in touch with their intuitive minds while atheists would likely be less so, probably not a warranted conclusion.
I wonder if my friend @Realspiritik is familiar with this quote which was new to me.