Firstly Ebbinghaus (Hermann Ebbinghaus – a German psychologist 1850-1909) states: ‘anxiety and anguish are the mother of religion.’ Then he continues: ‘the churches fill and pilgrimages increase during times of war and devastating epidemics.’ I would like to know if the churches fill during epidemics and times of war with those people who, from the outset are inclined to materialism. Only those who in one way or another have a religious inclination, fill the churches at these times. This is not, however, because of fear and distress, but it is because these people detect something spiritual in their souls. In former times mankind experienced this more instinctively. Nowadays he can experience it much more consciously. Because man gradually progresses to the experience of the spiritual, he sees an image of the supersensible within the sensory impression.
Source (German): Rudolf Steiner – GA 072 – Freiheit Unsterblichkeit Soziales Leben – Basel, 19th October 1917 (page 98)
Translated by Nesta Carsten-Krüger