disbelieving in the existence of a deity -- another way of stating the necessity of atheism. [NOTE -- The Necessity of Atheism was published by Shelley in "The Necessity of Atheism" is a treatise on atheism by the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, printed in by C. and W. Phillips in Worthing while Shelley. Shelley's short pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism was produced while he was for the pamphlet or for his atheism, it is fairly certain had he answered those.
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Search for titles containing or beginning with: "The Necessity of Atheism." This is a disambiguation page. It lists works that share the same title. The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Necessity of Atheism, by Dr. D.M. Brooks This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no. "The Necessity of Atheism" is an essay on atheism by the English poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, .. Create a book · Download as PDF · Printable version.
If he is inconceivable, why occupy ourselves with him? If the knowledge of a God is the most necessary, why is it not the most evident and the clearest. London, The enlightened and benevolent Pliny thus Publicly professes himself an atheist, -- Quapropter effigiem Del formamque quaerere imbecillitatis humanae reor.
Quisquis est Deus si modo est alius et quacunque in parte, totus est gensus, totus est visus, totus auditus, totus animae, totus animi, totus sul. Imperfectae vero in homine naturae praecipua solatia, ne deum quidem omnia. Namque nec sibi protest mortem consciscere, si velit, quod homini dedit optimum in tantis vitae poenis; nee mortales aeternitate donare, aut revocare defunctos; nec facere ut qui vixit non vixerit, qui honores gessit non gesserit, nullumque habere In praeteritum ius praeterquam oblivionts, atque ut.
The consistent Newtonian is necessarily an atheist. See Sir W. Drummond's Academical Questions, chap. Had this author, instead of inveighing against the guilt and absurdity of atheism, demonstrated its falsehood, his conduct would have, been more suited to the modesty of the skeptic and the toleration of the philosopher. Omnia enim per Dei potentiam facta aunt: imo quia naturae potentia nulla est nisi ipsa Dei potentia. Certum est nos eatenus Dei potentiam non intelligere, quatenus causas naturales ignoramus; adeoque stulte ad eandem Dei potentism recurritur, quando rei alicuius causam naturalem, sive est, ipsam Dei potentiam ignoramusd -- Spinoza, Tract.
On Life[ edit ] Life and the world, or whatever we call that which we are and feel, is an astonishing thing. The mist of familiarity obscures from us the wonder of our being. We are struck with admiration at some of its transient modifications, but it is itself the great miracle.
What are changes of empires, the wreck of dynasties, with the opinions which support them; what is the birth and the extinction of religious and of political systems, to life? What are the revolutions of the globe which we inhabit, and the operations of the elements of which it is composed, compared with life? What is the universe of stars, and suns, of which this inhabited earth is one, and their motions, and their destiny, compared with life?
Life, the great miracle, we admire not because it is so miraculous.
It is well that we are thus shielded by the familiarity of what is at once so certain and so unfathomable, from an astonishment which would otherwise absorb and overawe the functions of that which is its object.
If any artist, I do not say had executed, but had merely conceived in his mind the system of the sun, and the stars, and planets, they not existing, and had painted to us in words, or upon canvas, the spectacle now afforded by the nightly cope of heaven, and illustrated it by the wisdom of astronomy, great would be our admiration.
Or had he imagined the scenery of this earth, the mountains, the seas, and the rivers; the grass, and the flowers, and the variety of the forms and masses of the leaves of the woods, and the colors which attend the setting and the rising sun, and the hues of the atmosphere, turbid or serene, these things not before existing, truly we should have been astonished, and it would not have been a vain boast to have said of such a man, "Non merita nome di creatore, se non Iddio ed il Poeta.
The multitude of men care not for them. It is thus with Life -- that which includes all. What is life? Thoughts and feelings arise, with or without, our will, and we employ words to express them.
We are born, and our birth is unremembered, and our infancy remembered but in fragments; we live on, and in living we lose the apprehension of life. How vain is it to think that words can penetrate the mystery of our being!
Rightly used they may make evident our ignorance to ourselves; and this is much. For what are we? Whence do we come? Is birth the commencement, is death the conclusion of our being?
What is birth and death? The most refined abstractions of logic conduct to a view of life, which, though startling to the apprehension, is, in fact, that which the habitual sense of its repeated combinations has extinguished in us.
It strips, as it were, the painted curtain from this scene of things. I confess that I am one of those who am unable to refuse my assent to the conclusion of those philosophers who assert that nothing exists but as it is perceived. It is a decision against which all our persuasions struggle, and we must be long convicted before we can be convinced that the solid universe of external things is "such stuff as dreams are made of.
This materialism is a seducing system to young and superficial minds. It allows its disciples to talk, and dispenses them from thinking. But I was discontented with such a view of things as it afforded; man is a being of high aspirations, "looking both before and after," whose "thoughts wander through eternity," disclaiming alliance with transience and decay: incapable of imagining to himself annihilation; existing but in the future and the past; being, not what he is, but what he has been and all be.
Whatever may be his true and final destination, there is a spirit within him at enmity with nothingness and dissolution. This is the character of all life and being. Each is at once the center and the circumference; the point to which all things are referred, and the line in which all things are contained. Such contemplations as these, materialism and the popular philosophy of mind and matter alike they are only consistent with the intellectual system.
It is absurd to enter into a long recapitulation of arguments sufficiently familiar to those inquiring minds, whom alone a writer on abstruse subjects can be conceived to address. Perhaps the most clear and vigorous statement of the intellectual system is to be found in Sir William Drummond's Academical Questions. After such an exposition, it would be idle to translate into other words what could only lose its energy and fitness by the change.
Examined point by point, and word by word, the most discriminating intellects have been able to discern no train of thoughts in the process of reasoning, which does not conduct inevitably to the conclusion which has been stated. What follows from the admission? It establishes no new truth, it gives us no additional insight into our hidden nature, neither its action nor itself: Philosophy, impatient as it may be to build, has much work yet remaining as pioneer for the overgrowth of ages.
It leaves, what it is too often the duty of the reformer in political and ethical questions to leave, a vacancy. By signs, I would be understood in a wide sense, including what is properly meant by that term, and what I peculiarly mean. In this latter sense, almost all familiar objects are signs, standing, not for themselves, but for others, in their capacity of suggesting one thought which shall lead to a train of thoughts.
Our whole life is thus an education of error. Let us recollect our sensations as children. What a distinct and intense apprehension had we of the world and of ourselves!
Many of the Circumstances of social life were then important to us which are now no longer so. But that is not the point of comparison on which I mean to insist. We less habitually distinguished all that we saw and felt, from ourselves. They seemed, as it were, to constitute one mass. There are some persons who, in this respect, are always children. Those who are subject to the state called reverie, feel as if their nature were dissolved into the surrounding universe, or as if the surrounding universe were absorbed into their being.
They are conscious of no distinction. And these are states which precede, or accompany, or follow an unusually intense and vivid apprehension of life. As men grow up this power commonly decays, and they become mechanical and habitual agents. Thus feelings and then reasoning are the combined result of a multitude of entangled thoughts, and of a series of what are called impressions, planted by reiteration.
The view of life presented by the most refined deductions of the intellectual philosophy, to that of unity. Nothing exists but as it is perceived. The difference is merely nominal between those two classes of thought which are distinguished by the names of ideas and of external objects. Pursuing the same thread of reasoning, the existence of distinct individual minds, similar to that which is employed in now questioning its own nature, is likewise found to be a delusion.
The words, I, you, they, are not signs of any actual difference subsisting between the assemblage of thoughts thus indicated, but are merely marks employed to denote the different modifications of the one mind. Let it not be supposed that this doctrine conducts the monstrous presumption that I, the person who now write and think, am that one mind. I am but a portion of it. The words I, and you, and they are grammatical devices invented simply for arrangement, and totally devoid of the intense and exclusive sense usually attached to them.
It is difficult to find terms adequate to express so subtle a conception as that to which the Intellectual Philosophy has conducted us. We are on that verge where words abandon us, and what wonder if we grow dizzy to look down the dark abyss of how little we know! The relations of things remain unchanged, by whatever system.
By the word things is to be understood any object of thought, that is, any thought upon which any other thought is employed, with an apprehension of distinction. The relations of these remain unchanged; and such is the material of our knowledge.
What is the cause of life? That is, how was it produced, or what agencies distinct from life have acted or act upon life?
All recorded generations of mankind have wearily busied themselves in inventing answers to this question; and the result has been -- Religion. Yet that the basis of all things cannot be, as the popular philosophy alleges, mind, is sufficiently evident.
Mind, as far as we have any experience of its properties -- and beyond that experience how vain is argument! It is said also to be the cause. But cause is only a word expressing a certain state of the human mind with regard to the manner in which two thoughts are apprehended to be related to each other. If anyone desires to know how unsatisfactorily the popular philosophy employs itself upon this great question, they need only impartially reflect upon the manner in which thoughts develop themselves in their minds.
It is infinitely improbable that the cause of mind, that is, of existence, is similar to mind. On A Future State[ edit ] It has been the persuasion of an immense majority of human beings in all ages and nations that we continue to live after death -- that apparent termination of all the functions of sensitive and intellectual existence.
Nor has mankind been contented with supposing that species of existence which some philosophers have asserted; namely, the resolution of the component parts of the mechanism of a living being into its elements, and the impossibility of the minutest particle of these sustaining the smallest diminution.
They have clung to the idea that sensibility and thought, which they have distinguished from the objects of it, under the several names of spirit and matter, is, in its own nature, less susceptible of division and decay, and that, when the body is resolved into its elements, the principle which animated it will remain perpetual and unchanged.
Some philosophers -- and those to whom we are indebted for the most stupendous discoveries in physical science -- suppose, on the other hand, that intelligence is the mere result of certain combinations among the particles of its objects; and those among them who believe that we live after death, recur to the interposition of a supernatural power, which shall overcome the tendency inherent in all material combinations, to dissipate and be absorbed into other forms.
Let us trace the reasoning which in one and the other have conducted to these two opinions, and endeavor to discover what we ought to think on a question of such momentous interest. Let us analyze the ideas and feelings which constitute the contending beliefs, and watchfully establish a discrimination between words and thoughts. Let us bring the question to the test of experience and fact; and ask ourselves, considering our nature in its entire extent, what light we derive from a sustained and comprehensive view of its component parts, which may enable us to assert, with certainty,, that we do or do not live after death.
The examination of this subject requires that it should be stripped of all those accessory topics which adhere to it in the common opinion of men.
The existence of a God, and a future state of rewards and punishments are totally foreign to the subject. If it be proved that the world is ruled by a Divine Power, no inference necessarily can be drawn from that circumstance in favor of a future state. It has been asserted, indeed, that as goodness and justice are to be numbered among the attributes of the Deity, he will undoubtedly compensate the virtuous who suffer during life, and that he will make every sensitive being, who does not deserve punishment, happy forever.
But this view of the subject, which it would be tedious as well as superfluous to develop and expose, satisfies no person, and cuts the knot which we now seek to untie. Moreover, should it be proved, on the other hand, that the mysterious principle which regulates the proceedings of the universe, to neither intelligent nor sensitive, yet it is not an inconsistency to suppose at the same time, that the animating power survives the body which it has animated, by laws as independent of any supernatural agent as those through which it first became united with it.
Nor, if a future state be clearly proved, does it follow that it will be a state of punishment or reward. By the word death, we express that condition in which natures resembling ourselves apparently cease to be that which they are. We no longer hear them speak, nor see them move. If they have sensations and apprehensions, we no longer participate in them. We know no more than that those external organs, and all that fine texture of material frame, without which we have no experience that life or thought can subsist, are dissolved and scattered abroad.
The body is placed under the earth, and after a certain period there remains no vestige even of its form. This is that contemplation of inexhaustible melancholy, whose shadow eclipses the brightness of the world.
The common observer is struck with dejection of the spectacle. He contends in vain against the persuasion of the grave, that the dead indeed cease to be. The corpse at his feet is prophetic of his own destiny.
Those who have preceded him, and whose voice was delightful to his ear; whose touch met his like sweet and subtle fire: whose aspect spread a visionary light upon his path -- these he cannot meet again. The organs of sense are destroyed, and the intellectual operations dependent on them have perished with their sources. How can a corpse see or feel? What intercourse can two heaps of putrid Clay and crumbling bones hold together? When you can discover where the fresh colors of the faded flower abide, or the music of the broken lyre seek life among the dead.
Such are the anxious and fearful contemplations of the common observer, though the popular religion often prevents him from confessing them even to himself. The natural philosopher, in addition to the sensations common to all men inspired by the event of death, believes that he sees with more certainty that it is attended with the annihilation of sentiment and thought. He observes the mental powers increase and fade with those of the body, and even accommodate themselves to the most transitory changes of our physical nature.
Sleep suspends many of the faculties of the vital and intellectual principle; drunkenness and disease will either temporarily or permanently derange them. Madness or idiocy may utterly extinguish the most excellent and delicate of those powers. In old age the mind gradually withers; and as it grew and was strengthened with the body, so does it together with the body sink into decrepitude. Assuredly these are convincing evidences that so soon as the organs of the body are subjected to the laws of inanimate matter, sensation, and perception, and apprehension, are at an end.
It is probable that what we call thought is not an actual being, but no more than the relation between certain parts of that infinitely varied mass, of which the rest of the universe is composed, and which ceases to exist so soon as those parts change their position with regard to each other. Thus color, and sound, and taste, and odor exist only relatively. But let thought be considered only as some peculiar substance, which permeates, and is the cause of, the animation of living beings.
Why should that substance be assumed to be something essentially distinct from all others, and exempt from subjection to those laws from which no other substance is exempt? It differs, indeed, from all other substances, as electricity, and light, and magnetism, and the constituent parts of air and earth, severally differ from all others. Each of these is subject to change and decay, and to conversion into other forms.
Yet the difference between light and earth is scarcely greater than that which exists between life, or thought, and fire. The difference between the two former was never alleged as an argument for eternal permanence of either, in that form under which they first might offer themselves to our notice.
Why should the difference between the two latter substances be an argument for the prolongation of the existence of one and not the other, when the existence of both has arrived at their apparent termination?
In Japan. Russia was until recently dominantly Greek Orthodox. In China. In the United States. The Cape Settlements themselves are Protestants. More concretely. The rest of the continent is divided between Jews and Mohammedans. The modern says. In Asia. In Australia. Primitive man was no more a fetishist than is the modern Catholic. In North Africa. In Greenland. Central and South America. There are some Coptic Christians.
In each age man creates his god. They can readily perceive that there was nothing supernatural. Along with this has progressed the conception of a deity. The modern mind explains these phenomena. The Mohammedan. Primitive man did not understand the meaning of lightning. This is the lowest stage of primitive religion. Christianity—which is the true religion?
Let us suppose for a moment that an inhabitant of Mars. The mind of man has expanded so that it has conquered more and more of his environment. Since the factor of coercion by force of environment to which each of these earthlings was subject would naturally be The mind has embellished the outward appearance of its gods.
Supreme Being would select only one quarter of his children whom he had created for redemption. He would not esteem any creed which damned the human intellect by cursing the doubts which are the necessary consequence of its exercise.
If a Christian were to accost him and endeavor to put the fear of God into him. I believe he would retort that there is no reason for God to punish those who doubt or deny faith in His existence. Would he not rather reply that on his planet such a "Father" who would select some of his children for rewards. He would be apt to repeat with James Mill. How much would the visitor be impressed by the statements of the Christian. He surely would have instilled that creed into man's make-up together with the rest of his characteristics.
Were the visitor to be further pressed by the zealot with the vision of eternal hell. Were the Martian to be30 further informed that each one of God's children was represented in actual figures by hundreds of millions and that these have been living on the planet Earth for hundreds of thousands of years.
If our visitor would but glance at the history. He was plural by place and tribe and function. Our Martian visitor. In reading these old chronicles it is impossible not to be shocked by the incongruity ever arising out of the juxtaposition of theory and practice. Cruel god of a horde of nomadic invaders settling in a land of farmers.
The mental attitude of these priest-dominated ancestors of ours is amazing. James T. Having already had some experience with earthly religionists.
What did the prophetic movement do with his sacred powers? It identified his taboos with a written constitution. Horace M. Llewelyn Powys. Consider Jahveh. They were like children in the hands of unscrupulous teachers. As he reads on. He notes Mohammed's appearance on earth in A. He finds it humiliating to the human intellect to think that this mediocre literature has been the subject of innumerable commentaries and that millions of men are still wasting time in absorbing it.
In his attempt to find the historical evidence corroborating this book. He is thus told that the days of creation were not days at all. It strikes him strangely that such an individual should be chosen by Allah as his disciple on earth to make known his commands.
All that precedes this—the deluge. He finds the Lord walking in the cool of the evening. When he questions the zealous Hebrew. He discovers that "from the literary point of view. In the Old Testament. He finds that Mohammed. On further perusal. Delving further in this most holy of revelations. And thou shalt not be with any beast to defile thyself thereto. And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two he-goats for a sin offering. His Martian intellect is unable to comprehend the logic of a God who would demand human and animal sacrifice.
And unto a woman separated by her uncleanliness thou shalt not approach to uncover her nakedness. And Aaron shall present the bullock of the sin offering. The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover. The nakedness of thy sister. On inquiry. The nakedness of thy son's wife—the nakedness of the wife of thy father—the nakedness of thy father's sister. He shall put on the holy linen coat.
And he shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the door of the tent of the meeting. Thou shalt not be with mankind as with womankind. The first five books of the Pentateuch. Thou shalt not be carnally with thy neighbor's wife. The nakedness of thy father. I am the Lord. The leader of this flight from Egypt was the prophet Moses.
It is probable that the exodus gave the proper stimulus for the beginnings of a distinctive Hebrew religion. It appears certain that the barrenness of this desert land necessitated these wandering tribes to migrate to adjacent areas of greater fertility.
To this. It has often been proclaimed that the value of Judaism Migrating into Egypt in search of food. Thirty-five hundred years ago. Successful at times in establishing themselves in Babylonia and Canaan. Reflecting on this maze of contradictions. The Martian decides to investigate the character and deeds of this influential figure at another time. Time and time again. The Hebrew Zealot relents somewhat to explain that perhaps this was not revealed.
Their religion was that of all other primitive peoples—Animism. To the north lay the fertile valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates and the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Martian. They worshiped the spirits of the sun and the moon. Judah in the south. Then began a period of priestly domination and corruption. The Hebrews. With the capture of Jerusalem. The Jews and Protestants accept fewer books than the Roman Catholics.
These two tiny kingdoms were habitually at war with each other and. Israel was conquered. The faith of these desert marauders. The final idea of Yahveh accepted by the Hebrews was not the product of a sudden revelation but of a gradual evolution. King Ikhnaton made the religion of Egypt an absolute monotheism. It is known that one god was exalted over all the rest in Egypt.
Returning to their own land. The Jewish Canon consists of those so-called sacred In B.
The Necessity of Atheism
This evolution of the Hebrew religion is best exemplified by an analysis of the Old Testament itself.. The Hebrews.. Judah was defeated and its population either scattered or taken into captivity. Just as the Martian was able to trace the evolution of the Hebrews from the stage of the marauding tribes of the Arabian desert who wandered into Egypt. Cyrus of Persia conquered Babylonia and set the exiles free. There are several canons. Following the example of the Hebrews.
This conception of the Mosaic origin of the Pentateuch was accepted by the Israelites as early as the fifth century B. These were. Deep traces have therefore been left upon the text of the Bible by these several stages of This translation is called the Septuagint. The first five books.
The Bible is none other than the Word of God. Every book of it. Even as late as At the time of Jesus Christ. The Jewish Synagogue and the various Christian Churches further hold that the Old Testament is a collection of works inspired or dictated by God.. Throughout the ages. Priests generally rewrote and edited them.
The harm done by the Christian ecclesiastics in attempting to force science to conform to the ridiculous concept of the construction of the universe as contained in the Bible. Just as in the study of the origin of primitive beliefs. If the first are true. Hebrews were not the first to tell tales. But they cannot all be true. They were all as sacred as the Jewish books.
Every priest swears his religion and his scriptures are true. He likewise clearly perceives that there are as yet many men that have given this matter but little thought.
The Christians. There is nothing to guide the man of common sense save knowledge and reason. The rocks give a history of When Christianity was founded—a difficult date to fix—there was no such thing as a Bible. Scientists incline to the view that the earth has existed as a separate planet for something like two thousand million years 2. The only reason why anything more than a literary attention is paid to these old Jewish writings is that Jesus was a Jew. When they did come to write 'for our learning' they borrowed from other people.
The old Brahmans and Buddhists had Holy Scriptures. Priests made them sacred. Holy scriptures are merely Jewish classics. We have had to accept these old writings of the Hebrews as holy and inspired because the priests said so. Their Bible they maintained to be a collection of books which appeared at intervals. Nearly every occurrence. And in the course of time. Deuteronomy and Leviticus have been classed as priestly forgeries.
The Martian finds that the terms used for these fabrications are "redaction" or "recension. The Martian found that not a single book of the Old Testament is older than the ninth century B. There is no other reason. The manipulation of the Hebrew writings by the Jewish priests had for its object to represent the Jewish priesthood.
That the name of the last king was Nabonidos. It is crude. The Persians had adopted the Babylonian custom of writing on clay. A theologian in speaking of David states that "Keen criticism is necessary to arrive at the kernel of fact. They talk of certain books in terms of "their legendary character.
And these and other authentic and contemporary documents of the age which 'Daniel' describes show: That Belshazzar was not the king of Babylon.
The Necessity of Atheism (Shelley)
But these learned authorities do not like the word forgery. That Darius.
The Book of Psalms. A comparison of the two narratives shows that all which relates to the creation of Eve. That the city was taken peacefully. Thus it is evident that two versions of the Creation are given in Genesis. That it was Cyrus. This one discovery suffices to discredit the attribution of these books to Moses. Elohim and Jahveh.
If we place side by side the passages in which God is called Elohim. That the writer described the Chaldeans in a way that no writer could have done before the time of Alexander the Great. The Book of Genesis relates the mythical traditions of the Hebrews from the creation of the world to the death of Joseph. It is now beyond question that the man who wrote Daniel. That all the Babylonian names in Daniel are absurdly misspelt and quite strange to the writer.
But there are traces in the Old Testament of a third legend. The book is a tissue of errors. This method they call "Allegory. The name Elohim. The Old Testament contains numerous instances of the practice of magic.
God is described as saying. These evidences of polytheism and fetichism in the people of Israel destroy. The "teraphim. A classic example is that licentious piece of literature called the "Song of Solomon.
Rather does he find that they took the religions of other peoples with whom they came in contact. Continuing his researches. This conception of a conflict between the creator and hostile forces was contrary to the monotheistic thesis.
Jacob resorted to a kind of sympathetic magic to procure the birth of a speckled sheep Gen. The Martian notes that the sentence. Moses and Aaron were magicians who rivalled Pharaoh's magicians Ex. Totemism in a modified form is found in the Old Testament where animals speak on occasion.
The cow is taboo to the Hindus. As time passed. His mind revolts at the stupidity and the slavish adherence to so-called authority of the human mind. In the most remote periods it is probable that every clan had at least one totem animal which might no more be killed or eaten than the human individuals of the clan. The totem was sacred and in this capacity it was looked upon as a source of strength and holiness.
This custom has come down to the present day in the modern worship of Jehovah. Totemism seems to have been as widespread as the animism from which it is derived.
In certain communities the idea that it was necessary to abstain from eating certain totems survived the progress of material civilization. The worship of animals and plants is found as a survival in all ancient societies and is the origin of the belief in the transmigration of souls.
The reason that the pious Jew abstains from pork leads to the consideration of Totemism as found in the Old Testament. The pious Jew The totem was protected by taboo. And yet our Martian guest recognizes that in this day all men are aware of the fallacy of this utterance in a book which is still claimed to be infallible.
The explanations given by the rabbis of our day are spurious. The Martian then considers the many ancient Hebrew rites and religious taboos that have come down through the ages. Totemism is a kind of worship rendered to animals and vegetables considered as allied and related to man. To confuse the evil spirit causing the disease? The loud cries uttered by the mourners were thought to frighten away the spirits. Even Renan believed that dread of trichinosis and leprosy had caused the Hebrews to forbid the use of pork.
It is known that the old Jewish mourning customs originated with the desire for protection from the liberated spirit of the deceased. To the Biblical writers. The entire matter is well stated in one sentence by Reinach. The covering of mirrors when death occurs in the household may well be an attempt to prevent the spirit from lingering in the vicinity.
The hygienic explanation of an alimentary prohibition as still insisted upon by the rabbis is entirely erroneous and marks the expounder of such an explanation as one who is entirely ignorant of the evolution of religious beliefs. Primitive man ascribed all diseases either to the wrath of God. To show the irrational nature of this explanation. The curing of disease by the casting out of devils and by prayers were the means of relief from sickness recognized and commanded by the Old Testament.
This is the origin of this alimentary taboo. The customs remain the same. In the eighteenth century. The change of dress. The Hebrew word used for serpent is 'Nachash. A Benevolent Being. He is dumbfounded to find references to cannibalism Lev.
The ancient Hebrews. The reading of Numbers V. Babylon and Egypt. A brazen serpent was worshiped in the temple of Jerusalem. The famous golden calf of the Israelites. Once more our Martian guest is besieged by the Hebrew Zealot to examine the divine revelation of his religion.
The Hebrew religion had thus a purely phallic basis. This time the Martian notes. Signs of phallicism among the ancient Hebrews can be clearly pointed out. He cannot perceive of a just being favoring slavery Ex. Further survivals of totemism as found in the Old Testament are illustrated by the worship of the bull and the serpent. Kings VI. To these primitive minds there was nothing immoral in genuine phallic worship. They occupied the female ark with which they formed the double sexed life symbol.
The worship of the serpent was practiced by Moses himself Num. Portable gilded images of bulls were consecrated and Hosea protested against the worship of the bull in the kingdom of Israel Hos.
To primitive people it is but a natural phase to have the phallus become the exponent of creative power. At this point he is assured that this work is read in most schools and taught to small children. Was the Hebrew's young daughter aware that Isaac. Judah and Tamar. He wrote lust. Deuteronomy XXII nauseated him. The story of Jacob. The Hebrew Zealot. Since the visitor wishes to remain courteous he proceeds.
The stories of Joseph and Potiphar's wife. A few moments after reading Genesis XIX. King David and his wives. Now it is the Martian's turn to inquire of the Hebrew whether the latter had ever read this story to his own daughter? The Martian is puzzled by the word "sporting" in Genesis. The most celebrated is that in Isaiah VII. In a few moments the myth of Christ begins to unfold itself before his eyes in the Gospels of Matthew. He finds.
Hebrew with the remark that as an adult he found the stories of De Maupassant and Balzac more interesting.
Our Christian Brother "forgets" to remind the visitor that the difference of opinion regarding these two Testaments of God has caused more sorrow. This error of the Septuagint is one of the sources of the legend relating to the virginal birth of Jesus.
Our guest now repaired to one of our golf courses where. Jehovah the Jews. As early as the second century A. The Old Testament contains the first revelations of God. Returning to his quarters. The Martian is hard pressed to reconcile the fact that Mohammedanism six hundred years after the appearance of Christianity triumphed over Christianity in a great portion of the earth's surface.
His attentive reading convinces him that not one of the Gospels is the work of an eyewitness to the scenes recorded. Paul founded Christian Theology on two archaic ideas which had already been condemned by enlightened Athenians of the fourth century before our era. Both are at once pagan and Jewish ideas. Paul reveals that St. He was the Son of God! Mark XIV. Plato knew that the punishment inflicted on a guilty person is not. This occurrence enlightens him as to what St.
At about the same period Athenian law laid down the principle that punishment should be as personal as the fault.
Paul have had on Christianity. A study of the Epistles of St. Matthew at Jerusalem. Luke at Antioch. The Martian determined to ascertain what effect the teachings of St. In spite of a diligent search the Martian found no mention of this in the words ascribed to Jesus. Paul's utterances he learns that Christ came to redeem mankind by his voluntary oblation of himself. From St. Mark at Rome or at Alexandria. He learns that. Augustine meant when he wrote. Paul taught that sin and death came into the world by Adam's fall.
This doctrine is founded upon that of expiation. It was idle to reply that these images were the Scriptures of the illiterate. The Congregation of the Index. Experience showed that the majority of the faithful confounded as indeed they still do the sign with the thing signified. He protested vehemently against the idolatrous worship of images.
The Father is made of none. It was first pointed out in that these verses were an interpolation. The Son is of the Father alone. But his confusion was even greater when he read. The Holy Ghost is of the Father and of the Son.
And in this Trinity. In chapter V of the first Epistle of St. Paul ignore it. The Roman Church refused to bow to evidence. Many scholars believe that it was written in the city of Ephesus. Scholars have agreed that Mark first set forth the doings of Jesus and "it was out of Mark that both Matthew and Luke took the framework of their own writings.
The Christ of John is a totally different person from the Christ of Mark. He had been a friend of Paul. And so to most scholars John's authorship of the Fourth Gospel is unthinkable. Luke had no personal acquaintance with Jesus and had to get his information from what others said. Years ago this view was easily entertained.
It is now believed by many scholars to have been written between the years 75 and 80 A. That an untutored fisherman could have written so elaborate and so highly philosophical an account of Jesus has always presented a thorny problem. The Fourth Gospel. The Gospel of "Matthew" is an anonymous composition which.
This time he finds: The quotations in the New Testament which the Catholic creed interprets as giving divine authority to its representatives on earth is a late He confesses that the body of Jesus Christ is in the consecrated element. The fire and the iron subsist together. A Catholic Brother. Luther was in harmony with the Roman Church in nothing but the doctrines of the Trinity.
This tale did not greatly impress our guest. Martin Luther. Luther thought it was time to abolish private mass. If Jesus spoke and acted as he is said to have spoken and acted in the first three Gospels.
Jesus and the Sinner. He pretended the devil had appeared to him and reproached him for saying mass and consecrating the elements. The mass was abolished in Wittenberg. Luther declared that the devil was right and must be believed.
The gravest difference of opinion had to do with the Communion. The interpolations. Zacharias and the Angel Gabriel. Luther married a nun called Catharine von Bora.
This is what they called impanation. The devil had proved to him. The Augustinians grew jealous of the Dominicans. This started the fray in Germany with Luther at the head of this heresy.
There had never been a single opinion persecuted by the Church in the Middle Ages the adoption of which would not have brought about a diminution of her revenues. It taught. Bartholomew Massacre. It has always known that investigation and inquiry led.
It was driven to take this position because it had taken another. With such savage alacrity did it carry out its object of protecting the interests of religion that between and it had punished three hundred and forty thousand persons. It gave birth to the Witchcraft Mania. The Rome of John X was a cloaca in which the Popes set the example of the worst misconduct. It diabolically applauded the St. The first Grand Inquisitor.
The Crusades. In other words. It has to its credit a long series of judicial murders for differences of opinion. The papacy was responsible for the Inquisition. A study of the lives of its popes put to shame the statement that they could possibly be the earthly representatives of a Benevolent Being. Convicted of so many errors. She taught that there was a first man who.
It hated geologists. In this. The only great spiritual power that could have interposed to prevent the outbreak of the World War was the papacy. She affirmed that a universal deluge had covered the earth.
The Church declared that the earth is the central and most important body in the Universe. But anthropology has shown that human beings existed far back in geological time.
It preferred magic to medicine. It ignores the whole matter. Pope Pius X There is no crime that the Catholic Church did not commit. If the history of the world proves anything. On these points she was worsted by astronomy.
It regards this life as an opportunity for joining that Church. It argued with the sword. In one hand. It was the greatest and most powerful enemy of human rights. The next Pope. He protested against the new and devilish methods of warfare but he did not condemn. Had the papacy lost its much-used power of commanding kings and nations. He strove to remain neutral.
What is the value of a church that has claimed the moral leadership of the world when such things can happen? Now that the Martian has become acquainted with the three major religions which dominate the world. This time his interest leads him to ancient and contemporary sources.
He attempted to solace the Belgians with words. A creed that told its followers that do what you might. Benedict XV. Although time causes great changes in customs and manners. From the writings of the early Egyptian. But there are certain facts that do come down to us recorded by disinterested observers from which can be derived finally some conception of their mode of life. The ideas which occur to his mind often present themselves to his eyes and ears in corresponding sights and sounds….
Religious apologists are forever reminding us that we must interpret both the lives and the works of their prophets and recorders in the spirit and meaning of the ages in which they lived.
Winwood Reade. Prophets have existed in all countries and at all times. We know from the examination of the skeletal remains of prehistoric man that the diseases of the bone of thousands of years ago were similar in their manifestations to those same diseases of bone of today. To this I agree. What applies to physical disease is just as applicable to mental disease. The historical records of his life and teachings are easier of access since he is nearer our time than the other two prophets.
The physician in speaking of mental disease means a more or less permanent departure from the normal or usual way of thinking. A hallucination is a deception of any of the five senses. A delusion is a false belief. From the facts of his life and the religion which he founded we are able to see the manner in which legend and superstition were superimposed on its original simple form.
Illustrations of hallucinations are the hearing of voices when none are present. It was Gibbon who said. An illusion is a deception of the senses. The mirage. We know that he was born at Mecca about A. Mohammed Of the three. At the With the elementary understanding of fundamental symptoms of mental diseases as a point of departure.
In the examination of a patient with mental disease the physician looks for delusions. In speaking of mental disease. Mohammed should be considered before the others for several reasons. Immediately after the babe was born an ethereal light dazzled the surrounding territory. The labor of his mother. That lady. At the age of four it was noticed that the child had signs of convulsive seizures which later commentators thought were of an epileptic nature. All the idols in the world except the Kaaba tumbled to earth.
In the city of Mecca. At the age of six his mother died also. His birth was surrounded by all manner of signs and omens. There seems little doubt that he was descended from those lofty Koreish.
As she listened to the proof of his business ability and fondly scanned his large. He was brought up under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. When the prophet was twenty-five years old. Thanks to Mohammed's keen business sense the caravan was highly successful. Mohammed was born shortly after the death of his father. There is no God but Allah and I am his Prophet!
She had I darkly contemplate his shade through a cloud of incense. More than once he drew near the edge of the cliff and was tempted to hurl himself down. And so. At this time. He pondered also on the religious legends of the Jews. We can understand this if we consider Mohammed in the light of a victim of mental disease. He lived much in the open air.
In these years Mohammed and his wife continued to be conventional worshipers of idols. His future was provided for and he had plenty of leisure to occupy himself as he chose. I fear that I am possessed. I am Gabriel! One account informs us that as Mohammed was wandering near the cave at Mount Hira. During the next fifteen years Mohammed led a tranquil life.
As the months passed. Meanwhile his business languished. This continued for several years until it was rumored that Mohammed. He became pale. There came upon him a belief that he was a messenger of God sent on earth to restore the religion of Abraham.
The hitherto mentally and emotionally normal trader. One day. Mohammed's every doubt had now vanished. Gabriel was a very valuable ambassador. At this period of his life the chapters of the Koran were delivered in throes of pain. Moments of ethereal bliss would be followed by periods of profoundest melancholy. Up and up he flew. His perturbed spirit now soared to the heights of Heaven. The paroxysms were preceded by depression of spirit.
At the same time he heard a Voice. His face assumed an expression horrible to see. From that moment Mohammed looked upon himself as Allah's vice regent. And thus Mohammed came into his own.
He delighted in the appellation. The truth of this narrative rests upon two solid facts: Allah the Wise. Jesus and John were in the second or third—he was not quite sure which—Moses was in the sixth. It is not even certain whether he could read or write. Mohammed would as unquestionably be considered a victim of But often they were not immediately written down at all. Reinach aptly states. His thoughts. As he tossed the divine emanations from his lips. The Only Wise.
Such is the Koran. Mohammed had entered the awful presence of his Maker. In an objective analysis. Talmudic Judaism and Oriental Christianity despised idolatry and worshipped the same Jehovah.
Mohammed was the subject of illusions. To simply assert that he was an epileptic does not explain these symptoms. Paganism was in general disrepute. For epileptics cannot throw a fit at will.
Neither an unbroken series of worldly failures nor the chastisement of his god have ever shaken the faith of a first-class prophet in himself or. The dissolute and declining Romans were cracking lewd jokes in the very faces of their gods. There are two types of individuals who can produce seizures such as Mohammed was wont to evoke at will. That is the charlatan. However deep in the dumps prophets may have been on occasion.
Monotheism had distinct advantages over Polytheism. In the first place. He had suicidal tendencies. One type is the hysterical.
Buddha and Zoroaster were either too remote or too helpless to matter in one way or another. If Mohammed actually had such ideas. Such considerations quite probably never entered the head of Mohammed with any definiteness.
By keeping only what was best of the Arabic faith. Of certain facts. While in a room that was obviously empty.
His Unity was steadily disintegrating into a paradoxical Trinity. What a magnificent opportunity beckoned. In these ways he had learned both the strength and the weakness of the Jews and Christians. Such are the thoughts of a charlatan and a demagogue. He may have had little or no formal education. The messengers who had served Jehovah had certainly prospered well. What prophets had done. He would drum up a crowd with his ludicrous snortings and puffings until the resounding cry.
His "fits" before the oncoming of a new Sura have been mentioned. The Prophet. In fact. The Koran of this period breathes defiance against the enemies of Islam on almost every page.More information To explain the unknown by the known is a logical procedure. Nicolas Walter. Every priest swears his religion and his scriptures are true.
He had suicidal tendencies. He finds the Lord walking in the cool of the evening. It is science and reason which must destroy for him this monstrous apparition. Hebrew with the remark that as an adult he found the stories of De Maupassant and Balzac more interesting. Whence do we come?
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