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cobweb. He himself exists, and, being of a certain size, fills a certain amount of space. Yet, before he existed, space was infinite, and whether he existed or not space would be infinite. Does his existence, then, fatally impugn the infinity of space? And unless it be nonsense to affirm infinity and Mr Bradlaugh added to it, why should it be nonsense to affirm infinity and the universe added to it? Mr Bradlaugh continues : “You affirm that the universe owes its existence to the reason and will of God—that is, that the universe did not always exist, but that God reasoned about it and decided that it should exist. Now, as the universe did not always exist, prior to its origination its non-existence must have been reasonable or unreasonable to God. But it cannot be supposed that the infinitely wise and powerful would have endured the unreasonable; therefore, while the universe did not yet exist, its non-existence must have been reasonable. But if it ever were unreasonable that the universe should exist, and if God was then the sole infinite existence, and infinitely wise, it would have always been unreasonable that the universe should originate, and there would never have been any creation.” It is hardly necessary to point out that Mr Bradlaugh here confounds reason with reasoning. No intelligent man thinks or speaks of God as reasoning. But stranger even than this oversight is the conception of infinite wisdom implied in Mr Bradlaugh's argument. Infinite wisdom is assumed to be incompatible with the origination of anything finite at a definite time. If so, infinite wisdom must be much inferior to human wisdom in its humblest form.
There is an impression in some quarters that atheism is advocated in a weak and unskilful manner by the chiefs of secularism. It is an impression in which I do not share. Most of the writers who are striving to diffuse atheism in literary circles are not to be compared in intellectual strength with either Mr Holyoake or Mr Bradlaugh. The working men of England may be assured that they have heard from the secularists nearly everything in behalf of atheism which is at all plausible.
Note XXV., page 253.
DARWINISM AND THE UNIVERSALITY OF RELIGION.
Darwinians are obviously not logically bound to deny that religion is a universal characteristic of the human race. They may even quite consistently maintain that traces of it will be found not only among all tribes of men, but among various species of animals. And this is what several of them actually hold.
Mr Darwin himself merely ventures to suggest that the dog is susceptible of “a distant approach” to religious emotion. He says: “The feeling of religious devotion is a highly complex one, consisting of love, complete submission to an exalted and mysterious superior, a strong sense of dependence, fear, reverence, gratitude, hope for the future, and perhaps other elements. No being could experience so complex an emotion until advanced in his intellectual and moral faculties to at least a moderately high level. Nevertheless we see some distant approach to this state of mind in the deep love of a dog for his master, associated with complete submission, some fear, and
perhaps other feelings.” Not a few evolutionists go much farther, and, indeed, represent as evidences of religion all the tokens of confidence and gratitude towards man displayed by the lower animals. M. Houzeau ('Études sur les Facultés Mentales des Animaux,' pp. 271-273) thinks that there are many persons and even peoples not so religious as the dog.
As to this view, it may suffice to say that trust and gratitude are not in themselves religious emotions. They only become so when their objects are, or are supposed to be, supernatural beings. A man's confidence in and affection to a fellow-man are not religious emotions. Why, then, should a beast's confidence in or affection towards a man be so designated ? A man is not to a dog an invisible being, an agent inaccessible to its senses. It may be replied that the object of man's worship may be a visible being, and that, in fact, numerous peoples adore stones, plants, and animals. If the religion of a man may display itself in the worship of a beast, why should not a beast show itself to be religious in the worship of a man? The answer is that a man never worships a beast merely as a beast; while we have no reason to suppose that a beast in trusting or loving a man regards him as anything else than a man. When a man worships a beast, he worships it not as what it really is, but as the type or symbol, the mask or embodiment, of a Divine Being. It is some unseen agent—some mysterious power—manifested in, or at least somehow associated with, the beast, that he really adores. Low, therefore, as his worship is, there is a spiritual sense—a consciousness of the Invisible and Divine-at the root of it. Can it be shown that there is anything of the kind in a dog when it fawns upon a
man, or in a horse when, by neighing, it solicits human assistance ? Unless this is shown, the act of a human being adoring even a beast must be held to be utterly unlike any act of a beast towards a man.
Note XXVI., page 263.
ALLEGED ATHEISM OF SOUTH AMERICAN TRIBES.
The words of Spix and Martius are as follows: “Chained to the present, he (the Brazilian Indian) hardly ever raises his eyes to the starry firmament. Yet he is actuated by a certain awe of some constellations, as of everything that indicates a spiritual connection of things. His chief attention, however, is not directed to the sun, but to the moon, according to which he calculates time, and from which he is used to deduce good and evil. As all that is good passes without notice by him, and only what is disagreeable makes an impression on him, he acknowledges no cause of good, or no God, but only an evil principle which meets him sometimes in the form of a lizard, of a man with stag's feet, of a crocodile, or an ounce; sometimes transforms itself into a swamp, &c.; leads him astray, vexes him, brings him into difficulty and danger, and even kills him. They ascribe a direct intercourse with the demons to their pajé, who is acquainted with many powerful herbs, appears to be at the same time their priest and phy. sician, and contrives to maintain his credit among them by all kinds of conjuring tricks. In extraordinary cases he is applied to for his advice, which he gives, after consulting the demons, for which purpose he generally uses a dark tempestuous night. Certain animals, for instance, a kind of goatsucker, and the screaming kinds of vulture, caracarai, and caoha, are messengers from the dead to the pajé, and therefore highly respected by everybody.” — Travels in Brazil, b. iv. ch. ii.
What Mr Wallace says is: “I cannot make out that they have any belief that can be called a religion. They appear to have no definite idea of a God; if asked who they think made the rivers, and the forests, and the sky, they will reply that they do not know, or sometimes that they suppose that it was ‘Tupanan,' a word that appears to answer to God, but of which they understand nothing. They have much more definite ideas of a bad spirit,
Jurapari,' or Devil, whom they fear, and endeavour through their pajés to propitiate. When it thunders they say the “Jurapari' is angry, and their idea of natural death is that the Jurapari kills them. At an eclipse they believe that this bad spirit is killing the moon, and they make all the noise they can to frighten him away.” - Travels on the Amazons and Rio Negro, p. 530. 1853.
The statement of Mr Bates (The Naturalist on the River Amazons, vol. ii. ch. iii., pp. 162, 163, 1863) is substantially identical with that of Mr Wallace, his fellowtraveller. The only definite information in it is that the Indian Vicente did not know the cause of lightning, and had never reflected on who made the sun, stars, and trees. If Vicente had known the cause of lightning he must have been more learned than a European savant before the time of Franklin ; and if he had meditated on the maker of the sun, stars, and trees, his religion must have been of a more thoughtful character than that of the ordinary ancient Greek or Roman.