The Case Against Religion
(originally, "Superior Men")
a book by James Hervey Johnson, 1949
This book is for those who have the rather rare ability to reason. It is the result of years of study of many religions and peoples; the history, psychology, and geographical distribution of races and religions. I have attended many of the ordinary religious meetings held in the United States, discussed religious matters with thousands of people read hundreds of books, thousands of articles in newspapers, magazines, and religious tracts; spent thousands of hours thinking of what I have read, heard, and seen. The conclusions arrived at are based on the marshalling of thousands of ideas which have thus been presented to my mind. I have only one object in view -- to know and express the truth. This reasoning about religions has made certain conclusions obvious. Such study has been a great satisfaction to me; perhaps it will be to others who wish to determine their conclusions on things religious by using their reason instead of by accepting ready made conclusions based on guesswork, hearsay, or blunder.
None need take my word for what is written herein. Each statement is a truth either self-evident or can be proved to a reasoning mind. Each reader should arrive at the same conclusions I have reached because the facts which led me to them are true, and facts always lead to the same conclusions, no matter what reasoning mind follows them.
Each reader should consider this book impersonally, without animosity or prejudice. It is, in a way, the reproduction of the results of a series of thousands or millions of impressions which one human mind has assembled, segregated, systematized, compared and which are now being reproduced, along with the conclusions arrived at, by such comparing and considering. Let each reader consider the statements herein as he would those gathered by a phonograph recording device and then reproduced. Truth needs no defense. Facts sustain themselves.
I have sought to present the essence of the many arguments against religion (which is equivalent, for practical purposes, to superstition) which have impressed me most from reading the following works and authors:
And other books, articles, lectures, and writings running into countless thousands, the list of which would require a volume larger than the book I present.
All these things I have read, compared, and segregated, and extracted from them the appealing arguments against religion. I have condensed them into plain words for busy people.
I want to present the essence of this life time of reading, so that others may, like myself, find their way out of the darkness of superstition into the cheerful brightness of reason.
Read what is written here, be honest in your consideration, and reach your own conclusions.
is Largely Inherited
We receive our first introduction to religion from our parents. As children we are so ignorant that we must be taught even to walk. We know nothing of science, nothing of history, nothing of the world. Before we have learned even to read we are taken to church or Sunday school and are told certain things about religion.
We are told that there is a God with supreme power over everything. He cannot be seen, heard, touched, smelled or tasted. We are supposed to take the Sunday school teachers' word for it.
We are told that the Son of God was born of a woman who had never had sexual intercourse with a man. Children only vaguely understand this.
We are taught that when we die our soul survives. There is no proof. We are expected to accept the statement without proof. Each man who tells us of the survival of the soul in Heaven has a different conception. We do not know where Heaven is. We do not know what a soul is. We may be told of Hell, but it cannot be shown to us.
The things we are told about religion are mythical, impossible of proof, and we are expected to believe them because our parents or the priests or preachers tell us they are true.
As children we have no way of investigating the facts and arriving at the truth. We dare not show doubts, dare not ask for proof, and usually accept what we are told without questioning it. Our parents have accepted what they were told by their parents, and the priests and preachers got their first information from their parents, and later from books written by priests and preachers who got their information from other priests or preachers.
As children we are not taught all sides of all religious questions. In fact, every effort is made by most religions to prevent children from getting any favorable information about any religion other than that of their parents, or of the priest or preacher who has charge of filling their minds with the things he wants them to believe.
Having developed no reasoning faculty we accept the statements made to us. We can do nothing else. The early training becomes a habit. A special portion of the brain is apparently developed and the early impressions of religion are deeply recorded in that part, just as the erroneous belief in Santa Claus is impressed on young minds devoid of the ability to discern the falsity of the fable.
If each child were allowed to wait until of mature age before investigating religions and was then required to study all religions and all opposition to religions, few persons would be believers.
The world is religious because children are given only one side of a many-sided question.
There are thousands of religious beliefs, the leaders of each claiming theirs to be the only true one. The children of each of the followers of these religions are taught that theirs is the only true religion. If you are a Catholic, were you told, "The Methodists have the only true religion?" No, you were taught that there was only one true religion, only one true church, and that was the Catholic Church. So it has been with each child in each religion.
Religions Were Developed in
Most religions with followings of any size were developed by primitive uneducated people hundreds or thousands of years ago. Nearly all new religions are based on those more primitive.
The Jewish religion has roots purportedly 6000 years old. The Christian religion is based on purported happenings some 1900 years ago. The Mohammedan religion originated about 1100 years ago and is an off-shoot of the basic Semitic or Jewish religion, which was probably a mixture of earlier smatterings of philosophy from the still more ancient Assyrians, Chaldeans Egyptians, and Hindu religions and philosophies.
Our religious books and ideas have been carried down from those remote times and we are expected to follow the teachings and alleged orders of gods issued from 2000 to 10,000 years ago.
Those ancient writers knew nothing of modern science. They had no telescopes to learn of astronomy. They did not realize that there are millions of stars. They had no scientific instruments. Their education was primitive. Only a few could read and write the tedious characters that stood for writings. Priests and preachers were almost the only scribes. The common people knew little except what they were told by their rulers.
Mental horizons were restricted by lack of communication with other peoples. Those who wrote the Bible didn't know that the earth was round or that America existed. They knew nothing of the north pole or the south pole. The flood of their own district was a flood of the whole world to them. Everyone they knew was in the flood, because the only people they knew were nearby. Airplanes, trains, autos, and steamships were unknown. Roads were trails, and travel was by horse or camel-back or by oxen, ass, or on foot. Twenty miles travel in a day was a long journey.
For such reasons few people ever got far from home. There was no mail system. The one we have today was founded about 1840 -- only a hundred years ago. Rulers could send messengers running in relays but one auto today can cover more territory in a half hour than the runners did then in a whole day.
There were no magazines, daily papers, or public libraries. There was no radio. A man's own village, or the company of his fellow herdsman was almost his only opportunity for obtaining knowledge.
Man's mentality was poorly developed. There was little opportunity for mental development. Primitive minds had no store of scientific knowledge to draw from. They speculated and guessed at the facts of life. The more intelligent classes had more time for leisure and more time for imagining how the world began, what the controling forces were, and what people should do. The average man's vocabulary was limited. Primitive races of today in the lands where our religions originated are among the most backward on earth.
It was from the minds of such untutored primitive people that conceptions of gods, demons, devils, genii, angels, and all of the unseen manipulators of hut man destinies were imagined. Are we then so undeveloped mentally that we must rely on the imaginings of ignorant, backward minds of primitive peoples, just emerging from savagery, to determine the cause of our lives and thoughts in these days of scientific development and opportunities for study and knowledge?
Intelligent persons do not accept their teachings.
The Probable Origin of
The probable origin of religious festivals, holidays, customs, and beliefs can be traced through the history of mankind and through the present beliefs, customs, and festivals of the races and tribes in varying stages of cultural and mental development.
There is now a tendency by would-be scientists to explain primitive religions on the basis of man's so-called need for spiritual development. They put the cart before the horse. The so-called spiritual development is a result of the many ages of primitive, superstitious, and religious practices. They seek to excuse a characteristic of mankind which maintains superstitions practices which conflict with not only scientific knowledge but with common knowledge, by various methods of compromise and by crafty and ambiguous arguments.
Religious festivals usually occur at about the time of seasonal changes. Thus, Christmas, supposed to be the birthday of Christ, occurs at about the time of the change of the length of the day and by the old calendar probably was at that time, December 21. Easter and many other religious festivals occur in the Spring and other religious festivals occur at mid-Summer and in the Fall.
All of these festivals can be traced back to natural causes. Early man was greatly dependent upon the sun. During eclipses he was in fear that sunshine might not return. Even today in China, the primitive practice is followed of beating drums, cymbals, and blowing horns to try to drive away the dragon which is supposed to be swallowing the sun. Early man must have been afraid of the dark, because he had no fire and not much protection against animals. Hence, it was easy to understand early man's worshipping the sun as practiced by the Mazdaznans, an early Persian sect which still persists, by the Aztecs and Incas of the New World, and by many primitive religious groups. The sun was personified and worshipped as a god. The early Greeks and Romans followed this practice. The sun was all-powerful and meant everything to the primitives. The forces of darkness which swallowed up or drove away the sun were the enemies of mankind and these evolved into the Devil and into Satan. The hells of the ancient Greed and the primitive Christians and other religions were underground, where the forces of darkness were supposed to hold forth, unable to withstand the power of the sun.
It is easy to understand how the primitive peoples worshiped the moon as a lesser deity, because the moon gave them light and turned nights of discomfort and possible terror into something more tolerable. So the year was based on the time of the earth's movement around the sun and the month was based on the time of the changes of the moon. The word month itself originated from the word moon.
As the days grew shorter, darker and colder during Fall and Winter, man's apprehension of disaster increased, but when the ancient medicine men, witch-doctors and primitive priests were able to point out that the days began to increase after the Winter solstice, their fears became allayed and it was time for celebration and sacrifice. Even the customs of presents being given and the Santa Claus story originated in ancient Scandinavian, non-Christian customs. Probably, some of the primitive religious leaders took advantage of early man's ignorance to claim credit for these seasonal changes.
The Christian religion, like other religions, found it more convenient to use the festival days which had been celebrated from time immemorial and thus it was easy to substitute Christ for the Sun God which had been worshiped and who was the Savior, just as the sun was the personified Savior of the primitive people.
Easter brings another season, that is Spring, when the full power of the Sun expresses it self. The trees and flowers burst forth with leaves and fruit and the birds and other animals and very often, even primitive man, such as the Eskimo instinctively recognize Spring as the mating season. Here again is an occasion for celebration of the conquest of the powers of light over the powers of darkness. And in those latitudes where there is a change of season, the celebration is universal.
After the Summer and the harvests, when man has reaped the benefits of the long Summer season, it is natural that he should celebrate, and that the feeling of agreeableness at his success should be expressed in the festivals of thanksgiving, which are common in practically all countries. Here again the priests and primitive religious leaders required a religious expression of celebration.
Like the primitive peoples of Africa, the South Seas, and India today, early man considered every tree and stone to have a spirit. Animism is a common characteristic of all primitive peoples. The mysterious and unexplained sounds of thunder, the angry lashing of lightning, the mysterious sounds of the woods and forests, of the wind, the sea, the rivers, and the crackling of ice and rocks caused by expansion of ice and weather changes, all of which were little understood, gave him the ideas of spirits and devils which could do him harm unless he sacrificed to them.
There is little doubt that the origin of the folk stories of spirits and fairies developed from the phosphorescent lights of the swamps and fens, from the lightning bugs, fireflies, the phosphorescent minute sea life, and from the phosphorescent fungus in the forest. The strange lights, the origin of which was unknown to man for centuries, must have filled him with a feeling of fear and foreboding. Some of the Irish and Scandinavian stories of fairies and spirits can be traced to such origin. Thus, it is understandable how religion evolved and developed from these simple but mysterious natural phenomena, and, as is explained in another chapter, these imaginations and ideas, once started, were difficult to stop. Primitive man feared to express any doubt as to the power of any of these spirits or gods or devils. At times being invisible, they might know what he was thinking about or talking about, and might harm him.
Today the more primitive tribes of the South Seas, Africa, North and South America, and India, carry a great many kinds of amulets, tokens, stones, chains, beads, and all manner of such things to protect them from the imagined evil influence of the spirits of the stones and trees, animals and even other human beings. Many soldiers, fliers, and others also carry these tokens of good luck as a protection against possible evil happenings. And many of them believe in it. One craftily devout company went so far as to advertise a steel covered Bible to be worn over the heart, probably recognizing that the bullet-proof steel would offer more protection than the Holy Word.
The average man has never made a scientific study of the success of those who wore the charms and amulets as compared to those who did not.
As a matter of fact, for the most part, natural things, such as the trees and stones and rivers and seas and strange lights never injured the average man and so it was easy for him to believe, especially when he was so told, that these charms protected him. Even lightning struck only occasionally and struck a person very rarely, and then it was easy to explain that that individual had done something wrong. Most everybody has committed a sin of some kind and so disease and accidental natural disasters could be explained by the primitive witch-doctor, the priest or the religious leader as the result of some transgression by the individual.
So by these simple steps, evident and obvious to the simple minds of early and uncultured men, more complicated customs, practices, and religious systems gradually grew through the ages to those of the present day.
Dreams, Nightmares, Visions
Once I dreamed of elephants fighting over me. Primitive man, living in the midst of wild animals, probably had very vivid nightmares of near death and attempt to escape from wild and horrid animals. Probably he saw lizards and reptiles which impressed and greatly scared him. Probably real escapes in daytime were horribly exaggerated and repeated at night in his dreams.
It was natural for primitive man to believe that the souls or spirits of the animals were after him. Hence the efforts of primitive man to appease the spirits of reptiles and other animals.
The Hindus fear to kill the monkeys, the cobras and tigers for fear the spirits of these offensive, destructive and dangerous beasts will cause them death and injury. Hence the depredations of the vast multitude of animals, which are not exterminated in India grows to great heights.
Witch doctors were swift to prey upon the imagination of their weaker minded fellow men. They talked of their own gods manufactured from their own dreams, nightmares and visions. It was only a step to the manufacture of horrible looking devils and gods, often half men and half beast. Even the Christian devil has horns and a tail.
The primitive races in China, Tibet, Japan, India and the savages of Africa, the South Seas and the Indians of the Americas had totems, tiger and animal gods, devils, probably outgrowth of nightmares, visions, dreams and imagination.
The savage, primitive and medieval rites of many-religions practiced today, accentuate the worship of all of these fetishes, gods, devils and images. The dancing around them, the sacrifice, the night rituals, the music, the tomtoms' repetitions all served to impress the images of the spirit -- devil gods in the minds of the people and as they had little else to think about they would dream and have visions of these things and that would serve to make them believe still more the claims of the priests and witch doctors.
The great ritual and impressive ceremonies of the Catholic church cannot help but impress childish minds and weak minds. Hence it is very reasonable to attribute the visions of Saints, the Virgin Mary, and Christ to the dreams and nightmares of those who have been subjected to the influence of these rituals and ceremonies. This probably explains the many so-called visitations which appear from time to time in the press where children or priests or simple minded people are visited by saints and gods with messages which are claimed to verge on the miraculous.
From time to time I dream of my father, who was my partner and close associate all my life until his death. Sometimes the dreams are very vivid and I dream that I am discussing various matters with him as I did when he was alive.
The dreams of ignorant people may seem to them to be meetings with those in the spirit world. Knowing that their friends and relatives are dead, it is easy for ignorant or insane or eccentric (off-center emotionally or mentally) people to believe that they are talking to the souls of the dead.
Hence, primitive men divided the person into a soul and a body. The appearance of a shadow following a man may have also had much to do with the dual combination.
Epileptics, paranoiacs, insane people could well be considered as having been under the influence of devils -- because at times they appeared sane and at other times insane.
Insane people, epileptics, eccentrics, also seem to have more vivid dreams, both night and day than normal people. They could report such dreams very vividly. Sometimes under influence of drugs or wine they might have prolonged dreams or visions.
Normal people who had dreams could embellish them and tell them for the approbation they would receive from those not so highly gifted with imagination, or those whose minds were more normal.
Thus do we have a rational explanation of visions and revelations, and spiritualism.
The study, difficult as it is, of primitive races, their superstitions and religions, indicates that the mass and maze of supernatural phenomena such as visions, revelations, spirits, souls, conversations with various Gods originates from their feeble efforts to explain such things as dreams, shadows, the singing of rocks, sands, trees and all natural phenomena which cannot be distinctly and easily, directly explained by immediate and obvious connection. If the wind makes a rock whistle or sing, when no mouth is shown, the primitive mind attributes the act to the soul of the rock.
Having once impressed an audience, a dreamer or "visioneer" may become somewhat of a petty celebrity. Gradually he may become better known and eventually he would gain greater influence, and the benefits and ease of living, his superstitious, and awe-inspired primitive associates might give him, because of their belief, that he might intercede with unseen seen powers for their benefits -- or they might fear, that he could have evil spirits, damage them if they incurred the wrath of the "visioneer," or medicine man or priest.
As the deference to him and power grew he would be able to prevent criticism of him or his associates -- excommunicate those who disapproved of his actions or who dared to raise the voice of suspicion or infidelity. Most religions have grown because they were able to suppress criticism and because they were able to pound week in or day in and day out, their ritual into the minds of the impressionable, ignorant children who could only hear one side.
The leaders of the religious and superstitious from the smallest to the greatest have always led lives of ease and plenty, often they were exempt from war while others were sent to death, disease and injury. It was always to their great financial advantage to foster their religion and to keep their dupes in ignorance, so they used the torch, inquisition, torture, prison, defamation of character to suppress inquiry, infidelity, agnosticism and doubt.
So men's minds have been bent one way only. There was only one side to be heard. A tree on the ocean shore where the winds blow inland always bends away from the breeze -- all the trees bend away. So it is with the ignorant, herded masses. They bend the way they are forced by the strong winds of superstition which blow them in one direction only -- from earliest childhood to old age.
The Tendency to Accept Blindly
Religious Teachings Is a
Product of Evolution
Among primitive people those who openly doubt the witch-doctor are often killed or imprisoned. During the Middle Ages millions of persons were tortured and killed because they expressed doubts as to the religious teachings they were expected to believe.
In some Mohammedan countries an "unbeliever" walks in daily prospect of losing his life. A man who expressed his doubts as to the truths of the Hindu religion in the sacred cities of the Hindus would be killed, if unprotected.
In our own country, in 1948, it is difficult or impossible to broadcast against religion by radio. The moving picture shows dare not present anti-religious pictures. No candidate for public office dares to declare himself an atheist. Ostracism awaits any business man, newspaper, or magazine which expresses doubt as to religion. Immediately upon such expression a storm of protest by priests, preachers, and their following would be centered on the head of the doubter. In some Latin American countries the free thinker would be mobbed.
Fear keeps men from expressing themselves -- fear of being ostracized socially, fear of being killed (in some countries), fear of losing business, fear of losing votes, fear of ridicule, fear of abusive censure.
Even in the year this book is written, men in England are being sent to prison as criminals, because they refuse to pay taxes to the church of England.
In Ohio and Maryland it is a crime to play certain games on Sunday because the Bible is reputed to hold such "sins" in disfavor.
In Tennessee and Arkansas it still is a crime to teach in tax-supported public schools that man is descended from a lower order of animals.
For ages men have been killed, imprisoned, tortured, and ruined socially, financially and physically because they refused to believe the things they were told by priests, witch-doctors, medicine-men, preachers, and rulers and all because no religion can stand the searchlight of honest investigation. Truth will destroy any religion. The only defense against truth that religious leaders have, is to suppress it.
By the rule of survival, only those who believed what they were told, or who kept their beliefs to themselves, have lived and had off-spring. Many of the great men who were honest and independent, who openly opposed teachings contrary to reason, were killed or imprisoned; thus they did not have so many children to carry on their strain.
If almost every white cow of a herd largely composed of black ones is killed, it is only natural that the percentage of black cows will grow larger and the white ones less. Priests, preachers, witch-doctors, kings, and rulers wanted the kind of people who believed what they were told to believe; and like the stock raiser who discards the strains he does not like, they have discarded the independent, reasoning thinkers whenever they had a chance. By the process of selection, the "believers" predominate. The men with minds capable of independent thought are few. The instinct of sheep-like belief in what they are told is so strong in most people that they will not even listen to arguments contrary to those their "sheepherder" (pastor) tells them.
Newspapers receive advertisements from churches and carry church propaganda in their news columns just like any other advertiser's publicity is carried. Politicians get votes in blocks from the churches, so they subsidize them by allowing the churches exemption from taxes.
As preachers, priests, bishops, popes, and all of the other church promoters and employees receive their living, often luxurious, from gullible believers, so a huge machine works to keep the people (already with an inherited believing tendency) in the fold.
Docility of their subjects is the prime quality desired by all rulers, preachers, priests, and religions.
Just as cattle raisers develop docile cattle which will be bred, raised and slaughtered without reasoning, opposing, or complaining, so have the rulers, preachers, and priests attempted, with universal success, to evolve a mass of docile, believing people.
Many members and leaders of the Catholic Church openly supported the war of extermination waged by the rebels of Spain who murdered, imprisoned, or suppressed every citizen of that country who wanted to support the government which a great majority of Spanish people placed in power by an honest election. Since that time, the Catholic Church has been placed in complete control of the education and teaching of the children. Freedom of speech and of religion has vanished. The Catholic Church has been established as a State Church and is supported by taxes levied on the people, a majority of whom do not want such control over their lives.
Many with great properties and high salaried position will even assist in murder to protect their special privileges, because they know that their following, their salaries, exemptions and privileges will vanish when their hold on the minds of their docile followers must depend on reason instead of trusting belief.
The Mentality of the Common Man is Very Low
The great mass of people are very stupid. They are kept in stupidity by their rulers, priests, and preachers. All they know is to eat, gorge themselves to the point of sickness if they get a chance, work when they have to, procreate, repeat what they hear, like parrots, have their childish pastimes and die after a life of exploitation by grafting rulers, politicians, preachers, priests, and parasites on the body politic.
Intelligence is not a necessity for survival. Rabbits have little intelligence, yet in a few years they overran the whole of Australia and grew from a few to millions. Stupid people multiply just as fast as intelligent people and under present conditions much faster.
Let us look at the mentality of the common mind. A baby is born. Its parents talk "baby talk" to it for four or five years. During that time it plays with toys, is entirely dependent on its parents, and cannot complete even its natural functions without assistance. It is almost unable to reason, to consider, to compare facts, to determine between right and wrong. It may have been brought up under the Santa Claus illusion and may have been taught that this mythical person flies through the air in a sleigh led by reindeer, and that Santa Claus comes down the chimney while his reindeer remain on the roof, then fills stockings with gifts and candy. Of course, the whole childish story has arisen in the minds of ignorant people of ages ago. Every effort is made to fool the child. While it is in bed, the father or someone else puts gifts in the stockings, even rattles sleigh bells and does other tricks to fool the youngster. Because it is given toys to play with, candy and other gifts, the child looks forward to this deception, and in fact, many grown persons never advance very far beyond the Santa Claus state of mentality; they want Christmas trees all their lives.
At about five years the child is sent to school, which he doesn't like. He is taught how to cut paper dolls and smear water colors in kindergarten. Next year he is taught the alphabet, how to read and write, and later, arithmetic. He is often sent to Sunday school and taught to repeat a lot of rig-a-ma-role which he doesn't understand. He is told that such and such is a fact and doesn't dare, even if he wanted to, dispute what he is told by his elders or teachers.
Later he is taught a little history, how to sing childish songs, a little painting, how to spell, and is given simple childish books to read. He is taught fairy stories and a little geography. When the youngster is old enough he is taught English, grammar, arithmetic, a carefully revised history of the United States, then histories of Greece, Rome, Medieval Europe, England, and the Western Hemisphere. He learns little about Asia, the primitive peoples and their superstitions, the sex worship of the Hindus, the religions of China, Persia, Arabia -- Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Japanese Shintoism, Mohammedanism, -- and the atheism of Russia and even of his sister Republic, Mexico. The cults and blurred ideas of primitive peoples are not given him. He is not taught to read Voltaire, Thomas Paine, Robert Ingersoll, and other great leaders of advanced thought.
Much of what he does read or is taught is too much for his weak intelligence. He usually cares little for it and if it were not for compulsion, he wouldn't even go to school. He is more interested in girls, moving picture shows, driving a car, games, football, baseball, dances, sex stories and other simple pastimes, than he is in his studies.
At 18 to 25, unless he goes to college, his education practically stops except for what he gets out of the daily papers, perhaps a magazine full of sex stories, and a moving picture with exaggerated sex or love as the main feature.
Philosophy, history, knowledge of peoples and their religious customs, and science are not interesting to him. He gets a job, marries and drifts along. If he goes to church to please his mother, or his wife or sweetheart he gets a lot of religious ideas which are vague and blurred in his mind. He does not see anything in the papers against religion, the movies do not carry any such information nor is it broadcast by the radio.
If he wants such information, he must buy books or get them from the library or take special magazines. This is too much trouble, as a rule, and so he drifts along, works when he has to, goes to his club, or his sports, sleeps, eats, has his sexual experience, perhaps raises a few children and doesn't care much whether the stuff he is told by a preacher is true or not.
There are some who do study and develop a reasoning mind, but they are a very small percentage of the public. We are talking of the great mass, 95% of which works most of its life, wastes, gambles, and drinks up its income so that it must be supported by private or public charity after the individuals are 50 years of age.
Because this great mass of humanity believe that there is a god, that Christ was born of a virgin and that those who believe as the preachers tell them, will go to Heaven and live a life of eternal happiness, does not make it true.
Most people simply do not know any better. They are ignorant. They have been told religious fables just like the Santa Claus fable and they have no way of knowing the truth. They have heard only one side. They do not realize that 400,000,000 Chinese believe a different story, that 300,000,000 Hindus have 80 religions, that 200,000,000 Mohammedans have a still different belief and that millions of primitive people believe thousands of divisions of their own religions. All are different and all think other religions are false.
They are continually mentally whipped, by priests and preachers and those who profit from religion, into antagonism toward other churches.
Their leaders make them think they are better than followers of other religions. The Jews were told that they were "God's chosen people." Every circumstance of fortune which favored them was said to be a sign of their God's protection. Every misfortune to those with other religions and gods was said to be because the Jew's God was unfavorable to the other religion. When great calamities came upon the Jews, the priests claimed it was because the Jews had sinned, that is, disobeyed the priests and rulers who, of course, claimed to represent their God.
The Roman Catholic Church claims to be the only true church. For 1500 years the leaders of this church killed, maimed, imprisoned, tortured, burned at the stake and destroyed everyone they could who refused to believe and publicly profess their belief as their priests told them they should.
Today members of various sects look down on others. The Adventists believe that those who do not belong to their religion will be destroyed at the "second coming of Christ." The Mormons think that the "Gentiles" (the word they use to describe all non-Mormons) are beyond the pale and will lose their "souls." All young Mormon men and girls are supposed to be missionaries for a year or two, at their own expense, to help get more converts in the field.
Men of intelligence should listen to the claims of all religions. Then the great conflict and absurdity of the claims can be well realized.
If the gods or priests of any of these religions were all powerful, as their leaders claim them to be, they could confound all other religions and there would be only one. But about the only way they can expand their religions is to use the sword, or send missionaries with medical or other physical benefits to work on the minds of primitive people in Africa, the South Seas, Asia, or South America.
The mentality of our average citizen is very low. Millions of Americans will not begin a journey on the 13th or on Friday. Millions of words about Friday the 13th are printed in the daily papers. Thousands of articles are written by newspaper reporters and editors about what happens to people on the 13th. Many hotels do not number their rooms "13" because ignorant people will not sleep in a room with such a number. Even railroads are said not to number their cars "13" because ignorant, religious, superstitious people will not ride in cars so numbered.
The fact that millions of people have traveled on Friday, slept in rooms numbered "13," traveled on Friday the 13th, etc., doesn't keep these people from their superstitious dread of the "mystic" number.
Other ignorant people, claiming good fortune, will tap on wood to keep their luck from changing, whenever they mention their good fortune. Housewives have dozens of similar superstitions, such as dropping dish rags, forks or spoons, reading tea leaves, coffee grounds, etc.
Millions of dollars are given annually to fortune tellers, astrologers, spiritualists, and other "wizards" and "witches" by ignorant, stupid people who more or less believe what these fakes tell them.
Many business men spend large sums in consulting mediums, clairvoyants, psychics, and fortune tellers. Women patronize tea readers, card readers and similar racketeers who grow rich from the credulity of their dupes.
As the years have passed since this book was first started, the tremendous stupidity of the masses of the people becomes more amazing. Apparently, the ability to reason is confined to a very small percentage of people. The masses almost invariably follow not the intelligent leaders who would bring peace, prosperity and happiness to the world, but the worst leaders who bring war, crime, disease, mental darkness. It is all the more important then, that the search for those few men who have the ability to reason be pushed. There are many whose eyes have not been opened, because, although they may have personal intelligence, they have been kept under such a blanket of ignorance and superstition that the first glimmer of the light of reason or rather, the first information upon which they can base the falsity of current doctrines, has been withheld. To such men this book will open a new world of intelligence and light. If the spark is in the mentality of the individual, the opening wedge will be sufficient to start him on the road to being a Superior Man.
Whole nations vote themselves into slavery on the promise of something for nothing from selfish or even insane leaders. Criminals run poorly checked. Labor racketeers take heavy tribute from every person in the U. S. As a people we consume billions of gallons of poisonous drinks, such as alcoholic liquors, which we know are detrimental to our health. Loafers, in league with crooked politicians, sponge on the people who work and save. The incompetents, lazy, and chiselers blame everyone but themselves for their conditions, and using false accusations as excuses, try and succeed in fooling a large section of the populace into believing that loafers and petty crooks are entitled to be supported at the expense of thrifty and hard working people.
Such, then, is the mental condition of the great mass of people in which superstition-religion flourishes.