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thorns or figs from thistles. Hence an uprooting and replanting are
necessary (a revolution not a reformation) which will give the world a
new tree of state.

Capitalism no longer grows the fruits (foods, clothes and houses) which
are necessary to the sustenance of the world. Hence it encumbers the
ground and must be dug up by the roots in order that a tree which is so
organized that it will bear these necessities may be planted in its
place.

The people of Russia have accomplished this uprooting and replanting
(this revolution) in the case of their state, and those of every nation
are destined to do the same in one way or another, each according to its
historical and economic development, some perhaps with violence, most, I
hope, peaceably. The Russian Bolsheviki occupy the highest peak in man's
history; and while they stand, the world will be safe for industrial
democracy. This democracy is the tree of life whose fruits are for the
sustenance of the nations and whose very leaves are for their healing.

The only lives of which we need know aught are those that we shall live
in our bodies by chemical processes and in the race by conscious or
unconscious influences; for, if there is another, it will take care of
itself, if we take care of these.

Since, therefore, all life is on a level and since morality, religion
and Christianity are but manifestations of it, do you not see how
profoundly and incontrovertibly true is my levelism?

According to this levelism all interpretations of Christianity
(protestant and catholic - congregational, presbyterian, episcopalian and
papal) and all the interpretations of religion (Christian, Jewish,
Mohammedan, Buddhistic and the rest) are essentially on the same
footing, the difference between them being wholly a question of natural
excellencies, not at all of supernatural uniqueness.

The science of biology establishes my levelism by proving that animal
and human life are on a level as to their origin, character and destiny.

The science of sociology establishes my levelism by proving that animal
and human institutions are on a level, and that therefore, there is
nothing more supernatural about a human state or church than about an
ant hill or a bee hive.

The science of literary criticism establishes my levelism by proving
that the bibles of the several interpretations of religion are on a
level as to their entirely human origin and authority.

The science of the comparative interpretations of religion establishes
my levelism by proving that all the conscious, personal creator-gods,
destroyer-gods, saviour-gods and illuminator-gods, with all their
angels, heavens and hells, are so many myths - creations of the human
imagination, subjective fictions, not objective realities.

Until comparatively recent times, through all the theological history of
mankind, the sun was almost universally regarded as a god. Manifestly
without it there could be no life on earth, and its annually recurring
motions are such as to give the impression of birth and death - of birth
by ascension into the heaven of the summer solstice - of death by
descension into the hell or grave of the winter solstice. Not only is
the sun the giver and sustainer of life, but it is also the light that
lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Modern science justifies this ancient conception as to the dependence of
the earth, and all that thereon is, upon the sun for its being. By a
slight adaptation men of science and scientific philosophers could use
the very words of the apostle John at the opening of his version of the
Christian gospel, where he says of Jesus, what they say of the sun:

All things were made by him and without him was not anything made that
was made. In him is life; and the life is the light of men.

The birth, death, descension, resurrection and ascension of all the
Saviour-gods, not excepting Jesus, are versions of the sun-myth.

Yet the naturalness, the universalness, the beautifulness and withal the
profound truthfulness of this myth are such as to render it almost as
undesirable as it is next to impossible to relegate it to the realm of
superstition, to which it should undoubtedly be assigned if a literal
interpretation is a necessity.

The more science advances, the more of precious poetry and pathos, and
of deep verity, too, is seen in the Saviour-gods, who are essentially
the same mythical personifications of the glorious sun and of the happy
events of its annual career, because from it the earth with its brother
and sister planets had their origin, and because from it the earth, not
to speak of the other planets, has the heat, light and force which make
its life a possibility.

There is no reason for believing that any one among the gods of the four
old supernaturalistic interpretations of religion (Jehovah, Jesus,
Allah, Buddha) or that either of the gods of the two new interpretations
by the renowned physicist, Sir Oliver Lodge, and the distinguished
sociologist, Mr. H. G. Wells, has had more to do in creating, sustaining
and governing this world than another, that is to say, there is no
ground for believing that the personal, conscious gods in the skies
either individually or collectively have had anything at all to do with
it.

Science, as it is understood by the great majority of its exponents,
teaches that the earth (with all things, physical and psychical, which
contribute to make its world what it has been, is, and is to be) was
originally in the sun, and would quickly disappear into its original,
unorganized elements but for the sun.

This is as true of man as of all else. He with his brain and its
thought, with his hand and its skill; with his homes, farms, cities,
mines, shops, stores, trains, ships, schools, hospitals and churches;
with his hate, bestiality and barbarism, and with his love, humaneness
and civilization, was in the sun, billions of years before his
appearance on the earth.

Speaking of things appertaining to the world war: there in the sun,
before it had thrown off the earth, were the kaiser on the throne, the
president in the white house, the millions of soldiers, the uniforms,
the rations, the forts, the cannons, guns, powder and shot, the
trenches, the barbed wire, the dreadnoughts, the submarines, the
aeroplanes, the wireless telegraph stations, the wounded, their
sufferings and groans, the doctors and nurses, the corpses, the
cripples, the broken hearts; yes, and all the things connected with that
terrible war; the bereaved mothers, the widowed wives, the outraged
girls, the ruined country, the wrecked cities, were in the sun from its
beginning, indeed while it was yet a nebula, many thousands of millions
of years previous to the birth of the earth.

If we except intruders into our solar system, such as comets and their
comparatively inconsiderable effects, we may say that every physical or
psychical reality which at any time has entered into the history of this
planet and that of its brothers and sisters was in that vast flowing,
swirling, revolving globe of gases which is known to have been at one
time at least five billion miles in diameter, or fifteen billions in
circumference.

Of course no phenomenon, such as Jesus hanging on the cross, if He lived
and was crucified, was in the sun as an actuality, but only as a
potentiality. Nevertheless He, with His doctrine and His suffering, was
there, else He would never have been anywhere, not in the realm of
history, not even in the realm of imagination.

The universe is ever all that it can be, and every potentiality which
contributes to make it so is within itself. What is true in this respect
of the universe as a whole is equally so of every part of it, including
man, and especially him, because he is exceptionally capable of
controlling his own destiny, being able not only to preserve life by a
discovery of and conformity to the laws upon which it is dependent, but
also to enlarge and enrich its content by making these laws co-operative
servants.

The time cannot be far off when it will be seen by all educated,
thoughtful men and women that if the traditional, supernaturalistic
interpretation of Christianity is the only possible one, its message is
not a gospel, because its teaching touching three fundamentals is, in
each case, contrary to that of three relevant sciences:

1. The sciences of astronomy, geology and biology teach that the
representation of traditional supernaturalistic interpretation of
Christianity to the effect that the universe, including the earth with
its physical and psychical life, was supernaturally created out of
nothing by a conscious, personal god is not true and therefore can be no
part of any gospel; for, according to the teaching of these three
sciences, the truth is: the universe with all that therein is, not
excepting mankind and civilization, was naturally evolved out of a
self-existing matter by a self-existing force co-operating in accordance
with the necessity of their nature.

2. The sciences of biology, physiology and embryology teach that the
representation of the traditional, supernaturalistic interpretation of
Christianity to the effect that man and woman are unique beings, who
have supernaturally derived their physical form, vital and psychical
potentialities directly from a conscious, personal creator with whom are
their natural affiliations, is not true, and therefore can be no part of
any gospel; for, according to the teaching of these three sciences, the
truth is: man and woman as to their whole beings (body and mind, life
and soul) were naturally evolved from pre-existing animal life, not
supernaturally created respectively out of the dust and a rib, so that
they owe their existence to and natural affinities with a terrestrial
and bestial parentage, not a celestial and divine one.

3. The sciences of anthropology, sociology and comparative
interpretations of religion teach that the representation of the
traditional, supernaturalistic interpretation of Christianity to the
effect that man and woman were supernaturally created in the image and
likeness of a conscious, personal god, sinless and deathless beings with
ideal environments, but that they fell from this happy estate, through a
serpentine incarnation of a supernatural devil, and are being restored
to it, through a human incarnation of a supernatural saviour, is not
true, and therefore can be no part of any gospel; for, according to the
teaching of these three sciences, the truth is: during many ages man and
woman, in both appearance and predilection, were much more animal than
divine and that gradually, without any supernatural assistance, they
have worked themselves out of a state of bestial barbarism into one of
human civilization.

It follows therefore that the representations of both the Old and New
Testaments, concerning the origin and history of man are largely
fictitious impositions, not historical compositions, so much so, that no
confidence can safely be reposed in any of them.

There is no rational doubt about the fictitious character of the divine
Jesus. Some think that the human Jesus may have been an historical
personage; but, none among outstanding scholars believes that we have a
connected account of his life and work, and most of them insist that we
do not certainly know any saying or doing of his.

No religious doctrine or institution of which we have an account in the
New Testament is peculiar to Christianity and this is equally true of
moral precepts.

The gods of all the supernaturalistic interpretations of religion are so
many creations of the dominant or master class, and their revelations
were put into their mouths by the makers for the purpose of keeping the
slave class ignorant and contented.

Orthodox Christians earnestly contend that this naturalistic doctrine
makes for immorality. Heretical socialists rationally answer that the
life which men, women and children live with reference to their
terrestrial influence, rather than to celestial rewards or punishments,
is the only one which is lived to any moral purpose.

According to socialism, morality, religion and Christianity are but
synonyms of one and the same reality, which consists wholly in the
desire and effort of a man to learn the laws or doings of nature, and to
conform his thoughts and words to them, in order to make his present
life on earth, and that of others, as long and happy as possible, and
not at all in a desire and effort to learn what the will of a conscious,
personal god is and to conform to it, in order to avoid a hell and gain
a heaven for a future life in the sky.

O threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain - This Life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown forever dies.

If you object that this is a representation of a sceptical poet, I reply
that it is in alignment with a representation of a scriptural preacher:

For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts;
Even one thing befalleth them;
As the one dieth, so dieth the other;
Yea, they have all one breath;
So that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast;
For all is vanity.
All go unto one place;
All are of the dust,
And all turn to dust again.

Darwin showed that each man in his physical development from the
embryonic cell to birth passes through, by short cuts, the different
forms of life from say, the worm, fish and lemur with all that went
before, intervened between and followed after, and Romanes showed that
this is as true of the mind as of the body; that, in fact, all the
representatives of the animal kingdom are physically and psychically
related, and therefore on the same level as to their origin and destiny.

In his illuminating book entitled, "The Universal Kinship," Professor
Moore says:

The embryonic development of a human being is no different from the
embryonic development of any other animal. Every human being at the
beginning of his organic existence is a protozoan, about 1-125
inch in diameter; at another stage of development he is a tiny
sac-shaped mass of cells without blood or nerves, the gastrula; at
another stage he is a worm, with a pulsating tube instead of a
heart, and without a head, neck, spinal column, or limbs; at
another stage he has as a backbone, a rod of cartilage extending
along the back, and a faint nerve cord, as in the amphioxus, the
lowest of the vertebrates; at another stage he is a fish with a
two-chambered heart, mesonephric kidneys, and gill-slits, with gill
arteries leading to them, just as in fishes; at another stage he is
a reptile with a three-chambered heart, and voiding his excreta
through a cloaca like other reptiles; and finally, when he enters
upon post-natal sins and actualities, he is a sprawling, squalling,
unreasoning quadruped. The human larva from the fifth to the
seventh month of development is covered with a thick growth of hair
and has a true caudal (tail) appendage, like the monkey. At this
stage the embryo has in all thirty-eight vertebrae, nine of which
are caudal, and the great toe extends at right angles to the other
toes, and is not longer than the other toes, but shorter, as in the
ape.

Surely no argument is needed to convince you that Darwinism corroborates
the representation of our ancient heretical poet and scriptural preacher
concerning a life beyond the grave rather than the representations of
modern orthodox theologians.

Strange, is it not? that of the myriads who
Before us pass'd the door of Darkness through,
Not one returns to tell us of the Road,
Which to discover we must travel, too.

- Omar.


II.

In history slavery stands out as a huge mountain range traversing the
whole of a continent. During long ages it was supposed that these
phenomena of the human and physical worlds were due to the will of a god
(Jesus, Jehovah, Allah or Buddha) but the vanguard of humanity has now
reached a viewpoint from which it sees that both are alike due to a law,
that a law is what nature does, not what a god has willed, and that a
system of slavery and a range of mountains are due to the same law.

The matter-force law is everywhere the same, and it is as omnipotent and
immutable in a social order as in a solar system.

"The very law that moulds a tear,
And bids it trickle from its source,
That law preserves the earth a sphere,
And guides the planets in their course."

Most of the time, and especially just now, our world is very full of
tears, almost as much so as space is full of spheres, but there would
not be half so many tears at any time, if the laws of states were so
many correct interpretations of the laws of nature.

In every age, nearly all the hot tears which deluge the world flow, like
streams of springs, from their deep sources as the result of unnecessary
suffering by grinding poverty, by hopeless slavery, by avoidable
diseases and by premature deaths; and by far the most of these and of
all sufferings may be traced to man-made laws which not only have no
correspondence with those of nature but are contrary to them - laws of
which both the civil codes and religious bibles are too full.

You will agree with me that society should punish none of its members by
the slightest fine or shortest imprisonment, not to speak of death,
except on the basis of justice. So far, and it is a long way, we
certainly walk together. We part company, if at all, on the question as
to the basis of justice, but come together again in the conclusion that
it is right, not might.

What, then, is this right? If you answer: the law of the state as it is
interpreted by a competent court, I reply: no legal enactment, and so,
of course, no interpretation of one, can really constitute a right,
unless it is an embodiment of a truth containing an indispensable stone
in the foundation which is necessary to the superstructure of the ideal
civilization, under the roof of which every man, woman and child shall
possess the greatest of possible opportunities to make life for self as
long and happy as it can be, and to help others in an ever widening
circle to do this for themselves.

Laws are not made. All social laws (domestic, civil, commercial, yes,
even the moral and religious ones) are matter-force realities, as much
so as is any other among all the physical or psychical realities
entering into the constitution of the universe; which realities are but
the expressions of the processes necessarily resulting from the
necessary co-existence and co-operation of this matter and force;
therefore, laws are so many eternal necessities and, this being the
case, it is not possible that men in states or churches should make
them, no, not even gods in heavens.

Man would, then, have progressed much further with the superstructure of
an ideal civilization, if only in his efforts to rightly regulate his
life, he had happily searched out the laws of nature as they are
revealed through its phenomena and interpreted by experience and reason,
instead of looking for direction to the laws of the gods (Jehovah,
Allah, Buddha or even Jesus) as they are revealed through prophets and
interpreted by kings or presidents, by priests or preachers and by other
"powers that be of God" in states and churches - institutions which exist
in the interest of the capitalist class and against that of the labor
class. The world owes by far the greater part of its most poignant
sufferings to this fatal mistake of looking to gods in heavens and their
representatives on earth for direction instead of to nature and reason.

Life in the physical realm is dependent upon living in harmony with the
matter-force law. The representative of any form of life (mineral,
vegetable, animal, human) which either through ignorance, accident or
willfulness does not conform to it, is destroyed or at least injured.

Life in the moral part of the psychical realm consists in a disposition
and effort to learn the matter-force law, and to fulfill in thought,
word and deed the individual obligations to self and the social
obligations to others imposed by it when it has been humanely
interpreted by a man for himself.

Religion and Christianity are but wider extensions of one and the same
great all-inclusive virtue, morality, without which human life would not
be worth living, indeed not even a possibility, for without morality a
man is a beast, not a human.

Morality is the greatest thing in the world. Yet, paradoxical as the
representation may seem, there is one greater thing, freedom - the
liberty to think, speak and act in accordance with one's own convictions
as to what is the law and as to what are its requirements. Without this
liberty there could be no morality, and therefore, freedom is greater
than the greatest thing in the world, morality.

But liberty, the greatest and most indispensable necessity to morality,
religion and Christianity, indeed, to the existence of a human being, is
manifestly impossible on the theory that a man must be guided by the
will of a conscious, personal God in the sky as it is interpreted by the
kings and priests, presidents and preachers on earth.

You will note that I am not contending for the liberty to live without
reference to an external authority. If this were my contention you would
rightly insist (as some among my friends do) that I am an atheist in
religion and an anarchist in politics; but I am neither, for I recognize
the fact that I must live with reference to the existence of an external
authority, matter-force law, and there is no other, upon which anything
good in religion or politics is dependent.

No one is an atheist in religion, an anarchist in politics or anything
bad, who, in the physical realm of life, tries to live with reference to
the law of nature, and who, in the moral realm of life, tries to live
with reference to a truth which is that law humanely interpreted by
himself in accordance with his own experience, observation,
investigation and reason. In the nature of things, the interpretation
cannot be by some one else, because one man cannot live the moral life
on another's ideals any more than he can live the physical life on
another's meals.

Since this is the case, it follows that the whole conception of a law
which is willed by a god and revealed or formulated by his
representatives (prophets, kings, priests, legislators) to which a man
must have reference, if he would live the moral life, is, at best, a
harmless fiction and at worst a hurtful superstition.

There is no one (man or god) with whom people can stand in the moral
realm except themselves alone, and if they are not within this realm
they are not men and women.

Manhood is dependent upon standing alone with matter-force nature and
with human reason, and it is manhood which really counts everywhere in
the social realm, for without manhood one is nothing anywhere in that
realm.

Nature is my God. The gods of the several supernaturalistic
interpretations of religion (Jesus, Jehovah, Allah, Buddha) are so many
symbols of this divinity. The words of this God are the facts of nature.
My religion and politics, worship and patriotism consist in a desire and
effort to discover these facts and to interpret and live them humanely.

My God, Nature, is a triune divinity - matter being the Father, force the
Son, and law the Spirit.

Nature is the sum of the matter-force-law phenomena of which the
universe is constituted. Man with his barbarism and civilization is but
one among such phenomena, on a level with the rest, as to his beginning
and ending, and as to the dependence of his life and its fullness upon
conformity to the matter-force law, without necessary or, indeed,
possible reference to any divine-human system of laws as set forth by a
catholic or protestant church or by an imperialistic or democratic
state.

Unless states and churches persuade, encourage and help man to more
fully discover, more correctly interpret and more perfectly live the
matter-force law they are worthless; and indeed worse, if in the long
run and on the whole they hinder him; and undoubtedly they have done
this in the case of the slave class - a class which, ever since the rise
of private property in the means of producing the necessities of life,
has comprehended the vast majority of the human race.

Whether then man is barbarous or civilized is really and truly, wholly
and entirely a question of the knowledge of and conformity to the


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Online LibraryWilliam Montgomery BrownCommunism and Christianism → online text (page 7 of 15)