William Simpson.

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Man From Mars





Revised and Enlarged by an Extended Preface and a
Chapter on Woman Suffrage

Press of

E. D. Beattie, 207 Sacramento St.

San Francisco

Copyright, 1900. by the Author.



who, by his munitkent bequests to


has indicated in the manner of their
disposal, that humanity, wisdom, and enlightenment, arising
out of the convictions of modern thought, which holds these,
his beneficiaries to be the noblest and divinest pursuits of
mankind, and the only possible agencies in the betterment of

This Book is reverently inscribed




Any one advanced in life who has enjoyed opportuni-
ties of knowledge derived from association with men and
books, and who has an inclination to reach the bottom
of things by his own independent thought, is apt to
arrive at conclusions regarding the world and society
very different from those which had been early impressed
upon him by his superiors and teachers. From a sus-
picion, at first reluctantly accepted, but finally confirmed
beyond a doubt, he finds that he has been deceived in
many things. The discovery arouses no indignation
because he knows that his early instructors were in most
cases the victims of misdirection themselves, and are
therefore not to be held accountable for the promulgation
of errors which they had mistaken for truths. His self-
emancipation has so filled his mind with a better hope
for the future of the world, and a higher opinion of his
fellow men, that the delight and satisfaction of the dis-


covery overcomes every sentiment except pity for those
who had been leading him astraj', and if the feeling of
condemnation or censure comes to his mind at all, it is
only for those few who live and thrive upon those delu-
sions having their origin in the past, and whose chief pur-
pose in life is to keep them alive and to bolster them up
among the multitude.

In the new light that has come to him, the world and
society have been transformed to his view and understand-
ing. He discovers goodness in many places w^here his
teachers had denied its existence, and its definition has
become so changed, under his broader \4sion, that
humanity seems teeming with it everywhere, and is ruled
by it, and those departments of it most affecting societ}''
he observes to be iticreasing, and that instead of like an
exotic in uncongenial soil, hard to be retained by man-
kind, it is perpetuated and cherished by natural human
impulses. He finds, also, that the sum of badness in the
world has been greatly exaggerated by his teachers, and
that those branches of it most interfering with the welfare
of society are gradually being lessened, and are likely
to work out their extinction by the penalties of public
disapproval. These con\'ictions make the world seem a


brighter and better dwelling place. They reveal to him
the possibilities of its future, and tend to divert his higher
aims from the obscure paths where tradition had been
leading them, into more fruitful channels. The truth will
have at last dawned upon him, bearing evidences in this
age that none but the unenlightened can doubt, that
superstition, during many of the centuries past, has belit-
tled the world, and has discouraged humanit}^ in improving
it, under the mistaken assumption of the world's small
comparative importance in the great outcome; the circum-
stantial particulars, of which, it pretends to hold by divine
revelation. Ha\'ing rid himself of these beliefs by a pro-
cess of reasoning, and the assistance of the available
knowledge of his time, he arrives at the conclusion that
the best work of humanity is not, altogether that taught
by the creeds, and that its most divinely inspired motives
are those which tend to increase the knowledge of worldl}'
things, those which add to the sum of goodness in society
by exhibiting its practical effect toward happiness, and
those also which assist in the great end of equalizing the
burdens and enjoyments of life among all.

Having these conclusions firml}' established in his mind,
and the undeserved reverence from early training removed,


he becomes especially fitted to examine these old beliefs,
and to pass judgment upon them, without that taint of
blind de-v'otional fervor which the unremitted teaching of
many centuries has rendered current in the world. He
observes of these old beliefs, that during their supremacy,
when their control of society was complete and unques-
tioned, the material progress of mankind was least, with-
out any compensating condition to make up for the dark-
ness, and dead mental activity that had fallen upon it ;
except that apparent hypnotic influence from the doctrines
taught, which made men careless of their miseries, and
indifferent to the things of the earth. He obsen-es, fur-
ther, of these old beliefs, that as modem knowledge reduces
their hold of authority among men, the world improves as
it never did before. Even charity, kindness, and good
will to men, adopted, and long taught as an inseparable
part of them, multiply more rapidly as their weight in
the management of human afiairs grow less. From these
well attested facts he arrives at the conviction that those
religious societies, founded upon, and which have for cen-
turies labored to perpetuate these beliefs, either are not
possessed with all the elements of human progress, or,
that having many of such elements, they have others of


such neutralizing and retarding eflfect as to render the first
futile for such a purpose. That the latter is the case,
every year added to his experience of life removes the
doubt, and explains to his understanding why the religious
societies of the world have failed in any great degree to
advance the material and intellectual condition of man-

With a moral code, every provision of which plainly
indicates the method of a better social state, these religious
societies have indissolubly associated in their teachings
certain doctrinal beliefs, originating in a semi-barbarous
age, and laden with its superstitions, with that fatal
assumption of divine authority which demands their
acceptance every where and for all time. Beliefs of such
unbending rigidity, impossible adaption or amendment,
and intolerance of dissent, on account of their pretended
sacred character, that the world has been kept in a tur-
moil discussing them since their introduction, and the
more salutory lessons of morality and spiritual hope have
been outranked and submerged by these vain and profit-
less discussions. These beautiful and attractixe lessons of
love, kindness, and charity, exemplified and taught
through a personalit}-, whose gift of genius was to see,


above all other men, the needs of humanitj', have attracted
men and women into these religious societies as the hun-
gry are attracted b}^ stores of food. Once within their
lines, and imbued with the doctrines there found, they see
but little abroad in the outside world but the e\il spirit
of Shoel. To them, its shadow rests upon much of the
business of life, and with increased obscurity, upon many
of its pleasures. It even shows to them among those
humanities which are without their direction and cue. It
is only however among the many who openly deny their
doctrines and authority that the evil spirit is seen bj'
them in all its hideous and malevolent personality, and
their especial mission is to give battle in that direction.
Between he who doubts, no matter how respectfully, and
these religious societies, are drawn their lines of kindness
and charity, and with their sermons of love, and their
protestations of good will to mankind fresh upon them,
they are at any time, transformed, so far as their relations
with a doubter are concerned, into a band of hostile
and relentless savages, with inflictions of punishment,
measured in degree by surrounding enlightenment, from
the actual barbaric torture of the savage, to mere social
ostracism and avoidance.


If it were the sole purpose of all Christian organiza-
tions to bring into general practice the civilizing precepts
of their founder, they would become the most powerful
agents in the world to human advancement and the bet-
terment of social conditions, but these precepts are made
subordinate by them, and are neither valued or estimated
beyond their jurisdiction. They count nothing as saving
qualities without the acknowledgment of certain doctrines
and methods accompanying them. Those beautiful senti-
ments of charity and kindness, always so precious to the
hearts of men, and growing more so as the ages advance,
were not adopted nor promulgated entirely for civilizing
purposes, but mostly with the selfish view of capturing
humanity to church interests. With a like purpose,
knowing the mystic tendency of the masses, the super-
naturalisms, made a part of these attractive precepts, were
adopted and upheld; bringing into the world an endless
multitude of barren illusions, provoking acrimonious con-
tentions among men, to no good purpose whatever, and
filling the pages of history with a description of scenes
that are a torture even to the memory.

It is given only to those now living, and who have
experienced the longest terms of life, to personally com-


pare the past with the present, so far as their limited
sojourn in the world extends. They are living witnesses
to the wonderful changes in society and its beUefs during
the short period of two generations onl)'. They have
seen many of these ancient supernatural dreams in all
their power of authorit}", and have watched them wilt, and
finally disappear, under some silent influence, after argu-
ment and reason had exhausted themselves against them
in vain. They have Ustened to those weekly expositions
of infernal horrors, common at one time, in all the fear
and trembhng of childhood, and have later, witnessed the
theories and beliefs which inspired them, with many others
equally obnoxious to reason, relegated to silence and dis-
use, as antiquated and worn furniture, no longer servic-
able, is consigned to the rubbish heap. Only two genera-
tions ago they have seen the literatiu'e of the churches in
leather bound books occupying the best filled, and most
easily reached shelves of the libraries, and now laying
neglected among the dust of the cellars ; not one retained
for reference, and even their titles forgotten. They have
seen, in their time, the clutches of superstition compelled
to relax its hold upon the throats of many a worthj-
human enterprise. They have witnessed the triumph of


science in its many skirmishes with tradition, and have
been interested lookers-on, while the famous battle of evo-
lution raged. They have seen it from start to finish, and
the amusing spectacle of its end, when theology, meta-
phorically speaking, dragged its bruised and trembUng
body out of the dust ; and wiping the blood from its pale
and troubled face, unblushingly declared, as it had in
every like outcome before, that there had been no conflict.
With all this, and within their own era of two genera-
tions only, they have seen the world arise to such pro-
digies of advancement, such marvels of practical charit}'-
and such activities in the pursuit of knowledge, in so
close and quick succession as to fill them with bewilder-
ment and wonder, and they will recognize, at least such
of them as reflect upon the matter, that after conflicts
innumerable, and setbacks and suppressions, the scientific
have prevailed over the theological methods, and are at
work in all the glories of their triumph, and that the
ancient modes of thought are at last masters of the civil-
ized world after nearly two thousand years of battle. The
thread of civilization has been taken up and spliced at its
point of rupture sixteen centuries ago. All this activity
in the builduig of roads, bridges and aqueducts, this tun-


nelling of mountains and rivers, this straining to make
available for the services of man all the elements of
nature, this untiring search to increase the comforts and
conveniences of life, this higher regard for pure secular
learning, regardless of where it may lead, this diversion
of art from the purposes of religious expression only, to
an exhibition of nature in all her beautiful forms, this
greater toleration of opinion, this coming back to the
earth in short, after a long period of phantom chasing in
the clouds, is neither more nor less than the revival of
paganism. But paganism with its brutalities filtered out,
and the best, and only civilizing parts of Christianity, its
hope of immortality, its lessons of virtue, its brotherhood
and socialism retained, the superstitions of paganism
buried forever, and those of Christianity gradually drop-
ping one by one into their graves.

He, who now at three score and ten, remembers when
the sound of the flint and steel was a necessary prelude to
the morning fire, when the open fire place with its crane
and pot hooks was the only resourse for warmth and cook-
ing, when the largest city on the American continent was
without sewers or water conduits, when a river steamer
was a wonder upon which the curious gazed, and ocean


ones unheard of, when railroads were in an experimental
stage, when the belief that ghosts flitted about the grave-
yards was unquestioned and undenied, when Satan was
said to have stalked upon the earth in person, his presence
seriously considered and accounted for by many of the
churches, when witchcraft, only in the throes of death
but not yet buried, had many adherents in animated
defence, when the electrical experiments of Franklin were
reckoned in some places as the trifling of an infidel with
the spirit of evil, can best appreciate, by the comparison
which reminiscence affords, of these wonderful changes
in thought, and the significant accompaniment of increased
mental activity in all things benefitting the race. The
close relations exhibited in this comparitively brief period
between the growth of rationalism, and that accelerated
movement all along the line of science, learning, and
everything tending to place humanity on a higher plain,
is more than a mere coincidence. It is the operation of
cause and effect, better understood and acknowledged
upon a closer examination.

The bursting forth, as it were, during this century of
the united energies of mankind in the direction of knowl-
edge, is an expansion after the removal of a pressure that


has borne down upon them for ages. Those great things
that men have accomplished lately, they were as capable
of centuries ago, and it is not surprising that they had
not until recently made grater advances, when we esti-
mate the weight of opposing forces. There had been for
centuries nothing more discouraging to the formation of
scientific hopes and ambitions than the theological meth-
ods of thought, and the atmosphere which surronded
them. The more that atmosphere was saturated with the
doctrines of the churches, the more repellent it was to
any intellectual effort toward outside things, and especi-
ally one requiring such a monopoly of mental energy and
attention as to interfere with the Christian ideas of con-
stant and unremitting devotion. There was no cultivated
field, during the thousand years of supreme church juris-
diction, where an independent scientific ambition could
germinate. Within the church such an ambition was
impossible. It was not only against the spirit, but the
very letter of its teachings. Its foundation was laid by
its victory over science, in its overcome of which, it pro-
claimed divine assistance and authority. It already pos-
sessed a knowledge of all things appertaining to the earth
and the "firmament" above it which the Almighty


desired men to know. The earth was not round, it was
the center of the universe. It stood still while the sun
moved daily over its surface, getting back each morning
into its place with the help of angels. The rainbow was
a sign placed in the heavens for a purpose. Every known
phenomenon of nature was accounted for by scriptural
reference. The method of the creation of the world and
the origin of man and of woman also, the church pos-
sessed in circumstantial detail. The moment true science
began its work, and ran counter to any of this fund of
knowledge, assumed to have been furnished by the
Almight}^ the trouble began. But the trouble was not
altogether with the honest investigator. If his discovery
tended to disprove what was known as scriptural truth,
and inadvertently had been allowed to gain the public
ear, every prelate in the church began contriving to
refute it. A new opportunity for fame was opened to
every ambitious theologian, and there immediately began
in rebuttal a spinning of texts, and a style of metaphys-
ical argument, from one end of the church to the other,
which remain to this day as the most remarkable curiosi-
ties of sinuous reasoning and constrained thought on
record. All questions of a scientific character had but


one method of settlement, were they authorized or denied
b}' scripture ? If denied as they usually were, the dis-
turber was either burned at the stake or made to recant.
Fame, that chief incentive to all high effort, offered none
of its rewards beyond theological circles, and during the
ten centuries of complete church supremacy, any advance
in knowledge which did not stir the animosity of theo-
logians gained less public attention and applause than the
wearing of a hair shirt or a crown of thorns. During a
thousand years the church had kept the world slumber-
ing in the darkness of barbarism and superstition punish-
ing with death those it could not convince. Any doubter
of generally accepted beliefs, either in religion or science,
who can support his position with plausable argument, is
entitled at least to the consideration of being a thinker.
The constant taking off of every such one, during a term
counted by centuries, could have no other effect than to
reduce the average of intellectual vigor in the whole.
The husbandman, who removes from his acres of growing
grain the tallest and heaviest stalks, and instead of saving
them for seed, destroys them, insures, in time, the mis-
fortune of dwarfed fields and diminished harvests. The
church, since its complete \'ictory over paganism in the


fourth century, had not produced with its supreme control
over all learning a single noted man of science, or one
promising to be such, whom it had not either suppressed
or tortured to death, not a painter or poet who had not
devoted his genius principally to superstition or sensual-
ity, not a historian whose veracity is not doubted, and
not a single towering man of letters. This, too, in a peo-
ple, among whom mingled the decendants of the Greek
masters of literature and philosophy. When, about four
centuries ago, secular learning and free thought began
their first open advances since pagan days, the church,
finding in every such movement some disturbance of its
traditions, and making no accotmt of their benefit to man-
kind, brought all its powers to bear for their suppression.
In trying to do so it pursued the same cruel policy it had
adopted in former contests. These cruelties and intimi-
dations were practiced at a time when within the church
were openly perpetrated corruptions of the most glaring
character; which together, loosened its hold upon the
consciences of men, and made possible that revolt and
di\dsion known as the Reformation, early in the sixteenth
century. Coming nearer our own time, and having to


deal with theological conditions not yet entirely removed,
a little more detail is necessary'.

The quarter century before and the century following
the Reformation was a remarkable era in the world's his-
tory. It was noted throughout as a desperate and con-
tinuous struggle by men of science to dispel the darkness
that had so long enveloped the Christian world. The art
of printing, then recently discovered, and just coming
into practical working effect, and the thoughts of men
thereby communicated from one to the rest with a facility
never before known, had the effect of arousing mental
activities everywhere. From a load only partially removed
men began exploring regions of science that had been
interdicted, and a great movement in positive knowledge
began. The most enlightened men of the time went over
to the Reformation, and if within that body, they had
found the shelter and encouragement they deser\'ed, the
sixteenth century and the one following it would have
been the most brilliant period on record except our own,
for scientific discoveries and the world's advancement.
Such a conclusion is justified by taking note of the won-
derful men of genius who came into the world during
that time, who, with all the restrictions and limitations


cast about them by the two churches, laid such new foun-
dations in truth and learning, that nothing was to be done
by subsequent workers in the same lines but build upon
them. BufFon, who may justlj'- be called the father of
natural science, with powers of research and gifts of
presenting results showing genius of a high order, by his
simple statement of truths which are to day truisms in
science, was dragged forth by the leaders of the Reforma-
tion, and forced to recant publicly and to print his recant-
ation. "I abandon everything in my book respecting the
formation of the earth, and generally all which may be
contrary to the narrative of Moses." Linnaeus, the
founder of a scientific system in botany, and the discov-
erer of sex in plants, was constantly hampered and con-
strained in his thoughts by the threats of the Reforma-
tion. A pretended miracle of turning water into blood
appeared in his vicinitj^, and after looking into it carefully
he reported that the reddening of the water was caused
by dense masses of minute insects. When news of this
explanation reached the ears of the Protestant bishop he
denounced this scientific discovery as a "Satanic Abyss."
"When God allov/s such a miracle to take place," said
he, "Satan endeavors, and so does his ungodly and


worldly tools, to make it signify nothing." Descartes,
the founder of modern philosophy, and ranked among the
foremost mathematicians of his day, yet, his constant
dread of persecution from Protestantism led him steadily
to veil his thoughts, and to suppress them when they
threatened to interfere with theological beliefs. Leibnitz,
the great thinker, who came so near to the discov-
ery of evolution, Spinoza, and later Hume, Kepler, Kant,
Newton and many others, which want of space prevents
mention were likely to have done much more for science
had not the theological atmosphere of the Christian
churches been so unpropituous.

The true story of Galileo, the monumental shame of
Christianity, cannot be told without implicating the
younger with the older church. The Reformation looked
on complaisantly and approvingly while this crime was
being committed. It was in complete accordance with its
beliefs and methods. The Copernician system, on account
of the adoption of which, Galileo was persecuted was as
strenuously and bitterly denounced by Protestants as
Catholics. Luther says "People gave ear to an upstart
astrologer, who strove to show that the earth revolved,
and not the sun and moon. This fool wishes to revise


the whole system of astronomy, but sacred scripture tells
us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not
the earth." The recantation of this venerable scientist,
worn out with imprisonment and sorrow, and in fear of
torture and death, is as follows : "I Galileo, being in mj'
seventieth year, being a prisoner on my knees before
your eminences, having before my eyes the Holy Gospel,
which I touch with my hands, abjure, curse and detest
the error and the heresy of the movement of the earth. ' "
As the sphericity of the earth was, suggested by Aristotle,
and its movement had been a matter of earnest discussion

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Online LibraryWilliam SimpsonThe man from Mars; his morals, politics and religion → online text (page 1 of 14)