Demoralization of British India by Christian Missionaries

While deploring such a state of things in Christian countries, the Catholic article in question explains this tenacity for ancestral religious rites as evidence of the natural depravity of the human heart, and makes a loud call for greater zeal on the part of Catholics. Besides repeating the absurd fiction about devouring children, the writer seems wholly insensible to the fact that a devotion to one's faith that centuries of the most cruel and bloody persecution cannot quench, makes heroes and martyrs of a people, whereas their conversion to any other faith would turn them simply into renegades. A compulsory religion can never breed anything but deceit. The answer received by the missionary Margil from some Indians supports the above truism. The question being: "How is it that you are so heathenish after having been Christians so long?" The answer was: "What would you do, father, if enemies of your faith entered your land? Would you not take all your books and vestments and signs of religion and retire to the most secret caves and mountains? This is just what our priests, and prophets, and soothsayers, and nagualists have done to this time and are still doing."

Such an answer from a Roman Catholic, questioned by a missionary of either Greek or Protestant Church, would earn for him the crown of a saint in the Popish martyrology. Better a "heathen" religion that can extort from a Francis Xavier such a tribute as he pays the Japanese, in saying that "in virtue and probity they surpassed all the nations he had ever seen"; than a Christianity whose advance over the face of the earth sweeps aboriginal nations out of existence as with a hurricane of fire.* Disease, drunkenness, and demoralization are the immediate results of apostasy from the faith of their fathers, and conversion into a religion of mere forms.

What Christianity is doing for British India, we need go to no inimical sources to inquire. Captain O'Grady, the British ex-official, says: "The British government is doing a shameful thing in turning the natives of India from a sober race to a

* Within less than four months we have collected from the daily papers forty-seven cases of crime, ranging from drunkenness up to murder, committed by ecclesiastics in the United States only. By the end of the year our correspondents in the East will have valuable facts to offset missionary denunciations of "heathen" misdemeanors.

nation of drunkards. And for pure greed. Drinking is forbidden by the religion alike of Hindus and Mussulmans. But . . . drinking is daily becoming more and more prevalent. . . . What the accursed opium traffic, forced on China by British greed, has been to that unhappy country, the government sale of liquor is likely to become to India. For it is a government monopoly, based on almost precisely the same model as the government monopoly of tobacco in Spain. . . . The outside domestics in European families usually get to be terrible drunkards. . . . The indoor servants usually detest drinking, and are a good deal more respectable in this particular than their masters and mistresses . . . everybody drinks . . . bishops, chaplains, freshly-imported boarding-school girls, and all."

Yes, these are the "blessings" that the modern Christian religion brings with its Bibles and Catechisms to the "poor heathen." Rum and bastardy to Hindustan; opium to China; rum and foul disorders to Tahiti; and, worst of all, the example of hypocrisy in religion, and a practical skepticism and atheism, which, since it seems to be good enough for civilized people, may well in time be thought good enough for those whom theology has too often been holding under a very heavy yoke. On the other hand, everything that is noble, spiritual, elevating, in the old religion is denied, and even deliberately falsified.

Take Paul, read the little of original that is left of him in the writings attributed to this brave, honest, sincere man, and see whether any one can find a word therein to show that

Paul meant by the word Christ anything more than the abstract ideal of the personal divinity indwelling in man. For Paul, Christ is not a person, but an embodied idea. "If any man is in Christ he is a new creation," he is reborn, as after initiation, for the Lord is spirit — the spirit of man. Paul was the only one of the apostles who had understood the secret ideas underlying the teachings of Jesus, although he had never met him. But Paul had been initiated himself; and, bent upon inaugurating a new and broad reform, one embracing the whole of humanity, he sincerely set his own doctrines far above the wisdom of the ages, above the ancient Mysteries and final revelation to the epopte. As Professor A. Wilder well proves in a series of able articles, it was not Jesus, but Paul who was the real founder of Christianity. "The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch," say the Acts of the Apostles. "Such men as Iren^us, Epiphanius, and Eusebius have transmitted to posterity a reputation for untruth and dishonest practices; and the heart sickens at the story of the crimes of that period," writes this author, in a recent article.* "It will be remembered," he adds, "that when the Moslems overran Syria and Asia Minor for the first time, they were welcomed by the Christians of those regions as deliverers from the intolerable oppression of the ruling authorities of the Church."

Mahomet never was, neither is he now, considered a god; yet under the stimulus of his name millions of Moslems have

* "Evolution," art. Paul, the Founder of Christianity.

served their God with an ardor that can never be paralleled by Christian sectarianism. That they have sadly degenerated since the days of their prophet, does not alter the case in hand, but only proves the more the prevalence of matter over spirit all over the world. Besides, they have never degenerated more from primitive faith than Christians themselves. Why, then, should not Jesus of Nazareth, a thousandfold higher, nobler, and morally grander than Mahomet, be as well revered by Christians and followed in practice, instead of being blindly adored in fruitless faith as a god, and at the same time worshipped much after the fashion of certain Buddhists, who turn their wheel of prayers. That this faith has become sterile, and is no more worthy the name of Christianity than the fetishism of Calmucks that of the philosophy preached by Buddha, is doubted by none. "We would not be supposed to entertain the opinion," says Dr. Wilder, "that modern Christianity is in any degree identical with the religion preached by Paul. It lacks his breadth of view, his earnestness, his keen spiritual perception. Bearing the impress of the nations by which it is professed, it exhibits as many forms as there are races. It is one thing in Italy and Spain, but widely differs in France, Germany, Holland, Sweden, Great Britain, Russia, Armenia, Kurdistan, and Abyssinia. As compared with the preceding worships, the change seems to be more in name than in genius. Men had gone to bed Pagans and awoke Christians. As for the Sermon on the Mount, its conspicuous doctrines are more or less repudiated by every Christian community of any considerable dimensions. Barbarism, oppression, cruel punishments, are as common now as in the days of Paganism.

"The Christianity of Peter exists no more; that of Paul supplanted it, and was in its turn amalgamated with the other world-religions. When mankind are enlightened, or the barbarous races and families are supplanted by those of nobler nature and instincts, the ideal excellencies may become realities.

"The 'Christ of Paul' has constituted an enigma which evoked the most strenuous endeavor to solve. He was something else than the Jesus of the Gospels. Paul disregarded utterly their 'endless genealogies.' The author of the fourth Gospel, himself an Alexandrian Gnostic, describes Jesus as what would now be termed a 'materialized' divine spirit. He was the Logos, or First Emanation — the Metathron. . . . The 'mother of Jesus,' like the Princess Maya, Danae, or perhaps Periktione, had given birth, not to a love-child, but to a divine offspring. No Jew of whatever sect, no apostle, no early believer, ever promulgated such an idea. Paul treats of Christ as a personage rather than as a person. The sacred lessons of the secret assemblies often personified the divine good and the divine truth in a human form, assailed by the passions and appetites of mankind, but superior to them; and this doctrine, emerging from the crypt, was apprehended by churchlings and gross-minded men as that of immaculate conception and divine incarnation."

In the old book, published in 1693 and written by the Sieur de la Loubere, French Ambassador to the King of Siam, are related many interesting facts of the Siamese religion. The remarks of the satirical Frenchman are so pointed that we will quote his words about the Siamese Saviour — Sommona-Cadom.

"How marvellous soever they pretend the birth of their Saviour has been, they cease not to give him a father and a mother. * His mother, whose name is found in some of their Balie (Pali?) books, was called, as they say, Maha MARIA, which seems to signify the great Mary, for Maha signifies great. However it be, this ceases not to give attention to the missionaries, and has perhaps given occasion to the Siamese to believe that Jesus being the son of Mary, was brother to Sommona-Cadom, and that, having been crucified, he was that wicked brother whom they give to Sommona-Cadom, under the name of Thevetat, and whom they report to be punished in Hell, with a punishment which participates something of a cross. . . . The Siamese expect another Sommona-Cadom, I mean, another miraculous man like him, whom they already named Pronarote, and whom they say was foretold by Sommona. He made all sorts of miracles. . . . He had two disciples, both standing on each hand of his idol; one on the right hand, and the other on the left . . . the first is named Pra-Magla, and the second Pra Scaribout. . . . The father of Sommona-Cadom was, according to this same Balie Book, a King of Teve Lanca, that is to say, a King of Ceylon.

* We find in Galatians iv. 4, the following: "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law."

But the Balie Books being without date and without the author's name, have no more authority than all the traditions, whose origin is unknown."*

Was this article helpful?

0 0

Post a comment