MAN AND HIS GODS by Homer Smith


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Dynamite here! From the view-point of a naturalistic atheism the author of this volume passes in review the religious beliefs and practices of mankind from the beginning of history through the end of the nineteenth century. What he sees in the history of religion does not please him. In fact he believes that religion has been one of the most harmful factors in human history, a brake upon the progress of mankind and a stultification of his intellect. He pays almost exclusive attention to Judaism and Christianity. The Old Testament he finds to be but a collection of myths, fables and legends intermingled with laws regulating the minutiae of man's behaviour so that the priests can keep their hold upon the people. The finest of the Old Testament prophets said nothing that was not said equally forcibly by pagan leaders. Jesus, if indeed he ever lived at all, had nothing original to contribute. The founding of Christianity as a religion is attributed to the fanatical and misguided zeal of Paul. Christianity made its way as a religion by absorbing pagan beliefs and practices. The author is at great pains to outline the folly of such beliefs as the creation and Fall of Man, and the existence of a personal devil. He has much to say about the Inquisition, the Crusades, and the absorption of the church in the battle against witchcraft. The Protestant Reformation did little to improve matters, except to give man more freedom from priestcraft. But now the old structure of supernatural religion is rendered intellectually untenable by acceptance of Darwin's doctrine of evolution. That, he contends, was the coup de grace for revealed religion. Man, at last, is on his own and a good thing too. It is a strong case the author puts up and religionists should be acquainted with this out and out attack upon the value of religion, historically, culturally, and ethically.

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 1952
Publisher: Little, Brown