The Profits of Religion

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

"In this book, Sinclair attacks institutionalized religion as a “source of income to parasites, and the natural ally of every form of oppression and exploitation.” - Wikipedia

"This book is a study of Supernaturalism from a new point of view -- as a Source of Income and a Shield to Privilege. I have searched the libraries through, and no one has done it before. If you read it, you will see that it needed to be done. It has meant twenty-five years of thought and a year of investigation. It contains the facts.

I publish the book myself, so that it may be available at the lowest possible price. I am giving my time and energy, in return for one thing which you may give me -- the joy of speaking a true word and getting it heard.

The present volume is the first of a series, which will do for Education, Journalism and Literature what has here been done for the Church: the four volumes making a work of revolutionary criticism, an Economic Interpretation of Culture under the general title of "The Dead Hand.""

"The reader, offended by this raillery, asks if I mean to impugn the sincerity of all who preach the supremacy of the soul. No; I admit the honesty of the heroes and madmen of history. All I ask of the preacher is that he shall make an effort to practice his doctrine. Let him be tormented like Don Quixote; let him go mad like Nietzsche; let him stand upon a pillar and be devoured by worms like Simeon Stylites -- on these terms I grant to any dreamer the right to hold himself above economic science."

"It is the fate of many abstract words to be used in two senses, one good and the other bad. Morality means the will to righteousness, or it means Anthony Comstock; democracy means the rule of the people, or it means Tammany Hall. And so it is with the word "Religion". In its true sense Religion is the most fundamental of the soul's impulses, the impassioned love of life, the feeling of its preciousness, the desire to foster and further it. In that sense every thinking man must be religious; in that sense Religion is a perpetually self-renewing force, the very nature of our being. In that sense I have no thought of assailing it, I would make clear that I hold it beyond assailment."

"When the first savage saw his hut destroyed by a bolt of lightning, he fell down upon his face in terror. He had no conception of natural forces, of laws of electricity; he saw this event as the act of an individual intelligence. To-day we read about fairies and demons, dryads and fauns and satyrs, Wotan and Thor and Vulcan, Freie and Flora and Ceres, and we think of all these as pretty fancies, play-products of the mind; losing sight of the fact that they were originally meant with entire seriousness -- that not merely did ancient man believe in them, but was forced to believe in them, because the mind must have an explanation of things that happen, and an individual intelligence was the only explanation available. The story of the hero who slays the devouring dragon was not merely a symbol of day and night, of summer and winter; it was a literal explanation of the phenomena, it was the science of early times.

Men imagined supernatural powers such as they could comprehend. If the lightning god destroyed a hut, obviously it must be because the owner of the hut had given offense; so the owner must placate the god, using those means which would be effective in the quarrels of men -- presents of roast meats and honey and fresh fruits, of wine and gold and jewels and women, accompanied by friendly words and gestures of submission. And when in spite of all things the natural evil did not cease, when the people continued to die of pestilence, then came the opportunity for hysterical or ambitious persons to discover new ways of penetrating the mind of the god. There would be dreamers of dreams and seers of visions and hearers of voices; readers of the entrails of beasts and interpreters of the flight of birds; there would be burning bushes and stone tablets on mountain-tops, and inspired words dictated to aged disciples on lonely islands. There would arise special castes of men and women, learned in these sacred matters; and these priestly castes would naturally emphasize the importance of their calling, would hold themselves aloof from the common herd, endowed with special powers and entitled to special privileges. They would interpret the oracles in ways favorable to themselves and their order; they would proclaim themselves friends and confidants of the god, walking with him in the night-time, receiving his messengers and angels, acting as his deputies in forgiving offenses, in dealing punishments and in receiving gifts. They would become makers of laws and moral codes. They would wear special costumes to distinguish them, they would go through elaborate ceremonies to impress their followers, employing all sensuous effects, architecture and sculpture and painting, music and poetry and dancing, candles and incense and bells and gongs"

"There are a score of great religions in the world, each with scores or hundreds of sects, each with its priestly orders, its complicated creed and ritual, its heavens and hells. Each has its thousands or millions or hundreds of millions of "true believers"; each damns all the others, with more or less heartiness -- and each is a mighty fortress of Graft."

"Or consider Henry Savage Landor's account of Thibet:

In Lhassa and many other sacred places fanatical pilgrims make circumambulations, sometimes for miles and miles, and for days together, covering the entire distance lying flat upon their bodies.... From the ceiling of the temple hang hundreds of long strips, katas, offered by pilgrims to the temple, and becoming so many flying prayers when hung up -- for mechanical praying in every way is prominent in Thibet.... Thus instead of having to learn by heart long and varied prayers, all you have to do is to stuff the entire prayer-book into a prayer-wheel, and revolve it while repeating as fast as you can four words meaning, "O God, the gem emerging from the lotus-flower.". . . . The attention of the pilgrims is directed to a large box, or often a big bowl, where they may deposit whatever offerings they can spare, and it must be said that their religious ideas are so strongly developed that they will dispose of a considerable portion of their money in this fashion.... The Lamas are very clever in many ways, and have a great hold over the entire country. They are ninety per cent of them unscrupulous scamps, depraved in every way and given to every sort of vice. So are the women Lamas. They live and sponge on the credulity and ignorance of the crowds; it is to maintain this ignorance, upon which their luxurious life depends, that foreign influence of every kind is strictly kept out of the country."

"Many years ago I remember talking with an English army officer, asking how he could feel sure of his soldiers in case of labor strikes; did it never occur to him that the men had relatives among the workers, and might some time refuse to shoot them? His answer was that he was aware of it, the military had worked out its technique with care. He would never think of ordering his men to fire upon a mob in cold blood; he would first start the spell of discipline to work, he would march them round the block, and get them in the swing, get their blood moving to military music; then, when he gave the order, in they would go. I have never forgotten the gesture, the animation with which he illustrated their going -- I could hear the grunting of bayonets in the flesh of men. The social system prevailing in England has made necessary the perfecting of such military technique; also, you discover, English piety has made necessary the providing of a religious sanction for it. After the job has been done. and the bayonets have been wiped clean, the company is marched to church, and the officer kneels in his family pew, and the privates kneel with the parlor-maids, and the clergyman raises his hands to heaven and intones: "We bless thy Holy Name, that it hath pleased Thee to appease the seditious tumults which have been lately raised up among us!""

"The bodies -- and the minds; the rot of the latter being the cause of the former. All over England in that year of 1910, in thousands of schools, rich and poor, and in the greatest centres of learning, men like Dean Goode were teaching boys dead languages and dead sciences and dead arts; sending them out to life with no more conception of the modern world than a monk of the Middle Ages; sending them out with minds, made hard and inflexible, ignorant of science, indifferent to progress, contemptuous of ideas. And then suddenly, almost overnight, this terrified people finds itself at war with a nation ruled and disciplined by modern experts, scientists and technicians. The awful muddle that was in England during the first two years of the war has not yet been told in print; but thousands know it, and some day it will be written, and it will finish forever the prestige of the British ruling caste. They rushed off an expedition to Gallipoli, and somebody forgot the water-supply, and at one time they had ninety-five thousand cases of dysentery!

They always "muddle through", they tell you; that is the motto of their ruling caste. But this time they did not "muddle through" -- they had to come to America for help. As I write, our Congress is voting billions and tens of billions of dollars, and a million of the best of our young manhood are being taken from their homes -- because in 1910 the mind of England was occupied with Dean Goode "On Eucharist", and the ten volumes of Gibson's "Preservative"."

"King Henry did not follow this suggestion precisely, but he took away the property of the religious orders for the expenses of his many wives and mistresses, and forced the clergy in England to forswear obedience to the Pope and make his royal self their spiritual head. This was the beginning of the Anglican Church, as distinguished from the Catholic; a beginning of which the Anglican clergy are not so proud as they would like to be. When I was a boy, they taught me what they called "church history", and when they came to Henry the Eighth they used him as an illustration of the fact that the Lord is sometimes wont to choose evil men to carry out His righteous purposes. They did not explain why the Lord should do this confusing thing, nor just how you were to know, when you saw something being done by a murderous adulterer, whether it was the will of the Lord or of Satan; nor did they go into details as to the motives which the Lord had been at pains to provide, so as to induce his royal agent to found the Anglican Church. For such details you have to consult another set of authorities -- the victims of the plundering."

"In the year 1819 an act of Parliament was proposed limiting the labor of children nine years of age to fourteen
hours a day. This would seem to have been a reasonable provision, likely to have won the approval of Christ; yet the bill was violently opposed by Christian employers, backed by Christian clergymen. It was interfering with freedom of contract, and therefore with the will of Providence; it was anathema to an established Church, whose function was in 1819, as it is in 1918, and was in 1918 B. C., to teach the divine origin and sanction of the prevailing economic order. "Anu and Baal called me, Hammurabi, the exalted prince, worshipper of the gods".... so begins the oldest legal code which has come down to us, from 2250 B. C.; and the coronation service of the English church is made whole out of the same thesis. The duty of submission, not merely to divinely chosen King, but to divinely chosen Landlord and divinely chosen Manufacturer, is implicit in the church's every ceremony, and explicit in many of its creeds. In the Litany the people petition for increase of grace to hear meekly Thy Word"; and here is this "Word," as little children are made to learn it by heart. If there exists in the world a more perfect summary of slave ethics, I do not know where to find it."

"And so of course all magnates and managers of industry who have messes to be cleaned up, human garbage-heaps to be carted away quickly and without fuss, turn to the Catholic Church for this service, no matter what their personal religious beliefs or lack of beliefs may be. Somewhere in the neighborhood of every steel-mill, every coal-mine or other place of industrial danger, you will find a Catholic hospital, with its slave-sisters and attendants. Once when I was "muck-raking" near Pittsburgh, I went to one of these places to ask information as to the frequency of industrial accidents and the fate of the victims. The "Mother Superior" received me with a look of polite dismay. "These concerns pay us!" she said. "You must see that as a matter of business it would not do for us to talk about them."

Obey and keep silence: that is the Catholic law. And precisely as it is with the work of nursing and almsgiving, so it is with the work of vote-getting, the elaborate system of policemen and saloon-keepers and ward-heelers which the Catholic machine controls. This industry of vote-getting is a comparatively new one; but the Church has been handling the masses for so many centuries that she quickly learned this new way of "democracy," and has established her supremacy over all rivals. She has the schools for training the children, the confessional for controlling the women; she has the intellectual machinery, the purgatory and the code of slave-ethics. She has the supreme advantage that the rank and file of her mighty host really believe what she teaches; they do not have to listen to table-rappings and flounder through swamps of automatic writings in order to bolster their hope of the survival of personality after death! "

"This Taft administration, urged on by the Catholic intrigue, made the most determined efforts to prevent the spread of radical thought. Because the popular magazines were opposing the plundering of the country, a bill was introduced into Congress to put them out of business by a prohibitive postal tax; the President himself devoted all his power to forcing the passage of this bill. At the same time the Socialist press was handicapped by every sort of persecution. I was at that time in intimate touch with the "Appeal to Reason", and I know that scarcely a month passed that the Post Office Department did not invent some new "regulation" especially designed to limit its circulation. I recall one occasion when I met the editor on his way to Washington with a trunkful of letters from subscribers who complained that their postmasters refused to deliver the paper to them; and later on this same editor was prosecuted by a Catholic Attorney General and sentenced to prison for seeking to awaken the people concerning the Moyer-Haywood case.

From my personal knowledge I can say that under the administration of President Taft the Roman Catholic Church and the Secret Service of the Federal Government worked hand in hand for the undermining of the radical movement in America. Catholic lecturers toured the country, pouring into the ears of the public vile slanders about the private morality of Socialists; while at the same time government detectives, paid out of public funds, spent their time seeking evidence for these Catholic lecturers to use. I know one man, a radical labor-leader, whose morals happened to approach those of the average capitalist politician, and who was prevented by threats of exposure and scandal from accepting the Socialist nomination for President. I know a dozen others who were shadowed and spied upon; I know one case -- myself -- a man who was asking a divorce from his wife, and whose mail was opened for months.

This subject is one on which I naturally speak with extreme reluctance. I will only say that my opponent in the suit made no charge of misconduct against me; but those in control of our political police evidently thought it likely that a man who was not living with his wife might have something to hide; so for months my every move was watched and all my mail intercepted. In such a case one might at first suspect one's private opponent; but it soon became evident that this net was cast too wide for any private agency. Not merely was my own mail opened, but the mail of all my relatives and friends -- people residing in places as far apart as California and Florida. I recall the bland smile of a government official to whom I complained about this matter: "If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear." My answer was that a study of many labor cases had taught me the methods of the
agent provocateur. He is quite willing to take real evidence if he can find it; but if not, he has familiarized himself with the affairs of his victim, and can make evidence which will be convincing when exploited by the yellow press. In my own case, the matter was not brought to a test, for I went abroad to live; when I made my next attack on Big Business, the Taft administration had been repudiated at the polls, and the Secret Service of the government was no longer at the disposal of the Catholic machine.

Today the Catholic Church is firmly established and everywhere recognized as one of the main pillars of American capitalism. It has some fifteen thousand churches, fourteen million communicants, and property valued at half a billion dollars. Upon this property it pays no taxes, municipal, state or national; which means, quite obviously, that you and I, who do not go to church, but who do pay taxes, furnish the public costs of Catholicism. We pay to have streets paved and lighted and cleaned in front of Catholic churches; we pay to have thieves kept away from them, fires put out in them, records preserved for them -- all the services of civilization given to them gratis, and this in a land whose constitution provides that Congress (which includes all state and municipal legislative bodies) "shall make no law respecting a religious establishment." When war is declared, and our sons are drafted to defend the country, all Catholic monks and friars, priests and dignitaries are exempted. They are "ministers of religion"; whereas we Socialists may not even have the status of "conscientious objectors." We do not teach "religion"; we only teach justice and humanity, decency and truth."

"It is not too much to say that today no daily newspaper in any large American city dares to attack the emoluments of the Catholic Church, or to advocate restrictions upon the ecclesiastical machine. As I write, they are making a new Catholic bishop in Los Angeles, and all the newspapers of that graft-ridden city herald it as an important social event. Each paper has the picture of the new prelate, with his shepherd's crook upraised, his empty face crowned with a rhomboidal fool's cap, and enough upholstery on him to outfit a grand opera company. The Los Angeles "Examiner", the only paper in the city with a pretense to radicalism, turns loose its star-writer -- one of those journalist virtuosos who will describe you a Wild West "rodeo" one day, and a society elopement the next, and a G. O. P. convention the next; and always with his picture, one inch square, at the head of his effusion. He takes in the Catholic festivity; and does it phaze him? It does not! He is a newspaper man, and if his city editor sent him to hell, he would take the assignment and write like the devil."

"The thesis of this book is the effect of fixed dogma in producing mental paralysis, and the use of this mental paralysis by Economic Exploitation. From that standpoint the various Protestant sects are better than the Catholic, but not much better. The Catholics stand upon Tradition, the Protestants upon an Inspired Word; but since this Word is the entire literary product, history and biography, science and legislation, poetry, drama and fiction of a whole people for something like a thousand years, it is possible by judicious selection of texts to prove anything you wish to prove and to justify anything you wish to do. The "Holy Book" being full of polygamy, slavery, rape and wholesale murder, committed by priests and rulers under the direct orders of God, it was a very simple matter for the Protestant Slavers to construct a Bible defense of their system.

They get poor Jesus because he was given to irony, that most dangerous form of utterance. If he could come back to life, and see what men have done with his little joke about the face of Caesar on the Roman coin, I think he would drop dead. As for Paul, he was a Roman bureaucrat, with no nonsense in his make-up; when he ordered, "Servants obey your masters," he meant exactly what he said. The Roman official stamp which he put upon the gospel of Jesus has been the salvation of the Slavers from the Reformation on. "

"In the time of Martin Luther, the peasants of Germany were suffering the most atrocious and awful misery; Luther himself knew about it, he had denounced the princely robbers and the priestly land-exploiters with that picturesque violence of which he was a master. But nothing had been done about it, nothing ever is done about it -- until at last the miserable peasants attempted to organize and win their own rights. Their demands do not seem to us so very criminal as we read them today; the privilege of electing their own pastors, the abolition of villeinage, the right to hunt and fish and cut wood in the forest, the reduction of exorbitant rents, extra payment for extra labor, and -- that universal cry of peasant communes whether in Russia, England, Mexico or sixteenth century Germany -- the restoration to the village of lands taken by fraud. But Luther would hear nothing of slaves asserting their own rights, and took refuge in the Pauline sociology: If they really wished to follow Christ, they would drop the sword and resort to prayer; the gospel has to do with spiritual, not temporal, affairs; earthly society cannot exist without inequalities, etc.

And when the peasants went on in spite of this, he turned upon them and denounced them to the princes; he issued proclamations which might have been the instructions of Mr. John Wanamaker to the police-force of his "City of Brotherly Love": "One cannot answer a rebel with reason, but the best answer is to hit him with the fist until blood flows from the nose." He issued a letter: "Against the Murderous and Thieving Mob of Peasants," which might have come from the Reverend Woelfkin, Fifth Avenue Pastor of Standard Oil: "The ass needs to be beaten, and the populace needs to be controlled with a strong hand. God knew this well, and therefore he gave the rulers, not a fox's tail, but a sword." He implored these rulers, after the fashion of Methodist Chancellor Day of the University of Syracuse: "Do not be troubled about the severity of their repression, for it will save many souls." With such pious exhortations in their ears the princes set to work, and slaughtered a hundred thousand of the miserable wretches; they completely aborted the social hopes of the Reformation, and cast humanity into the pit of wage-slavery and militarism for four centuries."

"As a result of Luther's treason to humanity, his church became the state church of Prussia, and Bible-worship and Devil-terror played their part, along with the Mass and the Confessional, in building up the Junker dream. A court official -- the Oberhofprediger -- was set up, and from that time on the Hohenzollerns were the most pious criminals in Europe. Frederick the Great, the ancestral genius, was an atheist and a scoffer, but he believed devoutly in religion for his subjects. He said: "If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks." And Carlyle, instinctive friend of autocrats, tells with jocular approval how he kept them from thinking:

He recognizes the uses of Religion; takes a good deal of pains with his Preaching Clergy; will suggest texts to them; and
for the rest expects to be obeyed by them, as by his Sergeants and Corporals. Indeed, the reverend men feel themselves to be a body of Spiritual Sergeants, Corporals, and Captains, to whom obedience is the rule, and discontent a thing not to be indulged in by any means.

So the soldiers stayed in the ranks, and Frederick raided Silesia and Poland. His successors ordered all the Protestant sects into one, so that they might be more easily controlled; from which time the Lutheran Church has been a department of the Prussian state, in some cases a branch of the municipal authority.

In 1848, when the people of various German states demanded their liberty, it was an ultra-pious king of Prussia who sent his troops and shot them down -- precisely as Luther had advised to shoot down the peasants. At this time the future maker of the German Empire rose in the Landtag and made his bow before the world; a young Prussian land-magnate, Otto von Bismarck by name, he shook his fist in the face of the new German liberalism, and incidentally of the new German infidelity:

Christianity is the solid basis of Prussia; and no state erected upon any other foundation can permanently exist."

" It is a cheap way to gain applause in these days, to denounce the Prussian system; my only purpose is to show that Bible-worship, precisely as saint-worship or totem-worship, delivers the worshipper up to the Slavers. This truth has held in America, precisely as in Prussia. During the middle of the last century there was fought out a mighty issue in our free republic; and what was the part played in this struggle by the Bible-cults? Hear the testimony of William Lloyd Garrison: "American Christianity is the main pillar of American slavery." Hear Parker Pillsbury: "We had almost to abolish the Church before we could reach the dreadful institution at all."

In the year 1818 the Presbyterian General Assembly, which represented the churches of the South as well as of the North, passed by a unanimous vote a resolution to the effect that "Slavery is utterly inconsistent with the law of God, which requires us to love our neighbor as ourselves." But in a generation the views of the entire South, including the Presbyterian Church, had changed entirely. What was the reason? Had the "law of God" been altered? Had some new "revelation" been handed down? Nothing of the kind; it was merely that a Yankee by the name of Eli Whitney had perfected a machine to take the seeds out of short staple cotton. The cotton crop of the South increased from four thousand bales in 1791 to four hundred and fifty thousand in 1820 and five million, four hundred thousand in 1860.
There was a new monarch, King Cotton, and his empire depended upon slaves. According to the custom of monarchs since the dawn of history, he hired the ministers of God to teach that what he wanted was right and holy. From one end of the South to the other the pulpits rang with the text: "Cursed be Canaan; a servant to servants shall he be to his brethren." The learned Bishop Hopkins, in his "Bible View of Slavery", gave the standard interpretation of this text:

The Almighty, forseeing the total degredation of the Negro race, ordained them to servitude or slavery under the descendants of Shem and Japheth, doubtless because he judged it to be their fittest condition.

I might fill the balance of this volume with citations from defenses of the "peculiar institution" in the name of Jesus Christ -- and not only from the South, but from the North. For it must be understood that leading families of Massachusetts and New York owed their power to Slavery; their fathers had brought molasses from New Orleans and made it into rum, and taken it to the coast of Africa to be exchanged for slaves for the Southern planters. And after this trade was outlawed, the slave-grown cotton had still to be shipped to the North and spun; so the traders of the North must have divine sanction for the Fugitive Slave law. Here is the Bishop of Vermont declaring: "The slavery of the negro race appears to me to be fully authorized both in the Old and New Testaments." Here in the "True Presbyterian", of New York, giving the decision of a clerical man of the world: "There is no debasement in it. It might have existed in Paradise, and it may continue through the Millenium."

And when the slave-holding oligarchy of the South rose in arms against those who presumed to interfere with this divine institution, the men of God of the South called down blessings upon their armies in words which, with the proper change of names, might have been spoken in Berlin in August, 1914."

"A four years' war was fought in America, a million men were killed and half a continent was devastated, in order to abolish chattel slavery and put wage slavery in its place. I have made a thorough study of both these industrial systems, and I freely admit that there is one respect in which the lot of the wage slave is better than that of the chattel slave. The wage slave is free to think; and by squeezing a few drops of blood from his starving body, he may possess himself of machinery for the distribution of his ideas. Taking his chances of the policeman's club and the jail, he may found revolutionary organizations, and so he has the candle of hope to light him to his death-bed. But excepting this consideration, and taking the circumstances of the wage slave from the material point of view alone, I hold it beyond question that the average lot of the chattel slave of 1860 was preferable to that of the modern slave of the Beef Trust, the Steel Trust, or the Coal Trust. It was the Southern master's real concern, his business interest, that the chattel slave should be kept physically sound; but it is nobody's business to care anything about the wage slave. The children of the chattel slave were valuable property, and so they got plenty to eat, and a happy outdoor life, and medical attention if they fell ill. But the children of the sweat-shop or the cotton-mill or the canning-factory are raised in a city slum, and never know what it is to have enough to eat, never know a feeling of security or rest --"

"Next comes a gentleman with the musical name of Wallace Wattles, who tells in one pamphlet "How to Be a Genius", and in another pamphlet "How to Get What you Want". The thing for you to do is --

Saturate your mentality through and through with the knowledge that YOU CAN DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO..... Look upon the peanut-stand merely as the beginning of the department store, and make it grow; you can.

And Mr. Wattles wattles on, in an ecstasy of acquisitiveness:

Hold this consciousness and say with deep, earnest feeling: I CAN succeed! All that is possible to any one is possible to me. I AM success. I do succeed, for I am full of the Power of Success.

Imagine, if you please, a poor devil chained in the treadmill of the capitalist system -- a "soda-jerker", a "counter-jumper", a book-keeper for the Steel Trust. His chances of rising in life are one in ten thousand; but he comes to the Metaphysical Library, and pays the price of his dinner for a pamphlet by Henry Harrison Brown, who was first a Unitarian clergyman, and then an extra-high Bootstrap-lifter in San Francisco, an Honorary Vice-President of the International New Nonsense Alliance. Mr. Brown will tell our soda-jerker or counter-jumper exactly how to elevate himself by mental machinery. All calculations of probabilities are delusions of the senses; if you have faith, you can move, not merely mountains, but Riker-Hegeman's, Macy's, or the Steel Trust. "How to Promote Yourself " is the title of one of Mr. Brown's pamphlets, in which he explains that --

Your wants are impressed on the Divine Mind only by your faith. A doubt cuts the connection.

A second pamphlet, which we are told is now in its thirtieth edition, bears the thrilling title of "Dollars Want Me!" In it Mr. Brown lays claim to being a pioneer:

I believe that this little monograph is the first utterance of the thought that each individual has the ability so to radiate his mental forces that he can cause the Dollars to feel him, love him, seek him, and thus draw at will all things needed for his unfoldment from the universal supply.

"What are Dollars?" asks our author; and answers:

Dollars are manifestations of the One Infinite Substance as you are, but, unlike you, they are not Self-Conscious. They have no power till you give them power. Make them feel this through your thought-vibrations as you feel the importance of your work. They will then come to you to be used.

"What is Poverty?" Mr. Brown asks, and answers himself:

Poverty is a mental condition. It can be cured only by the Affirmation of Power to cure: I am a part of the One, and, in the One, I possess all! Affirm this and patiently wait for the manifestation. You have sown the thought seed.

And our author goes on to hand out packages of these thought-seeds -- "Affirmations" as they are called, in the jargon of the New Conjuring:

I desire a deep consciousness of financial freedom.
I desire that the flow of prosperity become equalized.
I desire a greater consciousness of my power to attract the dollar.
The Indwelling Power cares for my purse.
I own whatever I desire.

If the symbolism of the Episcopal Church is of the palace, and that of the non-conformist sects of the counting-house, that of the International New Nonsense Alliance is of Wall Street and the "ticker". What is your rating in the Spiritual Bradstreet?" asks William Morris Nichols in the publication of the " `Now' Folk", San Francisco:

Is it low or high? Is your credit with the Bank of the Universe good or poor? If you draw a spiritual draft are you sure of its being honored?

If you can answer that last question affirmatively, you are on the road to become a Master in Spiritual Financiering.

Have you an account with the First (and only) Bank of Spirit? If not, then you should at once open one therewith. For no one can afford to keep less than a large deposit of spiritual funds with that Bank.

And how do you proceed to open your account? It is very simple:

Intend the mind in the direction indicated by your desire. Seek for the Light and Guidance by which you may open up the way for your Spiritual Substance, which governs material supply, to reach you and make you as rich as you ought to be, in freedom and happiness. All this you can, and when in earnest, will do.

I turn over the advertisements of this publication of the " `Now' Folk". One offers "The Business Side of New Thought." Another offers "The Books Without an If", with your money back IF you are not satisfied!

Another offers land in Bolivia for two dollars an acre. Another quotes Shakespeare: " 'Tis the mind that makes the body rich." Another offers two copies of the "Phrenological Era" for ten cents.

There is apparently no delusion of any age or clime which cannot find dupes among the readers of this New Nonsense. One notice commands:

Stop! A Revelation! A Book has been written entitled "Strands of Gold" or "From Darkness into Light!"

Another announces:

The Most Wonderful Book of the Ages: The Acquarian Gospel of Jesus the Christ, Transcribed from the Book of God's Remembrance, the Akashic Records.

And here is an advertisement published in Mr. Atkinson's paper:

Numerology: the Universal Adjuster! Do you know: What you appear to be to others? What you really are? What you want to be? What would overcome your present and future difficulties? Write to X, Philosopher. You will receive full particulars of his personal work which is dedicated to your service. No problem is too big or too small for Numerology. Understanding awaits you.

And looking in the body of the magazine, you find this Philosopher imparting some of this Understanding. Would you like, for example, to understand why America entered the War? Nothing easier. The vowels of the Words United States of America are uieaeoaeia, which are numbered 2951561591, which added make 45, or 4 plus 5 equals 9. You might not at first see what that has to do with the War -- until the Philosopher points out that "9 in the number of completion, indicating
the end of a cosmic cycle." That, of course, explains everything.

And here is a work on what you perhaps thought to be a dead science, Astrology. It is called "Lucky Hours for Everybody: A True System of Planetary Hours by Prof. John B. Early. Price One Dollar." It teaches you things like this:

Saturn's negative hours are especially good for all matters relating to gold-mining..... The Sun negative rules the emerald, the musical note D sharp, and the number four. The lunar hours are a good time to deal in public commodities, and to hire servants of both sexes.....

A recent lady visitor informed me that she had made several vain attempts to transact important business in the hours ruled by Jupiter, usually held to be fortunate, while she was nearly always fortunate in what she began in the hours ruled by Saturn. Upon investigation I found her name was ruled by the Sun negative, and that she had Capricorn with Saturn therein as her ascendant at birth, which explains.

And finally, here is a London "scientist", reported in the "Weekly Unity" of Kansas City, who proves his mental power over two-horse power oil engines which fail to act. "Going a little apart, he came back in a few minutes and said: `The engine is all right now and will work satisfactorily.' and without any further difficulty it did." We are told how Dr. Rawson gave a demonstration of his method to a newspaper reporter the other day. Fixing his gaze as though looking into space, he apparently became absorbed in deep contemplation and said aloud: "There is no danger; man is surrounded by divine love; there is no matter; all is spirit and manifestation of spirit."

You might at first find difficulty in believing what can be accomplished by "demonstrations" such as this; not merely are two-horse power oil engines made to work, but the whole gigantic machine of Prussian militarism is prevented from working. You may recall how Arthur Machen's magazine story of the Angels of Mons was taken up and made into a Catholic legend over-night; now here is a New-Nonsense legend, complete and perfect, going the rounds of our Nonsense magazines:

London, Dec. 14. -- Shell-proof and bullet-proof soldiers have been discovered on the European battle-fronts. Heroes with "charmed lives" are being made every day, according to Frederick L. Rawson, a London scientist, who insists he has found the miraculous way by which they are developed. He calls it "audible treatment". "Practical utilization of the powers of God by right thinking," is the agency through which Dr. Rawson declares he can so treat a man that he will not be harmed when hundreds of men are being shot dead beside him. This amazing treatment includes a new type of prayer. It is being administered to hundreds of men audibly, and to hundreds more by letter. Nothing since the war began has aroused so much talk of modern miracles as have many of the statements of Dr. Rawson.......

At the taking of a wood there were five hundred yards of "No Man's Land" to be crossed. Our troops could not get across. Then Capt. -- -- -- -- , who practices this method of prayer, treated them for an hour before they started, and not a man was knocked out. He was the only officer left out of eighty in his brigade. He simply held onto the fact that man is spiritual and perfect and could not be touched. A bullet fired from a revolver only five yards away hit him over the chest, tore his shirt and went out at the shoulder. But it never penetrated his chest. He was frequently in a hail of shells and bullets which did not touch him."

"But the devil is a subtle worm; he does not give up at one defeat, for he knows human nature, and the strength of the forces which battle for him. He failed to get Jesus, but he came again, to get Jesus' church. He came when, through the power of the new revolutionary idea, the Church had won a position of tremendous power in the decaying Roman Empire; and the subtle worm assumed the guise or no less a person than the Emperor himself, suggesting that he should become a convert to the new faith, so that the Church and he might work together for the greater glory of God. The bishops and fathers of the Church, ambitious for their organization, fell for this scheme, and Satan went off


laughing to himself. He had got everything he had asked from Jesus three hundred years before; he had got the world's greatest religion. How complete and swift was his success you may judge from the fact that fifty years later we find the Emperor Valentinian compelled to pass an edict limiting the donations of emotional females to the church in Rome!

From that time on Christianity has been what I have shown in this book, the chief of the enemies of social progress. From the days of Constantine to the days of Bismarck and Mark Hanna, Christ and Caesar have been one, and the Church has been the shield and armor of predatory economic might. With only one qualification to be noted: that the Church has never been able to suppress entirely the memory of her proletarian Founder. She has done her best, of course; we have seen how her scholars twist his words out of their sense, and the Catholic Church even goes so far as to keep to the use of a dead language, so that her victims may not hear the words of Jesus in a form they can understand.

And here is the thing to be noted, that the factor which has given life to Christianity, which enables it to keep its hold on the hearts of men today, is precisely


this new wine of faith and fervor which has been poured into it by generation after generation of poor men who live like Jesus as outcasts, and die like Jesus as criminals, and are revered like Jesus as founders and saints. The greatest of the early Church fathers were bitterly fought by the Church authorities of their own time. St. Chrysostom, Bishop of Constantinople, was turned out of office, exiled and practically martyred; St. Basil was persecuted by the Emperor Valens; St. Ambrose excommunicated the tyrannical Emperor Theodosius; St. Cyprian gave all his wealth to the poor, and was exiled and finally martyred. In the same way, most of the heretics whom the Holy Inquisition tortured and burned were proletarian rebels; the saints whom the Church reveres, the founders of the orders which gave it life for century after century, were men who sought to return to the example of the carpenter's son. Let us hear a Christian scholar on this point, Prof. Rauschenbusch:

The movement of Francis of Assisi, of the Waldenses, of the Humiliati and Bons Hommes, were all inspired by democratic and communistic ideals. Wiclif was by far the greatest doctrinal reformer before the reformation; but his eyes, too, were first opened to the doctrinal errors of the Roman Church by joining in a great national and patriotic movement against the alien domination and extortion of the Church. The Bohemian revolt made famous by the name of John Huss, was quite as much political and social as religious. Savonarola was a great democrat as well as a religious prophet. In his famous interview with the dying Lorenzo de Medici he made three demands as a condition for granting absolution. Of the man he demanded a living faith in God's mercy. Of the millionaire he demanded restitution of his ill-gotten wealth. Of the political usurper he demanded the restoration of the liberties of the people of Florence. It is significant that the dying sinner found it easy to assent to the first, hard to assent to the second, and impossible to concede the last."

"The first chapters of Isaiah are typical of the Old Testament point of view. Just as the prophets of the nineteenth century thundered against the "Christian" employers of Lancashire, and told them their houses were cemented with the blood of little children, so Isaiah cries against his generation: "Your governing classes companion with thieves; behold you build up Sion with blood." Their ceremonial and their Sabbath keeping are an abomination to God. "When ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you. Your hands are full of blood." The poor man is robbed. The rich exact usury. "Woe unto you that lay house to house and field to field, that ye may dwell alone in the midst of the land." "Wash you, make you clean, put away the evil of your doing from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well, seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins be blood-colored, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land. But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured by the sword."

"In this book I have portrayed the Christian Church as the servant and henchman of Big Business, a part of the system of Mammon. Every church is necessarily a money machine, holding and administering property. And it is not alone the Catholic Church which is in politics, seeking favors from the state -- the exemption of church property from taxation, exemption of ministers from military service, free transportation for them and their families on the railroads, the control of charity and education, laws to deprive people of amusements on Sunday -- so on through a long list. As the churches have to be built with money, you find that in them the rich possess the control and demand the deference, while the poor are humble, and in their secret hearts jealous and bitter; in other words, the class struggle is in the churches, as everywhere else in the world, and the social revolution is coming in the churches, just as it is coming in industry.

It is a fact of deep significance that the majority of ministers are proletarians, eking out their existence upon a miserable salary, and beholden in all their comings and goings to the wealthy holders of privilege. Even in the Roman Catholic Church that is true. The ordinary priest is a man of the working class, and knows what working people suffer and feel. So in the Catholic Church there are proletarian rebellions; there is many a priest who does not carry out the political orders of his superiors, but goes to the polls and votes for his class instead of for his pope. In Ireland, as I write, the young priests are defying their bishops and joining the Sinn Fein, a non-religious movement for an Irish Republic.

What is it that keeps the average workingman in subjection to the exploiter? Simply terror, the terror of losing his job. And if you could get into the inmost soul of Christian ministers, you would find that precisely the same force is keeping many of them slaves to Tradition. They are educated men, and thousands of them must resent the dilemma which compels them to be either fools or hypocrites. They have caught enough of the spirit of their time not to enjoy having to pose as miracle-mongers, rain-makers and witch-doctors; they would like to say frankly that they do not believe that Jonah ever swallowed the whale, and even that they are dubious about Hercules and Achilles and other demigods. But they are part of a machine, and the old men and the rich men who run the machine have laid down the law. Those who find themselves tempted to think, remember suddenly that they have wives and children; they have only one profession, they have been unfitted for any other by a life-time of study of dead things, as well as by the practice of altruism."

"For twenty years I have been haunted by the dream that I might some day be my own publisher. I was waiting till I could afford the luxury; but many a man has put off a bold action till he died, so I am publishing this book without being able to afford it.

The reason is that I do not want to be a writer for the rich. I want to be read by working-boys and girls, and by poor students.

I offer the book at a low price. In the hope of tempting you to go out and get your friends to read it, I have made a price in quantities which will allow no profit at all. A margin has been figured to cover postage, stationery, circulars, and the cost of a clerical assistant; but nothing for interest on capital, which is a gift, nor for the rent of an office, which is my home, nor for the services of manager and press agent, which is myself.

You have read the book, and its fate is yours to decide. If it seems worth while, pass it on to some on else. If you can afford it, order a number of copies and give them away. If you can't afford it, give your time and be a book-agent. "

Posted by St. Drogo at 4:08 PM  


The coal can't be clean.can you accept that?.

January 19, 2009 at 2:34 AM  

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