The religion of the pagans and heathen was founded on the superstition of their leaders and their philosophy was to prove their religion. Their religion affected the people, for the wiser men saw that there was no truth nor sound logic in all their reasoning but the tendency of their religion was to make man ignorant and superstitious. So to offset this a more enlightened class of philosophers arose whose aim was to destroy the mythology.
To do this it was necessary to show the absurdity of their doctrines. As their doctrines purposed to commence at the beginning of time, it was necessary that they should attack the very foundation of their theory. As of course those philosophers commenced in matter, it was necessary for the philosophers who wrote in opposition to their religion to show the absurdity of their theory. So Lucretius, who stands among the first of the pagan philosophers, struck at the pillar of their very foundations by showing that there was no foundation for their beliefs.
All philosophers mention the existence of matter which being dissolved passes into space. And man being made of matter, as his body decomposes, he also passes into space. And he, like all other matter, comes to an end. But as this theory would not cover the whole ground, it leaves man in space like all other matter, a sort of spirit or soul or some living principle that comes out of this matter and exists somewhere.
The locality of this soul or life was never defined by the religious world. Philosophers have given different accounts of the soul, but at the time that Lucretius wrote, the religious world had no idea of a world after death, like the Christians of our day, but all their religion was confined to this life. It is true that there were exceptions, but the large majority of the people at the time of Lucretius, one-hundred years before Christ, believed in a soul. So that by reading Lucretius you get a very good idea of the opinion of that philosopher concerning the effect of religion on the masses. He looked upon it as the worst enemy of man and to destroy it, it was necessary to show that the philosophy on which it was based was false.
So he commenced with matter and proved that matter is nothing but an idea, that there was no such thing as matter with the First Cause. He reasons man and matter into space and shows that all the philosophy of man is based upon a false basis and religion does more harm than good. So he, like all the rest, dissolves man and leaves him in space and all beyond is man's opinion, without any foundation.
His philosophy was to destroy the religion of his day, and mine is to destroy the religion of my day and show that our religion is based on our philosophy and claims the story of the Old Testament to prove it. So I have to commence at the beginning and show that the philosophy of the Old Testament had nothing to do with the creation of the earth nor anything in it nor on it. But those ideas were the beliefs of the ancients before Moses was born. Moses is supposed to give a description of the commencement of the world, when nothing can be more absurd. He only gave a theory of the creation of man and showed that there was a power superior to man. But the ignorant and superstitious supposed that Moses was writing about the creation of the world. This led to superstition and priestcraft and as these beliefs were accompanied with a philosophy to establish their doctrines, they turned and twisted the Old Testament into a religious book, teaching ideas that Moses never dreamed of.
Moses' religion was his wisdom and his wisdom was far superior to the religion of his day. His religion was his philosophy; so is every one's, and that philosophy which contains the most truth is the best religion. Science had nothing to do with their religion and was opposed to it. Religion, or man's science or philosophy, bound burdens on the people and there was no philosophy that could explain or lighten man of these burdens. For the wisdom of man had not arrived at the point where there could be a philosophy that would teach man that his happiness was the result of his wisdom and his misery was the natural result of his belief.
Now the mistaken idea of what mind is has led man into trouble and causes so much sickness and sorrow, and this is the origin of disease. Convince man that mind is matter and wisdom is not, and he will no longer be deceived by false guides, crying, Peace, peace, when there is no peace.
This is the origin of disease and this is what the philosophers of Greece and Rome, Lucretius and others wrote against. For they saw that the priests by their false doctrines made men believe all sorts of stories. They knew that their beliefs were matter or mind and they saw what their effect on the people was. But as the priests in those days held the people in a slavery sanctioned by their Gods, reformers found no favor with the people. Now as the priests kept binding burdens of disease on the people, philosophers would rise up and try to rid the people of their burdens. But the priests held such sway over the people's mind by phenomena that the masses could not explain, that the wise could not put their wisdom into practice. So the priests exercised full sway over the minds of the people. The philosophers who knew that mind was matter could see through the hypocrisy of the priests. Also they could see through the fact that any idea or belief could be condensed so as to come within the senses of the masses and this would be proof that the priests were right. So at the time these philosophers wrote, their doctrines or wisdom could not be understood. Nor is it understood now by the masses, nor will it ever be, although it be true and can be reduced to a science. Thus the masses have always been under the control of the priests. So that this wisdom which would destroy all standards in matter was not tried to be put into practice scientifically for some hundred and fifty years, when Jesus called attention to the same theory.
There were persons who could change matter, move bodies and cure many diseases and some had reduced it to a sort of belief which would counteract the priests' belief, but none but deceivers tried to sell the art. Even in these days, you see certain persons undertaking to teach people to psychologize, as though they knew something that others did not, while they themselves are so ignorant of the way they produce phenomena as the people were in the days of Jesus. The priests took advantage of every phenomenon, but they kept the knowledge for their own benefit and made the people believe in superstition. Finally they formed a religious belief, attaching penalties to the disobeying any laws that the priests set up. Now the science or wisdom that shows that mind can be acted upon would leak out and it kept the priests all the time inventing some new phenomena to keep the people under. At the time of Jesus their craft had leaked out so that it had gotten into the hands of the people and took the names of the inventions of men. They were like the mediums of our days, talking about a gift and communications from the spirits of the dead. Many such pretended to do as Jesus did, thinking it was a gift or art from God; they knew that theirs was not genuine, but the people believed in them. In these days, I am set down with the same class of people, who have a power or gift, by fools or the ignorant because the superstition and religious creeds have closed up all avenues to wisdom. They are in the fog and cannot see out and they think that everyone else is in the same place.
In Jesus' day, if he undertook to expose the priests, they would accuse him of making himself equal with God and would cry, Crucify him. So like the leaders of any party, when they want to bear down on their game, they set on the dogs. When Jesus began to teach this new truth, for although it was old it had a place in the minds of the masses, he called the people together, not to instruct them in religion but to show them that religion was just what the wise philosophers had called it. So he denounced the leaders, showed the people how their belief made them sick and being wiser and having more courage than any who believed as he did, he tried to reduce this wisdom to a science. To do this it was necessary to prove it by his works, as the priests would cure by their deception. For the mind, like potter's clay, is under control of whoever gives direction, the works showing whether they be of God or man. If of man, then man is under the law; if of God or science, man is free from the law so that the law has no power over him, for he that is dead to the law or alive in wisdom is free from sin and death or error.
Jesus wanted everything in common, that is, if a person knows anything that is for the happiness of man to know, let it be known. He said that every truth should be given or taught to man. No one should say, Know you this truth or science, but all should acknowledge it from the wisest and it shall become the wisdom of the world. Perhaps it will be necessary to say what there is to be known. It is this: Jesus wanted the people to understand that religion, as they were taught it, was the blackest sort of hypocrisy, only got up to keep a class of lazy thieves and robbers in power, who devour houses of wood and houses of mind, carrying off and selling men and women into slavery, for their own good. When Jesus applied these sayings to the people, it melted down their heathen belief and by his words of wisdom, they were cured.
Jesus never had any religious opinions. His works were his life and his life was his Christ or theory. The people could not understand this so they crucified him, and that ended the life of one of the best men that ever lived, for his natural man became subject to his scientific man or wisdom. This wisdom cannot help making mankind better any more than a good man can help becoming narrow-minded and bigoted by belonging to a church. Our beliefs are all there is of us and just as we measure out to our neighbor, we measure out to ourselves, so action and reaction are equal. If we make a person believe anything that we have no proof of, except as an opinion, we bind burdens on our friends that our wisdom cannot remove. Wisdom says that every idle word must be accounted for at the day of judgment.
So here I stand as a mediator for this young lady and if I have shown that her accusers are guilty of perjury against the laws of wisdom, then the court will give the verdict to the defendant and cast a wicked and ungodly belief into the fire of science, where it shall be burned with unquenchable truth.
I will stop here, for I believe that I have satisfied the court that the priests bound on this young lady their hypocritical creeds which made her nervous, and then the other part of the priesthood, the doctors, decoyed her into the worst of all company where she was betrayed into all kinds of misery. Then they turned their backs upon her after robbing her of her money and character—for her belief is her character—and making her believe she is one of the worst of characters. For to be sick is a disgrace and if the superstition of the world had the power, they would kill the sick for the safety of the well. These two classes, priests and doctors, have so degraded men that sickness is the greatest evil in life. Jesus knew this and he laid down his life or ran the risk that neither dared to do, took their diseases upon himself, risking the danger of becoming sick and dying as they would do.
In closing my argument, I will say to the court and multitude that I knew that this girl had been deceived by these two blind guides. In the first place, I never ask my patients anything but tell them all. This the doctors do not pretend to do. I have no religious belief to teach as the priests have. Something cannot come from nothing and as I have nothing of myself, they get nothing from me that will affect them. The priests' belief is a lie and is of matter; the believing of it changes the mind or matter. The ignorance of the creeds is their light and that being a false light makes a shadow and in the shadow the patient puts his trust. As it is founded in ignorance and superstition, it contains all sorts of evil spirits and ghosts, etc. My wisdom can see through this veil of the priests. I see where the deception lies and as I explain, the vacuum of their mind is lit up and the shadow disappears, like the rays of the moonlight when the sun rises. As ignorance or religion receives the truth or science it gives way to a higher priesthood not made by man, but eternal in wisdom, that teaches man to do to another as he would like that other should do to him. This is all; so I stop for the verdict to be made up.