It has generally been supposed that the authors of the Old and New Testaments were inspired to write an account of another world off and apart from this globe. Under this belief strange ideas arose in the minds of men. In the old scriptures is given an account of the formation of a literal earth and the creation of man. Then it goes on to tell how man became so wicked that God caused it to rain forty days and flood the earth, destroying all the inhabitants except Noah and his family, who after the floods dried up came forth and commenced to till the ground. All this story is believed to have a literal meaning and all who question this belief are called infidels or deists. Now after Noah and his family began populating the earth, you see an account of the generations of Noah. Then the world became wicked again, but God promised not to destroy it by water a second time but by fire. Here follows a description of the final destruction of this earth and its inhabitants by fire and a promise from God of a new heaven and earth where there shall be no more death nor weeping, where all shall worship God day and night, where the wicked shall be destroyed and God shall reign eternally. Now this is explained literally. It is believed that all this was communicated to Moses on the Mount and that God came down and talked to Moses, giving him a code of laws or belief that man must accept in order to gain a place in this new heaven. This theory God caused Moses to write down and it was called the commandments of God, given to Moses for the happiness of the children of Israel, to be taught to them while he was leading them through the land of Egypt into the land of Canaan.
This belief was to counteract some false idea that the people had, for they were very ignorant and full of all sorts of superstition. There were no principles regulating their conduct towards each other but might was right. The strong oppressed the weak and there was nothing to prevent their perpetrating any abuses. It was Moses' aim to stop these abuses and free his people from their bondage and degradation. So he instituted a more just and liberal code of laws attaching penalties to abuses that he could not prevent and putting restrictions on men to bring about a better state of society. He did not try to instruct the people but only sought to bring them under his standard by which their oppression would be lessened and their condition improved. Neither did he attempt to establish any kind of worship or belief about God, but his regulations appealed to the interests of men and were as good as the people could carry out. They made man more cunning and crafty and overbearing, but they did not analyze motives, leaving them as arising from the natural world. This state of things continued for a long time. Religious doctrines never entered into men's heart, but the wise men were engaged in developing the mind of man. All evils that were suffered were from their acts and their acts were the offspring of their belief and their belief was made by the leading spirits of the age.
If the person who gave direction gave it intelligently so that it could not be bettered, then the world was wiser or better for their opinions. But if directed by ignorance and superstition, then the people had to suffer for their belief; for our happiness or misery is in our belief. Now as the belief of the people did not embrace any kind of a religious opinion in regard to another world, they could not get sick on that subject. The evils that troubled them were of this world and confined to the laws of Moses. These made them nervous but did not create disease. Now as truth progresses, it has to contend with error. And as Moses put restrictions on the people they murmured and complained. So in order to keep the people in subjection, the leaders had to invent all sorts of beliefs. Therefore, prophets were introduced and the priests and prophets led the people, but truth or science is not under the control of either. It moves along like the rising of the tide. It is the only enemy that priests and doctors have to contend with, for it is death to both, and life and happiness to all who get it. Happiness is what follows our belief and the life of the priest and doctor is in their belief and their interest is in the misery of their belief. For if the people have no belief, they would have no disease, as disease is their belief. So it is the intent of the above classes to keep the people posted up on all their beliefs to insure them a good living.
One of the old honest prophets knew this trick and said that the prophets prophesied falsely and the priests ruled by their means and the people love to have it so and what would they do in the end thereof? (Jer. 5:31.) As science progressed, the priests had to give way, for there never was one particle of knowledge or progression in either of the above theories. Science only leads the world in true philosophy, never making man sick or diseased. Disease is not the offspring of science but of error, and as priests and doctors have taken that part of philosophy into their hands, all other sciences in regard to all other facts have let the science of life alone, supposing it to be in the hands of scientific men. All knowledge of the scientific world has had this error to contend with and the priests and doctors have been driven from their ground and have taken their stand just where public opinion places them. They do not lead science, but science leads them. There was a time when they led but as their craft became so apparent to scientific minds they had to yield. If anyone will just follow along the progress of the development of the human mind since the laws of Moses, they will see a steady progress of science and an annihilation of priestcraft. Error has assumed more forms than the colors of the rainbow and to every form the misery is shown in its believers. It has shown itself in all kinds of superstition but it has had to yield to more liberal belief.
All error in the Bible has been modified by the wars of its own party. Its opposers were of that class of minds that could tear down if it could not build up, but in the tearing, science made some progress. For when rogues fall out honest men get their due.
All new theories in the Old Testament were illustrated by some phenomena that the people were acquainted with. So the science advanced and showed itself in some leading spirit of its age, as in Noah: his theory was represented by a flood, for it swept away all the old world or superstition of his age. Then Moses' theory was leading the children of Israel out of Egyptian darkness into the land of truth or science. But as Moses never entered the land of science, he saw for others what he never was permitted to enjoy. So science crept along in the hands of some of the prophets and other theories are represented by altars and the science of truth was the sacrifice. There was Balaam; his theory had false prophets who knew just as much as some physicians in our day. His ass spoke and so do such now. When Joshua showed the absurdities of the people's theory, they left it and followed him, so the magicians and sorcerers and all such deceivers had to fall back for the true science.
In the case of Nebuchadnezzar, the magicians and sorcerers had complete power over the masses and as the king was in advance of them, he saw that all their pretended knowledge was false. When he was sick and sent for his magicians and sorcerers to interpret his dream, they said, as the quacks of these days, Tell us how you feel, or your dream, and we will tell you what the matter is or give the interpretation. But he said, No, tell me my dream or how I feel, first. This they could not do and complained at such an unreasonable request. And when Daniel told him his dream or how he felt, these magicians put him into a fiery furnace, which means they put him through a course of questions which he answered, showing knowledge superior to theirs. This made them angry and they tried, as the doctors do now, to put it down with contempt. They did not stop the investigations for when Darius came into power, they tried to smother this truth and persuaded the king to pass a law that no person such as Daniel should practice. But Daniel took no notice of it and he was cast into the lion's den or company and when the meat was thrown in to test the science, these lions' mouths were shut and Daniel came off conqueror.
Thus truth has had to fight error step by step and the truth has been revealed to the wise and opposed by fools and the ignorant; so wisdom crept along till the time of John, the Baptist. Here was a new development of truth, far above anything reached yet. It held out a new motive to man, placing him above the superstition of the world or error. At the time of John, the world had been embracing false doctrines, not in regard to another world but to this world. They had a vague idea of a world after death and the priests, to strengthen their authority and hold on the people, invented all sorts of ideas, pretending to be empowered with authority to pardon their sins. They held out to the people that the dead should rise at the end of this natural world. All this was not taught by Moses but crept into the church, which itself is only a sort of popular religious opinion and carries sway in men's minds even to this day. The church contained the belief of the people and as science was developed, the priests lost power over the people. And at the time Jesus appeared, they acted as doctors and cured the diseases of the people. When John appeared his teaching struck at the root of all this error and he said, The axe of science is laid at the root of the trees or theories and every tree or theory that cannot sustain ideas must be hewn down or destroyed. The fire of truth would burn them up. Their beliefs made people sick, just according to the penalty attached to the crime or belief. For instance, the Jews believed that eating pork would produce scrofula; therefore they would not eat it and those who did eat could not help being disturbed by this belief. Where this error started I cannot say. Only, it was to satisfy the ignorant, so they would be better off not to eat the meat. This was for the poor at first and the aristocracy took advantage of it, just as the priests lay restrictions on the people but do as they like themselves. So you see scrofula was the result of their belief and the remedy was total abstinence from pork; but as priesthood went down and their theory was exploded, the idea that pork produced scrofula was absurd. This last belief was worse than the first, for it made this disease a thing independent of pork and therefore the people were afraid of it. Here you see one disease let loose in society. Now to get rid of this disease, mankind must get nervous and wrought up to a very high state of excitement, ready to embrace any idea that the priests could invent. And as the priests lost their hold on the people, medical men were introduced. And at the time of Jesus, it was the complaint that the poor paid all they had to the priests and doctors and got no relief.
As the doctors got control of the popular mind, they invented diseases to humbug the people as the priests had done. At last they made a sort of compromise, the priests taking the souls of men into their charge and the doctors their bodies and between them both they almost destroyed body and soul. This was the state of society at the time of Jesus' appearance. John saw all this humbug and warned the people against this pretense and foretold that someone would come who would put an end to all this priestcraft and doctoring. He did not know that disease was all in the mind, but thought that the mind had a great influence upon it. Jesus hearing of John and knowing that he taught a new theory went to hear him explain his ideas. This was called baptism. So John baptized or explained to Jesus his ideas of priestcraft and its effect on the mind, but its remedy had never occurred to him. When Jesus heard John's thought or was baptized, as he came from the water or understood his ideas, the heaven or truth was opened unto him and its voice descending from God or Science, said, This truth is the Son of God or Science.
Then he was led up into the mountains of his belief to be tempted by the errors of the world for the people were all ready to embrace him as king and the temptation he had to go through was against his interest as a man, for preaching this truth and opposing all the errors of his age was not a very pleasant thing. But he overcame them all and took his stand in opposition to all the world, denouncing the priests and doctors as a set of quacks who opposed the people, bound burdens on them and robbed widows and orphans. This made them sick and nervous and the doctors came in for their share. Thus they suffered by these blind guides. Here is the difference between Jesus' ideas and the rest of the world. The belief of the world was confined to matter. They had never been taught that the senses were a separate identity from the body's identity but they believed that man as you see him is all there is of him and when the body ceased to act it was dead and this ended man till the resurrection at the end of the world. Some had a different belief but they were all confined to this world.
To keep man in subjection to the laws, certain penalties were attached to every act, thus putting restrictions on the people for the benefit of society. These restrictions were called burdens and the people complained. They had no idea of right and wrong as we have now, but their only interest was in keeping clear of the laws or lash. If a person wanted anything belonging to his neighbor, he did not reason as we should, but like the beast, sought how he could get it without being caught. They reasoned like any person running a risk where dollars and cents are concerned. Not that their happiness or misery was involved in the act, but how to get what they wanted. How shall I get it was the question, not is it right or wrong, but shall I get caught and if so, how much shall I have to pay. So it was a speculation. The happiness was in stealing and evading the punishment and the misery was in paying the fine. This was the whole story and all their study was to take advantage of each other. Their religion was their laws which were all confined to their lives. So when they died they were free from the law and death ended their religious opinions and everything else. Therefore the living mourned for the dead and often hired others to help them mourn. Not that the dead knew anything, but that the living lost something. Neither was this mourning because they loved them, for they would kill anyone to make a little money. In the case of selling Joseph to the Ishmaelites, they cared nothing about his life. Money was their God. So it was with Judas. He cared nothing for Jesus' life; money was his object, for he had not yet the Christ or truth that Jesus taught.
Now where does Jesus differ from all other teachings? In every particular. His belief is founded on truth and is not of man, but of God or Science. Therefore, his priesthood was not of this world and contained none of the church forms or ideas but taught that misery would follow our acts. His theory was that the senses were not a part of our body and that they were affected by our belief, their happiness or misery being in our belief, which belief was matter and could be changed by a power independent of itself. The science was to put people in mind of this fact, so it was necessary to produce cures on the people independent of anything but his word, for his words were the destruction of matter or disease. This showed man that his belief made his trouble, so he warned them against the bread or the doctrines of the Scribes and Pharisees, for they made them sick.
This was his mission—to show that if they robbed or otherwise injured their neighbor, rendering an equivalent would never cure the evil, but that their neighbor like themselves had eternal life. And just as they measured out it should be measured to them again, for action and reaction are equal and the knowledge of the result is in the thought or idea. For instance, if you want to put your hand in the fire, the knowledge of the result is in the thought. So it is in every act or desire of our lives. If we desire to get something from our neighbor without returning an equivalent, the answer is in the desire and the misery is in the answer. It will be as certain to follow, as a weight thrown in the air is sure to return with as much force as it received. Jesus tried to teach this and that was all, for his other world was this truth—that although they destroyed his identity of a body of flesh and blood, this Christ or science would exist and could take a form again. This truth is what he strove to teach his disciples and when he was about to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies, he sat down and performed his last act by talking over this new theory.
When he broke the truth and gave it to his disciples, he said, Eat this bread or theory for this is my Christ or truth. And then he said, Take this cup, or the result of our belief, which is the life of this truth or Christ and as long as you are interested and think about it, you do it in remembrance of me or Christ, till the Science is established on earth as it is in heaven. This was his last conversation with his disciples. Now how long did his disciples continue in this belief and how much did they understand of what he said? How much of a reform did he effect through them according to his desire? Time has shown. The very moment he was arrested they left him and denied their action with him.
Judas had an idea of what he taught but it did not penetrate to the destruction of his old belief. His senses were in the two beliefs and when Christ or Jesus' belief was in him, his old belief of dollars and cents was present, prompting him to make a little money. So he betrayed Jesus into the hands of his enemies. Jesus saw and knew this at the time he was talking over his belief in the form of a supper. He saw that Judas was honest but ignorant of Christ when he said, He that dippeth his finger in the cup shall betray me. Judas tried to understand more than all the rest and thought he did. Jesus knew that he did not understand and knew that when the time came for him to stand up and defend the truth he would shrink. This was to him perfectly plain and so it was in regard to them all. The fact was that Jesus taught a new doctrine so hard to understand that it was impossible to teach it to the people. The disciples thought they understood it, but when asked to prove it they were unable to explain, and so denied him. But the females who always have more sagacity than the men, though of more delicate physical structure and of silent influence, understood him. They were the ark wherein were deposited the tablets of stone or Moses' laws and all of the rules of the world in regard to spiritual knowledge that the wisdom of men do not contain. So they had more to do with the crucifixion of Jesus. Then women bore the ark in Moses' day. They have always been a sort of reservoir to hold the new ideas that the world has brought forth in their ignorance. They are the first to catch any new ideas and the last to let them go till every particle of truth is drawn out, as the humming bee finds honey in the flower where the wasp sees none. Now at the time when Jesus was put to death, he had been teaching this truth, that the senses of men were not confined to this body, but could act apart from it, and what a person believed, he, that is the power that governs the senses, could put his senses into and then the senses would be affected just according to his belief. So that our happiness or misery is in our belief. This is what he tried to prove and did, but the disciples did not understand it till he put this part of it into practice. Then their minds were changed. They saw him dead; to them this was all there was, the end of all men, as they were taught. Now to see him rise again was the introduction of the new heaven or belief. This was a very exciting thing. If he did not rise, then their talk was all in vain and all Jesus said went for nothing. The people could eat and drink as they had done and there was no proof that the senses were not really confined to flesh and blood.
This of course excited mankind and this was the great problem to be solved, but how it was to take place was a mystery. So various opinions came up as to how the dead should rise. Now in all this excitement there were some enthusiastic persons, who never get anything right except what they cannot help. These often try to help a matter on, as the Spiritualists help on the communications from the dead when they are produced with difficulty. It was so with this problem. There were those who did not understand that Jesus never alluded to his flesh and blood but to his senses (which was all that ever had any life), that they should take form and be seen by his disciples to prove that all men had the same senses as Jesus had. This they could not understand, so they did what all crazy-headed enthusiasts would have done. They stole the body of Jesus away, for fear that the body of Jesus should not rise and then all this new theory would be exploded. So when the Christ or Science took form and showed itself to the people they were afraid and trembled. This was natural, but when assured it was the Christ taking the form of the man Jesus, they believed. This would lead some to suppose that the crucifixion was all a humbug and that Jesus was not dead. So they went to the sepulchre to see if the body was there. Now if Jesus' body had been there, as it ought to have been, then the problem would have been solved, but lo! and behold! the body was gone! This left the people in the dark and gave them a chance to call up doubts whether he was really dead or not and these doubts which exist to this day commenced the controversy on that subject.
Paul speaks of it and it has never been explained if these enthusiasts had left the body of Jesus in the tomb, there was proof enough, to establish the truth of Jesus' doctrine: that the senses could exist independent of this idea or body. Now if the senses exist independent of the body, then the body is nothing but an idea that the senses are attached to. So when the senses are attached to anything, they are a part of the same. When we attach the senses to anything that has life, its life or identity has around it an odor or heat that is the prison that the senses are confined in. And to liberate the senses is to destroy the prison or atmosphere, that they may act freely. As all our unhappiness arises from our belief, it is necessary that we should understand what influence is controlling us. We are told that God brought to man all living creatures to see what Adam would call them and he gave names to all of them so that to every sensation made on the mind, the senses had to give a right explanation in order that man should not be led away by false explanations. The science is to separate the error from the truth or the law from the gospel.
The laws of Moses have passed through many modifications and some have been repealed, others modified and amended to suit society, up to this day. The laws of Jesus are the same today as they were when they fell from his lips and in all his teaching no word ever escaped him that put any restrictions on man. If Jesus ever gave an opinion, he gave it as such not as a truth but as an opinion of the man Jesus, but when he spoke of Christ, he spoke no restrictions or commands. I will give a few of the teachings of Christ, showing the difference between his opinions of mankind and the religious opinions of the world. These last never imposed any moral restraint: an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Self was the ruling passion and all laws were made with the idea of restraining the people to keep them under so that the rich could ride over the poor. This made them jealous and crafty. The priests never instructed the people in the idea of taking care of themselves, but bound burdens on them in the form of beliefs. These beliefs embraced all kinds of evil spirits. This made them nervous and according to my belief would make them create in their minds all kinds of evil spirits, thus making them more nervous. This was worse than the old Mosaic law, for that put the misery in the penalty and their penalties only made the misery.
The priests found that their laws were not sufficient to lead the people, so they invented evil spirits or ghosts to frighten them so that they could control them. I will show you how to form an evil spirit and how it will get hold of you. Take a child whose mind is all right.
You have something that the child wants and the law says if I take it I must pay four times its value. Now the child wants it and contrives every way to get it. This makes it nervous and it grows more and more nervous to have its desire gratified. It knows no principle of right or wrong and thinks it has a right to whatever it sees. It is under no restriction except the law and this law is of no force to the child. So some evil or ghost is invented to frighten the child into submission. Now the introduction of this last evil has given rise to more evils than all the laws of Moses, for then if a person wanted to steal anything, the punishment was in the detection or fine. If the child stole a thing of no value the law could not take cognizance of that, so they were obliged to get up some other humbug to keep the young in subjection. This brought out all the talent of the wise who invented all kinds of evil spirits or introduced the old Egyptian errors into the world again and now you will see relics of Egyptian superstition.
Moses tried to free his people from it, but as his laws never reasoned at all, the people obeyed them through fear. So the world has been humbugged even to this day by blind guides leading the blind. Ignorance and superstition have invented all sorts of beliefs and as the senses are something independent of our belief we put them into our belief and all the misery that we suffer is the heat or odor that arises from our belief. This heat or odor is matter and our senses are in it like a person in prison. And when I come into this prison or atmosphere it affects me just as it does the person who is in it. This atmosphere is the prison or place of torment and this is heated up by their belief. So when I change their belief the fire of ignorance or the heat subsides and their senses are relieved from a burden that binds them down.
As disease is a belief, it has never entered into their minds or senses that their belief is the cause of their trouble. Let this be made plain to the people and then they will not say one to another, Know you this truth! but it will be so plain that any person of ordinary ability can see it. These beliefs will give way to Science and superstition and bigotry will be driven out of the minds of men and the Bible will stand on the rock of Science. Then when a person undertakes to say to you, Believe this or that, the people will say to such, Show me your belief by your works to the sick, as Jesus showed his belief in his day. Then all hypocrisy and deception will be driven from the land. The minds of men will take a more elevated stand and men will be just what their works show them to be. Then when a doctor comes to you and you have to tell him all your feelings and your health is in his belief, you will see that his belief is not one whit better than the priests, who tell you a story about what they have not the slightest evidence of in truth. Then the people will take their beliefs into their own hands and will purge their minds from all these false superstitions that lay burdens on them and bind them on their shoulders in the form of rheumatism, neuralgia and a thousand other diseases for the benefit of the profession.
The people will see that God never bound anyone, only by love for one another and this love knows no ill-will towards its neighbor. It calls no one master but one and that is God or Science and Science never made man or child unhappy to know it. It sometimes makes them unhappy in getting it. This is where all the trouble is. Men who are lazy would rather give an opinion on a scientific subject than to investigate it. All religious opinions are embraced without the slightest investigation, for if they try to investigate, it makes them nervous. This makes them create in their mind the identity of their belief. They attach their senses to their ideas and their misery is in their belief. So it has always been; men would always rather give an opinion than investigate a principle. Phenomena have always taken place which the wisdom of the world has undertaken to explain. So when such take place, they are handed over to the wise men to explain as though God's laws depended on man's wisdom or intelligence for an explanation.
All new theories are opposed by the wise who never admit them, till the truth of them is so apparent that their opinions are not wanted for their success. Then they come in and steal the thunder, claim the discovery, cheating the inventor out of his birth right by pressing him till he, like Esau, will sell all for a mess of pottage. This is human nature. It was just so in Jesus' days. The priests and doctors tried to buy him out but Jesus told them that to put his ideas or truths in theirs would be like putting new wine in old bottles, and their bottles being of leather would burst and the wine would run out. To the priests he said that their theory was like an old worn garment and to put his truth into theirs would be like mending an old garment with new cloth. It would tear out and make the rend wider. So when they saw that they could not do anything with him and that he was going to make his theory or doctrine popular, they were afraid and said, Our craft is in danger. So they got the people enraged by telling lies and representing him as their enemy while he was their best friend. They cried, Crucify him, for our craft is in danger!
The silversmiths would lose their chance of selling their gods, for his ideas struck at all idolatry. So they crucified the man Jesus, thinking that they were destroying the Christ, but when this same Christ appeared again, they were afraid. Jesus' belief was very simple but the people's superstition has put a false construction on it and it was a stumbling block to the Jews and to the Greeks, foolishness. But truth proves itself.
It was then and is now believed that Jesus was trying to prove another world apart from this. Now there is not the slightest evidence that he ever hinted at a world independent of man's senses. On the contrary, all his acts went to show that he never harbored such an idea. I will now state what I believe Jesus' belief was and the people may take it for what it is worth. Jesus never believed in any world at all as the people do now. The old world was the old beliefs of the Old Testament and no one believes that the writers of that refer to anything but their beliefs, for their own safety; for at death all was ended. Jesus believed that our senses were not a part of this natural body; that death was an unbelief and that the senses lived. So if the people could understand that their senses lived, then death was swallowed up in victory and that belief vanished.
This was all taught as doctrine. This if believed would put away all superstition and upset all forms and priestcraft, so they said, Crucify him! It would not do to have such a fellow among us. And after the deed was done, the priests and doctors gave a turn to public opinion and explained Jesus' ideas on their own ground, and the people could not see the cheat but embraced it. So what is religion now? It is about as near Jesus' ideas as democracy is near the old-fashioned republicanism of Jefferson's day. And if the disciples were here now, hearing the ideas advanced, it would be as new to them as their ideas would be to the people in our days. Religion like politics is undergoing a change all the time and has just about as much to do with enlightening the minds of the men as political parties. It is like a sort of irritation to keep up investigation, like any error. The church is good in its place and like laws will act upon the simple and ignorant till they are ready to embrace Christ's truth of doing to another as you would that another should do to you. As this is understood, the religion of man goes out of fashion. But it will be a long time, for they have decked it up like a fashionable saloon equal to Solomon's temple.
If Jesus was here now he would not be permitted to talk in the churches. And if he had the privilege he would not find that class of people that he associated with when on earth, for they can't attend meetings; it is too expensive. It takes quite a sum to hire seats for a whole family so only one or two can afford to be religious; the rest have to stay at home or go to a cheaper kind. Like saloons, there are all kinds of religions to suit customers and like doctors, they want to make something by their profession. So you see it is the same as it was in Christ's day. They have turned the houses of the Lord into houses of merchandise and fancy goods and preach for doctrines the commands of men. They thus show that there is not one particle of truth in all they say, for if it was true it would not change and religion like all other fashions changes every year, showing it does not contain one single true idea or one atom of science. Now let Christ or truth be preached: that man's senses will always exist; that he is just what he makes himself and that his happiness is in his belief and his belief contains his character. It must be taught that man's act are governed by his belief, his happiness or misery being the fruits of his belief. His belief is the two worlds. To be in ignorance or error is in one world, misery and pain being the fruits. Science and truth is the other and happiness and peace is the reward. So man has these two worlds in him and he is the subject of the one he obeys and God rewards everyone according to his acts. I find no allusion to any world independent of man's senses, only in the brain of a superstitious world.