July 12, 2015
Religion and Science
by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
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.
[To be continued next week.]
Daily Quotation of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby for Sunday, July 12, 2015
The natural man cannot see wisdom, for wisdom is not visible to the eye of matter. In all mathematics, there is a wisdom to be admitted, like the principles in geometry. You first assume a truth and then bring evidence to establish it as a fact. Imagine a vast void or space, where nothing in the form of matter exists. No one is so ignorant as to suppose there never was such a time. Every fact proves to the contrary and goes to show that from the seed things grow, showing progression from void.” ~Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Article: The First Symptoms of Disease, —Part I
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We are continuing our exploration of Phineas Quimby’s Christology. What was his interpretation of the work and person of Jesus Christ in his own words?
Today’s featured article Religion and Science begins on page 476 of Phineas Parkhurst Quimby: His Complete Writings and Beyond. This composition is rather lengthy, so I have broken it into four installments. The second part will appear in next week’s newsletter.
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