Hide Articles List

7 articles on this Page

CHRISTIANITY AD PROGRESS.

News
Cite
Share

CHRISTIANITY AD PROGRESS. To the Editor, "Glamorgan Free Press." Sir,âYour correspondents, by their manner of writing, convey the impression that they are advocates of a forlorn cause; for when people lose their temper it is a sign of the precarious- ness of their case. Violently abusive language is a sure indication of weakness, not strength. A man in a convulsion fit, although it takes several strong men to subdue him, gives proofs of the weakness, morbidity, and excitability of his nature. I have been prompted t omake these remarks after reading Mr Baker's remark- able effusion. I protest against this personally offensive style of writing. Some people say that tho snake of intolerance is dead. That must be a mistake it is only scorched for here is Mr Hammond candidly telling us that it is quite right to legally disqualify Free Thinkers to hold property for propaganda purposes. Sure- ly, this is a remnant of the old spirit that lighted the fires of Smithiield, and sent thou- sands to their doom, accompanied by such atro- cious deeds as make the heart to quail even to- day at the bare thought of it. Calvin must burn Servitus with green wood so as to perpetuate his sufferings; to burn this heretic with dry faggots for the heinous crime of thinking for himself were too light a penalty. Christians, by the attitude they assume on this question, are setting up the dogma of infallibility. With the the attitude they assume on this question, are setting up the dogma of infallibility. With the Catholics it is invested in a vicegerent Pope: with the Protestants in an infallible Bible. 1 reject with scorn both of these claims, and I do so in accordance with the principles of the Reformation. What was it that the Titanic courage of Luther, the learning and eloquence of Erasmus, Melancthon, and others, struggled for and won for us? Rome imposed the yoke of her authority on mankind and claimed sub- mission which, if it succeeded, would bring about the complete mental, moral, and physical degradation of man. The Reformers repudiated this preposterous claim, and asserted the prin- ciple of individualism, the right of every man to think and act for himself. It is on this principle we take our stand. But Christians tell us we must accept the Divine authority of Scrip- tures. We reply that it was reason that under- mined and finally repudiated Rome's claim of an infallible Church. We claim this same reason as the criterion of truth. If, in applying this test to the Bible, we fail to detect any evi- dence of its credentials to Divine authority. wr. claim the same right to reject it as the ie. formers claimed to repudiate the spurious claim for a Divine church. So you are hoist with youi own petard. If Christians claim the right to think and act independently of an infallible Pope, we claim the same right to reject the dogma of an infallible Bible, and the right to propagate those views without being crippled and disqualified by Act of Parliament to do so. Mr Baker is a quibbler par excellance. In his article we have a medley of puerilities. Really, we must speak by the card, or equivocation will undo us. I have made "admissions and contradictions." What are they ? Admissions: That the Bible has a sci- ence and that Christianity is a force. If primi- tive ideas or guesses at the origin of the universe be science, then the Bible has such a science. Will ho explain to me how I could make my meaning clear without using the term "Biblical science?" Christianity a force? Yes, in the sense that an earthquake or a tornado is a force The church by its organised force kept the world in utter intellectual darknoss for over a thousand years. What is known as the dark ages, 'when no man dared utter his honest thought, this was the normal and halcyon days of Christianity; for religions, as Schopenhauei remarks, are like glow-worms, they require dark- ness to shine in. Yes, Christianity is a forceâ a force that has deluded the world with human gore. History is full of its atrocious crimesâ the Crusadere, the Massarcre of St. Bartho- lemew, and in the Netherlands, when the Duke of Alva, at the behest of Christ's vicegerent, led out three millions of people of all ages to be ruthlessly murdered. And what is the primary element in Christian civilisation to-day, after nineteen centuries of Christian canting ? It is force. As Lord Dufferin reminded us the other day, we are in the rapids of a social revolution. Society is replete with the forces of Rationalism Anarchism, and Socialism; and Christianity is as impotent and helpless as a tiny craft on the crest of a tidal wave; it can neither give direc- tion nor equilibrium to society. I am charged with contradictions because I use the words "theory" and "demonstration" interchangabiy. It is very commonly done, and cannot be very well avoided. We still speak and write of -1e helioenric theory, although it is an old demon- strated fact. I hope my critic will, in future, instead of consulting dictionaries to see if he can detect originality in my writing, focus Ins attention to refute my facts and arguments. 1 am not a candidate for a niche in the Pantheon of the gods, nor for a wreath of immortelles. 1 an a humble seeker after truth, and if Mr Baker can aid me in this quest I shall be obliged, for I reverence truth wherever found, whether on Christian or heathen ground. My critic has made a discovery! Tell it not in Gath. He has found a mare's nest, and he shouts "Eureka, Eureka!" with as much rrusto as did Archimedes of old; he has discovered that Darwin uses the term "Creator' 'in his works. True, but not in the theological sense. Darwin on the testimony of his own son, in "Life and Letters," was a n Agnostic. If my critic consult the historical sketch prefixed to his "Origin of Species" he will see that the great naturalist did not use the term Creator in the orthodox sense. Darwin quotes approv- ingly Professor Owen's definition made in an address before the British Association in 1858. Here are the words of Owen which Darwin en- dorses always; "Also, it may be well to bear in mind that by the word Creation the zoologist means a processâhe knows not what." Mr Baker says that geology does not bear out the theory of evolution because there are breaks in the geological record, as if this imperfection could invalidate its claim to our acceptance. Someone has said that he was a bold man who first ate an oyster. Mr Baker is a much bolder man; for he entirely ignores a. galaxy of briL liant scientists who accept evolution. Dean Farrar, in his latest work, says that orthodox theologians no longer deny the facts of science, but that they sophisticate the Scriptures to answer the faots! Surely, he is mistaken, for here is a man bold enough to deny the facts! Darwin himself, in his "Hflsboiucal Sketch," gives a list of 34 names, eminent in science, who repudiate the theory of immutability of species; 27 of these were geologists. "It is so easy, says Darwin in the concluding portion of the work referred to, "to hide our ignorance under such expressions as the "plan of creation," "unity of nature," and so on, and to think that we give an explanation when we only re-state a fact." Your correspondent wants to know my definition of Progress. Well, here it is: A touchstone to test what is progress and what is antLprogressive; anything that will elevate the community, morally, physically, and intellectu- ally. Will Divine sanction of slavery, or ideas about witchcraft, demonology, faith cure, and miracles accomplish it? Will my critics please answer these queries? We have pro- gressed in proportion to our repudiation of iueas hatched in Palestine,a country, says Renan, the most ignorant and superstitious in a world full of ignorance and superstition Theodore Parker referring to America and its slavery and its sanction by the Churches says that not a single church ever issued as much as a leaflet against this iniquity of iniquities; but they took care to participate in its I unholy gains. How can the church be a faclorlin pro- gress when it contracts in every age an unholy alliance with Mammon? Mr Hammond, I see, is much concerned about morality. With him the God idea is the Alpha and Omega of society and he repeats the old fallacy about innate ideas about God supposed to be held universally It would be an easy task to refute this fallacy, but space forbids.âI am, e JOHN LEWIS. Sir,-Amongst the many unfounded assertions that appear under the above heading in your last issue, will you kindly allow me to call atten- tion to one or two? Mr Lewis says that the theory of evolution is altogether irreconcilable with that of creation. Surely, many will smile at such an assertion, especially when made by ono who professes to have the verities of science as his guidp. Let me remind Mr Lewis that the Bible doctrine of creation is something more than the Mosaic Cosmogony. In my present purpose it is indifferent how we interpret the first chapter of Genesis--whether as the result of direct Revelation or as the expression of certain great religious truths in such forms as the natural knowledge of the age admitted of. The main point is the absolute derivation of all things from God; that all things visible and invisible have originated from God by a free act of creation the Bible affirms. Your cor- respondent says that this doctrine is irreeon- ciable with the theory of evolution. Now, sir, the indication that science itself fives is that the universe is neither selLsubsistent nor eternal Science, indeed, cannot prove the creation of the world, but it may bring us to that point at which we are compelled to assume creation. In the analysis of nature science compels us to go back to primordial elements. The atomitic con- stitution of matter seems one of the surest re- sults of science, and it is not yet susr^ested that, these primordial elements are developed from one another by any process of evolution, ot that their homogeneous structure and identcal properties are to be accounted for by natural selection or any similar cause. Science tells us further that each of these atoms is a little world in itself, in intricacy and complexity, and that all atoms of the same class are exactly alike. Does not this irresistibly suggest the inference that they have a conunon cause ? "When we see a great number of things," says Sir John Her- schell, "precisely alike, we do not believe this similarity to have originated except from a common principle independent of them." To prove that these have a beginning in time no doctrine comes more powerfully to our support than the doctrine of evolution, which Mr Lewis supposes to be a denial of creation. If the uni- verse were not in a condition of constant de- velopment, we come at last to a beginning, t. some point from which the evolution started. The alternative to this is an eternal succession of cycles of existence-a. theory which has o.-eis occurred, but which brings us back to the im- possible conception of a chain without a first link, of a series, elery term of which depends o. a preceding, while yet the whole series depends on nothing. "The theory of evolution altogether irreconcilable with that of Creation!" What a new discovery! Is it not the view of many dis- tinguished evolutionists that the course of evo- lution itself compels us to recognise the exist- ence of breaks in the chain of development, where, as they think, some new and creative cause must have come into an operation? Mr Wallace, a thorough-going evolutionist, reeog- nises three such stages in the development of the organic world when some new cause or power must necessarily have come into action, viz., (1) at the introduction of life, (2) at the m- troduction of consciousness, (3) at the introduc- tion of man. I leave the above facts to speak for themselves, and I beg to ask Mr Lewis to be a little more cautious in his wild statements. It is not my wish to deal in personalities, but we shall expect those who pretend to have scimio4 as their guide to follow the path tliereof.-TL am, etc., J. MORGAN.

. Ystradyfodwg School Board…

Alleged Serious Assault at…

Alleged Trespass at Ferndale.

Boil it Down I T .. t

[No title]

Advertising