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Typos — title page: coexstensive [= coextensive]; p. 12: susceptiblfe [= susceptible]

Religion for Infidels

Anthony M. Ludovici

Holborn Publishing Company

"Je crois aux forces cachées avec lesquelles il est téméraire de jouer."
(The curé de Baluzac, in Mauriac's L'AGNEAU)

"The probability is that 'Life' and 'Mind' are coexstensive."
(Sir J. Arthur Thompson: SCIENTIFIC RIDDLES. Chap II)

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Chapter   Page
            Preface 7
            Introduction 9

Part I
Preliminary and Mainly Negative

I             The Source of Religious Belief 17
II             The Meaning of Religion 27
III–VIII             Christianity Not the Thoughtful Man's Religion 36
IX             Conclusions Reached in Part I 132

Part II
Sequel and Conclusion: Mainly Positive

I             The Power Behind Phenomena 139
II–VII             The Attributes of The Life Forces 149
VIII–X             The Life Forces and Religion 227
            Appendix 279
            Key to Bibliography 283
            Index 287

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Thanks to the many rapid changes that have occurred in the last sixty years of European life, respect for tradition and the honour former ages always paid to convention and custom have inevitably fallen out of fashion.
        Youth, for the simple reason that in a fast-changing world it has less to unlearn and forget, has during the last two or three generations been better able than its elders to adapt itself to new conditions and to control them. In addition, owing to the very novelty of the circumstances every innovation, whether political, social, economic, or merely mechanical, has foisted on the community, youth has beheld in its seniors so much less life-mastery than its compeers were used to seeing in more stable times that senility has long ceased to be regarded as the natural source of mellowed wisdom. On the contrary, no old person today needs to be exceptionally sensitive in order to feel that courtesy and consideration, alone, prevent the better bred among the young from exhibiting the secret and faintly compassionate scorn they all bear in their hearts for the sort of dodderer who can remember Queen Victoria.
        Admittedly, there are many serious and adequate grounds for this youthful attitude, and they are to be sought in the simple fact that, in the sphere of information and many necessary modern skills alone, the aged often have to defer in all humility to their juniors and accept their direction. And as it is easy to confuse information with wisdom, it is perhaps understandable that age has now lost its prestige and that concurrently, for better or for worse, a whole treasury of priceless inferences and deductions drawn from seven or eight decades of experience, is now wholly withheld from the heritage of the young in every generation.
        Does our modern world reveal any signs of this loss? I suggest that in many respects it does. But this by the way.

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        At all events a few departments of human life still remain in which, despite all the upheavals and transformations of recent times, the aged, owing to their unique chances of gathering the fruits of experience, have retained superiority and are able to command attention. I am thinking of those aspects of existence concerning which only a long life-schooling can yield valuable lessons; aspects unaffected by the passage of time and the assaults of man's inventive genius. Among these I include the passions and emotions attending the traffic of human beings, the factors determining the order of rank among men in all walks of life, and above all the motives and aspirations which induce men to ponder over their origin, their destiny, and their relation to the unseen Forces of Life.
        Aware though I am of my humble status as a senile member of present-day society, I have therefore presumed to reveal what an old man at the end of his eighth decade has been able through his experience to infer about religion and man's relation to the unseen powers behind phenomena. For as I believe that such inferences as I have drawn cannot be wholly exceptional, I am hoping that they may have some validity, not only for others of my generation and those who might be their sons, but also for those much younger still to whom only one advantage must always be wholly denied — the experience of a long lifetime.
        Having thus tendered my apology for pretending to be able to address the youth of today with any authority and tutelary qualification, there remains but the pleasure of offering my grateful thanks to the authors and publishers of those works (listed in the bibliography or named in the text) which I have quoted or referred to in the development of my thesis; and above all to Captain Aubrey Lees, R.A., for kindly reading the typescript and proofs and for many a valuable criticism.

March 1960.

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Because of the difficulty most thoughtful men now have in accepting orthodox religion and the deprivation they inevitably suffer in living without any religion whatsoever, the time seems to have come when some attempt should be made, however tentatively, to provide at least a rough outline of a possible religion for so-called "Infidels" — the men and women who cannot believe in Christianity and who nevertheless are far from willing to remain destitute of any concern about transcendental questions. As Dr. Cockshut aptly remarked over six years ago, "It was rash to abandon the old religion without having something ready to put in its place — i.e. a better religion, more up to date, more in keeping with Darwin and Freud, elastic, expandable, constantly conforming to the latest science, a common religion for the age of the common man. Anyone who is keeping this new religion up his sleeve because it still lacks the finishing touches or because there are one or two dark places of the soul unillumined by science, should be warned that the time is running short". (B.M.J. 8.5.54).
        But for the first sentence, the view Dr. Cockshut here expresses seems wholly commendable. Even its first sentence, the sentiment of which I have often heard expressed before, is likely to make a strong appeal to many. I would only respectfully point out that it can never be too early to abandon error, least of all when that error is, as I have tried to show in Chapters III to VIII of this book, actively detrimental. One might as well say, "it is rash to remove a malignant growth before one has something ready to put in its place". By all means let us retain all those beliefs and ideas, which although antiquated, fanciful and untrue, are yet quite innocuous and minister to our wants and aspirations. There can, however, be no excuse for wishing to prolong by so much as one minute beliefs and practices which have proved to be harmful and the survival of which is a menace to the community in which they prevail.

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        Apart from this, however, Dr. Cockshut's plea seems wholly unexceptionable and there is probably no class in society more inclined to welcome and support it than that comparatively substantial body of thoughtful Infidels who in the present age are bereft of any religious beliefs and yet feel the pressing need of some contact with, or relation to, what they suspect are the active powers behind phenomena.
        As one who for over fifty years has been a staunch Infidel and who has during almost the whole of this period practised a private religion of his own which he has found satisfying and beneficial, I am perhaps not unqualified to venture a few suggestions concerning the shape or form that a religion for Infidels should take if it is to satisfy the profoundly sceptical minds of modern educated men and women and be consistent with the known facts of the Universe as science has revealed them to us.
        So many facts are always conveniently left out of the reckoning in the cosmologies of most world religions and such an impressive number of neglected facts are anything but recent acquisitions in the scientific thesaurus of modernity, that our suspicions as investigators are at once aroused whenever we attempt to examine a modern religion from the standpoint of the awkward facts it overlooks or undertakes lamely to explain.
        It has long seemed to me, therefore, that a more comprehensive cosmology, besides being more accurate, might lead to deeper and more fruitful conclusions than the time-honoured practice of soft-pedalling or altogether shunning awkward features of life because they clash with our preconceived notions about the nature of the power behind phenomena. The essential but difficult first step was therefore to abandon the preconceived notions in question and to watch whither our comprehensive survey inevitably led us. Because, if the nature of the power behind phenomena could be deduced from its manifestations in the world about us, it seemed unscientific, not to say perilous, to omit a single major aspect of our known world.
        It thus seemed imperative to include in any cosmic survey, not only as many of the known facts about living matter which seemed germane to the issue, but also and above all the more salient facts in such a probable mine of revelatory information as the record of organic evolution. For in the process known as Speciation (i.e. the gradual differentiation occurring between descendants of the various genera through natural selection acting

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on so-called "chance" variations) and the psycho-physical factors involved, important secrets might He concealed and surprisingly new influences unsuspected by the earlier Evolutionists might come to light. It seemed highly probable, for instance, that here we might possibly discover a link between the blind unconscious world of living matter in both the vegetable and animal kingdoms, and the forces controlling growth, morphological change, and development, and that this link might consist of a shuttle play of reciprocal stimulation — i.e. the stimulation of living matter by environment, especially changing environment, and living matter's response in the form of its own stimulation of the improvisatory and innovatory activities of the power behind phenomena. For if such reciprocal action could reasonably be inferred from the facts of organic evolution, it seemed likely that man himself, as part of Nature, must also possess means of stimulating for his own ends those same activities and that, therefore, this occult relationship between living matter and the power behind phenomena had an important bearing on the problem of religion. If this were so, no hypothesis concerning the hidden forces behind life, including man's possible approach to these forces, could afford to overlook the facts of organic evolution, examined afresh in the light of all the more recent discoveries concerning the operations of the mind.
        For whilst I show the important rôle played by the subconsciousness of living organisms lower in the scale than man, in their successful application of the reciprocal action I have described, and although there can be little doubt that man's consciousness sets obstacles to his use of this same action, I have nevertheless been able to adduce many sound reasons for believing that this disadvantage may be overcome and have outlined how in religious practices it is to a great extent overcome. We have repeatedly been shown that only in those psycho-physical states in which man has his consciousness and above all his volition suspended, can he succeed in activating the improvisatory, innovatory and formative functions of the power behind phenomena. Call him to consciousness and he is incapable of stimulating it. Hence the obligation every thinker on religion is under to take account of the data relating to hypnosis and auto- and hetero-suggestion.
        Again, if we are to be rigorously comprehensive in our survey, we must recognize, and find a suitable niche in our cosmogony

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for, the many brutal and revolting aspects of life On earth, the excruciating suffering endured by millions of creatures, including man, every day and every hour of the day, year in, year out — an evil that is an indelible part of the character of earthly life. Not to be able to take account of such facts consistently with the rest of one's cosmology, or to be driven by the falseness of one's cosmology to make lame excuses for them-as, for instance, Rudolf Steiner did when he declared pathogenic germs to be the product of the lies uttered by man — is both disingenuous and unworthy of a courageous spirit. Yet in most of the world's religions apologetics of this kind are a commonplace.
        We must also find a place, compatible with our theory, for the facts revealed in scores of authoritative treatises, about the punctual response of the occult powers to the stimulations reaching them through evil appeals and inhuman suggestions couched in the curses and other forms of malediction uttered by medicine men, shamans and witch doctors in many primitive peoples. For, unless we can accept the view that a power behind phenomena, susceptiblfe to such dire stimulations must be indifferent to what civilized societies regard as Good and Evil, we cannot account for such happenings. For it is too late in our history to fall back on the ancient hypothesis of an Evil Spirit constantly contending with an occult power pictured as benign. Yet any theory of religion and of man's relation to the power behind phenomena, which is reduced either to denying such facts as these (in addition to all the other evil features of life in the organic world) or else to postulating some Satanic agency always opposing a righteous Providence, could nowadays hardly expect to be accepted.
        The few examples of major difficulties and problems I have outlined, give some idea of the awkward and thorny questions that have been faced in the present treatise, and I hope honestly and satisfactorily met. For those that remain I must refer the reader to the text. It seems, however, necessary to point out that in the detail of my comprehensive search for clues regarding the Nature of living matter and of the power behind phenomena, so much of importance is revealed, both about evolution, religion and the significance of the religious practices that have insensibly developed out of the unconscious psycho physical factors operating in organic evolution, that, on this score alone, apart from whether or not I may have lighted on a sound theory of the function of religion and the power with which it sets man in

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contact, I hope my book will help to shed light on many an obscure problem.
        If, therefore, the reader will pay me the compliment of closely following every step in my argument and will refrain from skipping, I trust he will feel able to concede that the theory of religion here offered, covering as it does most of the major facts of life, including the more unpleasant, without resorting to the lame shifts that too often mar the cosmologies of the world's great religions, may, owing to its logical consistency and plausibility, seem worthy of consideration.
        I should, however, have regarded my task as but imperfectly accomplished had I not first cleared the way for my Religion for Infidels by giving my reasons for rejecting the religion which still holds sway over the West. I had consequently to explain to my readers, assumed to be familiar with the customary Rationalist attack on Christianity, that the gravamina against this religion could not be limited to discrediting its various tenets and dogmata; and for the simple reason that examples gathered from reliable sources abound, which prove that buoyant, nourishing health and forest stamina in man, are compatible with religious beliefs a thousand times more incredible and more absurd than those of Christianity. Therefore, it seemed essential to emphasize the fact that it is not so much the metaphysical and mythical aspects of a religion that are important, but the way of life it promotes among its believers, the taste and valuations it cultivates; for if these are insanitary and tend to encourage a way of life that cannot be commended from the standpoint of man's survival in a desirable form, no matter what its metaphysics and myths may be, it is to be eschewed.
        I should moreover like all readers of this book to reflect, not only on the untoward consequences of Christian influence as outlined in Part I, chapters III to VIII, but also on the equally grave, but less obvious objection to the religion, which may be summarized as follows:
        As Christian morality is the only ruling moral code of the Western world, and this moral code is inextricably entangled with the dogmata and myths of the religion, it follows that, as more and more Westerners cease to believe in these Christian dogmata and myths, so they insensibly cease to recognize the authority of Christian morals. For although they may still hold that Christian morals are the only morals, they will no longer

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regard them as binding. The result is that, with every further decline in the number of believers, there occurs, wherever Christianity once held sway, a corresponding decline in morality (especially among infidels otherwise ignorant), with its inevitable sequels: asocial, anarchical and criminal behaviour. This process is now taking place under our eyes. It constitutes one of the gravest dangers for the Western world; and, if Christianity continues to bar the way to the introduction of another religion, more acceptable to the modern mind, it will inevitably lead to complete social chaos.
        All this had to be explained, and it constitutes the burden of Part I. But it is important to repeat that the argument in both Parts of my book is so concentrated and the evidence in its support so much condensed that, unless every link in the chain of reasoning is adequately grasped, the conclusions reached will inevitably seem extravagant if not unwarranted. This is bound to be so in any treatise presenting what will appear to many people as a completely new point of view. But, although I am all too well aware of the many limitations and imperfections of my thesis, and of what Dr. Cockshut would call "its lack of finishing touches", I nevertheless hope that, as the rationale of a religion that has been lived by at least one believer, it may be the means of shedding some helpful light on a problem which, as Dr. Cockshut observes, is urgently in need of a solution.



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