An Argument Against Religious Superstitions Published in 1908 in Kentucky

Should we strive to put an end to superstitious religious beliefs in order to grow as a society in the realm of science and reason?

The author of this article, printed in a Kentucky newspaper in 1908, believed that letting go of harmful superstitions was the only way to move forward on this “beautiful earth.”

At StrangeAgo, we all have our own religious and spiritual beliefs, but we also found nuggets of truth within this article that highly resonate with our world today.

Persistence of Superstition

Fearful Cost of the Experiment of Believing in Divine Revelations and Crucified Gods

Like a mill-stone, superstition in its multitudinous forms has hung upon the car of progress through all the dreary ages; with sorrow and with sadness we ponder over the pages of history; painfully we look back into the dark and bloody past, and see empires rising and falling at the command of these phantoms of the human brain.

The long night of savagery was prolonged for thousands of years by the terrible power of superstition, in the slow march of progress the stage of barbarism is not yet passed by a majority of the nations of this beautiful earth, because of the superstitions that still survive, and even among the most highly favored nations of the globe millions of people continue to believe in ghosts, talking with the dead, getting religion, omens, dreams, divine revelations, crucified saviors and many other stupid and idiotic superstitions utterly antagonistic to the progress, happiness and development of the human race.

The deadly scourges of alcoholism, tuberculosis and syphilis which completely beggar the power of human speech to describe, are innocent plagues when compared to the hideous brood of superstitions that have been transmitted to us from the ages of savagery and barbarism.

The belief in divine revelations and crucified Gods, and a thousand senseless superstitions has cost mankind in blood and tears and money more than all the mathematicians of the entire world can compute.

If the vile brood of superstitions which still sway the world with more than a monarch’s power could be destroyed today, it is perfectly safe to say, that in the short period of fifty years, the whole human family would be singing songs of joy and gladness, and this earth would be a far more beautiful home for man than the mythical and fabled Garden of Eden.

In nearly all the cities, towns and villages of the United States a very large percentage of the people still believe in the superstition of healing the sick at a distance, warding off disease by amulets, talking with spirits, and for the propagation of these insane superstitions a vast literature has sprung up, and numerous magazines and papers are published that have a wide circulation, and their proprietors are growing wealthy in the propagation of these vicious and idiotic absurdities.

To the ordinary mind this would seem to be impossible in the bright morning of the twentieth century, but when we recall the historic fact that the priests of superstition have controlled the whole human family for thousands of years, we need not be astonished, because heredity, tradition and vested interests stand like a stone wall across the path of progress: nothing is valued so highly by ignorant men and women at their superstitions – houses and lands and bank stock are insignificant possessions when compared to their insane delusions, and in the sad and bloody history of the human family every good man and every good woman who have tried to destroy the poisonous superstitions of necromancy, sorcery, witchcraft, ghosts, devils, divine revelations, and crucified gods have been ostracized and persecuted, and tens of millions have been cruelly and fiendishly put to death.

Not many generations ago a superstition universally prevailed that a king was a God, and all kings were worshipped as Gods, and at their death their ghosts were propitiated, and prayers and gifts and sacrifices were universally made to appease the wrath and secure the favors of these kingly ghosts; this was the real origin of all the supernatural religions that have cursed the human family through all the dark and cheerless centuries, and reddened all the rivers of the earth with blood.

This awful superstition reaches far back in history, but after thousands of years this superstition that all kings were Gods, gave away to the modified superstition that kings are not real and veritable Gods, but that all kings are sons of Gods, and this superstition reaches far back into the twilight of history; but after thousands of years it gave away to the still milder superstition that kings are appointed by God to rule over the toiling millions, and this superstition with all its sorrows and horrors still prevails among nearly all the races of men except the most highly developed: let us never cease to rejoice and give thanks to Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin who exterminated this devilish superstition from the United States of America as completely as the immortal Ingersoll in more recent history banished the devil from our great republic, and forever extinguished the flames of a sulfurous hell.

The people of the United States and France are the only great nations of the earth that have completely disposed of the vile and horrible superstition of a malignant devil, and the other monstrous superstition that kings are appointed by God to oppress the honest millions of tolling men; in nearly all other countries this hideous nightmare and devilish superstition still continues to enslave and impoverish many hundred millions of the human family.

We have on this earth sixteen hundred million people, and with the exception of France and our own republic they are nearly all the abject and hopeless slaves of superstition; in Russia alone there are one hundred and fifty millions of our brothers who are wretched and miserable slaves of the wicked superstition that God has appointed an autocrat to rule them, and exploit the product of their hands and brain; they have no solace – no comfort – no liberty from the hope of death; their God-appointed Czar owns everything, animate and inanimate, the bodies and the souls of all this vast number of human beings.

In the beautiful and historic land of Spain there live twenty-five million of our brothers, cursed with the awful blight of superstition, and the terrible mildew of the inquisition, whose dark shadows blot out every star of hope and fill the land with sorrow and desolation; the sickening and sorrowing effects that flow from Pandora’s box of superstition, and that have converted our beautiful earth into a vale of tears and blood could be extended until the whole circumference of the earth would be included in the sad recital.

There are many strange things in human history, but the strangest and the most mysterious of them all is the persistence of these phantoms of the brain that have held mankind in bondage through all the cheerless ages.

I need therefore not repeat that the most solemn and sacred duty of every lover of humanity is to labor diligently to exterminate from our beautiful earth every form of superstition, and fill the brain of the human race with the sublime truth that the universe is governed by law, and that obedience to natural law would fill the world with joy and gladness.

How long! O how long will it yet be before mankind will learn that Science and Reason are the only saviors of the human race?

Source: Blue-grass blade. (Lexington, Ky.), 05 July 1908.