Book may have numerous typos, missing text, images, or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1898. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... THE RANK OF MUHAMMADANISM AMONG THE RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD GREAT philosopher in days of yore informs us that we may search the world throughout, and that in no region where man has lived can we find a city without the knowledge of a god or the practice of a religion (Plutarch). This apophthegm embodies a dogma somewhat too rash and sweeping. The necessity of a Demiurgos --a Creator--so familiar to our minds is generally strange to savages. The wilder tribes of Singhalese Veddahs, for instance, have no superstition; these savages have not even attained the fear of demons. It has but scant hold upon the imagination of barbarous men. The Buddhists and Jains ascribed after Sakya-Muni the phenomena of the universe to Swabhava, or force inherent in matter, Matra, and independent of an Ishwara-Karta, or Manufacturing God. Aristotle and Spinoza believed with Pythagoras the world to be eternal, and that a God cannot exist without the world, as height without breadth. Hence Hegel's "eternal nihilum"--creation being everything for created beings--in direct opposition to Calvin, who opined that creation is not a transfusion of essence, but a commencement of it out of nothing. In the present day, the Kafirs of the Cape, the ancient Egyptians, and African races generally, barbarians and semi-barbarians, by no means deficient in intellect and acuteness, have never been able to comprehend the existence or the necessity of a One God. With them, as with a multitude of civilized philosophers--the Indian Charvakas, for instance-- Nature is self-existent, Matter is beginningless and endless; in fact, the world is their God. Ex nihilo nihil jit is the first article of their creed. Absolute ignorance of any God, then, was the earliest spiritual condition of the human family. But veneratio...
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