Canada, 33 per cent are Catholic, the rest are mainly Protestant. In the United States, 20 per cent are Catholic, 3.5 per cent are Jewish, and the remainder are Protestants. Mexico, Central and South America, are almost entirely Roman Catholic. In Europe, Russia was until recently dominantly Greek Orthodox; the Scandinavian peninsula, the English Isles, and Central Europe are dominantly Protestant, while France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and the rest of the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea are Catholic. The rest of the continent is divided between Jews and Mohammedans. In Asia, the entire vast area of Siberia is only sparsely settled and its religions include Animism, Taoism, and Christianity. In China, we find the land of three truths, Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism. India, Tibet, and Burma are dominated by Hinduism and Buddhism; Arabia, Persia, and the rest of the continent are Mohammedan. In Japan, there are the Shintoists. The East Indies, where the population is native, are Animistic. In Australia, the dominant religion is Protestantism. In North Africa, the west coast inhabitants are Mohammedans, while the Abyssinians are Christians. There are some Coptic Christians, in Egypt, while in the Congo and South African countries down to the Cape Settlements, the natives are Animists. The Cape Settlements themselves are Protestants.
More concretely, it is estimated that 10.7% of the inhabitants of the globe are Protestants; 16.2% are Catholics; 7.1% are Greek Orthodox; 10% are Animists; 1.4% are Shintoists; 18.2% are Confucians and Taoists; 12.8% are Hindus; 8.4% are Buddhists; 13.4% are Moslems; and 1.8% are Hebrews and unclassified sects. Truly, a religious babel! and 10% of all the inhabitants of the globe, about the same number of people who profess to Protestantism, are Animists. This is the lowest stage of primitive religion, and millions of humans are still quagmired in the sloth of a primitive faith which once must have been the faith of all human beings.
The Mohammedan, the Jew, the Christian, will readily agree that the animism, the fetishism, and idolatry of the savage were man-made foolish beliefs. They can readily perceive that there was nothing supernatural, nothing revealed, in such beliefs; but they do not realize that to him, in his infantile development, the fetish and the idol were just as supernatural and superior as the modern conception of a Supreme Being. In each age man creates his god, in his own image, and within the confines of his own mental development. The mind of man has expanded so that it has conquered more and more of his environment; it has grown and wrested from nature those secrets which constitute his civilization. Along with this has progressed the conception of a deity, but only to a certain extent. The mind has embellished the outward appearance of its gods, consolidated them, and built upon them intricate systems of theology, upon which feed vast hordes of clergy; but the basic conception, the fundamental principle, that there must be something supernatural to explain something which we cannot explain at the present moment, that conception still drugs the mind of man. Primitive man did not understand the meaning of lightning, thunder, shadows, echoes, etc., and he placed these among the supernatural phenomena. The modern mind explains these phenomena, understands the laws governing their production. Yet, it is this same modern mind which persists in going back to our savage ancestors and their mental sloth, by attributing the myriads of phenomena which still elude its present stage of mental development, to a particular idol, this time, a Supreme Being. Brahmanism, Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Hebrewism, Mohammedanism, Christianity—which is the true religion?
Let us suppose for a moment that an inhabitant of Mars, if there be such, were by a "miracle" to be transported to this earth and endowed with the mental capacity of the average inhabitant of the earth (a thing which perhaps would not be so flattering to our guest), were to be approached by a zealot of each one of these faiths, who hoped to convert this stranger to its ranks. Since the factor of coercion by force of environment to which each of these earthlings was subject would naturally be absent, the Martian would be in a position to make a fair choice. How much would the visitor be impressed by the statements of the Christian, Mohammedan, or Jew, when advised that unless he embraced their particular creed, he would be damned to eternal torture in their particular Hell?
If a Christian were to accost him and endeavor to put the fear of God into him, and if our visitor, being from Mars, already knew that of the world's population, only about 27 per cent are Christians, and the other 73 per cent are Non-Christians, is it logical to suppose that he would ever be convinced that an omniscient, omnipotent, benevolent, Supreme Being would select only one quarter of his children whom he had created for redemption, with the infallible knowledge that nearly three-quarters of them would be confined to Hell for not believing what He could have made them believe if He were truly omnipotent, omniscient, and benevolent? Would he not rather reply that on his planet such a "Father" who would select some of his children for rewards, and maliciously torture his other children, would not be designated as a God but a Devil? Were the Martian to be further informed that each one of God's children was represented in actual figures by hundreds of millions and that these have been living on the planet Earth for hundreds of thousands of years, and were the visitor to contemplate the vast incomprehensible number of souls that have been confined to Hell by such a father, might he not cut his visit short? He would be apt to repeat with James Mill, "Think of a being who would make a Hell, who would create the human race with the infallible foreknowledge and therefore with the intention that the great majority of them should be consigned to horrible and everlasting torment." I believe that our guest would assert that if such a Being actually existed and demanded worship, he would certainly have revealed his true belief to the first man Adam, and therefore saved his children an inestimable amount of suffering.
Were the visitor to be further pressed by the zealot with the vision of eternal hell, I believe he would retort that there is no reason for God to punish those who doubt or deny faith in His existence, since it is His own doing; and if He desired each one of His children to worship Him according to the precepts of a certain creed, He surely would have instilled that creed into man's make-up together with the rest of his characteristics. Undoubtedly, He would not esteem any creed which damned the human intellect by cursing the doubts which are the necessary consequence of its exercise, or the creed which cursed the moral faculty by asserting the guilt of honest error.
If our visitor would but glance at the history, the evolution, of religious beliefs, he would realize and soundly assert that all religions are human in their origins, erroneous in their theories, and ridiculous in their threats and rewards.
THE KORAN AND THE OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS
The Jews emerge into history, not a nation of keen spiritual aspirations and altruistic ethics, but that pagan people, worshipping rocks, sheep and cattle, and spirits of caves and wells, of whom the Old Testament, tending towards its higher ideal, gives fragmentary but convincing evidence.
Consider Jahveh. Cruel god of a horde of nomadic invaders settling in a land of