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of a Christian philosophy. Christian schools of rhetoric were opened for all those who sought to combine the ancient culture with the new belief. From the simple and austere discipline of the early Church were developed the elements of a hierarchy. The bishops gathered unto themselves riches, and led an arrogant and worldly life; the rabble of the great cities became intoxicated with hatred and fanaticism. The care of the poor disappeared, and the usurious rich protected their nefarious gains by a system of police. The festivals speedily resembled in their wantonness and ostentation those of the decaying heathenism, and the piety of devotion in the surge of disordered emotions appeared bent upon destroying the life-germs of the new religion. But it was not so destroyed. Struggling against the foreign forces, it made its way. Even the ancient philosophy, which, from the turbid sources of Neo-Platonism, poured into the Christian world, had to adapt itself to the character of this religion ; and whilst cunning, treachery, and cruelty helped to found the Christian state-in itself a contradiction—the thought of the equal calling of all men to a higher existence remained the basis of modern popular development. So, says Schlosser, was the caprice and deceit of mankind one of the means by which the Deity developed a new life from the mouldering ruins of the ancient world, 10
It now becomes our duty to examine the influence that the carrying out of the Christian principle must have exercised upon the history of Materialism, and with this we will connect the consideration of Judaism and of Mohammedanism, which latter is of special importance.
What these three religions have in common is Monotheism.
When the heathen regards everything as full of gods, and has become accustomed to treat every individual event as the special sphere of some daemonic influence, the difficulties which are thus opposed to a Materialistic explanation of the universe are as thousandfold as the ranks of the divine community. If some inquirer conceives the mighty thought of explaining everything that happens out of necessity, of the reign of laws, and of an eternal matter whose conduct is governed by rules, there is no more any reconciliation possible with religion. Epikuros's forced attempt at mediation is but a weakly effort, therefore, and more consistent were those philosophers who denied the existence of the gods. But the Monotheist occupies a different position in relation to science. We admit that even Monotheism admits of a low and sensuous interpretation, in which every particular event is again attributed to the special and local activity of God in anthropomorphic fashion. And this is the more possible because every man naturally thinks only of himself and his own surroundings. The idea of omnipresence remains a mere empty formula, and one has really again a multiplicity of gods, with the tacit proviso that we shall conceive them all as one and the same.
10 Schlosser, Weltgesch. f. d. deutsche Volk, bearb. v. Kriegk, ir. 426 Gesch. der Römer, xiv. 7).
From this standpoint, which is peculiarly that of the charcoal-burner's creed, science remains as impossible as it was in the case of the heathen creed.
Only when we have a liberal theory of the harmonious guidance of the whole universe of things by one God, does the cause and effect connection between things become not only conceivable, but is, in fact, a necessary consequence of the theory. For if I were to see anywhere thousands upon thousands of wheels in motion, and supposed that there was one who appeared to direct them all, I should be compelled to suppose that I had before me a mechanism in which the movements of all the smallest parts are unalterably determined by the plan of the whole. But if I suppose this, then I must be able to discover the structure of the machine, at least partially to understand its working, and so a way is opened on which science may freely enter.
For this very reason developments might go on for centuries, and enrich science with positive material, before it would be necessary to suppose that this machine was a perpetuum mobile. But when once entertained, this conclusion must appear with a weight of facts by the side of which the apparatus of the old Sophists appears to us utterly weak and inadequate.
And here, therefore, we may compare the working of Monotheism to a mighty lake, which gathers the floods of science together, until they suddenly begin to break through the dam. 11
But then there came into view a fresh trait of Monotheism. The main idea of Monotheism possesses a dogmatic ductility and a speculative ambiguity which specially adapt it, amid the changing circumstances of civilisation, and in the greatest advances of scientific culture, to serve as the support of religious life. The theory of a recurrent or independent regulation of the universe, in pursuance of eternal laws, did not, as might have been expected, lead at once to a mortal struggle between religion and science; but, on the contrary, there arose an attempt to compare the relation between God and the world to that of body and soul. The three great Monotheistic religions have therefore all, in the period of the highest intellectual development of their disciples, tended to Pantheism. And even this involves hostility to tradition; but the strife is very far from being mortal.
It is the Mosaic creed which was the first of all religions to conceive the idea of creation as a creation out of nothing
Let us call to mind how the young Epikuros, according to the story, while yet at school, began to devote himself to philosophy, when he was obliged to learn that all things arose from chaos, and when none of his teachers could tell him what then was the origin of chaos.
There are peoples which believe that the earth rests upon a tortoise, but you must not ask on what the tortoise rests. So easily is mankind for many generations contented with a solution which no one could find really satisfactory.
11 This in modern times refers espe- the popularising of Newton's system cially to the turning-point made by of the universe by Voltaire.
By the side of such fantasies the creation of the world from nothing is at least a clear and honest theory. It contains so open and direct a contradiction of all thought, that all weaker and more reserved contradictions must feel ashamed beside it.12
But what is more: even this idea is capable of transformation; it too has a share of the elasticity which characterises Monotheism; the attempt was ventured to make the priority of a worldless God one purely of conception, and the days of creation became aeons of development.
In addition to these features, which had already belonged to Judaism, it is important that Christianity first requires that God shall be conceived as free from any physical shape, and strictly as an invisible spirit. Anthropomorphism is thus set aside, but returns first in the turbid popular conception, and then a hundredfold in the broad historical development of the dogma.
We might suppose, since these are the prominent traits of Christianity, that, when it gained its victory, a new science might have blossomed more luxuriantly; but it is easy to see why that was not the case. On the one hand we must bear in mind that Christianity was a popular religion, which had developed and spread from beneath upwards until the point at which it became the religion of the State. But the philosophers were just the people who stood furthest removed from it, and the more so as they were the less inclined to pietism or the mystical treatment of philosophy.13 Christianity extended itself to new peoples hitherto inaccessible to civilisation, and it is no wonder that in a school beginning again from the foundations, all those preliminary steps had again to be made which ancient Greece and Italy had been through since the period of the earliest colonisations. Above all, however, we must bear in mind that the emphasis of the Christian doctrine by no means rested originally on its great theological principles, but much rather on the sphere of moral purification through the renunciation of worldly desires, on the theory of redemption, and on the hope of the advent of Christ.
12 It is interesting to observe how, 13 It is true, indeed, that the mystic in Mohammedan orthodoxy, recourse Neo-Platonists such as Plotinus and is had to atoms to render more intel- Porphyry were decided opponents of ligible the transcendental creation by Christianity (Porphyry wrote fifteen a God who is outside the universe. books against the Christians), but iuCompare Repan, Averroès et l'Aver- ternally they stood very near to the roisme, Paris, 1852, p. 80.
Christian doctrine, just as it cannot
Moreover, it was a psychological necessity that as soon as this immense success had restored religion generally to its ancient privileges, heathen elements in mass forced their way into Christianity, so that it speedily acquired a rich mythology of its own. And so, not merely Materialism, but all consistent monistic philosophy, became, for hundreds of years to come, an impossibility.
But a dark shadow fell especially upon Materialism. The dualistic tendency of the religion of the Zend-Avesta, in which the world and matter represent the evil principle, God and light the good, is related to Christianity in its fundamental idea, and especially in its historical development. Nothing, therefore, could appear more repugnant than that tendency of the ancient philosophy, which not only assumed an eternal matter, but went so far as to make this the only really existing substance. If we add the Epikurean moral principle, however purely it may be conceived, the true antithesis of the Christian theory is complete, and we can comprehend the perverse condemnation of this system which prevailed in the Middle Ages.14 be doubted that they acquired great sceptics of the school of Aenesidemus influence over the late development and the empirical physicians of Christian philosophy. Much fur- (Zeller, iii. 2, 2 Aufl. S. 1 foll.), espether really stood Galen and Celsus cially Sextus Empiricus. (although he, too, is not, as was for- 14 From a very early period, theremerly believed, an Epikurean, but a fore, dates the vulgarisation of the Platonist : See Ueberweg's Hist. of notions of 'Epikurean' and 'EpikuPhil. $ 65). Furthest removed are the reanism' in the sense of absolute oppo