Page:The Necessity of Atheism (Brooks).djvu/144

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142
THE NECESSITY OF ATHEISM

its feet the responsibility for the deaths of countless millions throughout the ages.

The religionist replies that man's mind cannot fathom the will of God. Which is an irrational statement for it is a well established fact, and indeed, a criterion of insanity, that when the deranged are confronted with facts which are conclusive and with creations of the imagination, they cannot differentiate fact from fancy, and maintain, instead, that fancy is the real fact. The religionists are guilty of the same breach of reason. They suffer with what may be termed, "dementia religiosa." The remarkable feature of the latter disease is its wide prevalence.

Dr. Haggard in his book, "Devils, Drugs, and Doctors," declares, "The early and Medieval Christians accepted the doctrine of the power of demons in the lives of men; they saw this power particularly in the demoniac production of diseases. They believed in miracles and especially in the miraculous healing of diseases. The demonological belief of the Christians was inherited from the doctrine of the Jews, who were believers in demons and the 'possession by the devil.' Jesus himself cured by casting out of devils. Following his example, Christians everywhere became exorcists. Jewish demonology was continued among Christian converts, and the belief in supernatural interpositions in human affairs was widely accepted. Nothing has retarded the growth of scientific medicine during the past 2000 years so much as the iron grip of theology in maintaining practices based on belief in this supernatural origin of disease." The fabled curing of disease by casting out devils, and the New Testament recordings of Jesus's conviction that disease was caused by evil spirits, have had an inestimable detrimental result on the development of medical science. The fact that Jesus believed in the demoniacal production of diseases and cured them by exorcism was deemed so important