Page:Myth, Ritual, and Religion (Volume 1).djvu/349

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The origin of a belief in God beyond the ken of history and of speculation—Sketch of conjectural theories—Two elements in all beliefs, whether of backward or civilised races—The Mythical and the Religious—These may be coeval, or either may be older than the other—Difficulty of study—Text from Plutarch—Gods and demons—Correspondence of savage and civilised divine myths—Their immorality—Dualism—The development of gods—Bestial, personal, elemental, departmental, pure anthropomorphic—Survival of the fittest.

The question of the origin of a belief in Deity does not come within the scope of a strictly historical inquiry. No man can watch the idea of God in the making or in the beginning. We are acquainted with no race whose beginning does not lie far back in the unpenetrated past. Even on the hypothesis that the natives of Australia, for example, were discovered in a state of culture more backward than that of other known races, yet the institutions and ideas of the Australians must have required for their development an incalculable series of centuries. The notions of man about the Deity, man's religious sentiments, and his mythical narratives, must be taken as we find them. There have been, and are, many