Overcoming Superstition

Sometimes we may allow ourselves to think that the age in which we live has outgrown superstition. No doubt civilized peoples have ceased to entertain many of the crude religious beliefs they formerly held. Demon worship, for example, has ceased to be practiced by them, worship which may have involved the sacrificing of innocent babes to appease the supposititious wrath of altogether fictitious beings. The strange methods of combating sickness once in vogue have largely been superseded by more modern and, presumably, more intelligent devices; and numerous acts performed to avert difficulties, or maybe disaster, as the superstitious believed, have been discarded as childish and useless. No doubt progress has been made in overcoming this weakness of humanity, but it is an exaggeration to say that superstition, even among civilized nations, has ceased. And everybody knows how rampant it is still among what are called the uncivilized nations of the world.

Now superstition is the result of ignorance and fear—ignorance, and fear of the unknown or the imaginary. Thus, ignorance of God has been the chief cause of the superstitions of men. They have believed Him to be a Being who knows both good and evil and who sends either good or evil upon mortals at will. They have believed Him capable of both hate and love, and to be feared or adored in consequence. The result has been a senseless blending of superstitious effort to appease His wrath and of equally superstitious worship to gain His favor. It was to this type of thought Paul addressed his famous words: "Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you."

Mastering Mesmerism
April 27, 1935

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