Ancient and modern faiths
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I found that in every nation there have been, and still are, good men and bad, gentle and brutal, thoughtful and ignorant. That the best men of Paganism—Buddha, for example—did not lose, by comparison, with the brightest light of Christianity; and that such large cities as London and Paris, have as much vice within them as ancient Rome or modern Calcutta. I found, moreover, that there is a culpable colouring in the accounts given by Christian travellers of Pagan countries. The clerical pen rests invariably and strongly upon the bad points of every heathen cult, and contrasts them with the best elements of Christianity. I do not know that it has ever instituted a fair comparison between corresponding characters in each faith. As an illustration of my meaning, let us regard the stern virtue of the Roman Lucretia, who committed suicide, her body having been forcibly defiled by the embraces of another than her husband, even though the ravisher was a prince. She had heard nothing of the Jewish law or Christian gospel, nevertheless she was far better than the wives of the nobles in the courts of Louis the XIV. and XV., who gladly sold themselves and their daughters to the royal lechers. These, unlike the Italian woman, were instructed both in the law and the gospel; they attended one place or another of Christian worship daily or weekly. Nay, if report be true, "the eldest son of the Church," when he visited the "parc aux cerfs," made each fresh virgin, victim of his passion, duly say her prayers before she assisted him to commit adultery, and herself permitted fornication! We sympathize with Paul and the early Christian fathers in their denunciations of the Romans and Greeks for obscenities practised in honour of their gods; but, at the same time, we feel sure that, had those apostles and teachers lived in the middle ages, they would have denounced, with greater warmth, the murders which were constantly being perpetrated in honour of Jesus.