Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/414

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While among savage tribes the evil being is represented by different members of the animal kingdom, in nearly all mythologies of civilized peoples the evil power is depicted in the form of a gigantic serpent. Indra—in the form of a bull—fights the demon serpent Vitria. In Persia the same idea is represented in the evil Ahriman, in his continual warfare with the good Ormuzd. In Egypt, it was Osiris and Typhon; in Scandinavia, Odin and Loki; and in Judaism, Jehovah and Satan.

The necessity of a third being to mediate between the two opposing powers seems the natural outgrowth of this dualistic conception, producing the triad. It is worthy of note that the idea so prominent in savage theology—immaculate conception—remains imbedded in the mythology of civilized races, the third member of the triads being always represented as virgin-born. In Egypt, Horus, the son of the virgin goddess Isis, overcomes the power of the evil Typhon. Zoroasterism retained for a long period the dualistic conception, finally added to the two antagonistic powers, Mithras as the Savior and Mediator. In India it was Vishnu, who took upon himself the form of a man, and became known as the Restorer.

The same impulse which forced men to rise from the disconnected fancies of animal-worship, compelled a further advance to the adoration of one God. This monotheistic element is seen running through the theological conceptions of savage and civilized peoples, in their worship of one supreme God presiding over a number of inferior deities. Even in polytheistic Rome there can be framed from the leading Roman authors an almost complete system of monotheism; while it is well known that, from the time of Anaxagoras (500 b. c.), the great philosophers of Greece were virtually monotheists. The conception of one God was accepted by the Israelites through the spiritual teachings of the great prophets, a few centuries before the Christian era; yet modern scholarship has proved bejond all doubt that this belief "was the evolution there of a germ implanted in the human mind everywhere." "When the gentle Prophet of Nazareth—aided by that energetic philosopher Paul—had freed the Hebrew God from the narrow limit of nationality, and portrayed the Soul of the Universe as the loving All-Father, who is a spirit and should be worshiped in spirit and in truth, the highest monotheistic conception was given to the world.

The striking likeness exhibited in sacrificial ceremonies among all ancient peoples proves that they can be traced to one type of society common to primitive man, and that form, according to the highest scholarship, is based upon the system of totem stocks. The animal worshiped as a totem is never eaten by members of the clan excepting upon occasions of expiatory sacrifices, although