Now, there is another reason why Christianity appeals so much to modern civilized societies, and that is the intense altruism of it. Up to the time of Christ, all religions, except those originated in Persia and India, reflected the brutal struggle for existence. The Old Testament is a mass of this selfishness. Brutality is the rule. There is positively no compunction shown in then wars. It was a virtue to kill the Canaanites and drive out all their enemies. Murder was a fine art. It was a philosophy built up by those who succeeded by the utmost selfishness of those primitive times. What a tremendous change came with a civilization which raised the saturation point and permitted masses to live together as an organization! Selfishness could no longer be the sole virtue, for it would destroy the organism, and they would all perish. They survive simply because all members had to do something for the whole, some sacrifice, some duty, some loss of liberty, some specialization. Races which could not do this had to remain unorganized; that is, savage, or had to perish when pitted against the organized ones, composed of self-sacrificing, specialized units. Hence, races and nations survive now by reason of individual altruism.
The players in the game made "sacrifice hits." Self-sacrifice became a civic virtue.
The history of Japan is a glorious account of the evolution of an altruism which leads a man to seek death that the nation may live. It is now and has been for centuries, the highest ambition of a Japanese to die for his country. No wonder the nation is so strong, compact and unconquerable. It is the very antithesis of the Jewish nation, where individual selfishness has prevented solidification. It is a fluid with independent particles, but Japan is a solid with dependent particles. Indeed, a Jewish nation is a misnomer, for it is a religion of divers peoples with no national traits in common, kept alive by its selfish philosophy, but thereby incapable of organization. It is a vestige from a primitive age. It is to be noted that the Japanese inject a strong religious feeling into their altruism. The Mikado is divine to their minds, and they fight for him with the same desperation we fight for Christ or Mohammedans for Allah.
It was inevitable, then, that this newly evolved virtue should soon enter the religion. Now, it so happens that the lower strata seem to do most of the self-sacrificing, and it was from them that this new philosophy should arise. The Christ of the New Testament merely voices what they all thought and did. Mutual aid - commensalism - the greatest law of biology, therefore, became the basis of Gospel teaching. No wonder it appeals to us as so beautiful. We are the descendants of people who survived because when the time came, some of them knew how to die in defense of their families, home, and clans. It is ground into our very fiber to admire self-sacrifice, we cannot help it. We erect monuments to men conspicuous in this way. Our most beautiful literature is based on such examples. "Lost his life in saving others" is the favorite headline for newspapers - the volunteer fireman injured while rescuing a woman was locally our greatest popular hero. Is it any wonder, then, that the lower strata when evolving Christianity, should idealize the normal, natural altruism to such a refined degree that it is now abnormal and unnatural? It is impossible, but it is exquisitely beautiful. No man can sell all he has and give to the poor, because his wife and children will starve to death.
Democracies are proverbially ungrateful for services rendered, for it is the selfish public opinion of individualism, but strong centralized governments are generally lavish in rewarding benefactors. Nevertheless society as an organism always shows its gratitude to benefactors, and even venerates those who, like Washington, Hamilton and Jefferson, sacrifice their private interests for the public good. On the other hand, there is intense hatred of the man who has done nothing but exploit the organism for his own selfish ends, and this is, in part at least, the basis for the hatred of the Jew already explained. But it really amounts to more than hatred, for it is a realization that some of the units are robbing the organism and that all must suffer. The hatred of the mere rich is thus not envy but a natural normal phenomenon, differing in no respect from that of the early Christians, who practically stated that the rich man could not enter their Heaven. It is to be noted that philanthropy, or the effort to benefit a few, does not create nearly so favorable comment as public duties benefiting all, and the rich philanthropist may still be an object of hatred because of the feeling that he is merely dispensing alms taken from others. This sounds like Socialism running riot, but it is merely nature expressing itself in public opinion or the mass mind, in and out of the Church.
A modified Christianity is normal and natural for the highest, brainiest and most completely organized societies. This is the reason it had to travel North in search of brain; why it is the property of the brainiest peoples; why it cannot be wholly understood by less brainy savages. This is also why it is changed by every race to coincide with the ethics of that race, so intensely selfish in the lower, and more and more altruistic as we travel north in Europe, until it reaches that high point we are accustomed to call Christian living. The lower orders are selfishly thinking of what they will receive from Christianity; the higher orders are altruistically thinking of what it will exact of them. Nevertheless, it is an ideal, too pure, too refined as yet for practice, though all Teutonic races strive toward that ideal. It is to be kept before us like a guiding star, and though unattainable, it keeps us in the narrow way and out of the broad road of savage selfishness which leads to destruction. It helps to organize Aryan democracies, all of which are naturally Christian. These speculations also emphasize what was said of the Aryan influence in originating Christianity - the ideas used by the Semites were no doubt largely Aryan.