This section is from the book "Handbook Of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science", by Henry S. Munro. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of Suggestive Therapeutics, Applied Hypnotism, Psychic Science.
The psychical correlation of religious emotion and the sexual instincts is such that any sect that starts with extravagant sentiments of love to all men will fascinate and take hold of an easily impressible type of unscientific and unthinking people. Yet minds that have been stored with nothing more substantial than historical fiction, and agitated so long by unreasonable dogmas of a capricious deity from which they naturally shrink, are easily captured and held in subjection by any mind-soothing theory under the guise of religion that has a romantic or mystical flavor. A lack of contact with the world and an unfamiliarity with the facts of science have left these credulous people with no more powers of reflection than a child, and they naturally have, in consequence, abnormally developed imaginations and emotions, and are easily captured by absurd and illogical metaphysical vagaries.
I have talked with many men of scientific attainments, and in the ranks of both the clergy and the medical profession they deplore the fact that theologians of the present day have been so slow to accept and utilize the message of science, and that so many have lacked the moral stamina to shake off the worn-out and useless doctrines of an ignorant and superstitious age; yet among the clergy are many who teach and preach better than their creed. They have no fight to make against science, but look upon science as the handmaiden of true religion. The majority, however, has been held in the coils of creed and fettered by dogma, and thus coerced into a beaten path at the sacrifice of reason and judgment. The more enlightened clergymen realize this, and just in proportion as they are educated and scientific men are they boldly getting away from the absurd dogmas, and shaking off useless external formalities that have fettered the aspiring, spirit, progress, and growth of humanity so long.
In their slowness to interpret life and its meaning in the light of present-day knowledge, no wonder that we see an article in one of our leading periodicals headed, "Is the Pulpit a Coward's Castle?" And yet there was never in the world's history a greater need for strong, fearless, unblemished, and unfettered men willing to devote their lives to the help of their fellowmen.
Do you ask what this discussion has to do with suggestive therapeutics? It has at the present day a most important bearing. The present status of this subject is so related to those influences of an educational nature that furnish food stuffs to the minds of the people, that I should feel that I had dodged the issue, the most important issue, did I not boldly face these problems, which I know are agitating the minds of scientific medical men everywhere, and give them the consideration that they so pre-eminently deserve.
Religious beliefs, and health, and disease stand in precisely the same relation as do mind and body. It is simply a question of those influences that dominate and control an individual's psychic life. It is a question of the factors that are obscuring and obstructing the path of social and intellectual progress in opposition to those influences that elevate thought and action among living men and women.
No intelligent physician would think of overlooking the question of dietetics in the treatment of a case of chronic indigestion, especially when unwholesome food was largely responsible for this physical malady. It is of equal importance, if not more important, to take into consideration those elements that are harmful or healthful in the growth, and development, and stability, and maintenance of mind and character. The physician who ignores the psychic element in the consideration of sickness and disease is as onesided as the Christian scientists who refuse to recognize the needs of the body. The consideration of the maintenance of the health of an individual involves those factors that maintain and sustain health and strength of both mind and body.
How many thousands of people have died before men found out which were poisons and which were foods? To teach by killing, that others may learn to use their faculties, has been the method of the cosmic process in the evolution and development of the human being. Even today the greater part of sickness and disease is but nature's protest against human beings for violating her laws - physical, hygienic, dietetic, psychical, etc. In the consideration of those factors that contribute to human health and happiness, all these elements must be considered.
Every step taken by the scientific men of the medical profession to abolish cholera, smallpox, and yellow fever has been opposed by mystics and sentimentalists. Although thousands of lives have been saved by improved sanitation, hygiene, dietetics, disinfection, and asepsis in the physical realm, there is a field of no less importance in the psychological realm that needs to be fumigated, disinfected, drained, and cleared of parasites that live and thrive upon the ignorance and superstition of weakness and innocence. Modern science is turning the great searchlight of truth into every dark corner where these poisonous microbes may be found lurking.
The universal acceptance of the doctrine of evolution by all the important nonsectarian universities in our country and by the more enlightened theological schools has sounded the death knell of the old formulated creeds and dogmas based upon the ideas of special creation that has fettered the aspiring spirit of humanity so long. To say that you believe in the doctrine of evolution is but to say that you believe in nature's way of doing things, and of all classes of people who ought to be ready to accept this important truth, and give the people the benefit of the light it sheds upon human life and conduct, the men of the learned professions should be the first.
Fear, an emotion which is the result of an analysis of consequences, has been instilled in the human mind by the teachers and preachers of anthropomorphic theism until the great masses of people who are not sufficiently educated to think for themselves have been unconsciously dominated, and development of body, mind, and character suppressed.