This section is from the book "The Transmission Of Life. Counsels On The Nature And Hygiene Of The Masculine Function", by George H. Napheys. Also available from Amazon: The Transmission of Life.
Did we desire to magnify the importance of our theme, we could readily illustrate from history how in all times it has so fastened itself upon the minds of men that it has shaped their destiny and even formed the basis of their hopes beyond this life.
Every student of mythology is aware that the rites of many primitive religions are but the complex symbols which represent the power of transmitting life, and that the myths which have been devised to perpetuate the signification of these rites are but veiled descriptions of the same fact. The East Indian God appears under his triple form of the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer; and in his form as the creator, he is represented by and worshipped under the image of the membrum virile. The bull Mithra in Persian story, and the god Bel who was worshipped on the plains of Euphrates, are repetitions of the same idea.
As might be expected, such distorted conceptions of divinity, this confusion of ideas which confounded together the creation and the transmission of the vital principle, led to licentious ceremonies and a general abasement of the moral sense. The scenes recorded by the Hebrew prophets which transpired in ancient Babylon, and which were parts of the religious observances of that city, necessarily laid the foundation for that disintegration of society and destruction of individual powers which finally resulted in the ruin of the state.
When the antique austerity of the classical republic of Greece and Rome became tainted with the corruption of Oriental communications, the most glorious traits of these commonwealths disappeared, and in their place came Caesarfern and profligacy. So clearly was this introduction of foreign religious rites the commencement of the state's deterioration, that the ancient heathen historians, Tacitus for example, directly attribute it to this cause.
We refer to these degraded misconceptions of physical truths, and this apotheosis of the animal instincts, so that we may bring into stronger contrast with them the just and beautiful estimate which was given them by Christianity.