Death

 

January 1862

 

by Phineas Parkhurst Quimby

 

This is the basis of all disease. Disease must be classed with ideas or phenomena without wisdom, that is, such as have never been investigated, and all these may be traced to the speculations and opinions coming out of the Bible's belief. These diseases, which are the result of reason, call our first attention, from the fact that they cause more misery than all the phenomena or diseases that ignorance produces.

Take two children of the same parents. Place one in the charge of a pious person who believes in the Bible just as it reads with a literal construction and also in the allopathic mode of treating the sick with the various improvements to cure disease. Let the other child be put into the hands of the lowest man of mankind, the cannibals, for instance. Both children are females. Let them grow up and I ask any person which they suppose could bear the most hardship, the Christian or the cannibal child? No one is so ignorant as not to know that the Christian child is more likely to die by exposure.

It would seem from this that God in his wisdom, if it is his wisdom, instead of making man healthier and happier, really makes him more sickly and miserable, so where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise. Here is where the trouble lies. Man, as Paul says, does what he ought not to do, and leaves undone what he ought to do. Wisdom does not consist in opinions and health is not the result of man's wisdom. Man has no right to set up a standard of health or religion. In bringing up a child, the child should never be taught to fear any punishment except that which follows the act; but it should be taught scientifically that every act contains a reaction just equal to the act. This is according to science and is true. Do not teach the child that this is good and that is bad of itself, but the good and bad is in the act and the reaction of both must follow. This reaction is the happiness or misery, and religion is a belief in this truth.

If you understand this, you will then show by fruits which religion you are of, science or opinion. Health is a word that ought not to be used, for it really has no meaning. Jesus says they that are whole need no physician. It is man's duty to know how to correct those who have wandered away from God. I never heard that God was healthy or sick. God is wisdom, and wisdom is what man wants to keep him happy, and the lack of it is either ignorance or error. If the former, then he may be ignorantly happy, but error is misery. Wisdom would teach man that all his life is outside of his body. This would of course make him happy. Ignorance has no opinion nor wisdom, but in its way it is happy. The Christian is unhappy from the fact that he is taught to believe that he has a soul and that it is in his body. He is also taught that the soul and body make the man, and that the latter dying, the soul being in and a part of the body, they are left in the dark for the rest. So at death, everyone must look out for himself, and either the Lord or the devil gets us at last. Under this absurdity when anything ails a person, he is like a strange land, without friends, where everyone is laying hold of him and he does not know which way to turn. He knows not but he may fall into the hands of bad men. So at this separation called death, when the soul is about to pass, they do not know where to go or where they will go. So they want their minister or someone to pray to keep up their courage till they are off, and then their friends settle their locality according to their opinions. The believers of course land him in heaven. But if the dead had done something wrong to one of his neighbors, then that one is in doubt, so the world is left in doubt where he is. Some say he is in heaven, some say in hell. If the man knows the thoughts of his friends about him, he will find that their opinions are his judges.

Now I have no heaven or hell to go to. When I lie down on my bed, I do not trouble myself what will become of me when I am nothing. If I am not anything and do not know it, then I am nothing, but if I am anything, I know it as long as I know anything. My wisdom teaches me that wisdom is not matter. And as my senses are attached to this wisdom, another world, as the Christians believe, is to me all folly and superstition, like witchcraft, without the least foundation in truth. Man is like mathematics; he is a principle not developed, his senses being attached to his wisdom in the same way as they are to mathematics. His senses are not attached to what he does not know, nor can they ever be till he knows it. So his life is in his wisdom, and if that is in a belief and his belief is in a body, he is just as large as his body according to his belief. Job says, "No doubt ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you. But I have understanding as well as you and am not inferior to you." Job knew that all their talk was without wisdom and would come to an end. He says, "Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it. What ye know, the same do I know also. I am not inferior unto you. Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God. But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value. O that ye would altogether hold your peace, and it should be your wisdom."

P. P. Quimby

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