The Decadence of Protestant Christianity
Theosophist, September, 1880
Doubts have been expressed by Asiatic friends as to the truth of our assertion that Protestantism was fast approaching the crisis of its fate. Yet it needs only to visit any Protestant country to satisfy oneself of this fact. We find copied with approval into one of the most rabid organs of the Roman Church—the Catholic Mirror—an editorial article from the New York Times, a leading American newspaper peculiarly devoted to the interests of an orthodox Protestant public, containing the following significant warning:
“The Protestant clergy do not seem to be aware of the formidable warfare which is now waging against revealed religion. The defences. which were effective against the noisy artillery of Paine, are useless against the noiseless and ceaseless sapping and mining with which Rationalism attacks them. Orthodox Protestantism shuts its eyes to the fact that science and literature are in the hands of its enemies. It refuses to perceive that the ground on which it stands is slipping from under its feet; that Germany, which, at the call of Luther, accepted the infallible Book in place of the self-styled infallible Church, has now rejected the Book, and that the new reformation, which reforms Christianity out of existence, is spreading all over the Protestant world.”
The result will, according to the Times, accrue to the profit of the Romish Church. It foresees, in fact, that the latter may become “far stronger than she has been at any time since the Reformation.” Certainly the sudden outbreak of bigoted fervour over the pretended “miracles” in France and, more recently, Ireland, and the growing perversions of Anglican priests and laity show a decided drift in the direction indicated. Men in the mass do not think but feel, are emotional rather than rational and go by flocks and swarms to that religion which most appeals to the emotions and imagination and least to the reason. That the whole area of Protestantdom is now ready to embrace some new faith which seems more consoling than Protestantism and more reasonable than Romanism, is so palpable and undeniable that no well-informed, disinterested observer will gainsay the statement. This conviction induced the founders of our Society to organize for the quest after primitive truth. And it makes some of us believe that the auspicious hour has come for the Buddhists to begin preparing for a new propaganda of Buddhism.