How close must have been the interrelation of primitive man- kind, how keen their observation of nature, and considering their limitations when compared with modern methods, how profound after all, their philosophy, their science, their astronomy, their physics, their mechanics ! In spite of the absence of railroads, steamers, postal service and telegraph, there must have been a communication of thought which is as yet little appreciated. Ideas, the interpretation of nature, and the conception of things divine as well as secular, must have traveled from place to place. Their march must have been extremely slow, but they must have gone out and spread from nation to nation. They had to cross seas and deserts. They had to be translated into new tongues, but they traveled in spite of all obstacles. This is certain because we find among the most remote nations of the earth kindred notions the similarity of which can scarcely be explained as a mere parallelism.
I will say here that I arrived at the theory of an interconnection of primitive mankind not because I sought it, but because I tried to collect unequivocal instances to the contrary, and so I naturally deem it a well-assured conclusion.
The human mind will naturally pass through certain phases of evolution and man will necessarily, and in different places in perfect independence develop certain definite ideas of ghosts, of gods, of devils, of sacrifice, of prayer, of the contrast between God and Devil, of one omnipotent God, of a God-father, of a God-man, of a Saviour, of an Avatar, of a Buddha, of a Messiah, of a Christ, of salvation, of immortality, etc. It would be desirable to have some information on the development and history of the rational beings on other planets, and it is probable that in spite of many differences all the essential features of their spiritual and religious growth will prove the same. I am still convinced that the greater part of the parallelism between Buddhism and Christianity is of independent origin, for it is certain that at any rate the church development in both religions took place without any historical connection except in Tibet where the Nestorian faith had for a time taken deep root. And yet we have a Christian Doketism and a Buddhist Doketism ; we have Christian reformers who believe in the paramount efficacy of faith, and Buddhist preachers who proclaim the doctrine almost in the same words as Luther, etc.
Note: Reading Paul Carus's words from Chinese Thought (1907), today and contrasting them with the coarse, vague, dissembling and dissimulating discourse mauling (to be kind) me and mine daily -- the Devil and all his disciples rising up, scattering, hackled, stinking -- raises me up, a little bit at least. Carus's book belonged to my mother; I took it with me to the skating rink today. God bless him, her, Stephanie Turnbull and all of us, even the creeps.