Religion

n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable.

  "What is your religion my son?" inquired the Archbishop of Rheims.
  "Pardon, monseigneur," replied Rochebriant; "I am ashamed of it."
  "Then why do you not become an atheist?"
  "Impossible!  I should be ashamed of atheism."
  "In that case, monsieur, you should join the Protestants."
RELIGION NOT A THING OF SEX.

Christianity breathes a spirit of the most diffusive charity and goodwill; and wherever its power is felt, it moulds the character into the image of benevolence. The great principles of the religion of Jesus secure to woman, as an unquestionable right, that elevation and high position in society, which His conduct and that of His followers conferred. Immorality trembles, domestic tyranny retires abashed, before the majesty of religion, and peace pervades that dwelling where power was law and woman a slave. The gospel belongs to neither sex, but to both. It wears no party badge, but as by a zone of love, elastic enough to be stretched round the globe, seeks to bind the whole race together. The most effectual method of degrading woman is to barbarize man, and the surest means of dignifying her is to Christianize him. A council in the fifth century, we believe, discussed the question whether woman was included in the redemption; but it is now only, we think, among the Jews of Tunis that any such belief is maintained. Happily, too, we are past the time when good old Coverdale, the celebrated translator of the Bible, could write with some kind of real or affected surprise, “He maketh even women to be declarers of His resurrection!” It is now a matter of extreme surprise that the half of the human race should at any time, in civilized lands, have had their share in Christ's atonement for the world disputed.

RELIGION IN HIGH LIFE.

Christians have generally sprung from humble life. We love to see piety anywhere; but the histories of those who have come from the ranks always lay deepest hold of the Christian mind. When the poor woman in the almshouse takes her bread and her water, and blesses God for both; when the homeless wanderer, who has not where to lay her head, lifts her eye and says, “My Father will provide,” it is like the glow-worm in the dark, leaving a spark the more conspicuous because of the blackness around it. The evangelization of the poor is a sure sign of Christ's gospel. But let us rejoice, that though it hath been hitherto, we are afraid, incontestably the rule, that not many of the wise, mighty, and noble have been called, yet there have been many splendid exceptions. There have always been some Christians of noble birth and rank and wealth. Not only is the gospel translatable into every tongue, and suitable to all the varying phases of human intellect; but it can descend to the lowliest cottages, and rise to the most gorgeous palaces and gild their very pinnacles with celestial light. Philosophy has wept at the recital of the story of the Cross; wealth has offered its houses for the Saviour who had for His home the cold mountain wet with the evening dew; science has cast her brightest crowns at the bleeding feet of Emmanuel; and art has entreated the rejected Redeemer to call her most fashionable temples His own. We could produce a long catalogue of illustrious names to prove that religion can command the homage of genius, taste, and rank. The religion of Jesus is not the monopoly of the poor; it is designed for those who are surrounded with objects which flatter their vanity, which minister to their pride, and which throw them into the circle of alluring and tempting pleasures. It places all on the same level in regard to salvation. There is no royal road to heaven. All are saved in the same way. In our own times there are not wanting some who have laid rank and wealth on the altar of God.

RELIGIOUS POPULATION OF THE WORLD BY CONTINENTS IN 1917

Religion Europe Asia Africa North
America
South
America
Oceania Total
Followers
Catholic Churches:       
Roman Catholic 183,760,000 5,500,000 2,500,000 36,700,000 36,200,000 8,200,000 272,860,000
Eastern Catholic 98,000,000 17,200,000 3,800,000 1,000,000 ......120,000,000
Protestant Churches 93,000,000 6,000,000 2,750,000 65,000,000 400,000 4,500,000 171,650,000
Total Christians 374,760,000 28,700,000 9,050,000 102,700,000 36,600,000 12,700,000 564,510,000
Confucianism and Taoism ...300,000,000 30,000 100,000 ...700,000 300,830,000
Hinduism ...210,000,000 300,000 100,000 110,000 30,000 210,540,000
Mohammedanism 3,800,000 142,000,000 51,000,000 15,000 10,000 25,000,000 221,825,000
Buddhism ...138,000,000 11,000 ......20,000 138,031,000
Judaism 9,950,175 484,359 404,836 2,144,061 50,000 19,415 13,052,846
Animism ...42,000,000 98,000,000 20,000 1,250,000 17,000,000 158,270,000
Shintoism ...25,000,000 ............25,000,000
Unclassified 1,000,000 6,000,000 130,000 8,000,000 ...150,000 15,280,000
Total Non-Christians 14,750,175 863,484,359 149,875,836 10,379,061 1,420,000 42,919,415 1,082,828,846

Note.—The Coptic Church has 706,322 followers (Egyptian census 1907); Nestorians 80,000; Jacobites 70,000.