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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

"Christian Religion." A Lecture

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"Christian Religion." A Lecture.

Wong Chung Foo—A worshiper of Buddha and a disciple of Confucius, a kind of bronze Bob Ingersoll, gave his views upon religious topics at Hershey Music-Hall last evening to an audience of several hundred people. Mr. Foo was dressed in the picturesque garb of his country. He spoke the English language fluently with almost faultless accent,—with graceful action and gesture. Foo is not a mandarin, or a prince of the blood; nor is he a peasant or a copper-colored tramp. He is a young man of about 30 years of age, evidently belonging to the middle class, and possessing considerable sprightliness of intellect. He managed to keep his audience interested in what he was saying, but now and then gave the representatives of modern civilization and Christianity, as the Europeans are fond of styling themselves, some severe thrusts from a heathen's standpoint.

He began his remarks by apologizing for his imperfect pronunciation of some of the long words of the English language, and accounting for this by informing them that he was not an American-born citizen. Having set himself right as to his nativity, he stated that he had a great many things to say, which announcement his subsequent remarks fully demonstrated. He was here to set the American people right concerning many ideas relative to his people, their politics, and their social life. For the past half century American Christians had been in the habit of sending missionaries to the heathen nations of the world and especially to China. Of all these heathen nations none had been so grateful as the Chinese. The kindness of the Americans had struck them so forcibly that they did not know what to do to reciprocate. Finally they concluded that the compliment should be returned by sending Chinese missionaries to this country. (Laughter.) He did not come him self as a missionary, out he came as a forerunner of missionaries. He did not come here to advocate his truths from the same standpoint as Christian missionaries did in China. He did not come to ask his hearers to believe on Buddha. He did not ask them to forswear their own religion. Christians had been making a mistake for the last 1,900 years. They were beginning to understand that they are not infallible.

They were beginning to discover their mistakes within the last few years. There was great confusion of believe among Christian believers. Some believed baptism by immersion; some in baptism by sprinkling, some believed in neither of these, and some believed in predestination, or the doctrine that before one was born he was destined to be consigned to eternal damnation. The doctrine of Confucius was a deep philosophy. Christians had a deep pride among themselves. They claimed that they were the most favored of all God's children. They were the only ones that God had guided on, whilst these other nations were the small fry of the world. (Laughter.) Could such a great, loving Cheated—omniscient and omnipresent,—this magnanimous Creator have such a small idea about the principles of humanity that he would create more than one half of his creatures to page 9 be neglected. He said of the 999 Chinese who heard of the Christian religion from the lips of the missionaries, not more than two or three became sincere believers. All the balance must be condemned to Hell, because they had heard the word and did not believe. So the missionaries who came to China only endangered the salvation of the souls of their hearers. Buddha was known to the world thousands of years before Christ, and Confucius 550 years before Christ. He scouted the idea that the Chinese worshiped idols. They were no more addicted to the worship of idols than Christians. He had seen Protestants break bread and drink wine. They called the bread the body of Christ, and the wine His blood. He had seen strong men moved to tears while participating in this ceremony. He had been into a Catholic church and had seen the worshipers there kneel before the image of the Virgin and bow before the picture of Christ. This was not more than the heathens did. The Chinese liked symbols as well as the Christians to bring to their minds the realization of holy things. The Bible was a big book, but the Christians would have a murderer who had never read it, believe it five minutes before his death, and then go to Heaven. For his part, he thought if such a man were to go to Heaven, he would kill a man there yet. (Laughter.) He believed there were many things in the writings of Confucius which were equal to the teachings of the Bible.

Confucius did not teach his followers that it was necessary to hold up an arm in one position until it withered, or to hold their bodies in one position until they became crooked, or to fill their shoes with nails, the sharp points upwards, or to do any of those things which caused them suffering and misery. The heathen were taught to make themselves happy. The Christians had an idea that Heaven was a place paved with gold. He wondered what a converted Indian would do when he cot there. He would find no trees, no flowing streams, no beautiful islands, and no herds of buffalo to shoot. He would be miserable. It was a fact worthy of notice that the Christian's Heaven must be lined with gold. (Sarcastic smiles.) Mr. Foo then gave an account of the Creation according to Confucius. The man and woman were made out of the same piece of clay. It was not necessary to take away the rib of a man to make a woman. She was made of the same material as the man. They were placed on a beautiful island, where the sun shone all day, and where the songs of birds charmed the ears, and beautiful plants and flowers enchanted the sight. They were told by Bramah that they must not leave the island, but that when the population of it became too dense that he would prepare a place for them. They saw other islands across the waters more beautiful than their own And they longed to visit those shores. The man wanted to go there, but the woman reminded her husband of the command. 'We will come back pretty quick," said he, and he took his wife and went across. Then they saw an island beyond still more beautiful than the one they were on. "Let us go there," said the man. "Remember the command," said the woman. But, said the man, "We will come back pretty quick." So they went over to the farther island, when they saw beyond an island still more magnificent than anything they had yet seen. "Let us go there," said the man. "Remember the command," said the woman. "We will come back pretty quick," said the man. Suddenly they saw a beautiful bridge rise over the water leading to the lovely land. The man dragged the woman over, and when they had got on the other side the magic bridge disappeared behind them, and they looked up and found themselves in a desolate place.

Then they began to mourn, not that they had broken the command, but that they had come over the bridge and could not get back. Mr. Foo asked here, as compared with the Bible account of the fall of Adam, which was the most creditable to the woman? He thought Christians prayed too much. If he had a child which was always running to him and falling down upon its knees and asking for something it did not need, he would feel like throwing it into the lake. He wouldn't be troubled with such a nuisance. (Laughter.) The speaker then read further extracts from Confucius' teachings. One precept was that a man should not mourn because he had not a high place and honors, but rather that he had not the ability which would command high place and honors. He wanted to know how that rule would work in Christian America among the politicians. (More laughter.)

Mr. Foo made himself very merry with other little foibles, and absurdities, and vanities of Christian people, all of which was listened to with much interest and good nature by the audience. After closing his remarks he brought out two Chinese musicians, who played a kind of Mongolian "Old Dan Tucker" on a queer-shaped instrument, something like a banjo. This concluded the exercises of the evening, and the crowd walked out of the hall evidently well pleased with what they had heard and seen.