Herland HTML version

Chapter 10. Their Religions and Our Marriages
It took me a long time, as a man, a foreigner, and a species of Christian--I was that as
much as anything--to get any clear understanding of the religion of Herland.
Its deification of motherhood was obvious enough; but there was far more to it than
that; or, at least, than my first interpretation of that.
I think it was only as I grew to love Ellador more than I believed anyone could love
anybody, as I grew faintly to appreciate her inner attitude and state of mind, that I began
to get some glimpses of this faith of theirs.
When I asked her about it, she tried at first to tell me, and then, seeing me flounder,
asked for more information about ours. She soon found that we had many, that they
varied widely, but had some points in common. A clear methodical luminous mind had
my Ellador, not only reasonable, but swiftly perceptive.
She made a sort of chart, superimposing the different religions as I described them,
with a pin run through them all, as it were; their common basis being a Dominant Power
or Powers, and some Special Behavior, mostly taboos, to please or placate. There were
some common features in certain groups of religions, but the one always present was this
Power, and the things which must be done or not done because of it. It was not hard to
trace our human imagery of the Divine Force up through successive stages of
bloodthirsty, sensual, proud, and cruel gods of early times to the conception of a
Common Father with its corollary of a Common Brotherhood.
This pleased her very much, and when I expatiated on the Omniscience, Omnipotence,
Omnipresence, and so on, of our God, and of the loving kindness taught by his Son, she
was much impressed.
The story of the Virgin birth naturally did not astonish her, but she was greatly
puzzled by the Sacrifice, and still more by the Devil, and the theory of Damnation.
When in an inadvertent moment I said that certain sects had believed in infant
damnation--and explained it--she sat very still indeed.
"They believed that God was Love--and Wisdom--and Power?"
"Yes--all of that."
Her eyes grew large, her face ghastly pale.
"And yet that such a God could put little new babies to burn --for eternity?" She fell
into a sudden shuddering and left me, running swiftly to the nearest temple.