by Bill Nye
Public Domain Books
I presume that I shall not be accused of sacrilege in referring to the Chinese god as an inferior piece of art. Viewed simply from an artistic and economical standpoint, it seems to me that the Chinaman should have less pride in his bow-legged and inefficient god than in any other national institution.
I do not wish to be understood as interfering with any man’s religious views; but when polygamy is made a divine decree, or a basswood deity is whittled out and painted red, to look up to and to worship, I cannot treat that so-called religious belief with courtesy and reverence. I am quite liberal in all religious matters. People have noticed that and remarked it, but the Oriental god of commerce seems to me to be greatly over-rated. He seems to lack that genuine decision of character which should be a feature of an over-ruling power.
I ask the phrenologist to come with me and examine the head of the alleged Josh, and to state whether or not he believes that the properly balanced head of a successful god should not have a more protuberant knob of spirituality, and a less pronounced alimentiveness. Should the bump of combativeness hang out over the ear, while time, tune and calculation are noticeably reticent? I certainly wot not.
Again, how can the physiognomy of the Celestial Josh be consistent with a moral and temperate god? The low brow would not indicate a pronounced omniscience, and the Jumbo ears and the copious neck would not impress me with the idea of purity and spirituality.
It is, no doubt, wrong to attack sacred matters for the purpose of gaining notoriety; but I believe I am right, when I assert that the Chinese god must go. We should not be Puritanical, but we might safely draw the line at the bow-legged and sedentary goddess of leprosy.
If Confucius bowed the suppliant knee to that goggle-eyed jim-jam Josh, I am grieved to know it. If such was the case, the friends of Confucius should keep the matter from me. I cannot believe that the great philosopher wallowed in the dust at the feet of such a polka-dot carricature of a gorilla’s horrid dream.
I bought a Chinese god once, for four bits. He was not successful in the profession which he aimed to follow. Whatever he may have been in China, he was not a very successful god in the English language. I put him upon the mantel, and the clock stopped, the servant girl sent in her resignation, and a large dog jumped through the parlor-window. All this happened within two hours from the time I erected the lop-eared, knocked-kneed and club-footed Oolong in my household.
Perhaps this may have been largely due to my ignorance of his habits. Possibly if I had been more familiar with his eccentricities, it would have been all right; but as it was, there was no book of instructions given with him, and I couldn’t seem to make him work.
During the week following, the prospect shaft of the New Jerusalem mine struck a subterranean gulf-stream and water-logged the stock, a tall yellow dog, under the weight of a great woe, picked out my cistern to suicide in, and I skated down the cellar-stairs on my shoulder-blades and the phrenological location known as Love of Home, in such a terrible manner as to jar the foundations of the earth, and kick a large hole out of the bosom of the night.
I then met with a change of heart, and overthrew the warty heathen god, and knocked him galley west. My hens at once began to watch the produce market, and, noticing the high price of eggs, commenced to orate with great zeal instead of standing around with their hands in their pockets. I saw the new moon over my right shoulder, and all nature seemed gay once more.
The above are a few of my reasons for believing that the Chinese god is either greatly over-estimated, or else shippers and producers are flooding the market with fraudulent gods.