THE START OF THE AFFAIR
The true start of this affair occurred on a day in 458 BC which this narrative will reach in its sixth chapter. On that day the petty Palestinian tribe of Judah (earlier disowned by the Israelites) produced a racial creed, the disruptive effect of which on subsequent human affairs may have exceeded that of explosives or epidemics. This was the day on which the theory of the master-race was set up as “the Law”.
At the time Judah was a small tribe among the subject-peoples of the Persian king, and what today is known as “the West” could not even be imagined. Now the Christian era is nearly two thousand years old and
“Western civilization”, which grew out of it, is threatened with disintegration.
The creed born in Judah 2,500 years ago, in the author’s opinion, has chiefly brought this about. The process, from original cause to present effect, can be fairly clearly traced because the period is, in the main, one of verifiable history.
The creed which a fanatical sect produced that day has shown a great power over the minds of men throughout these twenty-five centuries; hence its destructive achievement. Why it was born at that particular
moment, or ever, is something that none can explain. This is among the greatest mysteries of our world, unless the theory that every action produces an equal and opposite reaction is valid in the area of religious
thought; so that the impulse which at that remote time set many men searching for a universal, loving God produced this fierce counter-idea of an exclusive, vengeful deity