Ghost fear was the fountainhead of all world religion; and for ages many tribes clung to the old belief in one class of ghosts. They taught that man had good luck when the ghost was pleased, bad luck when he was angered.
As the cult of ghost fear expanded, there came about the recognition of higher types of spirits, spirits not definitely identifiable with any individual human. They were graduate or glorified ghosts who had progressed beyond the domain of ghostland to the higher realms of spiritland.
The notion of two kinds of spirit ghosts made slow but sure progress throughout the world. This new dual spiritism did not have to spread from tribe to tribe; it sprang up independently all over the world. In influencing the expanding evolutionary mind, the power of an idea lies not in its reality or reasonableness but rather in its vividness and the universality of its ready and simple application.
Still later the imagination of man envisioned the concept of both good and bad supernatural agencies; some ghosts never evolved to the level of good spirits. The early monospiritism of ghost fear was gradually evolving into a dual spiritism, a new concept of the invisible control of earthly affairs. At last good luck and bad luck were pictured as having their respective controllers. And of the two classes, the group that brought bad luck were believed to be the more active and numerous.
When the doctrine of good and bad spirits finally matured, it became the most widespread and persistent of all religious beliefs. This dualism represented a great religio-philosophic advance because it enabled man to account for both good luck and bad luck while at the same time believing in supermortal beings who were to some extent consistent in their behavior. The spirits could be counted on to be either good or bad; they were not thought of as being completely temperamental as the early ghosts of the monospiritism of most primitive religions had been conceived to be. Man was at last able to conceive of supermortal forces that were consistent in behavior, and this was one of the most momentous discoveries of truth in the entire history of the evolution of religion and in the expansion of human philosophy.
Evolutionary religion has, however, paid a terrible price for the concept of dual spiritism. Man’s early philosophy was able to reconcile spirit constancy with the vicissitudes of temporal fortune only by postulating two kinds of spirits, one good and the other bad. And while this belief did enable man to reconcile the variables of chance with a concept of unchanging supermortal forces, this doctrine has ever since made it difficult for religionists to conceive of cosmic unity. The gods of evolutionary religion have generally been opposed by the forces of darkness.
The tragedy of all this lies in the fact that, when these ideas were taking root in the primitive mind of man, there really were no bad or disharmonious spirits in all the world. Such an unfortunate situation did not develop until after the Caligastic rebellion and only persisted until Pentecost. The concept of good and evil as cosmic co-ordinates is, even in the twentieth century, very much alive in human philosophy; most of the world’s religions still carry this cultural birthmark of the long-gone days of the emerging ghost cults.