In the long night of savagery, in the midst of pestilence and
famine, through the long and dreary winters, crouched in dens of
darkness, the seeds of superstition were sown in the brain of man.
The savage believed, and thoroughly believed, that everything
happened in reference to him; that he by his actions could excite
the anger, or by his worship placate the wrath, of the Unseen. He
resorted to flattery and prayer. To the best of his ability he put
in stone, or rudely carved in wood, his idea of this god. For this
idol he built a hut, a hovel, and at last a cathedral. Before these
images he bowed, and at these shrines, whereon he lavished his
wealth, he sought protection for himself and for the ones he loved.
The few took advantage of the ignorant many. They pretended to have
received messages from the Unknown. They stood between the helpless
multitude and the gods. They were the carriers of flags of truce.
At the court of heaven they presented the cause of man, and upon
the labor of the deceived they lived.
Robert Green Ingersoll – “Why I Am Agnostic”