Ingersoll Foundations of Faith Series

Ingersoll: Foundations of Faith — Belief and Conclusion

 
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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

Ingersoll Foundations of Faith Series…
Old Testament
New Testament
Jehovah
The Trinity
The Theological Christ

The ‘Scheme’
Belief and Conclusion

We are told that all who believe in this scheme of redemption and have faith in the redeemer will be rewarded with eternal joy. Some think that men can be saved by faith without works, and some think that faith and works are both essential, but all agree that without faith there is no salvation. If you repent and believe on Jesus Christ, then his goodness will be imputed to you and the penalty of the law, so far as you are concerned, will be satisfied by the sufferings of Christ.

You may repent and reform, you may make restitution, you may practice all the virtues, but without this belief in Christ, the gates of heaven will be shut against you forever.

Where is this heaven? The Christians do not know.

Does the Christian go there at death, or must he wait for the general resurrection?

They do not know.

The Testament teaches that the bodies of the dead are to be raised? Where are their souls in the meantime? They do not know.

Can the dead be raised? The atoms composing their bodies enter into new combinations, into new forms, into wheat and corn, into the flesh of animals and into the bodies of other men. Where one man dies, and some of his atoms pass into the body of another man and he dies, to whom will these atoms belong in the day of resurrection?

If Christianity were only stupid and unscientific, if its God was ignorant and kind, if it promised eternal joy to believers and if the believers practiced the forgiveness they teach, for one I should let the faith alone.

Ingersoll: Foundations of Faith — The ‘Scheme’

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

Ingersoll Foundations of Faith Series…
Old Testament
New Testament
Jehovah
The Trinity
The Theological Christ

The ‘Scheme’
Belief and Conclusion

We have also the scheme of redemption.

According to this “scheme,” by the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, human nature became evil, corrupt and depraved. It became impossible for human beings to keep, in all things, the law of God. In spite of this, God allowed the people to live and multiply for some fifteen hundred years, and then on account of their wickedness drowned them all with the exception of eight persons.

The nature of these eight persons was evil, corrupt and depraved, and in the nature of things their children would be cursed with the same nature. Yet God gave them another trial, knowing exactly what the result would be. A few of these wretches he selected and made them objects of his love and care, the rest of the world he gave to indifference and neglect. To civilize the people he had chosen, he assisted them in conquering and killing their neighbors, and gave them the assistance of priests and inspired prophets. For their preservation and punishment he wrought countless miracles, gave them many laws and a great deal of advice. He taught them to sacrifice oxen, sheep, and doves, to the end that their sins might be forgiven. The idea was inculcated that there was a certain relation between the sin and the sacrifice,—the greater the sin, the greater the sacrifice. He also taught the savagery that without the shedding of blood there was no remission of sin.

In spite of all his efforts, the people grew gradually worse. They would not, they could not keep his laws.

A sacrifice had to be made for the sins of the people. The sins were too great to be washed out by the blood of animals or men. It became necessary for. God himself to be sacrificed. All mankind were under the curse of the law. Either all the world must be lost or God must die.

In only one way could the guilty be justified, and that was by the death, the sacrifice of the innocent. And the innocent being sacrificed must be great enough to atone for the world; There was but one such being—God.

Thereupon God took upon himself flesh, was born into the world—was known as Christ—was murdered, sacrificed by the Jews, and became an atonement for the sins of the human race.

This is the scheme of Redemption,—the atonement.

It is impossible to conceive of anything more utterly absurd.

Ingersoll: Foundations of Faith — The Theological Christ

 

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

Ingersoll Foundations of Faith Series…
Old Testament
New Testament
Jehovah
The Trinity
The Theological Christ

The ‘Scheme’
Belief and Conclusion

In the New Testament we find the teachings and sayings of Christ. If we say that the book is inspired, then we must admit that Christ really said all the things attributed to him by the various writers. If the book is inspired we must accept it all. We have no right to reject the contradictory and absurd and accept the reasonable and good. We must take it all just as it is.

My own observation has led me to believe that men are generally consistent in their theories and inconsistent in their lives.

So, I think that Christ in his utterances was true to his theory, to his philosophy.

If I find in the Testament sayings of a contradictory character, I conclude that some of those sayings were never uttered by him. The sayings that are, in my judgment, in accordance with what I believe to have been his philosophy, I accept, and the others I throw away.

There are some of his sayings which show him to have been a devout Jew, others that he wished to destroy Judaism, others showing that he held all people except the Jews in contempt and that he wished to save no others, others showing that he wished to convert the world, still others showing that he was forgiving, self-denying and loving, others that he was revengeful and malicious, others, that he was an ascetic, holding all human ties in utter contempt.

The following passages show that Christ was a devout Jew.

Ingersoll: Foundations of Faith — The Trinity

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

Ingersoll Foundations of Faith Series…
Old Testament
New Testament
Jehovah
The Trinity
The Theological Christ

The ‘Scheme’
Belief and Conclusion

The New Testament informs us that Christ was the son of Joseph and the son of God, and that Mary was his mother.

How is it established that Christ was the son of God?

It is said that Joseph was told so in a dream by an angel.

But Joseph wrote nothing on that subject—said nothing so far as we know. Mary wrote nothing, said nothing. The angel that appeared to Joseph or that informed Joseph said nothing to anybody else. Neither has the Holy Ghost, the supposed father, ever said or written one word. We have received no information from the parties who could have known anything on the subject. We get all our facts from those who could not have known.

How is it possible to prove that the Holy Ghost was the father of Christ?

Who knows that such a being as the Holy Ghost ever existed?

How was it possible for Mary to know anything about the Holy Ghost?

How could Joseph know that he had been visited by an angel in a dream?

Could he know that the visitor was an angel? It all occurred in a dream and poor Joseph was asleep. What is the testimony of one who was asleep worth?

Ingersoll: Foundations of Faith — Jehovah

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

Ingersoll Foundations of Faith Series…
Old Testament
New Testament
Jehovah
The Trinity
The Theological Christ

The ‘Scheme’
Belief and Conclusion

GOD the Father.

The Jehovah of the Old Testament is the God of the Christians.

He it was who created the Universe, who made all substance, all force, all life, from nothing. He it is who has governed and still governs the world. He has established and destroyed empires and kingdoms, despotisms and republics. He has enslaved and liberated the sons of men. He has caused the sun to rise on the good and on the evil, and his rain to fall on the just and the unjust.

This shows his goodness.

He has caused his volcanoes to devour the good and the bad, his cyclones to wreck and rend the generous and the cruel, his floods to drown the loving and the hateful, his lightning to kill the virtuous and the vicious, his famines to starve the innocent and criminal and his plagues to destroy the wise and good, the ignorant and wicked. He has allowed his enemies to imprison, to torture and to kill his friends. He has permitted blasphemers to flay his worshipers alive, to dislocate their joints upon racks, and to burn them at the stake. He has allowed men to enslave their brothers and to sell babes from the breasts of mothers.

This shows his impartiality.

The pious negro who commenced his prayer: “O thou great and unscrupulous God,” was nearer right than he knew.

Ministers ask: Is it possible for God to forgive man?

And when I think of what has been suffered—of the centuries of agony and tears, I ask: Is it possible for man to forgive God?

Ingersoll: The Foundations of Faith — The New Testament

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

Ingersoll Foundations of Faith Series…
Old Testament
New Testament
Jehovah
The Trinity
The Theological Christ

The ‘Scheme’
Belief and Conclusion

We have the New Testament, the sequel of the Old, in which Christians find the fulfillment of prophecies made by inspired Jews.

The New Testament vouches for the truth, the inspiration, of the Old, and if the old is false, the New cannot be true.

In the New Testament we find all that we know about the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

It is claimed that the writers were divinely inspired, and that all they wrote is true.

Let us see if these writers agree.

Certainly there should be no difference about the birth of Christ. From the Christian’s point of view, nothing could have been of greater importance than that event.

Matthew says: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the King, behold there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem.

“Saying, where is he that is born king of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east and are come to worship him.”

Matthew does not tell us who these wise men were, from what country they came, to what race they belonged. He did not even know their names.

We are also informed that when Herod heard these things he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him; that he gathered the chief priests and asked of them where Christ should be born and they told him that he was to be born in Bethlehem.

Then Herod called the wise men and asked them when the star appeared, and told them to go to Bethlehem and report to him.

When they left Herod, the star again appeared and went before them until it stood over the place where the child was.

When they came to the child they worshiped him,—gave him gifts, and being warned by God in a dream, they went back to their own country without calling on Herod.

Then the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to take Mary and the child into Egypt for fear of Herod.

So Joseph took Mary and the child to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod.

Then Herod, finding that he was mocked by the wise men, “sent forth and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem and in all the coasts thereof from two years old and under.”

After the death of Herod an angel again appeared in a dream to Joseph and told him to take mother and child and go back to Palestine.

So he went back and dwelt in Nazareth.

Is this story true? Must we believe in the star and the wise men? Who were these wise men? From what country did they come? What interest had they in the birth of the King of the Jews? What became of them and their star?

Ingersoll: The Foundations of Faith — The Old Testament

 

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From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

Ingersoll Foundations of Faith Series…
Old Testament
New Testament
Jehovah
The Trinity
The Theological Christ

The ‘Scheme’
Faith and Conclusion

ONE of the foundation stones of our faith is the Old Testament. If that book is not true, if its authors were unaided men, if it contains blunders and falsehoods, then that stone crumbles to dust.

The geologists demonstrated that the author of Genesis was mistaken as to the age of the world, and that the story of the universe having been created in six days, about six thousand years ago could not be true.

The theologians then took the ground that the “days” spoken of in Genesis were periods of time, epochs, six “long whiles,” and that the work of creation might have been commenced millions of years ago.

The change of days into epochs was considered by the believers of the Bible as a great triumph over the hosts of infidelity. The fact that Jehovah had ordered the Jews to keep the Sabbath, giving as a reason that he had made the world in six days and rested on the seventh, did not interfere with the acceptance of the “epoch” theory.

But there is still another question. How long has man been upon the earth?

According to the Bible, Adam was certainly the first man, and in his case the epoch theory cannot change the account. The Bible gives the age at which Adam died, and gives the generations to the flood—then to Abraham and so on, and shows that from the creation of Adam to the birth of Christ it was about four thousand and four years.

According to the sacred Scriptures man has been on this earth five thousand eight hundred and ninety-nine years and no more.

Is this true?