Robert Ingersoll – The Great Agnostic

Freethinker: Robert Ingersoll

 

From FFRF

On this date in 1833, Robert Green Ingersoll, who became the best known advocate of freethought in 19th-century United States, was born in Dresden, N.Y. The son of an impoverished itinerant pastor, he later recalled his formative church experiences: “The minister asked us if we knew that we all deserved to go to hell, and we all answered ‘yes.’ Then we were asked if we would be willing to go to hell if it was God’s will, and every little liar shouted ‘Yes!’ ”

He became an attorney by apprenticeship, and a colonel in the Civil War, fighting in the Battle of Shiloh. In 1867, Ingersoll was appointed Illinois’ first Attorney General. His political career was cut short by his refusal to halt his controversial lectures, but he achieved national political fame for his thrilling nomination speech for James G. Blaine for president at the national convention of the Republican Party in 1876. Ingersoll was good friends with three U.S. presidents. The distinguished attorney was known and admired by most of the leading progressives and thinkers of his day. “Who can over estimate the progress of the world if all the money wasted in superstition could be used to enlighten, elevate and civilize mankind?” (Some Mistakes of Moses)

Ingersoll traveled the continent for 30 years, speaking to capacity audiences, once attracting 50,000 people to a lecture in Chicago—40,000 too many for the Exposition Center. His repertoire included 3 to 4-hour lectures on Shakespeare, Voltaire and Burns, but the largest crowds turned out to hear him denounce the bible and religion. Ingersoll’s speaking fees ranged as high as $7,000, in an era of low wages and no income tax. He married Eva Parker Ingersoll, a rationalist whom he deemed a “Woman Without Superstition,” in dedicating his first freethought book to her. He initially settled in Peoria, Illinois, then in Washington, D.C., where he successfully defended falsely accused men in the “Star Route” scandal, the most famous political trial of the 19th century. The family later relocated to New York.

A devoted family man, he lived with his extended family, and the Ingersoll “at homes” were celebrated, both in Washington D.C., and in New York. Religious rumors against Ingersoll abounded. One had it that Ingersoll’s son was a drunkard who more than once had to be carried away from the table. Ingersoll wrote: “It is not true that intoxicating beverages are served at my table. It is not true that my son ever was drunk. It is not true that he had to be carried away from the table. Besides, I have no son!” The 12-volume Dresden Edition of his lectures, poetry and interviews was collected after his death and has been reprinted many times. D. 1899.

“All religions are inconsistent with mental freedom. Shakespeare is my bible, Burns my hymn-book.”

“I do not borrow ideas. I have a factory of my own.”

“I do not believe in putting out the sun to keep weeds from growing.”

“With soap, baptism is a good thing.”

“[Of William Jennings Bryan] He talks, but he does not think.”
—-Robert G. Ingersoll.

For more information on Ingersoll see https://ukiahcommunityblog.wordpress.com/category/robert-ingersoll-the-great-agnostic/

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Ingersoll: Denies the Lie Told about God…

 

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

This Infinite LIE. No human being has imagination enough to conceive of this infinite horror [hell – eternal pain] All that the human race has suffered in war and want, in pestilence and famine, in fire and flood – all the pangs and pains of every disease and every death – all of this is nothing compared with the agonies to be endured by one lost soul.

This is the consolation of the Christian religion. This is the justice of God – the mercy of Christ.

This frightful dogma, this infinite lie, made me the implacable enemy of Christianity. The truth is that this belief in eternal pain has been the real persecutor.

It founded the Inquisition, forged the chains, and furnished the fagots. It has darkened the lives of many millions. It made the cradle as terrible as the coffin. It enslaved nations and shed the blood of countless thousands.

It sacrificed the wisest, the bravest and the best. It subverted the idea of justice, drove mercy from the heart, changed men to fiends and banished reason from the brain.

Like a venomous serpent it crawls and coils and hisses in every orthodox creed.

It makes man an eternal victim and God an eternal fiend.

It is the one infinite horror.

Every church in which it is taught is a public curse. Every preacher who teaches it is an enemy of mankind.

Below this Christian dogma, savagery cannot go. It is the infinite of malice, hatred, and revenge.

Nothing could add to the horror of hell, except the presence of its creator, God.

While I have life, as long as I draw breath, I shall deny with all my strength, and hate with every drop of my blood, this infinite lie.

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Ingersoll, the sceptic who scandalized Victorian America…

 

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KATHERINE MANGU-WARD
The Weekly Standard
Repost

Robert Ingersoll was fat. The Great Agnostic, as he was known in his day, was so portly that critics sighed over the “spectacular auto da fé” he would have made if set alight for heresy—as he surely would have been in an earlier era.

Speaking to sold-out crowds around the nation at the turn of the 19th century, Ingersoll argued against belief in God, poked fun at religious authority, and gently introduced a skeptical American public to the idea that humans might be related to apes. Along the way, the jurist and Republican party kingmaker revived the reputation of another great doubter, Thomas Paine, restoring him to his rightful place in the Founders’ pantheon.

Now largely forgotten himself, Ingersoll once rivaled Mark Twain in popularity on the lecture circuit during the Golden Age of Freethought. A small but surprisingly influential cluster of fans and followers have kept Ingersoll’s memory alive, ranging from Clarence Darrow to Eugene Debs to Penn Jillette, the magician. But in her light, readable new biography

Ingersoll: How To Find Truth

 

img_2058From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic

Through millions of ages, by countless efforts to satisfy his wants, to gratify his passions, his appetites, man slowly developed his brain, changed two of his feet into hands and forced into the darkness of his brain a few gleams and glimmerings of reason. He was hindered by ignorance, by fear, by mistakes, and he advanced only as he found the truth—the absolute facts. Through countless years he has groped and crawled and struggled and climbed and stumbled toward the light. He has been hindered and delayed and deceived by augurs and prophets—by popes and priests. He has been betrayed by saints, misled by apostles and Christs, frightened by devils and ghosts—enslaved by chiefs and kings—robbed by altars and thrones. In the name of education his mind has been filled with mistakes, with miracles, and lies, with the impossible, the absurd and infamous. In the name of religion he has been taught humility and arrogance, love and hatred, forgiveness and revenge.

But the world is changing. We are tired of barbarian bibles and savage creeds.

Nothing is greater, nothing is of more importance, than to find amid the errors and darkness of this life, a shining truth.

Truth is the intellectual wealth of the world.

The noblest of occupations is to search for truth.

Truth is the foundation, the superstructure, and the glittering dome of progress.

Truth is the mother of joy. Truth civilizes, ennobles, and purifies. The grandest ambition that can enter the soul is to know the truth.

Truth gives man the greatest power for good. Truth is sword and shield. It is the sacred light of the soul.

The man who finds a truth lights a torch.

How is Truth to be Found?

Ingersoll: Is Suicide a Sin?

 

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

* These letters were published in the New York World, 1894.

Col. Ingersoll’s First Letter.
I DO not know whether self-killing is on the increase or not. If it is, then there must be, on the average, more trouble, more sorrow, more failure, and, consequently, more people are driven to despair. In civilized life there is a great struggle, great competition, and many fail. To fail in a great city is like being wrecked at sea. In the country a man has friends; he can get a little credit, a little help, but in the city it is different. The man is lost in the multitude. In the roar of the streets, his cry is not heard. Death becomes his only friend. Death promises release from want, from hunger and pain, and so the poor wretch lays down his burden, dashes it from his shoulders and falls asleep.

To me all this seems very natural. The wonder is that so many endure and suffer to the natural end, that so many nurse the spark of life in huts and prisons, keep it and guard it through years of misery and want; support it by beggary, by eating the crust found in the gutter, and to whom it only gives days of weariness and nights of fear and dread. Why should the man, sitting amid the wreck of all he had, the loved ones dead, friends lost, seek to lengthen, to preserve his life? What can the future have for him?

Under many circumstances a man has the right to kill himself. When life is of no value to him, when he can be of no real assistance to others, why should a man continue? When he is of no benefit, when he is a burden to those he loves, why should he remain? The old idea was that God made us and placed us here for a purpose and that it was our duty to remain until he called us. The world is outgrowing this absurdity. What pleasure can it give God to see a man devoured by a cancer; to see the quivering flesh slowly eaten; to see the nerves throbbing with pain? Is this a festival for God? Why should the poor wretch stay and suffer? A little morphine would give him sleep—the agony would be forgotten and he would pass unconsciously from happy dreams to painless death.

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?

Ingersoll: An Honest God is the Noblest Work of Man…

 

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

THE GODS 

EACH nation has created a god, and the god has always resembled his creators. He hated and loved what they hated and loved, and he was invariably found on the side of those in power. Each god was intensely patriotic, and detested all nations but his own. All these gods demanded praise, flattery, and worship. Most of them were pleased with sacrifice, and the smell of innocent blood has ever been considered a divine perfume. All these gods have insisted upon having a vast number of priests, and the priests have always insisted upon being supported by the people, and the principal business of these priests has been to boast about their god, and to insist that he could easily vanquish all the other gods put together.

These gods have been manufactured after numberless models, and according to the most grotesque fashions. Some have a thousand arms, some a hundred heads, some are adorned with necklaces of living snakes, some are armed with clubs, some with sword and shield, some with bucklers, and some have wings as a cherub; some were invisible, some would show themselves entire, and some would only show their backs; some were jealous, some were foolish, some turned themselves into men, some into swans, some into bulls, some into doves, and some into Holy Ghosts, and made love to the beautiful daughters of men. Some were married—all ought to have been—and some were considered as old bachelors from all eternity. Some had children, and the children were turned into gods and worshiped as their fathers had been. Most of these gods were revengeful, savage, lustful, and ignorant. As they generally depended upon their priests for information, their ignorance can hardly excite our astonishment.

These gods did not even know the shape of the worlds they had created, but supposed them perfectly flat Some thought the day could be lengthened by stopping the sun, that the blowing of horns could throw down the walls of a city, and all knew so little of the real nature of the people they had created, that they commanded the people to love them. Some were so ignorant as to suppose that man could believe just as he might desire, or as they might command, and that to be governed by observation, reason, and experience was a most foul and damning sin. None of these gods could give a true account of the creation of this little earth. All were wofully deficient in geology and astronomy. As a rule, they were most miserable legislators, and as executives, they were far inferior to the average of American presidents.

Robert Ingersoll Born This Day 1833…

 
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From Freedom From Religion

On this date in 1833, Robert Green Ingersoll, who became the best known advocate of freethought in 19th-century United States, was born in Dresden, N.Y. The son of an impoverished itinerant pastor, he later recalled his formative church experiences: “The minister asked us if we knew that we all deserved to go to hell, and we all answered ‘yes.’ Then we were asked if we would be willing to go to hell if it was God’s will, and every little liar shouted ‘Yes!’ ” He became an attorney by apprenticeship, and a colonel in the Civil War, fighting in the Battle of Shiloh. In 1867, Ingersoll was appointed Illinois’ first Attorney General. His political career was cut short by his refusal to halt his controversial lectures, but he achieved national political fame for his thrilling nomination speech for James G. Blaine for president at the national convention of the Republican Party in 1876. Ingersoll was good friends with three U.S. presidents. The distinguished attorney was known and admired by most of the leading progressives and thinkers of his day. “Who can over estimate the progress of the world if all the money wasted in superstition could be used to enlighten, elevate and civilize mankind?” (Some Mistakes of Moses)

Ingersoll traveled the continent for 30 years, speaking to capacity audiences, once attracting 50,000 people to a lecture in Chicago—40,000 too many for the Exposition Center. His repertoire included 3 to 4-hour lectures on Shakespeare, Voltaire and Burns, but the largest crowds turned out to hear him denounce the bible and religion. Ingersoll’s speaking fees ranged as high as $7,000, in an era of low wages and no income tax. He married Eva Parker Ingersoll, a rationalist whom he deemed a “Woman Without Superstition,” in dedicating his first freethought book to her. He initially settled in Peoria, Illinois, then in Washington, D.C., where he successfully defended falsely accused men in the “Star Route” scandal, the most famous political trial of the 19th century. The family later relocated to New York. A devoted family man, he lived with his extended family, and the Ingersoll “at homes” were celebrated, both in Washington D.C., and in New York. Religious rumors against Ingersoll abounded. One had it that Ingersoll’s son was a drunkard who more than once had to be carried away from the table. Ingersoll wrote: “It is not true that intoxicating beverages are served at my table. It is not true that my son ever was drunk. It is not true that he had to be carried away from the table. Besides, I have no son!” The 12-volume Dresden Edition of his lectures, poetry and interviews was collected after his death and has been reprinted many times. D. 1899.

“All religions are inconsistent with mental freedom. Shakespeare is my bible, Burns my hymn-book.”

“I do not borrow ideas. I have a factory of my own.”

“I do not believe in putting out the sun to keep weeds from growing.”

“With soap, baptism is a good thing.”

“[Of William Jennings Bryan] He talks, but he does not think.”

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Ingersoll: The Liberty of Man

 

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

Liberty sustains the same Relation to Mind that Space does to Matter. 

THERE is no slavery but ignorance. Liberty is the child of intelligence.

The history of man is simply the history of slavery, of injustice and brutality, together with the means by which he has, through the dead and desolate years, slowly and painfully advanced. He has been the sport and prey of priest and king, the food of superstition and cruel might. Crowned force has governed ignorance through fear. Hypocrisy and tyranny—two vultures—have fed upon the liberties of man. From all these there has been, and is, but one means of escape—intellectual development. Upon the back of industry has been the whip. Upon the brain have been the fetters of superstition. Nothing has been left undone by the enemies of freedom. Every art and artifice, every cruelty and outrage has been practiced and perpetrated to destroy the rights of man. In this great struggle every crime has been rewarded and every virtue has been punished. Reading, writing, thinking and investigating have all been crimes.

Every science has been an outcast.

All the altars and all the thrones united to arrest the forward march of the human race. The king said that mankind must not work for themselves. The priest said that mankind must not think for themselves. One forged chains for the hands, the other for the soul. Under this infamous regime the eagle of the human intellect was for ages a slimy serpent of hypocrisy.

The human race was imprisoned. Through some of the prison bars came a few struggling rays of light. Against these bars Science pressed its pale and thoughtful face, wooed by the holy dawn of human advancement. Bar after bar was broken away. A few grand men escaped and devoted their lives to the liberation of their fellows.

Only a few years ago there was a great awakening of the human mind. Men began to inquire by what right a crowned robber made them work for him? The man who asked this question was called a traitor. Others asked by what right does a robed hypocrite rule my thought? Such men were called infidels. The priest said, and the king said, where is this spirit of investigation to stop? They said then and they say now, that it is dangerous for man to be free. I deny it. Out on the intellectual sea there is room enough for every sail. In the intellectual air there is space enough for every wing.

The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and to his fellow-men.

Every man should stand under the blue and stars, under the infinite flag of nature, the peer of every other man.

Standing in the presence of the Unknown, all have the same right to think, and all are equally interested in the great questions of origin and destiny. All I claim, all I plead for, is liberty of thought and expression. That is all. I do not pretend to tell what is absolutely true, but what I think is true. I do not pretend to tell all the truth.

Does Christianity Advance Or Retard Civilization?

 

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

Question. Does Christianity advance or retard civilization?

Answer. If by Christianity you mean the orthodox church, then I unhesitatingly answer that it does retard civilization, always has retarded it, and always will. I can imagine no man who can be benefitted by being made a Catholic or a Presbyterian or a Baptist or a Methodist—or, in other words, by being made an orthodox Christian. But by Christianity I do not mean morality, kindness, forgiveness, justice. Those virtues are not distinctively Christian. They are claimed by Mohammedans and Buddhists, by Infidels and Atheists—and practiced by some of all classes. Christianity consists of the miraculous, the marvelous, and the impossible.

The one thing that I most seriously object to in Christianity is the doctrine of eternal punishment. That doctrine subverts every idea of justice. It teaches the infinite absurdity that a finite offence can be justly visited by eternal punishment. Another serious objection I have is, that Christianity endeavors to destroy intellectual liberty. Nothing is better calculated to retard civilization than to subvert the idea of justice. Nothing is better calculated to retain barbarism than to deny to every human being the right to think. Justice and Liberty are the two wings that bear man forward. The church, for a thousand years, did all within its power to prevent the expression of honest thought; and when the church had power, there was in this world no civilization. We have advanced just in the proportion that Christianity has lost power. Those nations in which the church is still powerful are still almost savage—Portugal, Spain, and many others I might name. Probably no country is more completely under the control of the religious idea than Russia. The Czar is the direct representative of God. He is the head of the church, as well as of the state. In Russia every mouth is a bastille and every tongue a convict. This Russian pope, this representative of God, has on earth his hell (Siberia), and he imitates the orthodox God to the extent of his health and strength.

Christian Crock: You MUST Believe…

 

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

This frightful declaration, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned,” has filled the world with agony and crime. Every letter of this passage has been sword and fagot; every word has been dungeon and chain. That passage made the sword of persecution drip with innocent blood through centuries of agony and crime. That passage made the horizon of a thousand years lurid with the fagot’s flames.

So far as I am concerned, I most cheerfully admit that most Christians are honest, most ministers sincere. We do not attack them; we attack their creed. We accord to them the same rights that we ask for ourselves. We believe that their doctrines are hurtful. We believe that the frightful text, “He that believes shall be saved and he that believeth not shall be damned,” has covered the earth with blood.

It has filled the heart with arrogance, cruelty, and murder. It has caused the religious wars; bound hundreds of thousands to the stake; founded inquisitions; filled dungeons; invented instruments of torture; taught the mother to hate her child; imprisoned the mind; filled the world with ignorance; persecuted the lovers of wisdom; built the monasteries and convents; made happiness a crime, investigation a sin, and self-reliance a blasphemy.

It has poisoned the springs of learning; misdirected the energies of the world; filled all countries with want; housed the people in hovels; fed them with famine; and but for the efforts of a few brave Infidels it would have taken the world back to the midnight of barbarism, and left the heavens without a star.
~~

Christian Crock: The Doctrine of Atonement…

 

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

According to one of these gospels, and according to the prevalent Christian belief, the Christian religion rests upon the doctrine of the atonement.

If this doctrine is without foundation, the fabric falls; and it is without foundation, for it is repugnant to justice and mercy.

The church tells us that the first man committed a crime for which all others are responsible. This absurdity was the father and mother of another—that a man can be rewarded for the good action of another.

We are told that God made a law, with the penalty of eternal death. All men, they tell us, have broken this law. The law had to be vindicated. This could be done by damning everybody, but through what is known as the atonement the salvation of a few was made possible.

Ingersoll’s Vow…

 

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

When I became convinced that the Universe is natural – that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom.

The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts, and bars, and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf or a slave.

The Doctrine of Eternal Pain…

 

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

I have concluded that I will never deliver a lecture in which I will not attack the doctrine of eternal pain. That part of the Congregational creed would disgrace the lowest savage that crouches and crawls in the jungles of Africa. The man who now, in the nineteenth century, preaches the doctrine of eternal punishment, the doctrine of an eternal hell, has lived in vain. Think of that doctrine! The eternity of punishment! I find in this same creed—in this latest utterance of Congregationalism—that Christ is finally going to triumph in this world and establish his kingdom. This creed declares that “we believe in the ultimate prevalence of the kingdom of God over all the earth.” If their doctrine is true he will never triumph in the other world. The Congregational Church does not believe in the ultimate prevalence of the kingdom of Christ in the world to come. There he is to meet with eternal failure. He will have billions in hell forever.

In this world we never will be perfectly civilized as long as a gallows casts its shadow upon the earth. As long as there is a penitentiary, within the walls of which a human being is immured, we are not a perfectly civilized people. We shall never be perfectly civilized until we do away with crime. And yet, according to this Christian religion, God is to have an eternal penitentiary; he is to be an everlasting jailer, an everlasting turnkey, a warden of an infinite dungeon, and he is going to keep prisoners there forever, not for the purpose of reforming them—because they are never going to get any better, only worse—but for the purpose of purposeless punishment. And for what? For something they failed to believe in this world. Born in ignorance, supported by poverty, caught in the snares of temptation, deformed by toil, stupefied by want—and yet held responsible through the countless ages of eternity! No man can think of a greater horror; no man can dream of a greater absurdity. For the growth of that doctrine ignorance was soil and fear was rain. It came from the fanged mouths of serpents, and yet it is called “glad tidings of great joy.”

Some Who are Damned.

The New Testament Is Worse Than The Old Testament…

 


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

One great objection to the Old Testament is the cruelty said to have been commanded by God. All these cruelties ceased with death. The vengeance of Jehovah stopped at the tomb. He never threatened to punish the dead; and there is not one word, from the first mistake in Genesis to the last curse of Malachi, containing the slightest intimation that God will take his revenge in another world. It was reserved for the New Testament to make known the doctrine of eternal pain.

The teacher of universal benevolence rent the veil between time and eternity, and fixed the horrified gaze of man upon the lurid gulf of hell. Within the breast of non-resistance coiled the worm that never dies. Compared with this, the doctrine of slavery, the wars of extermination, the curses, the punishments of the Old Testament were all merciful and just.

Should Atheists Send Their Children To Sunday School?

 

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

Should parents, who are Infidels, unbelievers or Atheists, send their children to Sunday schools and churches to give them the benefit of Christian education?

Parents who do not believe the Bible to be an inspired book should not teach their children that it is. They should be absolutely honest. Hypocrisy is not a virtue, and, as a rule, lies are less valuable than facts.

An unbeliever should not allow the mind of his child to be deformed, stunted and shriveled by superstition. He should not allow the child’s imagination to be polluted. Nothing is more outrageous than to take advantage of the helplessness of childhood to sow in the brain the seeds of falsehoods, to imprison the soul in the dungeon of Fear, to teach dimpled infancy the infamous dogma of eternal pain—filling life with the glow and glare of hell.

No unbeliever should allow his child to be tortured in the orthodox inquisitions. He should defend the mind from attack as he would the body. He should recognize the rights of the soul. In the orthodox Sunday schools, children are taught that it is a duty to believe—that evidence is not essential—that faith is independent of facts and that religion is superior to reason. They are taught not to use their natural sense—not to tell what they really think—not to entertain a doubt—not to ask wicked questions, but to accept and believe what their teachers say. In this way the minds of the children are invaded, corrupted and conquered. Would an educated man send his child to a school in which Newton’s statement in regard to the attraction of gravitation was denied—in which the law of falling bodies, as given by Galileo, was ridiculed—Kepler’s three laws declared to be idiotic, and the rotary motion of the earth held to be utterly absurd?

Freethinkers: Christian Creeds…

 

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

There is a natural desire on the part of every intelligent human being to harmonize his information—to make his theories agree—in other words, to make what he knows, or thinks he knows, in one department, agree and harmonize with what he knows, or thinks he knows, in every other department of human knowledge.

The human race has not advanced in line, neither has it advanced in all departments with the same rapidity. It is with the race as it is with an individual. A man may turn his entire attention to some one subject—as, for instance, to geology—and neglect other sciences. He may be a good geologist, but an exceedingly poor astronomer; or he may know nothing of politics or of political economy. So he may be a successful statesman and know nothing of theology. But if a man, successful in one direction, takes up some other question, he is bound to use the knowledge he has on one subject as a kind of standard to measure what he is told on some other subject. If he is a chemist, it will be natural for him, when studying some other question, to use what he knows in chemistry; that is to say, he will expect to find cause and effect everywhere —succession and resemblance. He will say: It must be in all other sciences as in chemistry—there must be no chance. The elements have no caprice. Iron is always the same. Gold does not change. Prussic acid is always poison—it has no freaks. So he will reason as to all facts in nature. He will be a believer in the atomic integrity of all matter, in the persistence of gravitation. Being so trained, and so convinced, his tendency will be to weigh what is called new information in the same scales that he has been using.

Words of Robert Ingersoll Still Ring True…

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From Freedom From Religion Foundation

Read these quotes and imagine:

“It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.”

“If there be an infinite Being, he does not need our help — we need not waste our energies in his defense.”

“The inspiration of the Bible depends upon the ignorance of the gentleman who reads it.”

Imagine an auditorium, filled to capacity to hear an orator known worldwide discuss atheism and question Christian tenets. Imagine thousands of people willing to pay a substantial admission to hear his eloquence and irreverent wit. Ingersoll, “The Great Agnostic,” would speak extemporaneously for three hours.

He was a lawyer and former colonel in the army. He was called the “most brilliant speaker of the English tongue of all the men on the globe.” Who could this be — Dawkins, Harris, Hitchens? You may be surprised to learn this remarkable speaker was popular over 130 years ago!

William Edelen: Robert Ingersoll

From WILLIAM EDELEN
The Contrary Minister
[Repost Celebrating Ingersoll’s Birthday August 11]

What is surprising is that Robert Ingersoll is so little known in our time. He lived from 1833 to 1899 and was internationally known as the “great Agnostic,” one of the most brilliant thinkers, lawyers, orators, debaters and authors of his day, or any day. Twelve volumes of his works are still available and are a collector’s treasure. He lectured all over the United States and abroad to standing-room-only audiences.

He spoke on many subjects, but thousands upon thousands turned out to hear him demolish the absurdities of orthodox religious dogmas. He found them repugnant due to the damage they did to the human mind and spirit. He and Thomas Jefferson shared similar views regarding organized religion. And yet, on a deep and profound level he had a sense of the mystery that was breathtaking.

I can tell you that without exception his funeral eulogies are the most beautiful that I have read in the English language. The poet laureate of the universe, Walt Whitman, said that only one man could speak at his funeral, and that man was Robert Ingersoll.

Carl Sandburg said of Ingersoll’s eulogy of Whitman, “It was a most precious treasure.”

Ingersoll: 60 Reasons For Doubting The Inspiration Of The Bible…


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

The Old Testament must have been written nearly two thousand years before the invention of Printing. There were but few copies, and these were in the keeping of those whose interest might have prompted interpolations, and whose ignorance might have led to mistakes.

Second. The written Hebrew was composed entirely of consonants, without any points or marks standing for vowels, so that anything like accuracy was impossible. Anyone can test this for himself by writing an English sentence, leaving out the vowels. It will take far more inspiration to read than to write a book with consonants alone.

Third. The books composing the Old Testament were not divided into chapters or verses, and no system of punctuation was known.

Ingersoll on Civil Rights: The first duty of the Government is to protect each citizen…


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

My doctrine is this: The first duty of the General Government is to protect each citizen. The first duty of each citizen is to be true – not to his State, but to the Republic.

…That is affirmative in its character. That affirmation imposes the obligation upon the General Government to protect its citizens everywhere. That affirmation clothes the Federal Government with power to protect its citizens. Under that clause, the Federal arm can reach to the boundary of the Republic, for the purpose of protecting the weakest citizen from the tyranny of citizens or States. That clause is a contract between the Government and every man – a contract wherein the citizen promises allegiance, and the nation promises protection.

This decision takes from seven millions of people the shield of the Constitution. It leaves the best of the colored race at the mercy of the meanest of the white. It feeds fat the ancient grudge that vicious ignorance bears toward race and color. It will be approved and quoted by hundreds of thousands of unjust men.

The Devil, Part Five…


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From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1899)

Parts | One | Two | Three | Four | Five |

Personifications of Evil

The Orthodox Ostrich Thrusts His Head into The Sand.

Many of the clergy are now ashamed to say that they believe in devils. The belief has become ignorant and vulgar. They are ashamed of the lake of fire and brimstone. It is too savage.

At the same time they do not wish to give up the inspiration of the Bible. They give new meanings to the inspired words. Now they say that devils were only personifications of evil.

If the devils were only personifications of evil what were the angels? Was the angel who told Joseph who the father of Christ was, a personification? Was the Holy Ghost only the personification of a father? Was the angel who told Joseph that Herod was dead a personification of news?

Were the angels who rolled away the stone and sat clothed in shining garments in the empty sepulcher of Christ a couple of personifications? Were all the angels described in the Old Testament imaginary shadows — bodiless personifications? If the angels of the Bible are real angels, the devils are real devils.

Let us be honest with ourselves and each other and give to the Bible its natural, obvious meaning. Let us admit that the writers believed what they wrote. If we believe that they were mistaken, let us have the honesty and courage to say so. Certainly we have no right to change or avoid their meaning, or to dishonestly correct their mistakes. Timid preachers sully their own souls when they change what the writers of the Bible believed to be facts to allegories, parables, poems and myths.

It is impossible for any man who believes in the inspiration of the Bible to explain away the Devil.

The Devil, Part Four…


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From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1899)

Parts | One | Two | Three | Four | Five |

The Evidence of the Church

All the fathers of the church believed in devils. All the saints won their crowns by overcoming devils. All the popes and cardinals, bishops and priests, believed in devils. Most of their time was occupied in fighting devils. The whole Catholic world, from the lowest layman to the highest priest, believed in devils. They proved the existence of devils by the New Testament. They knew that these devils were citizens of hell. They knew that Satan was their king. They knew that hell was made for the Devil and his angels.

The founders of all the Protestant churches — the makers of all the orthodox creeds — all the leading Protestant theologians, from Luther to the president of Princeton College — were, and are, firm believers in the Devil. All the great commentators believed in the Devil as firmly as they did in God.

Under the “Scheme of Salvation” the Devil was a necessity. Somebody had to be responsible for the thorns and thistles, for the cruelties and crimes. Somebody had to father the mistakes of God. The Devil was the scapegoat of Jehovah.

The Devil, Part Three…


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From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1899)

Parts | One | Two | Three | Four | Five |

Take the Devil From the Drama of Christianity and the Plot is Gone.

The next question is: Does the New Testament teach the existence of the Devil?

As a matter of fact, the New Testament is far more explicit than the Old. The Jews, believing that Jehovah was God, had very little business for a devil. Jehovah was wicked enough and malicious enough to take the Devil’s place.

The first reference in the New Testament to the Devil is in the fourth chapter of Matthew. We are told that Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil.

It seems that he was not led by the Devil into the wilderness, but by the Spirit; that the Spirit and the Devil were acting together in a kind of pious conspiracy.

In the wilderness Jesus fasted forty days, and then the Devil asked him to turn stones into bread. The Devil also took him to Jerusalem and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and tried to induce him to leap to the earth. The Devil also took him to the top of a mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and offered them all to him in exchange for his worship. Jesus refused. The Devil went away and angels came and ministered to Christ.

The Devil, Part Two…


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From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1899)

Parts | One | Two | Three | Four | Five |

The Atlas of Christianity is the Devil

The religion known as “Christianity” was invented by God himself to repair in part the wreck and ruin that had resulted from the Devil’s work.

Take the Devil from the scheme of salvation — from the atonement — from the dogma of eternal pain — and the foundation is gone.

The Devil is the keystone of the arch.

He inflicted the wounds that Christ came to heal. He corrupted the human race.

The question now is: Does the Old Testament teach the existence of the Devil?

If the Old Testament teaches anything, it does teach the existence of the Devil, of Satan, of the Serpent, of the enemy of God and man, the deceiver of men and women.

Those who believe the Scriptures are compelled to say that this Devil was created by God, and that God knew when he created him just what he would do — the exact measure of his success; knew that he would be a successful rival; knew that he would deceive and corrupt the children of men; knew that, by reason of this Devil, countless millions of human beings would suffer eternal torment in the prison of pain. And this God also knew when he created the Devil, that he, God, would be compelled to leave his throne, to be born a babe in Palestine, and to suffer a cruel death. All this he knew when he created the Devil. Why did he create him?

It is no answer to say that this Devil was once an angel of light

The Devil, Part One…


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From Robert Ingersoll (1899)

Parts | One | Two | Three | Four | Five |

I — If the Devil Should Die Would God Make Another?

A little while ago I delivered a lecture on “Superstition,” in which, among other things, I said that the Christian world could not deny the existence of the Devil; that the Devil was really the keystone of the arch, and that to take him away was to destroy the entire system.

A great many clergymen answered or criticized this statement. Some of these ministers avowed their belief in the existence of his Satanic Majesty, while others actually denied his existence; but some, without stating their own position, said that others believed, not in the existence of a personal devil, but in the personification of evil, and that all references to the Devil in the Scriptures could be explained on the hypothesis that the Devil thus alluded to was simply a personification of evil.

When I read these answers I thought of this line from Heine: “Christ rode on an ass, but now asses ride on Christ.”

Now, the questions are, first, whether the Devil does really exist; second, whether the sacred Scriptures teach the existence of the Devil and of unclean spirits, and third, whether this belief in devils is a necessary part of what is known as “orthodox Christianity.”

Now, where did the idea that a Devil exists come from? How was it produced?

Fear is an artist — a sculptor — a painter. All tribes and nations, having suffered, having been the sport and prey of natural phenomena, having been struck by lightning, poisoned by weeds, overwhelmed by volcanoes, destroyed by earthquakes, believed in the existence of a Devil, who was the king — the ruler — of innumerable smaller devils, and all these devils have been from time immemorial regarded as the enemies of men.

Ingersoll: Crumbling Creeds…


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From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1890)

There is a desire in each brain to harmonize the knowledge that it has. If a man knows, or thinks he knows, a few facts, he will naturally use those facts for the purpose of determining the accuracy of his opinions on other subjects. This is simply an effort to establish or prove the unknown by the known — a process that is constantly going on in the minds of all intelligent people.

It is natural for a man not governed by fear, to use what he knows in one department of human inquiry, in every other department that he investigates. The average of intelligence has in the last few years greatly increased. Man may have as much credulity as he ever had, on some subjects, but certainly on the old subjects he has less. There is not as great difference to-day between the members of the learned professions and the common people. Man is governed less and less by authority. He cares but little for the conclusions of the universities. He does not feel bound by the actions of synods or ecumenical councils — neither does he bow to the decisions of the highest tribunals, unless the reasons given for the decision satisfy his intellect. One reason for this is, that the so-called “learned” do not agree among themselves — that the universities dispute each other — that the synod attacks the ecumenical council — that the parson snaps his fingers at the priest

Telling the Truth about the Holy Bible, Part Seven…


From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1894)

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven |

THE PHILOSOPHY OF CHRIST

Millions assert that the philosophy of Christ is perfect — that he was the wisest that ever uttered speech.

Let us see:

Resist not evil. If smitten on one cheek turn the other.

Is there any philosophy, any wisdom in this? Christ takes from goodness, from virtue, from the truth, the right of self-defence. Vice becomes the master of the world, and the good become the victims of the infamous.

No man has the right to protect himself, his property, his wife and children. Government becomes impossible, and the world is at the mercy of criminals. Is there any absurdity beyond this?

Love your enemies.

Is this possible? Did any human being ever love his enemies? Did Christ love his, when he denounced them as whited sepulchers, hypocrites and vipers?

We cannot love those who hate us. Hatred in the hearts of others does not breed love in ours. Not to resist evil is absurd; to love your enemies is impossible.

Telling the Truth about the Holy Bible, Part Six…


From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1894)

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven |

THE NEW TESTAMENT

Who wrote the New Testament?

Christian scholars admit that they do not know. They admit that, if the four gospels were written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, they must have been written in Hebrew. And yet a Hebrew manuscript of any one of these gospels has never been found. All have been and are in Greek. So, educated theologians admit that the Epistles, James and Jude, were written by persons who had never seen one of the four gospels. In these Epistles — in James and Jude — no reference is made to any of the gospels, nor to any miracle recorded in them.

The first mention that has been found of one of our gospels was made about one hundred and eight years after the birth of Christ, and the four gospels were first named and quoted from at the beginning of the third century, about one hundred an seventy years after the death of Christ.

We now know that there were many other gospels besides our four, some of which have been lost. There were the gospels of Paul, of the Egyptians, of the Hebrews, of Perfection, of Judas, of Thaddeus, of the Infancy, of Thomas, of Mary, of Andrew, of Nicodemus, of Marcion and several others.

Telling the Truth about the Holy Bible, Part Five…


From ROBERT INGERSOLL (1894)

Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five | Part Six | Part Seven |

WAS JEHOVAH A GOD OF LOVE?

Did these words come from the heart of love? — “When the Lord thy God shall drive them before thee, thou shalt smite them and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, or show mercy unto them.”

“I will heap mischief upon them. I will send mine arrows upon them; they shall be burned with hunger and devoured with burning heat and with bitter destruction.”

“I will send the tooth of beasts upon them, with the poison of serpents of the dust.”

“The sword without, and terror within, shall destroy both the young man and the virgin; the suckling also with the man of gray hairs.”

“Let his children be fatherless and his wife a widow; let his children be continually vagabonds and beg; let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places; let the extortioner catch all that he hath, and let the stranger spoil his labor; let there be none to extend mercy unto him, neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children.”

“And thou shalt eat the fruit of thine own body — the flesh of thy sons and daughters.”