Robert G. Ingersoll
(Top Posts - History - 062801)

Who was Robert G. Ingersoll?

http://www.britannica.com/eb/article?eu=43367&tocid=0
Excerpt: "American politician and orator known as “the great
agnostic” who popularized the higher criticism of the Bible, as
well as a humanistic philosophy and a scientific rationalism."

Works of Robert G. Ingersoll
http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/robert_ingersoll/

Robert G. Ingersoll - An Intimate View
http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/newton_baker/intimate_view.html
In an effort to pay Robert respect, using religious as a comple-
ment in a way of paying homage to Robert's values which were
antithetical to traditional religions ...

Excerpt: "..."Ingersoll was, I believe, the most profound ethical,
the most deeply spiritual, the most truly religious of men.

His was the only real religion,

-- the religion of goodness, of justice and of mercy,

-- the religion of Humanity and His whole life was one heroic
consecration to the furtherance of his religion.

I beg leave to repeat this all-important fact:

Ingersoll was a religious man

-- religious in the highest and holiest, the only true sense of the
term,

-- religious in his irrepressible and matchless zeal for truth,

-- religious in his love for and trust in humanity,

-- religious in his fine, intrepid fealty to facts, to justice and to
rectitude,

-- religious in his temperament of storm and fire,

-- religious in his splendid scorn of wrong, in his superb capacity
for wrath and for rebellion,

-- and religious in his peerless power for tenderness, for pity, and
for love; religious even in his fearless enmity to creed and cant, to
every form of futile dogma, ignorant theology and childish faith, to
base hypocrisy that masquerades as virtue and as truth."

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Robert says "I don't deny, I do not know" but the only room he
leaves for a god is a god that is deistic-like / not mating to any
religion / not tied to any human-construction / apart from human
capabilities of comprehension.

His allowance leaves no room for any god of any human religion
(with the possible exceptions of some deistic/pantheistic type of
non-dogmatic non-interacting god), so to that extent, he's very
atheistic towards every god ever created and worshipped by
humans. He leaves an all-but infinitely tiny spot for some unde-
fined god of the unknown.

It's important to understand that Robert is, in essence, an Atheist
towards all gods other than the incomprehensible of the unknown.
In essence, god as generally recognized/discussed is the god of
religions and Robert is totally Atheistic towards religious gods.

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Why I Am Agnostic, by Robert G. Ingersoll
http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/robert_ingersoll/
why_i_am_agnostic.html

Even though this book is titled 'Why I Am Agnostic', you can't
get more atheistic as applies to traditional religions and their holy
documents (both old and new testamyths) than the expressions
by Robert G. Ingersoll.

Excerpts from "Why I Am Agnostic", starting off with Robert
explaining a defining moment when he decided to totally turn
against the religion of his childhood/nation ...

- - -

Words from a sermon by a preacher: ... "Oh, my hearers, he has
been making that request for more than eighteen hundred years.
And millions of ages hence that wail will cross the gulf that lies
between the saved and lost and still will be heard the cry: 'Father
Abraham! Father Abraham! I pray thee send Lazarus that he may
dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my parched tongue, for
I am tormented in this flame.'"

For the first time I understood the dogma of eternal pain --
appreciated "the glad tidings of great joy." For the first time my
imagination grasped the height and depth of the Christian horror.
Then I said: "It is a lie, and I hate your religion. If it is true,
I hate your God."

From that day I have had no fear, no doubt. For me, on that
day, the flames of hell were quenched. From that day I have
passionately hated every orthodox creed. That Sermon did
some good. ...

It seems to me impossible for a civilized man to love or
worship, or respect the God of the Old Testament. A really
civilized man, a really civilized woman, must hold such a God
in abhorrence and contempt. ...

In the New Testament, death is not the end, but the beginning
of punishment that has no end. In the New Testament the malice
of God is infinite and the hunger of his revenge eternal.

The orthodox God, when clothed in human flesh, told his
disciples not to resist evil, to love their enemies, and when
smitten on one cheek to turn the other, and yet we are told
that this same God, with the same loving lips, uttered these
heartless, these fiendish words; "Depart ye cursed into ever-
lasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."

These are the words of "eternal love."

No human being has imagination enough to conceive of this
infinite horror. ...

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. ...

I gave up the Old Testament on account of its mistakes, its
absurdities, its ignorance and its cruelty. I gave up the New
because it vouched for the truth of the Old. I gave it up on
account of its miracles, its contradictions, because Christ
and his disciples believe in the existence of devils -- talked
and made bargains with them, expelled them from people
and animals.

This, of itself, is enough. We know, if we know anything,
that devils do not exist -- that Christ never cast them out, and
that if he pretended to, he was either ignorant, dishonest or
insane.

These stories about devils demonstrate the human, the ignorant
origin of the New Testament. I gave up the New Testament
because it rewards credulity, and curses brave and honest men,
and because it teaches the infinite horror of eternal pain. ...

I concluded that all religions had substantially the same origin,
and that in fact there has never been but one religion in the world.
The twigs and leaves may differ, but the trunk is the same.

The poor African that pours out his heart to deity of stone is
on an exact religious level with the robed priest who supplicates
his God. The same mistake, the same superstition, bends the
knees and shuts the eyes of both. Both ask for supernatural aid,
and neither has the slightest thought of the absolute uniformity
of nature.

It seems probable to me that the first organized ceremonial
religion was the worship of the sun. The sun was the "Sky
Father,"the "All Seeing," the source of life -- the fireside of the
world. The sun was regarded as a god who fought the darkness,
the power of evil, the enemy of man. ...

Long before our Bible was known, other nations had their
sacred books.

The dogmas of the Fall of Man, the Atonement and Salvation
by Faith, are far older than our religion.

In our blessed gospel, -- in our "divine scheme," -- there is
nothing new -- nothing original. All old -- all borrowed, pieced
and patched.

Then I concluded that all religions had been naturally produced,
and that all were variation, modifications of one, -- then I felt that
I knew that all were the work of man. ...

I read the works of these great men (Darwin, Spencer, Huxley,
Haeckel) -- of many others -- and became convinced that they
were right, and that all the theologians -- all the believers in
"special creation" were absolutely wrong.

The Garden of Eden faded away, Adam and Eve fell back to
dust, the snake crawled into the grass, and Jehovah became a
miserable myth. ..."

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From previous posts, more Robert G. Ingersoll quotes:

"Salvation through slavery is worthless. Salvation from
slavery is inestimable."
-Robert G. Ingersoll, 'The Gods', 1872

"The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by
an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason,
observation and experience merits everlasting pain,
is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only
by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance,
called 'faith'."
-Robert G. Ingersoll, 'The Gods', 1872

"All the meanness, all the revenge, all the selfishness,
all the cruelty, all the hatred, all the infamy of which
the heart of man is capable, grew, blossomed and
bore fruit in this one word, Hell."
-Robert G. Ingersoll, 'The Great Infidels', 1881

"Our ignorance is God; what we know is science."
-Robert G. Ingersoll, 'The Gods', 1872

"Infidelity is liberty; all religion is slavery."
-Robert G. Ingersoll, 'Thomas Paine', 1870

"I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if
they accord liberty to me. If they hold thought to be
dangerous - if they aver that doubt is a crime, then
I attack them one and all, because they enslave the
minds of men."
-Robert G. Ingersoll, 'The Ghosts', 1877

"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."
-Robert G. Ingersoll, 'Why Am I An Agnostic?', 1896

"How long, O how long will mankind worship a book?
How long will they grovel in the dust before the ignorant
legends of the barbaric past? How long, O how long will
they pursue phantoms in a darkness deeper than death?"
-Robert G. Ingersoll, 'Heretics and Heresies', 1874

"In the presence of death I affirm and reaffirm the truth
of all that I have said against the superstitions of the
world. I would say that much on the subject with my
last breath."
-Robert G. Ingersoll

"Whether the Bible is true or false, is of no consequence
in comparison with the mental freedom of the race."
-Robert G. Ingersoll, 'The Gods', 1872

"... my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness,
and went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers who
gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain -for the
freedom of labor and thought -to those who fell on the
fierce fields of war, to those who died in dungeons
bound with chains -to those who proudly mounted
scaffold's stairs -to those whose bones were crushed,
whose flesh was scarred and torn -to those by fire
consumed -to all the wise, the good, the brave of every
land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to
the sons of men. And I vowed to grasp the torch that
they had held, and hold it high, that light might conquer
darkness still."
-Robert G. Ingersoll, 'Why Am I An Agnostic?', 1896

"Mental slavery is mental death and every man who has
given up his intellectual freedom is the living coffin of
his dead soul."
-Robert G. Ingersoll, 'Individuality', 1873

"We did not get our freedom from the church. The great
truth, that all men are by nature free, was never told on
Sinai's barren crags, nor by the lonely shores of Galilee."
-Robert G. Ingersoll, 'The Christian Religion' Part III,
The Ingersoll - Black Debate, 1881

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