Home » Library » Historical Library » Robert Ingersoll Reviewers Reviewed

Historical Library Disclaimer

The Historical Library contains writings written before 1970, only. For material written during or after 1970, please refer to the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

This Historical Library is provided for those doing research into the history of nontheism. It is not intended to be--and should not be used as--a source of modern, up-to-date information regarding atheistic issues. Those looking for modern critiques of theism should go to the Modern Documents section of the Secular Web Library.

All of the Historical Library authors are dead--and in many cases have been so for several decades. We will not reply to email addressed to dead authors, and therefore any email addressed to these authors will be ignored. Similarly, we do not reply to feedback regarding faulty scholarship on the part of dead authors, nor do we correct spelling errors and/or typographical errors (most of which result from the scanning and OCR process) in their articles.
This document has been made available by the Bank of Wisdom.

Robert Ingersoll Reviewers Reviewed

Order books by and about Robert Ingersoll now.

Reviewers Reviewed

Robert Green Ingersoll

41 page printout

Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

****     ****

This file, its printout, or copies of either
are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold.

Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


****    ****



(This lecture was delivered by Col. Ingersoll in San Francisco
Cal., June 27, 1877. It was a reply to various clergymen of that
city, who had made violent attacks upon him after the delivery of
his lectures, "The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child," and " The

Against the aspersions of the pulpit and the religious press,
I offer in evidence this magnificent audience. Although I represent
but a small part of the holy cause of intellectual liberty, even
that part shall not be defiled or smirched by a single personality.
Whatever I say, I shall say because I believe it will tend to make
this world grander, man nearer just, the father kinder, the mother
more loving, the children more affectionate, and because I believe
it will make an additional flower bloom in the pathway of every one
who hears me.

In the first place, what have I said? What has been my
offence? What have I done? I am spoken of by the clergy as though
I were a wolf that in the absence of the good shepherd had fattened
upon his innocent flock. What have I said?

I delivered a lecture entitled, "The Liberty of Man. Woman and
Child." In that lecture I said that man was entitled to physical
and intellectual liberty. I defined physical liberty to be the
right to do right; the right to do anything that did not interfere
with the real happiness of others. I defined intellectual liberty
to be the right to think right, and the right to think wrong --
provided you did your best to think right.

This must be so, because thought is only an instrumentality by
which we seek to ascertain the truth. Every man has the right to
think, whether his thought is in reality right or wrong; and he
cannot be accountable to any being for thinking wrong. There is
upon man, so far as thought is concerned, the obligation to think
the best he can, and to honestly express his best thought. Whenever
he finds what is right, or what he honestly believes to be the
right, he is less than a man if he fears to express his conviction
before an assembled world.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


The right to do right is my definition of physical liberty.
"The right of one human being ceases where the right of another
commences." My definition of intellectual liberty is, the right to
think, whether you think right or wrong. provided you do your best
to think right.

I believe in Liberty, Fraternity and Equality -- the Blessed
Trinity of Humanity.

I believe in Observation, Reason and Experience -- the Blessed
Trinity of Science.

I believe in Man, Woman and Child -- the Blessed Trinity of
Life and Joy.

I have said, and still say, that you have no right to endeavor
by force to compel another to think your way -- that man has no
right to compel his fellowman to adopt his creed, by torture or
social ostracism. I have said, and still say, that even an infinite
God has and can have no right to compel by force or threats even
the meanest of mankind to accept a dogma abhorrent to his mind. As
a matter of fact such a power is incapable of being exercised. You
may compel a man to say that he has changed his mind. You may force
him to say that he agrees with you. In this way, however, you make
hypocrites, not converts. Is it possible that a god wishes the
worship of a slave? Does a god desire the homage of a coward? Does
he really long for the adoration of a hypocrite? Is it possible
that he requires the worship of those who dare not think? If I were
a god it seems to me that I had rather have the esteem and love of
one grand, brave man, with plenty of heart and plenty of brain,
than the blind worship, the ignorant adoration, the trembling
homage of a universe of men afraid to reason. And yet I am warned
by the orthodox guardians of this great city not to think. I am
told that I am in danger of hell; that for me to express my honest
convictions is to excite the wrath of God. They inform me that
unless I believe in a certain way, meaning their way, I am in
danger of everlasting fire.

There was a time when these threats whitened the faces of men
with fear. That time has substantially passed away. For a hundred
years hell has been gradually growing cool, the flames have been
slowly dying out, the brimstone is nearly exhausted, the fires have
been burning lower and lower, and the climate gradually changing.
To such an extent has the change already been effected that if I
were going there to-night I would take an overcoat and a box of

They say that the eternal future of man depends upon his
belief I deny it. A conclusion honestly arrived at by the brain
cannot possibly be a crime; and the man who says it is, does not
think so. The god who punishes it as a crime is simply an infamous
tyrant. As for me, I would a thousand times rather go to perdition
and suffer its torments with the brave, grand thinkers of the
world, than go to heaven and keep the company of a god who would
damn his children for an honest belief.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


The next thing I have said is, that woman is the equal of man;
that she has every right that man has, and one more -- the right to
he protected, because she is the weaker. I have said that marriage
should be an absolutely perfect partnership of body and soul; that
a man should treat his wife like a splendid flower, and that she
should fill his life with perfume and with joy. I have said that a
husband had no right to be morose; that he had no right to
assassinate the sunshine and murder the joy of life.

I have said that when he went home he should go like a ray of
light, and fill his house so full of joy that it would burst out of
the doors and windows and illumine even the darkness of night. I
said that marriage was the holiest, highest, the most sacred
institution among men; that it took millions of years for woman to
advance from the condition of absolute servitude, from the absolute
slavery where the Bible found her and left her, up to the position
she occupies at present. I have pleaded for the rights of woman,
for the rights of wives, and what is more, for the rights of little
children. I have said that they could be governed by affection, by
love, and that my heart went out to all the children of poverty and
of crime; to the children that live in the narrow streets and in
the sub-cellars; to the children that run and hide when they hear
the footsteps of a brutal father, the children that grow pale when
they hear their names pronounced even by a mother; to all the
little children, the flotsam and jetsam upon the wide, rude sea of
life. I have said that my heart goes out to them one and all; I
have asked fathers and mothers to cease beating their own flesh and
blood. I have said to them, When your child does wrong, put your
arms around him; let him feel your heart beat against his. It is
easier to control your child with a kiss than with a club.

For expressing these sentiments, I have been denounced by the
religious press and by misters in their pulpits as a demon, as an
enemy of order, as a fiend, as an infamous man. Of this, however,
I make no complaint. A few years ago, they would have burned me at
the stake and I should have been compelled to look upon their
hypocritical faces through flame and smoke. They cannot do it now
or they would. One hundred years ago I would have been burned,
simply for pleading for the rights of men. Fifty years ago I would
have been imprisoned. Fifty years ago my wife and my children would
have been torn from my arms in the name of the most merciful God.
Twenty-five years ago I could not have made a living in the United
States at the practice of law; but I can now. I would not then have
been allowed to express my thought; but I can now, and I will. And
when I think about the liberty I now enjoy, the whole horizon is
illuminated with glory and the air is filled with wings.

I then delivered another lecture entitled "Ghosts," in which
I sought to show that man had been controlled by phantoms of his
own imagination; in which I sought to show these imps of darkness,
these devils, had all been produced by superstition; in which I
endeavored to prove that man had groveled in the dust before
monsters of his own creation; in which I endeavored to demonstrate
that the many had delved in the soil that the few might live in
idleness, that the many had lived in caves and dens that the few
might dwell in palaces of gold; in which I endeavored to show that
man had received nothing from these ghosts except hatred, except

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


ignorance, except unhappiness, and that in the name of phantoms man
had covered the face of the world with tears. And for this, I have
been assailed, in the name, I presume, of universal forgiveness. So
far as any argument I have produced is concerned, it cannot in any
way make the slightest difference whether I am a good or a bad man.
It cannot in any way make the slightest difference whether my
personal character is good or bad. That is not the question,
though, so far as I am concerned, I am willing to stake the whole
question upon that issue. That is not, however, the thing to be
discussed, nor the thing to be decided. The question is, whether
what I said is true.

I did say that from ghosts we had obtained certain things --
among other things a book known as the Bible. From the ghosts we
received that book; and the believers in ghosts pretend that upon
that book rests the doctrine of the immortality of the human soul.
This I deny.

Whether or not the soul is immortal is a fact in nature and
cannot be changed by any book whatever. If I am immortal. I am. If
I am not, no book can render me so. It is no more wonderful that I
should live again than that I do live.

The doctrine of immortality is not based upon any book. The
foundation of that idea is not a creed. The idea of immortality,
which, like a sea, has ebbed and flowed in the human heart, beating
with its countless waves of hope and fear against the shores and
rocks of fate and time, was not born of any book, was not born of
a creed. It is not the child of any religion. It was born of human
affection; and it will continue to ebb and flow beneath the mists
and clouds of doubt and darkness as long as love kisses the lips of
death. It is the eternal bow -- Hope shining upon the tears of

I did say that these ghosts taught that human slavery was
right. If there is a crime beneath the shining stars it is the
crime of enslaving a human being. Slavery enslaves not only the
slave, but the master as well. When you put a chain upon the limbs
of another, you put a fetter also upon your own brain. I had rather
be a slave than a slave-holder. The slave can at least be just --
the slave-holder cannot. I had rather be robbed than be a robber.
I had rather be stolen from than to be a thief. I have said, and I
do say, that the Bible upheld, sustained and sanctioned the
institution of human slavery; and before I get through I will prove

I said that to the same book we are indebted, to a great
degree, for the doctrine of witchcraft. Relying upon its supposed
sacred texts, people were hanged and their bodies burned for
getting up storms at sea with the intent of drowning royal vermin.
Every possible offence was punished under the name of witchcraft,
from souring beer to high treason.

I also said, and I still say, that the book we obtained from
the ghosts, for the guidance of man, upheld the infamy of infamies,
called polygamy; and I will also prove that. And the same book
teaches, not political liberty, but political tyranny.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


I also said that the author of the book given us by the ghosts
knew nothing about astronomy, still less about geology, still less,
if possible, about medicine, and still less about legislation.

This is what I have said concerning the aristocracy of the
air. I am well aware that having said it I ought to be able to
prove the truth of my words. I have said these things. No one ever
said them in better nature than I have. I have not the slightest
malice -- a victor never felt malice. As soon as I had said these
things, various gentlemen felt called upon to answer me. I want to
say that if there is anything I like in the world it is fairness.
And one reason I like it so well is that I have had so little of
it. I can say, if I wish, extremely mean and hateful things. I have
read a great many religious papers and discussions and think that
I now know all the infamous words in our language. I know how to
account for every noble action by a mean and wretched motive, and
that, in my judgment, embraces nearly the entire science of modern
theology. The moment I delivered a lecture upon "The Liberty of
Man, Woman and Child," I was charged with having said that there is
nothing back of nature, and that nature with its infinite arms
embraces everything; and thereupon I was informed that I believed
in nothing but matter and force, that I believed only in earth,
that I did not believe in spirit. If by spirit you mean that which
thinks, then I am a believer in spirit. If you mean by spirit the
something that says "I," the something that reasons, hopes, loves
and aspires, then I am a believer in spirit. Whatever spirit there
is in the universe must be a natural thing, and not superimposed
upon nature. All that I can say is, that whatever is, is natural.
And there is as much goodness, in my judgment, as much spirit in
this world as in any other; and you are just as near the heart of
the universe here as you can be anywhere. One of your clergymen
says in answer, as he supposes, to me, that there is matter and
force and spirit. Well, can matter exist without force? What would
keep it together? What would keep the finest possible conceivable
atom together unless there was force? Can you imagine such a thing
as matter without force? Can you conceive of force without matter?
Can you conceive of force floating about attached to nothing? Can
you possibly conceive of this? No human being can conceive of force
without matter. "You cannot conceive of force being harnessed or
hitched to matter as you would hitch horses to a carriage." You
cannot. Now, what is spirit? They say spirit is the first thing
that was. It seems to me, however, as though spirit was the
blossom, the fruit of all, not the commencement. They say it was
first. Very well. Spirit without force, a spirit without any matter
-- what would that spirit do? No force, no matter! -- a spirit
living in an infinite vacuum. What would such a spirit turn its
particular attention to? This spirit, according to these
theologians, created the world, the universe; and if it did, there
must have been a time when it commenced to create; and back of that
there must have been an eternity spent in absolute idleness. Now,
is it possible that a spirit existed during an eternity without any
force and without any matter? Is it possible that force could exist
without matter or spirit? Is it possible that matter could exist
alone, if by matter you mean something without force? The only
answer I can give to all these questions is, I do not know. For my
part, I do not know what spirit is, if there is any. I do not know
what matter is, neither am I acquainted with the elements of force.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


If you mean by matter that which I can touch, that which occupies
space, then I believe in matter. If you mean by force anything that
can overcome weight, that can overcome what we call gravity or
inertia; if you mean by force that which moves the molecules of
matter, or the movement itself, then I believe in force. If you
mean by spirit that which thinks and loves, then I believe in
spirit. There is, however, no propriety in wasting any time about
the science of metaphysics. I will give you my definition of
metaphysics: Two fools get together; each admits what neither can
prove, and thereupon both of them say, "hence we infer." That is
all there is of metaphysics.

These gentlemen, however. say to me that all my doctrine about
the treatment of wives and children. all my ideas of the rights of
man, all these are wrong. If because I am not exactly correct as to
my notion of spirit. They say that spirit existed first, at least
an eternity before there was any force or any matter. Exactly how
spirit could act without force we do not understand. That we must
take upon credit. How spirit could create matter without force is
a serious question, and we are too reverent to press such an
inquiry. We are bound to be satisfied, however, that spirit is
entirely independent of force and matter, and any man who denies
this must be "a malevolent and infamous wretch."

Another reverend gentleman proceeds to denounce all I have
said as the doctrine of negation. And we are informed by him --
speaking I presume from experience -- that negation is a poor thing
to die by. He tells us that the last hours are the grand testing
hours. They are the hours when atheists disown their principles and
infidels bewail their folly -- "that Voltaire and Thomas Paine
wrote sharply against Christianity, but their death-bed scenes are
too harrowing for recital" -- He also states that "another French
infidel philosopher tried in vain to fortify Voltaire, but that a
stronger man than Voltaire had taken possession of him, and he
cried 'Retire! it is you that have brought me to my present state
-- Begone! what a rich glory you have brought me.'" This, my
friends, is the same old, old falsehood that has been repeated
again and again by the lips of hatred and hypocrisy. There is not
in one of these stories a solitary word of truth; and every
intelligent man knows all these death-bed accounts to be entirely
and utterly false. They are taken, however, by the mass of the
church as evidence that all opposition to Christianity, so-called,
fills the bed of the dying infidel and scoffer with serpents and
scorpions. So far as my experience goes, the bad die in many
instances as placidly as the good. I have sometimes thought that a
hardened wretch, upon whose memory is engraved the record of nearly
every possible crime, dies without a shudder, without a tremor,
while some grand, good man, remembering during his last moments an
unkind word spoken to a stranger, it may be in the heat of anger,
dies with remorseful words upon his lips. Nearly every murderer who
is hanged, dies with an immensity of nerve, but I never thought it
proved that he had lived a good and useful life. Neither have I
imagined that it sanctified the crime for which he suffered death.
The fact is, that when man approaches natural death, his powers,
his intellectual faculties fail and grow dim. He becomes a child.
He has less and less sense. And just in proportion as he loses his
reasoning powers, he goes back to the superstitions of his

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


childhood. The scenes of youth cluster about him and he is again in
the lap of his mother. Of this very fact, there is not a more
beautiful description than that given by Shakespeare when he takes
that old mass of wit and filth, Jack Falstaff, in his arms. and Mrs
Quickly says: "A' made a finer end, and went away, an it had been
my christian child; a' parted ev'n just between twelve and one,
ev'n at the turning o' the tide; for after I saw him fumble with
the sheets, and play with flowers, and smile upon his fingers' end,
I knew there was but one way; for his nose was as sharp as a pen,
and a' babbled of green fields." As the genius of Shakespeare makes
Falstaff a child again upon sunny slopes, decked with daisies, so
death takes the dying back to the scenes of their childhood, and
they are clasped once more to the breasts of mothers. They go back,
for the reason that nearly every superstition in the world has been
sanctified by some sweet and placid mother. Remember, the
superstition has never sanctified the mother, but the mother has
sanctified the superstition. The young Mohammedan, who now lies
dying upon some field of battle, thinks sweet and tender thoughts
of home and mother, and will, as the blood oozes from his veins,
repeat some holy verse from the blessed Koran. Every superstition
in the world that is now held sacred has been made so by mothers,
by fathers, by the recollections of home. I know what it has cost
the noble, the brave, the tender, to throw away every superstition,
although sanctified by the memory of those they loved. Whoever has
thrown away these superstitions has been pursued by his fellow-men.
From the day of the death of Voltaire the church has pursued him as
though he had been the vilest criminal. A little over one hundred
years ago, Catholicism, the inventor of instruments of torture, red
with the innocent blood of millions, felt in its heartless breast
the dagger of Voltaire. From that blow the Catholic Church never
can recover. Livid with hatred she launched at her assassin the
curse of Rome, and ignorant Protestants have echoed that curse. For
myself, I like Voltaire. and whenever I think of that name, it is
to me as a plume floating above some grand knight -- a knight who
rides to a walled city and demands an unconditional surrender. I
like him. He was once imprisoned in the Bastille, and while in that
frightful fortress -- and I like to tell it -- he changed his name.
His name was Francis Marie Arouet. In his gloomy cell he changed
this name to Voltaire, and when some sixty years afterward the
Bastille was torn down to the very dust, "Voltaire" was the battle
cry of the destroyers who did it. I like him because he did more
for religious toleration than any other man who ever lived or died.
I admire him because he did more to do away with torture in civil
proceedings than any other man. I like him because he was always
upon the side of Justice, upon the side of progress. I like him in
spite of his faults, because he had many and splendid virtues. I
like him because his doctrines have never brought unhappiness to
any country. I like him because he hated tyranny; and when he died
he died as serenely as ever mortal died; he spoke to his servant
recognizing him as a man. He said to him, calling him by name: "My
friend, farewell." These were the last words of Voltaire. And this
was the only frightful scene enacted at his bed of death. I like
Voltaire, because for half a century he was the intellectual
emperor of Europe. I like him, because from his throne at the foot
of the Alps he pointed the finger of scorn at every hypocrite in

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


I will give to any clergyman in the city of San Francisco a
thousand dollars in gold to substantiate the story that the death
of Voltaire was not as peaceful as the coming of the dawn. The same
absurd story is told of Thomas Paine. Thomas Paine was a patriot --
he was the first man in the world to write these words: "THE FREE
convince the American people that they ought to separate themselves
from Great Britain. "His pen did as much, to say the least, for the
liberty of America, as the sword of Washington." The men who have
enjoyed the benefit of his heroic services repay them with slander
and calumny. there is in this world a crime, ingratitude is a
crime. And as for myself, I am not willing to receive anything from
any man without making at least an acknowledgment of my obligation.
Yet these clergymen, whose very right to stand in their pulpits and
preach, was secured to them by such men as Thomas Paine, delight in
slandering the reputation of that great man. They tell their
hearers that he died in fear, -- that he died in agony, hearing
devils rattle chains, and that the infinite God condescended to
frighten a dying man. I will give one thousand dollars in gold to
any clergyman in San Francisco who will substantiate the truth of
the absurd stories concerning the death of Thomas Paine. There is
not one word of truth in these accounts; not one word.

Let me ask one thing, and let me ask it, if you please, in
what is called a reverent spirit. Suppose that Voltaire and Thomas
Paine and Volney and Hume and Hobbes had cried out when dying "My
God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?" what would the clergymen
of this city then have said?

To resort to these foolish calumnies about the great men who
have opposed the superstitions of the world, is in my judgment,
unbecoming any intelligent man. The real question is not, who is
afraid to die? The question is, who is right? The great question is
not, who died right, but who lived right? There is infinitely more
responsibility in living than in dying. The moment of death is the
most unimportant moment of life. Nothing can be done then. You
cannot even do a favor for a friend, except to remember him in your
will. It is a moment when life ceases to be of value. While living,
while you have health and strength, you can augment the happiness
of your fellow-men; and the man who has made others happy need not
be afraid to die. Yet these believers, as they call themselves,
these believers who hope for immortality -- thousands of them, will
rob their neighbors, thousands of them will do numberless acts of
injustice, when, according to their belief, the witnesses of their
infamy will live forever; and the men whom they have injured and
outraged, will meet them in every glittering star through all the
ages yet to be.

As for me, I would rather do a generous action, and read the
record in the grateful faces of my fellow-men.

These gentlemen who attack me are orthodox now, but the men
who started their churches were heretics.

The first Presbyterian was a heretic. The first Baptist was a
heretic. The first Congregationalist was a heretic. The first
Christian was denounced as a blasphemer. And yet these heretics,

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


the moment they get numerous enough to be in the majority in some
locality, begin to call themselves orthodox. Can there be any
impudence beyond this?

The first Baptist, as I said before, was a heretic; and he was
the best Baptist that I have ever heard anything about. I always
liked him. He was a good man -- Roger Williams. He was the first
man, so far as I know, in this country, who publicly said that the
soul of man should be free. And it was a wonder to me that a man
who had sense enough to say that, could think that any particular
form of baptism was necessary to salvation. It does strike me that
a man of great brain and thought could not possibly think the
eternal welfare of a human being, the question whether he should
dwell with angels, or be tossed upon eternal waves of fire, should
be settled by the manner in which he had been baptized. That seems,
to me so utterly destitute of thought and heart, that it is a
matter of amazement to me that any man ever looked upon the
ordinance of baptism as of any importance whatever. If we were at
the judgment seat to-night, and the Supreme Being, in our hearing,
should ask a man:

"Have you been a good man?" and the man replied:

"Tolerably good."

"Did you love your wife and children?"


"Did you try and make them happy?"


"Did you try and make your neighbors happy?"

"Yes, I paid my debts: I gave heaping measure, and I never
cared whether I was thanked for it or not."

Suppose the Supreme Being then should say: "Were you ever
baptized?" and the man should reply:

"I am sorry to say I never was."

Could a solitary person of sense hear that question asked, by
the Supreme Being, without laughing, even if he knew that his own
case was to be called next?

I happened to be in the company of six or seven Baptist elders
-- how I ever got into such bad company, I don't know, -- and one
of them asked what I thought about baptism. Well, I never thought
much about it; did not know much about it; didn't want to say
anything, but they insisted upon it. I said, "Well, I'll give you
my opinion -- with soap, baptism is a good thing."

The Reverend Mr. Guard has answered me, as I am informed, upon
several occasions. I have read the reports of his remarks, and have
boiled them down. He said some things about me not entirely

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


pleasant, which I do not wish to repeat. In his reply he takes the

First. That the Bible is not an immoral book, because he swore
upon it or by it when he joined the Masons.

Second. He excuses Solomon for all his crimes upon the
supposition that he had softening of the brain, or a fatty
degeneration of the heart.

Third. That the Hebrews had the right to slay all the
inhabitants of Canaan, according to the doctrine of the "survival
of the fittest." He takes the ground that the destruction of these
Canaanites, the ripping open of women with child by the sword of
war, was an act of sublime mercy. He justifies a war of
extermination; he applauds every act of cruelty and murder. He says
that the Canaanites ought to have been turned from their homes;
that men guilty of no crime except fighting for their country, old
men with gray hairs, old mothers and little, dimpled. prattling
children, ought to have been sacrificed upon the altar of war; that
it was an act of sublime mercy to plunge the sword of religious
persecution into the bodies of all, old and young. This is what the
reverend gentleman is pleased to call mercy. If this is mercy let
us have injustice. If there is in the heavens such a God I am sorry
that man exists. All this, however, is justified upon the ground
that God has the right to do as he pleases with the being he has
created. This I deny. Such a doctrine is infamously false. Suppose
I could take a stone and in one moment change it into a sentient,
hoping, loving human being, would I have the right to torture it?
Would I have the right to give it pain? No one but a fiend would
either exercise or justify such a right. Even if there is a God who
created us all he has no such right. Above any God that can exist,
in the infinite serenity forever sits the figure of justice; and
this God, no matter how great and infinite he may be, is bound to
do justice.

Fourth. That God chose the Jews and governed them personally
for thousands of years, and drove out the Canaanites in order that
his peculiar people might not be corrupted by the example of
idolaters; that he wished to make of the Hebrews a great nation,
and that, consequently, he was justified in destroying the original
inhabitants of that country. It seems to me that the end hardly
justified the means. According to the account, God governed the
Jews personally for many ages and succeeded in civilizing them to
that degree, that they crucified him the first opportunity they
had. Such an administration can hardly be called a success.

Fifth. The reverend gentleman seems to think that the practice
of polygamy after all is not a bad thing when compared with the
crime of exhibiting a picture of Antony and Cleopatra. Upon the
corrupting influence of such pictures he descants at great length,
and attacks with all the bitterness of the narrow theologian the
masterpieces of art. Allow me to say one word about art. That is
one of the most beautiful words in our language -- Art. And it
never seemed to me necessary for art to go in partnership with a
rag. I like the paintings of Angelo, of Raphael. I like the
productions of those splendid souls that put their ideas of beauty
upon the canvas uncovered.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


"There are brave souls in every land
Who worship nature, grand and nude,
And who with swift indignant hand
Tear off the fig leaves of the prude."

Sixth. That it may be true that the Bible sanctions slavery,
but that it is not an immoral book even if it does.

I can account for these statements, for these arguments, only
as the reverend gentleman has accounted for the sins of Solomon --
"by a softening of the brain, or a fatty degeneration of the

It does seem to me that if I were a Christian, and really
thought my fellow-man was going down to the bottomless pit; that he
was going to misery and agony forever, it does seem to me that I
would try and save him. It does seem to me, that instead of having
my mouth filled with epithets and invectives; instead of drawing
the lips of malice back from the teeth of hatred, it seems to me
that my eyes would be filled with tears. It seems to me that I
would do what little I could to reclaim him. I would talk to him
and of him, in kindness. I would put the arms of affection about
him. I would not speak of him as though he were a wild beast. I
would not speak to him as though he were a brute. I would think of
him as a man, as a man liable to eternal torture among the damned,
and my heart would be filled with sympathy, not hatred -- my eyes
with tears, not scorn.

If there is anything pitiable, it is to see a man so narrowed
and withered by the blight and breath of superstition, as
cheerfully to defend the most frightful crimes of which we have a
record -- a man so hardened and petrified by creed and dogma that
he hesitates not to defend even the institution of human slavery --
so lost to all sense of pity that he applauds murder and rapine as
though they were acts of the loftiest self-denial.

The next gentleman who has endeavored to answer what I have
said, is the Rev. Samuel Robinson. This he has done in his sermon
entitled "Ghosts against God or Ingersoll against Honesty." I
presume he imagines himself to be the defendant in both cases.

This gentleman apologized for attending an infidel lecture,
upon the ground that he had to contribute to the support of a
"materialistic demon." To say the least, this is not charitable.
But I am satisfied. I am willing to exchange facts for epithets. I
fare so much better than did the infidels in the olden time that I
am more than satisfied. It is a little thing that I bear.

The brave men of the past endured the instruments of torture.
They were stretched upon racks; their feet were crushed in iron
boots; they stood upon the shores of exile and gazed with tearful
eyes toward home and native land. They were taken from their
firesides, from their wives, from their children: they were taken
to the public square; they were chained to stakes, and their ashes
were scattered by the countless hands of hatred. I am satisfied.
The disciples of fear cannot touch me.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


This gentlemen hated to contribute a cent to the support of a
"materialistic demon." When I saw that statement I will tell you
what I did. I knew the man's conscience must be writhing in his
bosom to think that he had contributed a dollar toward my support,
toward the support of a "materialistic demon." I wrote him a letter
and I said:

"My Dear Sir: In order to relieve your conscience of the crime
of having contributed to the support of an unbeliever in ghosts, I
hereby enclose the amount you paid to attend my lecture." I then
gave him a little good advice. I advised him to be charitable, to
be kind, and regretted exceedingly that any man could listen to one
of my talks for an hour and a half and not go away satisfied that
all men had the same right to think.

This man denied having received the money, but it was traced
to him through a blot on the envelope.

This gentleman avers that everything that I said about
persecution is applicable to the Catholic Church only. That is what
he says. The Catholics have probably persecuted more than any other
church, simply because that church has had more power, simply
because it has been more of a church. It has to-day a better
organization, and as a rule, the Catholics come nearer believing
what they say about their church than other Christians do. Was it
a Catholic persecution that drove the Puritan fathers from England?
Was it not the storm of Episcopal persecution that filled the sails
of the Mayflower? Was it not a Protestant persecution that drove
the Ark and Dove to America? Let us be honest. Who went to Scotland
and persecuted the Presbyterians? Who was it that chained to the
stake that splendid girl by the sands of the sea, for not saying
"God save the king"? She was worthy to have been the mother of
Caesar. She would not say "God save the king," but she would say
"God save the king, if it be God's will." Protestants ordered her
to say "God save the king," and no more. She said, "I will not,"
and they chained her to a stake in the sand and allowed her to be
drowned by the rising of the inexorable tide. Who did this?
Protestants. Who drove Roger Williams from Massachusetts?
Protestants. Who sold white Quaker children into slavery?
Protestants. Who cut out the tongues of Quakers? Who burned and
destroyed men and women and children" charged with impossible
crimes? Protestants. The Protestants have persecuted exactly to the
extent of their power. The Catholics have done the same.

I want, however, to be just. The first people to pass an act
of religious toleration in the New World were the Catholics of
Maryland. The next were the Baptists of Rhode Island, led by Roger
Williams. The Catholics passed the act of religious toleration, and
after the Protestants got into power again in England, and also in
the colony of Maryland, they repealed the law of toleration and
passed another law declaring the Catholics from under the
protection of all law. Afterward, the Catholics again got into
power and had the generosity and magnanimity to re-enact the old
law. And, so far as I know, it is the only good record upon the
subject of religious toleration the Catholics have in this world,
and I am always willing to give them credit for it.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


This gentleman also says that infidelity has done nothing for
the world in the development of the arts and sciences. Does he not
know that nearly every man who took a forward step was denounced by
the church as a heretic and infidel? Does he not know that the
church has in all ages persecuted the astronomers, the geologists,
the logicians? Does he not know that even to-day the church
slanders and maligns the foremost men? Has he ever heard of
Tyndall, of Huxley? Is he acquainted with John W. Draper, one of
the leading minds of the world? Did he ever hear of Auguste Comte,
the great Frenchman? Did he ever hear of Descartes, of Laplace, of
Spinoza? In short, has he ever heard of a man who took a step in
advance of his time?

Orthodoxy never advances. When it advances, it ceases to be
orthodoxy and becomes heresy. Orthodoxy is putrefaction. It is
intellectual cloaca it cannot advance. What the church calls
infidelity is simply free thought. Every man who really owns his
own brain is, in the estimation of the church, an infidel.

There is a paper published in this city called The Occident.
The Editor has seen fit to speak of me, and of the people who have
assembled to hear me, in the lowest, vilest and most scurrilous
terms possible. I cannot afford to reply in the same spirit. He
alleges that the people who assemble to hear me are the low, the
debauched and the infamous. The man who reads that paper ought to
read it with tongs. It is a Presbyterian sheet; and would gladly
treat me as John Calvin treated Castalio. Castalio was the first
minister in the history of Christendom who acknowledged the
innocence of honest error, and John Calvin followed him like a
sleuth-hound of perdition. He called him a "dog of Satan;" said
that he had crucified Christ afresh; and pursued him to the very
grave. The editor of this paper is still warming his hands at the
fire that burned Servetus. He has in his heart the same fierce
hatred of everything that is free. But what right have we to expect
anything good of a man who believes in the eternal damnation of

There may have been sometime in the history of the world a
worse religion than Old School Presbyterianism, but if there ever
was, from cannibalism to civilization, I have never heard of it.

I make a distinction between the members and the creed of that
church. I know many who are a thousand times better than the creed
-- good, warm and splendid friends of mine. I would do anything in
the world for them. And I have said to them a hundred times, "You
are a thousand times better than your creed." But when you come
down to the doctrine of the damnation of infants, it is the
deformity of deformities. The editor of this paper is engaged in
giving the world the cheerful doctrines of fore-ordination and
damnation -- those twin comforts of the Presbyterian creed, and
warning them against the frightful effects of reasoning in any
manner for themselves. He regards the intellectually free as the
lowest, the vilest and the meanest, as men who wish to sin, as men
who are longing to commit crime, men who are anxious to throw off
all restraint.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


My friends, every chain thrown from the body puts an
additional obligation upon the soul. Every man who is free, puts a
responsibility upon his brain and upon his heart. You, who never
want responsibility, give your souls to some church. You, who never
want the feeling that you are under obligation to yourselves, give
your souls away. But if you are willing to feel and meet
responsibility; if you feel that you must give an account not only
to yourselves but to every human being whom you injure, then you
must be free. Where there is no freedom, there can he no

It is a mystery to me why the editors of religious papers are
so malicious, why they endeavor to answer argument with calumny. Is
it because they feel the scepter slowly slipping from their hands?
Is it the result of impotent rage? Is it because there is being
written upon every orthodox brain a certificate of intellectual

This same editor assures his readers that what I say is not
worth answering, and yet he devotes column after column of his
journal to that very purpose. He states that I am no speaker, no
orator; and upon the same page admits that he did not hear me,
giving as a reason that he does not think it right to pay money for
such a purpose. Recollect, that in a religious paper, a man who
professes honesty, criticizes a statue or a painting, condemns it,
and at the end of the criticism says that he never saw it. He
criticizes what he calls the oratory of a man, and at the end says,
"I never heard him, and I never saw him."

As a matter of fact, I have never heard of any of these
gentlemen who thought it necessary to hear what any man said in
order to answer him.

The next gentleman who answered me is the Rev. Mr. Ijams. And
I must say, so far as I can see, in his argument, or in his mode of
treatment, he is a kind and considerate gentleman. He makes several
mistakes as to what I really said, but the fault I suppose must
have been in the report. I am made to say in the report of his
sermon, "There is no sacred place in all the universe." What I did
say was, "There is no sacred place in all the universe of thought.
There is nothing too holy to be investigated, nothing too divine to
be understood. The fields of thought are fenceless, and without a
wall." I say this to-night.

Mr. Ijams also says that I had declared that man had not only
the right to do right, but also the right to do wrong. What I
really said was, man has the right to do right, and the right to
think right. and the right to think wrong. Thought is a means of
ascertaining truth, a mode by which we arrive at conclusions. And
if no one has a right to think, unless he thinks right, he would
only have the right to think upon self-evident propositions. In all
respects, with the exception of these misstatements to which I have
called your attention, so far as I can see, Mr. Ijams was perfectly
fair, and treated me as though I had the ordinary rights of a human
being. I take this occasion to thank him.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


A great many papers, a great many people, a good many
ministers and a multitude of men, have had their say, and have
expressed themselves with the utmost freedom. I cannot reply to
them all. I can only reply to those who have made a parade of
answering me. Many have said it is not worth answering, and then
proceeded to answer. They have said, he has produced no argument,
and then have endeavored to refute it. They have said it is simply
the old straw that has been thrashed over and over again for years
and years. If all I have said is nothing, if it is all idle and
foolish, why do they take up the time of their fellow-men replying
to me? Why do they fill their religious papers with criticisms, if
all I have said and done reminds them, according to the Rev. Mr.
Guard, of "some little dog barking at a railway train"? Why stop
the train, why send for the directors, why hold a consultation and
finally say, we must settle with that dog or stop running these

Probably the best way to answer them all, is to prove beyond
cavil the truth of what I have said.



IF this "sacred" book teaches man to enslave his brother, it
is not inspired. A god who would establish slavery is as cruel and
heartless as any devil could be.

"Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn
among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are
with you, which they begat in your land, and they shall be your

"And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children
after you, to inherit them for a possession. They shall be your
bondmen forever.

"Both thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have,
shall be of the heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye
buy bondmen and bondmaids." -- Leviticus xxv.

This is white slavery. This allows one white man to buy
another, to buy a woman, to separate families and rob a mother of
her child. This makes the whip upon the naked backs of men and
women a legal tender for labor performed. This is the kind of
slavery established by the most merciful God. The reason given for
all this, is, that the persons whom they enslaved were heathen. You
may enslave them because they are not orthodox. If you can find
anybody who does not believe in me, the God of the Jews, you may
steal his wife from his arms, and her babe from the cradle. If you
can find a woman that does not believe in the Hebrew Jehovah, you
may steal her prattling child from her breast. Can any one conceive
of anything more infamous? Can any one find in the literature of
this world more frightful words ascribed even to a demon? And all
this is found in that most beautiful and poetic chapter known as
the 25th of Leviticus -- from the Bible -- from this sacred gift of
God -- this "Magna Charta of human freedom."

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


2. "If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve;
and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

3. "If he came in by himself, he shall go out by himself: if
he were married, then his wife shall go out with him.

4. "If his master have given him a wife, and she hath borne
him sons or daughters; the wife and her children shall be her
master's, and he shall go out by himself.

5. "And if the servant shall plainly say, I love my master, my
wife, and children; I will not go out free:

6. "Then his master shall bring him unto the judges: he shall
also bring him to the door, or unto the door-post; and his master
shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him
forever." -- Exodus, xxi.

The slave is allowed to have his liberty if he will give up
his wife and children. He must remain in slavery for the sake of
wife and child. This is another of the laws of the most merciful
God. This God changes even love into a chain. Children are used by
him as manacles and fetters, and wives become the keepers of
prisons. Any man who believes that such hideous laws were made by
an infinitely wise and benevolent God is, in my judgment, insane or
totally depraved.

These are the doctrines of the Old Testament. What is the
doctrine of the New? What message had he who came from heaven's
throne for the oppressed of earth? What words of sympathy, what
words of cheer, for those who labored and toiled without reward?
Let us see:

"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters,
according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of
your heart, as unto Christ." -- Ephesians, vi.

This is the salutation of the most merciful God to a slave, to
a woman who has been robbed of her child -- to a man tracked by
hounds through lonely swamps -- to a girl with flesh torn and
bleeding -- to a mother weeping above an empty cradle.

"Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only
to the good and gentle, but also to the froward." -- I Peter ii.,

"For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God
endure grief, suffering wrongfully." -- I Peter ii., 19.

It certainly must be an immense pleasure to God to see a man
work patiently for nothing. It must please the Most High to see a
slave with his wife and child sold upon the auction block. If this
slave escapes from slavery and is pursued, how musical the baying
of the bloodhound must be to the ears of this most merciful God.
All this is simply infamous. On the throne of this universe there
sits no such monster.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


"Servants, obey in all things your masters, according to the
flesh; not with eye-service, as men pleasers; but in singleness of
heart, fearing God." -- Col. iii., 22.

The apostle here seems afraid that the slave would not work
every moment that his strength permitted. He really seems to have
feared that he might not at all times do the very best he could to
promote the interests of the thief who claimed to own him. And
speaking to all slaves, in the name of the Father of All, this
apostle says: "Obey in all things your masters, not with
eye-service, but with singleness of heart, fearing God." He says to
them in substance, There is no way you can so well please God as to
work honestly for a thief.

1. "Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own
masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God and his doctrine
be not blasphemed."

Think of serving God by honoring a robber! Think of bringing
the name and doctrine of God into universal contempt by claiming to
own yourself!

2. "And they that have believing masters, let them not despise
them because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because
they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These
things teach and exhort."

That is to say, do not despise Christians who steal the labor
of others. Do not hold in contempt the "faithful and beloved,
partakers of the benefit," who turn the cross of Christ into a
whipping post.

3. "If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome
words even to words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine
which is according to godliness;

4. "He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions
and strafes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, civil

5. "Perverse disputings of man of corrupt minds, and destitute
of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw

This seems to be the opinion the apostles entertained of the
early abolitionists. Seeking to give human beings their rights,
seeking to give labor its just reward, seeking to clothe all men
with that divine garment of the soul, Liberty, -- all this was
denounced by the apostle as a simple strife of words, whereof
cometh envy, railings, evil surmisings and perverse disputing,
destitute of truth.

6. "But godliness with contentment is great gain.

7. "For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain
we can carry nothing out.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


8. "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."
-- I Tim., vi.

This was intended to make a slave satisfied to hear the
clanking of his chains. This is the reason he should never try to
better his condition. He should be contented simply with the right
to work for nothing. If he only had food and raiment, and a thief
to work for, he should be contented. He should solace himself with
the apostolic reflection, that as he brought nothing into the
world, he could carry nothing out, and that when dead he would be
as happily situated as his master.

In order to show you what the inspired writer meant by the
word servant, I will read from the 21 st chapter of Exodus, verses
20 and 21:

"And if a man smite his servant, or his maid, with a rod, and
he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished.

"Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be
punished: for he is his money."

Yet, notwithstanding these passages the Christian Advocate
says, "the Bible is the Magna Charta of our liberty."

After reading that, I was not surprised by the following in
the same paper:

"We regret to record that Ingersoll is on a low plane of
infidelity and atheism, not less offensive to good morals than have
been the teachings of infidelity during the last century. France
has been cursed with such teachings for a hundred years, and
because of it, to-day her citizens are incapable of self-

What was the condition of France a century ago Were they
capable of self-government then? For fourteen hundred years the
common people of France had suffered. For fourteen hundred year
they had been robbed by the altar and by the throne. They had been
the prey of priests and nobles. All were exempt from taxation,
except the common people. The cup of their suffering was full, and
the French people arose in fury and frenzy, and tore the drapery
from the altars of God, and filled the air with the dust of

Surely, the slavery of fourteen centuries had not been
produced by the teachings of Voltaire. I stood only a little while
ago at the place where once stood the Bastille. In my imagination
I saw that prison standing as it stood of yore. I could see it
attacked by the populace. I could see their stormy faces and hear
their cries. And I saw that ancient fortification of tyranny go
down forever. And now where once stood the Bastille stands the
Column of July. Upon its summit is a magnificent statue of Liberty,
holding in one hand a banner, in the other a broken chain. and upon
its shining forehead is the star of progress. There it stands where
once stood the Bastille. And France is as much superior to what it
was when Voltaire was born, as that statue, surmounting the Column
of July, is more beautiful than the Bastille that stood there once
with its cells of darkness, and its dungeons of horror.

Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


And yet we are now told that the French people have rendered
themselves incapable of government. simply because they have
listened to the voice of progress. There are magnificent men in
France. From that country have come to the human race some of the
grandest and holiest messages the ear of man has ever heard. The
French people have given to history some of the most touching acts
of self-sacrifice ever performed beneath the amazed stars.

For my part, I admire the French people. I cannot forget the
Rue San Antoine. nor the red cap of liberty. I can never cease to
remember that the tricolor was held aloft in Paris, while Europe
was in chains, and while liberty, with a bleeding breast. was in
the Inquisition of Spain. And yet we are now told by a religious
paper, that France is not capable of self-government. I suppose it
was capable of self-government under the old regime. at the time of
the massacre of St. Bartholomew. I suppose it was capable of self-
government when women were seen yoked with cattle pulling plows. I
suppose it was capable of self-government when all who labored were
in a condition of slavery.

In the old times, even among the priests, there were some
good, some sincere and most excellent men. I have read somewhere of
a sermon preached by one of these in the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
This old priest, among other things, said that the soul of a beggar
was as dear to God as the soul of the richest of his people, and
that Jesus Christ died as much for a beggar as for a prince. One
French peasant, rough with labor, cried out: "I propose three
cheers for Jesus Christ." I like such things. I like to hear of
them. I like to repeat them. Paris has been a kind of volcano, and
has made the heavens lurid with its lava of hatred. but it has also
contributed more than any other city to the intellectual
development of man. France has produced some infamous men, among
others John Calvin, but for one Calvin, she has produced a thousand
benefactors of the human race.

The moment the French people rise above the superstitions of
the church, they will be in the highest sense capable of
self-government. The moment France succeeds in releasing herself
from the coils of Catholicism -- from the shadows of superstition
-- from the foolish forms and mummeries of the church -- from the
intellectual tyranny of a thousand years -- she will not only be
capable of self-government, but will govern herself. Let the
priests be usefully employed. We want no overseers of the mind; no
slave-drivers for the soul. We cannot afford to pay hypocrites for
depriving us of liberty. It is a waste of money to pay priests to
frighten our children, and paralyze the intellect of women.



For hundreds of years it was contended by all Christians that
the earth was made in six days, literal days of twenty-four hours
each, and that on the seventh day the Lord rested from his labor.
Geologists have driven the church from this position, and it is now
claimed that the days mentioned in the Bible are periods of time.
This is a simple evasion, not in any way supported by the

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


Scriptures. The Bible distinctly and clearly says that the world
was created in six days. There is not within its lids a clearer
statement. It does not say six periods. It was made according to
that book in six days:

31. "And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it
was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."
-- Genesis i.

1. "Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the
host of them.

2. "And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had
made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he
had made.

3. "And God blessed the seventh day (not seventh period), and
sanctified it; because that in it he had rested from all his work
which God created and made." -- Genesis ii.

From the following passages it seems clear what was meant by
the word days:

15. "Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the
Sabbath of rest, holy to the Lord: whosoever doeth any work in the
Sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death." -- Served him right!

16. "Wherefore, the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath.
to observe the Sabbath, throughout their generations, for a
perpetual covenant.

17. "It is a sign between me and the children of Israel
forever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the
seventh day he rested and was refreshed.

18. "And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of
communing with him upon Mount Sinai, two tables of testimony,
tables of stone, written with the finger of God." -- Exodus xxxi.

12. "Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord
delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he
said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and
thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.

13. "And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the
people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this
written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst
of heaven; and hasted not to go down about a whole day.

14. "And there was no day like that before it or after it,
that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord
fought for Israel." -- Josh. x.

These passages must certainly convey the idea that this world
was made in six days, not six periods. And the reason why they were
to keep the Sabbath was because the Creator rested on the seventh
day -- not period. If you say six periods, instead of six days,
what becomes of your Sabbath? The only reason given in the Bible

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


for observing the Sabbath is that God observed it -- that he rested
from his work that day and was refreshed. Take this reason away and
the sacredness of that day has no foundation in the Scriptures.



When people were ignorant of all the sciences the Bible was
understood by those who read it the same as by those who wrote it.
From time to time discoveries were made that seemed inconsistent
with the Scriptures. At first, theologians denounced the
discoverers of all facts inconsistent with the Bible, as atheists
and scoffers.

The Bible teaches us that the earth is the center of the
universe; that the sun and moon and stars revolve around this speck
called the earth. The men who discovered that all this was a
mistake were denounced by the ignorant clergy of that day,
precisely as the ignorant clergy of our time denounce the advocates
of free thought. When the doctrine of the earth's place in the
solar system was demonstrated; when persecution could no longer
conceal the mighty truth, then it was that the church made an
effort to harmonize the Scriptures with the discoveries of science.
When the utter absurdity of the Mosaic account of creation became
apparent to all thoughtful men, the church changed the reading of
the Bible. Then it was pretended that the "days" of creation were
vast periods of time. When it was shown to be utterly impossible
that the sun revolved around the earth, then the account given by
Joshua of the sun standing still for the space of a whole day, was
changed into a figure of speech. It was said that Joshua merely
conformed to the mode of speech common in his day; and that when he
said the sun stood still, he merely intended to convey the idea
that the earth ceased turning upon its axis. They admitted that
stopping the sun could not lengthen the day, and for that reason it
must have been the earth that stopped. But you will remember that
the moon stood still in the valley of Ajalon -- that the moon
stayed until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies.

One would naturally suppose that the sun would have given
sufficient light to enable the Jews to avenge themselves upon their
enemies without any assistance from the moon. Of course, if the
moon had not stopped, the relations between the earth and moon
would have been changed.

Is there a sensible man in the world who believes this
wretched piece of ignorance? Is it possible that the religion of
this nineteenth century has for its basis such childish
absurdities? According to this account. what was the sun, or rather
the earth, stopped for? It was stopped in order that the Hebrews
might avenge themselves upon the Amorites. For the accomplishment
of such a purpose the earth was made to pause. Why should an almost
infinite force be expended simply for the purpose of destroying a
handful of men? Why this waste of force? Let me explain. I strike
my hands together. They feel a sudden heat. Where did the heat come
from? Motion has been changed into heat. You will remember that
there can be no destruction of force. It disappears in one form

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


only to reappear in another. The earth, rotating at the rate of one
thousand miles an hour, was stopped. The motion of this vast globe
would have instantly been changed into heat. It has been calculated
by one of the greatest scientists of the present day that to stop
the earth would generate as much heat as could be produced by
burning a world as large as this of solid coal. And yet, all this
force was expended for the paltry purpose of defeating a few poor
barbarians. The employment of so much force for the accomplishment
of so insignificant an object would be as useless as bringing all
the intellect of a great man to bear in answering the arguments of
the clergymen of San Francisco.

The waste of that immense force in stopping the planets in
their grand courses, for the purpose claimed, would be like using
a Krupp gun to destroy an insect to which a single drop of water is
"an unbounded world." How is it possible for men of ordinary
intellect, not only to endorse such ignorant falsehoods, but to
malign those who do not? Can anything he more debasing to the
intellect of man than a belief in the astronomy of the Bible?
According to the Scriptures, the world was made out of nothing, and
the sun, moon, and stars, of the nothing that happened to be left.
To the writers of the Bible the firmament was solid, and in it were
grooves along which the stars were pushed by angels. From the Bible
Cosmos constructed his geography and astronomy. His book was passed
upon by the church. and was declared to be the truth concerning the
subjects upon which he treated.

This eminent geologist and astronomer, taking the Bible as his
guide, found and taught: First, that the earth was flat; second,
that it was a vast parallelogram; third. that in the middle there
was a vast body of land, then a strip of water all around it, then
a strip of land. He thought that on the outer strip of land people
lived before the flood -- that at the time of the flood, Noah in
his Ark crossed the strip of water and landed on the shore of the
country in the middle of the world, where we now are. This great
biblical scholar informed the true believers of his day that in the
outer strip of land were mountains, around which the sun and moon
revolved; that when the sun was on the side of the mountain next
the land occupied by man, it was day, and when on the other side,
it was night.

Mr. Cosmos believed the Bible, and regarded Joshua as the most
eminent astronomer of his day. He also taught that the firmament
was solid, and that the angels pushed and drew the stars. He tells
us that these angels attended strictly to their business, that each
one watched the motions of all the others so that proper distances
might always be maintained, and all confusion avoided. All this was
believed by the gentlemen who made most of our religion. The great
argument made by Cosmos to show that the earth must be flat, was
the fact that the Bible stated that when Christ should come the
second time, in glory, the whole world should see him. "Now," said
Cosmos, "if the world is round, how could the people on the other
side see the Lord when he comes? "This settled the question. These
were the ideas of the fathers of the church. These men have been
for centuries regarded as almost divinely inspired. Long after they
had become dust they governed the world. The superstitions they
planted, their descendants watered with the best and bravest blood.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


To maintain their ignorant theories, the brain of the world was
dwarfed for a thousand years, and the infamous work is still being

The Bible was regarded as not only true, but as the best of
all truth. Any new theory advanced, was immediately examined in the
light, or rather in the darkness, of revelation, and if according
to that test it was false, it was denounced, and the person
bringing it forward forced to recant. It would have been a far
better course to have discovered every theory found to be in
harmony with the Scriptures. And yet we are told by the clergy and
religious press of this city, that the Bible is the foundation of
all science.



It was said by Sir Thomas More that to give up witchcraft was
to give up the Bible itself. This idea was entertained by nearly
all the eminent theologians of a hundred years ago. In my judgment,
they were right. To give up witchcraft is to give up, in a great
degree at least, the supernatural. To throw away the little ghosts
simply prepares the mind of man to give up the great ones. The
founders of nearly all creeds, and of all religions properly
so-called, have taught the existence of good and evil spirits. They
have peopled the dark with devils and the light with angels. They
have crowded hell with demons and heaven with seraphs. The moment
these good and evil spirits, these angels and fiends, disappear
from the imaginations of men, and phenomena are accounted for by
natural rather than by supernatural means, a great step has been
taken in the direction of what is now known as materialism. While
the church believes in witchcraft, it is in a greatly modified
form. The evil spirits are not as plenty as in former times, and
more phenomena are accounted for by natural means. Just to the
extent that belief has been lost in spirits, just to that extent
the church has lost its power and authority. When men ceased to
account for the happening of any event by ascribing it to the
direct action of good or evil spirits, and began to reason from
known premises, the chains of superstition began to grow weak. Into
such disrepute has witchcraft at last fallen that many Christians
not only deny the existence of these evil spirits, but take the
ground that no such thing is taught in the Scriptures. Let us see:

"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." -- Exodus xxii., 18.

7. "Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that
hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her.
And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a
spirit at Endor.

8. "And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and
he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night;
and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit,
and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


9. "And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what
Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar
spirits, and the wizards out of the land; wherefore, then, layest
thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die?

10. "And Saul swore to her by the Lord, saying, As the Lord
liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing.

11. "Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And
he said, Bring me up Samuel.

12. "And when the woman saw Samuel she cried with a loud
voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived
me? for thou art Saul.

13. "And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what
sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out
of the earth.

14. "And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said,
An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul
perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the
ground, and bowed himself.

15. "And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me to
bring me up?" -- 2 Samuel, xxviii.

This reads very much like an account of a modern spiritual
seance. Is it not one of the wonderful things of the world that men
and women who believe this account of the witch of Endor, who
believe all the miracles and all the ghost stories of the Bible,
deny with all their force the truth of modern Spiritualism. So far
as I am concerned. I would rather believe some one who has heard
what he relates, who has seen what he tells, or at least thinks he
has seen what he tells. I would rather believe somebody I know,
whose reputation for truth is good among those who know him. I
would rather believe these people than to take the words of those
who have been in their graves for four thousand years, and about
whom I know nothing.

31 "Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek
after wizards, to be defiled by them; I am the Lord, your God." --
Leviticus xix.

6. "And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar
spirits, and after wizards, I will even set my face against that
soul, and will cut him off from among his people." -- Leviticus xx.

10. "There shall not be found among you any one that useth
divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch,

11. "Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a
wizard, or a necromancer.

12. "For all that do these things are an abomination unto the
Lord." -- Deut. xviii.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


I have given you a few of the passages found in the Old
Testament upon this subject, showing conclusively that the Bible
teaches the existence of witches, wizards and those who have
familiar spirits. In the New Testament there are passages equally
strong, showing that the Savior himself was a believer in the
existence of evil spirits. and in the existence of a personal
devil. Nothing can be plainer than the teaching of the following:

1. "Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to
be tempted of the devil.

2. "And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was
afterward an hungered.

3. "And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the
Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

4. "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not
live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the
mouth of God.

5. "Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and
setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple.

6. "And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast
thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge
concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest
at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

7. "Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not
tempt the Lord, thy God.

8. "Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high
mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the
glory of them;

9. "And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if
thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10. "Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it
is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt
thou serve.

11. "Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and
ministered unto him." -- Matt. iv.

If this does not teach the existence of a personal devil,
there is nothing within the lids of the Scriptures teaching the
existence of a personal God. If this does not teach the existence
of evil spirits, there is nothing in the Bible going to show that
good spirits exist either in this world or the next.

16. "When the even was come they brought unto him many that
were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his
word, and healed all that were sick." -- Matt. vii.

1. "And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into
the country of the Gadarenes.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


2. "And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there
met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,

3. "Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could
bind him, no, not with chains:

4. "Because that he had been often bound with fetters and
chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the
fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.

5. "And always, night and day, he was in the mountains. and in
the tombs, crying and cutting himself with stones.

6. "But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him.

7. "And cried with a loud voice, and said, What have I to do
with thee, Jesus, thou son of the most high God? I adjure thee by
God, that thou torment me not.

8. "For he said unto him, Come out of the man, thou unclean

9. "And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered,
saying, My name is Legion, for we are many.

11. "Now, there was nigh unto the mountains a great herd of
swine feeding.

12. "And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the
swine, that we may enter into them.

13. "And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean
spirits went out, and entered into the swine; and the herd ran
violently down a steep place into the sea, and they were about two
thousand; and were choked in the sea." -- Mark v.

The doctrine of witchcraft does not stop here. The power of
casting out devils was bequeathed by the Savior to his apostles and
followers, and to all who might believe in him throughout all the
coming time:

17. "And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my
name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18. "And they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any
deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the
sick and they shall recover." -- Mark xvi.

I would like to see the clergy who have been answering me,
tested in this way: Let them drink poison, let them take up
serpents, let them cure the sick by the laying on of hands, and I
will then believe that they believe.

I deny the witchcraft stories of the world. Witches are born
in the ignorant, frightened minds of men. Reason will exorcise
them. "They are tales told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing." These devils have covered the world with blood
and tears. They have filled the earth with fear. They have filled

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


the lives of children with darkness and horror. They have peopled
the sweet world of imagination with monsters. They have made
religion a strange mingling of fear and ferocity. I am doing what
I can to reeve the heavens of these monsters. For my part, I laugh
at them all. I hold them all in contempt, ancient and modern, great
and small.



All religion has for its basis the tyranny of God and the
slavery of man.

18. "If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will
not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and
that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them,

19. "Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and
bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his

20. "And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our
son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice, he is
a glutton and a drunkard.

21. "And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones,
that he die; so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all
Israel shall hear, and fear." -- Deut. xxi.

Abraham was commanded to offer his son Isaac as a sacrifice.
He proceeded to obey. And the boy, being then about thirty years of
age, was not consulted. At the command of a phantom of the air, a
man was willing to offer upon the altar his only son. And such was
the slavery of children, that the only son had not the spirit to

Have you ever read the story of Jephthah?

30 "And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord, and said, "If thou
shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,

31. "Then it shall be, that whatsoever cometh forth of the
doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the
children of Ammon, shall surely be the Lord's, and I will offer it
up for a burnt offering.

32. "So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to
fight against them; and the Lord delivered them into his hands.

33. "And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to
Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards,
with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were
subdued before the children of Israel.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


34. "And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and behold,
his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances;
and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor

35. "And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his
clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very
low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my
mouth unto the Lord, and I cannot go back. . . .

39. "And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she
returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow
which he had vowed." -- Judges xi.

What can we think of a father who would sacrifice his
daughter to a demon God? And what can we think of a God who would
accept such a sacrifice? Can such a God be worthy of the worship of
man? I plead for the rights of children. I plead for the government
of kindness and love. I plead for the republic of home, the
democracy of the fireside. I plead for affection. And for this I am
pursued by invective. For this I am called a fiend, a devil, a
monster, by Christian editors and clergymen, by those who pretend
to love their enemies and pray for those that despitefully use

Allow me to give you another instance of affection related in
the Scriptures. There was, it seems, a most excellent man by the
name of Job. The Lord was walking up and down, and happening to
meet Satan, said to him: "Are you acquainted with my servant Job?
Have you noticed what an excellent man he is? "And Satan replied to
him and said: "Why should he not be an excellent man -- you have
given him everything he wants? Take from him what he has and he
will curse you." And thereupon the Lord gave Satan the power to
destroy the property and children of Job. In a little while these
high contracting parties met again; and the Lord seemed somewhat
elated with his success, and called again the attention of Satan to
the sinlessness of Job. Satan then told him to touch his body and
he would curse him. And thereupon power was given to Satan over the
body of Job. and he cured his body with boils. Yet in all this, Job
did not sin with his lips.

This book seems to have been written to show the excellence of
patience, and to prove that at last God will reward all who will
bear the afflictions of heaven with fortitude and without
complaint. The sons and daughters of Job had been slain, and then
the Lord, in order to reward Job, gave him other children, other
sons and other daughters -- not the same ones he had lost; but
others. And this, according to the writer, made ample amends. Is
that the idea we now have of love? If I have a child, no matter how
deformed that child may be, and if it dies, nobody can make the
loss to me good by bringing a more beautiful child. I want the one
I loved and the one I lost.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201




I Have said that the Bible is a barbarous book; that it has no
respect for the rights of woman. Now I propose to prove it. It
takes something besides epithets and invectives to prove or
disprove anything. Let us see what the sacred volume says
concerning the mothers and daughters of the human race.

A man who does not in his heart of hearts respect woman, who
has not there an altar at which he worships the memory of mother,
is less than a man.

11. "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.

12. "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority
over the man, but to be in silence."

The reason given for this, and the only reason that occurred
to the sacred writer, was:

13. "For Adam was first formed, then Eve.

14. "And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived
was in the transgression.

15. "Notwithstanding, she shall be saved in child-bearing, if
they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety. --
I Tim. ii.

3. "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is
Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of
Christ is God."

That is to say, the woman sustains the same relation to the
man that man does to Christ. and man sustains the same relation to
Christ that Christ does to God.

This places the woman infinitely below the man. And yet this
barbarous idiocy is regarded as divinely inspired. How can any
woman look other than with contempt upon such passages? How can any
woman believe that this is the will of a most merciful God?

7. "For a man, indeed, ought not to cover his head, forasmuch
as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of

And this is justified from the remarkable fact set forth in
the next verse:

8. "For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the

This same chivalric gentleman also says:

9. "Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman
for the man." -- I Cor. xi.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


22. "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto
the Lord."

Is it possible for abject obedience to go beyond this?

23. "For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ
is the head of the Church, and he is the saviour of the body.

24. "Therefore, as the Church is subject unto Christ, so let
the wives be to their own husbands in everything. -- Eph. v.

Even the Savior did not put man and woman upon an equality. A
man could divorce his wife, but the wife could not divorce her

Every noble woman should hold such apostles and such ideas in
contempt. According to the Old Testament, woman had to ask pardon
and had to be purified from the crime of having born sons and
daughters. To make love and maternity crimes is infamous.

10. "When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and
the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou
hast taken them captive,

11. "And seest among the captives a beautiful woman. and hast
a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife,

12. "Then thou shalt bring her home to thy house; and she
shall shave her head, and pare her nails." -- Deut. xxi.

This is barbarism, no matter whether it came from heaven or
from hell, from a God or from a devil, from the golden streets of
the New Jerusalem or from the very Sodom of perdition. It is
barbarism complete and utter.



Read the infamous order of Moses in the 31st chapter of
Numbers -- an order unfit to be reproduced in print -- an order
which I am unwilling to repeat. Read the 31st chapter of Exodus.
Read the 21st chapter of Deuteronomy. Read the life of Abraham, of
David, of Solomon, of Jacob, and then tell me the sacred Bible does
not teach polygamy and concubinage. All the languages of the world
are insufficient to express the filth of polygamy. It makes man a
beast -- woman a slave. It destroys the fireside. It makes virtue
an outcast. It makes home a lair of wild beasts. It is the infamy
of infamies. Yet this is the doctrine of the Bible -- a doctrine
defended even by Luther and Melancthon. It is by the Bible that
Brigham Young justifies the practice of this beastly horror. It
takes from language those sweetest words, husband, wife, father,
mother, child and lover. It takes us back to the barbarism of
animals, and leaves the heart a den in which crawl and hiss the
slimy serpents of loathsome lust. Yet the book justifying this
infamy is the book upon which rests the civilization of the
nineteenth century. And because I denounce this frightful thing,

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


the clergy denounce me as a demon, and the infamous Christian
Advocate says that the moral sentiment of this State ought to
denounce this Illinois Catiline for his blasphemous utterances and
for his base and debasing scurrility.



For my part, I insist that man has not only the capacity, but
the right to govern himself. All political authority is vested in
the people themselves. They have the right to select their officers
and agents, and these officers and agents are responsible to the
people. Political authority does not come from the clouds. Man
should not be governed by the aristocracy of the air. The Bible is
not a Republican or Democratic book. Exactly the opposite doctrine
is taught. From that volume we learn that the people have no power
whatever; that all power and political authority comes from on
high, and that all the kings, all the potentates and powers, have
been ordained of God; that all the ignorant and cruel kings have
been placed upon the world's thrones by the direct act of Deity.
The Scriptures teach us that the common people have but one duty --
the duty of obedience. Let me read to you some of the political
ideas in the great "Magna Charta" of human liberty.

1. "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For
there is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of

2. "Whosoever, therefore. resisteth the power, resisteth the
ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves

According to this, George III. was ordained of God. He was
King of Great Britain by divine right, and by divine right was the
lawful King of the American Colonies. The leaders in the
Revolutionary struggle resisted the power, and according to these
passages, resisted the ordinances of God; and for that resistance
they are promised the eternal recompense of damnation.

3. "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the
evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is
good, and thou shalt have praise of the same. . . .

5. "Wherefore, ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath,
but also for conscience sake.

6. "For. for this cause pay ye tribute also; for they are
God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing." --
Romans, xiii.

13. "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the
Lord's sake; whether it be to the king as supreme;

14. "Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for
the punishment of evil-doers. and far the praise of them that do

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


15. "For so is the will of God." -- 1 Pet. ii.

Had these ideas been carried out, political progress in the
world would have been impossible. Upon the necks of the people
still would have been the feet of kings. I deny this wretched, this
infamous doctrine. Whether higher powers are ordained of God or
not, if those higher powers endeavor to destroy the rights of man,
I for one shall resist. Whenever and wherever the sword of
rebellion is drawn in support of a human right, I am a rebel. The
despicable doctrine of submission to titled wrong and robed
injustice finds no lodgment in the brain of a man. The real rulers
are the people, and the rulers so-called are but the servants of
the people. They are not ordained of any God. All political power
comes from and belongs to man. Upon these texts of Scripture rest
the thrones of Europe. For fifteen hundred years these verses have
been repeated by brainless kings and heartless priests. For fifteen
hundred years each one of these texts has been a bastille in which
has been imprisoned the pioneers of progress. Each one of these
texts has been an obstruction on the highway of humanity. Each one
has been a fortification behind which have crouched the sainted
hypocrites and the titled robbers. According to these texts, a
robber gets his right to rob from God. And it is the duty of the
robbed to submit. The thief gets his right to steal from God. The
king gets his right to trample upon human liberty from God. I say.
fight the king -- fight the priest.



The Bible denounces religious liberty. After covering the
world with blood, after having made it almost hollow with graves,
Christians are beginning to say that men have a right to differ
upon religious questions provided the questions about which they
differ are not considered of great importance. The motto of the
Evangelical Alliance is:

"In non-essentials, liberty; in essentials, unity."

The Christian world have condescended to say that upon all
non-essential points we shall have the right to think for
ourselves; but upon matters of the least importance, they will
think and speak for us. In this they are consistent. They but
follow the teachings of the God they worship. They but adhere to
the precepts and commands of the sacred Scriptures. Within that
volume there is no such thing as religious toleration. Within that
volume there is not one particle of mercy for an unbeliever. For
all who think for themselves, for all who are the owners of their
own souls, there are threatenings, curses and anathemas. Any
Christian who to-day exercises the least toleration is to that
extent false to his religion. Let us see what the "Magna Charta" of
liberty says upon this subject:

6. "If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy
daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as
thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve
other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


7. "Namely of the gods of the people which are round about
you, nigh unto thee, or afar off from thee, from the one end of the
earth even unto the other end of the earth;

8. "Thou shalt not consent unto him; nor hearken unto him;
neither shall thine eye pity him; neither shalt thou spare, neither
shalt thou conceal him

9. "But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first
upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the

10. "And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die;
because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the Lord thy God,
which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of
bondage." -- Deut. xiii.

That is the religious liberty of the Bible. If the wife of
your bosom had said, "I like the religion of India better than the
religion of Palestine," it was then your duty to kill her, and the
merciful Most High -- understand me, I do not believe in any
merciful Most High -- said:

"Thou shalt not pity her but thou shalt surely kill; thy hand
shall be the first upon her to put her to death."

This I denounce as infamously infamous. If it is necessary to
believe in such a God. if it is necessary to adore such a Deity in
order to be saved, I will take my part joyfully in perdition. Let
me read you a few more extracts from the "Magna Charta" of human

2. "If there be found among you, within any of thy gates which
the Lord thy God giveth thee, man or woman that hath wrought
wickedness in the sight of the Lord thy God, in transgressing his

3. "And hath gone and served other gods, and worshipped them,
either the sun, or moon, or any of the host of heaven, which I have
not commanded:

4. "And it be told thee, and thou hast heard of it, and
enquired diligently. and behold, it be true, and the thing certain,
that such abomination is wrought in Israel;

5. "Then shalt thou bring forth that man, or that woman, which
have committed that wicked thing, unto thy gates, even that man or
that woman, and shalt stone them with stones till they die."

Under this law if the woman you loved had said: "Let us
worship the sun; I am tired of this jealous and bloodthirsty
Jehovah; let us worship the sun; let us kneel to it as it rises
over the hills, filling the world with light and love, when the
dawn stands jocund on the mountain's misty top; it is the sun whose
beams illumine and cover the earth with verdure and with beauty; it
is the sun that covers the trees with leaves. that carpets the
earth with grass and adorns the world with flowers; I adore the sun

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


because in its light I have seen your eyes; it has given to me the
face of my babe; it has clothed my life with joy; let us in
gratitude fall down and worship the glorious beams of the sun."

For this offence she deserved not only death, but death at
your hands:

"Thine eye shall not pity her; neither shalt thou spare:
neither shalt thou conceal her.

"But thou shalt surely kill her: thy hand shall be the first
upon her to put her to death, and afterwards the hand of all the

"And thou shalt stone her with stones that she die."

For my part I had a thousand times rather worship the sun than
a God who would make such a law or give such a command. This you
may say is the doctrine of the Old Testament -- what is the
doctrine of the New?

"He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; and he that
believeth not shall be damned."

That is the religious liberty of the New Testament. That is
the "tidings of great joy."

Every one of these words has been a chain upon the limbs, a
whip upon the backs of men. Every one has been a fagot. Every one
has been a sword. Every one has been a dungeon, a scaffold, a rack.
Every one has been a fountain of tears. These words have filled the
hearts of men with hatred. These words invented all the instruments
of torture. These words covered the earth with blood.

For the sake of argument, suppose that the Bible is an
inspired book. If then, as is contended, God gave these frightful
laws commanding religious intolerance to his chosen people, and
afterward this same God took upon himself flesh, and came among the
Jews and taught a different religion, and they crucified him, did
he not reap what he had sown?



Is it possible to conceive of a more Jealous, revengeful,
changeable, unjust, unreasonable, cruel being than the Jehovah of
the Hebrews? Is it possible to read the words said to have been
spoken by this Deity, without a shudder? Is it possible to
contemplate his character without hatred?

"I will make mine arrows drunk with blood and my sword shall
devour flesh." -- Deut. xxxii.

Is this the language of an infinitely kind and tender parent
to his weak, his wandering and suffering children?

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


"Thy foot may be dipped in the blood of thine enemies, and the
tongue of thy dogs in the same." -- Psalms, lxviii.

Is it possible that a God takes delight in seeing dogs lap the
blood of his children?

22. "And the Lord thy God will put out those nations before
thee by little and little; thou mayest not consume them at once,
lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee.

23. "But the Lord thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and
shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be

24. "And he shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and
thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven; there shall no man
be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them." --
Deut. vii.

If these words had proceeded from the mouth of a demon, if
they had been spoken by some enraged and infinitely malicious
fiend, I should not have been surprised. But these things are
attributed to a God of infinite mercy.

40. "So Joshua smote all the country of the hills, and of the
south, and of the vale, and of the springs, and all their kings; he
left none remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as
the Lord God of Israel commanded." -- Josh. x.

14. "And all the spoil of these cities, and the cattle, the
children of Israel took for a prey unto themselves; but every man
they smote with the edge of the sword until they had destroyed
them, neither left they any to breathe." -- Josh. xi.

19. "There was not a city that made peace with the children of
Israel, save the Hivites, the inhabitants of Gibeon; all other they
took in battle.

20. "For it was of the Lord to harden their heart. that they
should come against Israel in battle, that he might destroy them
utterly, and that they might have no favor, but that he might
destroy them, as the Lord commanded Moses." -- Josh. xi.

There are no words in our language with which. to express the
indignation I feel when reading these cruel and heartless words.

"When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then
proclaim peace unto it. And it shall be if it make thee answer of
peace, and open unto thee, then it shall be that all the people
therein shall be tributaries unto thee, and they shall serve thee.
And if it will make no peace with thee. but will make war against
thee, then thou shalt besiege it. And when the Lord thy God hath
delivered it into thy hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof
with the sword. But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle,
and all that is in the city, even the spoil thereof, shalt thou
take unto thyself, and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies,
which the Lord thy God hath given thee.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


"Thus shalt thou do unto all the cities which are very far off
from thee, which are not of the cities of these nations. But of the
cities of these people which the Lord thy God doth give thee for an
inheritance, thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth."

These terrible instructions were given to an army of invasion.
The men who were thus ruthlessly murdered were fighting for their
homes, their firesides, for their wives and for their little
children. Yet these things, by the clergy of San Francisco, are
called acts of sublime mercy.

All this is justified by the doctrine of the survival of the
fittest. The Old Testament is filled with anathemas. with curses,
with words of vengeance, of revenge, of jealousy. of hatred and of
almost infinite brutality. Do not, I pray you, pluck from the heart
the sweet flower of pity and trample it in the bloody dust of
superstition. Do not, I beseech you, justify the murder of women.
the assassination of dimpled babes. Do not let the gaze of the
gorgon of superstition turn your hearts to stone.

Is there an intelligent Christian in the world who would not
with joy and gladness receive conclusive testimony to the effect
that all the passages in the Bible upholding and sustaining
polygamy and concubinage, political tyranny, the subjection of
woman, the enslavement of children, establishing domestic and
political tyranny, and that all the commands to destroy men, women
and children, are but interpolations of kings and priests, made for
the purpose of subjugating mankind through the instrumentality of
fear? Is there a Christian in the world who would not think vastly
more of the Bible if all these infamous things were eliminated from

Surely the good things in that book are not rendered more
sacred from the fact that in the same volume are found the
frightful passages I have quoted. In my judgment the Bible should
be read and studied precisely as we read and study any book
whatever. The good in it should he preserved and cherished, and
that which shocks the human heart should be cast aside forever.

While the Old Testament threatens men, women and children with
disease, famine, war, pestilence and death, there are no
threatenings of punishment beyond this life. The doctrine of
eternal punishment is a dogma of the New Testament. This doctrine,
the most cruel, the most infamous of which the human mind can
conceive, is taught, if taught at all, in the Bible -- in the New
Testament. One cannot imagine what the human heart has suffered by
reason of the frightful doctrine of eternal damnation. It is a
doctrine so abhorrent to every drop of my blood. so infinitely
cruel, that it is impossible for me to respect either the head or
heart of any human being who teaches or fears it. This doctrine
necessarily subverts all ideas of justice. To inflict infinite
punishment for finite crimes, or rather for crimes committed by
finite beings, is a proposition so monstrous that I am astonished
it ever found lodgment in the brain of man. Whoever says that we
can be happy in heaven while those we loved on earth are suffering
infinite torments in eternal fire, defames and calumniates the
human heart.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201




We are told, however, that a way has been provided for the
salvation of all men, and that in this plan the infinite mercy of
God is made manifest to the children of men. According to the great
scheme of the atonement, the innocent suffers for the guilty in
order to satisfy a law. What kind of law must it be that is
satisfied with the agony of innocence? Who made this law? If God
made it he must have known that the innocent would have to suffer
as a consequence. The whole scheme is to me a medley of
contradictions, impossibilities and theological conclusions. We are
told that if Adam and Eve had not sinned in the Garden of Eden
death never would have entered the world. We are further informed
that had it not been for the devil, Adam and Eve would not have
been led astray; and if they had not, as I said before, death never
would have touched with its icy hand the human heart. If our first
parents had never sinned, and death never had entered the world,
you and I never would have existed. The earth would have been
filled thousands of generations before you and I were born. At the
feast of life, death made seats vacant for us. According to this
doctrine, we are indebted to the devil for our existence. Had he
not tempted Eve -- no sin. If there had been no sin -- no death. If
there had been no death the world would have been filled ages
before you and I were born. Therefore, we owe our existence to the
devil. We are further informed that as a consequence of original
sin the scheme called the atonement became necessary; and that if
the Savior had not taken upon himself flesh and come to this atom
called the earth, and if he had not been crucified for us, we
should all have been cast forever into hell. Had it not been for
the bigotry of the Jews and the treachery of Judas Iscariot, Christ
would not have been crucified; and if he had not been crucified,
all of us would have had our portion in the lake that burneth with
eternal fire.

According to this great doctrine, according to this vast and
most wonderful scheme, we owe, as I said before, our existence to
the devil, our salvation to Judas Iscariot and the bigotry of the

So far as I am concerned, I fail to see any mercy in the plan
of salvation. Is it mercy to reward a man forever in consideration
of believing a certain thing, of the truth of which there is, to
his mind, ample testimony? Is it mercy to punish a man with eternal
fire simply because there is not testimony enough to satisfy his
mind? Can there be such a thing as mercy in eternal punishment?

And yet this same Deity says to me, "resist not evil; pray for
those that despitefully use you; love your enemies, but I will
eternally damn mine." It seems to me that even gods should practice
what they preach.

All atonement, after all, is a kind of moral bankruptcy. Under
its provisions, man is allowed the luxury of sinning upon a credit.
Whenever he is guilty of a wicked action he says, "charge it." This
kind of bookkeeping, in my judgment, tends to breed extravagance in

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


The truth is, most Christians are better than their creeds;
most creeds are better than the Bible, and most men are better than
heir God.



We must remember that ours is not the only religion. Man has
in all ages endeavored to answer the great questions Whence? and
Whither? He has endeavored to read his destiny in the stars, to
pluck the secret of his existence from the night. He has questioned
the specters of his own imagination. He has explored the mysterious
avenues of dreams. He has peopled the heavens with spirits. He has
mistaken his visions for realities. In the twilight of ignorance he
has mistaken shadows for gods. In all ages he has been the slave of
misery, the dupe of superstition and the fool of hope. He has
suffered and aspired.

Religion is a thing of growth, of development. As we advance
we throw aside the grosser and absurder forms of faith --
practically at first by ceasing to observe them, and lastly, by
denying then, altogether. Every church necessarily by its
constitution endeavors to prevent this natural growth or
development. What has happened to other religions must happen to
ours. Ours is not superior to many that have passed, or are passing
away. Other religions have been lived for and died for by men as
noble as ours can boast. Their dogmas and doctrines have, to say
the least, been as reasonable, as full of spiritual grandeur, as

Man has had beautiful thoughts. Man has tried to solve these
questions in all the countries of the world, and I respect all such
men and women; but let me tell you one little thing. I want to show
you that in other countries there is something.

The Parsee sect of Persia say: A Persian saint ascended the three
stairs that lead to heaven's gate, and knocked; a voice said: "Who
is there?" Thy servant, O God! "But the gates would not open. For
seven years he did every act of kindness; again he came, and the
voice said: "Who is there? "And he replied: "Thy slave, O God!" Yet
the gates were shut. Yet seven other years of kindness, and the man
again knocked; and the voice cried and said: "Who is there?"
"Thyself' O God!" And the gates wide open flew.

I say there is no more beautiful Christian poem than this.

A Persian after having read our religion, with its frightful
descriptions of perdition, wrote these words: "Two angels flying
out from the blissful city of God -- the angel of love and the
angel of pity -- hovered over the eternal pit where suffered the
captives of hell. One smile of love illumined the darkness and one
tear of pity extinguished all the fires." Has orthodoxy produced
anything as generously beautiful as this? Let me read you this:
Sectarians, hear this: Believers in eternal damnation, hear this:
Clergy of America who expect to have your happiness in heaven
increased by seeing me burning in hell, hear this:

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


This is the prayer of the Brahmins -- a prayer that has
trembled from human lips toward heaven for more than four thousand

"Never will I seek or receive private individual salvation.
Never will I enter into final bliss alone. But forever and
everywhere will I labor and strive for the final redemption of
every creature throughout all worlds, and until all are redeemed.
Never will I wrongly leave this world to sin, sorrow and struggle,
but will remain and work and suffer where I am."

Has the orthodox religion produced a prayer like this? See the
infinite charity, not only for every soul in this world. but of all
the shining worlds of the universe. Think of that, ye parsons who
imagine that a large majority are going to eternal ruin.

Compare it with the sermons of Jonathan Edwards, and compare
it with the imprecation of Christ: "Depart ye cursed into
everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels; "with the
ideas of Jeremy Taylor, with the creeds of Christendom, with all
the prayers of all the saints, and in no church except the
Universalist will you hear a prayer like this.

"When thou art in doubt as to whether an action is good or
bad, abstain from it."

Since the days of Zoroaster has there been any rule for human
conduct given superior to this?

Are the principles taught by us superior to those of
Confucius? He was asked if there was any single word comprising the
duties of man. He replied: "Reciprocity." Upon being asked what he
thought of the doctrine of returning benefits for injuries, he
replied: "That is not my doctrine. If you return benefits for
injuries what do you propose for benefits? My doctrine is: For
benefits return benefits; for injuries return justice without any
admixture of revenge."

To return good for evil is to pay a premium upon wickedness.
I cannot put a man under obligation to do me a favor by doing him
an injury.

Now, to-day, right now, what is the church doing? What is it
doing, I ask you honestly? Does it satisfy the craving hearts of
the nineteenth century? Are we satisfied? I am not saying this
except from the honesty of my heart. Are we satisfied? Is it a
consolation to us now? Is it even a consolation when those we love
die? The dead are so near and the promises are so far away. It is
covered with the rubbish of the past. I ask you, is it all that is
demanded by the brain and heart of the nineteenth century?

We want something better; we want something grander; we want
something that has more brain in it, and more heart in it. We want
to advance -- that is what we want; and you cannot advance without
being a heretic -- you cannot do it.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


Nearly all these religions have been upheld by Persecution and
bloodshed. They have been rendered stable by putting fetters upon
the human brain. They have all, however, been perfectly natural
productions, and under similar circumstances would all be
reproduced. Only by intellectual development are the old
superstitions outgrown. As only the few intellectually advance, the
majority is left on the side of superstition. and remains there
until the advanced ideas of the few thinkers become general; and by
that time there are other thinkers still in advance.

And so the work of development and growth slowly and painfully
proceeds from age to age. The pioneers are denounced as heretics,
and the heretics denounce their denouncers as the disciples of
superstition and ignorance. Christ was a heretic. Herod was
orthodox. Socrates was a blasphemer. Anytus worshiped all the gods.
Luther was a skeptic. while the sellers of indulgences were the
best of Catholics. Roger Williams was a heretic, while the Puritans
who drove him from Massachusetts were all orthodox. Every step in
advance in the religious history of the world has been taken by
heretics. No superstition has been destroyed except by a heretic.
Heretic is the name that the orthodox laggard hurl at the
disappearing pioneer. It is shouted by the dwellers in swamps to
the people upon the hills. It is the opinion that midnight
entertains of the dawn. It is what the rotting says of the growing.
Heretic is the name that a stench gives to a perfume.

With this word the coffin salutes the cradle. It is taken from
the lips of the dead. Orthodoxy is a shroud -- heresy is a banner.
Orthodoxy is an epitaph -- heresy is a prophecy. Orthodoxy is a
cloud, a fog, a mist -- heresy the star shining forever above the
child of truth.

I am a believer in the eternity of progress. I do not believe
that Want will forever extend its withered hand, its wan and
shriveled palms, for charity. I do not believe that the children
will forever be governed by cruelty and brute force. I do not
believe that poverty will dwell with man forever. I do not believe
that prisons will forever cover the earth, or that the shadow of
the gallows will forever fall upon the ground. I do not believe
that injustice will sit forever upon the bench, or that malice and
superstition will forever stand in the pulpit.

I believe the time will come when there will be charity in
every heart, when there will be love in every family, and when law
and liberty and justice, like the atmosphere, will surround this

We have worshiped the ghosts long enough. We have prostrated
ourselves before the ignorance of the past.

Let us stand erect and look with hopeful eyes toward the
brightening future. Let us stand by our convictions. Let us not
throw away our idea of justice for the sake of any book or of any
religion whatever. Let us live according to our highest and noblest
and purest ideal.

By this time we should know that the real Bible has not been

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201


The real Bible is not the work of inspired men, or prophets,
or apostles, or evangelists. or of Christs.

Every man who finds a fact, adds, as it were, a word to this
great book. It is not attested by prophecy, by miracles, or signs.
It makes no appeal to faith, to ignorance, to credulity or fear. It
has no punishment for unbelief, and no reward for hypocrisy. It
appeals to man in the name of demonstration. It has nothing to
conceal. It has no fear of being read, of being contradicted, of
being investigated and understood. It does not pretend to be holy,
or sacred: it simply claims to be true. It challenges the scrutiny
of all, and implores every reader to verity every line for himself.
It is incapable of being blasphemed. This book appeals to all the
surroundings of man. Each thing that exist, testifies to its
perfection. The earth, with its heart of fire and crowns of snow;
with its forests and plains, its rocks and seas; with its every
wave and cloud; with its every leaf and bud and flower, confirms
its every word, and the solemn stars, shining in the infinite
abysses, are the eternal witnesses of its truth.

Ladies and gentlemen you cannot tell how I thank you this
evening; you cannot tell how I feel toward the intellectual
hospitality of this great city by the Pacific sea. Ladies and
gentlemen, I thank you -- I thank you again and again, a thousand

****     ****

Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful,
scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of
suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the
Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our
nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and
religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to
the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so
that America can again become what its Founders intended --

The Free Market-Place of Ideas.

The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old,
hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts
and information for today. If you have such books please contact
us, we need to give them back to America.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201

Bank of Wisdom

The Bank of Wisdom is run by Emmett Fields out of his home in Kentucky. He painstakingly scanned in these works and put them on disks for others to have available. Mr. Fields makes these disks available for only the cost of the media.

Files made available from the Bank of Wisdom may be freely reproduced and given away, but may not be sold.

Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship.

Bank of WisdomThe Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended --

The Free Market-Place of Ideas.

The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books please contact us, we need to give them back to America.

Bank of Wisdom
Box 926
Louisville, KY 40201