The Great Agnostic (1833-1899): Robert Ingersoll
“We have destroyed the idea that a monster created and governs this world—the declaration that a God of infinite mercy and compassion upheld slavery and polygamy and commanded the destruction of men, women, and babes. We have destroyed the idea that this monster created a few of his children for eternal joy, and the vast majority for everlasting pain. We have destroyed the infinite absurdity that salvation depends upon belief, that investigation is dangerous, and that the torch of reason lights only the way to hell. We have taken grinning devil from every grave, and the curse from death—and in the place of these dogmas, of these infamies, we have put that which is natural and that which commends itself to the heart and brain.
Instead of loving God, we love each other. Instead of the religion of the sky—the religion of this world—the religion of the family—the love of husband for wife, of wife for husband—the love of all for children. So that now the real religion is: Let us live for each other; let us live for this world, without regard for the past and without fear for the future. Let us use our faculties and our powers for the benefit of ourselves and others, knowing that if there be another world, the same philosophy that gives us joy here will make us happy there.
Nothing can be more absurd than the idea that we can do something to please or displease an infinite Being. If our thoughts and actions can lesson or increase the happiness of God, then to that extent God is the slave and victim of man.”
–Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899)
“This has been transcribed because it is important and truer words have seldom been spoken.”