Thursday, August 4, 2011

"They Ought To Know"


The following is an excerpt from Robert Green Ingersoll's, *Why I Am An Agnostic* (1896):

Like a venomous serpent it crawls and coils and hisses in every orthodox creed. It makes man an eternal victim and God an eternal fiend. It is the one infinite horror. Every church in which it is taught is a public curse. Every preacher who teaches it is an enemy of mankind. Below this Christian dogma, savagery cannot go. It is the infinite of malice, hatred, and revenge. Nothing could add to the horror of hell, except the presence of its creator, God.

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

Nothing gives me greater joy than to know that this belief in eternal pain is growing weaker every day -- that thousands of ministers are ashamed of it. It gives me joy to know that Christians are becoming merciful, so merciful that the fires of hell are burning low -- flickering, choked with ashes, destined in a few years to die out forever.

For centuries Christendom was a madhouse. Popes, cardinals, bishops, priests, monks and heretics were all insane.

Only a few -- four or five in a century were sound in heart and brain. Only a few, in spite of the roar and din, in spite of the savage cries, heard reason's voice. Only a few in the wild rage of ignorance, fear and zeal preserved the perfect calm that wisdom gives.

We have advanced. In a few years the Christians will become -- let us hope -- humane and sensible enough to deny the dogma that fills the endless years with pain. They ought to know now that this dogma is utterly inconsistent with the wisdom, the justice, the goodness of their God. They ought to know that their belief in hell, gives to the Holy Ghost -- the Dove -- the beak of a vulture, and fills the mouth of the Lamb of God with the fangs of a viper.

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