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The Christian Religion by Robert Green Ingersoll

Produced by David Widger

THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION.

AN

ENQUIRY

By R. G. Ingersoll

INTRODUCTION.

ENGLAND is now for the first time offering to the toiling portion of its people a fair modicum of the education which was in old time the exclusive privilege of the rich. In doing so it has acted with a keen eye to self-preservation, for the history of every fallen nation shows that the unaided ignorance of the masses has been a principal and fatal element in its downfall.

This truth would seem to be not yet fully realized by all of higher education in the country; for the teaching that many of them counsel for the poor is clogged with ignorance and clouded with error from which their own higher culture has long been free. It is distressing to see men who no longer regard the Bible as anything more than a curious and interesting record, a compound of reflections of ancient myths and poetry, commingled with a considerable amount of fabulous history and absurd theology--to see any such man still arguing that for the poor and for the young it is a necessary subject of study, and (for them) a useful article of belief!

Do those who argue thus deem the light of reason too clear, too pure, too delightful, for mankind at large; or is it that they trust that the useful ignorance of the workers will continue to supply them with unmerited or unworthy luxuries?

In neither case can the position endure. The refinement of Rome might loftily echo

Odi profanum vulgus et arceo:

but Rome has herself fallen; and not on the portals of future science or of humanity shall any such motto be written. Freedom of Knowledge is the corollary to Freedom of Thought: in the society of the future no hierarchy or oligarchy of intellect will close its doors upon the masses; none will find delight in either sensuous or intellectual pleasure obtained at the cost of the baser condition of others.

The following Reprint will be found a clear exposition of the incongruities of creed and record and dogma taught to the poor as a system of ethics for the whole of their life; and held as a convenient thing up to a certain age for the young, and especially the female young, of the moneyed classes.

It is time that such warfare as this should be aggressive; that such books as the present should be part of the food of our children. Our truest feelings and our tenderest years have been enslaved to blind faith, unreasoning credulity and degrading fear; our infant lips have been trained to link in loving accents the gentle and holy names of Mother and of Father with that of a God of jealousy, of vengeance, and brutality; our growing mind has been warned to look to a Hebrew ascetic as the noblest type of the divine, and to a Hebrew profligate and murderer as the highest type of the human. As the opening thought of youth has striven to turn to the light of reason, it has been constantly threatened back and thrust back into the dark of superstition. It has been told that eternal misery is the doom of those who leave the paths of dogma; and it has been falsely and persistently taught that Free-thinkers are evil and unclean, men without care for right, scoffers at every good thing.


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