Sacred Texts  Age of Reason  Ingersoll  Index  Previous  Next 


I also find in this creed the following:

"We believe that Jesus Christ come to establish among men the Kingdom of God, the reign of truth and love, of righteousness and peace."

Well, that may have been the object of Jesus Christ. I do not deny it. But what was the result? The Christian world has caused more war than all the rest of the world beside. Most of the cunning instruments of death have been devised by Christians. All the wonderful machinery by which the life is blown from men, by which nations are conquered and enslaved--all these machines have been born in Christian brains. And yet he came to bring peace, they say; but the Testament says otherwise: "I came not to bring peace, but a sword." And the sword was brought. What are the Christian nations doing to-day in Europe? Is there a solitary Christian nation that will trust any other? How many millions of Christians are in the uniform of forgiveness, armed with the muskets of love?

There was an old Spaniard on the bed of death, who sent for a priest, and the priest told him that he would have to forgive his enemies before he died. He said, "I have none." "What! no enemies?" "Not one," said the dying man; "I killed the last one three months ago."

How many millions of Christians are now armed and equipped to destroy their fellow-Christians? Who are the men in Europe crying against war? Who wishes to have the nations disarmed? Is it the church? No; the men who do not believe in what they call this religion of peace. When there is a war, and when they make a few thousand widows and orphans; when they strew the plain with dead patriots, Christians assemble in their churches and sing "Te Deum Laudamus." Why? Because he has enabled a few of his children to kill some others of his children. This is the religion of peace--the religion that invented the Krupp gun, that will hurl a ball weighing two thousand pounds through twenty-four inches of solid steel. This is the religion of peace that covers the sea with men- of-war, clad in mail, in the name of universal forgiveness. This is the religion that drills and uniforms five millions of men to kill their fellows.

What effect has this religion had upon the nations of the earth? What have the nations been fighting about? What was the Thirty Years' War in Europe for? What was the war in Holland for? Why was it that England persecuted Scotland? Why is it that England persecutes Ireland even to this day? At the bottom of every one of these conflicts you will find a religious question. The religion of Jesus Christ, as preached by his church, causes war, bloodshed, hatred, and all uncharitableness; and why? Because, they say, a certain beliefs necessary to salvation. They do not say, if you behave yourself you will get there; they do not say, if you pay your debts and love your wife and love your children, and are good to your friends, and your neighbors, and your country, you will get there; that will do you no good; you have got to believe a certain thing. No matter how bad you are, you can instantly be forgiven; and no matter how good you are, if you fail to believe that which you cannot understand. the moment you get to the day of judgment nothing is left but to damn you, and all the angels will shout "hallelujah."

What do they teach to-day? Nearly every murderer goes to heaven; there is only one step from the gallows to God, only one jerk between the halter and heaven. That is taught by this church.

I believe there ought to be a law to prevent the giving of the slightest religious consolation to any man who has been found guilty of murder. Let a Catholic understand that if he imbrues his hands in his brother's blood, he can have no extreme unction. Let it be understood that he can have no forgiveness through the church; and let the Protestant understand that when he has committed that crime the community will not pray him into heaven. Let him go with his victim. The victim, dying in his sins, goes to hell, and the murderer has the happiness of seeing him there. If heaven grows dull and monotonous, the murderer can again give life to the nerve of pleasure by watching the agony of his victim.

The truth is, Christianity has not made friends; it has made enemies. It is not, as taught, the religion of peace, it is the religion of war. Why should a Christian hesitate to kill a man that his God is waiting to damn? Why should a Christian not destroy an infidel who is trying to assassinate his soul? Why should a Christian pity an unbeliever--one who has rejected the Bible--when he knows that God will be pitiless forever? And yet we are told, in this creed, that "we believe in the ultimate prevalence of the Kingdom of Christ over all the earth."

What makes you? Do you judge from the manner in which you are getting along now? How many people are being born a year? About fifty millions. How many are you converting a year, really, truthfully? Five or six thousand. I think I have overstated the number. Is orthodox Christianity on the increase? No. There are a hundred times as many unbelievers in orthodox Christianity as there were ten years ago. What are you doing in the missionary world? How long is it since you converted a Chinaman? A fine missionary religion, to send missionaries with their Bibles and tracts to China, but if a Chinaman comes here, mob him, simply to show him the difference between the practical and theoretical workings of the Christian religion. How long since you have had an intelligent convert in India? In my judgment, never; there never has been an intelligent Hindoo converted from the time the first missionary put his foot on that soil; and never, in my judgment, has an intelligent Chinaman been converted since the first missionary touched that shore. Where are they? We hear nothing of them, except in the reports. They get money from poor old ladies, trembling on the edge of the grave, and go and tell them stories, how hungry the average Chinaman is for a copy of the New Testament and paint the sad condition of a gentleman in the interior of africa without the works of Dr. McCosh, longing for a copy of The Princeton Review,--in my judgment, a pamphlet that would suit a savage. Thus money is scared from the dying, and frightened from the old and feeble.

About how long is it before this kingdom is to be established? No one objects to the establishment of peace and good will. Every good man longs for the time when war shall cease. We are all hoping for a day of universal justice--a day of universal freedom--when man shall control himself, when the passions shall become obedient to the intelligent will. But the coming of that day will not be hastened by preaching the doctrines of total depravity and eternal revenge. That sun will not rise the quicker for preaching salvation by faith. The star that shines above that dawn, the herald of that day, is Science, not superstition.--Reason, not religion.

To show you how little advance has been made, how many intellectual bats and mental owls still haunt the temple, still roost above the altar, I call your attention to the fact that the Congregational Church, according to this creed, still believes in the resurrection of the dead, and in their Confession of Faith, attached to the creed, I find that they also believe in the literal resurrection of the body.

Next: The Resurrection