TITAN OF HUMANITY
Robert Green Ingersoll
Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud, and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry. From the voiceless lips of the unreplying dead there comes no word; but in the night of death Hope sees a star and listening Love can hear the rustle of a wing.
YOUR FORBEARS FLOCKED TO HIS LECTURES
LET THIS GREAT MAN SPEAK TO YOU
AS HE DID TO THEM
YOU WILL NEVER SEE COMMON SENSE
EXPRESSED SO BEAUTIFULLY
All I insist is, if there is another life, the basest soul that finds its way to that dark or radiant shore will have the everlasting chance of doing right.
Nothing but the most cruel ignorance, the most heartless superstition, the most ignorant theology, ever imagined that the few days of human life spent here, surrounded by mists and clouds of darkness, blown over life’s sea by storms and tempests of passion, fixed for all eternity the condition of the human race.
If this doctrine be true this life is but a net, in which Jehovah catches souls for hell.
Immortality and Hope
The idea of immortality, that like a sea has ebbed and flowed in the human heart, with its countless waves of hope and fear, beating against the shores and rocks of time and fate, was not born of any book, nor of any creed, nor 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 rainbow – Hope shining upon the tears of grief.
INGERSOLL v. BLACK
New Testament Worse Than the Old
One great objection to the Old Testament is the cruelty said to have been commanded by God. All these cruelties ceased with death. The vengeance of Jehovah stopped at the tomb. He never threatened to punish the dead; and there is not one word, from the first mistake in Genesis to the last curse of Malachi, containing the slightest intimation that God will take his revenge in another world. It was reserved for the New Testament to make known the doctrine of eternal pain.
In the days of the disciples, and for many centuries after, the world was filled with the supernatural. Nearly everything that happened was regarded as miraculous. God was the immediate governor of the world. If the people were good, God sent seed time and harvest; but if they were bad he sent flood and hail, frost and famine. If anything wonderful happened it was exaggerated until it became a miracle.
The Grant Banquet
Mark Twain, was also a speaker at this great event. He said of Ingersoll’s speech: the supremest combination of words that was ever put together since the world began …Bob Ingersoll’s music will sing through my memory always as the divinest that ever enchanted my ears.
Denies The Lie Told About God
This Infinite LIE. No human being has imagination enough to conceive of this infinite horror [hell – eternal pain] All that the human race has suffered in war and want, in pestilence and famine, in fire and flood – all the pangs and pains of every disease and every death – all of this is nothing compared with the agonies to be endured by one lost soul.
Is Suicide a Sin?
*These letters were published in the New York World, 1894.
Col. Ingersoll’s First Letter.
I DO not know whether self-killing is on the increase or not. If it is, then there must be, on the average, more trouble, more sorrow, more failure, and, consequently, more people are driven to despair. In civilized life there is a great struggle, great competition, and many fail. To fail in a great city is like being wrecked at sea. In the country a man has friends; he can get a little credit, a little help, but in the city it is different.
A Teetotaler Would Want to Taste This Whiskey
I send you some of the most wonderful whiskey that ever drove the skeleton from a feast or painted landscapes in the brain of man.
It is the mingled souls of wheat and corn.
The Doctrine of Atonement
According to one of these gospels, and according to the prevalent Christian belief, the Christian religion rests upon the doctrine of the atonement.
If this doctrine is without foundation, the fabric falls; and it is without foundation, for it is repugnant to justice and mercy.
Is it necessary to understand Hebrew in order to know that cruelty is not a virtue, that murder is inconsistent with infinite goodness, and that eternal punishment can be inflicted upon man only by an eternal fiend? Is it really essential to conjugate the Greek verbs before you can make up your mind as to the probability of dead people getting out of their graves? Must one be versed in Latin before he is entitled to express his opinion as to the genuineness of a pretended revelation from God? Common sense belongs exclusively to no tongue. Logic is not confined to, nor has it been buried with, the dead languages.
At the Grave of a Friend’s Child
Washington, D. C., January 8, 1882. A DC detective friend asked Ingersoll to speak at his child’s grave.
MY FRIENDS: I know how vain it is to gild a grief with words, and yet I wish to take from every grave its fear. Here in this world, where life and death are equal kings, all should be brave enough to meet what all the dead have met.
How About a Good Miracle Like This One in NC?
I would like to see a miracle like that performed in North Carolina. Two men were disputing about the relative merits of the salve they had for sale. One of the men, in order to demonstrate that his salve was better than any other, cut off a dog’s tail and applied a cast away, put a little salve at the end of that, and a new dog grew out, and the last heard of those parties they were quarrelling as to who owned the second dog.
Something like that is what I call a miracle.
When I became convinced that the Universe is natural – that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom.