Robert G. Ingersoll citations

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Robert G. Ingersoll

Date de naissance: 11. août 1833
Date de décès: 21. juillet 1899
Autres noms:Роберт Ингерсолл, رابرت اینقرسول, 羅伯特·格林·英格索爾, 罗伯特·格林·英格索尔

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Robert Green "Bob" Ingersoll was an American lawyer, a Civil War veteran, politician, and orator of the United States during the Golden Age of Free Thought, noted for his broad range of culture and his defense of agnosticism. He was nicknamed "The Great Agnostic".

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Citations Robert G. Ingersoll

„Write the name of Charles Darwin on the one hand and the name of every theologian who ever lived on the other, and from that name has come more light to the world than from all of those.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: This century will be called Darwin’s century. He was one of the greatest men who ever touched this globe. He has explained more of the phenomena of life than all of the religious teachers. Write the name of Charles Darwin on the one hand and the name of every theologian who ever lived on the other, and from that name has come more light to the world than from all of those.

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„They did not know much, but they believed a great deal.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: The ministers, who preached at these revivals, were in earnest. They were zealous and sincere. They were not philosophers. To them science was the name of a vague dread—a dangerous enemy. They did not know much, but they believed a great deal. To them hell was a burning reality—they could see the smoke and flames. The Devil was no myth. He was an actual person, a rival of God, an enemy of mankind. They thought that the important business of this life was to save your soul—that all should resist and scorn the pleasures of sense, and keep their eyes steadily fixed on the golden gate of the New Jerusalem. They were unbalanced, emotional, hysterical, bigoted, hateful, loving, and insane. They really believed the Bible to be the actual word of God—a book without mistake or contradiction. They called its cruelties, justice—its absurdities, mysteries—its miracles, facts, and the idiotic passages were regarded as profoundly spiritual.

„There is this peculiarity in our country—the only men who can be trusted with human liberty are the ones who are not to be angels hereafter.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: I account in part for the civilization of America by the fact that our fathers were wise enough, and jealous of each other enough, to absolutely divorce church and state. They regarded the church as a dangerous mistress—one not fit to govern a president. This divorce was obtained because men like Jefferson and Paine were at that time prominent in the councils of the people. There is this peculiarity in our country—the only men who can be trusted with human liberty are the ones who are not to be angels hereafter. Liberty is safe so long as the sinners have an opportunity to be heard.

„The dead do not suffer. And if they live again, their lives will surely be as good as ours. We have no fear.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: The dead do not suffer. And if they live again, their lives will surely be as good as ours. We have no fear. We are all children of the same mother, and the same fate awaits us all. We, too, have our religion, and it is this: Help for the living, hope for the dead.

„Millions of the noblest of the human race never heard of this creed. Millions of the bravest and best have heard of it, examined, and rejected it. Millions of the most infamous have believed it, and because of their belief, or notwithstanding their belief, have murdered millions of their fellows.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: "Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic faith." It is not necessary, before all things, that he be good, honest, merciful, charitable and just. Creed is more important than conduct. The most important of all things is, that he hold the Catholic faith. There were thousands of years during which it was not necessary to hold that faith, because that faith did not exist; and yet during that time the virtues were just as important as now, just as important as they ever can be. Millions of the noblest of the human race never heard of this creed. Millions of the bravest and best have heard of it, examined, and rejected it. Millions of the most infamous have believed it, and because of their belief, or notwithstanding their belief, have murdered millions of their fellows. We know that men can be, have been, and are just as wicked with it as without it.

„Churches are becoming political organizations...“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: Churches are becoming political organizations... It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave. All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the auto da fe, and lovingly built the dungeons of the Inquisition. All laws defining and punishing blasphemy — making it a crime to give your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men. An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures. Certainly he ought not so to act that laws become necessary to keep him from being laughed at. No one thinks of protecting Shakespeare from ridicule, by the threat of fine and imprisonment. It strikes me that God might write a book that would not necessarily excite the laughter of his children. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that a real God could produce a work that would excite the admiration of mankind. Surely politicians could be better employed than in passing laws to protect the literary reputation of the Jewish God. Some Mistakes of Moses (1879) http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/ingermm1.htm Section III, "The Politicians".

„The writers of the New Testament seem to have thought that the world was about coming to an end. This world was to be sacrificed absolutely to the next.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: I do not remember that one science is mentioned in the New Testament. There is not one word, so far as I remember, about education—nothing about any science, nothing about art. The writers of the New Testament seem to have thought that the world was about coming to an end. This world was to be sacrificed absolutely to the next. The affairs of this life were not worth speaking of. All people were exhorted to prepare at once for the other life.

„When I saw that statement I will tell you what I did. I knew the man’s conscience must be writhing in his bosom to think that he had contributed a dollar toward my support, toward the support of a “materialistic demon.” I wrote him a letter and I said: “My Dear Sir: In order to relieve your conscience of the crime of having contributed to the support of an unbeliever in ghosts, I hereby enclose the amount you paid to attend my lecture.”“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: This gentlemen hated to contribute a cent to the support of a “materialistic demon.” When I saw that statement I will tell you what I did. I knew the man’s conscience must be writhing in his bosom to think that he had contributed a dollar toward my support, toward the support of a “materialistic demon.” I wrote him a letter and I said: “My Dear Sir: In order to relieve your conscience of the crime of having contributed to the support of an unbeliever in ghosts, I hereby enclose the amount you paid to attend my lecture.” I then gave him a little good advice. I advised him to be charitable, to be kind, and regretted exceedingly that any man could listen to one of my talks for an hour and a half and not go away satisfied that all men had the same right to think. This man denied having received the money, but it was traced to him through a blot on the envelope.

„This would have happened even if the intention had been to get all bad men, for the reason that man reaches perfection neither in good nor in evil“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: Among the “some two hundred and fifty-eight” Vicars of Christ there were probably some good men. This would have happened even if the intention had been to get all bad men, for the reason that man reaches perfection neither in good nor in evil; but if they were selected by Christ himself, if they were selected by a church with a divine origin and under divine guidance, then there is no way to account for the selection of a bad one. If one hypocrite was duly elected pope—one murderer, one strangler, one starver—this demonstrates that all the popes were selected by men, and by men only, and that the claim of divine guidance is born of zeal and uttered without knowledge.

„Above all things, one should maintain his self-respect, and there is but one way to do that, and that is to live in accordance with your highest ideal.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: There is a constitution higher than any statute. There is a law higher than any constitution. It is the law of the human conscience, and no man who is a man will defile and pollute his conscience at the bidding of any legislature. Above all things, one should maintain his self-respect, and there is but one way to do that, and that is to live in accordance with your highest ideal.

„But in the night of Death Hope sees a star and listening Love can hear the rustling of a wing.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: 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 rustling of a wing. "A Tribe to Eban C. Ingersoll" (1879) http://www.gutenberg.org/files/38812/38812-h/38812-h.htm

„Without heresy there could have been no progress.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: Every church pretends that it has a revelation from God, and that this revelation must be given to the people through the church; that the church acts through its priests, and that ordinary mortals must be content with a revelation — not from God — but from the church. Had the people submitted to this preposterous claim, of course there could have been but one church, and that church never could have advanced. It might have retrograded, because it is not necessary to think or investigate in order to forget. Without heresy there could have been no progress.

„There is no slavery but ignorance. Liberty is the child of intelligence.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: There is no slavery but ignorance. Liberty is the child of intelligence. The history of man is simply the history of slavery, of injustice and brutality, together with the means by which he has, through the dead and desolate years, slowly and painfully advanced.

„An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: Churches are becoming political organizations... It probably will not be long until the churches will divide as sharply upon political, as upon theological questions; and when that day comes, if there are not liberals enough to hold the balance of power, this Government will be destroyed. The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave. All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the auto da fe, and lovingly built the dungeons of the Inquisition. All laws defining and punishing blasphemy — making it a crime to give your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men. An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures. Certainly he ought not so to act that laws become necessary to keep him from being laughed at. No one thinks of protecting Shakespeare from ridicule, by the threat of fine and imprisonment. It strikes me that God might write a book that would not necessarily excite the laughter of his children. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that a real God could produce a work that would excite the admiration of mankind. Surely politicians could be better employed than in passing laws to protect the literary reputation of the Jewish God. Some Mistakes of Moses (1879) http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/ingermm1.htm Section III, "The Politicians".

„We have now a science called astronomy. That science has done more to enlarge the horizon of human thought than all things else.“

—  Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: We have now a science called astronomy. That science has done more to enlarge the horizon of human thought than all things else. We now live in an infinite universe. We know that the sun is a million times larger than our earth, and we know that there are other great luminaries millions of times larger than our sun. We know that there are planets so far away that light, traveling at the rate of one hundred and eighty- five thousand miles a second, requires fifteen thousand years to reach this grain of sand, this tear, we call the earth -- and we now know that all the fields of space are sown thick with constellations. If that statute had been enforced, that science would not now be the property of the human mind. That science is contrary to the Bible, and for asserting the truth you become a criminal. For what sum of money, for what amount of wealth, would the world have the science of astronomy expunged from the brain of man? We learned the story of the stars in spite of that statute.

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