Robert G. Ingersoll citations

Robert G. Ingersoll foto
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Robert G. Ingersoll

Date de naissance: 11. août 1833
Date de décès: 21. juillet 1899
Autres noms: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".

Citations Robert G. Ingersoll

„He did not say to either Matthew, Mark, or Luke, or to any one in their hearing, that he was the Son of God, or that he was miraculously conceived. He did not say it.“

— Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: I cannot believe in the miraculous origin of Jesus Christ. I believe he was the son of Joseph and Mary; that Joseph and Mary had been duly and legally married; that he was the legitimate offspring of that union. Nobody ever believed the contrary until he had been dead at least one hundred and fifty years. Neither Matthew, Mark, nor Luke ever dreamed that he was of divine origin. He did not say to either Matthew, Mark, or Luke, or to any one in their hearing, that he was the Son of God, or that he was miraculously conceived. He did not say it.

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„Nature is good enough and grand enough and broad enough to give us the diversity born of liberty.“

— Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: I want you to understand what has been done in the world to force men to think alike. It seems to me that if there is some infinite being who wants us to think alike he would have made us alike. Why did he not do so? Why did he make your brain so that you could not by any possibility be a Methodist? Why did he make yours so that you could not be a Catholic? And why did he make the brain of another so that he is an unbeliever — why the brain of another so that he became a Mohammedan — if he wanted us all to believe alike? After all, maybe Nature is good enough and grand enough and broad enough to give us the diversity born of liberty. Maybe, after all, it would not be best for us all to be just the same. What a stupid world, if everybody said yes to everything that everybody else might say. The most important thing in this world is liberty. More important than food or clothes — more important than gold or houses or lands — more important than art or science — more important than all religions, is the liberty of man.

„So they are easily imposed upon by forms, strange garments, and solemn ceremonies.“

— Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: Most men are followers, and implicitly rely upon the judgment of others. They mistake solemnity for wisdom, and regard a grave countenance as the title page and Preface to a most learned volume. So they are easily imposed upon by forms, strange garments, and solemn ceremonies. And when the teaching of parents, the customs of neighbors, and the general tongue approve and justify a belief or creed, no matter how absurd, it is hard even for the strongest to hold the citadel of his soul. In each country, in defence of each religion, the same arguments would be urged.

„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.

„Men and women have been burned for thinking there is but one God; that there was none“

— Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: Nature never prompted a loving mother to throw her child into the Ganges. Nature never prompted men to exterminate each other for a difference of opinion concerning the baptism of infants. These crimes have been produced by religions filled with all that is illogical, cruel and hideous. These religions were produced for the most part by ignorance, tyranny and hypocrisy. Under the impression that the infinite ruler and creator of the universe had commanded the destruction of heretics and infidels, the church perpetrated all these crimes: Men and women have been burned for thinking there is but one God; that there was none; that the Holy Ghost is younger than God; that God was somewhat older than his son; for insisting that good works will save a man without faith; that faith will do without good works; for declaring that a sweet babe will not be burned eternally, because its parents failed to have its head wet by a priest; for speaking of God as though he had a nose; for denying that Christ was his own father; for contending that three persons, rightly added together, make more than one; for believing in purgatory; for denying the reality of hell; for pretending that priests can forgive sins; for preaching that God is an essence; for denying that witches rode through the air on sticks; for doubting the total depravity of the human heart; for laughing at irresistible grace, predestination and particular redemption; for denying that good bread could be made of the body of a dead man; for pretending that the pope was not managing this world for God, and in the place of God; for disputing the efficacy of a vicarious atonement; for thinking the Virgin Mary was born like other people; for thinking that a man's rib was hardly sufficient to make a good-sized woman; for denying that God used his finger for a pen; for asserting that prayers are not answered, that diseases are not sent to punish unbelief; for denying the authority of the Bible; for having a Bible in their possession; for attending mass, and for refusing to attend; for wearing a surplice; for carrying a cross, and for refusing; for being a Catholic, and for being a Protestant; for being an Episcopalian, a Presbyterian, a Baptist, and for being a Quaker. In short, every virtue has been a crime, and every crime a virtue. The church has burned honesty and rewarded hypocrisy. And all this, because it was commanded by a book — a book that men had been taught implicitly to believe, long before they knew one word that was in it. They had been taught that to doubt the truth of this book — to examine it, even — was a crime of such enormity that it could not be forgiven, either in this world or in the next.

„If you send men to the penitentiary for speaking their thoughts, for endeavoring to enlighten their fellows, then the penitentiary will become a place of honor, and the victim will step from it — not stained, not disgraced, but clad in robes of glory.“

— Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: Gentlemen, you can never make me believe — no statute can ever convince me, that there is any infinite Being in this universe who hates an honest man. It is impossible to satisfy me that there is any God, or can be any God, who holds in abhorrence a soul that has the courage to express his thought. Neither can the whole world convince me that any man should be punished, either in this world or in the next, for being candid with his fellow-men. If you send men to the penitentiary for speaking their thoughts, for endeavoring to enlighten their fellows, then the penitentiary will become a place of honor, and the victim will step from it — not stained, not disgraced, but clad in robes of glory. Let us take one more step. What is holy, what is sacred? I reply that human happiness is holy, human rights are holy. The body and soul of man — these are sacred. The liberty of man is of far more importance than any book; the rights of man, more sacred than any religion — than any Scriptures, whether inspired or not. What we want is the truth, and does any one suppose that all of the truth is confined in one book — that the mysteries of the whole world are explained by one volume? All that is — all that conveys information to man — all that has been produced by the past — all that now exists — should be considered by an intelligent man. All the known truths of this world — all the philosophy, all the poems, all the pictures, all the statues, all the entrancing music — the prattle of babes, the lullaby of mothers, the words of honest men, the trumpet calls to duty — all these make up the bible of the world — everything that is noble and true and free, you will find in this great book. If we wish to be true to ourselves, — if we wish to benefit our fellow-men — if we wish to live honorable lives — we will give to every other human being every right that we claim for ourselves.

„It fills the world with melody — for music is the voice of love. Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to Joy, and makes royal kings and queens of common clay. It is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart, and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with it, earth is heaven, and we are gods.“

— Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: Love is the only bow on Life's dark cloud. It is the morning and the evening star. It shines upon the babe, and sheds its radiance on the quiet tomb. It is the mother of art, inspirer of poet, patriot and philosopher. It is the air and light of every heart — builder of every home, kindler of every fire on every hearth. It was the first to dream of immortality. It fills the world with melody — for music is the voice of love. Love is the magician, the enchanter, that changes worthless things to Joy, and makes royal kings and queens of common clay. It is the perfume of that wondrous flower, the heart, and without that sacred passion, that divine swoon, we are less than beasts; but with it, earth is heaven, and we are gods. Orthodoxy (1884).

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„They were unbalanced, emotional, hysterical, bigoted, hateful, loving, and insane.“

— 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.

„No devil, no hell. No hell, no atonement. No atonement, no preaching, no gospel.“

— Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: The church must not abandon its belief in devils. Orthodoxy cannot afford to put out the fires of hell. Throw away a belief in the devil, and most of the miracles of the New Testament become impossible, even if we admit the supernatural. If there is no devil, who was the original tempter in the garden of Eden? If there is no hell, from what are we saved; to what purpose is the atonement? Upon the obverse of the Christian shield is God, upon the reverse, the devil. No devil, no hell. No hell, no atonement. No atonement, no preaching, no gospel.

„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.

„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.

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„But they say he “permits” it. What for? So that we may have freedom of choice. What for? So that God may find, I suppose, who are good and who are bad. Did he not know that when he made us? Did he not know exactly just what he was making?“

— Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: How do they answer all this? They say that God “permits” it. What would you say to me if I stood by and saw a ruffian beat out the brains of a child, when I had full and perfect power to prevent it? You would say truthfully that I was as bad as the murderer. Is it possible for this God to prevent it? Then, if he does not he is a fiend; he is no god. But they say he “permits” it. What for? So that we may have freedom of choice. What for? So that God may find, I suppose, who are good and who are bad. Did he not know that when he made us? Did he not know exactly just what he was making?

„Instead of healing a withered arm, why did he not find some man whose arm had been cut off, and make another grow?“

— Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: If Christ wished to convince his fellow-men by miracles, why did he not do something that could not by any means have been a counterfeit? Instead of healing a withered arm, why did he not find some man whose arm had been cut off, and make another grow?

„Were we allowed to read the Bible as we do all other books, we would admire its beauties, treasure its worthy thoughts, and account for all its absurd, grotesque and cruel things, by saying that its authors lived in rude, barbaric times.“

— Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: Too great praise challenges attention, and often brings to light a thousand faults that otherwise the general eye would never see. Were we allowed to read the Bible as we do all other books, we would admire its beauties, treasure its worthy thoughts, and account for all its absurd, grotesque and cruel things, by saying that its authors lived in rude, barbaric times. But we are told that it was written by inspired men; that it contains the will of God; that it is perfect, pure, and true in all its parts; the source and standard of all moral and religious truth; that it is the star and anchor of all human hope; the only guide for man, the only torch in Nature's night. These claims are so at variance with every known recorded fact, so palpably absurd, that every free unbiased soul is forced to raise the standard of revolt. [http://www.gutenberg.org/files/38802/38802-h/38802-h.htm Some Mistakes of Moses (1879)] Preface

„There has never been upon the earth a generation of free men and women. It is not yet time to write a creed.“

— Robert G. Ingersoll
Context: There has never been upon the earth a generation of free men and women. It is not yet time to write a creed. Wait until the chains are broken — until dungeons are not regarded as temples. Wait until solemnity is not mistaken for wisdom — until mental cowardice ceases to be known as reverence. Wait until the living are considered the equals of the dead — until the cradle takes precedence of the coffin. Wait until what we know can be spoken without regard to what others may believe. Wait until teachers take the place of preachers — until followers become investigators. Wait until the world is free before you write a creed. In this creed there will be but one word — Liberty.

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