Quotes by Robert G. Ingersoll

"This is my doctrine: Give every other human being every right you claim for yourself."
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"Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain. They did not reason or investigate. They had no doubts. They knew that they had the truth. In their creed there was no guess — no perhaps. They had a revelation from God. They knew the beginning of things. They knew that God commenced to create one Monday morning, four thousand and four years before Christ. They knew that in the eternity — back of that morning, he had done nothing. They knew that it took him six days to make the earth — all plants, all animals, all life, and all the globes that wheel in space. They knew exactly what he did each day and when he rested. They knew the origin, the cause of evil, of all crime, of all disease and death.

At the same time they knew that God created man in his own image and was perfectly satisfied with his work... They knew all about the Flood -- knew that God, with the exception of eight, drowned all his children -- the old and young -- the bowed patriarch and the dimpled babe -- the young man and the merry maiden -- the loving mother and the laughing child -- because his mercy endureth forever. They knew too, that he drowned the beasts and birds -- everything that walked or crawled or flew -- because his loving kindness is over all his works. They knew that God, for the purpose of civilizing his children, had devoured some with earthquakes, destroyed some with storms of fire, killed some with his lightnings, millions with famine, with pestilence, and sacrificed countless thousands upon the fields of war. They knew that it was necessary to believe these things and to love God. They knew that there could be no salvation except by faith, and through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

Then I asked myself the question: Is there a supernatural power -- an arbitrary mind -- an enthroned God -- a supreme will that sways the tides and currents of the world -- to which all causes bow?

I do not deny. I do not know - but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme - that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken — that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer - no power that worship can persuade or change — no power that cares for man.

Is there a God?

I do not know.

Is man immortal?

I do not know.

One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be.

We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know. We can tell the truth, and we can enjoy the blessed freedom that the brave have won. We can destroy the monsters of superstition, the hissing snakes of ignorance and fear. We can drive from our minds the frightful things that tear and wound with beak and fang. We can civilize our fellow-men. We can fill our lives with generous deeds, with loving words, with art and song, and all the ecstasies of love. We can flood our years with sunshine — with the divine climate of kindness, and we can drain to the last drop the golden cup of joy."
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"Why should we place Christ at the top and summit of the human race? Was he kinder, more forgiving, more self-sacrificing than Buddha? Was he wiser, did he meet death with more perfect calmness, than Socrates? Was he more patient, more charitable, than Epictetus? Was he a greater philosopher, a deeper thinker, than Epicurus? In what respect was he the superior of Zoroaster? Was he gentler than Lao-tsze, more universal than Confucius? Were his ideas of human rights and duties superior to those of Zeno? Did he express grander truths than Cicero? Was his mind subtler than Spinoza’s? Was his brain equal to Kepler’s or Newton’s? Was he grander in death – a sublimer martyr than Bruno? Was he in intelligence, in the force and beauty of expression, in breadth and scope of thought, in wealth of illustration, in aptness of comparison, in knowledge of the human brain and heart, of all passions, hopes and fears, the equal of Shakespeare, the greatest of the human race?"
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"To hate man and worship God seems to be the sum of all the creeds."
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"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith! Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge!"
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Books by Robert G. Ingersoll

Robert G. Ingersoll
  • Robert G. Ingersoll

  • Date of birth: August 11, 1833
  • Died: July 21, 1899
  • Born: in Dresden, New York, The United States.

  • Description: "On August 11, 1833, was born the greatest and noblest of the Western World; an immense personality, -- unique, lovable, sublime; the peerless orator of all time, and as true a poet as Nature ever held in tender clasp upon her loving breast, and, in words coined for the chosen few, told of the joys and sorrows, hopes, dreams, and fears of universal life; a patriot whose golden words and deathless deeds were worthy of the Great Republic; a philanthropist, real and genuine; a philosopher whose central theme was human love, -- who placed 'the holy hearth of home' higher than the altar of any god; an iconoclast, a builder -- a reformer, perfectly poised, absolutely honest, and as fearless as truth itself -- the most aggressive and formidable foe of superstition -- the most valiant champion of reason -- Robert G. Ingersoll." - Herman E. KittredgeRobert Green Ingersoll, who became the best known advocate of freethought in the 19th-century, was born in Dresden, N.Y. The son of an impoverished itinerant pastor, he later recalled his formative church experiences: "The minister asked us if we knew that we all deserved to go to hell, and we all answered 'yes.' Then we were asked if we would be willing to go to hell if it was God's will, and every little liar shouted 'Yes!'" He became an attorney by apprenticeship, and a colonel in the Civil War, fighting in the Battle of Shiloh. In 1867, Ingersoll was appointed Illinois' first Attorney General. His political career was cut short by his refusal to halt his controversial lectures, but he achieved national political fame for his thrilling nomination speech for James G. Blaine for president at the national convention of the Republican Party in 1876. Ingersoll was good friends with three U.S. presidents. The distinguished attorney was known and admired by most of the leading progressives and thinkers of his day.Ingersoll traveled the continent for 30 years, speaking to capacity audiences, once attracting 50,000 people to a lecture in Chicago—40,000 too many for the Exposition Center. His repertoire included 3 to 4-hour lectures on Shakespeare, Voltaire and Burns, but the largest crowds turned out to hear him denounce the bible and religion. He initially settled in Peoria, Illinois, then in Washington, D.C., where he successfully defended falsely accused men in the "Star Route" scandal, the most famous political trial of the 19th century. Religious rumors against Ingersoll abounded. One had it that Ingersoll's son was a drunkard who more than once had to be carried away from the table. Ingersoll wrote: "It is not true that intoxicating beverages are served at my table. It is not true that my son ever was drunk. It is not true that he had to be carried away from the table. Besides, I have no son!"During the Civil War he was commissioned as Colonel and commander of the 11th Illinois Volunteer Cavalry, and was captured near Corinth, Mississippi. Although soon released, he still made time to treat his Confederate captors to a rousing anti slavery speech.He hoped for but was never awarded a Cabinet post. The Republicans were afraid of his unorthodox religious views. He was told that he could progress politically if he hid his religious views, but Ingersoll refused on the charge that withholding information from the public would be immoral.He strongly advocated equal rights for blacks and women. He defended Susan B. Anthony from hecklers when she spoke in Peoria; when every hotel in the city refused to house Frederick Douglass, he welcomed him into his home.More: https://ffrf.org/news/day/dayitems/it...http://infidels.org/library/historica...http://www.robertgreeningersoll.org/8-2/http://www.positiveatheism.org/tochin...http://www.philosopedia.org/index.php...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_G...

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