Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Robert Ingersoll

I have often wanted to write how I felt when I left my old way of thinking behind. Starting seems to be my forte, in that area. These words seem to make the points most eloquently. I prefer the word non-theist to atheist. "Atheist" has been taken over by the Christians so well that the word sounds like something truly evil. I just don't believe in magic any more, except that performed by Buddha, the Magician. He knows magic. God, J.C. and Mohammed would have to come sit on my couch and magically stucco my house before I could believe again. I don't really need all three; any one of them would do. If one of them could shut up Sarah Palin or Glen Beck, I would immediately fall to my knees. I am throwing down the gauntlet to the powers. I need a palpable miracle and Miracle Whip will not do. I have already learned to substitute Mayo for that.

These are the words of Robert Ingersoll. I copied them from Victor Stenger's book, The New Atheism, 2009. Amazingly, Robert Ingersoll's entire works are totally available on line, every page of every book. Take that, Kindle. Without further ado I give you Robert Ingersoll.

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. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light, and all the bolts, and bars, and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf, or a slave. There was for me no master in all the wide world--not even in infinite space. I was free--free to think, to express my thoughts--free to live to my own ideal--free to live for myself and those I loved--free to use all my faculties, all my senses--free to spread imagination's wings--free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope--free to judge and determine for myself--free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the "inspired" books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past--free from popes and priests--free from all the "called" and "set apart''--free from sanctified mistakes and holy lies--free from the fear of eternal pain--free from the winged monsters of the night--free from devils, ghosts, and gods. For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought-no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings-no chains for my limbs-no lashes for my back-no fires for my flesh-no master's frown or threat-no following another's steps-no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds.
And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain-for the freedom of labor and thought-to those who fell in the fierce fields of war, to those who died in dungeons bound with chains-to those who proudly mounted scaffold's stairs-to those whose bones were crushed, whose flesh was scarred and torn-to those by fire consumed-to all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons of men. And then I vowed to grasp the torch that they had held, and hold it high, that light might conquer darkness still. -Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899

This I believe.

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