Could I but acquaint the world with Robert G. Ingersoll's humanity, with his ideas and his sentiments of love, patience and understanding, a renascence would automatically take place that would give life and living on this little earth of ours some semblance of what we call paradise.And this great and wonderful man had to die!I do not know the purpose of life, nor do I understand why death should come to all that is; but this I do know -- that when Robert G. Ingersoll died, on July 21, 1899, then you and I and the whole world, suffered a mortal blow.When the mighty heart, of his mighty body, that supplied the blood to his mighty brain, burst, never again was there to fall from his eloquent lips the pearls of thought that had been so wondrously formed in his brain.The mightiest voice in all the world was silenced, forever. No wonder the people wept when they heard that Ingersoll was dead.He was the greatest of the Great -- the Mightiest of the Mighty. He was 'as constant as the Northern Star whose true fixed and resting quality there is no fellow in the firmament.' He was the indistinguishable star whose brilliance never dimmed.When Robert G. Ingersoll died, his death was 'the ruins of the noblest man that ever lived in the tide of time ... When shall we ever see another?'When Robert G. Ingersoll died, the sky should have been rent asunder and Nature should have gone into mourning.When this man died, Nature's masterpiece was destroyed and hot tears of grief should have fallen from the heavens.Robert G. Ingersoll no longer belongs to his family;He no longer belongs to his friends;He no longer belongs to his country;Robert G. Ingersoll now belongs to all the world -- the whole universe --He is immortal and eternal.Among the galaxies of Nature's masterpieces, none shine with a greater brilliance than the babe who was born in this house 121 years ago today and named Robert Green Ingersoll.
Joseph Lewis
If you do not want to stop the wheels of progress; if you do not want to go back to the Dark Ages; if you do not want to live again under tyranny, then you must guard your liberty and you must not let the church get control of your government. If you do, you will lose the greatest legacy ever bequeathed to the human race—intellectual freedom.Now let me tell you another thing. If all the energy and wealth wasted upon religion—in all of its varied forms—had been spent to understand life and its problems, we would today be living under conditions that would seem almost like Utopia. Most of our social and domestic problems would have been solved and equally as important, our understanding and relations with the other peoples of the world would have, by now, brought about universal peace.Man would have a better understanding of his motives and actions and would have learned to curb his primitive instincts for revenge and retaliation. He would, by now, know that wars of hate, aggression and aggrandizement are only productive of more hate and more human suffering.The enlightened and completely emancipated man from the fears of a God and the dogma of hate and revenge would make him a brother to his fellow man.He would devote his energies to discoveries and inventions, which theology previously condemned as a defiance of God, but which have proved so beneficial to him. He would no longer be a slave to a God and live in cringing fear!
Joseph Lewis
If priests—of all clans—were free of disease and immune to death, then there might be some basis for the claim of the religionists. But these men of God are victims of the natural course of life, even as you and I. They enjoy no exemptions. They suffer the same ills; they feel the same sensations; they are subject to the same passions of the body, the same frailties of the mind, are victims of circumstances and misfortune and they meet inevitable death just as every other person. They commit the same kind of crimes as other mortals and especially, because of their calling, many are notoriously involved in the embezzlement of church funds. Nor does their calling protect them from the passions of the flesh. The scandalous conduct of many men of the cloth, in the realm of moral turpitude, often ends in murder. That is why there are so many men of God in our jails and why so many have paid the supreme penalty in the death chair.They are not free from a single rule of life; what others must endure, they likewise must experience. They cannot protect themselves from the forces of nature and the laws of life, any more than you can. What they can do, you can do, too. Their claims of being anointed and vicars of God on earth are false and hypocritical.If they cannot fulfill their promises while you are alive, how can they accomplish them when you are dead? If they are impotent Here, where they could demonstrate their powers, how ridiculous are their promises to accomplish them in the Hereafter, the mythical abode which exists only in their dishonest or deluded imagination?
Joseph Lewis
Man's inhumanity to man will continue as long as man loves God more than he loves his fellow man. The love of God means wasted love. 'For God and Country' means a divided allegiance—a 50 per cent patriot.The most abused word in the language of man is the word 'God.' The reason for this is that it is subject to so much abuse. There is no other word in the human language that is as meaningless and incapable of explanation as is the word 'God.' It is the beginning and end of nothing. It is the Alpha and Omega of Ignorance.It has as many meanings as there are minds. And as each person has an opinion of what the word God ought to mean, it is a word without premise, without foundation and without substance. It is without validity. It is all things to all people and is as meaningless as it is indefinable. It is the most dangerous in the hands of the unscrupulous and is the joker that trumps the ace. It is the poisoned word that has paralyzed the brain of man.'The fear of the Lord' is not the beginning of wisdom; on the contrary, it has made man a groveling slave; it has made raving lunatics of those who have attempted to interpret what God 'is' and what is supposed to be our 'duty' to God. It has made man prostitute the most precious things of life—it has made him sacrifice wife and child and home.'In the name of God' means in the name of nothing—it has caused man to be a wastrel with the precious elixir of life, because there is no God.
Joseph Lewis
When I visited George Bernard Shaw, in 1948, at his home in Aylot, a suburb of London, he was extremely anxious for me to tell him all that I knew about Ingersoll. During the course of the conversation, he told me that Ingersoll had made a tremendous impression upon him and had exercised an influence upon him probably greater than that of any other man. He seemed particularly anxious to impress me with the importance of Ingersoll's influence upon his intellectual endeavors and accomplishments.In view of this admission, what percentage of the greatness of Shaw belongs to Ingersoll? If Ingersoll's influence upon so great an intellect as George Bernard Shaw was that extensive, what must have been his influence upon others?What seed of wisdom did he plant into the minds of others and what accomplishments of theirs should be attributed to him? The world will never know.What about the countless thousands from whom he lifted the clouds of darkness and fear and who were emancipated from the demoralizing dogmas and creeds of ignorance and superstition?What will be Ingersoll's influence upon the minds of future generations, who will come under the spell of his magic words and who will be guided into the channels of human betterment by the unparalleled example of his courageous life?The debt the world owes Robert G. Ingersoll can never be paid.
Joseph Lewis