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Robert Green Ingersoll Quotes

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.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Why I Am an Agnostic, 1896)
If the people were a little more ignorant, astrology would flourish - if a little more enlightened, religion would perish.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses, 1879)
Reason, Observation and Experience - the Holy Trinity of Science - have taught us that happiness is the only good; that the time to be happy is now, and the way to be happy is to make others so. This is enough for us.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Gods, 1876)
I found that all religions rested on a mistaken conception of nature - that the religion of a people was the science of that people, that is to say, their explanation of the world - of life and death -- of origin and destiny.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Why I Am an Agnostic, 1896)
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.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Heretics and Heresies, 1874)
Liberty cannot be sacrificed for the sake of temperance, for the sake of morality, or for the sake of anything. It is of more value than everything. Yet some people would destroy the sun to prevent the growth of weeds. Liberty sustains the same relation to all the virtues that the sun does to life.
Robert Green Ingersoll (How to Reform Mankind)
Day by day, religious conceptions grow less and less intense. Day by day, the old spirit dies out of book and creed.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Gods, 1876)
Justice is the only worship.
Love is the only priest.
Ignorance is the only slavery.
Happiness is the only good.
The time to be happy is now,
The place to be happy is here,
The way to be happy is to make others so.
Wisdom is the science of happiness.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Quoted in Life and Letters, 1952)
The Church has always been willing to swap off treasures in heaven for cash down.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Speech in Chicago, 1880)
I belong to the Great Church which holds the world within its starlit aisles; that claims the great and good of every race and clime; that finds with joy the grain of gold in every creed, and floods with light and love the germs of good in every soul.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Letter to Henry M. Field)
There is no slavery but ignorance. Liberty is the child of intelligence.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child, 1877)
The Agnostic knows that the testimony of man is not sufficient to establish what is known as the miraculous. We would not believe to-day the testimony of millions to the effect that the dead had been raised. The church itself would be the first to attack such testimony. If we cannot believe those whom we know, why should we believe witnesses who have been dead thousands of years, and about whom we know nothing?
Robert Green Ingersoll (Huxley and Agnosticism, 1889)
The rights of all are equal: justice, poised and balanced in eternal calm, will shake from the golden scales in which are weighed the acts of men, the very dust of prejudice and caste: No race, no color, no previous condition, can change the rights of men.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Speech, 1876)
All these religions are inconsistent with intellectual liberty. They are the enemies of thought, of investigation, of mental honesty. They destroy the manliness of man. They promise eternal rewards for belief, for credulity, for what they call faith. This is not only absurd, but it is immoral.
Robert Green Ingersoll (What Would You Substitute for the Bible as a Moral Guide?, 1900)
The present is the necessary product of all the past and the necessary cause of all the future.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Quoted in The Philosophy of Ingersoll, 1906)
Temptations are as thick as the leaves of the forest, and no one can be out of the reach of temptation unless he is dead. The great thing is to make people intelligent enough and strong enough, not to keep away from temptation, but to resist it.
Robert Green Ingersoll (How to Reform Mankind)
Hope is the only universal liar who never loses his reputation for veracity.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Speech in Manhattan, 1892)
The king said that mankind must not work for themselves. The priest said that mankind must not think for themselves. One forged chains for the hands, the other for the soul.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child, 1877)
I am the inferior of any man whose rights I trample under foot. Men are not superior by reason of the accidents of race or color. They are superior who have the best heart, the best brain.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Quoted in The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll: Miscellany, 1901)
Now, understand me! I do not say there is no God. I do not know. As I told you before, I have traveled but very little -- only in this world. I want it understood that I do not pretend to know. I say I think. And in my mind the idea expressed by Judge Wright so eloquently and so beautifully is not exactly true. I cannot conceive of the God he endeavors to describe, because he gives to that God will, purpose, achievement, benevolence, love, and no form — no organization — no wants. There's the trouble. No wants. And let me say why that is a trouble. Man acts only because he wants. You civilize man by increasing his wants, or, as his wants increase he becomes civilized.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Speech in New York City, 1892)
I would not wish to live in a world where I could not express my honest opinions. Men who deny to others the right of speech are not fit to live with honest men.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Address to the Jury of the Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, 1887)
The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and to his fellow-men.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child, 1877)
Christianity has such a contemptible opinion of human nature that it does not believe a man can tell the truth unless frightened by a belief in God. No lower opinion of the human race has ever been expressed.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Quoted in Ingersoll the Magnificent, 1957)
Whoever has an opinion of his own, and honestly expresses it, will be guilty of heresy.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Heretics and Heresies, 1874)
These religions teach the slave virtues. They make inanimate things holy, and falsehoods sacred. They create artificial crimes... These things are the foes of morality. They subvert all natural conceptions of virtue.
Robert Green Ingersoll (What Would You Substitute for the Bible as a Moral Guide?, 1900)
A man has a right to work with his hands, to plow the earth, to sow the seed, and that man has a right to reap the harvest.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Address to the Jury of the Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, 1887)
The theologian says that God governs the wind, the rain, the lightning. How then can we account for the cyclone, the flood, the drought, the glittering bolt that kills?
Suppose we had a man in this country who could control the wind, the rain and lightning, and suppose we elected him to govern these things, and suppose that he allowed whole States to dry and wither, and at the same time wasted the rain in the sea. Suppose that he allowed the winds to destroy cities and to crush to shapelessness thousands of men and women, and allowed the lightnings to strike the life out of mothers and babes. What would we say? What would we think of such a savage?
Robert Green Ingersoll (Why I Am an Agnostic, 1896)
For the most part, colleges are places where pebbles are polished and diamonds are dimmed.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Lecture: Abraham Lincoln, 1895)
It is a blessed thing that in every age some one has had the individuality enough and courage enough to stand by his own convictions.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Lecture in Chicago: Plea for Individuality and Arraignment of the Church, 1873)
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.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Why I Am an Agnostic, 1896)
Every man is dishonest who lives upon the labor of others, no matter if he occupies a throne.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Quoted in Great Speeches of Col. R. G. Ingersoll, 1885)
The real difference is this: the Christian says that he has knowledge; the Agnostic admits that he has none; and yet the Christian accuses the Agnostic of arrogance, and asks him how he has the impudence to admit the limitations of his mind. To the Agnostic every fact is a torch, and by this light, and this light only, he walks.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Huxley and Agnosticism, 1889)
Intelligence is the only moral guide.
Robert Green Ingersoll (What Would You Substitute for the Bible as a Moral Guide?, 1900)
It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Lecture: About Farming in Illnois)
A fact never went into partnership with a miracle. Truth scorns the assistance of wonders. A fact will fit every other fact in the universe, and that is how you can tell whether it is or is not a fact. A lie will not fit anything except another lie.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses, 1879)
Anger is a wind which blows out the lamp of the mind. 
Robert Green Ingersoll
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.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Address to the Jury of the Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, 1887)
The superior man is the providence of the inferior. He is eyes for the blind, strength for the weak, and a shield for the defenseless. He stands erect by bending above the fallen. He rises by lifting others.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Quoted in The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll: Miscellany, 1901)
I know that life is good. I remember the sunshine and rain. Then I think of the earthquake and flood. I do not forget health and harvest, home and love - but what of pestilence and famine? I cannot harmonize all these contradictions - these blessings and agonies - with the existence of an infinitely good, wise and powerful God.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Why I Am an Agnostic, 1896)
In the republic of mediocrity, genius is dangerous.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Liberty in Literature)
Few nations have been so poor as to have but one god. Gods were made so easily, and the raw material cost so little, that generally the god market was fairly glutted and heaven crammed with these phantoms.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Gods, 1876)
Labor is the only prayer that Nature answers; it is the only prayer that deserves an answer, good, honest, noble work.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Address to the Jury of the Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, 1887)
What light is to the eyes - what air is to the lungs - what love is to the heart, liberty is to the soul of man.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Quoted in Political Speeches of Robert G. Ingersoll, 1914)
The good men, the good women, are tired of the whip and lash in the realm of thought. They remember the chain and fagot with a shudder. They are free, and they give liberty to others.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child, 1877)
Nothing is greater than to break the chains from the bodies of men - nothing nobler than to destroy the phantom of the soul.
Robert Green Ingersoll
Let us be true to ourselves - true to the facts we know, and let us, above all things, preserve the veracity of our souls.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Why I Am an Agnostic, 1896)
Great virtues may draw attention from defects, they cannot sanctify them. A pebble surrounded by diamonds remains a common stone, and a diamond surrounded by pebbles is still a gem.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Great Infidels, 1881)
An honest God is the noblest work of man.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Gods, 1876)
Let us be honest. Did all the priests of Rome increase the mental wealth of man as much as Bruno? Did all the priests of France do as great a work for the civilization of the world as Diderot and Voltaire? Did all the ministers of Scotland add as much to the sum of human knowledge as David Hume? Have all the clergymen, monks, friars, ministers, priests, bishops, cardinals and popes, from the day of Pentecost to the last election, done as much for human liberty as Thomas Paine? — as much for science as Charles Darwin?
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Great Infidels, 1881)
Wait until the world is free before you write a creed.
In this creed there will be but one word - Liberty.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child, 1877)
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.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Why I Am an Agnostic, 1896)
It is an old habit with theologians to beat the living with the bones of the dead.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Reply to Archdeacon Farrar)
If there is one subject in this world worthy of being discussed, worthy of being understood, it is the question of intellectual liberty. Without that, we are simply painted clay; without that, we are poor, miserable serfs and slaves.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Address to the Jury of the Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, 1887)
Surely there is grandeur in knowing that in the realm of thought, at least, you are without a chain; that you have the right to explore all heights and depth; that there are no walls nor fences, nor prohibited places, nor sacred corners in all the vast expanse of thought.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Gods, 1876)
Standing in the presence of the Unknown, all have the same right to think, and all are equally interested in the great questions of origin and destiny. All I claim, all I plead for, is liberty of thought and expression. That is all. I do not pretend to tell what is absolutely true, but what I think is true. I do not pretend to tell all the truth.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child, 1877)
When the will defies fear, when duty throws the gauntlet down to fate, when honor scorns to compromise with death - that is heroism.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Speech in New York, 1882)
For thousands of years people have been trying to force other people to think their way. Did they succeed? No. Will they succeed? No. Why? Because brute force is not an argument.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Address to the Jury of the Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, 1887)
If there be an infinite Being, he does not need our help -- we need not waste our energies in his defense.
Robert Green Ingersoll (God in the Constitution, 1870)
I believe men will be nearer honest in business, in politics, grander in art — in everything that is good and grand and beautiful, if they are taught from the cradle to the coffin to tell their honest opinion.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Great Infidels, 1881)
The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Lecture on the Declaration of Independence)
By this time the whole world should know that the real Bible has not yet been written, but is being written, and that it will never be finished until the race begins its downward march, or ceases to exist.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Heretics and Heresies, 1874)
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.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Address to the Jury of the Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, 1887)
The night of the Middle Ages lasted for a thousand years. The first star that enriched the horizon of this universal gloom was Giordano Bruno. He was the herald of the dawn.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Great Infidels, 1881)
In the night of death, hope sees a star, and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Quoted in Great Speeches of Col. R. G. Ingersoll, 1885)
There can be but little liberty on earth while men worship a tyrant in heaven.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Gods, 1876)
The doctrine of eternal punishment is in perfect harmony with the savagery of the men who made the orthodox creeds. It is in harmony with torture, with flaying alive, and with burnings. The men who burned their fellow-men for a moment, believed that God would burn his enemies forever.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Crumbling Creeds, 1890)
What then is, or can be called, a moral guide? The shortest possible answer is one word: Intelligence.
Robert Green Ingersoll (What Would You Substitute for the Bible as a Moral Guide?, 1900)
For the most part we inherit our opinions. We are the heirs of habits and mental customs. Our beliefs, like the fashion of our garments, depend on where we were born. We are molded and fashioned by our surroundings.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Why I Am an Agnostic, 1896)
As long as every question is answered by the word "God," scientific inquiry is simply impossible.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Gods, 1876)
Most men are followers, and implicitly rely upon the judgment of others.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Great Infidels, 1881)
In the presence of eternity, the mountains are as transient as the clouds. 
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Christian Religion)
Is there an intelligent man or woman now in the world who believes in the Garden of Eden story? If you find any man who believes it, strike his forehead and you will hear an echo. Something is for rent.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Orthodoxy, 1884)
Free labor will give us wealth. Free thought will give us truth. We need men with moral courage to speak and write their real thoughts, and to stand by their convictions, even to the very death.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Lecture on Thomas Paine in Chicago, 1880)
I know how vain it is to gild a grief with words, and yet I wish to take from every grave its fear.
Robert Green Ingersoll (At A Child's Grave, 1882)
It seems to me that if there is some infinite being who wants us to think alike he would have made us alike.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Address to the Jury of the Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, 1887)
We have already compared the benefits of theology and science. When the theologian governed the world, it was covered with huts and hovels for the many, palaces and cathedrals for the few. To nearly all the children of men, reading and writing were unknown arts. The poor were clad in rags and skins -- they devoured crusts, and gnawed bones. The day of Science dawned, and the luxuries of a century ago are the necessities of to-day. Men in the middle ranks of life have more of the conveniences and elegancies than the princes and kings of the theological times. But above and over all this, is the development of mind. There is more of value in the brain of an average man of to-day -- of a master-mechanic, of a chemist, of a naturalist, of an inventor, than there was in the brain of the world four hundred years ago.
These blessings did not fall from the skies. These benefits did not drop from the outstretched hands of priests. They were not found in cathedrals or behind altars -- neither were they searched for with holy candles. They were not discovered by the closed eyes of prayer, nor did they come in answer to superstitious supplication. They are the children of freedom, the gifts of reason, observation and experience -- and for them all, man is indebted to man.
Robert Green Ingersoll (God in the Constitution, 1870)
The infidels have been the brave and thoughtful men; the flower of all the world; the pioneers and heralds of the blessed day of liberty and love; the generous spirits of the unworthy past; the seers and prophets of our race; the great chivalric souls, proud victors on the battlefields of thought, the creditors of all the years to be.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Great Infidels, 1881)
I cannot see why we should expect an infinite God to do better in another world than he does in this.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Chicago Times, 1879)
I will not attack your doctrines nor your creeds if they accord liberty to me. If they hold thought to be dangerous - if they aver that doubt is a crime, then I attack them one and all, because they enslave the minds of men.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Ghosts)
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.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Address to the Jury of the Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, 1887)
I do not believe that the tendency is to make men and women brave and glorious when you tell them that there are certain ideas upon certain subjects that they must never express; that they must go through life with a pretence as a shield; that their neighbors will think much more of them if they will only keep still; and that above all is a God who despises one who honestly expresses what he believes.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Great Infidels, 1881)
The inspiration of the Bible depends upon the ignorance of the gentleman who reads it.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Lecture: Some Reasons Why)
The Agnostic takes the ground that human experience is the basis of morality. Consequently, it is of no importance who wrote the gospels, or who vouched or vouches for the genuineness of the miracles. In his scheme of life these things are utterly unimportant. He is satisfied that "the miraculous" is the impossible. He knows that the witnesses were wholly incapable of examining the questions involved, that credulity had possession of their minds, that "the miraculous" was expected, that it was their daily food.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Huxley and Agnosticism, 1889)
The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called "faith."
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Gods, 1876)
No man, standing where the horizon of a life has touched a grave, has any right to prophesy a future filled with pain and tears.
Robert Green Ingersoll (At A Child's Grave, 1882)
If you take the cruel passages, the verses that inculcate eternal hatred, verses that writhe and hiss like serpents, you can make a creed that would shock the heart of a hyena.
Robert Green Ingersoll (What Would You Substitute for the Bible as a Moral Guide?, 1900)
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. His doctrine of evolution, his doctrine of the survival of the fittest, his doctrine of the origin of species, has removed in every thinking mind the last vestige of orthodox Christianity. He has not only stated, but he has demonstrated, that the inspired writer knew nothing of this world, nothing of the origin of man, nothing of geology, nothing of astronomy, nothing of nature; that the Bible is a book written by ignorance -- at the instigation of fear. Think of the men who replied to him. Only a few years ago there was no person too ignorant to successfully answer Charles Darwin; and the more ignorant he was the more cheerfully he undertook the task. He was held up to the ridicule, the scorn and contempt of the Christian world, and yet when he died, England was proud to put his dust with that of her noblest and her grandest. Charles Darwin conquered the intellectual world, and his doctrines are now accepted facts.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Orthodoxy, 1884)
I had rather live and love where death is king, than have eternal life where love is not.
Robert Green Ingersoll (At A Child's Grave, 1882)
Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Speech in Indianapolis, 1876)
The agnostic does not simply say, "l do not know." He goes another step, and he says, with great emphasis, that you do not know. He insists that you are trading on the ignorance of others, and on the fear of others. He is not satisfied with saying that you do not know, -- he demonstrates that you do not know, and he drives you from the field of fact -- he drives you from the realm of reason -- he drives you from the light, into the darkness of conjecture -- into the world of dreams and shadows, and he compels you to say, at last, that your faith has no foundation in fact.
Robert Green Ingersoll (North American Review - Reply to Lyman Abbott, 1890)
Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain. They did notreason or investigate. They had no doubts. They knew that they had the truth. In their creedthere was no guess - no perhaps. They had a revelation from God. They knew the beginningof things. They knew that God commenced to create one Monday morning, four thousand andfour years before Christ. They knew that in the eternity - back of that morning, he had donenothing. 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 herested. They knew the origin, the cause of evil, of all crime, of all disease and death.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Why I Am an Agnostic, 1896)
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.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Address to the Jury of the Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, 1887)
Infinite punishment is infinite cruelty, endless injustice, immortal meanness. To worship an eternal gaoler hardens, debases, and pollutes even the vilest soul. While there is one sad and breaking heart in the universe, no good being can be perfectly happy.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Great Infidels, 1881)
Each thing that exists testifies of its perfection. The earth, with its heart of fire and crowns of snow; with its forests and plains, its rocks and seas; with its every wave and cloud; with its every leaf and bud and flower, confirms its every word, and the solemn stars, shining in the infinite abysses, are the eternal witnesses of its truth.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Heretics and Heresies, 1874)
Justice should remove the bandage from her eyes long enough to distinguish between the vicious and the unfortunate.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Quoted in Col. R. G. Ingersoll's Famous Speeches, 1906)
Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Gods, 1876)
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.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses, 1879)
Kindness is the sunshine in which virtue grows.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Lecture in New York - A Lay Sermon, 1880)
What is blasphemy? I will give you a definition; I will give you my thought upon this subject. What is real blasphemy?
To live on the unpaid labor of other men — that is blasphemy.
To enslave your fellow-man, to put chains upon his body — that is blasphemy.
To enslave the minds of men, to put manacles upon the brain, padlocks upon the lips — that is blasphemy.
To deny what you believe to be true, to admit to be true what you believe to be a lie — that is blasphemy.
To strike the weak and unprotected, in order that you may gain the applause of the ignorant and superstitious mob — that is blasphemy.
To persecute the intelligent few, at the command of the ignorant many — that is blasphemy.
To forge chains, to build dungeons, for your honest fellow-men — that is blasphemy.
To pollute the souls of children with the dogma of eternal pain — that is blasphemy.
To violate your conscience — that is blasphemy.
The jury that gives an unjust verdict, and the judge who pronounces an unjust sentence, are blasphemers.
The man who bows to public opinion against his better judgment and against his honest conviction, is a blasphemer.
Why should we fear our fellow-men? Why should not each human being have the right, so far as thought and its expression are concerned, of all the world? What harm can come from an honest interchange of thought?
Robert Green Ingersoll (Address to the Jury of the Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, 1887)
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.
Robert Green Ingersoll (At A Child's Grave, 1882)
If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Quoted in The Best of Robert Ingersoll, 1983)
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.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Why I Am an Agnostic, 1896)
It is hard for many people to give up the religion in which they were born; to admit that their fathers were utterly mistaken, and that the sacred records of their country are but collections of myths and fables.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses, 1879)
Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Superstition, 1898)
There are in nature neither rewards nor punishments - there are only consequences.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Quoted in The Complete Works, 1902)
Things are true or false in themselves. Truth cannot be affected by opinions; it cannot be changed, established, or affected by martyrdom. An error cannot be believed sincerely enough to make it a truth.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Great Infidels, 1881)
Strange but true: those who have loved God most have loved men least.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Speech, 1881)
They say the religion of your fathers is good enough. Why should a father object to your inventing a better plow than he had? They say to me, do you know more than all the theologians dead? Being a perfectly modest man I say I think I do. Now we have come to the conclusion that every man has a right to think. Would God give a bird wings and make it a crime to fly? Would he give me brains and make it a crime to think? Any God that would damn one of his children for the expression of his honest thought wouldn't make a decent thief. When I read a book and don't believe it, I ought to say so. I will do so and take the consequences like a man.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Speech at the Pittsburgh Opera House, 1879)
There are many good precepts, many wise sayings and many good regulations and laws in the Bible, and these are mingled with bad precepts, with foolish sayings, with absurd rules and cruel laws.
Robert Green Ingersoll (What Would You Substitute for the Bible as a Moral Guide?, 1900)
The idea of hell was born of ignorance, brutality, fear, cowardice, and revenge.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Great Infidels, 1881)
If there is a God who will damn his children forever, I would rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous tyrant. I make my choice now. I despise that doctrine. It has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. It has polluted the hearts of children, and poisoned the imaginations of men.... What right have you, sir, Mr. clergyman, you, minister of the gospel to stand at the portals of the tomb, at the vestibule of eternity, and fill the future with horror and with fear? I do not believe this doctrine, neither do you. If you did, you could not sleep one moment. Any man who believes it, and has within his breast a decent, throbbing heart, will go insane. A man who believes that doctrine and does not go insane has the heart of a snake and the conscience of a hyena.
Robert Green Ingersoll (The Liberty of All, 1877)
Few rich men own their own property. The property owns them.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Speech in New York, 1896)
Liberty is the condition of progress. Without Liberty, there remains only barbarism. Without Liberty, there can be no civilization... It is impossible that there should be such a thing as real religion without liberty. Without liberty there can be no such thing as conscience, no such word as justice. All human actions - all good, all bad - have for a foundation the idea of human liberty, and without Liberty there can be no vice, and there can be no virtue.
Without Liberty there can be no worship, no blasphemy - no love, no hatred, no justice, no progress.
Take the word Liberty from human speech and all the other words become poor, withered, meaningless sounds - but with that word realized - with that word understood, the world becomes a paradise.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Address to the Jury of the Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, 1887)
Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Quoted in The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll: Lectures, 1901)
Courage without conscience is a wild beast.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Speech in New York City, 1882)
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.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Orthodoxy, 1884)
In the presence of death I affirm and reaffirm the truth of all that I have said against the superstitions of the world. I would say that much on the subject with my last breath.
Robert Green Ingersoll (Interview, 1890)
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Robert Green Ingersoll Biography

Born: August 11, 1833
Died: July 21, 1899

Robert Green Ingersoll was an American orator and political leader. He served for the Union army in the Civil war. He had a big role in the movement "The Golden Age of Freethought" during his time.

Notable Works
Heretics and Heresies (1874)
The Gods and Other Lectures
(1876)
The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child
(1877)
Some Mistakes of Moses (1879)
The Great Infidels
(1881)
At a Child's Grave
(1882)
Why I Am an Agnostic
(1896)
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