Reading Time: 2 minutes

A little Robert Green Ingersoll for you. A trailblazer:




Take from the New Testament the infinite savagery, the shoreless malevolence of eternal pain, the absurdity of salvation by faith, the ignorant belief in the existence of devils, the immorality and cruelty of the atonement, the doctrine of non-resistance that denies to virtue the right of self-defense, and how glorious it would be to know that the remainder is true!

Compared with this knowledge, how everything else in nature would shrink and shrivel! What ecstasy it would be to know that God exists; that he is our father and that he loves and cares for the children of men! To know that all the paths that human beings travel, turn and wind as they may, lead to the gates of stainless peace!

How the heart would thrill and throb to know that Christ was the conqueror of Death; that at his grave the all-devouring monster was baffled and beaten forever; that from that moment the tomb became the door that opens on eternal life!

To know this would change all sorrow into gladness. Poverty, failure, disaster, defeat, power, place and wealth would become meaningless sounds. To take your babe upon your knee and say: “Mine and mine forever!” What joy! To clasp the woman you love in your arms and to know that she is yours and forever—yours though suns darken and constellations vanish!

This is enough: To know that the loved and dead are not lost; that they still live and love and wait for you. To know that Christ dispelled the darkness of death and filled the grave with eternal light. To know this would be all that the heart could bear. Beyond this joy cannot go. Beyond this there is no place for hope.

How beautiful, how enchanting, Death would be! How we would long to see his fleshless skull! What rays of glory would stream from his sightless sockets, and how the heart would long for the touch of his stilling hand! The shroud would become a robe of glory, the funeral procession a harvest home, and the grave would mark the end of sorrow, the beginning of eternal joy.

And yet it were better far that all this should be false than that all of the New Testament should be true.

It is far better to have no heaven than to have heaven and hell; better to have no God than God and Devil; better to rest iii eternal sleep than to be an angel and know that the ones you love are suffering eternal pain; better to live a free and loving life—a life that ends forever at the grave—than to be an immortal slave.

The master cannot be great enough to make slavery sweet. I have no ambition to become a winged servant, a winged slave. Better eternal sleep. But they say, “If you give up these superstitions, what have you left?”

Avatar photo

Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...