Should Atheism Be Defended?

Jul 11




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I would like to dedicate this article to all of my friends. To Jawbreaker Savior, for her warmth and thoughtfulness. To Ooglie, for her kindness and affection. To Beast of Atheism, Liz, Ely, and all those who have helped me. And to everyone who helped make a reality.



Should Atheism be defended? This is a question that every inquisitive skeptic has asked themselves. After all,Should Atheism Be Defended? Articles if there is no god - or no proof of a god - then should this claim be defended? The zealots who wage holy wars, slaughter men, women, and children, can at least point to the omnibenevolence of a god of sorts to excuse their actions. The clergy who indoctrinate children and ban literature will be sure to state that it is for ultimate divinity that their actions are committed. And even religious figures feel the need to persecute minorities because anybody who believes differently does not feel the warmth of their god. These figures, characters, who have molded history in their own way can all claim to have found their beliefs on the belief in an almighty god. However, to those of us who cannot make such a claim, what can we say is the motive of our actions? And to those of us who defend Atheism, what can be said of those motives?

It is an intriguing question. The religious crusader will say that he is filled with the glory and rage of god, forcing him to do the will of his master. The impious thinker, however, cannot claim such a moving force that initiates his actions. It can easily be seen why some men and women may be so unrelenting when it comes to spreading their gospel. They are inspired by the divine, by the ultimate powers that govern the mechanics of the Universe. However, to those who are unholy and irreligious - those of us who find no value or inspiration in any scripture - we cannot claim to be filled with such awe and amazement. We can only claimed to be moved by the far inferior force of reason. To those of us who defend reason and rationalism, those of us who feel that there is an undeniable power in logic, there is nothing to fill us with inspiration that is divine. The same force that motivates the theologian does not motivate the philosopher. If this is true, then to why would a philosopher feel a desire to destroy the construct of faith? Why would the philosopher feel the need to debunk the power of religion? Should Atheism be defended?

Of the Benefits of Religion

One particularly interesting question when it comes to arguing the value of belief over nonbelief, is the question of reform. Over centuries, we have seen that there has been an obvious change in the attitudes of men from different cultures. There has been praise and hate for slavery, reward and punishment for murder. Different ages and different generations brought with them different ideals, all incorporating what they believed into the framework of government and society. There have been times when people questioned the rights of women and there have been times when people questioned the virtues of mercy and tolerance. Reform is perhaps one of the greatest questions when deciding if we wish to stand amidst the camp of belief or nonbelief. Has the church - has religion and its followers - befriended the cause for reform? Or have those who befriended reform been typically of an irreligious background?

Religion has been the base of abominations. It has destroyed lives, blighted futures, and tortured the innocent. In its greatness and power, it has gone unquestion as it killed relentlessly and its power went undoubted as it celebrated on the graves of its victims. There has been no institution so universally responsible for so much when it comes to suffering and destruction. The cultures relinquished, the hopes smothered, and the joys crushed -- the tender moments torn to pieces, the affectionate touches demolished, the brightening emotions desolated -- the memes and ideas propogated that taught men and women to be cruel to each other, to love vice, to hold vengeance against those who believe otherwise -- these ideas can be drawn back to the solitary source of religion. Happiness was sacrificed so that the church could become massive. Mercy was traded for vice; sympathy swapped for cruelty; and charity immolated for viciousness. These all done so that religion and its leaders may grow in power and wealth. There is nothing so debaucherous of compassion and humility than this overgrown vestige of greed and cruelty.

The inclinations of man have run the gamut from natural compassion to corrupt hatred. It was the purpose of the church, the synagogue, the mosque, the temple, the shrine, the baslica, to exploit the superstitions and bigotry of the common man so as to benefit itself. The prejudices of the common man was condoned, as well as fostered and promoted, when it came to the teachings of organized religion. Hate and religion went hand in hand. There was no kinship of all living creatures, no love of each other. When religion exploits the masses, by embracing a bigotted hate of the people and enforcing it, by theft, by murder, by whatever foul and ruinous means, it becomes destructive of happiness. Religion permeates the world with fear, plants the seeds of destruction, and clamps down on independent thought. Reformers who have stood up to say that slavery, or inequality of women, or the rights of children, have always been denounced by traditional religion. Those who oppose cruel and vicious atrocities have always been the target religious oppression. Reform and infidelity are parallel. Orthodoxy endeavors to destroy both institutions.

In all rational considerations, it is best to fear the man who claims that god is behind him. It is not that this godly man will be more merciless or malicious with the accompaniament of religion. It is that when a man follows what he believes god tells him, and nothing else, he is ignorant of reason and oblivious to logic. There is no evidence that you could use to convince him otherwise of his convictions. We are often told by the clergy and the other religious officials of our time that without religion, this world would tear itself to pieces. There would be no common code of ethics nor would there be any morality -- there would be no purpose to act good and no motive to behave kindly. However, rarely do leaders of religion see the errors of their ancestors. And even more rarer still is when they proclaim the errors of their religion. In this deep and dark insidious way, the ecclesiastical leaders have kept their followers ignorant and blind, incapable of making choices for themselves, and reliant upon the church to guide them.

What the scholars and historians of all centuries have failed to recognize is that religion puts a monopoly on morality. Within its borders, religion evicts reason and evidence. Once this is done, there are no ethics based on rational or comprehendible reasons. If an individual is inspired by god that all individuals of a particular race are inferior and ought to be punished, then they will believe that. Any argument that a philosopher can conjure up will be rendered useless. If a churchman agrees with slavery because his god agrees with slavery, what can we say to him? Can we avail to his sense of compassion, or perhaps his faculty of reasoning? We may simply and logically explain to him that every conscious being is fuly capable of feeling suffering as he is, and therefore none ought to be in the chains of slavery. But what good would this explanation do? The religious churchman can always fall back on the argument of the divine. It has long been conceived within religion that reason is inferior to faith. If the faith commands slavery and the rational demands emancipation, then the faithful will remain slavers and rationalists will remain abolitionists. When religion condones cruelty and barbarity clamps down on opposition, progress has come to a standstill and compassion has been traded for faith. It has been with triumphant leaps and bounds that reason has smashed through the cage of religion, delivering some poor victim from the vindictive, torturous ways of faith.

"Therefore, I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews, I am doing the Lord's work." [Mein Kampf, Adolf Hitler.] The words of Adolf Hitler are etched on to history. He did what he did because he believed that faith was stronger than reason -- that blind acceptance of intuition and dogma held more value than open investigation with reason and logic. I do not believe that it was religion alone that convinced Hitler that the existence of Jews harmed Christ. It has also been his natural bigotry of being born in a Europe that was highly anti-semitic for over hundreds of years -- which of course is the result of Christian thought. Perhaps, though, Hitler found appeal in the institutions of prejudice of his time. When he was young, he was like the others of his class: patriotic and pious. He was like everyone else, as he shared on the same prejudices and the same bigoted fears. Like his comrades, he was also deeply religious. Christianity cannot be entirely blamed for the way Hitler developed. The point I am trying to make, is that by using religion as an argument for your side -- or by declaring that god is on your side and not on the side of your enemies -- an individual then becomes distant to reason and irreconcilable with logic. In can be said, in this respect, that religion is the origin of unsolvable conflicts. Compare science to religion. Science is not based on any unworldly power. It is based on natural observation and analysis. One can argue with evidence. There is no arrogant or haughty claim about how the ruler of the Universe feels about these subjects. It is pure reason-based claims. Religion, on the other hand, is unable of finding any objective truth. There have been thousands of religions all through the ages, and as men educated themselves they found themselves less in appeal to such old superstitions. The fact, though, remains: by using religion to defend your philosophical position -- particularly one which includes the murdering of millions of beings -- you inevitably make an inscrutinizable and unquestionable position, because rarely would anyone believing in a higher power desire to question those who call themselves prophets.

Many conflicts are the result of religion. The Crusades, for example, shed an insurmountable amount of blood. Jerusalem, the target of the Crusades as well as other wars, has been the bloodiest city on the planet for the last two thousand years -- many of the battles resulting from religious conflict. Muslims have a similar concept yet it is called the Jihad. This idea of slaughtering without caprice, killing and maiming with thoughts of your master, can undoubtedly be found to have originated amongst the most religiously-minded. Pope Urban II, at the Council of Clermont in France in 1095, made it quite clear his position -- or "god's position" -- on the topic of a crusade...

For the Turks, a Persian people, have attacked them, as many of you already know, and have advanced as far into Roman territory as that part of the Mediterranean which is called the Arm of Saint George. They have seized more and more of the lands of the Christians, have already defeated them in seven times as many battles, killed or captured many people, have destroyed churches, and have devastated the kingdom of God. If you allow them to continue much longer they will conquer God's faithful people much more extensively.

Wherefore with earnest prayer I, not I, but God exhorts you as heralds of Christ to repeatedly urge men of all ranks whatsoever, knights as well as foot-soldiers, rich and poor, to hasten to exterminate this vile race from our lands and to aid the Christian inhabitants in time.

I address those present; I proclaim it to those absent; moreover Christ commands it. For all those going thither there will be remission of sins if they come to the end of this fettered life while marching by land, crossing by sea or in fighting the pagans. This I grant to all who go, through the power vested in me by God.


Let those who have been hirelings for a few pieces of silver now attain an eternal reward. [Council of Clermont, France, 27 November 1095, By Pope Urban II. From: Fulcher of Chartres, A History of the Expedition to Jerusalem: 1095-1127, Book I, Chapter III, translation: Frances Rita Ryan, 1969.]

From reading this speech given by a vicious person, it can easily be seen that they were not a friend of mankind, nor were they a friend of reform. They provoked perhaps the bloodiest wars in history. Of what institution, of what belief, of what foundation can all this mass murder be blamed? Religion. With its foul motives and unconscionable behavior, it has allowed the most horrendous and vindictive behavior all over the centuries. Pope Urban II was not the first to condone such a massacre. In 1154, Pope Eugene III called another crusade, "We, moreover, providing with paternal solicitude for your tranquillity and for the destitution of that same church, do grant and confirm by the authority conceded to us of God, to those who by the promptings of devotion do decide to undertake and to carry through so holy and so necessary a work and labour, that remission of sins which our aforesaid predecessor pope Urban did institute" [Summons to A Crusade, Dec 1, 1154, by Eugene III. Given at Vetralle on the Calends of December. From: Doeberl, Monumenta Germania Selecta, Vol 4, p. 40, trans in Ernest F. Henderson, Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages, (London: George Bell and Sons, 1910), pp. 333-336.] In 1215, Pope Innocent III made a declaration for a crusade...

To those that refuse, moreover, if any by chance shall be so ungrateful to our Lord God, they (the clergy) shall firmly protest on behalf of the apostolic see, that they shall know that for this they are about to answer to us, at the final day of a strict investigation, before the tremendous Judgment. First considering, however, with what conscience, or with what security they will be able to confess in the presence of Jesus Christ the only begotten Son of God, into whose hands the Father gave all things, if they shall refuse in this matter, as if it were properly their own, to serve Him who was crucified for sinners; by whose gift they live, by whose benefit they are sustained, nay, more, by whose blood they are redeemed. [Given at the Lateran, on the nineteenth day before the Calends of January (Dec 14th) in the eighteenth year of out pontificate. Trans in Ernest F. Henderson, Select Historical Documents of the Middle Ages, (London: George Bell and Sons, 1910), pp. 337-344.]

It is a cruel confession to have been responsible for the murder of others because of their creed -- but to what level of inhumanity does the bar rise when you ardently condemn those who do not join in your sickly pleasures? Nothing has been no statement in human history that was so degenerative. Any individual who finds virtue in the murder of masses is nothing short of a brutalitarian. These men, religious leaders who promoted one of the bloodiest movements - and proudly - that history has to offer, were each an ignoramous without the sympathy to understand the plight of the "infidels." There are numerous eye witness accounts of the Crusades...

Many fled to the roof of the temple of Solomon, and were shot with arrows, so that they fell to the ground dead. In this temple almost ten thousand were killed. Indeed, if you had been there you would have seen our feet colored to our ankles with the blood of the slain. But what more shall I relate? None of them were left alive; neither women nor children were spared.


This may seem strange to you. Our squires and poorer footmen discovered a trick of the Muslims, for they learned that they could find a gold coin in the stomachs and intestines of the dead Muslims, who had swallowed them. Thus, after several days they burned a great heap of dead bodies, that they might more easily get the precious metal from the ashes. [The Capture of Jerusalm, 1099, by Fulk of Chartres, chapter 27-28. Edited for clarity. ("Byzant" changed to "gold coin" and "Saracen" changed to "Muslim.")]

However, when the hour approached on which our Lord Jesus Christ deigned to suffer on the Cross for us, our knights began to fight bravely in one of the towers--namely, the party with Duke Godfrey and his brother, Count Eustace. One of our knights, named Lethold, clambered up the wall of the city, and no sooner had he ascended than the defenders fled from the walls and through the city. Our men followed, killing and slaying even to the Temple of Solomon, where the slaughter was so great that our men waded in blood up to their ankles....


The battle raged throughout the day, so that the Temple was covered with their blood. When the pagans had been overcome, our men seized great numbers, both men and women, either killing them or keeping them captive, as they wished. On the roof of the Temple a great number of pagans of both sexes had assembled, and these were taken under the protection of Tancred and Gaston of Beert. Afterward, the army scattered throughout the city and took possession of the gold and silver, the horses and mules, and the houses filled with goods of all kinds.

Later, all of our people went to the Sepulchre of our Lord, rejoicing and weeping for joy, and they rendered up the offering that they owed. In the morning, some of our men cautiously ascended to the roof of the Temple and attacked the Muslims, both men and women, beheading them with naked swords; the remainder sought death by jumping down into the temple.


Among those who entered [Jerusalem] first were Tancred and the Duke of Lorraine, and the amount of blood that they shed on that day is incredible. All ascended after them, and the Muslims now began to suffer.


Some of our men (and this was more merciful) cut off the heads of their enemies; others shot them with arrows, so that they fell from the towers; others tortured them longer by casting them into the flames. Piles of heads, hands, and feet were to be seen in the streets of the city. It was necessary to pick one's way over the bodies of men and horses. But these were small matters compared to what happened at the Temple of Solomon, a place where religious services are ordinarily chanted. What happened there? If I tell the truth, it will exceed your powers of belief. So let it suffice to say this much, at least, that in the Temple and porch of Solomon, men rode in blood up to their knees and bridle reins. Indeed, it was a just and splendid judgment of God that this place should be filled with the blood of the unbelievers, since it had suffered so long from their blasphemies. The city was filled with corpses and blood.


Now that the city was taken, it was well worth all our previous labors and hardships to see the devotion of the pilgrims at the Holy Sepulchre. How they rejoiced and exulted and sang a new song to the Lord! For their hearts offered prayers of praise to God, victorious and triumphant, which cannot be told in words. A new day, new joy, new and perpetual gladness, the consummation of our labor and devotion, drew forth from all new words and new songs. This day, I say, will be famous in all future ages, for it turned our labors and sorrows into joy and exultation; this day, I say, marks the justification of all Christianity, the humiliation of paganism, and the renewal of our faith. "This is the day which the Lord hath made, let us rejoice and be glad in it," for on this day the Lord revealed Himself to His people and blessed them. [A.C. Krey. The First Crusade: The Accounts of Eye-witnesses and Participants. (Princeton: 1921), pp. 256-262. "Saracen" changed to "Muslim" for clarity.]

Were these men Atheists? Were they fluent in the works of Epicurus? Did they consider Democritus to be a hero? Were they Materialists, holding account natural causes for natural phenomenon? The answer is a resounding no. They were Christians, full of pride in their religion and committing such actions at the command of Christianity. They were only fluent in what the preachers taught them and what the Popes told them. They held Christ to be their only hero. These men, incredibly superstitious and heartless, were vicious and relentless. They attacked the Jews on account of religion. Had religion been eradicated by the ancients, such a conflict would not have arisen. If only these men had the mind to reason, such bloodshed would have been spared. Instead of focusing on religious quarrels - unsolvable quarrels - they could have focused on endeavoring to make each other's lives better, to promote creativity, to become more affectionate of each other. But their primary goal was not sympathy. At the command of religion, they beheaded, they slayed, they murdered, they raped, they pillaged. Even so, these Christians were made cruel by their religion. What can be said of the Jews who defended Jerusalem? One observer noted, "Yet because of the many troubles and the fasts which they had observed they had no strength to stand up against the enemy." [The Crusaders in Mainz, May 27, 1096, Soloman bar Samson.] Their religious rituals had made them weak. They were unable to fight off the crusaders. The Jews were afraid of Christians raising their children, so when realizing that they were outnumbered and weak, they slaughtered each other. One eyewitness claims...

The women there girded their loins with strength and slew their sons and their daughters and then themselves. Many men, too, plucked up courage and killed their wives, their sons, their infants. The tender and delicate mother slaughtered the babe she had played with, all of them, men and women arose and slaughtered one another. The maidens and the young brides and grooms looked out of the Windows and in a loud voice cried: "Look and see, O our God, what we do for the sanctification of Thy great name in order not to exchange you for a hanged and crucified one...." [The Crusaders in Mainz, May 27, 1096, Soloman bar Samson.]

In the name of religion, these Jews fasted, made themselves weak, and then were unable to battle the onslaught of the crusaders. Once the crusaders had taken their city, they slaughtered each other with great propensity. Those who were unable to kill themselves were given aid from family and friends. In the name of their god, they were unwilling to accept another religion. They sacrificed their own lives and killed their children just so that they would not have to trade one mental illness for another. The Crusades certainly were not the only instance of a religious war. In fact, Italian city-states once organized a revolt against Rome. In response, unspeakable atrocities were committed...

When Italian city-states organized and revolted against Rome in 1375, Robert of Geneva hired a mercenary band to reconquer the area for papal control: Swearing clemency by a solemn oath on his cardinal's hat, Cardinal Robert persuaded the men of Cessna to lay down their arms, and won their confidence by asking for 50 hostages and immediately releasing them as evidence of good will. Then summoning his mercenaries... he ordered a general massacre 'to exercise justice.' ... For three days and nights beginning February 3, 1377, while the city gates were closed, the soldiers slaughtered. 'All the squares were full of dead.' Trying to escape, hundreds drowned in the moats, thrust back by relentless swords. Women were seized for rape, ransom was placed on children, plunder succeeded the killing, works of art were ruined, handicrafts laid waste, 'and what could not be carried away, they burned, made unfit for use or spilled upon the ground.' The toll of the dead was between 2,500-5,000. [A Distant Mirror, by Tuchman, pages 321-322.]

For the sake of god, these men pillaged, destroyed, and raped. They were indiscriminate in their cruel and atrocious actions, leaving even children with the severest scars that life had to offer. It was this ignorance for the value of life that emboddied itself in religious this -- this licentious and irretrievable sentiment instilled in the hearts of religious zealots that worth cannot be found in humanity. From going to church, they learned to disrespect natural inclinations of kindness, to adhere to all aggressive motives, to throw off any coming to affection. Virtue was hated and vice loved. The religious man only understood two things: that he was going to heaven as long as he believed, and that his aggressions against others of another faith were acceptable -- they were even promoted by the one who granted him eternal life. In the hearts and minds of the crusaders and religionists lied these two beliefs, side by side as they made perfect kindling for the most barbaric, unfeeling, and brutal behavior that the world would ever see.

Violence is a currency in religion. It has manifested itself into the sects, the denominations, the cults, the religions, the varied forms of insanity. If you find any institution where the mental faculties are disregarded to the mental illnesses, you are bound to find unsolvable conflicts abound. Even beyond that, you are bound to find a collective of degenerative individuals who would relish in their work as violent beings.

Human history in all ages is red with blood, and bitter with hate, and stained with cruelties; but not since Biblical times have these features been without a limit of some kind. Even the Church, which is credited with having spilt more innocent blood, since the beginning of its supremacy, than all the political wars put together have spilt, has observed a limit. A sort of limit. But you notice that when the Lord God of Heaven and Earth, adored Father of Man, goes to war, there is no limit. He is totally without mercy -- he, who is called the Fountain of Mercy. He slays, slays, slays! All the men, all the beasts, all the boys, all the babies; also all the women and all the girls, except those that have not been deflowered.

He makes no distinction between innocent and guilty. The babies were innocent, the beasts were innocent, many of the men, many of the women, many of the boys, many of the girls were innocent, yet they had to suffer with the guilty. What the insane Father required was blood and misery; he was indifferent as to who furnished it.

The heaviest punishment of all was meted out to persons who could not by any possibility have deserved so horrible a fate -- the 32,000 virgins. Their naked privacies were probed, to make sure that they still possessed the hymen unruptured; after this humiliation they were sent away from the land that had been their home, to be sold into slavery; the worst of slaveries and the shamefulest, the slavery of prostitution; bed-slavery, to excite lust, and satisfy it with their bodies; slavery to any buyer, be he gentleman or be he a coarse and filthy ruffian.[Letters from the Earth, Letter 11.]


In August 1572... in Paris and elsewhere in France... it was Christian against Christian. The Roman Catholics, by previous concert, sprang a surprise upon the unprepared and unsuspecting Protestants, and butchered them by the thousands -- both sexes and all ages. This was the memorable St. Bartholomew's Day. At Rome the Pope and the Church gave public thanks to God when the happy news came. During several centuries, hundreds of heretics were burned at the stake every year because their religious opinions were not satisfactory to the Roman Church... ["The Damned Human Race," subsection: "The Lowest Animal," by Mark Twain.]

Religion, being the origin of unsolvable conflict, has destroyed more cultures and lives than possibly any other institution. It has infected minds with hate and dogma. It has given individuals permission to cause suffering, rewarding them even. It has made some men so bigoted and hateful that would kill themselves, only so that they can die knowing happily that they caused suffering to someone of another faith. It is this mentality, this religiousness, which has caused the holy wars that plagued the face of the earth. Even Albert Gore understands this...

Jefferson knew history. He could look back on centuries of religious war in Europe: on massacre, burning, rape, pillage, and hatreds that tore nations apart and soaked the earth in blood. He knew from history and human nature how easy it is to arouse mass, murderous passion when religious demagogues cry that God wills it.... My mother's people, the Lafons, were French Huguenots, driven out of their homeland because of their religious faith, Protestantism. They found a new home in America...

We have had narrow escapes. Americans are human beings, subject to the same temptations and the same pride and the same fears that affilct people of all nations. Puritans in Boston hanged Quakers in a grim public ceremony on the limbs of the Great Elm on Boston Common. Baptists under Roger Williams had to flee Massachusetts.... Joseph Smith, founder of the Church of Latter Day Saints, the Mormons, was murdered by a mob.... Anti-Semitism is a stain on our history. For many decades, Jews could not buy houses in some parts of town. They were banned from many organizations.... Their innocent children suffered the thousand daily humiliations that prejudice could heap upon them, and suffer still....

Even as we celebrate our religious liberty today, killing in the name of religion goes on all around the world. At this moment, the Muslims of Sarajevo are being shelled by artillery from the supposedly Christian Serbs in the mountains above the helpless city. The peaceful, inoffensive adherents of the Baha'i faith in Iran are imprisoned and murdered by the Iranian government. Their crime? The Baha'is beileve in the spiritual unity of mankind. Saddam Hussein carries on a campaign of terror against the Shi'ite Muslims in his Iraq. Muslim fundamentalists in Egypt machine gun tourists. Hindus and Muslims in the Indian subcontinent are at each other's throats. Northern Ireland blazes with gunfire between opposing sides who claim to worship the same Christ.... Throughout history, religious wars have always been the most brutal and cruel and merciless. [Vice President Albert Gore, speaking at a Religious Freedom Day ceremony in Richmond on January 14, 1994, in a building designed by Thomas Jefferson.]

The wars and conflicts caused by religion are innumerable. The world has been plagued with this disease called religion since mankind could explain a natural effect with a supernatural cause. Why would men be so inclined as to try and slaughter their fellow kin? Why would mercy, affection, and kindness be evicted from the hearts of men, replaced with tyranny, hypocrisy, and corruption? Religion. It made men into monsters, unfeeling and smiling at the aid of torture. Brutal and relentless, religionists all over the world have always sought out targets to persecute, have always looked for victims to make their lives more miserable, have always endeavored to do the will of their god. In the name of divinity, for whatever the spirits demanded, the priests and popes paid: with lives, happiness, hope. When a religion embarks with causing suffering as goal, the first thing that has been lost is justice.

It has been stipulated in modern times by particular Christians that Satanists and other anti-Christians abuse and sacrifice children. These reports circulate primarily Christian newspapers. As far as the truth is concerned - which it is not of concern to these Christians - Christianity has caused more suffering on this planet than Satanism ever could imagine. In the name of Christianity, however, more child abuse has ocurred than in the name of any other religion. One criminal investigator noted, "The fact is that far more crime and child abuse has been committed by zealots in the name of God, Jesus and Mohammed than has ever been committed in the name of Satan. Many people don't like that statement, but few can argue with it." [Kenneth V. Lanning, Supervisory Special Agent at the Behavioral Science Instruction and Research Unit of the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Quote from the October 1989 issue of the professional journal, The Police Chief.] Carl Sagan notes on several incidents of excessive child abuse...

(1) Mya Obasi, a Louisiana schoolteacher, was -- she and her sisters believed after consultation with a hoodoo practitioner -- possessed by demons. Her nephew's nightmares were part of the evidence. So they left for Dallas, abandoned their five children, and the sisters then gouged out Ms. Obasi's eyes. At the trial, she defended her sisters. They were trying to help her, she said. But hoodoo is not devil-worship; it is a cross between Catholicism and African-Haitian nativist religion. (2) Parents beat their child to death because she would not embrace their brand of Christianity. (3) A child molestor justifies his acts by reading the Bible to his victims. (4) A 14-year-old boy has his eyeball plucked from his head in an exorcism ceremony. His assailant is not a satanist, but a Protestant fundamentalist minister engaged in religious pursuits. (5) A woman thinks her 12-year-old son is possessed by the devil. After an incestuous relationship with him, she decapitates him. But there is no satanic ritual content to the "possession." [The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, pages 160-161.]

Numerous atrocities, all in the name of the unseen, have been committed. However, Christianity is not the only one to blame when it comes to child abuse. The Hare Krishnas also fail to see value in humaneness. They can be noted and remembered for their taste for abuse and their enjoyment of suffering. The following allegations by certain of their followers are being held against them...

* Children forced to sleep in unheated rooms

* Forced to walk great distances in cold without coats or shoes

* Deprived of medical care for malaria, hepatitis and broken bones

* Scrubbed with steel wool until they bled

* Moved to schools in different states without parental consent [Friday, 8 February, 2002, 18:19 GMT, "Krishnas to file for bankruptcy," B. B. C. News]

These are only recent ways that the religious have demonstrated their lack of humanity. There have been situations all throughout history where the church and religion has failed to show affection for mankind at all. Ingersoll recounts one incident of church cruelty...

The worst religion of the world was the Presbyterianism of Scotland as it existed in the beginning of the eighteenth century. The Kirk had all the faults of the Church of Rome without a redeeming feature. The Kirk hated music, painting, statuary, and architecture. Anything touched with humanity -- with the dimples of joy -- was detested and accursed. God was to be feared -- not loved.

Life was a long battle with the Devil. Every desire was of Satan. Happiness was a snare, and human love was wicked, weak and vain. The Presbyterian priest of Scotland was as cruel, bigoted and heartless as the familiar of the Inquisition.

One case will tell it all;

In the beginning of this, the nineteenth century, a boy seventeen years of age, Thomas Aikenhead, was indicted and tried at Edinburgh for blasphemy. He had denied the inspiration of the Bible. He had on several occasions, when cold, jocularly wished himself in hell that he might get warm. The poor, frightened boy recanted -- begged for mercy; but he was found guilty, hanged, thrown in a hole at the foot of the scaffold, and his weeping mother vainly begged that his bruised and bleeding body might be given to her.

This one case, multiplied again and again, gives you the condition of Scotland... ["On Diderot," by Robert Green Ingersoll.]

In this regard, does any educated person believe that religion and Humanitarianism walk hand in hand? Absolutely not. Religion's sole enemy is Humanitarianism. If you wish to make a man irreligious, there is nothing so impacting that you can do than to make him humane. To teach him to disregard the religious dogmas which made his ancestors barbaric savages, unconscionable brutes, is to make him realize that there is nothing so destructive of affectionate and compassionate behavior than the superstition and bigotry of religion. To this point, I have discussed the numerous abominations that religion has so generously handed to mankind. In the day they were committed, in the minds of the culprits, they were not crimes but acts of virtue. They thought they were only guilty of piety, which - in a sense - they were. But they were guilty of much more than that. The crusaders neglected their faculties of reason and compassion. They were attracted to the ideas which inflicted countless horror into the hearts of the defenseless. With plain sight, it is easy enough to see that what these men did was horrible. There have been times, however, when the methods of the church and religion were rarely questioned.

Christians were not always the one in the majority. The religious majority always seemed to be oppressive, no matter what form it took on. Tertullian, the early Christian church father noted of the oppressive Romans, "But go zealously on, good presidents, you will stand higher with the people if you sacrifice the Christians at their wish, kill us, torture us, condemn us, grind us to dust; your injustice is the proof that we are innocent." [The Apology, by Tertullian.] Once Christianity came to power, though, it slaughtered mercilessly without even slight caprice. Of the Pope, one said, "...he wished to compel us to recognize the Pope's primacy among all prelates and to commemorate his name in public prayers, under pain of death against those who refuse." [Inquisition and Liberty, by G.G. Coulton, (Gloucester, MA: Peter Smith, 1969) page 165.]

An age-old institution of brutality and greed is that of slavery. And no other collective than that of the religious has been the first to defend it. "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to win their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord." This is how Colossians 3:22 reads. 1 Peter 2:18 reads as follows, "Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh." Ephesians 6:5, "Slaves, obey your earthly masters with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ." Numerous passages throughout the Bible sanction slavery. This degrading institution, where men and woman may be sold and bought - their desires and wishes, their fears and passions, meaning nothing to those who own them - this slavery, which scripture has proven itself fond of, is a solitary beacon of cruelty and inhumaneness. To those who endeavor to enrich themselves by putting others through this torturous system, they can be described as monsters unfeeling of any sympathy. It is obvious, though, that scripture sanctions slavery -- this is nothing new. However, in the midst of ignorance surrounding religion, if you wish to destroy this inhumane institution, you are battling against god himself. The god of Christianity, having allowed slavery, is a right vicious being indeed. There is no arguing against that. There have been those who have detested slavery and were religious. However, their arguments made them look absurd and ridiculous, and their ignorance was seething in utmost quantities. William Patton was a pastor in the 1800's who published several sermons against slavery. To quote one of them...

At first sight, it might appear preposterous, to denounce the Bible on the ground that it sanctions slaveholding, when the Old Testament contains this explicit condemnation of it,

"He that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death [Exodus 21:16," and "Woe unto him that buildeth his house by unrighteousness, and his chambers by wrong; that useth his neighbors service without wages, and giveth him not for his work [Jeremiah 22:13]"; when also the New Testament exhibits such words of rebuke as these: "Behold the hire of the laborers who have reaped down your fields, which you kept back by fraud, crieth; and the cries of them who have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of Sabbaoth [James 5:4]." "The law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons [I Timothy 1:9-10]." [Slavery, the Bible, Infidelity: Pro-slavery Interpretations of the Bible: Productive of Infidelity, by William W. Patton.]

The first verse Patton quoted stated it was unlawful to enslave another, but shortly after it states, "If a man beats his male or female slave with a rod and the slave dies as a direct result, he must be punished, but he is not to be punished if the slave gets up after a day or two, since the slave is his property." (Exodus 21:20-21) The second verse stated that it was unrighteous to not pay people for their labor. The third verse didn't even state that it was an atrocity to slaves -- it simply stated that laborers who were kept back through fraud existed. The fourth verse finally says that the law is only made for murderers, non-believers, and slavers. The ignorance of the Bible and religion is the fault of Patton. It is important that we note this, the fact that a pastor -- a man supposedly of god -- is unfamiliar with the very book that is the foundation of his religion. Blinded by piety, there is no realistic effort for reform. When this pastor cannot see that the Bible condones slavery, what hope can there be for abolition? Even reading this text, you will find that he is by far much more concerned with people being Christian than slaves being freed -- he mocks infidelity, calling it productive of ruinous vice.

1 Timothy 6:1 reads, "All who are under the yoke of slavery should consider their masters worthy of full respect, so that God's name and our teaching may not be slandered." Frederick Douglass, a runaway slave and political genius, once said, "I prayed for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs." [Views of Religion (Boston: L. K. Washburn, 1906), by Rufus K. Noyes.] The Popes and priests of the world have been ruthless and unfeeling monsters ever to exist. In accordance with this state of affairs, they have harnessed slavery whole heartedly. Joseph McCabe recalls one incident with the Pope...

Pope Gregory, my Catholic friend, was the greatest slave-owner in the world in the sixth century. Announcing that the end of the world was to come in 600 A.D., he kindly allowed land-owners and slave-owners to hand over their property to the Church -- God would not damn the Church for its wealth -- and enter monasteries. The Papacy soon had an income from land, of about two million dollars a year; a stupendous sum in those impoverished days. Enormous numbers of slaves tilled the eighteen hundred square miles of the Church's property. [The Story Of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe, Chapter XIX, "the Gospel and the Slave."]

The Pope was clever and cunning, but deceitful to unthinkable ends. In his power, he announced that the world would end in 600 A.D.. Religion held its common position: to advance towards brutal, superstitious goals. With the end of the world approaching, the Pope collected slaves and funds. The Bishop of London, Edmund Gibson, argued that Christianity gives the Native inhabitants of land freedom while putting them in shackles so that they may die working: "The Freedom which Christianity gives, is a Freedom from the Bondage of Sin and Satan, and from the Dominion of Men's Lusts and Passions and inordinate Desires; but as to their otward Condition, whatever that was before, whether bond or free, their being baptised, and becoming Christians, makes no manner of Change in it." [The Arrogance of Faith, by Forrest Wood, (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1990) page 119.] Any sane man would choose the "Bondage of Sin and Satan" compared to being the slave of a Christian. Saint John Chrysostom said, "The slave should be resigned to his lot, in obeying his master he is obeying God..." [Cathedral and Crusade, by Henri Daniel-Rops, (New York: E.P.Dutton & Company, Inc., 1957) page 263.] In the City of God, Saint Augustine wrote, "...slavery is now penal in character and planned by that law which commands the preservation of the natural order and forbids distrubance." [Adam, Eve and the Serpent, by Elaine Pagels (New York: Random House, 1988) page 114.] Carl Sagan describes the situation of slavery in early America...

The slaves had drummed into them, from plantation to pulpit alike, from courthouse to statehouse, the notion that they were hereditary inferiors, that God intended them for their misery. The Holy Bible, as countless passages confirmed, condoned slavery. In these ways the "peculiar institution" maintained itself despite its monstrous nature--something even its practitioners must have glimpsed. [The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, page 355.]

It is commonly believed that the most massive and suffering-filled slavery of all times was that of African slavery. This may very well be true, but we should also observe the other injustices of this vile institution. Missionaries have been a long-time member of the world's religions. They have been haughty ignoramouses, destroying lands and cultures in their pursuit of religious zealotry. The clergy told them that god would reward them for every soul they captured. The king told them that they would be rewarded for every land they tamed. With these worldy and spiritual benefits at hand, the missionary stopped at nothing to spread his religion -- no cry of pain too close, no expression of agony too much, no destruction ever enough. Of these unfeeling men, Charles Dickens has said, "Missionaries ... are perfect nuisances, and leave every place worse than they found it." [Charles Dickens, quoted be Jack Lindsay in Charles Dickens: A Biographical and Critical Study (New York: Philosophical Library, 1950), p. 39.] No figure in history as stood so solitary as a beacon of destruction, an omen that your culture would cease to exist -- an omen that everything you cherished will be taken and destroyed, nothing has been so astonishingly vicious as the missionary.

It was the Christopher Columbus's aim to "convert the heathen Indians to our Holy faith." ["Columbus Saga Sinking Fast," by Hugh A. Mulligan (Associated Press, March 8, 1992).] In his own words, Columbus described how he himself "took [his] pleasure" with a native woman after whipping her "soundly" with a piece of rope. ["War of words over Columbus rages on," by Jon Margolis, The Sunday Denver Post, July 28, 1991, page 7.] By 1570, the Inquisition had established an independent tribunal in Peru and in the city of Mexico -- it was described as for the purpose of "freeing the land, which had become contaminated by Jews and heretics." [The Spanish Inquisition, by Cecil Roth (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1964) page 210.] Natives who did not convert were burned at the stake and by the early seventeenth century, the Christians had claimed no less than 3,800 lives -- a small, near insignificant token compared to the amount of lives that have been claimed in the name of the holiest god. [The Spanish Inquisition, by Plaidy, page 165; The Spanish Inquisition, by Roth, page 221.] The Jesuit Antonio Vieira (even though he was imprisoned once for his work on behalf of Native Americans and substituting African humans as slaves), he believed that runaway slaves were guilty of sin and worthy of excommunication. [Catholicism Between Luther and Voltaire, by Delumeau, page 88.]

The term "witchhunt" today means an unjust and unfair search and accusation based on mere association or nonconformity. Only a few hundred years ago, the witchhunts were the most vindictive and brutal series of murders and tortures that took place all over Europe. Behind every judge was the smiling face of hypcrisy, behind every prosecutor the contemptuous fist of tyranny, and behind every king the dogma and superstition which promoted the witchhunts. The victims were not at all guilty of anything wrong -- they had been different, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time, they may have been too ugly, or too beautiful. There is only one thing that they are guilty of: being within the proximity of barbarians who would cut the throats of their fellow kin at the whim of suspicion that they were a witch. Superstition grabbed the minds of men and forced them to bow to the authority of brutality -- kings demanded it, priests demanded it, the papacy demanded it. Everywhere that superstition and bigotry graced you can find the ill-kempt dogmas of Christianity and cruelty. The church claimed it wished to do what the lord had commanded. The church filled the world with fear; it made men tremble at the power of things unseen -- it engrossed itself in the chaos, greed, cruelty, and barbaric behavior, all in the name of the divine. Carl Sagan attempts to explain the witchhunts...

The witch mania is shameful. How could we do it? How could we be so ignorant about ourselves and our weaknesses? How could it have happened in the most "advanced," the most "civilized," nations then on Earth? Why was it resolutely supported by conservatives, monarchists, and religious fundamentalists? Why opposed by liberals, Quakers and followers of the Enlightenment? If we're absolutely sure that our beliefs are right, and those of others wrong; that we are motivated by good, and others by evil; that the King of the Universe speaks to us, and not to adherents of very different faiths; that it is wicked to challenge conventional doctrines or to ask searching questions; that our main job is to believe and obey--then the witch mania will recur in its infinite variations down to the time of the last man. [The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, page 413.]

Veronika Zerritsch (1741-1754) was executed for witchcraft in Bavaria. She was only 13. When Joe Vikin read of her, he wrote...

Your execution ordained

by clerics who feared women,

hated beauty, envied youth,

mistrusted laughter:

Those men were made eunuchs

by their beliefs, destroyers of

what they could not possess.

Veronika, your memory will live,

while decent humanity will

curse the men who caused your death. [Who's Who In Hell, entry for "Zerritsch, Veronika.]

Over 250,000 men and women were executed from the witchhunts. [Resources: THE BOOK OF DAYS, W. J. Bethancourt III (unpublished ms.); CHRONICLE OF THE WORLD, Jerome Burne; Ecam, 1990; A NATURAL HISTORY OF UNNATURAL THINGS, Daniel Cohen; McCall, 1971; NEVER ON A BROOMSTICK, Frank Donovan; Bell, 1971; A HISTORY OF SECRET SOCIETIES, Arkhon Daraul; Citadel, 1962; THE WEAKER VESSEL, Antonia Fraser, Borzoi, 1984; EXTRAORDINARY POPULAR DELUSIONS AND THE MADNESS OF CROWDS, Charles MacKay; L.C.Page, 1932, (orig. pub. 1841); THE HISTORY OF MAGIC AND THE OCCULT, Kurt Seligmann; Harmony Books, 1975; THE GEOGRAPHY OF WITCHCRAFT, Montague Summers, University Books, 1965; TREASURY OF WITCHCRAFT, Harry E. Wedeck; Philosophical Library, 1961; SOUNDINGS IN SATANISM, pp 46-54. ISBN 0 264 64627 4.] In November, 1925, a police officer at Uttenheim, Germany, shot a witch he thought was turning into a werewolf. [Ibidum.] The last suspected witch to be executed was beheaded in Saudi Arabia in 1997. [Ibidum.] The witchhunts can be described as perhaps the most awful series of murders, executions, and tortures to come across the continent of Europe.

Along with the burnings and executions of witches, Christianity has naturally held a zealous contempt of women. This can easily be seen in the book of Genesis when women are blamed for the toils and sufferings of man. 1 Corinthians 11:3 reads, "But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God." 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 reads, "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church." Ephesians 5:22-24 reads, "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing." Colossians 3:18 reads "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord." 1 Peter 3:1 reads, "Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands." It can easily be seen in the scripture that god is not fond of women.

"As to the church, my friend, I am sick of it. The spectacle presented by the indecent squabbles of priests of most denominations, and by the exemplary unfairness and rancor with wich they conduct their differences ... utterly repel me." - Charles Dickens. [Charles Dickens, letter to William de Cerjat, 1864.] Pope Paul VI explained in 1977 why women were not allowed to become priestesses, "because our Lord was a man." [The Chalice and the Blade, by Riane Eisler, (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1987) pages 131-132.] Pat Robertson, head of the Christian Coalition, has said, "NOW [National Organization for Women] is saying that in order to be a woman, you've got to be a lesbian." [Pat Robertson, "The 700 Club," 12/3/97] In a fundraising letter, he wrote, "The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians." [Pat Robertson, fundraising letter, 1992] Another enlightening quote from this man of accomplishment is, "I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period." [Pat Robertson, "The 700 Club," 1/8/92] It's no wonder that Margaret Sanger's motto for her Feminist newsletter was, "No Gods No Masters." [Motto of The Woman Rebel.] There are others who woud be quick to oppress the rights of women. John Brockhoeft once wrote...

I'm a very narrow-minded, intolerant, reactionary, Bible-thumping fundamentalist... a zealot and fanatic... The reason the United States was once a great nation, besides being blessed by God, is because she was founded on truth, justice, and narrow-mindedness. [From a Cincinnati pro-life newsletter; quoted from The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, page 429.]

Religion has never been the friend of science, so it should be no suprise that it does not raise intelligent, curious, inquisitive minds. Randall Terry once spoke to a congregation...

"Let a wave of intolerance wash over you... Yes, hate is good... Our goal is a Christian nation... We are called by God to conquer this country... We don't want pluralism." [Told to a congregation in August 1993; quote from The Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, by Carl Sagan, page 429.]

There are numerous other causes that religion has been decidedly quick to destroy. According to Leviticus 18:22, Homosexual acts are an abomination to God. According to Leviticus 20: 13, Homosexuals must be executed. Romans 14:2 reads, "For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs." God gave the rights of women, children, and slaves to white Christians. With such a cruel and heartless manner, the Christians would treat these individuals horrenodusly. "He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him." (Proverbs 13:24) "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him." (Proverbs 22:15) "Discipline your son, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to his death." (Proverbs 19:18) "Do not withold discipline from a child; if you punish him with the rid, he will not die. Punish him with the rod and save his soul from death." (Proverbs 23:13) The Bible promotes the idea of beating children -- a rather heartless and cruel doctrine. In Genesis 1:29, god stated that he created animalia so that man may suffice his needs and cravings. The theologian Paley refuses to give any rights to non-humans on account of the fact that scripture affords them no sympathy. For centuries, other Christians believed this, but to them, they afforded no rights to women, children, or non-whites. Rene Descartes denied the idea that African humans had souls -- he stated that they were even incapable of feeling pain or suffering. Paley defends his position of refusing rights to animals...

"A right to the flesh of animals. Some excuse seems necessary for the pain and loss which we occasion to animals by restraining them of their liberty, mutilating their bodies, and at last putting an end to their lives for our pleasure or convenience. The reasons alleged in vindication of this practice are the following: that the several species of animals being created to prey upon one another affords a kind of analogy to prove that the human species were intended to feed upon them.... Upon which reason I would observe that the analogy contended for is extremely lame, since animals have no power to support life by any other means, and since we have, for the whole human species might subsist entirely upon fruit, pulse, herbs, and roots, as many tribes of Hindus actually do.... It seems to me that it would be difficult to defend this right by any arguments which the light and order of Nature afford, and that we are beholden for it to the permission recorded in Scripture. [Quote from Animals' Rights, by Henry Stephens Salt, firsted printed 1892.]

Robert Green Ingersoll detested the child abuse that the Bible was so enthralled with. Ingersoll would have rather offered a touch of affection than that stinging pain of the Bible to his children. To quote him...

...what shall I say of children; of the little children in alleys and sub-cellars; the little children who turn pale when they hear their father's footsteps; little children who run away when they only hear their names called by the lips of a mother; little children -- the children of poverty, the children of crime, the children of brutality, wherever they are -- flotsam and jetsam upon the wild, mad sea of life -- my heart goes out to them, one and all.


Yet some Christians, good Christians, when a child commits a fault, drive it from the door and say: "Never do you darken this house again." Think of that! And then these same people will get down on their knees and ask God to take care of the child they have driven from home. I will never ask God to take care of my children unless I am doing my level best in that same direction.


I despise that way of going through this world. Let us have liberty -- Just a little. Call me infidel, call me atheist, call me what you will, I intend so to treat my children, that they can come to my grave and truthfully say: "He who sleeps here never gave us a moment of pain. From his lips, now dust, never came to us an unkind word." ["The Liberty of All," by Robert Green Ingersoll, section "The Liberty of Children," 1877.]

There have been many who pointed to a source of the primary evils in this world. Some blamed government. Some blamed easy access to weapons. But nay, there has been no force so unavailingly brutal and relentlessly cold than that of Faith-based religion. The whole of holy wars, of inquisitory councils, of systematic oppression, of condoned slavery, of promoted ignorance, of numerous atrocities, can be drawn back to the single, responsible source of religion. It was not the cold hard steel of a sword, nor was it the heirarchal construct of political parties that made men cruel and vicious. It was the idea that god desired cruelty, and men believed 'so he shall have it,' -- under this justification of religion and beneath the flag of maliciousness, religious zealots would cover the face of the Earth, spreading their tyranny and enslaving those who would profit them. No institution has caused so much devastation in an alarmingly small amount of time as this vindictive, debaucherous thing we call religion.

In the midst of this religious fury, of men slaughtering infants and raping women for the cause of their god, an utmost contempt has been reserved for the Atheist infidels. Those who have no god to kill for, no god demanding to pillage, have been treated with the least respect and the highest degree of suspicion, if not outright desecration of character. John Locke once wrote...

"Those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of a God. Promises, covenants, and oaths, which are the bonds of human society, can have no hold upon an atheist." [John Locke, "A Letter Concerning Toleration," 1689 as printed in The Founders' Constitution, Volume 5 (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1987) 69.]

Because of the fact that Atheists do not slaughter enough for their religion, that we do not pillage, rape, and hold ransom in the name of the almighty, we are to be denied social bonds of human society. Because we do not beat our children to death for not embracing our ideas, because we do not invade foreign lands in the name of godlessness and slaughter, because we do not hold superstition and bigotry hand in hand, we are given no credibility. Locke may very well have said, "The man who will be more likely to thrust his sword into your stomach as far as possible for his god is more to uphold his deals -- the man who has no god to kill for, no bigotries to be exploited, no prejudices to offend, is unreliable and social bonds cannot have hold upon these intolerable men." Ingersoll remarks on the crimes of the church against the infidel...

"But the church is as unforgiving as ever, and still wonders why any Infidel should be wicked enough to endeavor to destroy her power. I will tell the church why. You have imprisoned the human mind; you have been the enemy of liberty; you have burned us at the stake -- wasted us upon slow fires -- torn our flesh with iron; you have covered us with chains -- treated us as outcasts; you have filled the world with fear; you have taken our wives and children from our arms; you have confiscated our property; you have denied us the right to testify in courts of justice; you have branded us with infamy; you have torn out our tongues; you have refused us burial. In the name of your religion, you have robbed us of every right; and after having inflicted upon us every evil that can be inflicted in this world, you have fallen upon your knees, and with clasped hands implored your God to torment us forever." [Robert Green Ingersoll, Orator and Freethinker, from On Thomas Paine, by Robert Green Ingersoll, 1870.]

If there

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