Ingersoll was awesome. A true Enlightenment scribe. An atheist, responsible for things like the 40 hour work week and the demise of the company store. A true humanitarian. A learned intellectual. A man who had thousands come to hear him speak, his eloquence a beacon to theists and atheists alike.<quoted text>
"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."
Ingersoll was beloved by outstanding people in all walks of life. Among his admirers were president James Garfield, poet Walt Whitman, President Ulysses S. Grant, industrialist-philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, inventor Thomas Edison, preacher Henry Ward Beecher, and women's rights pioneer Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Ingersoll especially impressed Mark Twain. After hearing Ingersoll speak, he wrote his wife: "He poured molten silver from his lips. What an organ is human speech when it is employed by a master!"
Some notable quotations:
· 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.
· 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.
· Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.
· Happiness is not a reward - it is a consequence. Suffering is not a punishment - it is a result.
· 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.
· 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 Testament, he would be insane.
· It is a blessed thing that in every age someone has had the individuality enough and courage enough to stand by his own convictions.
· It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense.
· 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...
· 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.'