Thomas Paine was not rich, he was poor, and his father before him was poor, and he was raised a sailmaker, a very lowly profession, and yet that man became one of the mainstays of liberty in this world. At one time he was an excise man, like Burns. Burns was once—speak it softly—a gauger—and yet he wrote poems that will wet the cheek of humanity with tears as long as the world travels in its orb around the sun.
Ignorance is a poor pedestal to set virtue upon and mock-modesty should not have the right to prevent people from knowing themselves. Every child has a right to be well-born, and ignorance has no right to people the world with scrofula and consumption. When we come to the conclusion that God is not taking care of us and that we have to take care of ourselves, then we’ll begin to have something in the world worth living for.
I need not go further in bible quotations to show that woman, throughout the old testament, is a degraded being, having no rights which her husband, father, brother, or uncle is bound to respect. Still, that is bible doctrine, and that bible is the word of a just and omniscient God!
The bible was the real persecutor. The bible burned heretics, built dungeons, founded the Inquisition, and trampled upon all the liberties of men. How long, O how long, will mankind worship a book? How long will they grovel in the dust before the ignorant legends of the barbaric past? How long, O how long, will they pursue phantoms in a darkness deeper than death?
To attack the king was treason; to dispute the priest was blasphemy. These robbers and these beggars controlled two worlds. The king made laws, the priest made creeds. Both obtained their authority from God, both were the agents of the infinite. With bowed backs the people carried the burdens of one, and with wonder’s open mouth received the dogmas of the other. If the people aspired to be free, they were crushed by the king, and every priest was a Herod, who slaughtered the children of the brain.
WAS he kinder, more forgiving, more self-sacrificing than Buddha? Was he wiser, did he meet death with more perfect calmness, than Socrates? Was he more patient, more charitable, than Epictetus? Was he a greater philosopher, a deeper thinker, than Epicurus? In what respect was he the superior of Zoroaster? Was he gentler than Laotse, more universal than Confucius? Were his ideas of human rights and duties superior to those of Zeno? Did he express grander truths than Cicero? Was his mind subtler than Spinoza’s? Was his brain equal to Kepler’s or Newton’s? Was he grander in death—a sublimer martyr than Bruno?
The educated Christians admit that the writers of the Bible were not inspired as to any science. They now say that God, or Jehovah, did not inspire the writers of his book for the purpose of instructing the world about astronomy, geology or any science. They now admit that the inspired men who wrote the Old Testament knew nothing about any science, and that they wrote about the earth and stars, the sun and moon, in accordance with the general ignorance of the time.
Read this book of Joshua—read of the slaughter of women, of wives, of mothers and babes—read its impossible miracles, its ruthless crimes, and all done according to the commands of Jehovah, and tell me whether this book is calculated to make us forgiving, generous and loving.
IT is not making too strong a statement to say that the chemistry and chemical physics of the nineteenth century have revolutionized the world. It is difficult to realize that Liebig’s famous Giessen laboratory, the first to be opened to students for practical study, was founded in the year 1825.