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Robert G. Ingersoll quotes (showing 1-30 of 186)

“This is my doctrine: Give every other human being every right you claim for yourself.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child
“To hate man and worship God seems to be the sum of all the creeds.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses
“Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith! Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge!”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Works Of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. Iii
“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. In this belief we are content to live and die. If by any possibility the existence of a power superior to, and independent of, nature shall be demonstrated, there will then be time enough to kneel. Until then, let us stand erect.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, On the Gods and Other Essays
“They knew that to put God in the constitution was to put man out. They knew that the recognition of a Deity would be seized upon by fanatics and zealots as a pretext for destroying the liberty of thought. They knew the terrible history of the church too well to place in her keeping or in the keeping of her God the sacred rights of man. They intended that all should have the right to worship or not to worship that our laws should make no distinction on account of creed. They intended to found and frame a government for man and for man alone. They wished to preserve the individuality of all to prevent the few from governing the many and the many from persecuting and destroying the few.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Individuality From 'The Gods and Other Lectures'
“The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave, and is a traitor to himself and to his fellowmen.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child
“Progress is born of doubt and inquiry. The Church never doubts, never inquires. To doubt is heresy, to inquire is to admit that you do not know—the Church does neither.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Thomas Paine From 'The Gods and Other Lectures'
“Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery. It is far better to be free, to leave the forts and barricades of fear, to stand erect and face the future with a smile. It is far better to give yourself sometimes to negligence, to drift with wave and tide, with the blind force of the world, to think and dream, to forget the chains and limitations of the breathing life, to forget purpose and object, to lounge in the picture gallery of the brain, to feel once more the clasps and kisses of the past, to bring life's morning back, to see again the forms and faces of the dead, to paint fair pictures for the coming years, to forget all Gods, their promises and threats, to feel within your veins life's joyous stream and hear the martial music, the rhythmic beating of your fearless heart. And then to rouse yourself to do all useful things, to reach with thought and deed the ideal in your brain, to give your fancies wing, that they, like chemist bees, may find art's nectar in the weeds of common things, to look with trained and steady eyes for facts, to find the subtle threads that join the distant with the now, to increase knowledge, to take burdens from the weak, to develop the brain, to defend the right, to make a palace for the soul. This is real religion. This is real worship.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. IV
“There are in nature neither rewards nor punishments — there are consequences.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Christian Religion An Enquiry
“As more people become more intelligent they care less for preachers and more for teachers.”
Robert G. Ingersoll
“It is a splendid thing to think that the woman you really love will never grow old to you. Through the wrinkles of time, through the mask of years, if you really love her, you will always see the face you loved and won. And a woman who really loves a man does not see that he grows old; he is not decrepit to her; he does not tremble; he is not old; she always sees the same gallant gentleman who won her hand and heart. I like to think of it in that way; I like to think that love is eternal. And to love in that way and then go down the hill of life together, and as you go down, hear, perhaps, the laughter of grandchildren, while the birds of joy and love sing once more in the leafless branches of the tree of age.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child
“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.

I attack the monsters, the phantoms of imagination that have ruled the world. I attack slavery. I ask for room -- room for the human mind.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Ghosts and Other Lectures
“It has always seemed absurd to suppose that a god would choose for his companions, during all eternity, the dear souls whose highest and only ambition is to obey.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Individuality From 'The Gods and Other Lectures'
“The doctrine that future happiness depends upon belief is monstrous. It is the infamy of infamies. 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 G. Ingersoll, On the Gods and Other Essays
“Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain. They did not reason or investigate. They had no doubts. They knew that they had the truth. In their creed there was no guess — no perhaps. They had a revelation from God. They knew the beginning of things. They knew that God commenced to create one Monday morning, four thousand and four years before Christ. They knew that in the eternity — back of that morning, he had done nothing. 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 he rested. They knew the origin, the cause of evil, of all crime, of all disease and death.

At the same time they knew that God created man in his own image and was perfectly satisfied with his work... They knew all about the Flood -- knew that God, with the exception of eight, drowned all his children -- the old and young -- the bowed patriarch and the dimpled babe -- the young man and the merry maiden -- the loving mother and the laughing child -- because his mercy endureth forever. They knew too, that he drowned the beasts and birds -- everything that walked or crawled or flew -- because his loving kindness is over all his works. They knew that God, for the purpose of civilizing his children, had devoured some with earthquakes, destroyed some with storms of fire, killed some with his lightnings, millions with famine, with pestilence, and sacrificed countless thousands upon the fields of war. They knew that it was necessary to believe these things and to love God. They knew that there could be no salvation except by faith, and through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

Then I asked myself the question: Is there a supernatural power -- an arbitrary mind -- an enthroned God -- a supreme will that sways the tides and currents of the world -- to which all causes bow?

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.

Is there a God?

I do not know.

Is man immortal?

I do not know.

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.

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 G. Ingersoll, The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol 1: Lectures
“Music expresses feeling and thought, without language; it was below and before speech, and it is above and beyond all words. ”
Robert G. Ingersoll
tags: music
“The glory of science is, that it is freeing the soul -- breaking the mental manacles -- getting the brain out of bondage -- giving courage to thought -- filling the world with mercy, justice, and joy.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Humboldt From 'The Gods and Other Lectures'
“And why does this same God tell me how to raise my children when he had to drown his?”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses
“In all ages the people have honored those who dishonored them. They have worshiped their destroyers; they have canonized the most gigantic liars, and buried the great thieves in marble and gold. Under the loftiest monuments sleeps the dust of murder.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Humboldt From 'The Gods and Other Lectures'
“With their backs to the sunrise they worship the night.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Individuality From 'The Gods and Other Lectures'
“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 G. Ingersoll
“As man develops, he places a greater value upon his own rights. Liberty becomes a grander and diviner thing. As he values his own rights, he begins to value the rights of others. And when all men give to all others all the rights they claim for themselves, this world will be civilized.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child
“Blasphemy is an epithet bestowed by superstition upon common sense.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. V
“The hands that help are better far than lips that pray.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol. IV
“Kindness is strength. Good-nature is often mistaken for virtue, and good health sometimes passes for genius. Anger blows out the lamp of the mind. In the examination of a great and important question, every one should be serene, slow-pulsed, and calm. Intelligence is not the foundation of arrogance. Insolence is not logic. Epithets are the arguments of malice.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Christian Religion An Enquiry
“Why should we place Christ at the top and summit of the human race? 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 Lao-tsze, 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? Was he in intelligence, in the force and beauty of expression, in breadth and scope of thought, in wealth of illustration, in aptness of comparison, in knowledge of the human brain and heart, of all passions, hopes and fears, the equal of Shakespeare, the greatest of the human race?”
Robert G. Ingersoll, About The Holy Bible
“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 G. Ingersoll
“In the republic of mediocrity, genius is dangerous.”
Robert G. Ingersoll
“With soap, baptism is a good thing.”
Robert G. Ingersoll
“Happiness is not a reward - it is a consequence. Suffering is not a punishment - it is a result.”
Robert G. Ingersoll

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