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Ingersoll the Magnificent

4.4  ·  Rating Details ·  10 Ratings  ·  1 Review
A dedication to the life and memory of the great Robert Ingersoll.
Paperback, 342 pages
Published June 28th 1983 by American Atheist Press (first published June 1983)
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Aug 12, 2016 Keith rated it really liked it
Col. Robert Ingersoll (1833 - 1899) fought in the Civil War at the Battle of Shiloh and served as Illinois Attorney General (1867 – 1869) and the first president of the American Secular Union. The son of a Congregationalist minister he was a great orator during the American Golden Age of Free Thought and came to be known as the Great Agnostic. After 1857, he lived in Peoria, Illinois, where there is a statue of him in Glen Oak Park.

Joseph Lewis edited this collection of Ingersoll writings and p
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In 1889, Joseph Lewis was born in Montgomery, Ala., where he left school at age nine to find employment. Self-educated, he read Robert G. Ingersoll and Thomas Paine, his life-long "idol." Moving to New York City in 1920, Lewis became president of Freethinkers of America, a position he held his entire life. He started his own publishing house, the Freethought Press Association. His many books inclu ...more
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“A few years ago the Deists denied the inspiration of the Bible on account of its cruelty. At the same time they worshiped what they were pleased to call the God of Nature. Now we are convinced that Nature is as cruel as the Bible; so that, if the God of Nature did not write the Bible, this God at least has caused earthquakes and pestilence and famine, and this God has allowed millions of his children to destroy one another. So that now we have arrived at the question -- not as to whether the Bible is inspired and not as to whether Jehovah is the real God, but whether there is a God or not.” 6 likes
“No institution of learning of Ingersoll's day had courage enough to confer upon him an honorary degree; not only for his own intellectual accomplishments, but also for his influence upon the minds of the learned men and women of his time and generation.

Robert G. Ingersoll never received a prize for literature. The same prejudice and bigotry which prevented his getting an honorary college degree, militated against his being recognized as 'the greatest writer of the English language on the face of the earth,' as Henry Ward Beecher characterized him. Aye, in all the history of literature, Robert G. Ingersoll has never been excelled -- except by only one man, and that man was -- William Shakespeare. And yet there are times when Ingersoll even surpassed the immortal Bard. Yes, there are times when Ingersoll excelled even Shakespeare, in expressing human emotions, and in the use of language to express a thought, or to paint a picture. I say this fully conscious of my own admiration for that 'intellectual ocean, whose waves touched all the shores of thought.'

Ingersoll was perfection himself. Every word was properly used. Every sentence was perfectly formed. Every noun, every verb and every object was in its proper place. Every punctuation mark, every comma, every semicolon, and every period was expertly placed to separate and balance each sentence.

To read Ingersoll, it seems that every idea came properly clothed from his brain. Something rare indeed in the history of man's use of language in the expression of his thoughts. Every thought came from his brain with all the beauty and perfection of the full blown rose, with the velvety petals delicately touching each other.

Thoughts of diamonds and pearls, rubies and sapphires rolled off his tongue as if from an inexhaustible mine of precious stones.

Just as the cut of the diamond reveals the splendor of its brilliance, so the words and construction of the sentences gave a charm and beauty and eloquence to Ingersoll's thoughts.

Ingersoll had everything: The song of the skylark; the tenderness of the dove; the hiss of the snake; the bite of the tiger; the strength of the lion; and perhaps more significant was the fact that he used each of these qualities and attributes, in their proper place, and at their proper time. He knew when to embrace with the tenderness of affection, and to resist and denounce wickedness and tyranny with that power of denunciation which he, and he alone, knew how to express.”
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