There are two ways: The narrow way along which the selfish go
in single file, not wide enough for husband and wife to walk side
by side while children clasp their hands. The narrow road over the
desert of superstition “with here and there a traveler.” The narrow
grass-grown path, filled with flints and broken glass, bordered by
thistles and thorns, where the twice-born limping walk with
bleeding feet. If by this path you see a flower, do not pick it. It
is a temptation. Beneath its leaves a serpent lies. Keep your eyes
on the New Jerusalem. Do not look back for wife or child or friend.
Think only of saving your own soul. You will be just as happy in
heaven with all you love in hell. Believe, have faith, and you will
be rewarded for the goodness of another. Look neither to the right
nor left. Keep on, straight on, and you will save your worthless,
withered, selfish soul.
This is the narrow road that leads from earth to the
Christian’s heartless heaven.
There is another way — the broad road. Give me the wide and
ample way, the way broad enough for us all to go together. The
broad way where the birds sing, where the sun shines and the
streams murmur. The broad way, through the fields where the flowers
grow, over the daisied slopes where sunlight, lingering, seems to
sleep and dream.
Let us go the broad way with the great world, with science and
art, with music and the drama, with all that gladdens, thrills,
refines and calms.
Let us go the wide road with husband and wife, with children
and friends and with all there is of joy and love between the dawn
and dusk of life’s strange day.
This world is a great orange tree filled with blossoms, with
ripening and ripened fruit, while, underneath the bending boughs,
the fallen slowly turn to dust.
Each orange is a life. Let us squeeze it dry, get all the
juice there is, so that when death comes we can say; “There is
nothing left but withered peel,”
Let us travel the broad and natural way. Let us live for man.
Robert Green Ingersoll – “Which Way” (1884)