All that is necessary, as it seems to me, to convince any reasonable person that the bible is simply and purely of human invention–of barbarian invention–is to read it.
The instant we admit that a book is too sacred to be doubted, or even reasoned about, we are mental serfs.
The ministers are in duty bound to denounce all intellectual pride, and show that we are never quite so dear to God as when we admit that we are poor, corrupt and idiotic worms; that we never should have been born; that we ought to be damned without the least delay…. The old creed is still taught. They still insist that God is infinitely wise, powerful and good, and that all men are totally depraved. They insist that the best man god ever made, deserved to be damned the moment he was finished.
– Robert Green Ingersoll, “Some Mistakes of Moses” (1879)
As long as every question is answered by the word “God,” scientific inquiry is simply impossible.
– Robert Green Ingersoll, “The Gods” (1872)
Our civilization is not Christian. It does not come from the skies. It is not a result of “inspiration.” It is the child of invention, of discovery, of applied knowledge — that is to say, of science. When man becomes great and grand enough to admit that all have equal rights; when thought is untrammeled; when worship shall consist in doing useful things; when religion means the discharge of obligations to our fellow-men, then, and not until then, will the world be civilized.
– Robert Green Ingersoll, “Reply To The Indianapolis Clergy” The Iconoclast, Indianapolis, Indiana (1882)
Honest investigation is utterly impossible within the pale of any church, for the reason, that if you think the church is right you will not investigate, and if you think it wrong, the church will investigate you.
– Robert Green Ingersoll, “Individuality” (1873)
I would not for my life destroy one star of human hope, but I want it so that when a poor woman rocks the cradle and sings a lullaby to the dimpled darling, she will not be compelled to believe that ninety-nine chances in a hundred she is raising kindling wood for hell.
– Robert Green Ingersoll, “How To Be Saved” (1880)
It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring.
– Robert Green Ingersoll, “Which Way?” (1884)
Is there an intelligent man or woman now in the world who believes in the Garden of Eden story? If you find any man who believes it, strike his forehead and you will hear an echo. Something is for rent.
– Robert Green Ingersoll, “Orthodoxy” (1884)
The inspiration of the Bible depends upon the ignorance of the gentleman who reads it.
– Robert Green Ingersoll, speech (1881)