Daily Dose of Ingersoll


How do they answer all this? They say that God “permits” it.
What would you say to me if I stood by and saw a ruffian beat out
the brains of a child, when I had full and perfect power to prevent
it? You would say truthfully that I was as bad as the murderer. Is
it possible for this God to prevent it? Then, if he does not he is
a fiend; he is no god. But they say he “permits” it. What for? So
that we may have freedom of choice. What for? So that God may find,
I suppose, who are good and who are bad. Did he not know that when
he made us? Did he not know exactly just what he was making? Why
should he make those whom he knew would be criminals? If I should
make a machine that would walk your streets and take the lives of
people you would hang me. And if God made a man whom he knew would
commit murder, then God is guilty of that murder. If God made a man
knowing that he would beat his wife, that he would starve his
children, that he would strew on either side of his path of life
the wrecks of ruined homes, then I say the being who knowingly
called that wretch into existence is directly responsible. And yet
we are to find the providence of God in the history of nations.
What little I have read shows me that when man has been helped, man
has done it; when the chains of slavery have been broken, they have
been broken by man; when something bad has been done in the
government of mankind, it is easy to trace it to man, and to fix
the responsibility upon human beings. You need not look to the sky;
you need throw neither praise nor blame upon gods; you can find the
efficient causes nearer home — right here.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Orthodoxy”(1884)