Daily Dose of Ingersoll

In spite of the threat of eternal pain — of the promise of
everlasting joy, unbelievers increased, and the churches took
another step.

The churches said to the unbelievers, the heretics: “Although
our God will punish you forever in another world — in his prison
— the doors of which open only to receive, we, unless you believe,
will torment you now.”

And then the members of these churches, led by priests, popes,
and clergymen, sought out their unbelieving neighbors — chained
them in dungeons, stretched them on racks, crushed their bones, cut
out their tongues, extinguished their eyes, flayed them alive and
consumed their poor bodies in flames.

All this was done because these Christian savages believed in
the dogma of eternal pain. Because they believed that heaven was
the reward for belief. So believing, they were the enemies of free
thought and speech — they cared nothing for conscience, nothing
for the veracity of a soul, — nothing for the manhood of a man. In
all ages most priests have been heartless and relentless. They have
calumniated and tortured. In defeat they have crawled and whined.
In victory they have killed. The flower of pity never blossomed in
their hearts and in their brain. Justice never held aloft the
scales. Now they are not as cruel. They have lost their power, but
they are still trying to accomplish the impossible. They fill their
pockets with “fool’s gold” and think they are rich. They stuff
their minds with mistakes and think they are wise. They console
themselves with legends and myths, have faith in fiction and
forgery — give their hearts to ghosts and phantoms and seek the
aid of the non-existent.

Robert Green Ingersoll – “Truth” (1897)