Joseph Lewis Quotes

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Ingersoll could not understand the mind of those who, once having been told the truth, preferred to remain under the spell of superstition and in ignorance. He could not understand why people would not accept 'new truths with gladness.' He also knew, however, that once a person's mind had been poisoned with religious superstition, it was almost impossible to free it from the paralyzing fear which destroyed its ability to think.

-Joseph Lewis


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You are to make up your mind whether it is to be God or man. Whether you are to be free or a slave. Whether it is to be progress or stagnation. As long as man loves a phantom in the sky more than he loves his fellow man, there will never be peace upon this earth; so long as man worships a Tyrant as the "Fatherhood of God, " there will never be a "Brotherhood of Man." You must make the choice, you must come to the decision. Is it to be God or Man? Churches or Homes-preparation for death or happiness for the living? If ever man needed an example of the benefit of the one against the other, he need but read the pages of history for proof of how religion retarded progress and provoked hatred among the children of men. When theology ruled the world, man was a slave. The people lived in huts and hovels. They were clad in rags and skins; they devoured crusts and gnawed bones; the priests wore garments of silk and satin; carried mitres of gold and precious stones, robbed the poor and lived upon the fat of the land! Here and there a brave man appeared to question their authority. These martyrs to intellectual emancipation slowly and painfully broke the spell of superstition and ushered in the Age of Reason and the Dawn of Science. Man became the only god that man can know. He no longer fell upon his knees in fear. He began to enjoy the fruits of his own labor. He discovered a way to relieve himself from the drudgery of continuous toil; he began to enjoy a few comforts of life-and for the first time upon this earth he found a few moments for happiness. It is far more important to learn how to live than to learn how to pray. A new day and a new era dawned for him. His labors produced enormous dividends. He looked at the sky for the first time and saw that it was blue! He searched the heavens and found no God. He no longer feared the manifestations of nature.

Joseph Lewis
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The Biblical writers not only had no knowledge of these things, but they had a perverted concept of life and the universe. Their concept was that man was a victim of blood pollution and his only salvation was by a blood atonement. I remember once seeing a small pamphlet entitled, 'What the Bible Teaches about Morality.' On opening the little booklet, it was discovered to be nothing but blank pages! Another such pamphlet might very appropriately be published entitled, 'What the Bible Reveals about Disease, Medicine and Health, ' and blank pages should be used for all the Bible contains about these vital subjects. On the contrary, these benefits have been denounced by the believers in the Bible, and by the representatives of the Bible's deity as being contrary to 'God's Plan.' Does not the Bible plainly state that only by the sweat of his brow is man to labor for the bread he eats? Here is the exact Biblical quotation: 'In the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread... ' and why? Only because he sought knowledge. And does not the Bible God place a curse upon man for the knowledge that has been such a solace and benefit to him? Here is another exact Biblical quotation: '... cursed be the ground for thy sake; in pain thou shalt eat of it all the days of thy life.' The Bible is a lie. It is a fake and a fraud. I denounce this book and its God. I hold it in utter detestation. Every man and woman who has contributed to the relief of the pain and suffering of humanity has been an infidel to the Bible God! Every new invention, every new discovery for the benefit of man violates these Biblical edicts! I say, seek knowledge-defy this tyrant God-it is your only salvation.

Joseph Lewis
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.

Joseph Lewis
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Could I but acquaint the world with Robert G. Ingersoll's humanity, with his ideas and his sentiments of love, patience and understanding, a renascence would automatically take place that would give life and living on this little earth of ours some semblance of what we call paradise. And this great and wonderful man had to die! I do not know the purpose of life, nor do I understand why death should come to all that is; but this I do know - that when Robert G. Ingersoll died, on July 21, 1899, then you and I, and the whole world, suffered a mortal blow. When the mighty heart, of his mighty body, that supplied the blood to his mighty brain, burst, never again was there to fall from his eloquent lips the pearls of thought that had been so wondrously formed in his brain. The mightiest voice in all the world was silenced, forever. No wonder the people wept when they heard that Ingersoll was dead. He was the greatest of the Great - the Mightiest of the Mighty. He was 'as constant as the Northern Star whose true fixed and resting quality there is no fellow in the firmament.' He was the indistinguishable star whose brilliance never dimmed. When Robert G. Ingersoll died, his death was 'the ruins of the noblest man that ever lived in the tide of time... When shall we ever see another?' When Robert G. Ingersoll died, the sky should have been rent asunder, and Nature should have gone into mourning. When this man died, Nature's masterpiece was destroyed, and hot tears of grief should have fallen from the heavens. Robert G. Ingersoll no longer belongs to his family; He no longer belongs to his friends; He no longer belongs to his country; Robert G. Ingersoll now belongs to all the world - the whole universe - He is immortal and eternal. Among the galaxies of Nature's masterpieces, none shine with a greater brilliance than the babe who was born in this house 121 years ago today, and named Robert Green Ingersoll.

Joseph Lewis
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