Nothing is greater than to break the chains from
the bodies of men -- nothing nobler than to destroy the phantom of the soul.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, quoted from the Address, Ingersoll the Magnificent,
We need men with moral courage to speak and write their real thoughts, and to stand by their convictions,
even to the very death.
-- Robert Green
Ingersoll, "Thomas Paine" (1870)
The man who does not do his own thinking is a slave,
and is a traitor to himself and to his fellow-men.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "The Liberty of Man, Woman and Child"
They knew no better, but I do not propose to follow
the example of a barbarian because he was honestly a barbarian.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "The Limitations of Toleration"
The moment you introduce a despotism in the world
of thought, you succeed in making hypocrites -- and you get in such a position that you never know
what your neighbor thinks.
-- Robert Green
Ingersoll, "The Limitations of Toleration"
The doctrine of eternal punishment is in perfect
harmony with the savagery of the men who made the orthodox creeds. It is in harmony with torture, with flaying alive, and
with burnings. The men who burned their fellow-men for a moment, believed that God would burn his enemies forever.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Crumbling Creeds"
We have heard talk enough. We have listened to all
the drowsy, idealess, vapid sermons that we wish to hear. We have read your Bible and the works of your best minds. We have
heard your prayers, your solemn groans and your reverential amens. All these amount to less than nothing. We want one fact.
We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little fact. We pass our hats along your pews and under your pulpits and
implore you for just one fact. We know all about your mouldy wonders and your stale miracles. We want a this year's fact.
We ask only one. Give us one fact for charity. Your miracles are too ancient. The witnesses have been dead for nearly two
-- Robert Green Ingersoll,
"The Gods" (1872)
Who can over estimate the progress of the world
if all the money wasted in superstition could be used to enlighten, elevate and civilize mankind?
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "Some Mistakes of Moses"
We have already compared the benefits of theology
and science. When the theologian governed the world, it was covered with huts and hovels for the many, palaces and cathedrals
for the few. To nearly all the children of men, reading and writing were unknown arts. The poor were clad in rags and skins
-- they devoured crusts, and gnawed bones. The day of Science dawned, and the luxuries of a century
ago are the necessities of to-day. Men in the middle ranks of life have more of the conveniences and elegancies than the princes
and kings of the theological times. But above and over all this, is the development of mind. There is more of value in the
brain of an average man of to-day -- of a master-mechanic, of a chemist, of a naturalist, of an inventor,
than there was in the brain of the world four hundred years ago.
These blessings did not fall
from the skies. These benefits did not drop from the outstretched hands of priests. They were not found in cathedrals or behind
altars -- neither were they searched for with holy candles. They were not discovered by the closed
eyes of prayer, nor did they come in answer to superstitious supplication. They are the children of freedom, the gifts of
reason, observation and experience -- and for them all, man is indebted to man.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll, "God In The Constitution"
Orthodox Christians have the habit of claiming all
great men, all men who have held important positions, men of reputation, men of wealth. As soon as the funeral is over clergymen
begin to relate imaginary conversations with the deceased, and in a very little while the great man is changed to a Christian
-- possibly to a saint.
Green Ingersoll, "The Religious Belief of Abraham Lincoln"
An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself,
without going in partnership with State Legislatures. Certainly he ought not so to act that laws become necessary to keep
him from being laughed at. No one thinks of protecting Shakespeare from ridicule, by the threat of fine and imprisonment.
-- Robert Green Ingersoll