The Bible Unmasked
by Joseph Lewis
"The Tyranny of God,"
"Lincoln the Freethinker,"
"Jefferson the Freethinker," etc.
The Freethought Publishing Co., Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Printed in United States of America
|The first edition of The Bible Unmasked consists of 250 copies, printed on special paper, with gold top pages, and bound in limp leather with title stamped in gold. Each copy is numbered and autographed by the author. This is the first general edition.|
This book is dedicated in all seriousness to rabbis, priests and ministers, in the hole that it may bring them to realize the fraud they are perpetrating by preaching the Bible as the Word of God, and as a moral ant intellectual guide for or the human race.
-- Joseph Lewis.
|"Any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the
mind of a child, cannot be a true system."
-- Thomas Paine.
|"By this time the whole world should know that the real Bible
has not yet been written, but is being written, and that it will never
be finished until the race begins its downward march, or ceases to exist.
"The real Bible is not the work of inspired men, nor prophets nor apostles, nor evangelists, nor of Christs. Every man who finds a fact adds, as it were, a word to this great book. It is not attested by prophecy, by miracles or signs. It makes no appeal to faith, to ignorance, to credulity or fear. It has no punishment for unbelief, and no reward for hypocrisy. It appeals to man in the name of demonstration. It has nothing to conceal. It has no fear of being read, of being contradicted, of being investigated and understood. It does not pretend to be holy or sacred; it simply claims to be true. It challenges the scrutiny of all, and implores every reader to verify every line for himself. It is incapable of being blasphemed. This book appeals to all the surroundings of man. Each thing that exists testifies to its perfection. The earth, with its heart of fire and crowns of snow; with its forests and plains, its rocks and seas; with its every wave and cloud; with its every leaf and bud and flower, confirms its every word, and the solemn stars, shining in the infinite abysses, are the eternal witnesses of its truth."
-- Robert G. Ingersoll.
The Bible Unmasked
Table of Contents
The Bible Unmasked
|"The duty of a philosopher is clear. He must take every pain to ascertain the truth; and, having arrived at a conclusion, he should noise it abroad far and wide, utterly regardless of what opinions he shocks." -- Henry Thomas Buckle.|
In taking as my subject for this book the question of the morality, or rather the immorality of the Bible, I realize at once the importance and delicacy of the subject. This is true, because what is immoral in one age and time, may at some other time, be considered moral, and what we to-day may consider moral and acceptable, may at some future date be condemned as being immoral.
There is in reality no absolute standard by which we may judge; and in the final analysis our guide in moral affairs should be that which gives to the individual the greatest possible happiness, and which at the same time will inflict no harm upon another individual. Even under this rule there may be instances where a higher and more altruistic principle would be necessary to insure the best interest of the community and to society at large.
Therefore, the subject that I have chosen for my book is as delicate as it is serious, as there is always the possibility of saying something that may be entirely at variance with the conceptions of some of us regarding morality and its phases.
I think I can appropriately quote the poet Moore in his definition of morality, when he says:
|"I find the doctors and sages
Have differed in all climes and ages,
And two in fifty scarce agree
On what is pure morality."
The utmost discretion must also be used in such a discussion to avoid any injustice to the individual to the preference of society, and with scrupulous integrity the same rule must be applied to society in its relationship to the individual. Science must formulate the principle of a moral guide. We must disregard all past conventions, except to learn from their shortcomings, so as better to avoid similar pitfalls in the future. We must start anew, so to speak, for the rules and guides which now govern our conduct have been proven false and utterly inadequate for the needs of modern existence.
We are still using for our guide, rules which are as obsolete as a belief in the flatness of the earth.
A new order of morality must be ushered in and it must of necessity be just as revolutionary and just as beneficial to the human race as were the scientific discoveries of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, which upset all previous conventions and calculations and started mankind upon a career of unparalleled progress.
We must begin the other way round, and instead of our acts being performed solely for divine approbation, we must do our utmost for the benefit of the individual, which in the last analysis is also for the best interest of society. It will be man's relation to man that will become the holy thing. Humanity and not God will be our chief concern. Our acts will not be performed for the purpose of future rewards, but rather for present benefits.
Again, the delicacy of my subject becomes apparent from the fact that certain words and expressions must be used that may shock the sensibilities of certain persons. But this I promise, that any words I may use in this book which may offend or shock any one who reads will not be words or expressions I have purposely selected to designate a character or to express a situation, but will be words and expressions which I have found in the stories as recorded in the Bible.
Let me repeat: if there are words and expressions used which are unfit for refined conversation, these words and expressions will be taken from the Bible which contains the stories I have selected as being, in the light of our present knowledge and progress, immoral, offensive and obscene.
And if you are not acquainted with the words, language, and expressions of the Bible, I ask you kindly to close this book; do not read it unless you want to learn the truth about the Bible. I am not concerned with the truth or falsity of the stories from which I shall quote, but with the fact that these stories are in the Bible and that the Bible is considered holy and sacred -- a divinely inspired book. Were it not for this fact my labor would be unnecessary, and I would not engage myself in it.
I am not writing this treatise as a member of any particular creed, for I do not belong to any. I am writing it as a member of the human family, without regard to race or religion, and for the benefit of all mankind.
The Bible has for many ages been considered as the Holy Word of an Ever-Existing God, and no one has been permitted to question its truth in any respect. It has ruled as the supreme authority in every line of thought; in every field of endeavor, and in every human relationship. At one time, to refuse to be bound by its precepts meant death by the most horrible means that perverted minds could inflict upon a human being. In fact, to doubt the divine origin of the Bible was the most flagrant of crimes.
Erasmus declared that heresy was a greater crime than impurity of life. That Christianity cared more for blind faith than uprightness of living is attested only too well by the pages of history. And the charge that religion and morals are synonymous terms is either stupidity or deliberate fraud. By its very precepts, by its expounders, and by its professors, religion has been proven to be the very antithesis of morality.
The first great step in the emancipation of the minds of the people from the ignorance and superstition of the Bible came about when Galileo put a crude telescope to the sky and removed our earth from the center of the universe, as it was supposed to be, to the tiny insignificant speck in a mighty realm of space, that it actually is. The great conflict between knowledge and superstition began when Astronomy was put upon a scientific basis.
To state briefly this conflict, is to say that the Science of Astronomy has no use for the knowledge, if you can call it such, of the Bible. We all are acquainted with the fact that from the Bible the people became convinced that the earth was the center of the universe, and for centuries no one dared make an attempt to prove the contrary. Oh yes, there were some, but Bruno's heroic statue in Rome bespeaks only too eloquently the price that was paid for matching scientific and philosophic deductions against bigotry and God's Word.
We know that from the Bible ignorant people were convinced that God was sitting in the clouds and for that reason they lifted their hands and raised their voices in appeals for help. Astronomy pointed a telescope to the spot where God was supposed to be and found no such character there. If upon the invention of the telescope God moved to a different abode, he left no trace of his former occupancy. Astronomers, using the most powerful telescopes, telescopes that can scan the universe for millions of miles, testify they can find no trace of such a being, and that God must be some crafty creature to have made his getaway under the circumstances. For there are stars within the domain of man's exploration whose light-rays require thousands of years to reach us, and if God is beyond the region of these stars he is certainly useless to us, because in less time than would be required for him to come to our assistance the human race might be no more.
But God for the moment is not our subject; neither is prayer, nor the Science of Astronomy. We are concerned for the moment with the fact only that the Science of Astronomy, which should find some benefit in the Bible, since it is supposed to deal with the region of space in which Astronomy is interested, rejects that book completely, by saying: the Bible may be perfectly satisfactory as a moral guide, but it contains nothing of value to Astronomy.
The Geologists, the Naturalists, the Zoologists, the Botanists, the Biologists, the Physicists, the Physiologists and in fact all the Scientists are perfectly willing you should use the Bible as a moral guide, so long as you do not insist that they accept it as a standard of truth in their respective spheres. They all come to the same conclusion, that the Bible does not contain a solitary scientific truth.
Let us now examine and discover for ourselves whether the moralist has any use for the Bible, a book that is not only supposed to contain all the knowledge of the world, but that has been held over the heads of the people and sacredly worshipped for so many hundreds of years. I will not dwell upon, nor go into the details of the gross immorality that the Bible has caused; but rather I will discuss those phases of morality which deal with the social or sexual relation of man to society, such as rape, adultery, licentiousness, unfaithfulness and things universally condemned as being opprobrious. The evidence from the Bible itself will destroy its value as a moral guide.
It is a common experience to come in contact with persons who tell me that if the Bible has stood the test for so many years it is good enough for them. I reply that slavery stood the test as an existing institution for a longer period than the Bible has been revered, and yet chattel slavery does not exist to-day. Even so great a mind as Aristotle said that without slavery civilization could not exist. And since the physical slave has been emancipated, let us break the spell of the Bible and its attendant enslaving superstition and liberate completely the mind of man. Freedom of the mind is surely equal in importance to freedom of the body.
And as I am asked from time to time similar questions as to why the Bible still persists, I of course give different instances of long-established standards that are no longer followed by the progressive world. History records many "sacred" books that were once held in awe and reverence, but which are now looked upon as ancient curiosities. The Bible is but another of these "sacred" volumes and is unfortunately far inferior to most of them in moral precepts.
The insane are no longer tortured. We now treat them as mentally diseased. Witchcraft, once so commonly prevalent, is now known to have been religious superstition carried to its ultimate end. Religious mania triumphant! John Wesley spoke the truth when he said, "The giving up of witchcraft is, in effect, the giving up of the Bible." At one time the belief was prevalent and religiously maintained that onions caused cancer; that beads could cure scarlet fever, and that to shave the upper lip was to impare your eyesight!
For ages the adage "Spare the rod and spoil the child" prevailed in the treatment of children. Tender tots were unmercifully beaten by cruel parents. The wide leather strap was an essential part of the household. If there were no family skeleton in the closet. you would be sure to find the child-beating strap there. "If we did not beat the child and put 'fear' into him, how else were we to make him 'good' and have 'respect for his elders'?" was the argument that triumphantly maintained this brutal system. In the days gone by, and I am not so sure that they have passed, the religious-minded could not conceive of any other method of correction. To spare the rod and spoil the child was a sacrilege and an unpardonable act in the sight of God.
Part and parcel with this method went the fear implanted in the imagination of the child by the weird and frightful tales of the "bogey man" and the terrifying ghosts. This fear implanted in the mind of a child is just as poisonous as the venom of a snake. To-day psychology has corrected this brutal and barbarous method in connection with the training of children. Intelligence and its application were the solution, and no greater triumph has been achieved by science than has been accomplished in the realm of child training. And although there are many still tainted with the Biblical notion of physical punishment in the treatment of children, no truly civilized man or woman to-day would use such a heinous method.
And yet in the New York Times for August 22, 1925, the Reverend R. M. Bradner, assistant minister, St. George's Church, New York City, made a plea to go back to this barbarous custom in the treatment of children.
And just as the child does not need something to put fear into him as a corrective, neither do adults need the "fear of something" to keep them good.
Fear, "fear of God" or any other fear, is a negative and destructive force no matter how it is applied. Courage is the watchword and intelligence the key to proper conduct. In the larger realm of human misconduct, punishment as a corrective to fit the crime is an altogether different principle from fear as a deterrent with the subsequent "forgiveness" after the act without the slightest understanding of wrongdoing or of rectification.
The knowledge of the right and the mental strength to follow that right is the ultimate end and goal of education. To commit your crime, "to confess your sins and be absolved of the deed," may be a satisfactory religious doctrine, but it is inimical to justice and human welfare.
I know a man who used to beat his child. The strap was used with much force and vigor without the slightest feeling of compunction. And when I told him he was committing a grave wrong in beating his child he looked at me in blank amazement. I had actually astounded him. He was stunned and speechless. He thought that the beating of his child was as right and as essential as the rising and the setting of the sun and as natural as that night should follow day. His father beat him and no doubt his father was beaten by his paternal ancestor and so it was established beyond the peradventure of a doubt that the corporal punishment of children was not only the only possible method, but was a parent's inalienable and unforfeitable right.
I analyzed his case and told him to make a "pal" and confidant of his boy. I told him he could accomplish much more by kindness and with love in a spirit of understanding than by any other method. Although his face still wore that amazed and stunned look, he promised to try my suggestions; and now after a lapse of nearly three years he boasts of never having struck his child during that period and confesses he owes me a debt that he can never repay. And yet -- and this is the humorous part -- he still looks upon my "infidel" opinions as being something beyond the realm of understanding, despite the fact it was an "infidel" who brought the light of understanding to his "enlightened" Christian mind. History proves that it has invariably been the infidels who have been the humanitarians, the torchbearers, the pathfinders not only of progress but also of human understanding, of love and of sympathy. And if Progress is the aim of mankind, if Liberty is its goal, and Freedom its destiny, then the Bible as a sacred book must go, religion as superstition must cease, and the church as an institution must be abandoned.
Are not the words of Professor Garrett P. Serviss, worth quoting here?
|"The only real road to settled peace is that of science; politics
will never hit it, nor dogmatic religion either. Science is, in its very
nature, universal. It interests all civilized nations alike. It has no
favorites, and no preferred views. Its aim is absolutely single, viz, the
uncovering of the truth. Knowledge is power -- not partial but complete
power, which cannot make war upon itself.
"Mankind has tried the other two roads to peace -- the road of political jealousy and the road of religious bigotry -- and found them both equally misleading. Perhaps it will now try the third, the road of scientific truth, the only road on which the passenger is not deceived -- like a skittish horse with blinders. Science does not, ostrich-like, bury its head amidst perils and difficulties. It tries to see everything exactly as everything is."
Abundant evidence and prison statistics are available to prove the prevalence of the moral and ethical misdeeds of the religious elect. Reference to them is constantly found in the daily papers.
Let us, as a matter of comparison, assume that Freethinkers were guilty of the same crimes as religious believers; the charge would be made that it was their infidel" books, teachings and examples that were responsible for their criminal acts; and there would be a hue and cry over the length and breadth of this land to suppress and destroy all "infidel" literature. We would never hear the end of the "direful influence" such teachings would have upon the minds of people.
If we apply this rule to Freethinkers, let us use the same measurement to religious believers and determine whether or not their books, teachings and examples are responsible for their crimes. Let us be honest. Let us be fair.
What would be said if a prominent Freethinker were to use the words that were so boldly and defiantly uttered by Father Phelan in the "Western Watchman" of June 27, 1913:
|"Tell us we are Catholics first and Americans or Englishmen afterwards; of course we are. Tell us, in the conflict between the church and the civil government we take the side of the church; of course we do. Why, if the government of the United States were at war with the church, we would say tomorrow, To hell with the government of the United States; and if the church and all the governments of the world were at war, we would say, To hell with all the governments of the world. Why is it that in this country, where we have only seven percent of the population, the Catholic church is so much feared? She is loved by all her children and feared by everybody. Why is it that the Pope has such tremendous power? Why, the Pope is the ruler of the world. All the emperors, all the kings, all the princes, all the presidents of the world, are as these altar boys of mine. The Pope is the ruler of the world."|
As I said before, no one can claim absolute law in the matter of morality, but there are some things repugnant to all of us and which will not be tolerated in the relationship of man to man. These repugnant acts are so self-evident that everywhere, in no matter what strata of society they exist, they are met with condemnation and censure.
The question of morals; the question of sex; the question of the relation of the individual to society, and of the relation of society to the individual, are all questions of such tremendous importance that each one, to be discussed properly, would require a book for itself. But this much we know: those who have the broadest and most liberal attitude upon these questions generally live the highest and most upright lives. And those who have set dogmatic rules and seek to impose them as guidance for others, are often the ones who lead the most questionable lives.
If it has taken so many centuries to convince the people of simple truths in the scientific realm, one can realize how difficult it will be to bring the people's minds out of the mass of misinterpretation and ignorance that has so long befogged them in the sphere of morality, where the scientific base, as in many other fields, is not so apparent.
To the Puritans, it was not only breaking a moral law, but also a disgrace to kiss one's wife on Sunday. A breach was also established, for which a penalty was exacted, if one were to kiss even his child on this "sacred day." To be seen on the streets on Sunday, except to "walk reverently to and from Church," was so flagrant a violation of the moral code that the perpetrator paid the penalty by a public ducking!
The mockery of it all! It was immoral for any one to be seen upon the public streets on Sunday, except on his way to church, to listen to a preacher "expounding" and "explaining" some of the incongruities, stupidities and immoralities of the Bible!
But this religious insanity did not exist only among the Puritans. It is found wherever Biblical teaching takes precedence over reason and intelligence. It is the inevitable consequence of permitting "instruments of God" and "divinely inspired men" to make our laws and govern our affairs. It reaches its highest form whenever this vile superstition rules the land, as was the case in the days of the Spanish Inquisition.
In Scotland, where the Scotch Presbyterian long held sway, it was a sin for any one to hold market on Saturday or Monday because both days were near Sunday. It was also sinful to go from one town to another, however pressing the need. It was a sin to visit a friend, or water the garden, or to shave, or to walk in the meadows, or to sit in the doorway to enjoy the weather, or even to sleep on the "Lord's Day." Bathing, being pleasant and wholesome, was a particularly grievous offense and therefore was prohibited on Sunday. In fact, it was doubtful whether public bathing was lawful for a Christian at any time. To be clean was considered a sacrilege; and to enjoy one's repast was proof of a sinful nature. But to continue to repeat these hallucinations would be to fill an entire volume. These fanatics went so far as to admonish the people, that on Sundays in particular they should never think of benefiting others; and on that day it was even sinful to save a vessel in distress; and that it was a proof of religion -- for it was God's will -- to let the ship sink and the crew perish.
I suppose they received the inspiration for their acts from the sabbath of the Jews, who on Saturdays in particular and on sacred days in general, are not "allowed" to perform labor of any kind. What a tragedy it is to be under such a fearful spell of superstition!
To many people even to-day, it is highly immoral for a woman too expose her leg beyond a certain point. And only recently we read an account of a Catholic priest who refused to "bless" his congregation because a woman, kneeling in front of him, wore a waist which, when she bent over for "blessing," did not cover the shapeliness of her bosom.
What right the priest had to look at the woman's bosom so exposed I will not discuss. For the life of me, I cannot see what the unintentional exposure of a woman's bosom, particularly to a priest, has to do with blessings from a direct messenger of God. And the New York Times of August 11, 1924, in a cable from Bergamo, Italy, quotes the Mgr. Marelli, Bishop of Bergamo, on women who "lewdly expose their nudity," as saying, "Women must enter church decently dressed, with head and breast covered, without décolleté and with arms covered. Their gowns must be sufficiently long and without indecent transparencies."
Bishop Marelli has also ordered nuns in monasteries who conduct laundries to refuse to wash any articles of clothing which are "indicative of indecency."
If a priest or any one else has any objection to the form, dress or acts of any one as being immoral, what must we say when we examine the Bible in our search for a moral guide?
If the Bible contained real knowledge, if it were a book that made an endeavor to uplift the world and bring us above the level from which man began his existence, we would revere its writers and keep its principles as our guide with a sacredness and devotion justly deserved.
If the Bible contained scientific knowledge that the world is actually crying for to-day, but which the bigoted and superstitious are doing their utmost to retard, what a glorious difference this book would have made upon the civilization of man!
If the Bible instructed man, or at least made an effort to enlighten him, in the intimate relations of life, which when understood and properly consummated, produce the highest and noblest in man, but when viciously indulged in, become the most degraded and perverted practice, what a joy there would be in devoting our lives to the practice and dissemination of its precepts and principles!
How often do we look back over our path of life and bemoan our mistakes; and every one knows that the mistakes that most sharply penetrate our consciousness are the ones made in the sexual realm. We know the sorrows caused by the ignorance of the laws of sex, and we know also that this ignorance multiplies a hundredfold the misery found in the married state. We are also thoroughly familiar with the fact that this ignorance is the primary cause of marital unhappiness and eventually leads to the divorce court.
It has been conservatively estimated that during the past twenty years there have been nearly two million divorces in the United States alone. What poignant disillusionment is suffered by the parties of a married union that causes their love to turn to bitterness and hatred and impels them to seek freedom from each other! What torment and misery do they suffer before they have the courage to permit the sneering public to gossip about their private lives!
Statistics are not always accurate. They do not always reveal the true conditions. It is invariably true that regardless of the number, percentage or proportion of unhappy couples that bring their cases to public light, there are a greater number that suppress their feelings, bear their sorrow and live their lives in abject horror because they do not possess the courage to demand a public rectification of their mistakes. It is knowledge, knowledge, KNOWLEDGE that the world needs, and if the Bible contained that knowledge nine-tenths of the misery that is now suffered by the people would be unknown, and instead a relationship productive of some benefit and pleasure would be the result. Happiness would be exchanged for misery and smiles and laughter would be the rule and not the exception.
What must we say when books, the results of years of careful study and investigation, containing the sexual truth and enlightenment that are so sadly needed by the people, are suppressed, and the Bible is not only circulated freely, but actually forced upon the people by law!
I could mention three books, which, were they issued with each marriage license, would obliterate ninety-five per cent of the now prevailing unhappiness, due to the ignorance of the laws of sex, and would usher in a new order and a new era of marital understanding and happiness. But it is my purpose here to tell you only about the Bible. And when you become fully acquainted with the Bible and what it contains you will no longer wonder why the intellectual world rejects it completely.
It has become a common expression and axiom, that only those believe the Bible who have not read it. And when I say they believe it, I mean that they are under the impression that the book contains the most exalted and noblest rules by which life should be governed. But what a fearful mistake that is! The Bible is the contrary in its moral guidance as it is in any other field of thought.
We can forgive the Bible its mistakes in the scientific fields, but we cannot condone its coarseness and vulgarity in the moral sphere, where it is now being foisted upon us. Whipped and beaten by every other line of thought the Bible is now being proposed as the paragon of moral teachings.
The question of religious liberty has been settled and nearly all the governments of the world have made provisions and protection for it. It behooves us, then, to tell the real truth about the Bible and once and for all settle the bitter differences that have been the cause of so much dissension and strife throughout the world. As soon as the people become acquainted with the fact that the Bible is an unworthy book, when that false halo of sanctity has been removed, one of the heaviest burdens will have been lifted from the minds of the world, and resources amounting to wealth incalculable will be released for the common good.
Therefore it is our duty to expose the Bible. And although there have been others who have devoted their lives and fortunes in enlightening the people, their efforts have been unable to accomplish all. We must continue to tell the truth about the Bible. We must continue to enlighten the people. We must never fail to do our part. And if, after the true facts are known, there are some who still insist the Bible is good enough for them, they are welcome to it. They are entitled to their "faith in filth!" and I for one will fight that they may always possess the right and liberty to be fully protected in their belief.
The Bible is a collection of miscellaneous and disconnected stories that have been preserved, and their original purpose was no more to masquerade as being "inspired" than any of the lascivious stories of Balzac.
The education of mankind cannot really begin until the minds of men have been uneducated from the great mass of superstition and falsehood that has been inculcated in them from the Bible. History proves the truth of Buckle's statement that, "Every great reform which has been effected has consisted, not in doing something new, but in undoing something old."
And how any enlightened country, particularly a republic, can tolerate the Bible in its governmental activities is a situation difficult to understand, unless the officials in power are not acquainted with the history of progress and are utterly ignorant of the price of Liberty.
Thomas Jefferson has truthfully said, "In every country and in every age the priest has been hostile to liberty; he is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."
And who can deny the truth of Buckle's statement: "A careful study of religious toleration will show that in every Christian country where it has been adopted, it has been forced upon the clergy by the authority of the secular classes."
The infamous doctrine of monarchy is not only upheld, but is supposed to carry divine right, by Biblical testimony. The greatest fight in the emancipation of the negro slave was to overcome the sanction of this terrible institution by the numerous texts in the Bible which maintained that slavery was prescribed by God. It is common history that the slave-holder's staunchest support, North and South, was that arm of the Bible known as the Christian Church. I want to avoid any discussion that does not directly touch upon the subject of this book and must therefore check myself upon any further points of this nature, leaving them for another opportunity. Indeed, volumes have been written upon this phase of Biblical influence. But let us get back to its moral side.
In the Bible will be found the most degrading word, applicable to woman, in the language of the human race. Mind you! It is mentioned not in the sense that the life the word signifies should be avoided as abhorrent, but it is mentioned in connection with men and women of the Bible after whom fond parents consider it a great honor to name their sons and daughters. I am going to mention this word in the course of this book, as I am sure that if the people were acquainted with what the Bible actually contains they would discard it completely as being utterly unfit for cultural reading.
As a piece of fiction, the Bible ranks, when truthfully weighed, far beneath the great entrancing stories of the French novelists. By comparison with the celebrated masterpieces of erotic composition, the Bible is lacking in that charm and delicacy of expression and is utterly void in its moral conclusion, which so distinguishes this kind of literature. Standards and appreciations are, in a great measure, a matter of personal preference and opinion, and I will leave, therefore, after you have read this book, the question of the Bible's worth to your own judgment.
There have been many instances when Robert G. Ingersoll offered one hundred dollars in gold to any preacher who would read certain parts of the Bible to his congregation, but so far as I know no clergyman ever came forward to claim the money. There is a saying to the effect that "what cannot be spoken, may be sung," so in the course of this book I will mention some of those parts to you.
As long as the Bible is permitted to be read in the home, and the government sanctions it by permitting it to be sent through the mail, I do not think I will trespass much upon indiscretion when I quote from its chapters.
I wish this borne in mind: it is not what I say about the stories in the Bible that makes them so offensive; it is the stories themselves, steeped in all the sordidness of vulgarity, that makes them so shocking and harmful. It is the example of the stories that we are concerned with. They lack the moral viewpoint we want to instill and the power to elevate and uplift. It is what the Bible does not tell in its relation to morality that is of so much importance.
I sincerely trust that anyone who reads this book will never again abuse the world "Holy" in referring to the Bible. Never again should the word "good" be applied to the Bible, which has been found to be so distinctly bad and vulgar. As to making mention that it is divine, all I can say is: I have only sympathy for the deluded, the superstitious and the insane. I am in perfect accord with Havelock Ellis, who claims that were the treatment of the insane in early Biblical times on the same scientific plane that it is to-day, the Bible would never have been written.
It is a conspicious fact that the Bible not only does not contain a moral guide, but it does not contain even the words "moral" and "morality."
Surely its pages bespeak the reason why. The writers of the Bible had little conception of what was moral, or right; and as to the meaning and understanding of morality they were pitifully ignorant. The writers of the Bible had slight concern for the principles of morality. They were more concerned with rape, murder. robbery, slavery, licentiousness, brutal ignorance and degrading superstition.
Some may think, in the reading of this book, that I have picked out the so-called immoral parts of the Bible to lower its estimation in the minds of the people.
Such a conclusion is an admission of the fact, and of the Bible's guilt!
You will be able to determine for yourself, by consulting the Bible, whether or not I am telling the truth.
The first story from the Bible that contains subject matter for my book appears just at the beginning of Biblical history, after "God" had destroyed the world and had made Noah the Commander-in-Chief of all living things. It is just after the success of the Flood that our first story begins, and let us see what a race of perfect, moral people God created, since the first lot was not satisfactory.
It is regrettable that we have no record of the history of the people God destroyed, as I believe their wickedness would have made a fine contrast to those the Lord preserved. But this is pardonable, for the story of Noah, the Ark, and the Flood is now considered, even by high church dignitaries, to have been a monstrous "fish story." It will not be necessary to turn many pages to get to the stories of the Bible, which, by reading, will bring a blush of shame to your cheeks, despite the fact that they will be taken from the book that has so long been regarded and reverenced and legally protected as the "Holy Scriptures."
Abram And Sarai.
The most sacred relation of life is the devotion, the integrity, and the loyalty of a man and a woman. Without this relationship, without the mutual pledge and keeping of a sacred faith with each other, there would be nothing in life to warrant its puny existence. Anything that tends to strengthen this tie of love, that makes for a more happy union and sacred trust, is a force of uplift, of advancement, of progress, and of happiness. Anything that undermines this relationship, that tends to break its bonds, that puts a commercial price upon its devotion is not only harmful, but belongs to the baser things of life which civilization abhors as a plague. For after all, when the sum total of life has been thoroughly analyzed, it is as Robert Burns would say:
|"To build a happy fire-side clime for weans and wife,
Is the true pathos and sublime of human life."
For a man to betray a woman in the marital relationship is a deed of grave injustice and for a woman to betray a man in this same relationship is one of the basest of acts. And yet, we sanction the separation of a pair when their union is incompatible and makes their lives a burden instead of a source of happiness in this world of so much pain and sorrow. But if this sacred relationship is used by either party for personal gain and personal safety, or, to secure special favor or special dispensation, our condemnation for such an act is only too well known.
Still, in the Bible, there are related acts of such a character; that are not only not condemned, but the parties thereto receive the blessing and bountifulness of God.
We will proceed to relate a story of such a despicable nature. I quote Genesis, Chapter 12, Verses 11-20.
|11. And it came to pass, when he was come near to enter into Egypt,
that he said unto Sarai his wife, Behold now, I know that thou art
a fair woman to look upon:
12. Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Egyptians shall see thee, that they shall say, This is his wife: and they will kill me, but they will save thee alive.
13. Say, I pray thee, thou art my sister: that it may be well with me for thy sake; and my soul shall live because of thee.
14. And it came to pass, that, when Abram was come into Egypt, the Egyptians beheld the woman that she was very fair.
15. The princes also of Pharaoh saw her, and commended her before Pharaoh: and the woman was taken into Pharaoh's house.
16. And he entreated Abram well for her sake: and he had sheep, and oxen, and he asses, and menservants and maidservants, and she asses, and camels.
17. And the Lord plagued Pharaoh and his house with great plagues, because of Sarai, Abram's wife.
18. And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife?
19. Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way.
20. And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.
Now in the character of Abram we have a man who has been extolled for centuries throughout the world as the product of the finest and best in life. Particularly one whose services in behalf of the Lord should be followed by every one. It was Abram, remember, who received the Covenant from God. And his fame is similar to that of our own George Washington, because he is considered the "Father of the Jewish People." But let me ask: Would you under the pretext of saving yourself, force your wife whom you love, to commit an act of prostitution in order that you might secure safe passage in your travels from one country to another?
Sarai's desires and rights in the matter were of no concern, as long as Abram was sure of protection and free of molestation. We cannot take into consideration, in this narrative, the childish element of God in this transaction, unless we also make him a party to the deal; a deal in which a man's wife is of so little value that he readily consented to have her submit to the embraces of other men in order that he himself might escape harm.
There is no doubt that Sarai performed her part of the bargain with full value, as Pharaoh "entreated Abram well for her sake." It seems in this pretty piece of business sagacity that our sympathies should be with Pharaoh, and our condemnation and contempt for Abram, the Lord notwithstanding to the contrary. Pharaoh distinctly tells Abram, after he has learned the truth, that if he had known that Sarai was Abram's wife, he would not have committed his adulterous act.
Pharaoh should be our model in this story instead of this gentleman whom we are pleased to call the "Father of the Jewish People." Is it from stories like this that our daughters are to receive their impressions and examples of virtue?
Is this the story that the prospective wife is to have before her as an example when she marries the man of her choice; especially, if she is a devout believer in the holiness and sacredness of every word that the Bible contains? Must she picture to herself, when in such a circumstance as related above, that her husband will surrender her to the lust of a stranger so that he may remain unharmed and unhurt? Or, rather, should she select a man as her mate, who follows the example of one who will at all times and under all circumstances protect her first and defend himself afterwards -- one who will lay down his life for her safety?
Further comment upon this story, is, I believe, unnecessary as it speaks its own foul lesson better than anything else could. But we are not finished with this model pair of the Bible, and I must give you another glimpse of their code of morals. One would think that the above story would be sufficient to make any one couple notorious, but the Bible-makers thought additional information of their intimate life would be elevating. And so I quote, Genesis, Chapter 16, Verses 1-2.
|Now Sarai, Abram's wife, bare him no children: and she had a handmaid,
an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.
2. And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.
Rather a nice compromising situation; a particularly desirable one for a profligate husband; also a particularly liberal and obliging wife. Can you picture the situation as related above? Sarai tells Abram, "I pray thee, go in unto my maid," and the Bible assures us there was no hesitation on the part of Abram as he "hearkened to the voice of Sarai."
To-day the conditions seem to be the reverse. When a wife discovers that her husband is getting a bit too familiar with the maid, she generally consults her lawyer regarding a divorce, and quite a number of divorces have been granted where the maid has been mentioned as the corespondent. But there is more to follow and so we continue.
Genesis, Chapter 16 Verses 3-5.
|3. And Sarai, Abram's wife, took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after
Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband
Abram to be his wife.
4. And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes.
5. And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee.
Certainly here is a situation where an appeal to the law seems the only solution. What jealousy arises in a woman's breast under such circumstances I do not know; yet it does seem but natural that when a mistress forces her servant to co-habit with her husband, and when this cohabitation results in a pregnancy, surely the servant is justified in demanding that her mistress's husband give her all the protection that a woman in her condition deserves.
That Hagar should feel contempt for Sarai in the transaction I think is but natural. Well might any one feel contempt for such a woman, especially after she appeals to the Lord to judge between her and her husband. At first thought you might suppose that Sarai was laying a trap for Abram in order that she might secure a divorce from him, assuming that the same laws concerning divorce prevailed at that time as they now do in the State of New York, but that was not her purpose, as the following indicates:
Genesis, Chapter 16, Verse 6.
|6. But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face.|
Of all the relationships between a man and a woman the most contemptible is that when the man refuses to protect the woman who will soon be the mother of a child of which he is the father. Sickening beyond expression is the character of a man, who, after performing the act that he did, and under the circumstances, should put the blame and the responsibility upon his wife. True, we hold neither of them in high estimation, but under all such circumstances let us at least favor the weaker of the two. We have seen the character of Abram manifested in his relation with Pharaoh and quite naturally expect him to shirk his responsibility whenever he can. That he was an adept in "hiding behind a woman's skirt" no one can deny. It has just occurred to me to inquire how many men to-day would stoop to the degradation that has so far been related about this leading Patriarch of early Biblical times. Poor Hagar is banished from the house and her only refuge is the wilderness. The Lord steps in at this point, and let us see what his intercession brings to the poor woman.
Genesis, Chapter 16, Verses 7-12.
|7. And the angel of the Lord found her by a fountain of water in the
wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur.
8. And he said, Hagar, Sarai's maid, whence camest thou? and whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai.
9. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.
10. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.
11. And the angel of the Lord said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the Lord hath heard thy affliction.
12. And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him: and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.
Enough from this chapter concerning the duplicity of Sarai and the culpability of Abram. What would we say to-day were such an example as theirs to be given to the world by our leading men and women? To-day we admire the very opposite of that which makes up the married life of this infamous couple.
Once more in the life of Abram and Sarai does Abram permit Sarai to submit to the embrace of other men for compensation and to save his miserable self. It appears that he made a business of the scheme, and from reports, shared very profitably after each transaction. One quotation of such a degrading act, I think, is sufficient for us at this time, but for the benefit of those who would like to become more fully acquainted with the life of this "Holy" pair, I advise them to read Genesis, Chapter 20. We all know what happened to Hagar for taking the "good advice" of the Lord and returning to her mistress. Both Sarai and Abram cast her out of the house and again into the wilderness with her child. Judging from this instance, the Lord's advice is not a very good thing to follow.
The blessing the Lord gave Hagar when his angel finds her in "her affliction" and "with child" was not very comforting to her either, for verse 12 says her son "will be a wild man; and his hand will be against every man, and every man's hand against him."
But on to the next story that bears a close relationship and resemblance to this one.
Notes for: File 1; File 2; File 4; File 5; File 6; File 7