The Bible Unmasked
by Joseph Lewis
The Bible Unmasked
Table of Contents
Jesus and the Sinner.
Far be it from me to question the acquaintances and companions of a person and least of all those of Jesus Christ. If Jesus chose to associate with women of questionable virtue and chastity surely he had a perfect right to do so. He is not the only one who has had such associates; but whether this choice was of his own free will or of necessity I do not know. But I do know this: Were I to write a story glorifying the prostitute; and accord to her the same social privileges; and act towards her with the same dignity; and place her upon the same level with virtuous women, there would rise a hue and cry from the religious forces that I was advocating "free love" and "undermining the foundation of the home"; and is it "spiritual righteousness" to have in your home a book detailing the scenes between a "woman of the street" -- a sinner, passionately displaying her attachment for a man while he is receiving the hospitality of another person, because this degrading scene is related in the Bible? As much as I sympathize with the prostitute; as much as I will do all in my power to alleviate the prejudice against her and help her to a worthy position in society, I strenuously object to her public performance of displaying her affection for Jesus as being fit material for the edification of our children.
Having in mind the adage that a person is known by the company he keeps, I will proceed with the Biblical narrative of Jesus and the Sinner.
I quote the Gospel according to St. Luke, Chapter 7, Verses 36-38.
|36. And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him.
And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat.
37. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought a alabaster box of ointment,
38. And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.
Let us for the moment put ourselves in the position in which we find Jesus. What a compromising position it must have been to have a "sinner" (and the inference is only too plain) follow you about, enter the house where you are a guest, begin to inundate you with her tears, wash your feet and then wipe them with her hair, then kiss them, and finally annoint you with perfumed ointment! Mind you, after she had sprinkled his feet with tears and smothered them with kisses, she dries them with the silken tresses of her hair!
What more could any man receive? Surely the manifestation of a supreme love. No wonder she followed him about and only awaited the opportunity to show in an unmistakable manner her real affection for him.
What do you think of a man who allows a woman to do to him what this woman did to Jesus? Don't you think he could have been just as appreciative of her affection without this elaborate public display of washing, kissing, and anointing? Can you imagine Jesus after the washing he got and the anointing of the sweet-smelling ointment over him?
If Jesus did not object to artificial means of beautifying and making himself smell sweetly, what objection, I pray, can there be against the girls of to-day who devise means of artificially beautifying themselves? Didn't Jesus favor it? Didn't he like it? Then why shouldn't girls practise what Jesus himself was so much in favor of?
To those ministers who have so loudly denounced the girls of to-day and yet hold Jesus up as a model for mankind, I say, be consistent, ye hypocritical reformers. What was good enough for Jesus should certainly not be too vulgar for the girls of to-day. However, I would not advise any of our girls of to-day to do to the man they love what this woman did to Jesus. It is unbecoming not only to womankind, but is a mark of degeneration in a man.
In order to continue consecutively with the story I will quote the interpolated part between verses 38 to 44 of this chapter; for if these verses were not interpolated by some smart translator, who knew the effect this story would have upon thinking people, then they prove Jesus to have been the supreme hypocrite and impostor.
The Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter 7, Verses 39-43.
|39. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake
within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known
who and what manner of a woman this is that toucheth him; for she
is a sinner.
40. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
41. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed him five hundred pence, and the other fifty.
42. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
43. Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou has rightly judged.
This is pure camouflage, and does not in any way mitigate the nauseous washing, drying, kissing and anointing.
The Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter 7, Verses 44-46.
|44. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this
woman? I entered into thine house, thou gayest me no water for my feet:
but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the
hairs of her head.
45. Thou gayest me no kiss: but this woman, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet.
46. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
Monumental conceit and the currying of favors from "women of the street" are attributes of the hero of Christianity upon which the leaders of this creed have failed to enlighten us. The insolence of Jesus in telling the man who had invited him to his home to partake of a meal with him, that this woman -- this sinner, mind you -- had washed his feet and wiped them with her hair and kissed and anointed them in the bargain, while he, his host, was guilty of such neglect, is without parallel.
Why, if I were Simon, I would have told Jesus that the function of washing one's feet is a personal task, and that if there were any woman of the street desirous of doing this service for him she should do it elsewhere. Simon would have been perfectly justified in making such a rejoinder.
And now for the climax of the episode.
The Gospel According to St. Luke, Chapter 7, Verses 47-48.
|47. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven:
for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth
48. And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven.
Let me repeat the last line of the above quotation. "And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven." Now who wouldn't have forgiven her her sins for what she had done? Certainly she earned forgiveness. And the man would have been an ingrate had he not forgiven her. I would have forgiven the woman without the ministrations with which she attended Jesus.
It may be of interest to the reader to know that the Gospel according to St. Matthew records this scene somewhat differently. In the Gospel of St. Matthew it says that while Jesus was at meat with Simon, this woman of the street poured sweet-smelling ointment on his head, and the other guests objected to this lavish expenditure, because the ointment could be sold and the money given to the poor; which I think was a very sensible and commendable thought. To this proposal Jesus magnanimously replied: "Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always." I want this distinctly understood that it was the Son of God who was speaking!
As we concluded our review of the Old Testament while there still remained additional matter that was fit subject for our investigation; so we find the same condition prevailing in the New Testament. Enough subject matter still remains to be exposed; but were I to relate in detail all the vulgar sayings and repeat the indelicate expressions, I fear my task would never end.
Again I must say, the best evidence of the Bible's unworthiness lies in the Bible itself. To read it is sufficient to condemn it.
It is a tragedy to think that there are millions of people actually worshipping the Bible when the book is not fit even to receive their respect. I say this is a tragedy, because it shows the fearful ignorance and still more fearful superstition of a great portion of the living world, in an age of such marvelous scientific achievements and progress. Is it any wonder that the morality of mankind has not reached the heights man has achieved in other realms when we have such a spectacle as the following advertisement, "paid for by a native Pittsburgh Catholic business man who believes in his religion," which appeared in the New York Times, October 22, 1925?
Catholics Love the Bible
The Catholic Church cherishes the Bible. ALL OF IT. She believes the Bible to be the Word of God -- not a mere human document. She believes the Bible contains no errors. Catholics reverence the Bible so much that they rise and stand when it is read and KISS IT DEVOUTLY after reading it.
Ridicule or sympathy should be meted out to those who still accept the Bible as divine truth, when they have at their disposal the accumulated knowledge of the ages -- knowledge which not only proves the Bible to be false in every department in which it claims authority, but distinctly pernicious in its influence as well. If a man chooses to "kiss devoutly" the Bible, I pray that he will not force this humiliation upon his children.
We can only conclude that those who still accept the Bible as the infallible Word of God are so sadly deluded by superstition and fear that they haven't the courage and mental strength to throw off this paralyzing poison. But no matter for what cause, the time has come when such people should no longer be able to dictate to others in the intellectual and moral spheres of man.
If there were a real Bible for the human race, that book would contain all that this so-called Bible does not contain. The real Bible would begin with the alphabet and the multiplication table and contain every law and principle of nature. We would constantly consult its pages to determine our proper course through life. It would be our Guide and Enlightener. It would be the Text-book of our Existence; the Dictionary of our acts.
One thing is certain and beyond the peradventure of a doubt, and that is this: The real Bible would not contain the immoral stories that make up the major part of this fraudulent one. Why, Satan, if he existed, would loudly protest the charge that he was the author of such a shameful and degrading book as now bears the title of "Holy Scriptures." And mark this: In no other volume would this vulgar insult to the human race be tolerated.
Abraham Lincoln used the expression of "sinners calling the righteous to repentance"; and do we need a better illustration of the truth of it than in the statement of the Reverend George Elliott, editor of the "Methodist Review," a minister of the church and an advocate of the Bible's teachings, when he says in a protest against the books of to-day that "never in the history of American literature has it been so soiled by the stink of sex."
Is it possible that the Reverend George Elliott has never read the Bible? Or is he like the little boy who was asked if he knew what was in the Bible and who replied, "Oh! yes; I know everything that's in it. Sister's young man's photo is in it, and ma's recipe for face cream, an' a lock of my hair cut off when I was a baby, an' the ticket for Pa's watch."
Where can you find another volume, Reverend George Elliott, that contains as many "sex stories" as does the Bible? If the story of "Lot and His Daughters" -- where a father is made drunk so his two virgin daughters may effect an incestuous union with him; and the story of "Tamar and her father-in-law Judah" -- where a daughter-in-law is with "child by whoredom" by her father-in-law; and the story of the "Rape of Tamar By Her Brother Amnon" -- a story where a loving and dutiful sister is outrageously ravished by her brother; if the adulterous episodes of David; the seduction of Mary, and the unfaithfulness of her cousin Elisabeth, do not "stink of sex," then pray what name would you give to their foul odor?
The time has come when the Bible must be stripped of all its false halos and be measured for what it actually is; and I make this prediction: when the Bible is considered in its true light, it will be relegated to a position of utter disrespect -- without foundation, not alone in fact, but in decency as well. For a clergyman to call the stories of other books obscene when he recommends the Bible, is like "the pot calling the kettle black." Instead of boasting of their connection with and support of the Bible, they should rightly hang their heads in shame.
On another occasion the Reverend Ralph W. Kohr, writing to the editor and publisher of a popular magazine, had this to say concerning the stories it published.
|"...is a dirty and suggestive publication coming pretty close
to abuse of the legal use of the U.S. mails. It plays up the sexual passions
and depicts the decadent and salacious tendencies in modern life. So far
I suppose it is true to life, but life on its lower and baser side. It
is destructive and subversive of what good remains in modern society, and
helps give the car of modern civilization a further push down the road
"I am thankful that there are a number of publishers in our fair land who would not be guilty of putting such a magazine on the market. As a man, and one who may consider himself a gentleman, I think the whole tone and moral influence of the publication is unworthy of you or any honorable person. Would you want your high-school daughter, if you have one, to read such trash?
"Burn the stuff and start a paper that has an ideal and is not lower even than the low average of many modern homes. Papers should not merely reflect life as it is, the petty and wicked phases of it, but should be constructive, helpful. Surely a publisher has a duty to society and a responsibility for the influence of the stories he permits to get into print. The tendency is downward, but that is no reason why it should be accelerated by exploitation."
(Signed) Ralph W. Kohr.
More appropriate language, or a more truthful statement could not be made in characterizing the stories of the Bible, than the above letter, sent by the Reverend Ralph W. Kohr, to the editor of the magazine in question. Could there be "dirtier" and more suggestive stories than the ones we have just reproduced from the Bible? And could there be stories which come closer to the "abuse of the legal use of the United States mails?"
Have you ever read stories which played up the sexual passions and depicted the "salacious tendencies of life" better than the narratives we have just taken from the Bible? The stories we have quoted from the Bible "may be true to life," but surely "life on its lower and baser side." If such stories are "destructive and subversive of modern society and help give the car of modern civilization a further push down the road to ruin," then I cry that the Bible is the most destructive and subversive influence of modern civilization.
Lucky indeed are we that there are in this fair land of ours publishers who have not taken inspiration from the Bible in the kind of stories they supply to the public. Lucky, indeed, are we! And I wonder if the Bible, as clergymen are so boastful in maintaining, is the "best seller" because of its stories.
And if the Reverend Ralph W. Kohr considers himself a gentleman, then I consider the "whole tone and moral influence" of the Bible unworthy the support of any "honorable person." The Reverend Ralph W. Kohr asks this question and I use the same words in reference to the Bible: "Would you want your high-school daughter, if you have one, to read such trash?" Would you want your daughter, Reverend Ralph W. Kohr, if you have one, to read such trash as "Isaac and His Wife Rebekah," "The Rape of Dinah," "The Story of Esther," "Joseph and Potiphar's Wife," "Mary, Joseph and the 'Holy Ghost,'" "Elisabeth, Zacharias and Angel Gabriel" or any one of the salacious narratives from "Abram and Sarai" to "Jesus and the Sinner"?
If such literature as this is being blindly and madly circulated, then is it not time that some one who is not blind and some one who is not mad cry "Halt" to the further corruption of our children by the Bible? Or has the prophetic utterance of Shakespeare
|"O, Judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts
And men have lost their reason"
come to pass?
Is the Bible the book our daughter should read to become familiar with the Prince Charming of Life, that subtle magic that gives life a little bloom and a little sweetness? Should she read the Bible so as to fashion her life upon the acts of Sarai, or Potiphar's Wife, or Esther, or Mary, or Elisabeth? Should she read the Bible in the expectation that her lover, husband and life's companion should possess the "sterling" character of an Abraham, Isaac or a David?
If we give a child a book and tell that child in that book will be found "the key to happiness and duty," can we honestly and rightfully punish that child if he should follow the examples and precepts that the book contains?
If the Government sanctions the Bible, by giving exemption of taxation to the institutions that expound it, what a paradox it is to penalize those who are guilty of the very crimes which in the leaders of the Bible are condoned! Surely if David was pardoned by God for the crimes he committed, and we are told that David "was a man after God's own heart," should we not pardon those guilty of the same crimes that David committed? And what hypocrisy it is on the part of our Government to have the Bible in our courts of law for the culprit to take his oath upon and then be tried for the very crimes which the Bible itself sanctions. Is the blindness of the Statue of Justice to be taken as literally true -- because this travesty and parody of justice continues day after day?
Could there be a more ludicrous situation than this? Recently I attended the court session of a man being tried for rape. In taking the stand in his own behalf the man was given the Bible to place his hand upon and made to take an oath "that he would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God," and yet in that very Bible is recorded one of the most heartrending cases of rape known to man!
Since we are instructed to read the Bible for our "key to happiness and duty," is it not reasonable to suppose that the reading of the Bible prompted this act of rape? And is it not also reasonable to suppose that ministers of the gospel, whose profession has supplied perpetrators of every crime on the calendar, from petty larceny and disorderly conduct to rape and murder, are prompted in their acts by the reading of the Bible? Shades of Father Hans Schmidt and Pastor Richardson!
And my reasonableness to suppose this, comes from the fact that the greatest number of inmates in our penal institutions are those who have received Biblical instruction. So great an authority as Havelock Ellis, in his masterful book, "The Criminal" makes this statement: "In all countries religion, or superstition, is closely related to crime."
And why should it be otherwise, when it is not our relation to our fellow-men that will save our "souls" but "by grace are ye saved thru faith; and that not of ourselves." And "without shedding of blood is no emission." And "He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Do we need a better illustration of religious homicidal mania, induced by Bible reading, than the case reported in the New York Times, November 28, 1924:
Crazed by Religion, Maid With
Axe Kills One and Gashes Two.
This was the case of a woman who brutally killed her employer, fatally injured his wife, and wounded their daughter, who attempted to intercede in their behalf. When arrested for the crime and subjected to examination by the police, the woman said, "Why should I be sorry when the Lord told me to do it?" But a few months before this horrible crime the world was appalled and shocked by the burning to death of three members of a man's family because of his delusion that the "Holy Ghost" had whispered to him that only "through fire" could he purge his soul of sin. And let us not forget the brutal murder of a crippled father by a mother and daughter, who, after listening to a revivalist at a Bible meeting, "heard the voice of God," went to their home, and murdered the old man while he lay helpless in bed.
Let me recall a case as reported in the New York Times of April 27, 1922. John Cornyn, of San Francisco, shot and killed his two boys, one seven and the other eight, because, according to the police, he had been in "communication" with his wife who had been dead a year and she had asked him to "send all of her five children to her."
It is not generally known that Charles J. Guiteau, the assassin of President Garfield, was a devout religious believer, and was engaged in writing a book, entitled, "The Truth a Companion to the Bible," when he was inspired by God to commit this dastardly crime against the Republic by the murder of the President.
And in the New York American, August 20, 1925, appears this tragic item:
Kills Her Baby in Crib at
Amityville Woman Stabs Sleeping Infant
with Table Knife to "Send
It To Heaven."
Did the reading of the story of the sacrifice of Isaac by his father Abraham prompt this poor deluded woman to murder her child?
And yet we have certain judges, suspending sentences upon culprits only upon condition that they attend church and read the Bible! I could cite instances of this kind to fill an entire volume, but merely refer you to the daily newspapers to supply this information. And now, if you will, let me quote an item which shows the "direful" result of those who "have no religion" and are minus "that great consolation that comes from a belief in the saving grace of Christ."
I quote from the New York Evening Mail of November 16, 1921:
|There are two institutions that Walcott, Iowa, the richest town per capita in Iowa, prides itself in not possessing. These are churches and jails. In its religious beliefs, Walcott is unique. For more than fifty years the town has been without a church. It once had a jail, but like its only church, established sixty-five years ago and which existed but a few years, it was put in the discard. While the jail building stands, there is no vestige of a church edifice. But there are no locks to the jail, and the hinges have rotted off. "We are freethinkers and believe in free American citizenship seven days a week. We do not need preachers to dictate to us. We are better off without them," states Mayor Strohbeen, in expressing Walcott's lack of churches. "We are getting along very well as we are -- much better than with churches. We like to be let alone. There is no more peaceful or law-abiding town in the United States than Walcott. Why should we want churches? They bring strife and dissension -- we want peace and quietude," commented the town's popular mayor. In a business and commercial way Walcott is a thriving town. It has two banks with combined deposits of $1,500,000. This is a remarkable showing when it is considered that the population of the town is but 384. It has a consolidated school -- second to none in this part of the state. Recently the citizens erected a fine auditorium. There Chautauquas and musical entertainments are held on week days and dances on Sundays.|
Since the appearance of this item in the newspapers, I am informed that the religious forces of nearby towns have contributed enough money to erect a church. The building of the jail will have to be done at the town's expense.
But let us get back to our subject and the Reverend Ralph W. Kohr, while I tell him that not only are the Bible's stories unfit to be read by our daughters, but I will go a step farther and say, that the children sent to Sunday School to have the Bible expounded to them and to be inculcated with a reverence for it as being the Word of God are being tainted with utter stupidity and degrading superstition.
If the Bible contained only the trash that the Reverend in his letter to the editor said that his magazine contained, then the Bible would be only as "trashy" as that magazine; but as it is, the Bible contains matter a thousand times more harmful and pernicious. One thing is certain, this editor does not claim that the stories appearing in his magazine are touched by divine inspiration.
If corruption in one instance is punishable by law, then contamination by any other method should meet the same penalty. If bastardy, adultery, prostitution, rape, and incest are unfit subjects for our children, the title of "Holy Bible" upon the covers of a book, cannot, magic-like, transform these immoralities into cultural virtues!
And the following letter written by Mark Twain, in answer to a protest of a young woman superintendent in the Children's Department of the Brooklyn Public Library, who charged that "Tom Sawyer" and "Huckleberry Finn" were corrupting the morals of the children, is indeed pertinent.
|"I am greatly troubled by what you say. I wrote Tom Sawyer and
Huck Finn for adults exclusively, and it always distresses me when I find
that boys and girls have been allowed access to them. The mind that becomes
soiled in youth can never again be washed clean; I know this by my own
experience, and to this day I cherish an unappeasable bitterness against
the unfaithful guardians of my young life, who not only permitted but compelled
me to read an unexpurgated Bible through before I was 15 years old. None
can do that and ever draw a clean, sweet breath again this side of the
grave. Ask that young lady -- she will tell you so.
"Most honestly do I wish I could say a softening word or two in defense of Huck's character, since you wish it, but really in my opinion it is no better than those of Solomon, David, Satan, and the rest of the sacred brotherhood.
"If there is an unexpurgated [Bible] in the Children's Department, won't you please help that young woman remove Huck and Tom from that questionable companionship?"
"Burn the stuff and start a paper that has an ideal and is not lower even than the low average of many modern homes," cries the Reverend Mr. Kohr. I do not say "burn the Bible." I am not as bigoted as the Reverend Ralph W. Kohr about those things which I do not accept. I say preserve the Bible. Preserve it for the sake of exposure. Hold it high and flaunt it before all the people that its true worth may be known. Spread it far and wide, only do not contaminate our children with its contagiously vile pages. And again I make this prediction: When the Bible is once read and understood like other books, it will be rejected and discarded as being unfit and unworthy the attention and respect of man.
There is no home in America whose "low average" is lower than the morality found in the Bible. No home in America, no home in this great Republic of ours, should permit its sacred confines to be polluted by the presence of the Holy Scriptures.
And what right has the Reverend Ralph W. Kohr to refer to "even the low average of many modern homes," when he is engaged in the distribution of the very book that may be responsible for the reduction of many modern homes to the low level of which he speaks? I dare say that if a modern volume were to be found in any home, containing the demoralizing stories that the Bible contains, the Reverend Ralph w. Kohr would become livid with rage and expostulate upon such a brazen disregard of modesty and the contamination of our lives with the "decadent and the salacious" element of life.
Do not burn any book. The greatest destroyer of falsehood is truth. Although truth at times appears lazy and apathetic it will eventually triumph. The searchlight of truth will burn falsehood with a fiercer intensity of destruction than the heat from the phosphorus flame.
Remember it is only in comparatively recent times that the glorious public schools were instituted to teach the people to read. And it will not be long before the believer in the Bible will be the exception rather than the rule. "Papers (books) should not merely reflect life as it is, the petty and wicked phases of it, but should be constructive, helpful." If the Reverend Ralph W. Kohr is an honest man, and these are his honest sentiments, then how is it possible for him to be a minister of the Bible? How can he be honest, and at the same time preach from the book which contains the stories we have recorded?
Does he call the recording of such phases of life "constructive and helpful," or are they more truthfully, "the petty and wicked part of it"? I am sure I do not need to explain their reflections of the pettiness and wickedness of life. Your own conscience tells you that! If as he says, "a publisher has a duty to society and a responsibility for the influence of the stories he permits to get into print," then surely the printers of the Bible are guilty of a monumental crime. And every man connected with its distribution and dissemination is equally guilty.
And if the tendency and impulse of life is downward, as he says, certainly "there is no reason why it should be accelerated by exploitation."
And now I ask you this pertinent question, Reverend Ralph W. Kohr, and all clergymen and ministers of religion: What right have you to exploit the Bible and prey upon the ignorant and credulous, when you know, measured for what it actually is, the Bible, as far as its stories are concerned, is not entitled to the respect of Man?
What right have you to exploit the Bible as the Word of God and wear the sanctimonious livery of a man of God, when the Bible has been shown to contain the most foul, repulsive, disgusting, licentious, repugnant, indecent, lascivious, wicked and corrupting episodes capable of performance by the vilest of beings? It is not necessary for me to tell you how vile and degrading is this so-called "Book of God." It is only too plainly evident to those who read it. Its stories, in their brazen disregard of modesty, prove my contention that they pollute the very pages upon which they are written. No greater fraud has been committed than to exploit the ignorant and the superstitious under the sanction that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God and that "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Until recently, I was told, the custom prevailing at the inauguration of some of our governors and Presidents, after the oath of office had been administered, was for the elected official to open the Bible and kiss a verse at random. The official would then mark the verse which he had kissed and give it to the press representatives to broadcast to the people.
This custom in part, however, has now been abandoned, for it is said that on one occasion the elected official kissed one of the verses of the Bible which, when marked and read, was discovered to be absolutely and positively filthy.
If an elected official now chooses to kiss the Bible at his inauguration (or her inauguration as in the case of "Ma" Ferguson of Texas, or Mrs. Nellie Ross of Wyoming) he either kisses the cover of the Bible, or a verse selected beforehand. In some cases a verse is merely indicated by placing a finger upon it.
It is certainly an anomaly and an incongruity that there are verses in the Bible which cannot be mentioned separately and which are so grossly vile that extreme caution must be exercised so as to prevent their becoming public.
The sanction of the Bible in our Courts of Law, where a person is almost actually made to take an oath upon it before he is permitted to testify, is a travesty of justice.
The Bible itself, as a book of revealed truth, is a monumental lie!
Judges are continually complaining of the perjury of witnesses, and lawyers know only too well its prevalence. The oath, taken on the Bible, as now administered, is nothing but a formality. It has absolutely no restraining influence. The honest man will tell the truth irrespective of his oath upon the Bible, and the thief will lie, his oath upon the Bible notwithstanding. The religious conviction of a person does not prevent him from violating his oath, nor does the unbelief of a person hinder him from performing his sacred duty to the fullest measure of integrity.
There is a case on record where a man was actually fined for sending a verse of the Bible openly through the mail! Just think of it. There are verses in the Bible which are too indecent to enjoy the privileges of the United States mail! -- verses which a Federal Court has officially condemned as being vile and vulgar, and in violation of the obscenity law. (I call the attention of the Rev. Ralph W. Kohr to this situation.)
Is it possible? Is it really possible, that there are passages in the Bible which cannot be sent openly through the mail? Is it possible that God (and the religious elect solemnly swear that he wrote every word of the Bible) used obscene language in imparting his sacred knowledge to the world?
If this is true, and the records prove it to be true, this alone should be sufficient to condemn the Bible as a cultural book and destroy utterly the thought that it is the inspired word of God.
I could give the names of literally thousands of books that contain the very highest moral precepts which any one could open at any page and read any line and not have the slightest fear of shocking the tenderest sensibilities of a child.
And then again, why not use the Declaration of Independence, or more properly the Constitution of the United States, in the ceremony of inducting our officials into office? To swear upon the Bible allegiance to uphold the Constitution is a paradox, for the system of government as advocated in the Bible is the antithesis of our Republic, and the social order which it maintains is the direct contrary of the ideals of this great Democracy.
In some states, particularly in New York, where the Bible is permitted to be read in the public schools, the provision granting this privilege is generally stipulated in words to the effect: that upon the opening of school, a verse from the Bible, may be read "without note or comment."
Judging from the stipulation which is incorporated in the charters of the Boards of Education, it would appear that any verse in the Bible could be selected and read and that the one doing so would be performing his full duty. But nothing could be further from the truth. If any one dared to read some of the verses in the Bible, "without note or comment," he would be expelled from the school for grossly insulting the pupils.
It is amazing to me that so many people are ignorant of what the Bible actually contains. And it is still more amazing to me that educators, knowing what the Bible contains (for surely they know as much about the Bible as I do), permit this outrageous performance of reading the Bible to our public school children, to continue day after day. As educators, it is their duty to protest against this insult to the intelligence of the people and to the educational system of this country. To permit the Bible to be read daily to our public school children and to impress upon their tender minds a reverence for it as the infallible word of God, is to me not only a dereliction of duty which should be censured in the severest of terms, but is positively criminal. As I wish to avoid any interference with the distribution of my book I will refrain from quoting those verses which the Court has condemned as being obscene, but which nevertheless deserve to be exposed to the pitiless rays of the light of day.
"But if you take away our Bible, what will you give us in exchange," is the cry of the stupid and ignorant. If we eradicate fear, prejudice, hatred and superstition from the human mind, must we replace them with equally objectionable traits? Is not the glorious gift of reason a sufficient compensation? Is not freedom of the mind a glorious enough exchange?
But to those who insist that they "must have something," to them I say:
If you must have a Bible; if you must hoodwink the ignorant; if you must bamboozle the herd; if you must cower the superstitious; if you must have something "divine"; if you must have a "revelation," then by all means let us have something with a little merit in it; something comparable to the intelligence of the day; something representative of the spirit of progress; something actually conducive to the Brotherhood of Man. If you must have "faith in something," have it not in filth.
And in writing your creed and formulating your doctrines, always remember, that
|"any system of religion that has anything in it that shocks the mind of a child, cannot be a true system."|
The Creed of Science
By Robert G. Ingersoll
To love justice, to long for the right, to love mercy, to pity the suffering, to assist the weak, to forget wrongs and remember benefits -- to love the truth, to be sincere, to utter honest words, to love liberty, to wage relentless war_ against slavery in all its forms, to love wife and child and friend, to make a happy home, to love the beautiful in art, in nature, to cultivate the mind, to be familiar with the mighty thoughts that genius has expressed, the noble deeds of all the world, to cultivate courage and cheerfulness, to make others happy, to fill life with the splendor of generous acts, the warmth of loving words, to discard error, to destroy prejudice, to receive new truths with gladness, to cultivate hope, to see the calm beyond the storm, the dawn beyond the night, to do the best that can be done and then to be resigned -- this is the religion of reason, the creed of science. This satisfies the heart and brain.
Notes for File 1; File 2; File 4; File 5; File 6; File 7