Random Quote #96 topic: atheism, Wayne Aiken's atheism cookie file

"Rome was far better when Pagan than when Catholic. It was better to allow
gladiators and criminals to fight than to burn honest men. The greatest of
the Romans denounced the cruelties of the arena. Seneca condemned the combats
even of wild beasts. He was tender enough to say that "we should have a bond
of sympathy for all sentient beings, knowing that only the depraved and base
take pleasure in the sight of blood and suffering." Aurelius compelled the
gladiators to fight with blunted swords. Roman lawyers declared that all men
are by nature free and equal. Woman, under Pagan rule in Rome, became as free
as man. Zeno, long before the birth of Christ, taught that virtue alone
establishes a difference between men. We know that the Civil Law is the
foundation of our codes. We know that fragments of Greek and Roman art --
a few manuscripts saved from Christian destruction, some inventions and
discoveries of the Moors -- were the seeds of modern civilization.
Christianity, for a thousand years, taught memory to forget and reason to
believe. Not one step was taken in advance. Over the manuscripts of
philosophers and poets, priests with their ignorant tongues thrust out,
devoutly scrawled the forgeries of faith. For a thousand years the torch of
progress was extinguished in the blood of Christ, and his disciples, moved
by ignorant zeal, by insane, cruel creeds, destroyed with flame and sword a
hundred million of their fellow-men. They made this world a hell. But if
cathedrals had been universities -- if dungeons of the Inquisition had been
laboratories -- if Christians had believed in character instead of creed --
if they had taken from the Bible all the good and thrown away the wicked and
absurd -- if domes of temples had been observatories -- if priests had been
philosophers -- if missionaries had taught the useful arts -- if astrology
had been astronomy -- if the black art had been chemistry -- if superstition
had been science -- if religion had been humanity -- it would have been a
heaven filled with love, with liberty and joy."
[Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Christian Religion"
Part III, The Ingersoll - Black Debate, 1881]


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