Discovering “The Great Agnostic”

RobertIngersoll:TimPageSometimes you come across a book or a person who  makes you go, “THIS is what I’ve been looking for.” Well thanks to the public library and my unquenchable thirst for everything religion and culture, I have a new favorite historical figure – Robert Ingersoll. Ingersoll was a figure known for controversial speeches about religion, culture, and politics, and has been called “The Great Agnostic.”

I started reading What’s God Got to Do with It?: Robert Ingersoll on Free Thought, Honest Talk, and the Separation of Church and State, a collection of excerpts and speeches edited by Tim Page, and am now in love with Ingersoll and his words. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he makes some profound points about the idea of a Christian nation, why God was left out of the constitution, and the religious freedom espoused in the United States. I had never heard of Robert Ingersoll until I picked up this book, and now cannot get enough.

I leave you with a quote from his 1876 speech “Centennial Oration”:

The religion that has to be supported by law is without value, not only, but a fraud and curse. The religious argument that has to be supported by a musket, is hardly worth making. A prayer that must have a cannon behind it, better never be uttered. Forgiveness ought not to go in partnership with shot and shell. Love need not carry knives and revolvers.

 

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