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18 page printout Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE by Charles Bradlough CHRISTIAN PRIEST AND UNBELIEVER. I ["National Reformer," August 31, 1884.] CHRISTIAN PRIEST. -- AT least, belief is the safe side. When you die, if your unbelief be right, there is an end of you and of all your heresy; and if it is wrong, there is eternal torment as your sad lot. UNBELIEVER. -- Hardly so. If I am right, my un-belief will live after me, in its encouragement to others to honest protest against the superstitions which hinder progress. C.P. -- But you, at any rate, may be wrong, and belief is, therefore, safest for you. U. -- Which belief? Must I accept alike all creeds? C.P. -- No; that is not possible. You are asked to accept the true Christian faith. U. -- Why not the true Jewish faith? C.P. -- A new dispensation was given through Jesus. U. -- Why not the true Mahommedan faith? C.P. -- Mahommed was an imposter. U. -- About two hundred millions of human beings now believe that he was the prophet of God, and that the Koran is a divine revelation. C.P. -- He was a false prophet. His pretence that the Koran was revelation was an imposture. U. -- Then it would not be safe for me to believe in Mahommed? C.P. -- Certainly not; you must believe in Christ and in the Gospels. U. -- Would it not be enough to believe in Buddha, and the blessing of eternal repose in Nirvana? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 1 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE C.P. -- Buddhism is the equivalent of Atheism. Nirvana is another word for annihilation. U. -- But some four hundred millions are Buddhists, and the character of Buddha is placed very high. C.P. -- The true faith is that in Jesus, and in him crucified. U. -- Do you mean the man Jesus in whom the Unitarians believe? C.P. -- Unitarians! Do you not know that there is a spcial canon of the law-established Church against the dammable and cursed heresie of Socinianism"? It is belief in Jesus as God, the second person in the Holy Trinity. U. -- In the Trinity as painted at Holyrood? or in the new Cathedral at Moscow? C.P. -- It is the Trinity as taught in the New Testament you must believe. The paintings you refer to are profane, idolatrous, and blasphemous. U. -- But have not the latest revisers omitted from the New Testament, as being a pious fraud, the strongest Trinitarian text? C.P. -- The omission does not weeken the doctrine; the Trinity in Unity must be believed. U. -- But not painted. May it be thought? C.P. -- Of course. U. -- But can I think man who is God, who is begotten yet eternal? C.P. -- You must believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, three in one. U. -- Are there in the Trinity three persons, each God? C.P. -- Yes; but there is only one God, who so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son to die for it. U. -- Is Jesus the only begotten son of God C.P. -- Yes; begotten before all worlds. U. -- Is Jesus God? C.P. -- Yes; very God of very God U. -- Had Jesus a mother? C.P. -- Yes; the Virgin Mary. U. -- When did she live? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 2 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE C.P. -- About 1,900 years ago. U. -- Was that before all worlds? C.P. -- Your attempt to reason will lead you to heresy; Belief without reason is the safe side. U. -- Did Jesus die? C.P. -- Yes. U. -- Was he quite dead? C.P. -- Yes. U. -- After he was quite dead did he eat and drink? C.P. -- He first came to life again. U. -- How long was he really dead before he came to life again? C.P. -- He died on Friday, and rose from the dead before dawn on Sunday. U. -- So that God, to show his love for the world, let his only son die for one whole day, part of another day, and not quite two nights? C.P. -- That is indeed blasphemy as well as heresy; believe as the Church teaches, that in the grave Christ triumphed over death. U. -- Which Church? The Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, the Free Church, the Established Church, the Lutheran Church, the Calvinist, the Roman Catholic, the Methodist -- which of these is the safest? C.P. -- There is only one true Church, that as by law established. U. -- But as interpreted by Colenso? by Mackonochie? by Convocation? or by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council? C.P. -- Do not distress me with these doubts. At any rate believe in Christ as taught in the Gospel. U. -- Which version of the Gospel, that of Rheims? or the authorized version of King James? or the revised version of the present day? C.P. -- Do not raise these quibbles as to versions; have faith. U. -- In what or whom? C.P. -- In God our father in heaven. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 3 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE U. -- The father of the English and the Soudanese? of the French and the Hovas? of the Boer and the Zulu? C.P. -- The Father of all. U. -- Who, having the power to prevent war, permits it? Who, being able to hinder disease, promotes it? C.P. -- These are mysteries; be content to believe and trust. U. -- In God who sent the earthquake in Java? the cholera in Marseilles and Toulon? C.P. -- Doubt is dangerous, belief is safe, your puny intellect cannot measure the infinite. U. -- Will all unbelievers in Jesus be tormented eternally? C.P. -- Yes. U. -- Is not that unfair to the millions who are unbelievers because they have never heard of Jesus except as I may hear of Obi? C.P. -- God will be merciful to those who have not heard the gospel, and therefore cannot believe. U. -- Is not that, then, very hard on the one who is an unbeliever because having heard the Gospel he cannot believe it? C.P. -- You are now judging the rule of the omnipotent, measuring the plan of the all-wise; be content to believe. U. -- Will those who have never heard the Gospel escape despite their unbelief? C.P. -- I have said God is mercfful; he will punish those who, having heard, reject. U. -- But do not your Church and many other Christian Churches send missionaries to preach the Gospel to those who have not heard it? C.P. -- Yes, our missionaries to heathen lands are the glory of all our Churches. U. -- But do they not thus take the possibility of damnation to those who would otherwise escape? The Christian Priest here turned away despairingly. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. **** **** Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 4 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE CHRISTIAN PRIEST AND UNBELIEVER. II ("National Reformer," September 7th, 1884.) C.P. -- Believe in Jesus and be saved. U. -- Were the immediate disciples of Jesus saved? C.P. -- Certainly, except perhaps Judas, but why the doubt? U. -- Thomas would not believe (John xx. 25); was he damned? C.P. -- Even he believed at last; believe and repent. U. -- No, when he had evidence (v. 27) he knew; you ask me to believe upon grounds satisfactory to you; like Thomas I claim to examine for myself. Thomas said: "I will not believe," I say that I cannot believe. But those that were with Jesus (Mark xvi. ii) believed not, nor when two of the disciples told the residue that they had seen Jesus, "neither believed they" (v. I3); were these saved? C.P. -- They all believed when they saw Jesus. U. -- But is not actual seeing more than mere belief? If not, may I see? When the disciples actually saw Jesus they surely scarcely deserved eternal salvation because they saw? They could not help seeing. C.P. -- But Jesus himself taught that he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but that he that believeth not shall be damned. U. -- Did Jesus certainly teach this? In my revised version, printed at the Oxford University Press, I read that "the two oldest Greek manuscripts and some other authorities" omit these words. C.P. -- Leave those critical questions to scholars; be humble in spirit, and have faith. U. -- In what? or whom? C.P. -- In Jesus. U. -- But the disciples who knew him intimately had small faith in Jesus. When he was arrested "they all forsook him and fled" (Mark xiv. 50), and it is pretended that those very ones who so forsook him had seen Jesus feed the hungry, cure the sick, make the blind to seg, the lame to walk, and the dead rise again to life. C.P. -- Do not say pretended; that is blasphemy. U. -- But did Peter really see dead Lazarus raised again to life, and yet deny? Was John the son of Zebedee, the disciple whom Jesus loved, and did he run away at the first approach of danger? Would not this be the veriest hardihood and audacity of disbelief? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 5 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE C.P. -- These things are mysteries; leave these and believe. U. -- But these disciples who did not believe were all specially selected by Jesus himself; did he know that they would be unbelievers, and that their unbelief would hinder my faith? C.P. -- You are now setting up the pride of your reason against the things of God; be as a little child; of such is the kingdom of heaven. U. -- Was Jesus a young child, and did he grow through boyhood to manhood? C.P. -- Yes, so the Gospel teaches. U. -- And must I believe that he was a God whilst he was a young child? C.P. -- He was God incarnate to suffer and redeem. U. -- And whilst a child still God. Then are the legends I find in every ancient faith of God-born children who grew through childhood into manhood, and were Gods -- are these, too, to be believed? C.P. -- No, they are false religious legends -- myths the infant Bacchus, or Hor, or Hercules, these are mostly sun-myths. U. -- Mostly older, though, than the myth of Jesus; how do you make the modem copy truer than the ancient fable? C.P. -- If you call Jesus myth, how do you account for Christianity? U. -- Calling, as you do, Hor myth, how do you account for Osirianism? Calling Krishna myth, how do you account for Hinduism? C.P. -- But think of the great men who have believed in Jesus. U. -- And of the great men who have believed in Mahommed, Buddha, Ra, and Agni. It is in their creeds that great men are often very weakly. C.P. -- But Christianity is spreading all over the world, other religions are dying away. U. -- It would be more true to ssy that all religions are dying away. Christianity spreads where your cannon take it, and where your bayonet keeps it; see in Zululand, in Afghanistan; it exterminates where it has foothold, as amongst the Maories, the Fijians, the Hawaians, the Hovas. But does it so surely spread at home? C.P. -- Certainly; what do you mean? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 6 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE U. -- In England the majority of your population from cradle to grave, save for baptism, marriage or funeral, never enter Church or Chapel; in Ireland, Catholics, more devout, shoot landlords. and Ulster Protestants, more pious, shoot Nationalists. In Italy scarce a prominent man who is not avowedly indifferent or hostile to Christianity. In France the public men are most careless of religion or repudiate it. In Germany the educated are nearly all Freethinkers, the pious nearly all soldiers. C.P. -- Do not talk of the Continent; its inhabitants are Sabbath-breakers. U. -- Shall I limit Christianity to the few in these islands, and look at home, say in outcast London, Ratchff Highway, or the Mint, or Flower and Dean Street, or the old Sanctuary? amongst the very poor and miserable in the still undestroyed narrow courts of Drury Lane? or shall I take the outcast rich in the public streets about midnight, within half a mile of Westminster Abbey? are these the fruits of eighteen centuries of Christianity? C.P. -- These are sins and shames against which our Church ever labours; look to our Christian-founded hospitals and libraries. U. -- But these have grown since civilization has compelled them. The crime and your Church have dwelt together for centuries. In Rome, Paris, London, great piety, great riches, great crime, and your Church, always mighty for evil and mostly powerless for good. C.P. -- I cannot listen: these things are not true; it is unjust to put on the Church the sins of great cities where infidelity is rampant. U. -- But it is the pious in these cities who are fashionable and criminal; and there are terrors of crime which touch your Church even in its highest ranks. Heresy, or as you call it, infidelity, has during 300 years done something to purify -- the corruption is part of your history. But take, too, your agricultural districts where, even to-day, there would be scant mercy for an infidel preacher, and reach me your assize calendars and total for me the record of your ordinary and of your nameless crimes. Is this the result of 1800 years of your Church? C.P. -- No, this is the natural wickedness of man; and if you destroy our faith what will you give us in its stead? U. -- Where is your faith recorded? and is your natural inclination to wickedness God-given? C.P. -- It is in the Bible, God's word, you will find our faith; with what will you replace it? Man has a free will; do not blasphemously put his sins on God. U. -- But do you believe and practise the Bible? Do you imitate Abraham -- father Abraham? or Lot? or Jacob? or Saul? or David? or Solomon? or Ezekiel? or Hosea? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 7 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE C.P. -- These were of the old dispensation; I preach Jesus. U, -- Then you, too, do put away as it suits you a large part of the Bible but you keep to Jesus. C.P. -- Yes; and what will you give me in his stead? U. -- Do you keep to Jesus? The Jesus of the Gospels said, Blessed be ye poor; and your Church is rich. He said, take no thought for the morrow and your Ecclesiastical Commissioners, have stringent covenants for 99 years of to-morrows. He said, thou shalt not swear; you swear yourselves, and compel others, too, to swear. He said, judge not, and agree with thine adversary quickly; and you rely on Lord Penzance, monitions, sequestrations, capiases, and long-pending litigation. if Jesus came to-day to St, Paul's Cathedral or Westmitister Abbey, you would probably send him on the morrow to Holloway jail as a brawler. C.P. -- Why harden your heart in unbelief? why not receive the Gospel prayerfully and humbly? U. -- Does that mean that I should accept what you call the gospel without trying to find out whether such gospel is truth or error, or a mixture of both? C.P. -- The gospel is God's word to humankind; to doubt it is to sin. U. -- How am I to be satisfied of that? C.P. -- The very desire for satisfaction is sin. The gospel is attested by miracle, and has been accepted by the wisest and best of mankind. U. -- But the miracle itself has not been worked to me; if I may not examine it how can it attest? There are many millions who have not accepted the gospel you preach. What is the evidence to me of a miracle dating back nearly twenty centuries, and performed before a foreign people? C.P. -- The whole testimony of the Church. Indeed God speaks. U. -- But I do not hear; and is the testimony of the Church even to-day unanimous? C.P. -- On the main points, yes; the doctrinal differences between the various Christian sects are trifling. U. -- If that be really so, why do not the various religious bodies, say, in England, sink these trifling differences and unite in one Church? C.P. -- For practical purposes there is that union. U. -- Is that quite true? Are Roman Catholics united with Protestants? Do they freely preach from each other's pulpits? Do Church of England clergymen willingly bury unbaptized Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 8 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE Nonconformists in consecrated ground? Is there perfect concord and unity between the Tablet, the Church Times, and the Rock? Did the Bishop of Capetown work in harmony with Dr. Colenso? Do even devout Low-Churchmen who promote law-suits against Ritualists give illustration of such union? C.P. -- At least in all good work these bodies, prelates and writers, sink all minor differences and are united. Take hospitals, the promotion of temperance, the abolition of slavery, and other charitable undertakings. U. -- But in a Catholic hospital would a Protestant Christian be allowed to die quietly in his heresy? And how long has the union existed? Your Christianity is claimed to be in its nineteenth century, and the union of the great Catholic and Protestant divisions of your Church is in this country not yet sixty years old even in possibility. The approach to toleration of each other has been compelled by educated public opinion; it is no natural outgrowth. Rack, faggot, and dungeon marked the differences, not the union. Nor did your churches unite for the abolition of slavery; if they united at all it was to oppose the abolition. It is not even quite certain that they are temperate, or that as a whole they have worked for temperance. C.P. -- You are leaving untouched the entreaty I made to you that you should accept the gospel frayerfully and humbly. You are drifting into criticisms on the conduct of individuals, some of them unworthy of their priestly office. U. -- Why may I not judge the tree by its fruit? Why may I not examine your gospel before I accept it? C.P. -- It is God's gospel, the gospel of Jesus -- this should be enough for you. U. -- Am I not entitled to test it by my reason? C.P. -- Human reason is a dangerous and unsafe standard whereby to test heavenly things. U. -- You present for my acceptance the gospel of Christ; well, I offer you the gospel of Krishna. C.P. -- You have no authority for this; it is a false gospel. U. -- What authority have you? Krishna was God incarnate. C.P. -- The very suggestion is blasphemy; the story was borrowed from the Christian gospel. U. -- But the Krishna story was current at least 1000 years before Christ is claimed to have existed. It is vouched by miracle. C.P. -- The Hindoo miracles are absurd and ridiculous. U. -- So to me are those of your own bible; so to me are those of the Christian healer who is now in South Australia curing the sick by hundreds. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 9 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE C.P. -- Many of the Hindoo sacred writings are coarse, voluptuous, and even filthy. U. -- So to me are many of the Hebrew sared writings. C.P. -- The Krishna story is monstrous and unreasonable. U. -- But you have taught me that human reason is a dangerous and unsafe guide in matters of religion. But I pass to the Koran offered to you by Mahommed, the prophet of the Lord. C.P. -- Mahommed was a false prophet and impostor. U. -- Is not that exactly what the Jews said of Jesus? C.P. -- But Mahommedanism has for centuries been maintained and spread by the sword. U. -- So was Christianity from the 4th to the 16th centuries; and even to-day a Christian bishop blesses an invading army, declaring that it may cut a road for the Christian missionary. C.P. -- But Mahommedans are fatalists. U. -- So were Luther, Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards. C.P. -- Oh, do not harden your heart; repent of your unbelief and believe. God is merciful, and Will forgive you. U. -- Do you mean that God, having blinded my eyes, will forgive me if I repent that I have not seen, and if I will believe that I see when I do not? Or do you mean that having given me sight and hearing he will punish me for having seen and listened unless I will repent and believe that I am blind and deaf? C.P. -- These are quibbles, hardened man; dare you reject God's truth? U. -- Reject God's truth spoken from opposite points with opposite meanings and in irreconcilable terms? How can I choose, how determine which is the truth if I may not examine and test all presentation? I may test a coin, a jewel, an the acquirement of which I only expend the results of a day, a week, or a month, but I may not test the jewel on the acceptance or rejection of which you say depends the happiness of an eternity. I cannot see in the black underground of hidden things, I must have light. **** **** The value of this 360K disk is $7.00. This disk, its printout, or copies of either are to be copied and given away, but NOT sold. Bank of Wisdom, Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 **** **** Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 10 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE CHRISTIAN PRIEST AND SCEPTIC ON CHRISTMASTIDE ("Natiottal Reformer," December 28th, 1884.) CHRISTIAN PRIEST. -- At least, this anniversary of the message of peace and good-will to all the world should touch even your cold heart. Skeptic. -- Was the message of peace and good-will? and was it to all the world? C.P. -- Why, surely yes. God so loved the world that he gave his only son to die for it. S. -- Could he not have shown his love without killing his own son? C.P. -- That is mystery; take his love -- it is given freely. S. -- Given or bought? Do the poor get this gift of love to lighten their misery? Given or taken? Do the weak get this gift of love to aid their helplessness? C.P. -- Yes, it is for all, but especially for the poor and the weak; theirs is the blessing. S. -- Is that quite true of the country , poor in cottages quite unfit for human dwellings, or of the town poor in filthy court and squalid alley? Is that quite true of the weaker races scattered through the world, kidnapped and harried for the greed of their stronger Christian brethren? C.P. -- Here man's wickedness hinders God's love. S. -- Can finite man's wickedness hinder omnipotent God's infinite goodness? C.P. -- This, again, is mystery; but it is rather of the eternal future I would speak. S. -- Peace and good-will for the dead as set-off for war and malice amongst the living. C.P. -- True Christianity would in this world abolish war and uproot malice. S. -- Would it? Why, then, do Christian nations make larger preparations for war than were ever made by any Pagan peoples? Why do these gathered in Christian churches pray for victory in war, and sing Te Deum laudamus when the carnage has been great? C.P. -- I said true Christianity, and you deal only with those who are mere professors. S. -- But then there is no professedly Chrisam nation which is really Christian. Then there has never been any professedly Christian nation which has been really Christian, for every so-called Christian people has had the priest-blessed wars. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 11 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE C.P. -- Alas! they have departed from the Gospel. S. -- Or kept too closely to its injunctions. They have remembered that Jesus came to fulfil the law and the prophets, and that the law and the prophets brim over with great slaughterings by the Lord's people in the name of the Lord. C.P. -- It is of the peace and good-will of the new covenant I would speak. S. -- Which made a man's foes of his own household, instead as theretofore only of the nations that are round about him. C.P. -- But Jesus meant a message of preace. S. -- And unfortunately intentionally so preached it that even those who heard him should not understand his meaning, lest they should be converted. C.P. -- But look at the countries where Christianity is triumphant. S. -- Yes, begin at home: Ireland held like a conquered province by an occupying army and speaking peace at night by the blunderbuss through cottage windows; Scotland, land of Knox, where crofters starve and deer multiply; England, which kidnaps coolies, steals South African territories and blows Arabs suddenly to heaven with mines; Germany with a pious Emperor and the largest army in the world; Spain with a monarchy tempered by poison, and Rome with a Church sanctified by brigandage. C.P. -- These again are men's sins for which God will punish. S. -- Yes, but where is the message of peace and good-will? Just now. we are shipping explosives to the Soudan, to destroy the followers of the Mahdi, and are watching every vessel and searching every package lest. some of our loving Christian brethren should preach to us the gospel of nitroglycerine. Is it not cant and hypocrisy to pretend to be better than the mad and criminal men who tried to destroy London Bridge, whilst we have laboratories at Woolwich and, elsewhere for the manufacture of torpedoes and explosive shells? Is it not cant and hypocrisy to preach peace and good-will on Christmas Day when your navy and army at home and in India cost more than 45,000,000 pounds a year and you in Britain alone have spent in war during the last 200 years more than 2,000,000,000 pounds? **** **** A THEIST AND ATHEIST ("National Reformer," January 11th, 1885.) THEIST. -- Surely your Atheism is most unreasonable. How can the universe exist without God? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 12 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE ATHEIST. -- What do you mean by "God"? and What by Universe? T. -- By God, the creator, preserver, and ruler of all things. By the universe, all that he has created. A. -- What do you mean by creation? T. -- Origination -- beginning. A. -- A chair is originated from the wood of a tree; a stalagmite is begun by the water dripping through from the limestone. T. -- Those are instances of change of form. By creation I mean origin of existence. A. -- Do you mean that once the universe was not, and that what you call "God" created the urdverse? T. -- Yes A. -- By universe I mean all phenomena, and all that is necessary for the happening of each and every phenomenon. I cannot think the universe non-existent -- can you? T. -- The universe must have had a commencement. A. -- Why? Why may it not always have existed? T. -- Everything must have had a beginning. A. -- Even the Creator? T. -- No; he is eternal. A. -- Why he? and what do you mean by etemal? T. -- Not to think a personal deity is Atheistic, and the deity is self-existent. By eternal I mean without beginning. A. -- But even if deity must be personal, why masculine? and how do you think masculine person self-existent? T. -- All religions make God a masculine person. I cannot help thinking God self-existent. A. -- But are all religions true? T. -- Truth pervades them all, but there is only one true religion. A. -- Then the pervading truth does not save the great mass of religions from falseness. But if you can think God self-existent, why may I not think universe self-existent? T. -- The universe is finite; God is infinite. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 13 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE A. -- Then there exists infinity plus the finite universe. By infinite I mean illimitable extension, indefinable extent; that is, extension of x, to which I cannot think bounds. You say God is infinite. Infinite what? T. -- Infinite God. A. -- But what is God? T. -- I have already answered; the creator, preserver, and ruler of all things. A. -- But five minutes before the creation of anything what was God? T. -- God is a spirit. A. -- But what is spirit? T. -- All that is not matter. A. -- Five minutes before the creation of matter what was spirit? T. -- The question is monstrous. A. -- Only because it is the test of a monstrous misstatement. T. -- But if there be no God, whence came intelligence? A. -- Intelligence is not an entity; it is a result, and an ever-changing result. T. -- What do you mean? A. -- Intelligence = all mental phases, -- perception, including consciousness, memory, comparison, judgment, reflection, reason. Intelligence does not come from, or go to; it grows with and of. Unless you change the meaning of words, God is not properly describable as intelligent. T. -- Why? A. -- The basis of intelligence is in sensation. Prior to creation what could God sensate? T. -- You cannot compass God with finite terms and by your finite mind. A. -- Yet you preach God in finite terms and to any finite mind. T. -- Your Atheism is mere negation. A. -- Not so, except as the affirmation of any truth negates the falsehood it contradicts. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 14 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE T. -- Your Atheism leads men to vice. A. -- First, that is rather abuse than argument, and if true, would scarcely demonstrate the existence of God. Are all Theists virtuous? T. -- Unfortunately not. A. -- Are most criminals Theists? T. -- They profess religion, but they are practical Atheists. A. -- The last statement is again abuse. Are all Atheists vicious? T. -- No; they are, many of them, better than their principles. A. -- That, again, is abuse, unless you state the Atheistic principles which you allege lead to vice. T. -- Why should not an Atheist lie and steal and cheat, if he can do it without being found out? A. -- Why should he? It is easier to tell the truth than to lie, especially if you cultivate the habit of truth-telling; stealing and cheating are practices of social misdoing which involve at least the possibility of being discovered. An Atheist cannot clear himself from rascality by repentance. He. finds it much more comfortable and profitable to encourage habits of truthfulness and honesty in others by practising them himself. T. -- But this is a low and selfish vice. A. -- Is it? It is a view which, if extensively adopted, would afford ground for economy in jail chaplains, who would not be required to preach to orthodox convicts. **** **** A CHURCH OF ENGLAND CURATE AND A DOUBTER ("National Reformer," August 9th, 1885.) CURATE. -- God so loved the world that he gave his only son to die for it. DOUBTER. -- When? C. -- Jesus died somewhere about 1,850 Years ago. D. -- For what did Jesus die? C. -- To redeem the world from the consequences of Adam's sin. D. -- When did Adam sin? Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 15 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE C. -- About 4,000 years before the birth of Jesus. D. -- If God so loved the world, why did he delay the redemption for 4,000 years? C. -- That is not for finite minds to judge. D. -- Yet you teach that finite minds must believe without judgment. But was Adam punished for his sin? C. -- Yes. D. -- Is it just to punish one who is not guilty for a sin for which Adam suffered? C. -- But the penalty was a curse which passed on to Adam's descendants, and it is from this curse that the sacrifice of Jesus redeemed the world. D. -- Does the redemption extend to the whole world? C. -- Yes, if they believe, and are baptized. D. -- What was Adam's sin? C. -- He disobeyed God. D. -- Is God all-powerful? C. -- Yes. D. -- Did he create and control Adam? C. -- Yes. D. -- Can the creature disobey the omnipotent controller? C. -- God gave man liberty. D. -- Liberty to fall? C. -- If Adam had chosen, he might have stood upright; God gave him the noblest gifts. Through Adam's own fault he fell. D. -- Before Adam's fall, could he distinguish good from evil? C. -- No. D. -- How then could he choose between them? C. -- He had God's command to guide him. D. -- Do the commands of the omnipotent guide or compel? Can the irresistible be resisted? C. -- You forget man had free will. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 16 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE D. -- Do you mean that God being infinite, his win was everywhere omnipotent, but that in some places and under some circumstances Adam's will was stronger than that of God? C. -- No. I mean that omnipotent God allowed man to be free. D. -- That is, that God, being able to prevent sin would not. But in human morals, is not one who knows of a crime about to be committed, and who might prevent it and does not -- is not such a one treated as accessory before the fact? and in legal jargon is not an accessory before the fact treated as if a principal in the crime? C. -- God's ways are not as man's ways. D. -- But is not acquiescence in crime criminal? C. -- God did not acquiesce in Adam's crime. D. -- He did more than acquiesce, he contrived the crime. C. -- That is blasphemy. D. -- Is God omniscient? C. -- Yes. D. -- Did he, before he created Adam, know that Adam would sin? C. -- Yes. D. -- Have any of the millions of people, who have peopled the world since Adam, died unredeemed by Jesus? C. -- Yes, the large majority die unredeemed. The holy scriptures say, "Few are chosen." D. -- And did God know this before he created any? C. -- Yes. D. -- And did he then so love the world that he created them to suffer by unnumbered millions? C. -- That is a difficulty a finite mind cannot grasp. D. -- And yet you teach that the finite mind is to suffer if it cannot believe. Was there any existence beside God before creation? C. -- Certainly not. D. -- Is God infinitely good? C. -- Most certainly yes. Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 17 DOUBTS IN DIALOGUE D. -- Then before creation there was no evil? C. -- No. D. -- Is it compatible with God's infinite goodness that he should have created evil? C. -- This again is beyond the sphere of finite reason, and you Materialists have equal difficulty. You have evil in Nature; how do you account for that? D. -- Which evil? or which evils? Some, science does account for, others she is examining. Take, for instance, the Lisbon or Java earthquake: science notes the shocks, marks the range, warns the inhabitants, and, though knowing but little, adds daily to her knowledge. Take the evils of poverty, crime, disease: science has studied a thousand theories, connoted the experience of generations, and at least does not kneel blindly before disaster, but grapples in earnest effort; for amelioration. But the Materialist's inability to explain the whole of Natum does not justify your inability to explain the creed to which you ask my adhesion. **** **** Reproducible Electronic Publishing can defeat censorship. **** **** The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful, scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so that America can again become what its Founders intended -- The Free Market-Place of Ideas. The Bank of Wisdom is always looking for more of these old, hidden, suppressed and forgotten books that contain needed facts and information for today. If you have such books, magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, etc. please send us a list that includes Title, Author, publication date, condition and price desired, and we will give them back to America. **** **** Bank of Wisdom Box 926, Louisville, KY 40201 18


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