Read the article headed "Col. Ingersoll Catechized." Somehow I can not help feeling an interest in these honest, earnest, truth-seeking men far above what I can for the bigoted and superstitious upholders of orthodoxy. We believe much in common, and I can not help but respect such men as Putman, Ingersoll, and Chainey more than many of the preachers in Babylon. They show more candor, firmness and honesty. They are more noble. They manifest a better spirit, yes, such as Christians might well imitate. Notice Ingersoll's reply to the question, "Do you consider that churches are injurious to the community?"
I don't know whether it would be prudent for you to publish the article referred to in Z.W.T., but I feel as though I would like every one of its readers to see it—knowing how they would appreciate the jewels of truth with which it abounds.
Truly, these are trying times for the Christian blinded by the creeds. I cannot see how any of them who will think, investigate, and read, can escape infidelity. They can't answer it from their standpoint.
How glad I am that my eyes were opened in time, else certainly such men as Ingersoll could have converted me to infidelity. The only safety for the intelligent church member is his bigotry and blindness. It keeps him orthodox, but as WE see orthodoxy, it is little better than infidelity. In fact both are the result of Spiritual blindness. I guess the blindest of the two and the most bigoted, is the stickler for orthodoxy.
Since my return from our pleasant visit with you, I have betimes felt homesick. I long to behold him in glory. I long for the reign of him who will scatter darkness and ignorance, and bless all with truth.
Ingersoll:—In the exact proportion that churches teach falsehood; in the exact proportion that they destroy liberty of the thought, free action of the human mind; in the exact proportion that they teach the doctrine of eternal pain, and convince people of its truth—they are injurious. In the proportion that they teach morality and justice and practice kindness and charity—in that proportion they are a benefit. Every church, therefore, is a mixed problem—part good and part bad. In one direction it leads towards and sheds light; in the other direction its influence is entirely bad.
Now I would like to civilize the churches so that they would be able to do good deeds without building bad creeds. In other words, take out the superstitious and the miraculous, and leave the human and the moral."
The following letter from another of this class, shows how the spirit of candor and reasonableness is appreciated. And we rejoice to know that others of doubtful hearts have been and are being led through careful study of the harmonious plan of God, as we now see it, to exclaim with us "My Lord and my God," and to trust in his precious promises. We wait with patience the promised hour when all the doubting Thomases will be given tangible evidence of the truth of God.
C. T. RUSSELL:—Dear Sir:—My wife is a subscriber to your "Watch Tower." I am a free thinker: But I want to thank you for the impartial way in which you have treated your opponent Col. Ingersoll, in the issue of this month. You have done what I have never before seen in a religious journal—before passing criticism on what Col. Ingersoll said in his lecture on "Orthodoxy," you have squarely, honestly and in a manly way printed what he said, and for this act of fairness, I for one wish to express my thanks. I am sir,
Truth is truth, from whatsoever source it may come; and he who loves and cherishes the fragments which he is able to discern amidst the rubbish of prevailing error, is ever worthy of our respect and esteem. Would that all "Free-thinkers" were free indeed. "The truth shall make you free"—"If the Son shall make free ye shall be free indeed."