The influences that have lifted the race to a higher moral level are education, freedom, leisure, the humanizing tendency of a better-supplied and more interesting life. In a word, science and liberalism . . . have accomplished the very things for which religion claims the credit.
We are well aware that religion is not as bad an influence as it was a short time ago, as history is counted. But it is a sufficiently bad influence even in modern times, and its reduced viciousness (in practice) is due plainly enough to its reduced power.
Religion glorifies the dogma of a despotic, mythical God. Atheism ennobles the interests of free and progressive Man. Religion is superstition. Atheism is sanity. Religion is medieval. Atheism is modern.
It is natural that people should differ most, and most violently, about the unknowable . . . There is all the room in the world for divergence of opinion about something that, so far as we can realistically perceive, does not exist.
Church tax exemption means that we all drop our money in the collection boxes, whether we go to church or not and whether we are interested in the church or not. It is systematic and complete robbery, from which none of us escapes.
“Would you tax God?” asks a defender of church tax exemption. Well, if there were a God he should be able to pay his own way and support his own business. If not, then he should do like other business men and close up shop.
The church has contributed nothing to civilization. It has progressed somewhat, and it has become a little more decent, in reflection of the movements of civilization that have taken place outside of the church and usually in the face of the strong opposition of the church. But the church has always resisted the process of civilization. It has struggled to the last ditch, by fair means and foul, to preserve as long as it could the vestiges of ancient and medieval theology, with all the puerile moralities and harsh customs and medieval styles of belief.
It is an absurd fiction that the churches are useful. They are nothing more than propaganda centers for superstitious faiths and doctrines. Church members have a right to believe in and propagate their various doctrines. But they should pay every item of the cost, of this propaganda, including fair taxation for all church property.
Why should the residence of a preacher be untaxed? Useful citizens must pay taxes on their homes. Yet the Preacher – actually and notoriously the least useful member of the community – lives in a tax-free dwelling.
A sober, devout man will interpret ‘God’s will’ soberly and devoutly. A fanatic, with bloodshot mind, will interpret ‘God’s will’ fanatically. Men of extreme, illogical views will interpret ‘God’s will’ in eccentric fashion. Kindly, charitable, generous men will interpret ‘God’s will’ according to their character.
Don’t take our word for it. Read the Bible itself. Read the statements of preachers. And you will understand that God is the most desperate character, the worst villain in all fiction.
Martyrs have been sincere. And so have tyrants. Wise men have been sincere. And so have fools.
A good title is a work of a genius!
To be true to the mythical conception of a God is to be false to the interests of mankind.
Theism tells men that they are the slaves of a God. Atheism assures men that they are the investigators and users of nature.
To proclaim himself an agnostic, while to some it might appear more respectable and cautious, would be to say in effect that he hadn’t decided what to believe.
It is pretty well settled that the city is the Negro’s great contribution to civilization, for it was in Africa where the first cities grew up.
Fortunately, there are old terrors and powers that religion no longer can exercise so effectively as it did only a few score years ago. But the atmosphere and the attitude of bigotry remain. If religion cannot ordinarily invoke the armed force of law to punish heretics, it still plays upon the psychology of fear and predominantly its influence is to frighten men and distort their views and poison every process of their reasoning.
As he was pummeled into one tight spot after another, emerging each time breathless and in amazed chagrin, Bryan flushed, with spots of anger in his cheeks. His whole body sagged. Before our very eyes, he became a beaten man.
Why should an atheist pay more taxes so that a church which he despises should pay no taxes? That’s a fair question. How can the apologists for the church exemption answer it?