Wisdom of Ingersoll



Robert Green Ingersoll was one of the greatest orators of the Nineteenth Century.  His powerful voice continues to echo in the shadowed and fearful halls of Faith as well as the wide open, greening valleys of Reason.

“We are laying the foundations of a grand temple of the future–not the temple of all the gods, but of all the people–wherein, with appropriate rites, will be celebrated the religion of Humanity.  We are doing what little we can to hasten the coming of the day when society shall cease producing millionaires and mendicants–gorged indolence and famished industry–truth in rags, and superstition robed and crowned. We are looking for the time when the useful shall be the honorable; and when Reason, throned upon the world’s brain, shall be the King of Kings, and God of Gods.”

“The Gods” (1872)


“My belief is that the supernatural has had its day. . . .  Being satisfied that the supernatural does not exist, [humanity] should turn its entire attention to the affairs of this world, to the facts of nature.”

“About this world little is known–about another world, nothing.”

“Secularism is the religion of humanity. . .it advocates attention to the particular planet on which we happen to live; it means that each individual counts for something; it is a declaration of intellectual independence. . .a protest against ecclesiastical tyranny.  It proposes to let the gods take care of themselves.  It means living for ourselves and each other; for the present instead of the past, for this world instead of another.”

“I am not trying to destroy another world.  I am trying to prevent the theologians from destroying this world.”

“I want to live.  I get great happiness out of life.  I enjoy the company of my friends. . .I enjoy art and music.  I love to see a good play.  I take pleasure in eating and sleeping.  The fact is, I like to breathe.”

“This is my creed:  Happiness is the only good; reason the only torch; justice the only worship; humanity the only religion; love the only priest.”

“The Best of Robert Ingersoll” (1983)


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