I think I have a least a week’s worth of great excerpts from the essay “The Gods” (1872), by The Great Agnostic, Robert G. Ingersoll, the subject of Susan Jacoby’s new biography. Here’s Ingersoll on the lack of evidence for religious claims:
There is but one way to demonstrate the existence of a power independent of and superior to nature, and that is by breaking, if only for one moment, the continuity of cause and effect. Pluck from the endless chain of existence one little link; stop for one instant the grand procession and you have shown beyond all contradiction that nature has a master. Change the fact, just for one second, that matter attracts matter, and a god appears.
The rudest savage has always known this fact, and for that reason always demanded the evidence of miracle. The founder of a religion must be able to…
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