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puted point, which decision, in justice, is the birth-right of another individual; and barbarous, because it leads us to destroy in infancy, the intellects of our children.
“Q. Can we perceive these absurdities in ourselves, when we grow to manhood?
“ A. Not easily; because the prejudices of our education shut our eyes upon our own absurdities, and make us extremely averse to think or talk about them: while we can plainly perceive the absurdities of others, and can take pleasure in exposing them.
“Q. Is it not a malicious pleasure which leads us to expose the absurdities of others?
“ A. By no means; because it is the real interest of every Human being to renounce the belief of all absurdities.
“Q. Do any individuals, or nations, believe themselves to be under the influence of absurd impressions ?
“ A. No,-It is impossible to do so; because every Human being, in every age of the world, bas, invariably, considered his own impressions, as the standard by which all others ought to be regulated, consequently the mere circumstance of our thinking our own opinions right, is no proof that they
“Q. Then how can we ascertain that our opinions are really correct?
“ A. When our thoughts are concerning ourselves, we can ascertain whether we have had any Traditionary of Imaginary impressions forced upon our minds in infancy, which we are unwilling to examine, and to discuss with those who are of an opposite opinion.-About which we feel any fear or anxiety.-About which mankind quarrel, and dispute, and fight. For the belief or unbelief of which, reward is promised or punishment threatened. The belief of which is local and changeable.-Confined to a certain period, or to a certain district;—for all these are uniformly the concomitants of Error and not of Trutb.
** Q. How can we be sure that this is the case ?
“ A. We bave sufficient evidence to convince us, that this is the case, in so far as concerns the absurdities of other nations; and we know that other nations are as thoroughly convinced in their opinion regarding the absurdity of many of our notions; and we might also know, that the very idea of attaching merit, or demerit, to opinions, which we hold or reject by necessity, and not by choice, is of itself extremely absurd.
“ Q. How ought we to proceed, in order to gain a superiority over those who remain under the influence of absurd impressions?
“ A. We ought to follow the course which we recommend to other benighted nations,-that is, to submit to the most rigid scrutiny and investigation, all our Traditionary and Imaginary impressions,—to compare them with the impressions which we have received by Demonstrable Truth; and we ought to do this without fear or prejudice, in the full conviction, that Truth stands upon a foundation which can never be sbaken.
'" Q. Will such a mode of proceeding not be apt to efface some of the valuable impressions which have been made upon our minds in infancy?
" A. No,-It will not; because all impressions which are valuable, are made by Demonstrable Truth, or are in unison with those which are so formed, and are altogether indelible. Such impressions can neither be obliterated, por effaced, while life remains, -and all the doctrines contained in the Bible, which are of any practical utility in promoting the General Happiness or Welfare of Mankind, are in complete unison with these impressions.
"Q. Do Atheists or Unbelievers deny the Truth, or dispute the utility of such doctrines?
“ A. No Human Being has ever openly denied or disputed the Truth of such doctrines,—they are so self-evident, that they cannot be disputed. The doubts of Unbelievers have been confined entirely to those portions of the Bible wbich are at variance with existing facts, with the Eternal and Immutable Laws of Nature and of Justice, or which are opposed to common decency.
Q. What portion of tne Bible do you refer to, as opposed to existing facts?
“ A. The first chapter wbich the Bible contains, speaks of a firmament called Heaven wbich divides the waters from the waters; in which firmament, we are told, God set * Two Great Lights,' and the Stars also,” for the purpose of giving light upon the earth. The literal meaning of this account, is so much opposed to the doctrines of modern astronomy, that we must consider it calculated to give, to the young and the ignorant, very erroneous ideas of the system of the universe.
*Q. What portion of the Bible is opposed to the Laws of Nature?
“ A. We cannot believe in miracles without first being
convinced, that the laws of Nature are changeable; while Demonstrable Truth would lead us to believe, that the Laws of Nature, are the Eternal laws of an Eternal Power. It is upon these considerations that we doubt the Truth of a Narrative, which informs us, that the Harmony of the Solar System was suspended for a whole day, for the unworthy purpose of giving light to one set of barbarians, to enable them more effectually to massacre another set still more barbarous than themselves. Especially when the difficulty can easily be solved, by believing that the above statement is erroneous.
“ Q. What portion of the Bible is opposed to Common Decency?
“ A. The transactions of Lot and his daughters, of Onan od Judah, form Narratives which every thinking man would blush to read before his wife or children; and there are many more of a similar description.
“Q. Is it upon these, and similar passages, that Unbelievers have their doubts?
“ A. They seem to bave no doubts upon the subject; because they appear to be convinced that such passages are altogether erroneous and injurious.
“Q. Is it for disturbing the National Faith in such passages that individuals are punished ?
“ A. It is the belief of such passages that constitutes the weakness of the present Established Faith; for it cannot possibly be either the iuterest or inclination, of a single Human Being, to deny any thing which is self-evident, or which is in unison with the impressions wblch are made by Demonstrable Truth. Neither is it possible by any means to disturb our Faith in any thing of this description ;-consequently, ihe only Faith tbat can be disturbed, is Faith in these absurdities, and for doing so, 'men are styled Blasphemers, and punished accordingly.
"Q. Is it possible to make individuals believe such doctrines by force?
“ A. It is now pretty generally known, that force cau only make mankind Hypocrites. It can do nothing more. Those who think it their duty to cherish such notions, content themselves with the idea, that Unbelievers, when they come to die, will cling to the belief of these absurdities, to appease the wrath of an offended Deity.
is Q. What are the ideas of unbelievers on this subjeet?
6 A. Unbelievers refuse their assent to such absurdities, because they consider the belief of them derogatory to the
dignity of the Power that created them. They have no fears upon this bead, because they feel that they have not the power to think otherwise; and besides, they have the certain knowledge, that they are-during every moment of their lives, as much in the hand of the Creator here, as they can be any wbere, or at any other time;--and it would be unreasonable in them to fear a change of treatment, from that Power whose nature is immutable.
“Q. Is Demonstrable Truth the general characteristic of Established Religion?
“A. The Established Faith of a nation, is merely the opinions of the strongest party; which opinions, in many cases, are founded, not on Demonstrable Truth, but upon Traditionary Legends, which have had their origin in the days of dark and gross ignorance. It is worthy of remark, that the charity or forbearance of the people, is always in proportain to the sounddess of their opinions, and their intolerance, bigotry and persecution, invariably correspond with the quantity of Error which they have, unintentionally, imbibed.
"Q. What is the characteristic of Christianity ?
“ A. The practical rule of Christianity is extremely simple; and according to the words of its Founder, it contains within itself the essence of all religion. It says, “Whatsoever ye would that man should do unto you, do ye even so to them, for this is the law and the prophets.'
“Q. Is this rule acknowledged in Britain ?
“ Q. Have the members of the Established Church any title to act in opposition to the Law of the land?
“ A. No.-From the assumed superiority of their opinions, they are rather considered to be a pattern of obedience to others.
" Q. What privileges have the members of Established Chrch assumed for themselves ?
“ A. The law of Christianity allows them the privilege of openly expressing, promulgating, and disseminating their own opinions;--and a law which they have made, in opposition to the law of Christiavity, allows them to tax others (who have different opinions), for the support of tbeir peculiar opinions; and over and above all this, they act as if they had another law, which makes it Blasphemy for any one to express or promulgate opinions wbich bave a tendency to convince the people that the Established opinions are wrong
“Q. Is it an advantage to a people to have any doctrines inpressed on their minds, about wbich they are apt to feel alarmed or uneasy?
“ A. It is undoubtedly a grievous calamity to have erroneous notions impressed on the mind, in infancy; but the various nations have no choice in the matter. And it so happens, that the individuals, when they grow to manhood, are all highly, delighted with their own reveries; and as I have said, they uniformiy consider it Blaspbemy in those who attempt to undeceive thein.
“Q. What is Blasphemy?
“ A. Blasphemy may be styled, the act of disturbing the Established Faith of a nation, in doctrines, which its inhabitants have been taught to consider sacred, and whicb, at the same time, are at variance with Demonstrable Truth.
"Q. How do you know that Blasphemy is confined to the denial of such doctrines ?
“ A. Because the denial of doctrines, which are supported by Demonstrable Trrth, excites in the mind of any one,-no feelings but those of pity, towards those who dispute or deny them.
" Q. Is Blasphemy the same in all nations?
“ A. The opinions of nations and individuals, as to what constitutes Blasphemy, are continually changing. Tbat which is styled Blasphemy in one age or patior; is generally considered the essence of Truth or Good Sense, in anotber age or nation.
“Q. Does the past history of the world afford any instances of individuals having been justly punished for Blasphemy ?
“ A. The authentic records of history afford numberless instances, of individuals having been punished for disturbing the Faith of Nations, when that faith was founded ip Error; but I am not aware of an individual, in a single instance, baving been punished for disturbing a faith which was founded iu Truth.
“Q. Has the punishment of Blasphemy been generally the same in different ages, and among different pations?
“ It has, invariably, become less sanguinary as nations bave improved in civilization. At one time, its victims were put to death in the cruelest manner. Now, Blasphemers are only confined in Dungeons for a serious of years, at the pleasure of those who put them there.
“Q. Is this the case in Britain at this day?