This is a very long article. I’ll post it by part.
Here’s the link to the full article.
Not before about the third century was it claimed or believed that the books composing the New Testament were inspired.
It will be remembered that there were a great number of books, of Gospels, Epistles and Acts, and that from these the “inspired” ones
were selected by “uninspired” men.
Between the “Fathers” there were great differences of opinion as to which books were inspired; much discussion and plenty of hatred.
Many of the books now deemed spurious were by many of the “Fathers” regarded as divine, and some now regarded as inspired were believed
to be spurious. Many of the early Christians and some of the “Fathers” repudiated the Gospel of John, the Epistle to the Hebrews, Jade,
James, Peter, and the Revelation of St. John. On the other hand, many of them regarded the Gospel of the Hebrews, of the Egyptians, the Preaching
of Peter, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Epistle of Bar nabas, the Pastor of Hermas, the Revelation of Peter, the Revelation of Paul, the
Epistle of Clement, the Gospel of Nicodemus, inspired books, equal to the very best.
From all these books, and many others, the Christians selected the inspired ones.
The men who did the selecting were ignorant and superstitious. They were firm believers in the miraculous. They thought that diseases
had been cured by the aprons and handkerchiefs of the apostles, by the bones of the dead. They believed in the fable of the Phoenix, and
that the hyenas changed their sex every year.
Were the men who through many centuries made the selections inspired? Were they—ignorant, credulous, stupid and malicious—as well
qualified to judge of “inspiration” as the students of our time? How are we bound by their opinion? Have we not the right to judge
Erasmus, one of the leaders of the Reformation, declared that the Epistle to the Hebrews was not written by Paul, and he denied the
inspiration of Second and Third John, and also of Revelation. Luther was of the same opinion. He declared James to be an epistle of straw,
and denied the inspiration of Revelation. Zwinglius rejected the book of Revelation, and even Calvin denied that Paul was the author of Hebrews.
The truth is that the Protestants did not agree as to what books are inspired until 1647, by the Assembly of Westminster.
To prove that a book is inspired you must prove the existence of God. You must also prove that this God thinks, acts, has objects, ends and
aims. This is somewhat difficult.
It is impossible to conceive of an infinite being. Having no conception of an infinite being, it is impossible to tell whether all the
facts we know tend to prove or disprove the existence of such a being.
God is a guess. If the existence of God is admitted, how are we to prove that he inspired the writers of the books of the Bible?
How can one man establish the inspiration of another? How can an inspired man prove that he is inspired? How can he know himself that
he is inspired? There is no way to prove the fact of inspiration. The only evidence is the word of some man who could by no possibility
know anything on the subject.
What is inspiration? Did God use men as instruments? Did he cause them to write his thoughts? Did he take possession of their minds and
destroy their wills?
Were these writers only partly controlled, so that their mistakes, their ignorance and their prejudices were mingled with the wisdom of God?
How are we to separate the mistakes of man from the thoughts of God? Can we do this without being inspired ourselves? If the original writers
were inspired, then the translators should have been, and so should be the men who tell us what the Bible means.
How is it possible for a human being to know that he is inspired by an infinite being? But of one thing we may be certain: An inspired book
should certainly excel all the books produced by uninspired men. It should, above all, be true, filled with wisdom, blossoming in beauty—perfect.
Ministers wonder how I can be wicked enough to attack the Bible.
I will tell them: This book, the Bible, has persecuted, even unto death, the wisest and the best. This book stayed and stopped the onward
movement of the human race. This book poisoned the fountains of learning and misdirected the energies of man.
This book is the enemy of freedom, the support of slavery. This book sowed the seeds of hatred in families and nations, fed the flames of
war, and impoverished the world. This book is the breastwork of kings and tyrants—the enslaver of women and children. This book has
corrupted parliaments and courts. This book has made colleges and universities the teachers of error and the haters of science. This book has
filled Christendom with hateful, cruel, ignorant and warring sects. This book taught men to kill their fellows for religion’s sake. This book
funded the Inquisition, invented the instruments of torture, built the dungeons in which the good and loving languished, forged the chains that
rusted in their flesh, erected the scaffolds whereon they died. This book piled fagots about the feet of the just. This book drove reason from
the minds of millions and filled the asylums with the insane.
This book has caused fathers and mothers to shed the blood of their babes. This book was the auction block on which the slave- mother
stood when she was sold from her child. This book filled the sails of the slave-trader and made merchandise of human flesh. This book
lighted the fires that burned “witches” and “wizards.” This book filled the darkness with ghouls and ghosts, and the bodies
of men and women with devils. This book polluted the souls of men with the infamous dogma of eternal pain. This book made credulity the greatest
of virtues, and investigation the greatest of crimes. This book filled nations with hermits, monks and nuns—with the pious and the useless.
This book placed the ignorant and unclean saint above the philosopher and philanthropist. This book taught man to despise the joys of this life,
that he might be happy in another—to waste this world for the sake of the next.
I attack this book because it is the enemy of human liberty—the greatest obstruction across the highway of human progress.
Let me ask the ministers one question: How can you be wicked enough to defend this book?