What Objections To Christianity?


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WHAT OBJECTIONS TO CHRISTIANITY? THE BENNETT-MAIR DISCUSSION
BETWEEN D. M. BENNETT AND G. M. MAIR. This is a long and interesting written Debate between the Editor of The Truth Seeker, Mr. D. M. Bennett on one side and a Sincere and Believing Christian on the other. The best description of this book may be the letters that got the debate started, so here they are: INTRODUCTOEY LETTERS. NEW YORK, June 18, 1880.
MR. D. M. BENNETT, Sir, I have lately seen some copies, through your kindness, of THE TRUTH SEEKER If you will pardon me, I am astonished at its uncalled-for misrepresentations, not to say blasphemy and obscenity. At the same time I would be dull indeed not to see evidences of, alas! perverted learning and genius, and knowing besides that many of the great and learned and polite are in heart Infidel, I am curious to know what really are your objections to the religion of Christ as taught in the New Testament. I am not a clergyman, and have never received a college education, but I should like the privilege, if you grant my request, of answering your objections in your own paper. Christians are responsible themselves for many Infidel objections because they do not let the book speak for itself. “I receive not testimony from man,” is Christ’s language. If you will honestly then state your objections under some
systemized headings, confining yourself to the book itself, taking the initiative in your columns and allowing me to frame a reply the succeeding week, and so alternating, we may both derive benefit from our correspondence. Will you please answer me by letter, yea or nay, at your earliest convenience? Sincerely yours, G. M. MAIR. REPILY. MR. G. M. MAIR, Dear Sir: I readily comply with your proposition, and will cheerfully enter into a discussion with you on the merits of Christianity, with this amendment or enlargement of the line you mark out to be pursued: I will discuss “the book,” or in other words, what are accepted as the teachings of Jesus, as fully as you wish; but I do not want to be confined to the book. A proper discussion of the Christian system of religion, which is supposed to be founded upon the precepts and teachings of Jesus, necessarily involves a wide range of subjects; and to do the system justice the examination of it should not be restricted to any one chapter in “the book,” or to the book itself. Let it rather be understood that everything connected with the subject may be embraced in the discussion. As you are not “a clergyman, and never received
a college education,” we stand on equal ground. I received no theological education, and but little of any other kind. I attended a country district school a portion of the time till between fourteen and fifteen; since that time I have been for nearly half a century constantly employed in physical labor and have had no further opportunities to acquire an education. My reading, also, has been very limited. I am sorry to see you start off in this proposed discussion by using such words as these in regard to my paper, “1 am astonished at its uncalled-for misrepresentations, not to say blasphemy and obscenity.” I am not at all surprised that you charge me with “blasphemy.” It is a charge very commonly made against those who take the liberty to doubt current theology, and it is thought to answer well in place of argument. But the charges of “misrepresentation” and “obscenity” you should not make without adducing proof to sustain them. I have just served out a sentence of thirteen months’ imprisonment in one of the severest penitentiaries in the country on a charge of obscenity from Christian persecutors, and I very naturally have a strong repugnance to the charge unless it is well sustained. I am equally opposed to "misrepresentations” I never use it unless by accident or through ignorance. if there is anything in the universe that I revere, it is TRUTH, and I despise those who pervert it and resort to duplicity and falsehood. So let me in justice ask you, in the early part of our discussion, to point out my "misrepresentations” and "obscenity” or honorably retract the charge. If you are honest in your assumed objection to obscenity and misrepresentation, let me refer your attention to "the book” which you doubtless greatly revere -- the Bible. I am very sure I will be able to show you that that book contains infinitely more of both obscenity and misrepresentation than you can possibly point out in THE TRUTH SEEKER. By way of leading off, and marking out the ground
upon which I am willing to stand in the discussion with you, I will make a few points showing what objections I have to Christianity as taught in the New Testament and elsewhere, and lay down a few propositions, all of which I will endeavor to establish by proofs as we advance with our argument. Christianity is neither new or original, being borrowed or copied from much older systems of religion. 2. There is not a dogma, rite, sacrament, or ceremony in it that did not exist in pagan systems from five hundred to two thousand years before Christianity was known in the world. 3. The belief in an offspring being begotten by a god upon a human virgin is nearly a thousand years older than the mythical story of Jesus and his virgin mother. 4. Miracles and supernatural achievements have been as fully and as truly ascribed to other teachers and founders of religion as to Jesus. 6. Other so-called saviors and redeemers have been believed in, and reported to have been crucified, and to have died on the cross, many hundreds of years before the same was said of Jesus. 6. The story of Jesus and his mission in the world is unhistorical. It was neither written by Jesus himself, nor his apostles. The story is not corroborated by contemporaneous history. 7. The teachings of Jesus are defective in morals, intelligence, and scientific information. His moral precepts and teachings were equaled by many sages and teachers who preceded him. 8. What are called the Four Gospels are unauthentic or spurious productions. Not one was written by the one whose name it bears, and not one was known to be in existence till one hundred and fifty years after the time of the reported death of Jesus. 9. There were large numbers of what were called gospels and epistles in the first few Christian centuries which were not admitted into the Christian canon, but vied with them in correctness, and were as much entitled to be admitted as a large majority of the books that were called inspired, and were
accepted as such. 10. The early Christian Fathers were designing, hypocritical, and dishonest. Their contentions and quarrels about matters of faith and the authenticity of certain gospels and epistles continued for centuries. 11. The doctrines and claims of Christianity are not true, and have produced great unhappiness among mankind. 12. Christianity has not been a blessing to the
world, but in many respects a curse. 13. The leaders and bright stars in the Christian church have been among the worst tyrants and oppressors of human liberty the world has known. 14. Christianity, instead of being a religion of love, has been a religion of hate, contention, war,
and bloodshed. It has caused more persecution, wars, and loss of life than any other religion, yes,
more than all other religions put together. 15. It has fostered ignorance, superstition, and falsehood. It has retarded education and science in the world. To this extent it has also been a serious impediment and curse to the race. 16. It is founded upon pretended supernaturalism, which is a quality that. has no existence in fact. There is no supernaturalism. 17. The Bible, from which it obtains its authority, is not true. It does not harmonize with the facts and principles in nature known to be true. 18. The Bible was written by men illy-informed in scientific knowledge and truth. It was not written par inspired by God. 19. The Bible and Christianity recognize and confirm the tyranny of kings and despots, which is wholly opposed to the progress and happiness of the human race. Neither has raised a protest against slavery and oppression, but both assert that all power is of God. 20. The Bible and Christianity have oppressed women and have deprived her of the rights to which by nature she is justly entitled. 21. The Bible and Christianity have upheld the most obnoxious systems of kingcraft and priestcraft the world has known. 22. The Bible and Christianity hare made war upon witchcraft, something, which has no real existence, and in keeping with their instructions thousands of wretched human beings have been subjected to the most cruel torture and death. 23. The Bible and Christianity have not been the
source of civilization and education in the world, as they have not been the source of human welfare. They have favored ignorance and slavery, rather than knowledge and liberty. 24. The Bible and Christianity are unprogressive in their nature. They are founded upon the dictum and authority of God himself, and are therefore incapable of progress and improvement. While all
branches of art, mechanism, science, architecture, and agriculture are capable of improvement and progress, the Bible and Christianity admit of none. 25. The Bible and Christianity do not teach the highest class of truth, and the best variety of religion which mankind are capable of receiving. They are of the past, not the present; and as they cost incomputable treasures in labor and money to sustain them, and as science, reason, and truth. teach us a far better and truer religion at only a moiety of the cost of the other, the world should discard the former and embrace the latter. I might lay down many additional propositions, but these are perhaps sufficient for our present purpose. I am willing to discuss one or all of them. They are either true or they are false, and it is very well to discuss them and find which it is. I shall endeavor to show that they are true, but if you can succeed in showing they are false I will handsomely acknowledge I am in error. I will hope for as much from you if you fail so to show. You can take up such of them as you please to discuss, but I would prefer to give all of them an examination. If you choose to leave off a portion of them, let it be understood that they are conceded.
I am glad you are disposed to discuss the merits of Christianity, and trust you will enter into it thoroughly. If you wish to call upon any of your friends, the clergy, to assist you, I will by no means object. I am, perhaps, not an able man, but I have such confidence in truth, reason, and science that I am not afraid to meet the combined force of the entire Christian clergy. I say then, let investigation and discussion go on! All are interested in knowing what and where is truth. Hoping to hear from you in time for my next issue, I am sincerely yours, D. M. BENNETT. ** That ends the two letters that started this discussion. I am sure everyone who reads this magnificent Debate will profit from it for the remainder of his or her life.
Emmett F. Fields

  • Model: Ben-mDeb
  • Author: Bennett, D. M.

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