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     From an old, undated, book published by Watts & Co. entitled:
          'Pamphlets by Charles Watts' Vol. I.

     The book contains the motto: --

          "To Believe without evidence and demonstration is an
     act of ignorance and folly." -- Volney.

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.
                          Charles Watts
         Vice-President of the National Secular Society

         Watts & Co. 17, Johnson's Court, Fleet Street.
                        London, England.


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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

     SECULARISTS have no desire to extol the Bible above its
merits, nor to depreciate it below its deserts. We gladly admit
that it contains some useful precepts; but these, as a rule, are
intermixed with so many teachings of an injurious character that
their beauty is often overshadowed and their utility annulled. Its
coarse language in many places renders it unfit for general
perusal, and destroys its value as a standard for every-day life.
The true worth of literature should be its moral tone. Novels are
appreciated by the intelligent reader in proportion to their being
"adorned" with a moral. And dramas fail to gain the approval of the
thoughtful public unless virtue is inculcated in a chaste form. So
with the Bible: if in its ethical tone it is defective, or if it is
questionable in its injunctions or indelicate in its records, it
cannot with advantage be accepted as an absolute monitor in human

     All correct codes of morals should be clear in their authority
and practical in their application. This is the more necessary when
severe penalties -- as in the case of Christian ethics -- are
threatened for non-acceptance and disobedience. Now, the ethics of
the Bible are both contradictory and impracticable. The same line
of conduct is enjoined in one passage, and just as explicitly
prohibited in another. One man is blamed because he is not cruel
enough, and will not go on slaying the Lord's enemies; another
man's chief glory consists in being a mighty man of war and a great
destroyer of men, women, and children; while other passages
proclaim, "Thou shalt not kill," and enjoin mercy and "loving-
kindness." The most absolute rest is enjoined on the Sabbath, and
the fiercest denunciations are hurled at the most vigorous
Sabbatarian. Retaliation for wrong is counselled, and forgiveness
is enjoined. We are told to love one another," and we are commanded
to hate our own flesh and blood. Industry is advised and also
discouraged; lustful pursuits are condemned and also permitted.
Thus Biblical morality is destitute of the first fundamental
condition of all just ethics.

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

     Among the general principles taught in the Bible and expounded
by orthodoxy in this country is that belief, not conduct, is the
foundation of virtue, and that uncharitableness towards opponents
is justifiable. One of the first instructions which a parent should
enforce upon a child is never to impute bad motives in matters of
belief or non-belief. No lesson is more valuable than this, none
more calculated to render the child's life happy and unsuspicious,
and to make its influence in the world more useful and beneficial.
The Bible permits just the opposite. According to Christian
teachings, if a man does an act of kindness, we are not to accept
it with gratitude simply as an act of kindness, but we are to judge
from the motives of his conduct. Did he perform the act from love
to God, or did he do it only from respect for his fellow man? If
the former, his services will go up as a sweet smelling offering to
Deity; if the latter, he merely performed a "splendid vice." The
motive, not the act, is the thing to be considered. If men slay,
ravish, and destroy for the glory of God, the motive not only
condones, but consecrates, the act. Hence, in the early history of
Christianity, the practice of lying for the good of the Church was
not only allowed, but considered praiseworthy. To require universal
belief in one particular faith, and to condemn to eternal perdition
those who are unable to comply therewith, is not the most moral
doctrine. Truly, a book that teaches that "many are called but few
are chosen," or, in other words, that the majority of our fellow
creatures are to be cast into a burning lake, cannot assist to
promote the happiness and good of mankind. The tendency of such
teaching as this cannot have a beneficial effect, inasmuch as it
often produces mutual hatred between man and man. Artificial and
unjust distinctions of government and of classes have often
produced ill-feeling between man and man; but that evil has been
increased by the religious distinctions based upon Biblical
teaching. The natural law of love is simple and clear. It is a duty
to love all men until we have reason to believe that the trust is
misplaced or abused. It then becomes necessary to slightly modify
our conduct as an act of self-defence; hence the enactment of laws
for the repression of crime and the curtailment of injury. If a
man's belief teaches him that he can persecute, we have a right to
be upon our guard, for we know from bitter experience that such
belief has frequently shaped itself into conduct. But whatever man
believes about matters that do not affect his conduct should
produce in us neither love nor hatred towards him. His belief may
be ever so curious, absurd, unreal, and fantastic, ever so
ridiculous and self-contradictory, and in proportion of its
partaking of those qualities it may excite and amuse us; but it
ought not to make us respect or dislike him one whit more. With the
Bible it is quite different: its defect consists in its teaching us
to love and respect certain people who believe certain things which
have no direct beneficial bearing on their conduct; while we are to
avoid those whose lives may be a model of purity and benevolence,
but who cannot subscribe to a certain faith.

     The great principle of Bible morality is supposed to be
contained in the Ten Commandments. The Decalogue, we are assured,
enunciates moral lessons, against which no substantial objections
can be brought. There are two versions of the Decalogue given in
the Old Testament, varying in certain not unimportant particulars.
Moses brought down, we are informed, the Ten Commandments from 

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

Mount Sinai, where he had been having a 'tete-a-tete' with the
Lord. They were written on stone, and were copied off for future
generations in Exodus xx. They are also given in Deuteronomy v.;
but that was merely from memory, when Moses had become somewhat
advanced in age. It is not surprising, therefore, that he should
insert certain interpolations in the second giving of the law which
are absent from the first. How this incongruity can be reconciled
with the doctrine of the Divine inspiration of the Bible may be
left for Christians to decide among themselves. The Decalogue is
divided into two parts: that which relates to man's duty to God,
and that which relates to the mutual duties of man to man. It is
worthy of notice that, although the second half contains six
commands, and the former half only four, nevertheless the first
half is a great deal longer than the second. Most of the commands
of the second half are contained in the most condensed form. The
second, third, and fourth Commandments are all developments of the
first. The first really contains or assumes the three which succeed
it. The first, which is, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me,"
of course involves the second against idolatry, the third against
blasphemous swearing, and the fourth enjoining restful remembrance
of the creation of the world by God. It is curious, while God in
these Commandments had so much to say in giving a complete code of
conduct to his creatures, and confining himself as he did within
the limits of a certain number of Hebrew characters, written on a
stone small enough for a man to carry down the side of a steep
mountain, that he should have wasted so much time in telling them
how to behave to him, and have left so little space to contain what
was far more important -- viz., the rules to regulate our conduct
to each other. The whole prescribed duly of man to man is contained
in seventy-seven words. The second Commandment brings out that
particular character of the Christian God which is so conspicuous
in other parts of the Bible. We are not to make and bow down to
images. Very good advice, we readily admit. But why are we not to
do so? Is there any appeal to the generous and reverential
sentiments of the human heart? Surely a noble and good God would
have said something similar to this: "Thou shalt not bow down
thyself to them, nor serve them; for I, the Lord thy God, am a
great, beneficent, and generous God, with a wide, all-embracing
love. Thou shalt not degrade thy soul nor debase thy being by
worshipping the gods of the heathen. I am your only father, who
made and cares for you, and your place of reverence and trust is in
the all-sustaining hollow of my hand." Had the Deity said this, and
proved his sincerity by appropriate actions subsequently towards
his subjects, it would have done more to have won the affections of
his children to him than the whole of his present recorded sayings
contained from Genesis to Revelation. But no; we find that a sordid
appeal is made partly to the mean fears, and partly to the paternal
affections, of the Jews. They are forbidden to worship other gods:
"For I, the Lord thy God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity
of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth
generation of them that hate me." Fancy a great, Almighty God,
creator of the earth, being jealous of the estranged affection of
an unfortunate Jew! But this is in keeping with the general
character of the Christian Deity, and most of his particular and
immediate acquaintances. The part of the Decalogue which has
reference to us, as members of society, is so brief, in comparison
to that which has been occupied by theology and the requirements of

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

God, that little room is left for the introduction of rewards and
punishments which are to follow the fulfillment or non-fulfillment
of so important a behest as "Thou shalt not kill." But the
punishment of idolatry, a most cruel, unjust, and revengeful one is
given at full length. The fifth Commandment, Honor thy father and
mother" is certainly, as far as it goes, an excellent one. It comes
home to the heart of everyone who has the feelings of love and duty
within him. We can take no possible exception to its request. But
the reason given for its fulfillment is as selfish as it is untrue.
Yielding to no one in the belief that filial affection and
reverence are not only duties, but carry with them (as all virtues
do to some extent) their own reward in the satisfaction of an
approving sense of right, it has yet to be shown that the keeping
of the first part of this command will secure the accomplishment of
the second. Honoring parents does not invariably carry with it the
fulfillment of the promise, "Thy days shall be long in the land
which the Lord thy God giveth thee." The best of sons have
frequently been called upon to pay the last debt of nature when
still in the bloom and vigor of their manhood, while some of the
worst of characters live to a comparatively old age, a grief to
their parents and a disgrace to themselves. Though, therefore, we
would echo the command, "Children, obey your parents," we would
also say; Do so, not from any selfish hope of personal gain or long
life, but for the love you should have for those who have toiled
for and protected you through years of infancy and helplessness.
Duty, gratitude, and affection should be the inspiration to
obedience, not the grovelling incentive given by the Bible. But may
not this be taken as a fair sample of Bible teaching? Whenever we
discover a noble thought, a just precept, or a generous sentiment,
we generally find it surrounded by much that is impracticable
misleading, and fallacious. The sixth, seventh, and eights
Commandments call for no special remark, save that, when they point
out the extremes of certain vices, and forbid their indulgence,
they fail to state how far persons may go in their direction
without committing fatal errors; and this difficulty is all the
greater when we reflect that these were the very Commandments which
most of God's favorites had the greatest predilection for breaking.
The chief object of the ninth Commandment is its limitation. Why
should the word "neighbor" be introduced in the prohibition of
false swearing? It is equally a wrong to swear falsely against a
stranger as against a neighbor. The tenth Commandment is the only
one of the second part of the Decalogue which errs by excess of
Puritanism. There can be no harm, for instance, in coveting a
neighbor's house if sufficient compensation is offered to induce
him to give up the lease; and, if we did not occasionally covet our
neighbor's oxen, beefsteaks and sirloins would be even more scarce
among the working classes than they are at present. Speaking
broadly, the one great objection to the Decalogue is the absence of
any noble, inspiring principle of conduct. It teaches no real love,
no true charity; it is a penal code, not a rule of life.

     Orthodox believers are continually proclaiming that love is
the foundation of Biblical ethics; the fact is, however, that, if
human actions were regulated by some teachings of the Bible, there
would be but few manifestations of love. To kill the inhabitants of
a conquered city, and to save none alive (Deut. xx. 10-16), is a
peculiar mode of exhibiting love to our fellow men. The conduct of 

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

Christ was not calculated to inspire us with a superabundance of
love when he said: "Whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I
also deny before my father which is in heaven" (Matt. x. 33) or
when he stated "But those mine enemies which would not that I
should reign over them, bring them hither and slay them before me"
(Luke xix. 27). Here we have an indication of that unforgiving and
revengeful spirit which destroys true affection. If there be any
truth in the popular notions of sin and forgiveness, it was not
moral for Christ to act as he did when speaking in a parable to his
disciples. They, not being able to understand him, asked him for an
explanation of what he then said. His reply was: "Unto you is given
to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but, unto them that are
without, all these things are done in parables; that seeing, they
may see and not perceive, and hearing, they may hear and not
understand, lest at any time they should be converted, and their
sins be forgiven them" (Mark iv.). This is not only partial and
unjust, but a planned determination to teach so mysteriously that
people should not learn the truth, in case they should thereby be
saved. Such a mode of advocacy would be deemed injurious, indeed,
in these days, and is only squalled by the following "inspired"
information to certain persons: "And for this cause God shall send
them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all
might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in
unrighteousness" (2 Thess. ii. 11, 12). We are advised to be holy,
even as God is holy; but what is holiness according to Bible
morality? If a "Divine" sanction to a thing constitutes it holy,
then deceit, murder, lying, and the deepest kind of cruelty are
allied with Scriptural holiness. In 2 Kings x. God is represented
as rewarding the following crimes, and thereby giving the Bible
sanction to the worst kind of immorality. Jehu, having become King
of Israel, commences his reign with a series of murders. Having
resolved upon the destruction of the house of Ahab, Jehu commences
his task in a manner possible only to those who fight with the
"zeal of the lord." Killing all who were likely to obstruct him in
the carrying out of his base object, he arrived at Samaria, his
purpose being to slay all the worshippers of Baal. In order,
therefore, that he might entrap them all into one slaughter house,
he announced that he was a great worshipper of Baal, and that he
had come to offer a mighty sacrifice to this idol. By this craft he
succeeded in drawing all the worshippers of Baal together. When the
unfortunate victims were assembled, tendering their sacrifices,
Jehu ordered his captains to go in and slay them, allowing none to
escape. Accordingly, they were all sacrificed to the treachery of
this "servant of the Lord." And this conduct is approved by God;
for in verse 30 is recorded: "And the Lord said unto Jehu, Because
thou hast done well in executing that which is right in mine eyes,
and hast done unto the house of Ahab according to all that was in
mine heart, thy children of the fourth generation shall sit on the
throne of Israel." Bible morality is further illustrated in the
case of Samuel (1 Samuel xvi. 1-4). This prophet is commanded by
God to go on a certain mission under false pretenses, and with a
direct falsehood upon his lips. Now, is it moral to deceive and
murder? If not, why did God command and encourage such vices? And
why should men be invited to imitate the example of one who
practiced such immoralities? Biblical ethics are alleged to be
based upon the "holiness of God." In order to ascertain what that
"holiness" really is, it is only necessary to read Genesis xxx. and

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

xxxi., where immorality, ingratitude, deceit, and theft are found
to be ascribed to Jacob, who was encouraged and beloved by God;
Exodus ix. 13-16, where people are seen to have been raised up by
God for the very purpose of being "cut off from the earth;" Exodus
xxxii., for an account of the anger, injustice, and cruelty of
Moses, culminating in the slaughter of thousands of human beings at
the command of God; Joshua vi., viii., and x., for a record of his
reckless murder of thousands of human beings, among whom were men,
women, and children, at the special command of God; 2 Samuel xii.
11-31, for adultery and cruelty in connection with David; and then
peruse Psalms xxxviii. and cix. for a confession of a life of
deceit, lying, and licentiousness. Yet we are told that David "was
a man after God's own heart," and that he "kept God's commandments,
and did that only which was right in his eyes" (1 Kings xiv. 8).
Such may be Biblical morality; but it is certainly opposed to
Secular ideas of ethical philosophy.

     The teachings of the Bible in reference to slavery are
barbarously unjust. According to its permit, men and women can be
bought and sold like cattle, the weak being compelled to serve the
strong. In Exodus xxi. 2-6 we have a most cruel law for regulating
this "Bible institution," the cruelty and injustice of which law
are two-fold. First, if the slave when he is bought be single, and
if, during his seven years of slavery, he marries and becomes a
father, then, at the expiration of his time, his wife and children
are his master's, and the slave goes out free. Is this moral? What
becomes of the poor man's paternal affections? Is the love for his
wife nothing? Is he to be separated from that he holds dear, and to
see the object of his affections given to the man who for seven
years had robbed him of his independence and his manhood? If,
however, the poor victim's love for his wife and children be
stronger than his desire for liberty, what is his fate? He is to be
brought to the door, have his ear bored with an awl, and doomed to
serve his master forever. Thus Bible morality makes perpetual
slavery and physical pain the punishments of the exercise of the
purest and best feelings of human nature. Where is the moral lesson
in the statement: "And thou shalt bestow that money for whatsoever
thy soul lusteth after; for oxen or for sheep, or for wine or for
strong drink, or for whatsoever thy soul desireth; and thou shalt
eat there before the Lord thy God, and thou shalt rejoice, thou and
thine household"? If this is not giving a license to the worst of
passions, words have no meaning. But Bible morality strikes at the
manhood and happiness of man. It stifles our tenderest affections,
and urges the exercise of the cruellest passions by teaching that
a man may kill the wife of his bosom if she dare to entice him
secretly from his God (Deut. xiii. 6-9). Where is the man who will
so far belie his nature as to accept such morality as this?
Unfortunately, Bible teachings have frequently caused a complete
severance and breaking up of the ties of affection in families. The
Bible commands its believers to leave father, mother, sister, and
brother to follow Christ. According to its teachings, it is
justifiable to break up a certain and a human bond that we may get
a problematical chance of a problematical blessedness in a
problematical future. There are few, doubtless, who have not
learned in their own sad experience how the family tie has been 

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

often disunited by Christian teachings. Brothers and sisters have
been separated for years from the home of their childhood because 
they dared to emancipate themselves from the shackles of the
prevailing faith.

     Accepting the term "moral" as expressing whatever is
calculated to promote general progress and happiness, what Morality
is contained in the following passages from the Bible: "Take no
thought for your life;" "Resist not evil;" "Blessed be ye poor;"
"Labor not for the bread which perisheth;" "Servants, be subject to
your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but
also to the forward;" "Let every man abide in the same calling
wherein he was called;" "Submit yourself to every ordinance of man
for the Lord's sake;" "Let every soul be subject unto the higher
powers, for there is no power but of God ... Whosoever, therefore,
resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that
resist shall receive to themselves damnation"? Were these
injunctions obeyed, health, independence of character, and
political progress would be ignored. For the reforms we have
hitherto secured we are indebted to men and women who practically
disregarded the Bible, and based their conduct upon the principle
of utility. To teach, as the Bible does, that wives are to be
subject to their husbands in everything (Eph. v.); to "set your
affections on things above, not on things on the earth " (Colos.
iii.); to "love not the world, neither the things that are in the
world" (1 John ii.); to "lay not up for yourselves treasures upon
earth" (Matt. vi.), is not to inculcate the principle of equality,
or to inspire man with a desire to take an interest in "the things
of time." Whatever service the Bible may render in gratifying the
tastes of the superstitious, it cannot, to men of thought and
energy, be of any great moral worth.

     To persecute for non-belief of any teaching, but more
particularly of speculative questions, is not in accordance with
ethical justice. Is it true that the Bible encourages persecution
for the non-belief in, or the rejection of its teachings? If yes,
so far at least is its moral worth lessened. For belief in the
truth of a doctrine, or the wisdom of a precept, is, to the honest
inquirer, the result of the recognition on his part of sufficient
evidence in their favor. Whenever that evidence is absent,
disbelief will be found, except among the indifferent or the
hypocritical. Now, in the Bible there are many things that the
sincere thinker is compelled, through lack of evidence, to reject.
What does the New Testament inculcate towards such persons? When
Christ sent his disciples upon a preaching expedition he said
(Matt. x.): "Whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words,
when ye depart out of that house or city shake off the dust of your
feet." This, we are informed by Oriental writers, was a mode in the
East of showing hatred towards those against whom the dust was
shaken. The punishment threatened those who refused the
administrations of the disciples is most severe, for "it shall be
more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of
judgment than for that city." In St. John xv. we read: "If a man
abideth not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered;
and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are
burned." This accords with the gloomy announcement (2 Thess. i.):
"The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty 

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

angels in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God,
and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, who shall be
punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the
Lord, and from the glory of his power, when he shall come to be
glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that
believe." Again (Mark xvi.): "He that believeth not shall be
damned." St. Paul exclaims (Gal. i.): "If any man preach any other
gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed."
He also says (1 Tim. vi, 3-5): "If any man teach otherwise, and
consent not to the wholesome words, even the words of our Lord
Jesus Christ ... he is proud, knowing nothing ... From such
withdraw thyself." "Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have
delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme" (1 Tim.
i. 20). In these passages persecution and punishment are clearly
taught for disbelief. And that such teaching has had an immoral
tendency the excommunications, the imprisonments, and sacrifice of
the lives of heretics in connection with the history of
Christianity abundantly prove.

     Orthodox Christians contend that the Bible is a necessary
factor in the educational system of all nations. While admitting
the necessity of instruction in the affairs of daily life, they
allege that a question of far greater importance is the preparation
for existence "beyond the grave." They profess to be impressed with
the notion that there is a city of refuge in store for them when
they arrive at the end of life's journey; and, having to encounter
many storms and difficulties ere they reach this supposed haven of
rest, they feel assured that the Bible is a sufficient guide to
carry them safely over the sea of time, and land them securely in
the harbor of eternity. They therefore rely on this book as if it
were unerring in its directions and infallible in its commands.

     Now, there is ample reason to doubt the capability of this
Christian guide. Its inability, however, as an instructor and guide
does not arise from any lack of variety of contents, The Bible
contains a history of the cosmogony of the earth, and the story of
man's fall from what is termed his first estate of perfection and
happiness. Then we have the history of God's chosen people, from
their uprise to their national extinction, with a record of the
Jewish laws, specifying those acts most calculated to propitiate
the favor and secure the reward of heaven, and those which are
condemned, with their appropriate and stipulated punishments. We
have also glimpses of the histories of other nations, the causes of
their fall, and the account of their national sins, which drew down
upon them that wrath of heaven which extinguished or sorely
punished them. Following this, there is the story of Job -- the
lessons to be derived from the sudden collapse of his worldly
greatness, and his soliloquies upon the mysteries of nature and of
providence. Next come the Psalms -- a copious manual of praise,
prayer, cursing, and penitence, followed by the woes, lamentations,
and misfortunes of a host of prophets -- some practical, some
mystical, and some evangelical -- together with the four different
versions of the life, actions, and death of Christ; a short account
of the early doings of the Church, recorded in several epistles
written by sundry apostles, culminating in the strange and 

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extraordinary nightmare of St. John the Divine. Now, any man who
fails to discover in so large a field materials by which to 
regulate his life must do so, not from the scarcity, but the
valuelessness, of the article supplied.

     In estimating the real value of the Bible as a moral guide it
must be taken as a whole, by which is meant those books of the Old
and New Testaments which are bound together and commonly called the
Word of God. And here a question arises that, if the knowledge of
the whole Bible be necessary to our future happiness, which
according to St. John it is, why is it that so many of the books
that originally constituted the Bible are lost? If the testimony of
the book itself can be accepted, we have only a portion of what at
one time composed the Bible. In Numbers a quotation is given from
a book called "The Book of the Wars of the Lord;" in judges and
Samuel we read of "The Book of Jasher;" in Kings mention is made of
"The Book of the Acts of Solomon;" and in Chronicles of "The
Account of the Chronicles of King David." We further read of "The
Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah" and "The Book of the
Chronicles of the Kings of Israel." Allusion is also made to "The
Book of Nathan the Prophet" and to "The Book of Gad the Seer."
Notwithstanding the loss of these books, Christians exclaim, How
wonderfully their book has been preserved! Even the portions that
are retained are so full of mistakes, errors, and corruptions that
its intelligent supporters are compelled to give the greater part
of it up as incapable of defence, while those who still contend for
its "divinity" hesitate to come forward and support it in public

     Another question suggests itself: Are we to consider the Old
Testament as the Word of God? If so, upon the Christian hypothesis,
its teachings are equally as deserving of our respect as are those
of the New Testament. If, on the other hand, the Old Testament is
not intended for our acceptance, why is it preached and enforced as
God's Word? True, it is sometimes stated that the Hebrew writings
are useful for instruction, although they are not of the same
authority with Christians as the New Testament. But here it is
overlooked that the New Testament is founded upon the Old, and
often appeals to it to corroborate its statements. Furthermore, the
New Testament distinctly says that the Old was written by good and
holy men for our instruction, etc. Besides, does not Christ
emphatically state that he did not come to destroy its authority?
"Think not," says be, "that I am come to destroy the law or the
prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say
unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall
in no wise pass from the law till all be fulfilled. Whosoever,
therefore, shall break one of these least commandments, and shall
teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of
heaven; but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be
called great in the kingdom of heaven." Here is a command not to
break even one of the least of the commandments. Again, Christ
says: "The Scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat; whatsoever
they bid you observe, that observe and do." Among a collection of
Christian stories occurs the following anecdote: -- A person once
asked a poor, illiterate old woman what she deemed to be the
difference between the Old and New Testaments, to which she
replied: "The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

New Testament is the Old Testament revealed." This has been
triumphantly quoted by Christian writers to show the harmony
existing between the two books. But it is absurd and contradicts
facts. The assumption is, that the Old Testament is the partial
statement of a body of truths, from which the New Testament differs
not in kind, but only in degree. It is supposed that nothing in the
New Testament contradicts what is stated in the Old, but only
reveals and amplifies with a clearer light what had already been
stated partially and under allegorical semblance in the Old. Now,
so far is this from being correct that it would be difficult to
find any two alleged bodies of sacred truths which differ from and
contradict each other more than the divine revelation made through
Moses and the prophets, and the revelation made through Christ and
his Apostles. For instance, Moses taught that retaliation was a
duty, while Christ strictly prohibits it. With Moses persecutors
were put to the edge of the sword; with Christ, however, they were
to be blessed. Under the old system, good works and a virtuous life
were the conditions of Divine favor and reward, and bad works and
a vicious life were to incur Divine disfavor and punishment. Under
the new system, faith is the all-in-all, the essential condition of

     A proof of the inadequacy of the Bible as a guide and
instructor is furnished by what are termed the "liberal
Christians." Here we have men of the best intentions and of high
intellectual acquirements refusing to accept the Bible as an
absolute guide, or as an infallible instructor. With such persons
the Bible has no value as "infallible revelation." If, however, the
Bible is not an infallible record, it is simply a human production,
and has no more claim upon us, except what its merits inspire, than
any other book. Is it not rather inconsistent to contend, as these
liberal Christians do, that certain portions of the Bible are
"divine," while the other parts are simply human? If every
Christian sect put forward similar contentions, there would be but
few parts of the "Holy Scriptures" that would not be divine and
human at the same time, according to the respective opinions of
different classes of believers. But how are we to decide what is
"divine" and what is human? To what standard shall we appeal? What
criterion have we by which to test its genuineness? Shall we accept
the authority of the Protestant or the Catholic Church? Shall we
judge from the standpoint of the Trinitarians or the Unitarians?

     For the Bible to be trustworthy as a guide it should be
reliable in its statements and harmonious in its doctrines. That it
is not so will be evident from the following reference to its
pages. The Bible teaches that God is omniscient and omnipresent;
yet in Gen. xi. 5 we read that the Lord came down to see the city
and the tower which the children of men builded; and in Gen. xviii.
20, 21: "And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah
is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down
now, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry
of it, which is come unto me; and, if not, I will know." It teaches
that God is immutable; yet, on several occasions, we find him
changing his mind, repenting, and sometimes turning back from his
repentance; as in the great instance (Gen. vi. 6): "And it repented
the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at
the heart" (also 1 Sam. xv. 10, 11). God told Baalim to go with the

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

men (Num. xxii., 20), and was angry with him because he went (Num.
xxii. 21, 22). It teaches that God is invisible, yet we read (Gen.
xxxii. 30): "And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel; for I
have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved;" and (Ex.
xxiv. 9, 10): "Then up went Moses, and Aaron, and Nadab, and Abihu,
and seventy of the elders of Israel; and they saw the God of
Israel;" and, again (Ex. xxxiii. 11, 23): "And the Lord spake unto
Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend ... And I
will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts; but my
face shall not be seen and, finally (Gen. xviii.), we have the
remarkable though perplexed account of the Lord paying a visit to
Abraham in the plains of Mamre, and eating with him of cakes,
butter, milk, and veal. It teaches that God is all good; yet we
read (Isa. xlv. 7): "I form the light and create darkness: I make
peace and create evil: I the Lord do all these things;" and (Lam.
iii. 38): "Out of the mouth of the Most High proceedeth not evil
and good?" and (Ezekiel xx. 25): "Wherefore I gave them also
statutes that were not good, and judgments whereby they should not
live." It teaches that God is no respecter of persons; yet we read
(Gen. iv. 4, 5): "And the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his
offering; but unto Cain and his offering he had no respect;" and
(Ex. ii. 25): "And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God
had respect unto them;" and (Rom. ix. 11-13) For the children being
not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the
purpose of God, according to election, might stand, not of works,
but of him that calleth; it was said unto her, The elder shall
serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau
have I hated." And, in fact, nearly the whole Bible story is that
of a chosen people, preferred above all other nations, surely for
no superior goodness on their part! It teaches (Ex. xx. 5) that God
is a jealous God, "visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the
third and fourth generation of them that hate me;" yet we read
(Ezekiel xviii. 20): "The son shall not bear the iniquity of the
father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son." It
teaches that Christ is God (John i- 1, 14; Reb. i. 8); yet we read
(John viii. 40): "But now ye seek to kill me, a man that has told
you the truth, which I have heard of God;" also (1 Tim. ii. 5):
"One mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus." It
teaches (John x. 30) that Christ and his father are one; yet we
read (John xiv. 28): "For my father is greater than I." It teaches
(John xvi. 30; Col. ii. 3) that Jesus knew all things; yet we read
(Mark xi. 13): "And seeing a fig-tree afar off having leaves, he
came, if haply he might find anything thereon; and, when he came to
it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet;"
and, far more significant (Mark xiii. 32): "But of that day and
that hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels which are in heaven,
neither the Son, but the Father." It teaches of Jesus (John viii.
14): "Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true; for I
know whence I came, and whither I go;" yet we read (John v. 3 1):
"If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true." It teaches
further (1 Tim. ii. 6) that he gave himself a ransom for all; yet
we read (Matt. xv. 24): "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the
house of Israel;" and (Mark vii. 26, 27): "The woman was a Greek,
a Syrophoenician by nation; and she besought him that he would cast
forth the devil out of her daughter. But Jesus said unto her, Let
the children first be filled; for it is not meet to take the
children's bread and cast it unto the dogs." It teaches that 

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

miracles are proofs of a divine mission (Matt. ix. 6; John v. 36;
Heb. ii. 4) yet (Deut. xiii. 1-3; Matt. xxiv. 24; 2 Thess. ii. 9)
warns against false prophets and anti-Christs, who shall show great
signs and wonders. It teaches in many passages of the New Testament
that the end of the world is at hand, as in Matt. xxiv., 1 Cor. xv.
51, 52; 1 Thess. iv. 15; 1 Peter iv. 7; yet we read (2 Thess. ii.
2, 3): "That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither
by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day
of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means."
Further, on this subject, we read (Matt. x. 23), in which Jesus is
addressing the Apostles he sent forth: "Ye shall not have gone over
the cities of Israel till the Son of Man be come;" yet we read
(Matt. xxiv. 14): "And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached
in all the world for witness unto all nations; and then shall the
end come and, similarly (Mark xiii. 10): "And the gospel must first
be published among all nations." It teaches (Luke i. 33; Heb. i. 8)
that the kingdom of Christ shall endure forever; yet we read, in
one of the most remarkable passages of the New Testament (1 Cor.
xv. 24, 25, 28): "Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered
up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down
all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign till he
hath put all enemies under his feet ... And when all things shall
be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject
unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all-in-
all." It teaches that the Holy Ghost is God (Acts V. 3, 4); yet we
read (John xv. 26): "But when the Comforter is come, whom shall I
send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which
proceedeth from the Father;" and, again (John xiv. 16): "I will
pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter;" and,
again (Acts x. 38); "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy
Ghost and with power." Finally, it teaches that "all Scripture is
given by inspiration of God, and is profitable" (2 Tim. iii. 16);
yet we read (1 Cor. vii. 6, 12): "But I speak this by permission,
and not of commandment ... But to the rest speak I, not the lord;"
and similarly (2 Cor. xi. 17) That which I speak, I speak it not
after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of

     The foregoing are but a few of "apparent discrepancies," or,
as we call them, direct self-contradictions; and, be it remembered,
they concern the essentials of Christianity - the three persons of
the God, the inspiration of the Holy Scriptures, and the end of the
world. The Bibliolater may be encouraged in the endeavor to
reconcile them by the assurance that an indefinite further number,
just as perplexing, await solution.

     Those Christians who are too enlightened to accept the Bible,
as it has chanced to come down to us, as in every word the very
Word of God, and too free-minded to submit to the authority of a
tradition which has varied with all climes and ages, or a Church
whose history is a record of blunders, compromises, falsifications,
self-contradictions, probably unequalled in the annals of any
merely secular institution whatever, manage to remain, in their own
estimation, Christians, by believing that God's saving revelation
to mankind is made in the Bible, and that everyone may read it for
himself if he studies the volume in a reverent and prayerful
spirit. They admit many errors of copyists, reject many passages, 

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

and even books, as decidedly spurious, and regard many others as
doubtful yet maintain that, all deductions made, there is left a
clear and sufficient Divine message, whose essential character is
untouched by any of the errors or defects, and unchanged by any of
the various readings.

     Now, this theory is certainly the most illogical which a
Christian can hold for that of the thorough Bibliolater is
consistent in its blind submission of reason to faith and the Roman
and Church views are equally consistent in their blind submission
to faith and tradition and ecclesiastical authority; while this new
theory seeks and pretends to conciliate things which are
essentially irreconcilable -- reason and faith, freethought and
revelation, liberty and servitude, the natural and the
supernatural. But, as it is the theory of some of the best and
ablest of our religious fellow-citizens, and of those who are most
heartily with us in much sound Secular work, it practically claims
a fuller consideration here than it intrinsically merits.

     In the first place, it is evidently open to the fatal
objection that it makes man the measure and standard of his God,
setting up certain Scriptures as supernatural and Divine, then
subjecting them to the arbitrament of human nature, the reason and
conscience of the creature. Each of those who hold it says in
effect; "Here are books purporting to contain the Word of God, and
I believe they do contain it, but mixed with many vain words of men
therefore, what suits me I shall consider Divine, and what does not
suit me I shall reject." Numerous clever attempts have been made to
smooth away this sharp self-contradiction; but, so far as we are
aware, and as was to be expected, not one that can be deemed even
plausible by any candid outsider. There is but one mode of getting
rid of it -- a mode swift and effectual, obvious, and facile in
theory; but, as long experience proves, very hard to put into
practice -- and this is to surrender the initial claim of Divine
inspiration of the books, when, of course, it would be quite
natural and consistent to sit in judgment on them, as on any other
human writing, welcoming what in them we find good and true,
rejecting what we find bad and false.

     It is indeed alleged that the special grace of the Holy Spirit
always illumines and guides every one who studies these books in
the proper frame of mind; but, as we find, in fact, that no two
serious students read quite alike -- each reading in accordance
with his peculiar temperament, intellect, training, and
circumstances, precisely as he would read were there no Holy Spirit
in question -- the said special grace, having no perceptible
effect, may be safely left out of the calculation. Innumerable
sectaries, all alike devout and sincere, all alike drawing their
inspiration from the Bible, have differed widely on the very
fundamental doctrines of Christianity; and we never heard of the
Holy Spirit doing anything towards bringing these brethren into
unity. A Christian eclectic submits the Bible to the test of his
own reason find conscience, which have been educated and purified,
not by the book itself, nor by any supernatural grace, but by the
results of a long and gradual progress in secular enlightenment and
civilization; which progress has been at nearly every step opposed
on the authority of the book, and in the name of the religion 

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

founded on it. Doctrines that now revolt the common conscience did
not in former centuries revolt the consciences of men who were
taught by the book and purified by the Holy Spirit. It is not by
special grace, nor revelation of the Holy Scriptures, but by
critical scholarship, that men have come now to decide as to the
genuineness and authenticity, the date and authority, of the
various portions. Until free learning was revived at the classical
or heathenish Renaissance, the Holy Spirit was content to leave all
the most pious Biblical students in very deep darkness as to nearly
all the points on which our eclectic Christians are now so clearly

     The family ideal set forth in the Bible is certainly not one
of a high ethical nature. The domestic relationship of Noah,
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon could not be emulated
to-day without practicing gross injustice, and submitting to utter
moral degradation. The Indo-European race has developed in morals
as in knowledge, and two thousand years ago, when Germanicus led
the Roman legions, he beheld with wonder the respect with which the
ignorant, rude, and warlike Germans treated their wives and
daughters. It is an insult to civilized women for any one to
commend the family ideal of those who made woman a slave. Even
Christ is represented as treating women as if they were necessarily
inferior to men; while his conduct to his mother, his commendation
and personal practice of celibacy, and his encouraging others to
renounce their own obligations to their families, are not
calculated to shed a halo of peace and happiness within the home
circle. Moreover, St. Paul's doctrine of the absolute submission of
wives to their husbands can hardly be offered us to admire as an

     The Secularist family ideal is far superior to that of the
Bible, inasmuch as it is on a level with the ethics of our social
development. It teaches that marriage should be the result of
mutual affection, and that such a union creates the responsibility
of undivided allegiance, mutual fidelity, and mutual consideration.
It affirms that in the domestic circle there should be no one-
sided, absolute authority; that husband and wife should be partners
in deed, not only in theory, animated alike by the desire to
promote each other's happiness.

     The basis of Bible morality, being God's will, is very
delusive, for the simple reason that, if such a will has been
recorded, it is not known to us; and the conjectured
representations of it given to us by theologians of all ages are
impracticable and conflicting. In the Bible there is not to be
found only one will ascribed to its Deity, but many; and those are
as contradictory as they are various. For instance, murder,
adultery, theft, deceit, and other crimes can be proved from the
Bible to be opposed to the expressed desire of God, as given in the
Scriptures; while upon the same authority these crimes can be shown
to accord with God's will. The result is, it is impossible to
regulate human conduct upon the sanctions of either the "inspired"
records. It is this peculiar nature of Bible teachings which was,
probably, the cause of the early Christians lying for the glory of
the Church (see Mosheim's "Ecclesiastical History"), and of
Christians at a more modern period robbing and murdering those whom

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they termed heretics. In doing what they did in this persecuting
business, the Bible believers, no doubt, thought that they were
acting in accordance with "God's will," as set forth in the "Divine
revelation," The founders and promoters of those body-and-mind-
destroying institutions, the Inquisition and the Star Chamber, were
in all probability sincere, and many of them in the affairs of
every-day life, apart from theology, good men. In religious
matters, however, they were cruel and inhuman in the extreme. Why
was this? Because, no doubt, in punishing even to death those who
opposed the true faith, they thought the were following the Bible
as a guide (see Deuteronomy Xiii. 6-9).

     The acceptance of the Bible as a standard of morality involves
also the recognition of teachings and doctrines that are
conflicting and impracticable. In one place we are told that faith
alone will save us (Romans iii. 27, 28); while in another portion
of this same "authority" we are assured that works are necessary to
secure salvation (James ii. 24). In St. John we read, "No man
cometh unto the Father but by me" [Christ] (xiv. 6); and in the
same gospel it is recorded, "No man can come to me [Christ] except
the Father draw him" (vi. 44). This makes salvation depend, not
upon man, but upon God. In John it is written, "For there are three
that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy
Ghost; and these three are one;" while Timothy states distinctly
that "there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the
man Christ Jesus." The New Testament teaches that Christ brought
glad tidings for all men; yet we are assured that he came but to
the lost sheep of the house of Israel -- that many are called, but
few are chosen. In one chapter we learn that all sin can be
forgiven, while in another part of the same book it is said that
the sin against the Holy Ghost is never to be forgiven. In Timothy
we read; "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our
Savior, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the
knowledge of the truth." But this cannot be if it is true that "for
this cause God shall send them strong delusions, that they should
believe a lie." If the delusions are sent by God, and if in
consequence mankind believe a lie, and get punished hereafter for
such belief, it is only fair to suppose that God's will was that
they should not come to a knowledge of the truth; which contradicts
what is stated in Timothy. John assures us that "whosoever hateth
his brother is a murderer; and ye know that no murderer hath
eternal life abiding in him." This is very consoling when we read
the following: "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and
mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters -- yea,
and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." To be a disciple
of Christ you must hate your brother; you are thus a murderer, and
"no murderer hath eternal life." If you wish, therefore, to have
eternal life, you must not become a disciple of Christ. Martyrdom
by death may not always be the best way to advance a principle,
inasmuch as more good can generally be done by living for a cause
than by dying for it. But Christians say the martyrdom of the early
Christians proves the truth of their doctrines, and in support of
their contention they quote the words of Jesus: "And I [Jesus] say
unto you, My friends, be not afraid of them that kill the body, and
after that have no more that they can do." These words, it is
thought, prove that Jesus, taught and held life cheaply, in order
to advance more readily his doctrines. It appears, however, from 

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

John that Christ did what many of his followers now do -- taught
one thing and practiced another; for on one occasion John says,
"Jesus walked in Galilee; for he would not walk in jewry, because
the Jews sought to kill him." What are we to do in this case --
follow Christ's teaching, or his example? To follow both is
impossible. Some persons condemn all war upon the ground that it is
anti-Scriptural, and in their justification they quote Matthew,
where he says: "Then said Jesus unto them, Put up again thy sword
into its place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with
the sword." The soldier, on the other hand, tells the peace man
that we ought to possess swords; for in Luke it is said: "He that
hath no sword let him sell his garments and buy one." Both would be
equally justified, and both would be equally condemned, by the New
Testament -- a very perplexing position to be in. But the man fond
of fighting would keep his sword, believing that the more
Christianity became spread the more use there would be for the
sword, as Christ declared: "Think not that I am come to send peace
on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to
set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against
her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." If
Christ had succeeded in his object -- and he has partially -- the
advocate of the sword would have had good grounds for

     St. Paul considers charity the highest of virtues, without
which all other acquirements are as nothing. But then he
immediately destroys the efficacy of such teaching by the following
command: "As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach
any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be
accursed." We are told that "wisdom is the principal thing,
therefore get wisdom." But we are also assured that in much wisdom
there is much grief, and that he that increaseth knowledge
increaseth sorrow. It is folly to guide man to wisdom, telling him
that it is better than riches, while he is taught that "the wisdom
of the world is foolishness with God." Where is the incentive for
a youth to acquire knowledge when St. Paul says, "It is written, I
will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and bring to nothing the
understanding of the prudent"?

     From these samples of the incoherent nature of Bible
statements and teachings, it will be seen how impossible it is to
rely implicitly on such a book as a guide in human conduct. True,
Christians may urge that there is no contradiction in the cases
cited ; that the Bible is God's Word, and must therefore be all
true. It is in vain that the student points out that this
revelation abounds with impossibilities and absurdities, for he is
reminded that with God all things are possible, therefore let "God
be true, and every man a liar." It is further urged that the
mistakes occur through our lack of comprehension; that the
Scriptures would be plain enough if we could only "see our way
clear " to accept them as gospel; and that the depravity of our
nature prevents us viewing revealed truth in a spiritual light.
These are the sentiments of many who profess to accept the Bible as
a guide. Truly, we must become as little children if we endorse the
doctrine of Scriptural infallibility.

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                         BIBLE MORALITY.

     The conduct of those who, in the face of such inconsistency,
contend for Bible infallibility is something more than foolish; it
is criminal. To shelter all that the Bible contains under the halo
of "divinity" is to pay homage to the worst of human weaknesses. If
a man is to pursue an intellectual career; if he is to foster a
manly independence; if he is to live a life of integrity, he must
not be bound either by ancient folly or modern orthodoxy but,
unfettered, he should learn the lessons afforded by a knowledge of
the facts of nature, and from the discoveries of science acquire
those rules which through life will be a surer counsellor than the
Bible, and a safer guide than theology.

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   The Bank of Wisdom is a collection of the most thoughtful,
scholarly and factual books. These computer books are reprints of
suppressed books and will cover American and world history; the
Biographies and writings of famous persons, and especially of our
nations Founding Fathers. They will include philosophy and
religion. all these subjects, and more, will be made available to
the public in electronic form, easily copied and distributed, so
that America can again become what its Founders intended --

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and information for today. If you have such books please contact
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