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Even admitting that this were true, it does not answer the Atheist's objection. Alleging a difficulty on the one side is not a removal of the obstacle already pointed out on the other. The Theist declares his God to be not only immutable, but also infinitely intelligent, and says: "Matter is either essentially intelligent, or essentially non-intelligent; if matter were essentially intelligent, no matter could be without intelligence; but matter can not be essentially intelligent, because some matter is not intelligent, therefore matter is essentially non-intelligent: but there is intelligence, therefore there must be a cause for the intelligence, independent of matter; this must be an intelligent being i.

It is not certain that the Theist expresses any very clear idea when he uses the words "matter" and "intelligence. Perception is the foundation of the intellect. The perceptive faculty, or perceptive faculties, differs or differ in each animal, yet in speaking of matter that Theist uses the word "intelligence" as though the same meaning were to be understood in every case. The recollection of the perceptions is the exercise of a different faculty from the perceptive faculty, and occasionally varies disproportionately; thus an individual may have great perceptive faculties, and very little memory, or the reverse, yet memory, as well as perception, is included in intelligence.

So also the faculty of comparing between two or more perceptions; the faculty of judging and the faculty of reflecting all these are subject to the same remarks, and all these and other faculties are included in the word intelligence. We answer, then, that "God" whatever that word may mean can not be intelligent.

He can never perceive; the act of perception results in the obtaining a new idea, but if God be omniscient his ideas have been eternally the same. He has either been always and always will be perceiving, or he has never perceived at all. But God can not have been always perceiving, because if he had he would always have been obtaining fresh knowledge, in which case he must have some time had less knowledge than now; that is he would have been less perfect; that is, he would not have been God: he can never recollect or forget, he can never compare, reflect nor judge.

There can not be perfect intelligence without understanding; but following Coleridge, "understanding is the faculty of judging according to sense. Of some person, judging according to that person's senses? But has "God" senses? Is there anything beyond "God" for "God" to sensate? There can not be perfect intelligence without reason. By reason we mean that faculty or aggregation of faculties which avails itself of past experience to predetermine, more or less accurately, experience in the future, and to affirm truths which sense perceives, experiment verifies, and experience confirms.

To God there can be neither past nor future, therefore to him reason is impossible. There can not be perfect intelligence without will, but has God will? If God wills, the will of the all-powerful must be irresistible; the will of the infinite must exclude all other wills.

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God can never perceive. Perception and sensation are identical. Every sensation is accompanied by pleasure or pain. But God, if immutable, can neither be pleased nor pained. Every fresh sensation involves a change in mental and perhaps in physical condition. God, if immutable, can not change.

Sensation is the source of all ideas, but it is only objects external to the mind which can be sensated. If God be infinite there can be no objects external to him, and therefore sensation must be to him impossible. Yet without perception where is intelligence? God can not have memory or reason memory is of the past, reason for the future, but to God immutable there can be no past, no future. The words past, present, and future, imply change; they assert progression of duration.

If God be immutable, to him change is impossible. Can you have intelligence destitute of perception, memory, and reason? God can not have the faculty of judgment judgment implies in the act of judging a conjoining or disjoining of two or more thoughts, but this involves change of mental condition. To God, the immutable, change is impossible. Can you have intelligence, yet no perception, no memory, no reason, no judgment?

God can not think. The law of the thinkable is that the thing thought must be separated from the thing which is not thought. To think otherwise would be to think of nothing to have an impression with no distinguishing mark, would be to have no impression. Yet this separation implies change, and to God, immutable, change is impossible. Can you have intelligence without thought? If the Theist replies to this that he does not mean by infinite intelligence as an attribute of Deity an infinity of the intelligence found in a finite degree of humankind, then he is bound to explain, clearly and distinctly, what other "intelligence" he means, and until this be done the foregoing statements require answer.

The Atheist does not regard "substance" as either essentially intelligent or the reverse. Intelligence is the result of certain conditions of existence. Burnished steel is bright that is, brightness is the necessity of a certain condition of existence. Alter the condition, and the characteristic of the condition no longer exists. The only essential of substance is its existence.

Alter the wording of the Theist's objection. Matter is either essentially bright, or essentially non-bright. If matter were essentially bright, brightness should be the essence of all matter; but matter can not be essentially bright, because some matter is not bright, therefore matter is essentially non-bright; but there is brightness, therefore there must be a cause for this brightness independent of matter; that is, there must be an essentially bright being i. Another Theistic proposition is thus stated: "Every effect must have a cause; the first cause universal must be eternal: ergo , the first cause universal must be God.

Defined in the absolute, the word has no real value. What can be understood by "first cause?

“A Plea for Atheism” by Charles Bradlaugh

It is impossible to conceive existence terminated by a primal or initial cause. The "beginning," as it is phrased, of the universe, is not thought out by the Theist, but conceded without thought. To adopt the language of Montaigne, "Men make themselves believe that they believe. We can only cognize the ever-succeeding phenomena of existence as a line in continuous and eternal evolution. This line has to us no beginning; we trace it back into the misty regions of the past but a little way; and however far we may be able to journey, there is still the great beyond Then what is meant by "universal cause?

If his mode of defining the word be contested, then it has no meaning other than its relative signification, of a means to an end. There are two modes of argument presented by Theists, and by which, separately or combined, they seek to demonstrate the being of a God. These are familiarly known as the arguments a priori and a posteriori. The a posteriori argument has been popularized in England by Paley , who has ably endeavored to bide the weakness of his demonstration under an abundance of irrelevant illustration.

The reasoning of Paley is very deficient in the essential points where it most needed strength. It is utterly impossible to prove by it the eternity or infinity of Deity. As an argument founded on analogy, the design argument, at the best, could only entitle its propounder to infer the existence of a finite cause, or, rather, of a multitude of finite causes.

It ought not to be forgotten that the illustrations of the eye, the watch, and the man, even if admitted as instances of design, or, rather, of adaptation, are instances of eyes, watches, and men, designed or adapted out of pre-existing substance, by a being of the same kind of substance, and afford, therefore, no demonstration in favor of a designer, alleged to have actually created substance out of nothing, and also alleged to have created a substance entirely different from himself.

The a posteriori argument can never demonstrate infinity for Deity. Arguing from an effect finite in extent, the most it could afford would be a cause sufficient for that effect, such cause being possibly finite in extent and duration. And as the argument does not demonstrate God's infinity, neither can it, for the same reason, make out his omniscience, as it is clearly impossible to logically claim infinite wisdom for a God possibly only finite.

God's omnipotence remains unproved for the same reason, and because it is clearly absurd to argue that God exercises power where he may not be. Nor can the a posteriori argument show God's absolute freedom, for, as it does nothing more than seek to prove a finite God, it is quite consistent with the argument that God's existence is limited and controlled in a thousand ways.

A Few Words About the Devil: And Other Biographical Sketches and Essays (Classic Reprint)

Nor does this argument show that God always existed; at the best the proof is only that some cause, enough for the effect, existed before it, but there is no evidence that this cause differs from any other causes, which are often as transient as the effect itself. And as it does not demonstrate that God has always existed, neither does it demonstrate that he will always exist, or even that he now exists.

It is perfectly in accordance with the arguement, and with the analagy of cause and effect that the effect may remain after the cause has ceased to exist. Nor does the argument from design demonstrate one God. It is quite consistent with this argument that a separate cause existed for each effect, or mark of design, discovered, or that several causes contributed to some or one of such effects.

So that if the argument be true, it might result in a multitude of petty deities, limited in knowledge, extent, duration, and power; and, still worse, each one of this multitude of gods may have had a cause which would also be finite in extent and duration, and would require another, and so on, until the design argument loses the reasoner among an innumerable crowd of deities, none of whom can have the attributes claimed for God.

The design argument is defective as an argument from analogy, because it seeks to prove a Creator God who designed, but does not explain whether this God has been eternally designing, which would be absurd; or, if he at some time commenced to design, what then induced him so to commence. It is illogical, for it seeks to prove an immutable Deity by demonstrating a mutation on the part of Deity.

It is unnecessary to deal specially with each of the many writers who have used from different standpoints the a posteriori form of argument in order to prove the existence of Deity. The objections already stated apply to the whole class; and, although probably each illustration used by the theistic advocate is capable of an elucidation entirely at variance with his argument, the main features of objection are the same.

The argument a posteriori is a method of proof in which the premises are composed of some position of existing facts, and the conclusion asserts a position antecedent to those facts. The argument is from given effects to their causes. It is one form of this argument which asserts that man has a moral nature, and from this seeks to deduce the existence of a moral governor.

This form has the disadvantage that its premises are illusory. In alleging a moral nature for man, the Theist overlooks the fact that the moral nature of man differs somewhat in each individual, differs considerably in each nation, and differs entirely in some peoples. It is dependent on organization and education: these are influenced by climate, food, and mode of life. If the argument from man's nature could demonstrate anything, it would prove a murdering God for the murderer, a lascivious God for the licentious man, a dishonest God for the thief, and so through the various phases of human inclination.

The a priori arguments are methods of proof in which the matter of the premises exists in the order of conception antecedently to that of the conclusion. The argument is from cause to effect. Among the prominent Theistic advocates relying upon the a priori argument in England are Dr. Samuel Clarke, the Rev. Moses Lowman, and William Gillespie. As this last gentleman condemns his predecessors for having utterly failed to demonstrate God's existence, and as his own treatise on the Necessary Existence of God comes to us certified by the praise of Lord Brougham and the approval of Sir William Hamilton, it is to Mr.

William Gillespie that the reader shall be directed. The propositions are first stated entirely, so that Mr. Gillespie may not complain of misrepresentation:. Infinity of extension is necessarily indivisible. Infinity of extension is necessarily immovable. Infinity of duration is necessarily indivisible. Infinity of duration is necessarily immovable. The being of infinity of duration is necessarily of unity and simplicity.

The material universe is finite in duration. Every succession of substances is finite in duration. Part 3, Proposition 1. There is necessarily a being of infinity of expansion and infinity of duration. The being of infinity of expansion and infinity of duration is necessarily of unity and simplicity. Division 2, Part 1. The simple sole being of infinity of expansion and of duration is necessarily intelligent and all-knowing. Part 2. The simple sole being of infinity of expansion and of duration, who is all-knowing, is necessarily all-powerful.

Part 3.

A Few Words About the Devil And Other Biographical Sketches and Essays

The simple sole being of infinity of expansion and of duration, who is all-knowing and all-powerful, is necessarily entirely free. Division 3. The simple sole being of infinity of expansion and of duration, who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and entirely free, is necessarily completely happy. The simple sole being of infinity of expansion and of duration, who is all-knowing, all-powerful, entirely free, and completely happy, is necessarily perfectly good.

The first objection against the foregoing arguments is that it seeks to prove too much. It affirms one existence God infinite in extent and duration, and another entirely different and distinct existence the material universe finite in extent and duration. It therefore seeks to substantiate everything and something more. The first proposition is curiously worded, and the argument to demonstrate it is undoubtedly open to more than one objection.

The Devil has, at least upon one occasion, figured as a controversialist. He disputed with the archangel Michael, contending about the body of Moses John viii, 44 ; and in these degenerate days of personality in debate it is pleasant to know that the religious champion, unlike the Grants, Coopers, and Brindleys of the present period, was very civil toward his Satanic opponent.

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The Devil was once imprisoned for 1, years in a bottomless pit Rev. If a pit has no bottom, it seems but little confinement to shut the top; but with faith and prayer, even a good foundation may be obtained for a bottomless pit. There is this difficulty in the matter: the Devil is a liar, but in the interview with Eve the serpent seems to have confined himself to the strict truth Genesis iii, 4, 5, The Old Testament speaks a little of the Devils, sometimes of Satan, but never of "The Devil," and it seems almost too much, in Matthew, to usher him in, in the temptation scene, without introduction, and as if he were an old acquaintance.

I do not remember reading, in the Old Testament, anything about the lake of brimstone and fire; this feature of faith was reserved for the warmth of Christian love to inspire; the Pentateuch makes no reference to it. Zechariah, in a vision, saw "Joshua, the High-Priest, standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him" Zechariah iii, 1. Why the Devil wanted to resist Joshua is not clear; but as Joshua's garments were in a very filthy state, it may be that he was preaching to the Priest the virtues of cleanliness. It is often said that cleanliness is next to godliness; I honestly confess that I should prefer a clean sinner to a dirty saint.

Jesus said that one of the twelve disciples was a Devil John vi, 70 , but I am not prepared to say whether he meant the unfaithful and cowardly Peter, to whom he intrusted the keys of Heaven, or Judas who sold him for money, just as would nearly any bishop of the present day. The bishops preach that it is as difficult for a rich man to get into Heaven as for a camel to go through the eye of a needle; yet they enrich themselves, and their families, as greedily and carelessly as if they, at any rate, never expected to smell brimstone as a consequence.

You are told to resist the Devil, and he will flee from you James iv, 7 ; if this be true, he is a cowardly Devil, and thus does not agree quite with Milton's picture of his grand, defiant, almost heroism. But then Milton was a poet, and true religion has but little poetry in it. Jeroboam, one of the Jewish monarchs, ordained priests for the Devils 2 Chron: xi, 15 , and this may be the reason why, at the present day, all the orthodox clergy are gentlemen in black.

In the time of Jesus, Satan must, when not in the body of some mad, deaf, dumb, blind, or paralytic person, have been in Heaven; for Jesus, on one occasion, told his disciples that he saw Satan, as lightning, fall from Heaven Luke x, Of course, this would betoken a rapid descent, but although a light affair, it is no laughing matter, and we reverently leave it to the clergy to explain the text. Jesus told Simon Peter that Satan desired to have him, that he might sift him as wheat Luke xxii, 31 ; in this text it may be urged that Jesus was chaffing his disciple.

Paul, the apostle, seems to have looked on the Devil much as the magistrates of Guernsey, Devonport, and Yarmouth look on the police, for Paul delivered Hymeneus and Alexander unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme 1 Tim. Revivalists are much indebted for their evanescent successes to Hell and the Devil, if the following extract from the experience of a Christian preacher be reliable:. Spurgeon some of them delivered in Exeter Hall will serve to evidence that the above quotation is not the exaggeration which some might think.

In London, before crowded audiences, Mr. Weaver, without originality, and with only the merit of copied coarseness, has called upon the Lord to "shake the ungodly for five minutes over the mouth of Hell. Spurgeon has drawn pictures of Hell which, if true and revealed to him by God, are most disgustingly frightful, and which being, as we believe, false, and but the creation of his own vulgar, morbid fancies, induce, on our part, a feeling of contempt as well as disgust.

More Books by Charles Bradlaugh

The Wesleyans , some years since, made the Devil a prominent feature in the famous "Fly-Sheet" controversy, so much so that a Wesleyan, speaking and writing on the subject, suggested that the authors of the "Fly-Sheets" were Devils, and another once-Wesleyan writer says: "The first thing which made me inquire about the Devil was that I thought him abused.

I thought him bad enough, but could not help fearing that people told lies about him. Old George White burned his fingers in lighting his pipe, and declared that it was the Devil that caused him to do it; and Farmer Duffy horsewhipped his wife, and said that he did it to beat the Devil out of her. This make me desirous to know what influence the Devil really had, and I was stimulated to this inquiry by my friend, Mr. Trelevan, who assured mo that the Devil was as necessary as the Almighty to the orthodox faith" Pilgrim's Progress from Methodism to Christianity.

The fashionable preachers in the neighborhood of Belgravia mostly eschew the Devil, and avoid the taint of brimstone; treacle is the commodity they dispense. For myself, the only Devil I know is that black Devil ignorance, fostered by knavery and tyranny; a Devil personified by the credulous many, and kept up in the past by the learned but treacherous few, who preferred to rule the masses by their fears, rather than to guide them through their love.

This devil has, indeed, not been a roaring lion, but a cowardly and treacherous boa constrictor; it has enveloped in its massive folds glorious truths, and in the fierceness of its brute power has crushed them in its writhings. But oh! Bright facts drive out dark delusions; mighty truths triumph over pious frauds, and no longer need men be affrighted by the notion of an omnipotent fiend, wandering through the earth, ever seeking their damnation. No high, no manly, no humane thinkings are developed in the doctrine of Devils and damnation.

If a potent faith, it degrades alike the teacher and the taught, by its abhorrent mercilessness; and if a form, instead of a faith, then is the Devil doctrine a misleading sham, which frightens weak minds and never developes strong men. Landow o have written under this head in the reign of James Rex , of pious memory, would have, probably, procured for me, without even the perusal of my pamphlet, the reputation of Dr.

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We turn over the pages of our bible for further information on this diabolic theme. He warned that "almost every toy, television series, comic books or items targeted for the young generation is steeped in occult practices and psychic phenomenon. In the eye of the beholder: One group felt The Lion King represented voodooism and paganism; another group saw sex in the sands. When I first read their journal in the late s, it was carrying stories about their protests against Aladdin, Pocahontas and other Disney films.

They were upset about images hidden in Disney animated films including a tower on the video tape box of The Little Mermaid that resembles a phallus. Other phallic looking spires are on the Aladdin video package cover. Let's face the facts, towers are usually considered phallic. They reported that The Lion King is supposed to have the word "sex" written in the sands of the desert somewhere in the film. They say the word is a subliminal image, so it may not really be there, but they think it is.

They also noted that The Little Mermaid has a scene that depicts a priest becoming noticeably aroused while presiding over a wedding. While I've never seen these shocking images, a Website snopes. They have a large Disney section and have issued reports on which legends are true and which are false. If you are not convinced here is what Tom Sito, the animator who drew the scene, says: "I animated the bishop in The Little Mermaid scenes and they are his knees. He's standing on a box that his long robes cover. The essay on the aroused minister then attacks rumors about subliminal sex messages.

They mention that a court case in Arkansas was brought against the studio for including images unsuitable for young children, but it was eventually dropped. Elsewhere on the site they say that the spelling of the word "sex" in a cloud of dust is "ambiguous. This is a great site and it reports on dozens of myths about Disney not covered in this article. He didn't believe the story until he listened to the duck's dialogue in the short.

Wildmon claims Donald says, "Fuck you" to the clock when it comes to life and begins to taunt him. Wildmon calls this discovery "the latest in a growing list of anti-family incidents by the company that has long been a stalwart of family entertainment. Does anybody really care now except people out to get Disney? The anti-Disney literature has uncovered a few interesting facts about the animated films, but mixed in with these amusing little stories is the real reason for the boycott -- homophobia.

The Christian right is upset that Disney established a company policy extending insurance benefits to the live-in partners of homosexual employees, but not to unmarried partners of heterosexual employees. Disney also allows "homosexual celebrations" in the theme parks which means they allow gay groups to exercise their civil rights to organize and hold events just as they allow other social, religious and civic groups to hold organized events.

To ban homosexuals from the park is against the law. An acquaintance that works in the public relations department at Disney says, "People lay in wait for us. The AFA has built a strong organization and their followers apparently are quite active doing what is asked of them, writing letters of complaint to TV advertisers. They have threatened boycotts of sponsors that advertise on TV shows they find objectionable. The shows are reviewed in the AFA Journal and the names and addresses of sponsors are on the pages that feature the reviews.

The AFA has won some of their battles and lost others according to carefully researched articles. The articles also report the membership gives generously. In the s the AFA began an on-going Disney boycott. A recent article from them begins with, "Profits from family entertainment products and theme parks are subsidizing Disney's promotion of the homosexual agenda.

A boycott -- including even their good products -- is the only way to impact the company. While the AFA milks almost every naughty story they can find about the company, the Southern Baptists Convention in New Orleans expressed their displeasure of the Disney stance on gay rights by simply voting to boycott the company in In the Florida Southern Baptist Convention voted in favor of a similar boycott.

Toy Story was the object of a boycott hoax and false allegations of sexual and drug references. In February a student of mine said that there was an organized boycott of Toy Story by the AFA because Woody, the name of one of the film's stars, is a slang term for the penis, and Buzz, the name of the co-star, was a drug term. The story came from a local weekly newspaper. Although the student believed that there was a real boycott of Toy Story , a quick call to Pixar revealed the story was a hoax and that somebody had started it with a letter published on the Internet.

Pixar sent me a copy of the letter along with a memo from the American Family Association that denied they wrote the letter or that they had ever called for a boycott of the film. A few months later the AFA Journal praised the film as it "brought a broad audience of moral Americans back to local theaters. It called the first computer animated feature "obscene pornography disguised as 'family entertainment' Millions of people now believe Disney was an FBI spy, etc.

The fabrications in it will probably be passed on for many generations, just as many people have insisted for the last 35 years that Disney's body was frozen at the time of his death. If you believe it was frozen and will be brought back to life someday, you will be happy to know that Elvis was seen on February 30, in the Haunted House at Disneyland.

Eliot's end-notes on the sources of his information are detailed at times, but he doesn't reveal how he discovered some of his most important "facts. Diane Disney Miller, Walt's daughter, says, "There are more than glaring factual errors. I've also asked dozens of former Disney employees if any of Eliot's claims that Disney was sexist, racist, Fascist, anti-Semitic, heavy drinker, etc. Some think some of the rumors might be true, but nobody ever saw him expressing negative feelings toward any race, religion or creed. The worst things I found out is that he swore from time to time and was addicted to tobacco.

If he had a bias against a group of people he was smart enough not to express those opinions in public. I know a woman Eliot consulted when he began his research. She says she told him that there was a lot of dirt on Disney somewhere, but she didn't know what most of it was. She also could not confirm that any of it was true, but she was sure that if he searched hard enough he would find a wealth of information. I believe he didn't find much, but since he had invested a lot of time in the project and wanted to write a best seller exposing Disney's past, he invented it.

As for the woman, she was motivated to tell him what little she knew because she hated Disney. She had never met or worked for him. Her hatred was based on her late husband's feelings about the studio. He had been laid off after going on strike in Disney held a grudge against most or all of the strikers and she never forgave Walt for what he did. It didn't matter that she didn't begin going out with the man she married until ten or twelve years after the strike. Some of the questionable things she told him are presented in the book as true facts. The closest I came to confirming some of Eliot's material was when I interviewed a man who said he had worked on Snow White, Fantasia and other features as an animator.

His yarns were so amazing that I checked with the studio and found out their records showed he had only worked there for about 6 months in the camera department. His biography said he was only at Disney in For Eliot and others who insist Disney became an ultra-conservative after the strike and that he hated Jews -- explain why he hired and worked closely with writer Maurice Rapf from '46?

Disney knew Rapf was Jewish, had a left-wing background and possibly that he had traveled to Russia in the s. I've interviewed Rapf several times while writing Forbidden Animation and when I've asked him about Eliot's claims he could not confirm any of them.

For example a newspaper article in the file dated November 10, said that Disney was in Washington, D.