Faith or Fact
Dedication and Introduction
by: Henry M. Taber
An Agnostic Classic from 1897
A note on the text
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To the lovers of mental freedom, of every land, and especially those who have endured the sneers, the invectives, the ostracisms, the persecutions, of orthodox Christianity; this unpretentious volume is sympathetically and affectionately inscribed.
In introducing Faith or Fact to my readers I wish to say that it is composed of a series of articles which have appeared from time to time, within the past seven years, in the Freethought Magazine of Chicago, and that I have yielded to the flattering solicitations of many of my best friends in placing this collection before the public in its present form.
I ask for a candid, unprejudiced judgment on my book, and nothing will give me greater pleasure than to have pointed out to me any error of fact into which I may have, inadvertently, been drawn; my aim having been to search for and to record the truth.
It is significant that, in support of my positions, I furnish authorities mostly from Christian writers, the larger number of whom being clergymen.
It appears to me that Christianity has invited criticism, if not censure, by reason of its inculcation of belief by faith alone regardless of opposing and incontrovertible fact; by reason of its credulity, its superstitions, its intolerance; of its arrogant pretensions; its dogma of inspiration, of the fall of man, of eternal punishment, of the trinity, of the atonement, of a personal devil; its pretended knowledge of the “unknowable,” and of a future life; its anathema of doubt; its insistence upon unprovable miracles; its antagonism to the later discoveries of science; its conflict with civil liberty; its unjustice in the matter of exempting church property from taxation, and of its persistence in the teaching of religion in the public schools; its efforts in behalf of uniting the church with the state (even to the extent of christianizing the constitution of the United States) -- thus endangering the very life of the nation; its untruthful claim that there is authority (even on Christian grounds) for the religious observance of Sunday and its wrongful and tyrannical denial of innocent amusement on that day; its assumption of superior wisdom, higher civilization and purer morality; its unsupported claim to greater respect for the position of woman; its false claim that Christianity is an original (and not a borrowed) religion; its departure from the religion of Christ and its substituting therefor the religion of Paul, supplemented by that of the church fathers; its unwarrantable claim that there is reliable evidences of answer to prayer; its sometimes questionable methods in making converts to its doctrines. These, one and all, (and more than these) would seem to render Christianity amenable to careful enquiry and rigid scrutiny. When I speak of Christianity, I refer to the orthodox branch of that system of religion and not to the true followers of Christ, who reject the unbelievable dogmas of that (the larger) branch of the Christian church.
HENRY M. TABER.
Next: Preface by R. G. Ingersoll >
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