Tuesday, April 10, 2007

"Humanity's Gain from Unbelief"

"Atheism, properly understood, is no mere disbelief; is in no wise a cold, barren negative; it is, on the contrary, a hearty, fruitful affirmation of all truth, and involves the positive assertion of action of highest humanity.”
Charles Bradlaugh, "A Plea for Atheism," Humanity's Gain from Unbelief (1929)

Excerpt: The essay, "Humanity's Gain from Unbelief," which gives the title to the present selection, was prepared at the request of Allen Thorndike Rice for the 'North American Review' of March, 1889. Although written less than two years before his death and when disease had already begun to sap his fine physique, the paper shows no sign of failing vigor in style or argument. In the opening sentences, commenting on the continuous modification in the dogma and practice of religion, he used the phrase, "None sees a religion die," which has been quoted again and again down to quite recent times, While acknowledging the good done by individual Christians, he contended that the special services rendered to human progress by these exceptional men were not in consequence of their adhesion to Christianity, but in spite of it, and in direct opposition to Biblical enactments.


Krystalline Apostate said...

Oh, cool. I did a 'Profile' on Bradlaugh. Managed to fight his way into a parliamentary seat.
It's like hidden treasure: you find these isolated gems, where like minds have blossomed in the past.

CyberKitten said...

I think he was the first MP to affirm rather than swear on The Bible and was instrumental in allowing people to affirm in court... IIRC.