Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Secular Version Of The Golden Rule

My favorite infidel has always been - hands down! - the great orator Robert G. Ingersoll. When I got old enough to lift the ban that had always been on me as a child against reading infidel literature, the first of those kinds of books I read were Paine's The Age of Reason and The Lectures of Robert Ingersoll. Both of these books had a great impact on my thinking and still do to this day.
But always, I found, the words of Ingersoll stirred my heart. He was a critic of revealed religion, to be sure. Yet his speeches and writings also contain such a lofty humanism that, for me, a study of them is something of a spiritual experience.  
I have always been a big believer in following the Golden Rule of treating people the same way I would like to be treated. Robert Ingersoll appealed to that ethic when he said:
Give to every human being every right that you claim for yourself.
Now that about covers everything, in my opinion. You demand the freedom to think and act according to your own best judgment and conscience. Extend that same right to your fellow sojourners.

And if that were consistently done, the world would be a much nicer placer. Yet we talk and talk and talk while all the inhumanity continues. Such is our sad world.


  1. So true Doug. I love Ingersoll also. What he spoke 100 years ago still apply today.

    1. I still read and love to read Ingersoll. Good man.

  2. You are, as they say, well read. I am so, so far behind you. I remember when I discovered that Tom Paine was not one of the Christian Forefather that I had been taught that he was. And, everthing I was ever taught was that Robert Ingersoll was the devil incarnate; anathema!

    I MUST read fully these two some day soon.

    1. It will be time well spent if you do, especially Ingersoll. There is so much food for thought in his words. And you will find that he is far from the devil incarnate.