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Challenging the Bible: Selections from the Writings and Speeches of Robert G. Ingersoll Paperback – 20 May 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Immediex Publishing (20 May 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932968261
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932968262
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 110,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Barry Ryder on 16 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Robert G. Ingersoll was one of America's finest free-thinkers and his work on religion and much else was truly prolific.

Following on in the tradition of Thomas Paine, this wonderfully insightful critic of organised religion has left a vast canon of work. His essays and delivered speeches are voluminous.

This 'selection' compiled and edited by Dean Tipton should serve as a wonderful introduction to Ingersoll.

He was the Dawkins/Hitchens/Harris/Dennet/Stenger of his day.

This really is a great book to own - treat yourself (or someone that you really like)!

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 23 reviews
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Required Reading for Freethinkers 30 May 2013
By Barbara Frederick - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I was wealthy, I would buy a whole lot of copies of this book and give them out to every entering freshman at every Bible college in the country. It would be money well spent, I am convinced. Indeed, I'd have a special edition printed which included an appendix of all the best atheist, humanist and freethinking web sites currently available.

The compilation was made in 2005, but Ingersoll died in 1899, so none of this stuff is exactly new. But it is so clear and easy to read that it amazes me that it was not more prominently available, talked about and part of my education. After all, I was a philosophy major (class of 1974), and one of my courses was Philosophy of Religion. Another was Anthropology of Religion, and yet another was Psychology of Religion (interdisciplinary studies were very fashionable in the 1970s), and yet Ingersoll was barely a mention in any of these courses. Why?

The answer lies in the first paragraph of the book, taken from a work entitled "About the Holy Bible." Since Tipton has drawn on both books and speech transcriptions, I'm not sure just where this is. I quote at length because the first paragraph so perfectly sets the tone of the entire book:

"Somebody ought to tell the truth about the Bible. The preachers dare not, because they would be driven from their pulpits. Professors in colleges dare not, because they would lost their salaries. Politicians dare not. They would be defeated. Editors dare not. They would lose subscribers. Merchants dare not, because they might lose customers. Men of fashion dare not, fearing that they would lose caste. Even clerks dare not, because they might be discharged. And so I thought I would do it myself."

And he does, he surely does. Step by step, chapter by verse, he points out the lies, contradictions, absurdities and cruelties that fill the so-called Holy Bible. He's not malicious about it, but downright tender toward those who have been taught not to ask questions lest they disturb the entire house of cards. But I would love to see any modern preacher make a serious attempt to respond to his well-articulated challenges. I really, really would.
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Challenging the Bible 7 Feb. 2008
By Tinker - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you haven't read Robert G. Ingersoll and you are a freethinker then you need to get some of his books. He was a man way ahead of his time and so easy to read he was an excellent speaker and it shows in his essays.
26 of 30 people found the following review helpful
Quick read... some excellent points 22 May 2008
By book lover - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Honestly, I can't imagine how any religious person could read this book and walk away still being a believer. And keep in mind that Ingersoll was presenting his views in the late 1800s. My only criticism is that I wish it was a little longer and Tipton could have done a better job at catching some of the typos before the book went to press. Give it a read and see for yourself. I also recommend "What's God Got To Do With It?" by Ingersoll.
39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
The hobo philosopher 18 Aug. 2007
By Richard E. Noble - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Bible

"Challenging the Bible"

By Robert G. Ingersoll

By Richard E. Noble

"Challenging the Bible" is a book edited by Dean Tipton and consists of a series of selections from the writings and speeches of Robert G. Ingersoll.

Robert Ingersoll was a politician, lawyer and a wealthy, prominent public speaker in the post Civil War period in the United States. He served as attorney general in the state of Illinois. He was also a popular spokesman in presidential campaigns for the Republican Party. Because of his outward and bold opposition to religion and belief in God in general, he became know as the "Great Agnostic."

This book deals with some of his public opinions with regards to the Bible. "Moses was not the author of the Pentateuch" (first five books of the Old Testament) claims Mr. Ingersoll on page eleven and from that point on the onslaught rages forth.

"No one knows the author of "Judges"; no one knows the author of "Ruth"; no one knows the author of First and Second Kings or First and Second Chronicles; the Psalms were not written by David; and Solomon did not write Proverbs or the Song; Isaiah was not the author of the book bearing his name and no one knows the author of Job, Ecclesiastes, Esther or of any book in the Old Testament with the exception of Ezra; and Ecclesiastes was written by an unbeliever
"We know, too, that the Jews themselves had not decided as to what books were inspired - were authentic - until the second century before Christ."

Mr. Ingersoll goes on to criticize the Bible not only for its historical inaccuracies and mis-claims but for its scientific ineptness. Mr. Ingersoll believes that if the Bible were truly the inspired word and direction of the Creator of the Universe - certainly its Creator should know its proper workings.

"There are two accounts of the creation in the first and second chapters (and they are at odds with one another) ... Is it well to teach children that God tortured the innocent cattle of the Egyptians? ... Does it make us merciful to believe that God killed the firstborn of the Egyptians - the firstborn of the poor and the suffering people - of the poor girl working at the mill - because of the wickedness of the king? ... We know if we know anything that this book was written by savages - savages who believed in slavery, polygamy and wars of extermination."

It is clear that Mr. Ingersoll does not believe the Bible to be "inspired" or to represent the "truth" and the "way". He considers the Bible to be of pagan origin and extremely Godless - in fact on several different occasions he says; "Was Jehovah god or devil?" Mr. Ingersoll asks this question, not once, but continually through the book.

He says that there never was a captivity and we know this because there are no Hebrew words in the Egyptian language; nor Egyptian words in the Jewish language.

"Who wrote the New Testament?" asks Mr. Ingersoll.

"Christian scholars admit that they do not know ... The first mention that has been found of one of our gospels was made about one hundred and eight years after the birth of Christ ... The four gospels do not agree. Matthew, Mark and Luke knew nothing of the atonement, nothing of salvation by faith. They knew only the gospel of good deeds - of charity. They teach that if we forgive others God will forgive us ... With this the gospel of John does not agree. In that gospel we are taught that we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ; that we must be born again; that we must drink the blood and eat the flesh of Christ. In this gospel we find the doctrine of atonement and that Christ died for us and suffered in our place.

The fact is that the Ascension of Christ was not claimed by his disciples ... At first Christ was a man - nothing more. Mary was his mother, and Joseph his father. Then the claim was made that he was the son of god, and that his mother was a virgin and that she remained a virgin until her death.

"We do not believe in the miracles of Mohammed and yet they are as well attested as this (miracles of Jesus Christ). We have no confidence in the miracles performed by Joseph Smith and yet the evidence is far greater, far better."
Mr. Ingersoll does not think all that highly of the philosophy of Christ - Resist not evil. If smitten on one cheek turn the other.

"No man has the right to protect himself, his property, his wife and children," says Mr. Ingersoll. "Government becomes impossible and the world is at the mercy of criminals. Is there any absurdity beyond this?"
Love your enemies.

"Did Christ love his (enemies) when he denounced them as whited sepulchers, hypocrites and vipers? Not to resist evil is absurd; to love your enemies is impossible ... Only the insane could give or follow this advice."
On the inspiration of the Bible, Mr. Ingersoll has this among other things to say: "Not before about the third century was it claimed or believed that the books composing the New Testament were inspired ... It will be remembered that there were a great number of books of Gospels, Epistles and Acts, and that from these the "inspired" ones were selected by "uninspired" men ... The truth is that the Protestants did not agree as to what books are inspired until 1647, by the Assembly of Westminster."

It is obvious that Mr. Ingersoll knew his Bible. I must admit; I do not. As a child I was not encouraged to read the Bible. I was told that it was too confusing and its interpretation was the work of scholars. But hearing over and over that it was the greatest book ever written I decided to read it. I read it one time from cover to cover when I was still in my teens. It may be true that it is or was inspired by God but I did not find it inspirational myself - and I felt if it were the work of a God, it certainly was not my God.
I personally felt, and still feel today, that Les Miserable by Victor Hugo was considerably greater and a good deal more inspiring - at least for me.

I was drawn to my religious curiosity not by the Bible but by the notion of God and the idea of a Creator. I felt that if there was truly a Creator of this Universe there should exist at least some rational arguments establishing that notion to my satisfaction.

I began that endeavor as a teenager and I am still actively pursuing proof of that notion today. As of yet I have not been able to do so. And this has been sufficient occupation without any investigation into any Holy Books
I have decided to read more of the Bible today only because it is being touted in so many different venues and with such passion that I feel more knowledge on this subject is necessary for my basic understanding of what seems to be the cause of much of the consternation, killing and havoc mounting in the world around us today.

Richard Edward Noble - The Hobo Philosopher - Author of:

Mein Kampf - An Analysis of Book One
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
An OK Read - Good Place To Start If You're Beginning To Question Christianity 6 Feb. 2014
By Mark E. Stenroos - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This collection of excerpts from the writings and speeches of Robert Ingersoll is an easy and accessible read. It's a short book - 168 pages with a large point size on the font. You can easily read through this book in a single sitting.

If you're already a non-believer in religion, your reaction to this book is going to be along the lines of "well, duh!"

If you're questioning your faith this book may give a sense that 1. you're not alone in that respect, 2. it's alright that you're having such feelings, and 3. you probably won't think quite the same about the Bible after you've read this book.

The book could have been better edited - I found quite a few typos along the way.

Still, recommended.
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