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Infidels, Freethinkers, Humanists, and Unbelievers
Lewis, Joseph (1889-1968)
"[Atheism] believes that truth for truth's sake is the highest ideal and that virtue is its own reward."

-- Joseph Lewis


Joseph Lewis was an American freethinker, and atheist who was born in Montgomery, Alabama. At the age of nine he left school to find an employment and became mostly self-educated. Lewis developed his ideas from reading, among other, Robert G. Ingersoll and
Thomas Paine.

In 1920, Lewis moved to New York where he became the president of Freethinkers of America (a title he would keep for the rest of his life). He later started his own publishing company, the Freethought Press Association, where he published litterature about freethought written by himself and others. In the 1930s, Lewis expanded his business with a subsidiary, Eugenics Publishing Company, that published litterature for common people written by medical experts about subjecs such as contraception.

A bulletin, Freethinkers of America, was started by Lewis in 1937. In the 1940s it was renamed to Freethinker and in the 1950s to its final name Age of Reason (named after Thomas Paine's book The Age of Reason). Contributors to the bulletin were, among others, William J. Fielding, Corliss Lamont and Franklin Steiner.

Quotations

"A precept claiming infallibility should certainly possess the universality of the law of gravitation and the perfection of the arithmetical table. If it fails to possess these undeviating qualities, its imperfection is self-evident and its value either greatly diminished or useless."

"Is it not better to place a question mark upon a problem while seeking an answer than to put the label "God" there and consider the matter closed?"

"If Atheism writes upon the blackboard of the Universe a question mark, it writes it for the purpose of stating that there is a question yet to be answered. Is it not better to place a question mark upon a problem while seeking an answer than to put the label "God" there and consider the matter solved? Does not the word "God" only confuse and make more difficult the solution by assuming a conclusion that is utterly groundless and palpably absurd?"

"Facts and not merely opinions are what we want. Emotionalism is not a substitute for the truth."

"Man's inhumanity to man will continue as long as man loves God more than he loves his fellow man."

"I do not believe that if there is a God of this vast universe that such a God would create a hell to torment to all eternity helpless and innocent human beings. I defend the God of the religionists against the libels of his own believers."

"As superstition is the weed of the brain, it grows perfusely, once started."

"Praying as a public function, particularly when led by a clergyman, is a vulgar display of an exclusively personal matter."

"Of the ten crimes which Biblical Hebrew law punished by stoning, nine have ceased to be offenses in modern society."

"Imagine using as an authority in the matter of marriage the opinion of a celibate priest!"

"When the tyranny of the state is combined with the hypocrisy of the church, you have a modern example of the twin vultures that have devoured man, and his rights, throughout the ages."

"On too many occasions, especially in matters concerning purported conversations and messages from gods, mystery has been employed by charlatans to hoodwink the people."

"Changing a rod into a serpent and the serpent back into a rod may be clever magic, but how does such a demonstration prove that Moses spoke to God? If the only thing necessary to prove the truth of an extraordinary claim were to demonstrate an ability to bewilder, there would be no more mysteries to solve. If a person claims that he can bring the dead back to life, and in proof of that power pulls a rabbit out of a hat, that is hardly a demonstration of the truth of his claim; it is merely an example of his ability in the art of deception. If he claims that he can fly without wings and without the use of mechanical help of any kind, and in proof of his ability pulls another rabbit out of another hat, that is not proof of his ability to fly, but of his ability to lie, and he will without much hesitation be condemned as a faker. The demonstration of one thing has absolutely no bearing in proving the truth of the other, when there is no relationship between them."

"Religion is all profit. They have no merchandise to buy, no commissions to pay, and no refunds to make for unsatisfactory service and results....heir commodity is fear. They blackmail their parishioners with threats of hell and damnation. These poor deluded people give them their hard earned money to save them from a hell that does not exist, and from eternal torment that was invented by the perverted minds of priests to rob the living and in addition, they are exempt from taxation! Insult to injury!"

"Let me tell you that religion is the cruelest fraud ever perpetrated upon the human race. It is the last of the great scheme of thievery that man must legally prohibit so as to protect himself from the charlatans who prey upon the ignorance and fears of the people. The penalty for this type of extortion should be as severe as it is of other forms of dishonesty."

"The news of Mr. Edison's death fell upon me like a pall. I felt as if a great void had been left in the world. What a pity that he could not have stayed the hand of death so that he could continue to unravel the secrets of Nature. What sort of "design" can there be in life when this grandest of all men is cut down unceremoniously by the Grim Reaper's scythe while idiots and imbeciles live on? This great genius is irreparably lost to the world."

"With this recognition of the finality of death, no one should willingly withhold acts that would bring benefits, joy or happiness to others."

 
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