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Arrows of Freethought   By: (1850-1915)

Book cover

First Page:

ARROWS OF FREETHOUGHT.

By G. W. Foote

Editor of "The Freethinker."

LONDON:

H. A. KEMP, 28 STONECUTTER STREET, FARRINGDON STREET, E.C.

1882.

CONTENTS:

PREFACE RELIGION AND PROGRESS. A DEFENCE OF THOMAS PAINE. THE GOSPEL OF FREETHOUGHT. FREETHOUGHT IN CURRENT LITERATURE. DEAN STANLEY'S LATEST. GOD AND THE QUEEN. CARDINAL NEWMAN ON INFIDELITY. SUNDAY TYRANNY. WHO ARE THE BLASPHEMERS? THE BIRTH OF CHRIST. THE REIGN OF CHRIST. THE PRIMATE ON MODERN INFIDELITY. BAITING A BISHOP. PROFESSOR FLINT ON ATHEISM. A HIDDEN GOD. GENERAL JOSHUA. GOING TO HELL. CHRISTMAS EVE IN HEAVEN. PROFESSOR BLACKIE ON ATHEISM. SALVATIONISM. A PIOUS SHOWMAN.

PREFACE

I republish in this little volume a few of my numerous articles that have appeared in the Secularist , the Liberal , the National Reformer , and the Freethinker , during the last five or six years. I have included nothing (I hope) of merely ephemeral interest. Every article in this collection was at least written carefully, and with an eye to more than the exigencies of the moment. In disentombing them from the cemeteries of periodical literature, where so many of their companions lie buried, I trust I have not allowed parental love to outrun discretion.

I have not thought it necessary to indicate, in each case, the journal in which the reprinted articles were first published.

Should anyone object to the freedom of my style, or the asperity of my criticism, I would ask him to remember that Christianity still persecutes to the full extent of its power, and that a Creed which answers argument with prosecution cannot expect tender treatment in return; and I would also ask him, in the words of Ruskin, "to consider how much less harm is done in the world by ungraceful boldness than by untimely fear."

London, November 15th, 1882.

RELIGION AND PROGRESS.

(November, 1882.)

The Archbishop of York is peculiarly qualified to speak on religion and progress. His form of thanksgiving to the God of Battles for our "victory" in Egypt marks him as a man of extraordinary intellect and character, such as common people may admire without hoping to emulate; while his position, in Archbishop Tait's necessitated absence from the scene, makes him the active head of the English Church. Let us listen to the great man.

Archbishop Thomson recently addressed "a working men's meeting" in the Drill Hall, Sheffield. It was densely crowded by six or seven thousand people, and this fact was cited by the Archbishop as a proof that the working classes of England have not yet lost interest in the Christian faith. But we should very much like to know how it was ascertained that all, or even the major portion, of the vast audience were working men. It is easy enough to give any meeting a name. We often hear of a Conservative Working men's banquet, with tickets at something like a guinea each, a duke at the top of the table and a row' of lords down each side. And our experience leads us to believe that nearly all religious meetings of "working men" are attended chiefly by the lower middle classes who go regularly to church or chapel every Sunday of their lives.

Even, however, if the whole six or seven thousand were working men, the fact would prove little; for Sheffield contains a population of three hundred thousand, and it was not difficult for the clergy who thronged the platform to get up a big "ticket" meeting, at which a popular Archbishop was the principal speaker, and the eloquence was all to be had for nothing.

The Archbishop's lecture, or sermon, or whatever it was, contained nothing new, nor was any old idea presented in a new light. It was simply a summary of the vulgar declamations against the "carnal mind" with which we are all so familiar. Progress, said his Grace, was of two kinds, intellectual and moral... Continue reading book >>




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