The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 1
What I could Believe when a Christian
What I could Believe when a Christian.
It might be taken as an act of charity on my part (I have no doubt), if I point out some of the peculiar advantages which the religion taught me possesses over other forms of religion:—
For instance, I could believe the animal kingdom was made from the waters as stated in the first chapter of Genesis, or believe it was made from the ground, as stated in the second chapter of Genesis.
I could believe the animal kingdom was made before the man, as stated in the first chapter, or believe the man was made before the animal kingdom, as stated in the second chapter.
I could believe the man and woman were made at the same time, as stated in the first chapter, or believe they were made at different times, as stated in the second chapter.
I could believe the man was given charge of the whole earth, as stated in the first chapter, or believe he was only given charge of a garden, as stated in the second chapter.
I could believe all fruit was given to man, as stated in the first chapter, or believe it was not all given to him, as stated in the second chapter.
I could believe King David paid Oman fifty shekels of silver for his threshing floor and oxen, as stated in the second page 10 book of Samuel xxiv., 24, or believe he paid six hundred shekels of gold, as stated in the first book of Chronicles xxi., 25.
I could believe Noah took clean beasts into the ark by sevens, as stated in Genesis vii., 2, or believe he took only two, as stated in Genesis vii., 8, 9.
I could believe that God had never been seen, as stated in John i., 10, or believe that more than seventy persons had seen him, as stated in Exodus xxiv., 9, 10.
I could believe Solomon had forty thousand stalls for horses, as stated in the first book of Kings iv., 26, or believe he had only four thousand, as stated in the second book of Chronicles xviii., 3, 4.
I could believe Judas repented and took back the pieces of silver, and that the priests bought the potter's field with the money, as stated in the book of Matthew xxvii., 5, 6, 7, or believe that Judas did nothing of the kind but bought a field for himself, as stated in Acts i., 18.
I could believe Abaziah began to reign when twenty-two years old, as stated in the second book of Kings viii., 26, or believe he did not begin to reign 'till he was forty-two years old, as stated in the second book of Chronicles xxii, 2.
I could believe the son would be punished for the acts of his father, as stated in Exodus xx., 5, or believe he would not, as stated in Ezekiel xviii., 20.
All Christians can here take their choice which of the above statements they believe; surely they are not expected to believe all of them.
I need scarcely say these advantages were unknown to me during the whole time I was a Christian. Why the clergy do not make these advantages known to their lambs is best known to themselves. For I will venture to say that no other system of religion possesses such advantages; and although I must have heard in the days that I was a Christian not less than from fifteen hundred to two thousand sermons preached, yet I have not the least recollection of ever hearing either a clergyman or a bishop point out any of these advantages which I have mentioned; namely, that if a Christian does not choose to believe what is stated in one part of the Bible, he can believe what is stated in page 11 some other part. As it is only when he tries to believe both statements that he finds himself in trouble.
We are told in the first book of Chronicles xxi., 1, that the devil provoked King David to number Israel; while in the second book of Samuel xxiv., 1, we are told it was the Lord.
But what is the use of pointing out these absurd contradictions when the clergy have told us so often that they are not contradictions?
They are only "seemingly contradictions," or "apparent discrepancies," say the clergy. Now, if it is as these rev. gentlemen say, why then the difference between the Devil and the Lord is only apparent.
In Genesis iii., 20, we are told, "and Adam called his wife's name Eve, because she was the mother of all living." What! the mother of all living; that is strange, since we are told in Genesis ii., 22, that Eve was the last that was made. In fact it was only when the Lord discovered that it was not good for Adam to be alone that she was thought of, and was then only turned out as a second-hand article. Now if Eve was the mother of all living as Adam said she was, of course she was the mother of all living, or Adam would not have said she was, why then it follows as a matter of course that she was Adam's mother. There is nothing plainer in all the Bible; if Eve was the mother of all living, she must have been the mother of Adam, and consequently Adam had his mother for his wife. But the strangest part of this affair is that Adam's mother was younger than himself, since she was not made till it was found out that a bachelor's life did not suit Adam's constitution.