Two Fantastic Quotes from Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll: On Willful Disbelief & A Designer In Need Of Design

#1 On Willful Disbelief: Can we control our thought? Can we tell what we are going to think tomorrow? Can we stop thinking? Is belief the result of that which to us is evidence, or is it a product of the will? Can the scales in which reason weighs evidence be turned by the will? Why then should evidence be weighed? If it all depends on the will, what is evidence? Is there any opportunity of being dishonest in the formation of an opinion? Must not the man who forms the opinion know what it is? He cannot knowingly cheat himself. He cannot be deceived with dice that he loads. He cannot play unfairly at solitaire without knowing that he has lost the game. He cannot knowingly weigh with false scales and believe in the correctness of the result.

The Bible quotes Jesus with having said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” The Christians say that it is the duty of every person to read, to understand, and to believe this revelation – that a man should use his reason; but if he honestly concludes that the Bible is not a revelation from God, and dies with that conclusion in his mind, he will be tormented forever. They say,” Read,” and then add: “Believe, or be damned.” Suppose then I read this Bible honestly, fairly, and when I get through I am compelled to say, “The book is not true.” If this is the honest result, if the book and my brain are both the work of the same Infinite God, whose fault is it that the book and the brain do not agree? Either God should have written a book to fit my brain, or should have made my brain to fit his book. The brain thinks without asking our consent; we believe, or disbelieve, without an effort of the will. Belief is a result. It is the effect of evidence upon the mind. The scales turn in spite of him who watches. There is no opportunity of being honest or dishonest in the formation of an opinion. The conclusion is entirely independent of desire. We must believe, or we must doubt, in spite of what we wish. --From Col. Ingersoll to Mr. Gladstone
#2 On A Designer In Need Of Design: The idea that a design must have a beginning and that a designer need not, is a simple expression of human ignorance. We find a watch, and we say: “So curious and wonderful a thing must have had a maker.” We find the watch-maker, and we say: “So curious and wonderful a thing as man must have had a maker.”

We find God, and we then say: “He is so wonderful that he must not have had a maker.” In other words, all things a little wonderful must have been created, but it is possible for something to be so wonderful that it always existed. One would suppose that just as the wonder increased the necessity for a creator increased, because it is the wonder of the thing that suggests the idea of creation. Is it possible that a designer exists from all eternity without design? Was there no design in having an infinite designer? For me, it is hard to see the plan or design in earthquakes and pestilences. It is somewhat difficult to discern the design or the benevolence in so making the world that billions of animals live only on the agonies of others. The justice of God is not visible to me in the history of this world. When I think of the suffering and death, of the poverty and crime, of the cruelty and malice, of the heartlessness of this “design” and “plan,” where beak and claw and tooth tear and rend the quivering flesh of weakness and despair, I cannot convince myself that it is the result of infinite wisdom, benevolence, and justice. --From Ingersoll vs Black, A former Chief Justice of US.