FreeThought Fort Wayne

        Be Reasonable

Happy Thanksgiving

Posted by mikebftw on November 26, 2008

I’d like to share a note of inspiration from one of the most important authors of the humanist canon.


by Robert Green Ingersoll

When I became convinced that the universe is natural–that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood, the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom.

The walls of my prison crumbled and fell, the dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts and bars and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf or a slave. There was for me no master in all the world–not even infinite space.

I was free–free to think, to express my thoughts–free to live my own ideal–free to live for myself and those I loved–free to use all my faculties, all my senses, free to spread imagination’s wings–free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope–free to judge and determine for myself–free to reject all ignorant and cruel creeds, all the “inspired” books that savages have produced, and all the barbarous legends of the past–free from popes and priests, free from all the “called” and “set apart”–free from sanctified mistakes and “holy” lies–free from the winged monsters of the night–free from devils, ghosts and gods.

For the first time I was free. There were no prohibited places in all the realms of thought–no air, no space, where fancy could not spread her painted wings–no claims for my limbs–no lashes for my back–no fires for my flesh–no following another’s steps–no need to bow, or cringe, or crawl, or utter lying words. I was free. I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously, faced all worlds.

And then my heart was filled with gratitude, with thankfulness, and went out in love to all the heroes, the thinkers, who gave their lives for the liberty of hand and brain–for the freedom of labor and thought–to those who fell on the fierce fields of war, to those who died in dungeons bound with chains–to those who proudly mounted scaffold’s stairs–to those by fire consumed–to all the wise, the good, the brave of every land, whose thoughts and deeds have given freedom to the sons [and daughters] of men [and women]. And then I vowed to grasp the torch that they have held, and hold it high, that light may conquer darkness still.

Happy Thanksgiving to all, especially Ingersoll’s torch bearers.


7 Responses to “Happy Thanksgiving”

  1. Joel said

    Wow, that’s absolutely beautiful!

  2. NoBendedKnee said

    Very moving…Thanks for sharing it!

  3. andyscathouse said

    I love this! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    It hasn’t been the best year for me economically, (and others-see your 401K). However, it has been an amazing year to get to know each of you and for me to follow my passion. I am thankful for the freedom we have to assemble and meet. I look forward to many more years of our fellowship and education. I am impressed with everyone’s dedication and passion into how FFW is organizing and growing. I want to thank everyone who has helped with the Enlightenment Show at any point. It is all helpful and it shows.

    Moreover, I am thankful The religious right had a big loss and and the government will reboot. I know it will be far from perfect but at least the new administration will listen to scientists and experts instead of muting them due to blind ideology.

    I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving.


    -Andy D

    PS-I should be posting the latest Enlightenment Show early next week or maybe Friday. It is awesome. Don’t miss Andy W’s Steven Colbert impression, the Blogger Heads, and neural gets a shot from an infectious disease expert!

  4. agnohumanist said

    Great post, Mighty! Always enjoy some Ingersoll–incredible guy. By all accounts a riveting speaker, and obviously a courageous and intelligent man.
    Andy, it wasn’t a great year financially for me either, but like you I am so thankful for the freethought group and the opportunity to meet with and get to know so many highly intelligent, informed, and rational people. I am especially grateful for those of you who do the bulk of the work on this website, the message board, the enlightenment show, and the nascent constitution. Thanks for all you do, and thanks to all for your input, enthusiasm for the group and the cause, and your openness to everyone who shows interest in the organization. I’ve been a skeptic in varying degrees for over 30 years, and I just wish I had been able to meet with like-minded people long ago when it felt very lonely to be thinking rationally and skeptically. (Thank goodness for books by authors like Bertrand Russell–they helped immeasurably.) Happy Thanksgiving to all!

  5. Joel said

    “when it felt very lonely to be thinking rationally and skeptically. (Thank goodness for books by authors like Bertrand Russell–they helped immeasurably.)”

    What does it say about our society and the human condition, that rational thought is a lonely condition?

    I’m curious if you’ve read The Conquest of Happiness, one of my favorites by Russell, he really hit the nail on the head about the nature of happiness and how to achieve and maintain it IMHO.

  6. agnohumanist said

    No, I haven’t read that book by Russell. Thanks for the recommendation–I’ll put it on my reading list. It sounds great. I admire him so much. He really led an amazing life, achieving so much intellectually but also as an activist. I love his anecdote about being arrested one time. The jailer was asking him the standard admittance questions, and when he asked Russell’s religion, Russell replied, “Agnostic.” The jailer, puzzled, said with a sigh, “Well, there are lots of religions, but I guess we all worship the same god.” Russell said the interchange kept him in good spirits for quite some time!

  7. The Nerd said

    Lovely! 🙂

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