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had wished to reveal a set of truths to mankind, he in his infinite wisdom could and would have done so in such a manner as to put them past dispute or doubt. Else why pretend to reveal them? And that the reception of a dogma as divine truth should depend upon a majority of votes in a church council seems to lower it to the level of a parochial vestry motion. Certainly such dubious knowledge is unworthy of the name of revelation! The doctrine of hell became to me a detestable insult to the Fatherly goodness of God. We are commanded to love our enemies, and yet are asked to believe that He burns his !
And again what a monster God is represented in the doctrine of the atonement ! Thirsting for blood and even delighting in the cruel torment and violent death of his own and only Son. Paul the Apostle gives us a bloodthirsty idea of the Deity when he says, 'without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. What human fathe: worthy of the name, would be so brutal anà cruel ? And shall we insult the Deity by ascribing to him what we should utterly reprobate and punish in our own kind ?
A crucifix became to me a repugnant object, as suggesting what I could not believe of an all-merciful and loving Father. In the same manner the rite of the Eucharist, once stripped of the false glamour of pathos with which it had been surrounded, involved the idea, according to the Roman doctrine, of a meaningless cannibalism, a survival of the worship of our barbarous ancestors.
In this way, under the disintegrating work of reason, my faith in orthodox Christianity slowly expired, and I finally felt the necessity of severing my connexion with the priesthood and the Church of Rome, and of seeking some faith more in conformity to reason. The struggle was long and painful. It is not easy to surrender convictions that have been reached at great cost of suffering, but I felt that the end was inevitable, however long I might delay it in the vain hope of discovering some grounds for retaining my belief in the historic Church of Rome.
As long as I could honestly hold on I did so, but the time came when I felt that consistency and straightforwardness obliged me for the second time in my life to sacrifice friends and associations that only became the dearer to me when I realized I was about to lose them beyond recall.
And so I became an apostate priest,' an object of horror to all those who had hitherto most reverenced and respected
So be it.
WHY I BECAME A UNITARIAN
What then are the reasons that led me to join the Unitarian movement, I shall be asked ? I reply :
(1) Because, as I apprehend it, the Unitarian movement seeks to bring about the brotherhood of man, to which the dogmatisms of orthodoxy have in all history been an insuperable barrier.
(2) Because Unitarianism places reliance on the divine gift of reason, and does not, as orthodoxy so often does, despise this God-given gift.
(3) Because it seeks truth and fears it not, and is ready to admit and reject error, being bound by no creed or profession of faith.
(4) Because it is ready to recognize the good, the true, and the beautiful, without prejudice, wherever they are to be found, and to strive to bring about that unity which should prevail in all nature.
(5) Because it fosters that true liberty of mind and conscience, which suffers every man to abound in his own sense.
Jesus Christ is still to me the most exalted moral character in the world's history, and the more so now that I believe him to have been a fellow-man, tried by the same temptations and liable to the same weaknesses as myself. He needs no miraculous adjuncts to his life to make him great; his grandeur is that of a great teacher of men, not that of a wonderworker.
The Scriptures are still to me a repertory of many noble thoughts and lessons, even
though I have learned to discard the imperfections due to the ages in which they were written. I can appreciate them more highly now that I can make rational excuses for their defects.
God is infinitely exalted in my mind by being no longer associated with atrocious and blood-thirsty crimes and puerile ceremonial laws.
My fellow-men are the dearer to me now that I no longer regard those who differ from me as doomed to everlasting misery, and as enemies of God.
The world is more beautiful since it is not, as heretofore, filled with snares of evil spirits, and to be utterly renounced as the kingdom of the prince of darkness.
These are the chief reasons I have to give for the faith that is in me, and by it I am regaining once more that peace with which at one time I thought I had for ever parted.
You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,'