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Some mistakes of Moses Paperback – August 31, 2010
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About the Author
Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899) was perhaps the most famous American of his day. As an enlightened freethinker and pioneer of humane, rational, and agnostic views, Ingersoll was a tireless advocate of rational thought, who battled superstition and hypocrisy wherever he found it. This dedicated popularizer would regularly address huge audiences, opening their minds to ideas that often provoked guarded whispers in private. Ingersoll was a man far ahead of his time, advocating such progressive causes as agnosticism, birth control, voting rights for women, the advancement of science, civil rights, and freedom of speech. His advocacy of such iconoclastic ideals made a lasting impression on his own and later generations. Although Robert Ingersoll lived before the development of the Secular Humanist Movement, there is no doubt that he qualifies as one of the great heroes of the Humanist Pantheon. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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I think what one comes away with when reading Ingersoll is not only a realization of how absurd some of the biblical accounts are, but how offended this man was by the sheer brutality that is often laid at the feet of the god of the universe, if one indeed exists. His view of this was that if such a god did things like in Numbers 31, ordering the killing of every living thing and person except of course the young women that were virgins (however that was determined!), and the assignment of such virgins as "booty" for the troops, with a percentage given to the priests for their enjoyment, such a god was not worth our worship. But of course, a god did not order such things, but those who benefited from the atrocity. He wrote that if there were a god, let that god record in his book that Ingersoll denied this lie for him.
The love for family and sensitivity toward fellow humans was obvious in Robert Ingersoll, and is illustrative of the morality that humans can have, regardless of the absence of religion.
For all that, it's also interesting just because a great deal of what he has to say about the intolerance of Christianity is the same kind of tirade most often aimed at Muslims these days. To be sure, that was just as true in the 1870s as in 2013, but there it is. There is also some great irony in things that have changed (e.g., generally less religion in education) and things that have not (possibly more in politics).
But the real reason for my two-star thumping of this book has to do with the Kindle edition I bought on Amazon (under the title "Some Mistakes Of Moses") for the following reasons:
1) Amazon offers the same Kindle book for free under the title "Mistakes of Moses"
2) The $10.49 "Some Mistakes of Moses" Kindle version is a very poor scan - as far as I can tell so far, worse than the free Kindle version. In the first 30 pages, there were at least 6 OCR misinterpretations (the equivalent of a typo) - so I'm guessing there would be just as many in the balance.
3) As is all too often the case with Kindle books, there is ZERO respect for the historicity of the material (the Kindle "copyright page" is from a 1986 reprint, with no mention that at that time, the book was already 107 years old)
4) The book is a classic, so it's also available in online archives in PDF format for no charge, e.g. ia600500.us.archive.org/11/items/somemistakesmose00ingeuoft/somemistakesmose00ingeuoft.pdf
And needless to say, if you're interested in capturing quotes (and this book has more than its fair share of great quotes), the PDF version is a lot easier to work with than any other e-book format.
Oratory was a popular form of entertainment in the days before movies, television and radio, and Ingersoll almost certainly spoke to more people in person than anyone else in history. This was perhaps his most famous lecture, running over 2 hours in length. While one can only imagine how much more powerful it was to hear it spoken by this master of oratory, it is, nonetheless, a very good read, and extremely challenging to anyone who puts much stock in the Bible.