Abe Lincoln, Joseph Lewis,
And Superintendent Chalmers

Pete

From: "Pete"
To: "Positive Atheism Magazine"
Sent: August 20, 2001
Subject: Big List Of Quotations

Your first Homer Simpson quote "God has no place within these walls, just as facts have no place within organized religion." was actually said by the character Superintendent Chalmers. I'm sorry to say, I've seen too many animated showcs and know this one.

Also, have you ever come across an Abe Lincoln quote "The Bible is not my Book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give consent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma"? Didn't see it on your site, not sure of it's validity or source.

Nice job.

Pete

  

From: "Positive Atheism"
To: "Pete"
Subject: Re: Big List Of Quotations
Date: August 20, 2001

I will attribute the Simpson quote properly but will leave it on the Homer Simpson page.

Also, Lincoln is quoted as having said, "The Bible is not my book nor Christianity my profession" in Joseph Lewis's speech, "Lincoln the Freethinker." Since it is not in the Lincoln Section of the Big List of Quotations, I will correct that error post haste.

I have not heard of the other part you cite, the second half. Also, at least one modern advocate of Lincoln's piety has cast doubt on Lewis's use of Judge Wakefield's allegation that Lincoln had written to him: "My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing years and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them." However, I have studied Lewis's works and, of those mistakes I can verify as being mistakes, have found only incidental ones here and there, of the kind one would make by reading, for example, a history book by Lea without double-checking the information contained in Lea's book (Lea was a top-notch historian: it's hard to go wrong with him, but it happens).

Meanwhile, our modern (whose name my brain has been gracious enough to forget) used the regular old collection of arguments in favor of Lincoln's piety, all of which have long been shown to be groundless against the overwhelming evidence in favor of his having been, variously, a Deist, a Freethinker, a stern critic of the Bible, and, according to William Herndon, the man closest to him, "an Agnostic generally, sometimes an Atheist."

Doh!

I don't think the doubts of this particular advocate of Lincoln's piety are sufficient to justify me casting doubts on Lewis's character or scholarship. I'm not going to remove the quotation on the basis of his statement, and have decided not to even note that some have cast doubt on it. I will if I get more information that suggests that I ought, but I won't do it based on this man's report. Besides, even without the Judge Wakefield quotation, even if someone could show it to be a 1920s fabrication, Lincoln's lack of piety is still very easy to demonstrate.

Cliff Walker
Positive Atheism Magazine
Six years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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