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A BOOK which claims infallibility; which aspires to absolute authority over mind and body; which demands unconditional surrender to all its pretensions upon penalty of eternal damnation, is an extraordinary book and should, therefore, be subjected to extraordinary tests.
Neither Christian priests nor Jewish rabbis approve of applying to the bible the same tests by which other books are tried.
Because it will help the bible?
It can not be that.
Because it might hurt the bible?
We can think of no other reason.
But why devote so much space and time to the discussion of a book in which the educated world no longer believes? Why not take up issues that are more alive and more useful? I am of the opinion that the people who leave the bible alone do so, not because they think the book has ceased to hurt, but because they are still afraid of it, or its clientèle. The generality of reformers would rather fight giants than the great paper idol of the churches—because it is safer.
Clergymen with liberal tendencies seek to dull the edge of all criticism against the bible by admitting in advance the conclusions of scholarship in reference to it, but still pretending to find a unique use for the book as "literature." Indeed! And since when has the bible, from being a divine revelation, fallen to the level of mere letters? If the bible is mere literature, would the mails accept it in its present form? Would it be tolerated in the homes of the people? And why should there be a paid army of men in the service of a book which is only literature? Why so many priests and rabbis to do its bidding, and why should so many costly and untaxed temples and cathedrals be built for a book which is no more than any other literature? Why should missionaries be maintained to push the sale of this one book if it is nothing but literature? Why is the world broken up into sects and creeds without number in the name of this literature? Peculiar literature, this!