They speak of the story of the Immaculate Conception as a fable, and puncture it with the stiletto of their ridicule, sarcasm and satire.
THE DAY WE CELEBRATE. (The birth of pale inompetence)
Every Christmas our thoughts revert quite naturally to the birth and the career of “The Man of Sorrows,” Jesus of Nazareth, or the historic and sacred character of Jesus Christ.
Last night we scanned the interesting and fascinating pages of the different books in our library that have been written on the life and works, the arrest and the trial and the execution on the cross and the tragic death of the Lowly Nazarene.
We pulled down the Holy Bible first from its place in the book-case to our right, the one which our sainted mother gave us, when we left home, to take our place in the first line in the battle for existence and some degree of usefulness in life. We like Luke’s account of the wonderful first Christmas night, and therefore, without begging anybody’s pardon, make hold to reproduce it here.
It is as follows: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, everyone in his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, into the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them; and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.”
We like that story, for its intrinsic worth and because it represents the greatest piece of reporting in newspaper annals.
Its force, its clearness and its brevity are indeed marvelous.
[Read “The Virgin’s God-child” from The House of Gowrie and Thurland & Thurland: The Devil’s Book Agents. Ed.]
Think of the “wuxtras” that would be run nowadays, and the pages that would be filled with flamboyant and blazing narrative and descriptive matter, and the flaming headlines and the pictures that would be printed, to announce the birth of a God, on our earth, and the announcement of the occurrence by the golden tongue of an angel, standing on the threshold of heaven with the gates ajar, the music of the celestial choirs ceasing while the angel was speaking to men.
We sometimes wish that we had lived in that age of wonders, instead of now, and that we would have been one of those lucky shepherds sleeping in the open air and tending the sheep on those oriental hills.
Christ is significant, however, because of what He wrought and taught, and not because of the manner of His birth, immortalized in poetry and song, crowned with miracle and wreathed in myth, apotheosized with supernatural wonder and deified with celestial love.
The writers of the books by no means agree on the values of the words and deeds of Christ. Some of them were written by great thinkers and great men of the atheistic school. We have them before us. They even deny that such a being as Christ was ever born, or ever lived. They speak of the story of the Immaculate Conception as a fable, and puncture it with the stiletto of their ridicule, sarcasm and satire.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, the great German philosopher, though the son of an evangelical preacher, inveighs against Christ, and excoriates and scolds and bawls out and denounces Him as he would a personal enemy who had done him a terrible and grievous personal wrong.
Ragnar Redbeard, an American author, does the same thing.
Others of less vehemence, but proportionately greater influence, who attack and deny the authenticity of the Bible story of our Lord, are Voltaire, Hume, Gibbon, Ingersoll, Jefferson, Tom Paine, Schopenhauer, Huxley, Hegel, Darwin, Remsberg and Hauptman. Bernard Shaw, Frank Harris and George Moore are infidels all right, but they put on the soft pedal in writing and treating of Christ.
Why doubt, why quibble, why split hairs, why try to rob the people of their faith?
Christ is the central point of history.
All of the malicious shafts of venom which Nietzsche hurled at Him have not hurt Him a bit.
He was the friend of the poor, and the advocate of the downtrodden and the oppressed.
He planted the star of hope above every home in Christendom, no matter how humble, abandoned, disinherited, man-forsaken and god-forsaken it may be, and above every asylum, every hospital and every prison.
He was the honest friend of little children, saying “Let the children come to Me,” and taking them by their little hands.
He was the friend of the fallen and friendless women in distress, telling the hypocritical men in high station and the sneering suffragettes, “Let him who is innocent cast the first stone.”
He told the bloated bond-holders where to head in at, and drove the gamblers, note-shavers and money-chargers out of the sacred temple.
He healed the sick and helped the needy.
He asked no reward or recompense for Himself, but went hungry, and walked the rock-bound roads of Galilee with bleeding feet.
His words burned, and His eloquence was so charming that the spell of it lingers still, and still holds the world fascinated, hypnotized and thrilled.
His morals were purer than those of Socrates and Plato, his life, clean and
spotless as a star.
He breathed humanity, sympathy, pity, and radiated the sparks and the electrical heat of love.
He died a martyr on the cross, to His opinions, to His convictions, to his
courage, to His modesty, and His magnanimity.
The Belleville News-Democrat, December 24th, 1920.