EXPOSITORY ESSAY: John Kelly / “Robert Ingersoll, the ‘Great Agnostic’”

Robert G. Ingersoll, shown between 1865 and 1880.

What was Robert Ingersoll’s address? Answer Man is confident many readers are wondering, “Who the heck was Robert Ingersoll?

Well, he is the most famous American you never heard of.

Col. Ingersoll — he fought for the Union in the Civil War after raising a cavalry regiment from Illinois — was a lawyer who counted the wealthy and powerful among his clients. He was a committed Republican who stumped for GOP candidates. He was a silver-tongued orator whose lectures drew thousands — and earned him thousands of dollars a pop. He was also, by all accounts, a really nice guy.

And Ingersoll accomplished all of this without believing in God.

Ingersoll’s disbelief was the quality that most fascinated the 19th-century audiences that packed theaters to hear him speak. He was known as the Great Agnostic. Some called him blasphemer or infidel.

Continue reading . . .

h/t: The Atheism News Magazine

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