This is a debate from quite a long time ago between Aimee Semple McPherson who was a leading evangelist and Charles Lee Smith who was an atheist. The place of the debate is unknown but was published without a copyright notice or date.
I have tried to keep all of the original spelling errors and grammar so to keep it in its original form (just hope I haven’t added any errors).
May God bless You!
THERE IS A GOD!
Aimee Simple McPherson
Charles Lee Smith
Aimee Semple McPherson
President – Founder
Church of the Foursquare Gospel
There Is A God
Story Of Creation
The Fall Of Man
The Deity Of Christ
Atonement Thru Christ
Resurrection Of Christ
Life After Death
God, The Hope Of The World
Motto: “The World For God!”
Mr. Charles Lee Smith
American Association For The Advancement Of Atheism
There Is No God
Evolution Is Right
Bible Is Man-Concocted
There Is No Sin
Ape Ancestry Of Man
Jesus, A Political Martyr
After Death Oblivion
Religion, The Opium Of The People
Motto: “Religion Debunked!”
The serpent did not enter the Garden of Eden as a serpent. He came disguised as a beautiful, glamorous, scintillating creature.
Satan does not present himself as a vile, evil being that he is. He comes robed as an angel of light.
A wolf dare not walk boldly up to the door of the sheepfold with red tongue lolling, and in his eyes the light of the killer. He wraps himself in sheep’s clothing, sneaks into the fold, and attacks from within.
Atheism does not present its hideous countenance at the doors of our schools and boldly prey upon the youth of our land. Like a thieving wolf, it has slunk about in the shadows until it has found a suitable garb in which to enter. Today, it is being presented in our schools and colleges clothed as an enlightening “science” known as Evolution, we find beneath it the wolf of Atheism.
Today, emboldened by having obtained its entrance as a required teaching in our schools, it is baring its ugly fangs and launching itself upon the faith of our youth.
We have no quarrel with true science. The Word of the God who created this world is not at variance with the facts of that creation. But the Word of God and the truths of proven science both cry out against the false concoction of theory know as Evolution. The fact that evolutionary teachings are being forced upon our students is a direct attack upon Christianity, a reproach upon science and a definite breaking down of our American principles.
This glorious land of ours was founded for the purpose of religious freedom. To that end, church and state have been definitely separated. For that purpose, the various denominational teachings have been barred from our public schools.
Today, if either Catholic or Protestant should try to force into our public schools their various religious tenets, the great mass of American citizens would rise up in indignation to protest.
Yet we sit idly by while demagogues force into the curriculum a pseudo science that is an insult to, and an outrage upon, the religious beliefs of a majority of our citizens.
Evolution is not a science. It is an unfounded theory. It endeavors to explain the existence of the world, the universe and all life therein in a most unscientific manner. In order to make such an explanation, Evolution would have to prove the origin of life, the origin of matter and the origin of species. It can do none of these three. Its pitiful failure to explain, without God, the origin of life and matter–a failure which is frankly admitted by its most outstanding leaders–is proof sufficient that it has no foundation upon which to stand. It has risen like a Tower of Babel; but the very language of its builders has been confounded. They cannot agree among themselves. The foundation stones of theory have crumbled. The entire tower is disintegrating and will fall, carrying with it those who have rested their faith upon it–carrying them down to black ruin and despair.
But, laying aside the question of whether or not the teaching of Evolution be true or untrue, the fact still remains that it is at variance with, and is directly antagonistic to the religious beliefs of a majority of the students in our public schools. That fact alone is sufficient to condemn it as a required teaching in our tax supported institutions.
There are those who argue that Evolution is not a religion and has nothing to do with religion. In the next breath they will tell you that Evolution is not confined to the realm of nature; but that it permeates every avenue of thought and imagination. They will tell you that God did not create the heavens and the earth and all life therein; but that the earth evolved quite by chance from a fire mist, and that life sprang up from inanimate matter in which there was no life; I leave it to you to decide whether or not that kind of teaching has any influence upon the religious beliefs of children and young people who are forced to study it under the tutorship of educators whose opinions they are bound to respect.
Religious organizations have builded and supported their own schools when their leaders and members have desired to teach their children their own particular religious tenets.
If Evolutionists wish to teach their particular conception of God, then let them build schools or hire buildings instead of using the public schools and the taxpayers’ money for their propaganda.
RESOLVED: “There is no God; and all creation came by chance and not by design.”
AFFIRMATIVE: Charles Lee Smith,
Opening Speech, 35 Minutes
Mr. Chairman, Fair Adversary, Ladies and Gentlemen.
What difference does it make whether there is a God or not, or whether Evolution is true?
A quarter of a million men and a few women are making a good living in this country upon the supposition that there is a God and that Evolution is false, and there are five billion dollars of the tax exempt property on this same basis. Although there are tens of millions of persons in this country who regulate their life upon this basis, every seventh day they change their way of acting and living on the supposition that there is a God.
There is no more important question for the public to decide today than whether or not there is a God or whether there is Evolution. If Evolution is true, that story over at the beginning of the Bible is not true; and if that story is not true, if there is no Garden of Eden, no fall of man, no original sin, then there is no need of Jesus. The descendants of apes do not need a Saviour. That is why we are discussing this question. It is a vital question and concerns every person, every taxpayer.
Now concerning my opponent let me say this. I have met the leading Fundamentalists of the nation,–William Bell Riley, of Minneapolis, President of the World’s Christian Fundamental Association, G. C. Morgan, noted southern evangelist, Rev. Tingley, and others of similar character,–and I am frank to admit to you that Aimee Semple McPherson is the greatest defender today of the Bible and Christianity.
Sister Aimee is the ablest living champion of the dying faith. She has an extraordinary mind, particularly for a woman; but it has been so wrecked by revivalism, so warped by emotional attachments to meaningless symbols, that she does not know when she is talking nonsense. Her brain, I fear, is permanently crippled. Had I not escaped from the Methodist Church in time, I myself would be like that. When I began this series of debates I thought I might convert her to atheism, but I have given her up as hopeless.
Friends, no quarter has been asked in this debate and I shall not give any quarter. There is no sex in argument.
When I came west for this series of discussions it was for me a memorable event. It was my first time to travel by aeroplane. I came across the Continent, it was my first trip to the northwest, and I was to meet so famed an antagonist. But it is not of that I wish to speak. It is rather an experience which I underwent on that trip.
As we arrived in Portland we were forced back and were compelled to land and wait for the fog to let us into Portland. Finally we reached that city and we had about eight hours to spare in which to get to Seattle for the debate. Twice that afternoon we endeavored to make that trip and twice we were forced back and finally we made another attempt. All those who were to have flown with me had lost their courage. We went through, with me as the sole passenger, and I landed in Seattle, safe and sound, thanks be to–MAN ! It was man who pulled me through. There was no God guiding that aeroplane, no prayers held it aloft. I had rather have the reading of those instruments and those teletype weather reports and the reactions of the trained brains of those pilots, than to have the prayers of all the credulous billions who have bended the knee in supplication to the Supreme Being.
I give you this as an illustration of what is happening all along the line in every department of life. We are becoming atheistic. The time was not long since when the weather was supposedly under the direct control of the Almighty. And even at this day in the more backward sections of the world there are those who endeavor to regulate the weather by praying to God to turn on the rain or turn it off or what not. But we are getting away from that sort of thing and I believe today even Sister Aimee would not undertake to tame a California earthquake by a little prayer. I could go ahead and talk to you all evening about the different phases of life which have undergone the same transformation. Agriculture used to be supposedly under the control of God. Take the question of disease. They used to belive that disease was caused by demons. Now we build hospitals and we treat the sick by material means only. It is a good illustration of what is happening.
Now friends, this contest between Sister Aimee and me might be justly compared to a race between a politician and a statesman. the politician–you must have them here in California!–is full of promises. Oh, if you will elect him, you will have prosperity, you will have a chicken in every pot. He tells you what great citizens you are and how noble your forefathers were. Then the statesman comes along. He knows that at best not much can be done and he knows that people after all are a sorry sort of rabble. So he tells you the truth. What chance has he? You know he has none. No honest man can be elected to high office today unless he has a crooked politician managing his campaign. You know I am telling you the truth.
So it is with Sister Aimee and me. She is full of promises, she tells you that if you do as she tells you, you will have an Eternity of bliss in the sweet by-and-by in the Land of unclouded day. And she tells you also that you are the children of God, descended from a perfect Being. And then I come along and I tell you that when you are dead, you are dead for keeps; and, as you shall hear later on this evening, I have a very low opinion of your remote ancestors. So what chance have I? The cards of human nature are stacked against me and I have no chance, particularly in the lower levels of mentality. But here and there in the world at large–and there are some of them here tonight–there are those who have a brain that wants to know the truth at all costs, who want to face the facts of life without flinching. To those I address my remarks, and with them I think I have a chance.
In this debate there are two words that are obviously in need of definition. The first is the word “God.” As here used it signifies a Being who has all power, all knowledge, and who is good. If you accept that definition, this I am prepared to declare with all the assurance of which I am capable that there is no God. Of course, if you do not accept that definition then there wouldn’t be any discussion. As a matter of fact, you wouldn’t have any God anyway. Nobody could make a living representing a God who did not have those three qualities.
I must give you the main lines of evidence that there is no God, and the first one is the existence of evil.
The clergy for 2000 years have been unable to answer the proposition put forth by Epicurus, the Greek philosopher:
“Either God wishes to destroy evil and cannot, or He can but will not, or He both can and will. If he can but will not, He is wicked. If He wishes to destroy evil and cannot, He is impotent. If he both wishes to destroy evil and can destroy it, how comes it that evil exists?”
Ah, my friends, the power that controls this universe is not interested in questions of right and wrong. If I should go out here tonight to help a friend of mine who might be in trouble and I should get cold and wet, the consequences to my health would be just the same as they would be if I were trying to commit murder.
It may be that some of you in a thoughtless moment have entered a church and there you have sung that song, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” We atheists have a song which we sometimes sing, “Praise God from whom all cyclones blow, praise Him when the rivers overflow.” You will say that is a silly song. Yes, it is a silly song but it is no sillier than that song you Christians sing.
Each year the President of the United States, and the Governors of the various States issue proclamations calling upon the people to gather together on Thanksgiving day for the purpose of giving praise and thanks to God for the blessings of the year. We Atheists obey this proclamation, to the extent of gathering together and assuming that there is a God. But before we give Him any thanks, we put Him on trial before a judge and jury, with prosecuting and defense witnesses and attorneys, and every year to date the record has been so bad that we have found Him guilty of gross neglect and heartless cruelty and the sentence has been another year’s moratorium on thanks.
In order to believe in a God you must practice what I call the art of ignoring; think only of yourself, forget about what happens to the others.
There was an English bishop in the seventeenth century who was about to take a certain trip, but through a slight delay he missed the boat, which later sank with all on board. Being a godly man he gave thanks to Providence for preventing him from catching that boat. You see what he did? He forgot about the men, women and children who went down to a watery grave on the ship that he missed.
About a year ago or more, I was speaking on the streets of New York and I commented upon the uselessness of prayer. I pointed out that almost all the believers in this country had been praying to God for the safe return of the Lindbergh baby. There was a preacher there who accepted my challenge, took my platform. What explanation do you think he gave of why that baby was not saved? He said that the mother of that child did not stay at home as she should but went gadding about all over the world, and besides she smoked cigarettes. Now you think that is not an adequate explanation, and it certainly is not. Try to give a better one. You can give no explanation.
I was debating down in Alabama near Tuscaloosa, where an earthquake the week before had killed nearly 100 persons. I called attention to this disaster as being inconsistent with the existence of the Heavenly Father. My opponent in that debate stated that over there where those men were killed there was a den of bootleggers. Now those are the kind of silly explanations you must give if you believe in God, believe in Providence.
Some thirty years ago there was a terrible eruption of a volcano, Mount Pelee, and some 30,000 person were killed. Only one man was saved and he was in jail. (There is hope for me yet!) Some 3,000 of those persons who were killed were in a cathedral on their knees worshipping God, and they were killed like so many rats in a trap.
More than 2000 years ago Deagras, a Greek, stated that in the temples he saw the altars erected to Neptune, the god of the sea, by those who had been saved from shipwreck; but that nowhere did he see any record of those who had been lost.
So this is what you must do; you must practice the art of ignoring. Oh, my friends, if you keep your eyes open, you will be amazed at the misery in the world. Huxley has well said that if your ear were attuned to catch every note of pain, you would be deafened by one continuous scream. My friends, if I could believe in a God, I would regard the rain as so many tears shed by Him for His many mistakes.
Another main line of argument for Atheism is materialism, the doctrine that matter and its indwelling property force constitutes the ultimate reality of the universe. We Atheists do not believe in hobgoblins, devils, demons, gods, angels, witches. These are all the creations of the imagination of man. They do not exist. We don’t own even a soul or mind that you can separate from the body. You get a terrific blow on the head and you will be unconscious. You will not know anything. Yet these religionists want you to believe that if instead of getting that blow, somebody comes along and slugs you with a sledge hammer, breaks you skull, scatters your brains all over the street, you will know everything.
The trouble with the religionists is that they have the wrong conception of life. Life is a kind of behavior. You ought to study behavioristic psychology such as they are teaching in the universities and you will get over this idea of a soul, an immortal soul. People tell you you have an immortal soul so they can make a living off of you, for telling you how to take care of it.
Another line of argument for the truth of Atheism, is the history of religion itself. We have discovered through a study of early man and of the existing savages around us how it is that man came to get this notion that there is a God. Early man, because of his limited mental faculties, was unable to explain what he saw happening around him. So he invented spirits in everything. But as his brain developed he found that he could dispense with many of these spirits. Finally he cut down on them till he had only one left. Now we know that we do not need that one. In other words, religion is the result of the mistakes of early man. If it hadn’t been for the error of the savage you wouldn’t have your belief in God.
Now finally we come to perhaps the most important subject so far as this debate is concerned, that of Evolution, Sister Aimee has evolved to that stage where she worries about Evolution. That’s how she keeps thin. And if she should find that worrying about Evolution doesn’t work, I would suggest that she fret about gravitations for awhile. That will hold her down.
Now what is Evolution?
Evolution signifies continuous change according to fixed laws and by means of resident forces. Thus you see there is no room left for the upper ratio of spirits. God is automatically excluded. He is not needed for explaining what we see happening around us in nature. In other words, it is a continuous, orderly succession of events. It is a recombination of the particles of matter. That is what causes events in this world. Of course, you come to the question of origin, how did things get here? We have theories as to the origin of the earth and of life; but I suppose there is no one here who will want to know how the universe got here.
As to the origin of the earth and of the sun and stars. I call your attention to the significant truth that the stars, the sun, the earth and the moon are all round. The sun, moon, stars and earth are condensations of cosmic dust. They, because they are round, were condensed — just as rain drops are round. It would seem that my opponent thinks there is someone up above shaping these rain drops –just as you housewives cut out cookies. Spirits are not needed to cut out rain drops and make them round. They are shaped according to physical laws that men know and can compute. We know the process, and we can ignore God. That is materialism and atheism.
There are two theories generally promulgated as to the origin of the earth. One is, that a star passed too near our sun, and as a result of gravitational pull it tore away part of the sun, which was then a molten mass of matter. The part that was drawn off, formed into various planets. From my study of astronomy, I am rather inclined to accept this theory. The nebular hypothesis — the condensing of cosmic dust is another theory. But, regardless of which theory you accept, it is true that they are formed in the manner I told you, and that’s why they are round.
Now we proceed to evolution in its relation to Biology, the theory that the forms of life which we see around us were not created by divine intelligence, but that they evolved through mechanical evolution, from lower and simpler forms.
The backbone of the theory of evolution is natural selection. The theory of evolution is old, but Charles Darwin, more than any other, demonstrated the truth of evolution. He did it through the theory of natural selection. No two offspring from the same parents are identical. Always, more offspring are born than live. This is true even of the slowest breeding animals. The result is a bitter struggle for survival. Those who survive are the ones who have the variations in the right direction, –favorable variation. The ones who survive, pass on to their offspring, this favorable variation.
I want to just give you very briefly an outline of the main lines of argument for Evolution.
First, we have the test of geology, the star witness that the world is far older than the Bible represents it to be. The Grand Canyon of Colorado, the Mississippi Delta, everywhere you will find that the world is very old. We know it in particular from the study of the rocks. We know how rapidly radium breaks down lead. We know the rate at which this is breaking down, and this chemical clock tells us that the world is far, far older than the 6000 years given in the Bible.
We don’t take the say-so of anybody. From the way certain persons talk they think that before Christianity was founded, there were no liars in the world. But, the layers of the surface of the earth are there, and can be tested and rechecked. The Niagara Falls wears back many feet each year; we know it has worn back many miles. It is just a school boy’s problem to ascertain that it has taken more than thirty thousand years.
The Mississippi formerly emptied into the ocean, or the gulf at Cairo, Ill. Coal is found under the earth a mile deep. Coal is the remains of prehistoric forests. It is ridiculous to contend that they were formed down there within six thousand years. Chalk beds are laid down on the bottom of the ocean at the rate of the thickness of a sheet of tissue every year, yet some of these beds are a mile thick. Ages are required for them to be laid down. That’s the argument for Geology.
Another proof of Evolution is the development of the embryo before birth. If any of you are bitterly opposed to monkey descent for man, I am here to tell you that each and every one of you in your life-time had a tail longer than your hind legs.
Also each and every one of you has, within your own body, more than 100 useless organs that serve no purpose, but rather get you into trouble. The appendix and tonsils, for instance. When they are cut out you get along just as well without them. Evolution has an explanation. You have none.
If God designed man, why did He put useless structures in the body? You get along just as well when the appendix and tonsils are removed. There are more than a hundred of these structures. If you do not believe that man is descended from the lower animals, why is it that every male human being has nipples on his breast? We evolutionists can give you the explanation of why they are there. The other side can say nothing on that subject.
In addition to the big toes, pigs have small toes back up on the leg. What purpose are they? If you were designing an animal, would you stick some toes upon its legs? They serve no purpose. Evolutionists can explain how they came to be there. Perhaps you say God doesn’t go around making toes upon each pig’s legs, but He made a blue-print, of which all these pigs are copies. Why didn’t He erase it from the blue-print when they served no purpose?
Every farm boy can see on the pig the small toes back of the leg. What? Do you think God made pigs and put toes on the back of the leg? What sense is there in it? We know how those got there.
Also, you cannot explain the distribution of animal and plant life on the world if you accept the Bible. If you believe that God created plant and animal life over there in Asia around the Garden of Eden, two of each kind, and turned them loose, you cannot explain the presence in the new world of animals which are not found in the old world. Are we to believe that the kangaroo came from Australia over to the ark and then swam back again?
Then we have the man made specie. You have heard of the work of Luther Burbank, producing the plum-cot, the grapefruit, and other new specie, kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, cabbage. These are all known to be descendants from a single plant.
Then we have the degration of organs. There is no strict boundary between the various classes and kingdoms. It is difficult to say of certain forms whether or not they are plant or animals. Perhaps you would call the sponge “animal” and others would say “plant.” There are two animals today that lay eggs, and yet suckle their young. The duck-bill is one. Universities take you into the dissecting rooms and give you evidence. The don’t say, “Believe this, or you go to hell.” Birds are flying reptiles; their feathers being modified scales. A few years ago, in Germany, they found a certain intermediate stage — a bird with a tail like a serpent. The whale once had four legs and walked on land. It is not a fish, but a mammal. The horse of today has evolved from a small, five-toed animal. In the New York Museum, they will show you the fossil remains.
Now, friends, in closing I deal with that very vexed subject, that of the immediate ancestry of man. I had intended having here tonight an ape, have him on the platform so that you might see him, and I was intending if I could have had an ape here, also to have with me a physician with his surgical tools for the purpose of challenging Sister Aimee to a blood transfusion test. I would have offered to have the blood of an ape put into my veins and she was to have been challenged to have the blood of any lower animal put into her veins. She would not have accepted because she knows that I would have lived to preach her funeral. Now perhaps in rebuttal I can give you a little more detailed evidence of just how closely related you are to the monkey.
Charles Darwin, in “The Descent of Man.” in the next to the last paragraph of chapter six, you will find that we are descended from the old world monkeys. There is an overwhelming weight of evidence to our kinship with the ape. If my opponent is seriously opposed to the teaching of evolution and belief in monkey descent, she shouldn’t waste her time debating, but should turn and go about this country destroying zoos, museums, and colleges. They are doing more to spread the belief in evolution than the atheists are.
Man is not yet fully adjusted to the upright position. His internal organs are made and attached, not for this position, but for “going on all fours.” That’s why men have hernia. The cavity is not constructed to bear this weight. If man walked on “all fours,” there wouldn’t be this trouble. Every normal person looks more like the ape than the Russian Greyhound looks like the poodle-dog, yet we know that the Greyhound and the poodle-dog belong to the same family.
In the beginning was matter, which begat the amoeba; which begat the reptile; which begat the lower mammal; which begat the lemur; which begat the ape; which begat man. This is the genealogy of God.
Negative: Aimee Semple McPherson
Speaking 35 Minutes
Mr. Chairman, Honorable Opponent, Ladies and Gentlemen. When first I was to debate Charles Lee Smith, knowing he had debated with the outstanding fundamental ministers of the United States of America. I was fearful lest I could not hold up my end of the debate. I had no fear and I had no trembling because of the Bible. I knew that the Bible could stand any test. I know that it is like the great Rock of Gibraltar. Waves may beat against it. Atheists, agnostics and higher critics may pile up the waters against it; but they fall back breathing out their own futility, and the Rock of Ages still stands.
I had no desire, in accepting the challenge, to defend the Bible because the Bible obviously needs no defense. Should I see a little boy making spitballs and popping them up at the sun, and saying, “O Sun, I will put you out,” I wouldn’t feel called upon to protect the sun. The sun will be shining there when the little boy is gone and forgotten. If I should see a lad with his bucket down at the edge of the Pacific dipping up water and saying, “Old Ocean, I am going to empty you.” I would not call out the police to come down and protect the ocean from that little boy. It is bigger than he is. And, thank God, the Bible and God and faith and hope and love and truth and charity are greater than all the atheistic ravings in the world.
As I sat here this evening I thought of other Atheists and of other scenes. I thought of Bob Ingersol, who once used to stand and horrify the American audiences by taking out his watch and challenging God (if a God existed), to strike him dead. But God, in His great love, was greater than Bob Ingersol — so great that He looked with tolerance upon the childish challenge.
I thought of Volataire who said that in a hundred years the Bibles would all be in the morgue. Then I remembered that Volataire went to the morgue; but there were more Bibles printed last year than have ever been printed in the history of the world. The Bible is the “best seller” in the book stores of the world.
Down the middle of this platform tonight, and down through this Shrine Auditorium there runs a dividing line. On the one side are the believers, and the other side are the unbelievers. The two are but a few steps apart physically; but spiritually they are more widely separated than the poles. One is brought forcibly to realize the full meaning of the words of the Man of Galilee;
“He who is not for me is against me.”
There can be no truce between these two groups. There is no common meeting ground. So-called believers who try to compromise with unbelievers, are outcasts from both camps.
There is one thing I do admire about Mr. Smith. He sails under his true colors. He does not run up the white flag and then slip up and shoot one in the back. He runs the pirate’s flag right to the top of the mast, and admits that he is a foe of the Bible, that He believes in Evolution, and that it is impossible to believe in Evolution and believe in God, too.
There are many debatable subjects which would be of interest to the American people. We might debate upon Roosevelt and his policies; upon the NRA, upon dictatorship, armament, disarmament or economics. But there is no subject in the world so vital, so tremendous as this, compared to which all others are but dust under our chariot wheels.
Mr. Smith said that when he came to the west coast and flew from New York for this series of debates, nobody prayed for him. Why, Mr. Smith, I prayed for you myself. Not only that — you say you had hoped I would be converted to atheism. I have been praying and multitudes have been praying that you will not only be converted to Christianity but that you will undo the wrong that you have been doing to universities and colleges and young people in establishing in over 100 universities atheistic groups. Oh, Mr. Smith, if you could just drop on your knees once and look up to God and pray the prayer that I once prayed. “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” I believe He would reveal Himself unto your own heart. You know, “the fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.”
One thing my opponent will have to admit. Every time he writes a letter he has to dip his pen in the ink and write 1934 after Christ. How one can live in this beautiful world, this three-storied house, and not know the God of fatherly love planned it, I do not know. Up yonder He has given us the overhead heating and lighting system, the overhead sprinkling system, the overhead cooling system, and the winds of the heavens. He has given us the beautiful granaries of fields of wheat and orchards of fruit. In the cellar of this abode He has prepared for us, He has given us the coal and oil, the emeralds, diamonds, the precious treasures that have never yet been fully discovered.
My opponent, this evening, has tried to give us some idea of how the universe came into being. I remember reading about Mr. Smith when he had that famous debate with Dr. Riley but I didn’t think I would ever see him. I believe it was in Hot Springs, Arkansas, Afterward, Arkansas absolutely voted evolution out of its schools, and it is out today, while the Bible is in. If it took eleven debates in that section of the country to wake the people up to it, I think the debate was a good idea. Some Christians think it is blasphemy, but you should hear it because it is what your boys and girls are hearing in school.
He tells us there is no God because of the presence of evil in this world and cites, for instance, that horrible death of that precious little Lindbergh baby that wrung the heart of America. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it was an Atheist who killed that babe. I do not believe that it was a child of God. We certainly know that Leopold and Loeb were boys who studied Evolution and had become atheistic in their beliefs and openly bragged about it.
He tells us there is no life beyond the grave. I am reminded of the many people I have lifted from fevered pillows as I cradled their dying heads and raised them up a moment for their last breath. I am reminded of the eyes I have closed as dear ones have passed out. I recall the radiant smiles upon the faces of dying Christians. I have heard then say they could fairly see Heaven opened and hear the singing of angel bands coming to welcome them Home.
I remember the death of the saints and contrast it with the death of unbelievers — so heartbreaking and so horribly hopeless.
Mr. Smith says if you are dead, you are dead and there will be no resurrection. Puts me in mind of a man, an unbeliever, who built for himself a concrete coffin, and afterward was laid to rest therein. In building it, he made the lid so heavy that it took a derrick to lift it. He was trying to make sure God could not get him out. The preacher, when he was called for the funeral, said, “I don’t think God would bother even lifting the lid. He would just pull the bottom out.”
When I first contemplated debating, I was very worried; and at the first debate sat on the edge of my chair, gripping with one hand each side of my desk. Mr. Smith was the challenger, as he is tonight. He arose and began to speak. I was trembling until I heard him speak his first dozen sentences. Then I sat back with a big sigh of relief. For the first time I realized how little an Atheist really has to say upon this subject. But the more I listen to the Atheists and those who claim that life came about through spontaneous generation and not through special creative act, the more I realize their argument is like a puppy chasing its own tail.
They go round and round in a circle. You ask: “How old are the rocks?” They reply, “They are as old as the fossils.”
“How old are the fossils?”
“As old as the rocks.”
My opponent said he doesn’t suppose any of you here would like to know where the universe came from. You suppose too much, Mr. Smith, that is exactly what we would like to know.
My opponent is proposing that we take our Bibles and junk them. But I want to tell you that before I burn my Bible and before I jump from the solid Rock of Ages into the quicksands of this poor uncertain drunken Atheism and unbelief, there will have to be at least three questions answered to my satisfaction.
First, what is the origin of this universe? If there is no God, who made the earth? Who made the sun, the moon, the stars and the constellations and planets? Who wound up this great seven day clock and set these years spinning on their way around that central light?
Evolutionists would tell us the sun and the stars and all of these planets began whirling around and as they whirled the world fell off, the sun flew off and the stars flew off.
This was called the grindstone theory. For many years people believed it, until our observatories were builded and they found that all the great universes are moving in the same direction.
If we had come by the grindstone theory the planets would have acquired a whirling motion, as the evolutionists say they did away back in the beginning. But notice what happens to that theory. The planets are all moving together in the same direction. If they had been flung off they would be whirling in opposite directions. So that theory doesn’t answer the question.
It leaves my opponent in a dilemma. We realize it is impossible for him to describe how the universe came into being.
Six thousand stars are visible to the naked eye but from the telescope up here on Mount Wilson they tell us one billion of these glorious stars can be seen. Where then did this world come into being? Let us grant, for the sake of argument, if my opponent cannot prove it in any better fashion than this, that the earth was once a whirling mass with no life upon it. Here we go on our way, spinning at a tremendous rate, faster than the shots from cannon balls, around and around the sun. The earth is spinning on its way, never missing, never losing a second, so exact (by chance) that we set our chronometers by it and can tell a thousand years from now (if our Lord tarries), just where the earth will be at a given moment. Yet Mr. Smith says there is no master-mechanic; and that all this came just by chance. All right, let it go at that.
Now we come to the second great question I would like to ask my opponent. What is the origin of life? What is the origin of this something that I feel fluttering like the wings of a tiny humming bird at my pulse? What is this life that flutters and beats? How did life get on the earth?
If life just happened away back there, as my opponent tells us, by spontaneous generation, why in the world doesn’t it happen that way now? He will tell us that in the beginning from the rocks, from absolute non-living, there came the living. He claims the amoeba, the little cell life, so tiny that 50,000 of them can go through the eye of a needle suddenly sprang into being from nowhere.
Darwin said give him at lest two cells and he thought he could start this evolution theory. But who made the first one? Who started life?
My opponent skipped life aside. He didn’t say how the first germ of life got into the world. The he said “The survival of the fittest, is the strong part of evolution.” Then why are there more flies than elephants, more mosquitoes than cows? Why are there more tuberculosis germs than people? Take your little sparrow. How many there are of those, and yet the ostrich is a thing of the past.
If there is no God, because all this earth and everything on it came by chance and not by design, who made the earth? What is the origin of life? And what is the origin of specie? The books of Darwin, which I have been reading, tell us that in the beginning there were many molecules in the air, and they were mist. It begins in the mist and ends in the fog. But who made the molecules and the law of gravity? And if there is a law of gravity, who is the conductor thereof? They will tell you all these molecules came together, red hot through contraction. Others say they are icy cold. Then they say they acquired a whirling motion, and flew off. It is more reasonable for me to suppose that the first words of the Bible were true, “In the beginning God.” That’s all I need to suppose; then the rest is that which will follow. But my opponent tells us, that as the earth grew, gradually the ocean formed. There they will expect you and me to believe that from dead matter came life.
For instance, here is the dead, lifeless rock. Not a speck of life anywhere on the land or in the sea. Then suddenly, by spontaneous generation, life came forth.
Just how that first germ of life came into being, even the evolutionists cannot agree upon. They only repeat, like parrots, that it suddenly came into being from nowhere, with no antecedent.
I am not being unreasonable. I want some concrete information and proof. Who made matter and how did the first bit of life come into being, if, as my opponent contends, there is no God?
“Oh, we are going to produce it in our laboratories,” evolutionists are promising. Talk about a promiser! Talk about a politician! I do not know of anyone who talks about what is going to happen in the sweet bye and bye more than those who are going to find the missing link somewhere, sometime. They say that the nonliving became the living. They do not attempt to explain how it happened; but little Mr. Amoeba came out of the fog of the nowhere into the here.
They do not quote science. Science is true. Science has no quarrel with the Bible. Science has been proven, checked, tested and retested and found true. Truth is not at variance with truth.
One can face facts, no matter how unpleasant they may be; but this theory, this everlasting ambling around and saying nothing and proving nothing, is what I dislike.
On the one side there is a picture of the Saviour. On the other side of the platform is a cut-out of an immense ape. Stretched between these two is a wire. Upon this I am going to place charts showing you each step by which the evolutionist traces his ancestry from the amoeba to man.
A few years ago, evolutionists claimed life began by spontaneous generation. Darwin said that spontaneous generation was a “philosophic necessity to evolution.” My opponent claims the same thing today. He has stated:
“In the beginning was matter, which begat the amoeba …”
Why, then, doesn’t the living spring from the non-living today?
Where did life come from?
There are eight impassable barriers from the dead to the living, from the vegetable kingdom to the animal kingdom, and on up to mankind. I am quoting from the books of Darwin and Spencer, which are taught in the United States as they were taught when I went to school in Canada; but they have no proof for us — nothing but the word of some man like my opponent.
These people who try to foist evolution upon us are hypocrites. They are trying to avoid their responsibility to God, and looking for some makeshift behind which they can hide.
Spontaneous generation is the very foundation of evolution. It has been disproved. When their foundation has crumbled and their original basic premise proven false, what is there left of evolution? If the original premise is false, the entire argument is false.
Listen to Professor Conn: “Spontaneous generation is universally given up.” (Evolution of Today, Page 26666)
Tyndale said: “From the beginning to the end there is not a shadow of evidence in favor of spontaneous generation, of something coming from nothing, from the lowest to the highest creatures. It takes life to beget life. Life must be the antecedent of life.”
Huxley says: “The doctrine that life can only come from life is victorious all along the line.”
Henry Fairfax Osborne, Professor of Zoology, Columbia University, having degrees from Providence, Columbia, Christina, President of the World’s Assembly of Scientists, and in charge of the museum of natural history, New York, says:
“The mode of the origin of life is pure speculation, for to imitate the original life process has proven fruitless.” (Origin and Evolution of Life, Page 67)
Recently a scientist decided to try out the theory. He sterilized some water, placed it in a sterilized jar and put in it some sterilized sea-weed, then sealed the jar hermetically. He waited for thirty years; but no life same into being in that jar.
Years ago scientists argued that spontaneous generation was a fact because a piece of meat, put out in the sun and the air, soon was found to contain living maggets and bugs. They did not have the microscopes we have today. They did not know that the air is filled with tiny germs that beget life. In their ignorance, they believed in spontaneous generation. But how can men today, with the perfectly equipped laboratories at their disposal, close their eyes to facts and accept the worn out theory — a theory that every school boy today knows is false?
Pasteur discovered, by the process of sterilization and the shutting out of the air, that there is no such thing as spontaneous generation. Scientists in far countries sprang up and decried him for a time. They raised as great a cry as evolutionists are raising today — claiming that anyone who dared refute the evolutionary theory was an ignoramus. But today scientists agree with Pasteur. They know he was right.
Now Mr. Smith tells us that from this one tiny little cell there came more than three million species in the world today; plants, animals, marine and bird life.
Evolutionists say it has taken about 60,000,000 years for man to evolve. If that were true we would be seeing new species today. If in 60,000,000 years we have had three million species, then in the last 6000 years we should have some new species. But consider the last few thousand years. Have we any new specie? Not a one!
My opponent mentions the grapefruit. Nonsense! That is not a new specie, that is still a citrus growth. You may take our wild apple tree, you may graft into it, you may produce a beautiful apples in your orchard; but it is not a new specie. It is simply development of that which you have.
Put up a fence and divide your pasture into two. Put Holstein cattle on the one side and Jerseys on the other. In fifty years you can develop by line breeding and arbitrary selection a perfect herd of Holsteins on the one side and a perfect herd of Jerseys on the other side. But take the fence down for two years and you will have lost the work of fifty years.
Left alone, nature does not evolve upward. If it evolves or changes at all, it changes in the opposite direction and goes backward. You leave your garden alone and it will go to weeds. Leave your apple tree alone and it will deteriorate or return to its original wild form, There are no new species being developed.
Mr. Smith would have us believe he has bridged another impassable barrier, from the vegetable to the animal kingdom. He tells us, according to his school books, the vegetable kingdom begat the worm. There is the lowly worm, one of the first invertebrates. Then came the invertebrate that put on a hard shell, got a bone running down his back. If that were possible then why isn’t it possible now? Why don’t we see such changes?
In Spencer’s writings, such as I studied in high school in Canada, there is a most interesting account of how we got our spine. This little invertebrate fellow moving along the bottom of the ocean, wriggling along as best he could, wriggled so hard he broke his back. He broke it in all twenty-four times. That is how you got your spine. (I never read joke books any more, I just read evolution books now).
Then he tells us that from the marine animal, through these years came the amphibian. Finally, according to Spencer, he came up to the top, decided he would like to look around and see what was up above the water. But, poor little thing, when he came up he found he had no lungs with which to breathe air. He went back and for ten to fifteen million years lived down there until he grew a perfectly marvelous set of lungs, came up and became the amphibian and moved around.
There were some wonderful things happened back there, if we believe some of our school books.
Did you ever know how you got your legs (if you do not believe in God)? Our books tell us that as this little creature was wriggling his way along on the earth he wore a sort of abrasion or wart on himself and he found he could get along beautifully on this wart by leaning on it and depending on it. He came to lean on it so much that finally it developed into a perfectly glorious leg and he could get along on it. But the most wonderful thing is that he got another leg in exactly the right spot to walk along with that first leg.
It is interesting to read in Spencer the account of the origin of the quadruped: “In the earliest time animals projected by dividing into two parts. In some of these the division was not perfectly made, so the animal had duplicate legs, forming finally the present quadruple arrangement.”
Can you imagine that?
Then the reptile decided he would like to become a bird and he started up a feather factory. Isn’t it a wonderful thing to think that feathers just happened? Hold a feather in your hand, look at its lightness, its durability, its intricacy of design. Consider the wing of a bird, builded with greater perfecton that the wing of any ship of the air today. You can’t help wondering how it have all “just happened.”
In the meantime this little creature had developed eyes. I forgot to tell you how you got your eyes (if you are an atheist). It is worth knowing.
Here is a wonderful set of eyes, with lenses and muscles, the wonder of every camera man in the world, and his envy. We read that it came about this way. One day this poor little fellow got a pigment or freckle on his face. He held it up to the sun. The warmth of the rays felt so good, his offspring for several million years acquired the same habit till finally a nerve end formed in the freckle and the nerve developed into an eye.
Most peculiar when we consider that scientists tell us that acquired characteristic are not inherited.
People say it is ridiculous to believe that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, yet they can believe this evolutionary tommyrot!
It is a wonderful thing to think we developed eyes just in the right place. It would have been wonderful if we had gotten a freckle on the end of one finger, for instance. Just think of the grand time the little boys would have watching the ball games through the knot holes in the fence. I imagine some people who peep through key holes would consider it a distinct advantage.
At any rate, on and on and on the silly story goes.
Following the Evolutionist’s family tree we find that the reptile not only went up and became the bird but he also became the mammal. If we are going to bridge the gulf that yawns between inanimate, dead, unfeeling matter, — and this marvelous mechanism known as mankind –with his love of God, his love of music, his love of art; then we must either admit God or admit Evolution and deny God. If you deny God you have no other choice than our opponent’s family tree which traces from the amoeba, to the worm, to the invertebrate, to the vertebrate, to the marine animal, to the amphibian, to the reptile, to the bird, to the mammal, and at last to man, and to our glorious Christ. If we are the descendants of the ape family then so was our precious Saviour whom we love so dearly. So you see where this thing really leads.
A few minutes ago my opponent made some very definite statements. He said that geology was the best friend of evolution.
That sounds good to me. I didn’t think he would dare try that.
Geology we believe with all our hearts. God has two Bibles for us, one Bible printed on parchment with ink, the other written in the rocks by God himself. Geology is true. If geology shows evolution, then evolution is true.
Now it stands to reason with the hundreds of thousands of animals that have been born and have died and left their bones buried in the gravel, in the sand, in the rocks, and in the ice of the north, that during these many, many centuries (sixty million years, according to the atheist), there would not only be many animal carcases and skeletons, but there would be something to show the intermediate change — the missing link. On the other hand if you read the message of the geologists of today you will find the very opposite.
Let us take Mr. Smith’s own good friend, Darwin. He says in volume 3 page 26: “There are two or three million species on the earth but it must be said in spite of all the efforts of science, not one change of the species into another is on record.”
Again, Darwin says: “He who rejects the view of the geological record will likewise reject the whole evolution theory, for he may ask in vain where are the numberless transitional links which must have been formerly connected and closely allied representative species.”
Sir Robert Murchison said: “I fearlessly say that our geological record does not afford one evidence in support of the Darwinian theory.”
From the Southwest Geologist I quote: “One cannot conceive why in all rocks and in all countries upon the two continents all relics of intervening types should have completely vanished.” Thus the evidence runs on and on.
No, Mr. Smith, geology testifies against you.
My opponent brings Paleanthology, the study of ancient bones, as a witness that we came from beast ancestry. I will take that up in my rebuttal.
He has called morphology, the study of comparisons, as a witness. He has stated that if we will study comparative anatomy, we will find that we are all very similar.
He mentioned embryology, and said that at one stage of development we had a tail longer than our hind legs.
That is not true. When growth is complete that which had somewhat the appearance of a tail, proves to be the spine when it is completely grown and developed. That other theory has been disproved long ago.
He further states the unborn child has the gill slits of the fish, which proves we used to be fish, I suppose, long ago. When developed these so-called gill slits, which are really just folds and not slits, prove to be the mouth, the larynx and the throat.
Mr. Smith suggested that if I should have the blood of any animal injected into my veins and he should have the blood of the ape injected into his veins, he would live to preach my funeral sermon.
Again, Mr. Smith, you are mistaken in your original premise. The blood of the ape is not used thus. All the red and white corpuscles are taken out and all that is ever used is the watery part of the blood, the serum. It is not only the ape’s blood that has been used for that; but also the horse and the sheep. I will take the sheep and my opponent can take the goat if he insists upon a blood transfusion.
If you, Mr. Smith, have the blood of the ape — not the serum, but the blood of the ape — put into your veins, I will live to preach your funeral sermon. And I will promise not to say anything unkind about your past or your future.
Mr. Smith has touched upon the subject of vestigal remains of rudimentary organs. He has told us that we have more than 100 left over organs in our body which when we used to be apes, we had use for.. (He said for instance, some boys can wriggle their ears, but that we do not need to wriggle our ears or move our scalp. Therefore the muscles that can be thus used are left-overs from our forest dwelling days.)
We would be very miserable if we could not move our scalp, open our eyes, lift our brows, move the facial muscles. We need to do this in order to put expression into our faces.
A few years ago it was believed that the thyroid was totally unnecessary and could be cut out; that it was only one of these vestigal remains, the vestige of what used to be. Now they have found it is vitally necessary to growth, strength and mentality.
Only a short time ago they said the peniel gland in the top of the head was proof that we came from the monkey, that is was what is left of our third eye. De. Lowell, the great evolutionist, said it is the “remains of the third eye of our mud loving ancestors who used to bury themselves in the ooze and keep one eye above the water.”
What absolute nonsense!
Dr. Vincent, professor of physiology in the University of London, says: “The peniel gland is the most important organ in the body, regulates entirely the growth, controls the inflow and outflow of cerebral fluid.”
Mr. Shipley, president of the Scientific League in America, says: “We do not now claim that man came from the monkey or any lower form of life. Man alone can produce man.”
I tell you, men and women, the wall of evolution is cracking! All over Europe now, as I will quote in my final rebuttal, men are casting it overboard. I am only sorry it is still taught in many of our schools, because it is like a great mill into which our children are being poured to be ground out as atheists.
Thank you, Mrs. McPherson. We have tonight two formal antagonists pitted fairly against one another. I didn’t know that Mrs. McPherson, in addition to being an extremely good evangelist, apparently is an extremely good scientist. So it appears to me that Mr. Smith has quite a job on his hands in his rebuttal and we will see how he fares for the next thirty minutes.
Mr. Smith — Rebuttal
Friends, I have instructed you. Sister Aimee has entertained you. We are having a pleasant and profitable evening.
I am sure each and every one of you enjoyed this McPherson burlesque of Science, for that is what it is — a burlesque.
Evolution is accepted in the scientific world today. I will challenge my opponent to name a single high school outside the Catholic Church where they do not teach evolution. Of course they teach it. There is nothing else to teach. There is nothing opposed to it except that Book which she represents to be the Word of God. I am going to show you that you cannot accept that Book.
Look at his clothesline — Sister Aimee’s clothesline where she has hung up the display of each step of life from the amoeba to man. I think it is a washout.
I haven’t any such display myself but I have something here I want to show you. If you don’t believe in monkey descent of man, that man has evolved, I have some evidence I wish to present for your consideration.
If a man is made in the image of God, so is the monkey. If you dont believe it, take a trip to the zoo.
If you reject animal evidence of man, then I am here to show you the alternative, according to that Book. I have here the ancestor of each and every one of you. Here is what you are descended from — it is a jar of pure mud.
But, of course, the ladies are always a bit fastidious and they don’t like to be descended from mud. Well, ladies, I have here an image of your ancestor, according to that Book. Here it is, a man’s rib. That is what the Bible says.
Now I know that some of you will say that it is not the rib, it is not the mud, but it is God which is behind them. I was once studying for the ministry, I have heard many sermons, I have read theological works, and as a result of all this study I have had produced by a great artist a perfect picture of God and am going to show it to you. (An empty wooden picture frame). You will see that that is a perfect likeness, that it is in keeping with every definition of God you have ever heard. It is without body, without parts, has no size, no shape, no weight, no mass.
I have still another test. My opponent’s whole case rests on that Book and I contend that she doesn’t believe that Book.
I read over in that New Testament where it says that if you have faith you can pick up serpents and they shall do you no harm.
I have here a first-class rattlesnake. This Book says you can pick it up without harm. But I read here another message. I will put my faith in the laws of nature as revealed by experience. Let her put her faith in the Word of God as revealed in the Bible.
Ambassadress of the Lord, are you ready? …
There is no response. Action speaks louder than words.
Now I have here a vial of grade-A carbolic acid and that Book says that you can drink it and it will do you no harm.
Lady, will you drink of it?
Again a refusal.
Friends, yesterday I visited the wonders of Los Angeles. I saw the world famous Hollywood with its gorgeous studios and its dazzling stars of the first magnitude. But, though I went through all this land of make-believe, last evening I saw the greatest show on earth presided over by the one and only incarnated queen of the backward lookers and the heaven seekers — Aimee Semple McPherson of Angelus Temple. In that home of the intellectual stragglers they believe that back is way forward.
Sister Aimee, you are out of date. Had you been born among the Hottentots in the heart of Africa with that perfectly primitive mind of yours, with the graceful courage and the grand personality, you would have been the high-priestess of all tribes. You would have been dressed in the best of feathers with the longest string of beads. Thousands would have fallen prostrate before thee in adoration. And I, too, would bow in worship — if I were a savage.
Early man was at the mercy of the elements. When it rained and hail beat upon him, he sought shelter by crouching in a cave. He went hungry when the other animals chased him up trees. But today men read meters, turn switches, press buttons. What need have we of the supernatural? We are conquerors of nature. God is not needed. The Bible is useless. Sister Aimee, we have passed all that.
I will make another challenge to my opponent. She believes in prayer and in the Bible. Let us take two acres of land of the same soil, sow the same seed. On mine I will use fertilizer, on hers she will use prayer. If I do not produce a better crop than she does, I will preach Christianity.
Sister McPherson told you of infidels who had challenged God to strike them dead. Before men of education and modern culture such a proceeding would be ridiculous and absurd; but before those who believe in a God, who interferes with the courses of nature I have always considered it a legitimate argument. To college men and women and others of education and modern culture I apologize; but to you who believe in the God, who turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt, who struck Ananias dead, who caused the earth to swallow two men, for your benefit I give God ten seconds by the watch to strike me dead … My time is valuable, I cannot wait longer.
Mrs. McPherson spoke of the morality of atheists. She said they are likely to commit crime. Reference was made in connection with the Lindbergh baby. Birmingham is noted for two things; it has the highest percentage of church goers in America and is also the murder capital of America. If citizens allow their clerical Bishops to censor debates of this kind and allow the clergy to dictate what they shall hear, why don’t the have their brains removed to save them the trouble of carrying them around?
You have been told here tonight that there is a God who cares for men; that He has provided us with a wonderful overhead sprinkling system. Yes, there are times when people plant crops and no rain falls and drouth comes. They pray to God that the rain might save their crops, but it doesn’t come. God is busy — He is busy sprinkling the ocean.
We had a number of questions about the origin of life, the origin of the earth, the origin of the universe. If you will believe that God created the heavens and the earth and that He made the universe, will you tell me where He lived before He made it? He had no home.
In asking this question about the origin of life, my opponent shows her rather naive notion of what life is. Life is not a thing, life is a process. It is not something that you may eat with a spoon. If I were to strike a match you would see a flame. I would be a fool if I would ask that question: “Where did the flame come from?”
It came from nowhere, because it never was anything except matter in motion.
I am asked to get on my knees to pray to God to ask Him to forgive me. What is the idea? Has God any objection to my standing up like a man? Besides if He is a God, He knows everything. He has my address. Let Him look me up.
I have heard here quoted from the Bible: “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” In conclusion I will tell you a story. Two Christians were conversing together, one of them was rather downcast, he had just had a debate with an atheist. So the other asked him, “What is the trouble?” “Well, to tell you the truth,” he replied, “the atheist got the better of me in that argument.” The other man said, “Why didn’t you call him a fool?” “My God!” he said, “I forgot that.”
Sister McPherson — Rebuttal
I noticed that my opponent said, “Aimee’s clothesline — what a washout.”
I would like to remind him it is true the line is mine but the laundry is his, not mine. I am glad we have a clothesline. I think I shall hang Mr. Smith up on it for he is all wet.
Mr. Smith says: “God knows my address; if He wants me let Him look me up.” God may do that more quickly than you think some of these days, my man, for truly “in the midst of life we are in death.”
Mr. Smith has asked me to pick up the serpent, the rattlesnake, or to drink any deadly thing.
I see that after studying for the Methodist ministry, still his Biblical education was rather neglected, because the Bible says if they drink any deadly thing. It doesn’t say they shall drink it. I know many ministers and missionaries to whom I have spoken who have indeed had to drink that which was deadly, in the swamp regions, in the malaria infested regions, preaching the Gospel in Africa, in India, in the heart of China, in savage islands, where only the grace of God spared their lives.
Then my worthy opponent said “I challenge this ambassadress of the Lord” (I like that name, I think I will adopt that. Thank you, Mr. Smith. I would like to be an ambassadress of His glorious Gospel message) “to pick up this deadly serpent.”
Again the Bible is quite misquoted and meaning warped. God never told us to go about picking up snakes. Our Saviour Himself said, “Thou shall not tempt the Lord thy God.”
But when Saint Paul was shipwrecked on the Island of Malta and he builded a fire there, while he was putting the wood on the fire there came out a serpent which fastened its fangs in his hand.
Incidently, I have never yet known an evangelist who built a revival fire of any great size that some serpent didn’t come out and bite him and hang to him.
However, Paul shook the serpent off in the fire. And when they looked, thinking he would swell up and die, and he suffered no harm, then they began to say, “This man truly is of God,” and they went and brought out all of their sick and laid them at his feet, and they were prayed for and healed. This is the meaning of those verses. We are not supposed to be presumptuous and go around showing off.
When the devil said to Jesus, “Cast yourself over this cliff and prove you are the Son of God. He will give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee,” Jesus replied: “Thou shalt not temp the Lord thy God.”
I am afraid poor Brother Smith — I mean Mr. Smith — reads his Bible like the name of whom I heard who was always too much in a hurry to read much of the Bible. So he said to the Lord:
“Lord this is what we are going to do: every morning when I get up I will open my Bible at random and put my finger on a verse. You guide my finger to the right verse and let that verse be my message for the day.”
But one morning the verse was that one about Judas. “He went out and hanged himself.”
“Oh, that will not do,” said the man, “I must turn to another verse.” The second time the verse read:
“Go thou and do likewise.”
I am afraid if Mr. Smith thus misquotes the Bible, certainly he must read it in that careless and indifferent manner.
We know there is a God because God answers prayer. I am looking out tonight in my own home town upon thousands of people who have had the most definite, realistic answers to prayer.
Just as I was leaving tonight to come down to this building I saw the man who is the electrician at Angelus Temple. As he stood there by the car a moment I was thinking of how he came to the Temple some years ago, a drug addict, a drug peddler, suffering very much with his limb that had been amputated, because he had been a gambler, and had been thrown off a train and run over and his limb had to be removed. He came when only the dregs of life were left to him. He heard a Gospel sermon. He arose and came down the aisle and knelt at the altar. There he lifted up his heart and he prayed, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Instantly his sins were forgiven, every bit of the drug addiction fell away from him instantaneously and he was completely delivered. He has been with us some eight of nine years now and has never gone back to the dope. He tried to get rid of it in every other way before and had failed. But one moment of prayer and the work was done, and he found the Saviour real to his heart. I wonder how many here tonight have ever had a prayer definitely answered by God.
My worthy opponent said tonight that only the ignoramuses believe in God. Thank you Mr. Smith!
As I look back I find in my history of these United States of America that the pages are filled with most earnest men and women who believed in the Lord God Jehovah. Beginning back with our Pilgrim fathers, we have those glorious men and women to whom God was dear and precious. Speaking of them Lincoln said:
“The Bible came with them and it is not to be doubted that to the free and universal reading thereof men of that day and age were indebted for their right views of civil liberty.”
President Hayes said: “We are looking for the guidance of the divine hand, which has shaped the destinies of nations and individuals.”
Grover Cleveland: “Above all, I know there is a Supreme Being who rules the affairs of men, whose goodness and mercy have always followed the American people, and I know that He will not fail us now if we humbly and reverently seek His aid.”
President McKinley: “There is no safer reliance than upon the God of our fathers who has so singularly favored the American people in every national trial.”
Daniel Webster (another ignoramus!) read the Bible through once every year. President Lincoln read the Bible three times through before he was ten years of age. He was a man of prayer and was found often upon his knees.
President Andrew Jackson when dying pointed to his Bible resting upon a table and said to his physician: “That Book sir, is the rock upon which this republic rests.” I would not weary you with repeating in your ears the many who have known and loved God’s Word. Our own beloved President Roosevelt has recently said: “We will return to economics security when we return to the principles and the faith of our fathers.”
Geology was brought tonight in a hope to prove that the Bible is false. Also Paleonthology was brought to witness. I would like to show you some of the missing links that have been found.
If Evolution is true, if there is no God, if we sprang from the gorilla, then we should hope to find buried in the rock, sand and gravel some missing links. Before I cease to lift my face and say “Our Father which art in Heaven,” and turn my face toward the jungle and say “Our Father which wert the gorilla,” I would like to ask what missing links have been found. They have been looking ever since Darwin’s day; surely something should have come to light. That will take us, of course, to New York and to our museum of natural history. If you look you will find four men who look half ape and half man, and they will point them out to students and teachers and university folk as the best evidence of the missing link.
I have here some pictures which I have had painted, copied just as near the originals as I possibly could.
(Here Sister McPherson presented charts showing the so-called “missing links” and the few bones from which they have been constructed.)
The first is called the Neanderthal man. Here he is. He was found in 1856 near the Rhine in Germany. Students came from everywhere to look at this ape-man, five feel three inches tall.
Now exactly how many bones were found in the Neanderthal man? Here they are. I have had them copied. The upper part of the skull, a thigh bone, and one rib fragment. These were dug up out of the earth and scientists themselves say they cannot tell whether they belong to the same body. but out of these fragments they have made an ape-man.
The second piece of so-called evidence is the Pithecanthropus erectus, which means the ape which walked upright, or better known to us laymen as the Java man. He was found in Java in 1891, forty feet below the surface. He was reconstructed in the American Museum of Natural History. He looks very convincing. Now students can see evolution must be true if our grandpa looked like that.
But let us strip this thing to the bone. They tell us only the great professor can possibly be able to speak on so great a subject as Evolution. I don’t believe that. I think the great common people, the burden bearers of the world, the fathers and mothers, the people who pay the taxes have a right to strip these things to the bone. We have a religion of the Lord Jesus Christ that says: “Come now, let us reason together.” If you have the missing links, trot them out and let us look at them.
Here is the Pithecanthropus erectus. Let us see what he was made from. He is exactly what he was made from: the upper portion of a skull, one tooth and one thigh bone. Out of that they made him in all his beauty and glory. But lo, and behold, now the scientists are quarreling. Twenty-four scientists met in Europe, ten said they were the bones of an ape, seven said they were the bones of a man, seven that they might be a missing link. If they cannot agree among themselves I don’t see why we should get all worked up and excited over it.
Third, the Piltdown man. He was found in 1912 in Piltdown, Sussex, England. Four feet under the surface. The bones found were: one piece of jaw bone, one piece of bone from a skull, one canine tooth, two molar teeth, two nasal bones. Taken all together, they scarcely make a double handful. And yet there he is in the museum, made to appear as though found intact.
Sir Ray Lancaster says of it: “We are stumped and baffled.” Prof. E. S. Miller, Jr., says: “The jaw bone does not belong to the skull at all.” Other scientists say the teeth do not belong to the skull. The bones were found in a plasticene deposit which geologists say is always found miles under the surface.
In spite of all these various opinions, they have reconstructed this man and there he stands to show students about the missing link.
The fourth and last is the Heidelberg man, found in the sand in Germany, buried sixty feet deep. They found only one jaw bone. That is all. Oh, that is plenty for an evolutionist to build anything on! So they built it.
Sometime ago in California they found the Calaveros skull. Everybody was thrilled. They found it down in the bottom of a 150 foot mine shaft. That skull was taken to a California state museum, was examined by the professors and it took its place in the museum. Later, after they had pronounced it 60,000 years old, Mr. Scribner, a storekeeper, confessed to Rev. H. W. Dyer of Los Angeles, that he had planted the skull, which was one from the cemetery, and put it there as a practical joke on the professors.
There was a great deal of excitement over a Colorado specimen that was found. The news of that was published everywhere in our papers. They found a skeleton claimed to be half monkey, half child there buried in the sands of Colorado. There came from Columbia a college professor, others gathered around, and they said the skeleton was estimated roughly at a million years and a half years age. I still have some of those newspaper clippings. So it was proven the missing link at last, found so near our own front door.
The professor packed it in cotton-wool, preparing to take it back to New York to put it in the great museum of natural history, when some cowboys rode up and absolutely proved that it was the skeleton of their own pet monkey, buried twelve years before. I don’t know why but I haven’t heard much about the Colorado specimen recently. It seems to have died down altogether. It is very easy to be mistaken in ages.
Of course we who preach the Bible do not contend that the world itself is only 6000 years old. Our Bible says that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and the earth became void and without form. Then God, in that third verse, recreated, dividing the light from darkness and the land from the water. True science has no quarrel with the Word of God.
One argument used for giving the earth millions of years of age, is the talk of the Mississippi Delta having taken thousands of years to form. I have noticed just recently those alluvian deposits need not be more than 1500 years of age, according to United States Research.
Some time ago they were digging in that alluvian deposit and they came to a skeleton. They thought surely it was thousands of years of age.
“As we have found this,” said they, “let us dig a little more deeply.”
They did. They found a Mississippi flat boat with a date on it, 1848.
So it would seem we may be mistaken. It is not how long it takes the alluvian deposit to form over the object; but how long it took the object to sink down through the mire and the quicksand.
I am so happy tonight to know, in conclusion, that every time Mr. Smith say the Bible contradicts itself, he cannot prove it. Five thousand dollars is still in Chicago for the first one who finds a contradiction in the Bible.
A man said to me, “Why, Sister, I have found one right now. Here is a place in Genesis that says the ark was so big that Noah and his family and all the animals two by two could live in it, yet right over here in Deuteronomy it says the ark was so small that six men picked it up and carried it forty years through the wilderness.” Poor man! He had gotten Noah’s Ark of the flood mixed up with God’s Ark of the Covenant.
We have found the Word of God real and living. Throughout the history of the years of the American people there has been a great faith in God. It is not the home of the Atheist that has made our country what it is today. It is the home of prayer and Bible study.
If Mr. Smith were right we should tear down every church, no more Westminister Abbey, no more St. Paul’s Cathedral, no more Notre Dame, no more churches. We should tear down all our Y.M.C.A’s, no more Christ. We should tear down all our Masonic buildings because they believe in God; we should tear down all our Knights of Columbus buildings. We should tear down all the Jewish synagogues because they belive in God. We should tear down every institution that names the name of God. We should burn up all our sacred music, Handel, Mendelssohn, the Messiahs and the Elijahs that have been written through the years. We should burn up our great sacred art. No more Community Chests, for now we believe in the survival of the fittest; no more do the strong bear the infirmities of the weak.
Mr. Smith, I don’t believe, right in the bottom of your heart, that you would like to live in a country that had not a church nor a Christian nor one who had the love of God in his heart. Thank God, we still have been able to keep upon our coin the words, “In God We
Now they have in New York an Atheistic Association, of which Mr. Smith and many of his people are leaders, a great movement going out through the schools, going out through the colleges, “There is no God.” It sounds wonderful on the surface of it, but, oh, how little there is underneath it all. He talks of the rocks of this earth. What a weak substitute for the Rock of Ages.
I am so sorry; but one thing I am going to concede to my opponent tonight. He said that evolution is being taught by so many of our professors and teachers. I can’t answer that. I am trying to find out why. At my own expense I have sent out five thousand questionnaires to professors and teachers and educators, asking them their opinion and inquiring of their belief in God and their opinion of the compulsory teaching of evolution in the schools.
Do you think this debate is important?
I say to you that it is important to your girl and your boy and mine. My opponent shows the result of the teaching of evolution. He went to Harvard. He began studying for the ministry; but became mired in the quicksand of evolution and today he stands as the leader of atheistic forces in the United States.
Do you want your boy and your girl to follow that same course? Do you want them turned out of the schools and colleges as atheists?
Evolution is a breeder of atheism. It is a false theory and is a criticism upon true science.
Yet, regardless of whether or not it is true, it should not be enforced as a teaching in our public schools.
I plead with you as citizens of the United States — a nation founded upon the principle of religious liberty — that you do not allow the teaching of evolution as a compulsory subject in your public, tax supported schools.
Anything which is at variance with the principles upon which our nation was founded, which is at variance with the religious beliefs and the conception of God borne within the hearts of our school children, is not a subject to be taught in public schools.
If those who believe in evolution desire to teach it to their children, then let them establish schools wherein to teach it. That is what our religious organizations have done. The churches do not ask the public to support schools in which they teach their own particular doctrine.
The right of free speech cannot be denied; but if anyone desires to teach that which is not in accord with the religious beliefs of the majority of the people of a nation, then that one should hire halls or pay for institutions in which to teach that particular doctrine. It is not compatible with American principles, as I understand them, and as the mass of American citizens understand them, to enforce upon anyone any religious teaching incompatible with their religious belief.
And now, as the debate comes to a close for the evening. I am thinking of that poem which I believe must be on many hearts:
Last evening I stood beside a blacksmith’s door,
And heard the anvil ring the vesper chime;
When looking in I saw upon the floor,
Old hammers, worn with many years of time.
“Just how many anvils have you had,” said I,
“To wear and batter all these hammers so?”
“Just one,” said he, and with a twinkling eye,
“The anvil wears the hammers out, you know.”
And so I thought, the anvil of God’s Word
For ages skeptics blows have beat upon,
Yet though the noise of falling blows we heard,
The anvil was unharmed, the hammers gone.
Let us remember:
“Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven.”
I thank you.
It is by debate, intelligent debate, that we learn. We might well fill this hall, once a week, debating here on some important subject, whether religious, civil or otherwise. We have learned a good deal, we have seen our ancestors’ picture gallery, we have had a wonderful evening. Nobody likes a no decision bout. I am not going to be the referee, but as a matter of interest with us all I would ask those who believe with Mr. Smith to clap ten times, then those who believe with Mrs. McPherson to clap ten times… The volume of noise will give you the decision.
(Overwhelmingly for Sister McPherson.)