The full title and sub-title is as follows: WHAT OBJECTIONS TO CHRISTIANITY? THE
BENNNETT-MAIR DISCUSSION, BETWEEN D. M. BENNETT, AND G. M . MAIR. This discussion began with a letter from Mr. Mair and with Bennett's reply that he wouldenter the discussion. Quoted from the editor's "Introductory Letters.
"NEW YORK, June 18, 1880.
"MR. D. M. BENNETT, Sir: I have lately seen some copies, through your kindness, of THE TRUTH SEEKER. If' you will pardon me, I am astonished at its uncalled-for misrepresentations, not to say blasphemy and obscenity. At the same time I would be dull indeed not to see evidences of, alas! perverted learning and genius, and knowing besides that many of the great and learned and polite are in heart Infidel, I am curious to know what really are your objections to the religion of Christ as taught in the New Testament.
I am not a clergyman, and have never received a college education, but I should like the privilege, if you grant my request, of answering your objections in your own paper. Christians are responsible themselves for many Infidel objections because they do not let the book speak for itself. " I receive not testimony from man," is Christ's language. If you will honestly then state your objections under some systemized headings, confining yourself to the book
itself, taking the initiative in your columns and allowing me to frame a reply the succeeding week, and so alternating, we may both derive benefit from our correspondence.Will you please answer me by letter, yea or nay, at your earliest convenience?
Sincerely yours, G. M. MAIR."
Quoted from Bennett's "Reply."
MR. G. M. MAIR, Dear Sir: I readily comply with your proposition, and will cheerfully enter into a discussion with you on the merits of Christianity, with this amendment or enlargement of the line you mark out to be pursued: I will discuss "the book," or in other words, what are accepted as the teachings of Jesus, as fully as you wish; but I do not want to be confined to the book. A proper discussion of the Christian system of religion, which is supposed to be founded upon the precepts and teachings of Jesus, necessarily involves a wide range of subjects; and to do the system justice the examination of it should not be restricted to any
one chapter in "the book," or to the book itself. Let it rather be understood that everything connected with the subject may be embraced in the discussion.
As you are not "a clergyman, and never received a college education," we stand on equal ground. I received no theological education, and but little of any other kind. I attended a country district school a portion of the time till between fourteen and fifteen; since that time I have been for nearly half a century constantly employed in physical labor and have had no further opportunities to acquire an education. My reading, also, has been very limited.
I am sorry to see you start off in this proposed discussion by using such words as these in regard to my paper, "I am astonished at its uncalled-for misrepresentations, not to say blasphemy and obscenity." I am not at all surprised that you charge
me with "blasphemy." It is a charge very comcommonly made against those who take the liberty to doubt current theology, and it is thought to answer well in place of argument. But the charges of "misrepresentation" and "obscenity" you should not make without adducing proof to sustain them. I have just served out a sentence of thirteen months' imprisonment in one of the severest penitentiaries in the country on a charge of obscenity from Christian
persecutors, and I very naturally have a strong repugnance to the charge unless it is well sustained. I am equally opposed to "misrepresentation." I never use it unless by accident or through ignorance. If there is anything in the universe that I revere, it is TRUTH, and I despise those who pervert it and resort to duplicity and falsehood. So let me in justice ask you, in the early part of our discussion, to point out my "misrepresentations" and "obscenity" or honorably retract the charge. If you are honest in your assumed objection to obscenity and misrepresentation, let me refer your attention to " the book " which you doubtless greatly revere — the Bible. I am very sure I will be able to show you that that book contains infinitely more of both obscenity and misrepresentation than you can possibly point out in The TRUTH SEEKER.
By way of leading off, and marking out the ground upon which I am willing to stand in the discussion with you, I will make a few points showing what objections I have to Christianity as taught in the New Testament and elsewhere, and lay down a few propositions, all of which I will endeavor to establish by proofs as we advance with our argument."
Bennett then lists 25 propositions which are begin the discussion.