Quoted from the editor's (E. Haldeman-Julius) "Introduction:
"Exposing the silliness of the charge that atheism or agnosticism is the mental mode of fools, there is the long roll of brilliant rationalists who at one vital point or another — and some of them at all points — challenged the religious ideology. Were Voltaire and the French encyclopedists fools? Was Goethe a fool? Or Heine? Or Gibbon? Or Darwin? Huxley? Haeckel? Or Georg Brandes? Is Clarence Darrow a fool or simply a crank who, from some obscure perversity, refuses to comfort himself with the "beautiful idea" of immortality? Or do such then, extraordinarily intelligent and well informed, have strong and not lightly acquired reasons for their disbelief? And finally is Joseph McCabe — a world scholar, whose intellect is full-ripe with nearly half a century of prodigiously harvested learning — to be identified as a fool or a mere frivolous disputer because forsooth his very learning and power of reasoning
have made religion intellectually impossible for him? That would indeed be the last word of utterly foolish paradox! The case against religion is formidable. It is compellingly reasonable. It is historical and scientific."
"And on this subject of religion Joseph McCabe is the greatest authority in the world. He brings to its consideration an encyclopedic range of knowledge. He pursues it inexorably into every obscure corner. No aspect, no argument, escapes him. He is brilliant indeed — but it is not the brilliance of a hasty, clever, simply argumentative attack. He is the greatest of all rationalists, the most powerful and devastating critic of religion, because he wields such a perfect scholarly equipment. He has every needed weapon readily at his command, drawing at will and accurately from the armory of modern knowledge."
"In discussing the abstract ideas of religion, he is invincible, chiefly because he takes the course of common sense straight to the heart of the question. It is wonderful how effective it is to be reasonable — only this and nothing more, yet what a great deal it is in a world where all discussions are so amazingly confused with bunk. Take the idea of immortality. We know that the way of all life is toward death. We have not so much as a pin-point of evidence in proof of any life after death. Death, the irrefragable ultimate fact, obviously ends all for the individual. There is no reason in nature for immortality but it is rather the extreme of unreason, which becomes more inconceivable, so to speak, the more one reflects upon it.
The wish for immortality signifies no more than the many other vain wishes which men have. If for the sake of argument one should grant the idea of immortality, who can figure out any definition or shape of immortality that would be even plausible? The "soul" which is supposed to be immortal is itself a mere supposition, having no better standing than that of a myth. In short, the facts completely bear against the notion of another life and there is not the least indication of a fact to support the notion. It is, when all is said, a quite simple matter of reasoning. One need not be profound about it nor quote Greek and Latin nor play a puzzle game with Biblical texts (and indeed these texts, without authority or consistency,
never serve any purpose save that of obscurantism)."