Sunday, March 02, 2008
Witnesses for Atheism
Charles Bradlaugh was the outstanding atheist in England. Down in one of the slums of London was a minister by the name of Hugh Price Hughes. All London was aware of miracles of grace accomplished at his mission.
Charles Bradlaugh challenged Mr. Hughes to debate with him the validity of the claims of Christianity. London was greatly interested. What would Mr. Hughes do? He immediately accepted the challenge and in doing so added one of his own.
Hughes said, “I propose to you that we each bring some concrete evidences of the validity of our beliefs in the form of men and women who have been redeemed from the lives of sin and shame by the influence of our teaching. I will bring 100 such men and women, and I challenge you to do the same.
“If you cannot bring 100, Mr. Bradlaugh, to match my 100, I will be satisfied if you will bring 50 men and women who will stand and testify that they have been lifted up from lives of shame by the influence of your teachings. If you cannot bring 50, then bring 20 people who will say, as my 100 will, that they have a great joy in a life of self-respect as a result of your atheistic teachings. If you cannot bring 20, I will be satisfied if you bring 10.
“Nay, Mr. Bradlaugh, I challenge you to bring one, just one man or woman who will make such a testimony regarding the uplifting of your atheistic teachings.”
Again London was stirred. What would Mr. Bradlaugh do? In answer, Charles Bradlaugh, with great discomfiture and chagrin, publicly withdrew his challenge for the debate.