Do People Really Believe What They Think They Do?

To some this may seem a strange question but it involves more of our real knowledge than we think it does. Our belief involves all of our religious opinions. Our opinions are the foundation of our misery, while our happiness is in the truth that comes out of our opinion, and the happiness is in the knowledge that follows the solving of the problem or error.

To illustrate: when you are solving a problem, you have wisdom and opinion and are in some trouble about it. But when the answer comes the happiness accompanies it. Then there is no more death, nor ignorance, sorrow nor excitement. Error and ignorance have passed away, all has become new and we are as though we never had been. We have got all the happiness we want; the misery is gone and the spirit returns to the Great Spirit, ready to solve another problem.

Now the problem I wish to solve is what I first named. Do we really believe in what we think we do? I answer, No, and shall show that we deny what we profess to believe in almost all we say and do, thereby proving ourselves either hypocritical or ignorant. We profess to believe in Christ, that He is God, that He knows all things and is capable of hearing and answering our prayers. We also believe that man is a free agent, that he is capable of judging between right and wrong and believe that if man does not do right he will be punished.

When asked for proof of all this, we are referred to the Bible. When we ask an explanation how Christ cured, we are told it was by a miracle. If we ask if Christ did not know all things, we are answered “Yes.” Then did He not know what He was about, what He did, and how He did it? “Yes.” Then if you ask how He knew, the answer is, “It is a miracle,” or “The ways of God are past finding out,” and thus you are left in the dark. Now this mode of reasoning does not come into any other mode. Those that reason this way will not accept any fact based upon any other way of reasoning. You must bring the strongest kind of proof to convince them of a fact that is produced in the same way or appears to be, or they will not believe. The fact is they don't reason or compare at all, and they admit what they haven't the slightest proof of, except the explanation of some person of doubtful existence.

Now when I can show that I can produce a phenomenon that to all appearances is just like some produced by Christ and on the living who can speak for themselves, I should like to know by what authority anyone dares to say that it is not done in the same way that Christ did His works. If they cannot tell how I do it, or how He did, how do they know but that it is done in the same way? Their only objection can be that it happens to be contrary to their own opinion which is not worth anything and they admit it, for they will say it is a miracle to them. This makes them just what Jesus said of such guides. He called them blind guides leading the blind, and warned the people against them. He called them whited sepulchers and all kinds of names, and the world has been led by such guides ever since.

Jesus told the people how they should know them. He said, “Not all who say Lord! Lord! shall enter into this theory or kingdom but he that doeth the will of the Father that sent him.” Now what do they do that Jesus did? Nothing. Yet you cannot point to one act that Jesus did that these guides do. All who do good according to Scripture imitate the Pharisees in every respect. He called them the children of the devil and He said their father or error was a liar from the beginning. Jesus judged them by their works and told the people to do the same; for He said, “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

March 1860