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Alpha writers in the Freethinker:-

We hope that we shall not bring ourselves within the law of libel, but we feel it to be our duty to the National Church, which is supported by all right minded men who support it, and towards Christianity, which is accepted by all good men – who accept it, to call attention to a remarkable passage in the enthronement sermon of the new Archbishop of Canterbury. Lifting up his voice, and standing in full view of the people, he distinctly exhorted them to practice thinking, not shouting.

The advice was so startling, coming from an Archbishop, that the newspapers very properly called attention to it in large headlines as being a “remarkable address.” And as the Archbishop was talking about religion they were to think. No wonder the papers called it a remarkable address. We go further, and say it is the most insidious, the most diabolical attack made on Christianity of recent years. It is equal to Mr. Maxton telling his followers that the time had come for shooting, not voting. We should not be surprised to discover that the Archbishop is a Bolshevik in disguise, that his very robes may have been purchased with money from Moscow. It is time that all true-blooded Protestants went into action.

Look carefully at this advice of our new Archbishop. What Scriptural warrant has he for the advice? None at all. Nowhere in the New Testament are we told that man is to be saved by thinking. Our Lord did not say that “All things shall be given to those who think,” but to those who believe. To be saved by thinking is, on the face of it, impossible. For the act of thinking might impose limitations on what we ask by showing the absurdity of some of the things we desire. It is by belief that man is saved, and we know that if you begin by believing that what you ask for will be given and continue by believing that what you asked for has been given, there could be no doubt as to the efficacy of prayer. It is by faith that great things are done; and it will be recalled that even our Lord could do no great works in certain cities because the people there did not believe. Had they believed that our Lord could do great works and also believed that great works had been done, the waves of unbelief would have beaten vainly against them. I have no doubt that in these cities the people had given themselves up to thinking, and so nullified the work of the world’s great teacher.

There is nothing in the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury that has reference to thinking. He was not elected because of his capacity for thinking, but for his power of believing. Never is the appointment of a clergyman determined by thinking. The only thing asked in such cases is, what does he believe? When Bishop Barnes was objected to in Birmingham, the chief offence alleged was that he had been thinking. The official creed of the Church the Archbishop is sworn to protect, does not lay it down that to be saved a man must think. It says that the only thing that will save a man is belief. About this there has never been a shadow of doubt in any of the churches. It is the one thing on which there has been complete agreement. It is the one thing that has proved that Christianity believed in the absolute equality of man. It saw no distinction between the fool and the philosopher. It paid no regard whatever to what they thought, the sole question was, what did they believe?

Christianity is a democratic religion, and in the world of thought democracy has no existence.Thought is of all things the most aristocratic. It laughs at the doctrine of the equality of man, and established division that are easily recognized. And never in the history of the Christian Church has thinking been made the condition of the receipt of honour. In the history of the Church there is not single saint in the calendar who was canonized because he thought. Take any list of alleged portraits of the saints, and see if this is not true, on the face of them. Men have been evicted from the Church because they thought too much, but never because they did not think enough. In heaven, thinking is not one of the depicted occupations. Its inhabitants sing, dance, laugh, spend an occasional hour in watching the torments of the damned, but in heaven they do not think.

It is in hell that the thinking is done. For we are told that the damned sit there thinking of the eternity of their tortures, and the impossibility of escaping from them. According to the Christian scheme of salvation, men are saved because they believe certain doctrines. If they could not be saved until they understood them, their damnation would be certain.

The Archbishop tells us that what the Church needs most is peace. How is thinking going to secure this? When has thinking brought peace to the Church? The seed-plot of all the heresies that have troubled the Church of Christ is thinking. What is classic characteristic of Satan but pride of intellect, thinking setting itself against the devotees of the Almighty? Had Satan never thought, he might still be in heaven. There was recognition of this truth when orthodoxy met revolutionary thought with the epithet “child of the Devil’. When man applied the unlawful thinking to astronomy, the planets system upon which the Church relied was destroyed. And if one takes the disputes between Christians and scientists ever since, it will easily be seen that had these scientists believed more and thought less, the number of unbelievers would today be smaller than it is.

It was thinking that destroyed the flat earth upon which Our Lord relied, the demon which Our Lord taught caused all disease which has almost destroyed the fear of hell and greatly diminished the attractiveness of heaven. How did Paul become the follower of Christ? Not by thinking. So long as he thought he was its bitter enemy. It was walking along a road on a hot day that he suddenly saw a great light, fell down unconscious, and arose a Christian. Even then thinking might have destroyed the spiritual benefit of this message by taking it to be case of heat apoplexy. But to Paul it was no such thing. He did not say, let me think about what had happened to me, but let me believe.

Religious truth has come by illumination, by sudden inspiration, never by thinking. The lives of the most saintly characters teach this. Their prayer was never: “O Lord help my thinking”, but, “O Lord help thou my unbelief ”, make me believe, not make me think. And in one religious autography after another you will see how the Lord answered their prayers. When he made them believe he almost stopped their thinking.

 And now we have an Archbishop urging this revolutionary, this incendiary doctrine upon his followers. Nothing like it has occurred before. Beaten in the attack on the Prayer Book, the enemy has now turned his attack in a new direction. I discern the hand of aethistic Russia in this. I suggest that an inquiry be held as to the Archbishop’s antecedents. Is he Russian? Has he any undisclosed sources of revenue? Darkest thought of all, is he really Cosmo Gordon Laing, or have the emissaries of Moscow murdered him, hidden his body, and then sent one of their representatives to masquerade in his stead? The subject is surely worthy of serious consideration.

- Revolt, 9 January 1929

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