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Within the Essay on Christianity, he observes, "Jesus Christ would hardly have cited, as an example of all that is gentle and beneficent and compassionate, a Being who shall deliberately scheme to inflict on a sizable part of the human competition tortures indescribably extreme and indefinitely protracted; who will inflict them, too, without the mistake as to the true nature of pain---without any view to future good---merely since it is just. inch
In The Need for Atheism, he argues, "It is urged that man understands... that whatever is not eternal must have had a cause. When this reasoning is applied to the universe, it is necessary to prove that it was developed: until that is evidently demonstrated we may reasonably suppose that it has endured from all eternity. We must prove design before we can infer a designer... it is simpler to suppose that the universe has existed from all eternity than to conceive a being beyond the limits capable of creating it... " He adds, "this God is himself started only on the authority of a few men who pretend to know him, and come in his name and declare him on earth. The God made by man undoubtedly has need of man to make himself known to man. inch
He further states, "The all-powerful, should he not need more convincing means by which to show himself to man than these ridiculous metamorphoses, these pretended incarnations, which are attested by writers so very little in contract among themselves?... could he not convince the individual mind in an instant of the things he wished to make known to it?.. No one would then be able to doubt the presence of Lord, of his clear will, or his obvious intentions. "
In his essay, "A Refutation of Deism, " he says, "The supposition that God has never supernaturally revealed his will to man at any other period than the original creation of the human race, necessarily involves a compromise of his benevolence. It presumes that he withheld from human beings an advantage which it was in his power to confer. That he endured his creatures to stay in ignorance of facts necessary to their happiness and salvation. " He provides sarcastically, "I will confess that certain prediction of Jesus Christ has been unquestionably fulfilled. 'I come not to bring peace upon earth, but a sword. ' [Mt 12: 34] Christianity indeed has equalled Judaism in the atrocities, and exceeded it in the degree of its desolation. inch
These essays are interesting not simply to those researching Shelley, but also to rationalists, skeptics, freethinkers, and atheists.
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