"We have heard talk enough. We have listened to all the drowsy, idealess,
vapid sermons that we wish to hear. We have read your Bible and the works
of your best minds. We have heard your prayers, your solemn groans and your
reverential amens. All these amount to less than nothing. We want one fact.
We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little fact. We pass our
hats along your pews and under your pulpits and implore you for just one fact.
We know all about your mouldy wonders and your stale miracles. We want a
'this year's fact'. We ask only one. Give us one fact for charity. Your
miracles are too ancient. The witnesses have been dead for nearly two
thousand years. Their reputation for 'truth and veracity' in the neighborhood
where they resided is wholly unknown to us. Give us a new miracle, and
substantiate it by witnesses who still have the cheerful habit of living this
world. Do not send us to Jericho to hear the winding horns, nor put us in the
fire with Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego. Do not compel us to navigate the sea
with Captain Jonah, nor dine with Mr. Ezekiel. There is no sort of use in
sending us fox-hunting with Samson. We have positively lost all interest in
that little speech so eloquently delivered by Balaam's inspired donkey. It is
worse than useless to show us fishes with money in their mouths, and call our
attention to vast multitudes stuffing themselves with five crackers and two
sardines. We demand a new miracle, and we demand it now.
Let the church furnish at least one, or forever hold her peace."
[Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Gods" 1872]