An Unanswered Argument

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 6
ON a certain occasion the late Mr. Bradlaugh, the notorious atheist, was completely nonplussed. This is how it came about.
He was giving one of his popular lectures, and an eager and excited audience was listening to his witty remarks with evident relish. Suddenly a loud voice was heard from the middle of the hall: “Sir, I want to speak!”
Every eye was turned to the spot from which the voice came, and a big, burly miner was seen to be standing upon his feet. The lecturer bade him sit down, but promised to give him an opportunity to speak at the close of the meeting.
When Mr. Bradlaugh had finished, he turned to the miner, and asked him what he had to say.
The big man rose, stretched out his long arm, and began in a voice that rang with intense earnestness: “Mr. Bradlaugh, some time ago there was working with me down in the pit a Methody chap. He was always singing hymns and whistling tunes. No happier man in that there pit, and his mates liked to have him about, for he had a cheery word for all. But one day he got hold of one of your tracts, and it clean turned his head. He sang no more hymns and whistled no more tunes. He was the most melancholy and doleful man underground. He argued about religion, and tried to make out there was no God. But one day a half-ton of coal came down upon his head, and when he lay under it I heard him call out to Almighty God to have mercy on him. Mr. Bradlaugh, there is nothing like a half-ton of coal on a man's head for putting the fear of God into him.”
The miner sat down. The lecturer made no reply, but hastily left the hall. The argument admitted of no answer.
But it teaches us three things: First, that Christianity makes men happy; second, that atheism makes men gloomy; third, that in times of stress and danger atheism proves to be but a broken reed. It has no solace or safety to offer.
Is it not far better to be a Christian than an unbeliever? H. P. B.