There Will Be No Singing
Robert Ingersoll was a renowned agnostic who lived during the 19th century. His philosophy was summarized with the words, "The Bible is a Delusion." On November 29, 1896, The New York Journal presented a caricature of Ingersoll and stated, "Ingersoll illustrated the ever increasing boldness and audacity of doubt as to the Christian faith. . ." (qtd. in Sweeting 100).
Ingersoll was a naturalist, having no time for anything besides the here and now. He taught:
Secularism is the religion of humanity. It embraces the affairs of this world. ... It is a declaration of intellectual independence.... It means living for... the present instead of the past; for this world instead of the next--- It does not believe in praying and receiving, but in earning and deserving (100).
Ingersoll was called upon to speak at the funeral of his brother. Standing by his departed brother's grave, this most noted infidel said, "Life is a narrow vale between the cold and barren peaks of two eternities. We strive in vain to look beyond the heights. We cry aloud and the only answer is the echo of our wailing cry" (Russell 247-48).
Robert Ingersoll died suddenly July 21, 1899. The news of his death shocked the family. His body was kept at home several days because of his wife's reluctance to part with it. It was eventually removed because the health of the family was at stake. His remains were cremated. Sweeting wrote, ". . . the public response to his passing was that of hopelessness" (100). The memorial service included the notice, "THERE WILL BE NO SINGING." Wonder why?
Russell, Howard H. A Lawyer's Examination of the Bible. Chicago: Revell, 1893.
Sweeting, George. "Moody and Ingersoll." Moody Monthly. 97. 2 (1996): 100.