When the minister wants to frighten his congregation he draws a picture of Infidelity. The Infidel has been used for years to scare weak-minded persons into accepting Christianity. Outwardly the Infidel is painted like a man, but the world is warned not to trust to appearances, for the Infidel is not what he looks to be; he is “a fiend in human shape” he is “a moral monster,” and a mirror in which everything bad and vicious can see its face.
We do not wonder that a minister paints the Infidel in black. He has hurt the minister’s business, and so must suffer for what he has done. But we do wonder that so large a part of the world is frightened at the word “Infidelity.”
It is a fact that an Infidel would never be known if he himself did not disclose his character. To conceal his Infidelity he has only to keep still, to hide behind silence.
Infidelity is nothing more or less than intellectual fidelity, and an Infidel is a man too honest to disguise his real thoughts and convictions. Had the Infidel not been honest he would still be in the Church, a hypocrite, to be sure, but this could not affect his religious status at all. Intellectual and moral uprightness is the distinguishing characteristic of modem Infidelity. The modem Infidel trusts his brain and his heart; he accepts as true what appeals to his reason, and makes known his convictions as though to conceal them were a vice or a crime.
The Infidel gains nothing by avowing his convictions; on the contrary, he is condemned for making them known. The Christian presumes upon the right to damn Infidels here and to teach that God will damn them hereafter.
It is in the face of a fate, in many instances cruel, that a man acknowledges that his honest thoughts, his honest convictions place him in antagonism to the popular faith, and yet he is denounced, rather than praised, for his brave action.
Infidelity is the proof of an honest man. Hypocrisy cannot hide in its shadow. Every man in the Christian church may be a hypocrite, a knave, a pretender professing its faith, while laughing inwardly at its foolish superstitions, but every man who espouses Infidelity must reveal his true character, must show exactly what he is.
A dishonest or hypocritical Infidel is an impossibility. There is nothing to be gained, but much to be lost, by confessing one’s disbelief of the Christian dogmas. It is the man who prizes self- respect above the world’s approval who takes the fate of Infidelity – be it what it may.