There are many things in the New Testament that I cannot accept as true.
I cannot believe in the miraculous origin of Jesus Christ. I believe he was the son of Joseph and Mary; that Joseph and Mary had been duly and legally married; that he was the legitimate offspring of that union. Nobody ever believed the contrary until he had been dead at least one hundred and fifty years. Neither Matthew, Mark, nor Luke ever dreamed that he was of divine origin. He did not say to either Matthew, Mark, or Luke, or to any one in their hearing, that he was the Son of God, or that he was miraculously conceived. He did not say it. It may be asserted that he said it to John, but John did not write the gospel that bears his name. The angel Gabriel, who, they say, brought the news, never wrote a word upon the subject. The mother of Christ never wrote a word upon the subject. His alleged father never wrote a word upon the subject, and Joseph never admitted the story. We are lacking in the matter of witnesses. I would not believe such a story now. I cannot believe that it happened then. I would not believe people I know, much less would I believe people I do not know.
At that time Matthew and Luke believed that Christ was the son of Joseph and Mary. And why? They say he descended from David, and in order to show that he was of the blood of David, they gave the genealogy of Joseph. And if Joseph was not his father, why did they not give the genealogy of Pontius Pilate or of Herod? Could they, by giving the genealogy of Joseph, show that he was of the blood of David if Joseph was in no way related to Christ? And yet that is the position into which the Christian world is driven. In the New Testament we find that in giving the genealogy of Christ it says, "who was the son of Joseph?" and the church has interpolated the words "as was supposed." Why did they give a supposed genealogy? It will not do. And that is a thing that cannot in any way, by any human testimony, he established.
If it is important for us to know that he was the Son of God, I say, then, that it devolves upon God to give us the evidence. Let him write it across the face of the heavens, in every language of mankind. If it is necessary for us to believe it, let it grow on every leaf next year. No man should be damned for not believing, unless the evidence is overwhelming. And he ought not to be made to depend upon say so, or upon "as was supposed." He should have it directly, for himself. A man says that God told him a certain thing, and he tells me, and I have only his word. He may have been deceived. If God has a message for me he ought to tell it to me, and not to somebody that has been dead four or five thousand years, and in another language.
Besides, God may have changed his mind on many things; he has on slavery, and polygamy at least, according to the church; and yet his church now wants to go and destroy polygamy in Utah with the sword. Why do they not send missionaries there with copies of the Old Testament? By reading the lives of Abraham and Isaac, and Lot, and a few other patriarchs who ought to have been in the penitentiary, maybe they can soften their hearts.