is yet another consideration which is fatal to the Christian religion,
and that is its persecuting spirit. It calls in the aid of
Ecclesiastical and civil laws, and the iron hand of custom to condemn,
and if possible to punish those who may express different opinions to
its own...Perish the cause which has no more rational argument in its
favour than that which the stake or prison can supply!
"A Few Reasons for Renouncing Christianity"
Emma Martin was born in
Bristol, and brought up by strict religious parents and after youthful
enthusiasm rejected her religion, married young and soon became
unhappily aware of the "degraded condition of woman"
and eventually became a freethinker.
"Who could have
palmed such a immense imposture upon mankind?" she asked
"Just think of my astonishment when I found its doctrines, its
crucifixion, its sacraments, its holy-days etc. had been in the worked
thousands of years before the Christian era."
She deplored 'the role of
religion in the degraded condition of women.' and the lack of education
and work for them. Her efforts were directed towards informing the
religious masses not academics and intellectuals.
She started her activism by
addressing religious congregations of the folly of supporting missionary
societies as a waste if money and for injuring the recipients by their
propaganda. She attacked the church for its "sickly
sentimentality," and keeping the poor in need while preaching
religion and denying them "useful knowledge"
She was vehemently against
the distorted values of the Christians of her day, and wrote
"religion, with an upward glancing eye asks what there is above,
Philosophy looks around her and seeks to make a happy home of earth.
Religion asks what God would have her do: Philosophy, what nature's laws
advise. Religion has never given us laws in which cruelty and vice many
not be seen, but Philosophy's pure moral code may be thus briefly
stated:- "Happiness is the greatest object of human
When she died she had a
rationalist funeral service conducted by George Holyoake, who compared
her to Francis Wright and Harriet Martineau, calling her an
indefatigable and efficient "worker for human improvement."
and "Indeed, she was the most womanly woman of all the public
advocates of Woman's Rights" On an earlier occasion he wrote
of her "She was one of the few among the early advocates of English
Socialism who saw that the combat against religion could not be confined
to an attack on forms of faith - to a mere comparison of creeds - and
she attached only a secondary importance to the abuses of Christianity,
when she saw that the whole was an abuse of history, reason and
by Emma Martin
Without Superstition "No gods, No Masters"