Translation: H.L. Mencken
In the whole psychology of the "Gospels" the concepts of guilt and punishment are lacking, and so is that of reward. "Sin," which means anything that puts a distance between God
and man, is abolished--this is precisely the "glad tidings." Eternal bliss is not merely promised, nor is it bound up with conditions: it is conceived as the only reality--what remains consists merely of signs useful in speaking of it.
The results of such a point of view project themselves into a new way of life, the special evangelical way of life. It is not a "belief" that marks off the Christian
; he is distinguished by a different mode of action; he acts differently. He offers no resistance, either by word or in his heart, to those who stand against him. He draws no distinction between strangers and countrymen, Jews
and Gentiles ("neighbour," of course, means fellow-believer, Jew). He is angry with no one, and he despises no one. He neither appeals to the courts of justice nor heeds their mandates ("Swear not at all") .12 He never under any circumstances divorces his wife, even when he has proofs of her infidelity.--And under all of this is one principle; all of it arises from one instinct.--
The life of the Saviour was simply a carrying out of this way of life--and so was his death. . . He no longer needed any formula or ritual in his relations with God
--not even prayer. He had rejected the whole of the Jewish doctrine of repentance and atonement; he knew that it was only by a way of life that one could feel one's self
"divine," "blessed," "evangelical," a "child of God
."Not by "repentance,"not by "prayer and forgiveness" is the way to God
: only the Gospel way leads to God
--it is itself
!"--What the Gospels abolished was the Judaism in the concepts of "sin," "forgiveness of sin," "faith," "salvation through faith"--the wholeecclesiastical dogma of the Jews
was denied by the "glad tidings."
The deep instinct which prompts the Christian
how to live so that he will feel that he is "in heaven" and is "immortal," despite many reasons for feeling that he isnot "in heaven": this is the only psychological reality in "salvation."--A new way of life, not a new faith.