Joseph McCabe (1867-1955) was one of the most prolific authors of all time. He was brought up as a Roman Catholic, worked on Latin documents, and made himself very well-informed about Christianity, but turned against it. But he was extremely naive about Jews; bear this in mind.

Click for Detailed notes on McCabe - scroll down for selections from A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (1948).

Here's the full A Rationalist Encyclopaedia (about 1.3 MBytes; Word format; includes notes on some of its limits)

Infant Damnation.

J. McCabe, Rationalists Encyclopaedia

The most revolting consequence of the characteristic ideas introduced by the Christian religion was that young children, even babies, were condemned to hell because they inherited Adam's sin. In America, even in modern times, preachers in the backward agricultural districts notoriously cause terrible distress to mothers by insisting on this. In the Catholic Church the original horror is softened in two ways: children are baptized and relieved of the terrible legacy a few days after birth, and the mediaeval theologians discovered that there was an annexe of the nether regions (Limbo) with a more temperate climate to which the un-baptized infant would be sent. As the dogma of Original Sin was not formulated in its stark barbarism until the time of Augustine - the "genius" of the Latin Church - this consequence was not at first felt; though the doctrine that any person who committed a grave sin after baptism was inexorably condemned to hell was brutal enough. Baptism was on this account at first confined to adults, but an agitation for the baptism of children began about the end of the second century, and the repulsive teaching of Augustine on their inherited guilt made it a general practice. The Pelagians, whose idea was later taken up by the Schoolmen in modified form, said that unbaptized children could not go to heaven, but were not unhappy. Augustine (Sermon 294, etc.) dourly fought them, and got infant damnation imposed upon the Church. For later developments see Dr. G. G. Coulton's Infant Perdition in the Middle Ages (1922).


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Scanning, HTML Rae West. First upload 98-02-08