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Atheism Among The People by Alphonse de Lamartine

I. I have often asked myself, |Why am I a Republican? -- Why am I theà

I have often asked myself, |Why am I a Republican? -- Why am I the partizan of equitable Democracy, organized and established as a good and strong Government? -- Why have I a real love of the People -- a love always serious, and sometimes even tender? -- What has the People done for me? I was not born in the ranks of the People. I was born between the high Aristocracy and what was then called the inferior classes, in the days when there were classes, where are now equal citizens in various callings. I never starved in the People's famine; I never groaned, personally, in the People's miseries; I never sweat with its sweat; I was never benumbed with its cold. Why then, I repeat it, do I hunger in its hunger, thirst with its thirst, warm under its sun, freeze under its cold, grieve under its sorrows? Why should I not care for it as little as for that which passes at the antipodes? -- turn away my eyes, close my ears, think of other things, and wrap myself up in that soft, thick garment of indifference and egotism, in which I can shelter myself, and indulge my separate personal tastes, without asking whether, below me, -- in street, garret, or cottage, there is a rich People, or a beggar People; a religious People, or an atheistic People; a People of idlers, or of workers; a People of Helots, or of citizens?|

And whenever I have thus questioned myself, I have thus answered myself: -- |I love the people because I believe in God. For, if I did not believe in God, what would the people be to me? I should enjoy at ease that lucky throw of the dice, which chance had turned up for me, the day of my birth; and, with a secret, savage joy, I should say, 'So much the worse for the losers! -- the world is a lottery. Woe to the conquered!'| I cannot, indeed, say this without shame and cruelty, -- for, I repeat it, I believe in God.

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