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If we could look upon Christian doctrine and church history with a free, unbiased view, then we would have to express several opinions in opposition to their general ideas. But then, from our first days confined under the yoke of custom and prejudice, inhibited by the impressions of our childhood in the natural development of our spirit and determined in the formation of our temperament, we almost believe it has to be considered a transgression if we adopt a freer standpoint in order to make an impartial and timely judgment about religion and Christianity.
Such an attempt is not the work of a few weeks, but of a lifetime.
For how could one destroy the authority of two millennia, the assurance of the most brilliant men of all time by means of the results of youthful ruminations, how could one brush off, with fantasies and immature ideas, all those travails and blessings of a religious development so profoundly enmeshed in world history?
It is quite a presumption to want to solve philosophical problems over which a conflict [....]