Joseph Martin McCabe (1867–1955) was an English writer and speaker on freethought, after having been a priest earlier in his life.
McCabe was born in Macclesfield, Cheshire, on November 12, 1867. He entered the Franciscan order in 1883 at the age of 19, and in 1890 was ordained into the priesthood with the name Father Antony. After 13 years, McCabe had become disillusioned, and he left the priesthood on February 19, 1896. At first he described himself as an agnostic, but he later came to prefer atheism.
Shortly after leaving the priesthood, McCabe began writing. He wrote a pamphlet on his experiences, From Rome to Rationalism, published in 1897, which he then expanded to book length as Twelve Years in a Monastery (1897). He then wrote prolifically on science, religion, politics, history and culture, writing nearly 250 books during his life. Many of his books and pamphlets were published by E. Haldeman-Julius, both as Little Blue Books and Big Blue Books. Over 100 Big Blue Books by McCabe were published.
McCabe was also respected as a speaker, and gave several thousand lectures in his lifetime.
McCabe is also known for his inclusion in G.K. Chesterton's book Heretics. In a previous essay he took Chesterton to task for including humor in his serious writings. By doing so, he allowed Chesterton to make the quip "Mr. McCabe thinks that I am not serious but only funny, because Mr. McCabe thinks that funny is the opposite of serious. Funny is the opposite of not funny, and of nothing else."
In about 1947, McCabe accused the Encyclopædia Britannica of bias towards the Catholic Church. He claimed that the 14th edition, which had been published in 1929, was devoid of the critical comment about the church that had been in the 11th edition. McCabe similarly accused the Columbia Encyclopedia of bias towards the Catholic Church in 1951. These and similar actions have made him be termed a "Catholic basher" by his Christian critics. Biographer Bill Cooke, however, disputes the allegation, citing McCabe's opinion that "Catholics are no worse, and no better, than others", and "I have not the least prejudice against the Catholic laity, which would be stupid." .
McCabe was also active in organizations, although his biographers note that he had a difficult relationship with some of their leading figures, and consequently relations between McCabe and various groups could also be strained. From 1898–1899 he was secretary of the Leicester Secular Society, and he was a founding board member in 1899 of the Rationalist Press Association of Great Britain. McCabe's freethought stance grew more militant as he got older, and he joined the National Secular Society in the year before he died. McCabe died on January 10, 1955.
The 'Big Blue Books': (a selection of titles available online)
- The Vatican's Last Crime
- How the Pope Of Peace Traded In Blood
- How the Cross Courted The Swastika For Eight Years
- The Vatican Buries International Law
- Hitler Dupes The Vatican
- The War And Papal Intrigue
- The Pious Traitors Of Belgium And France
- The Pope And The Italian Jackal
- Atheist Russia Shakes The World
- Fascist Romanism Defies Civilization
- The Totalitarian Church Of Rome
- The Tyranny Of The Clerical Gestapo
- Rome Puts A Blight On Culture
- The Church The Enemy Of The Workers
- The Church Defies Modern Life
- The Holy Faith Of Romanists
- How the Faith Is Protected
- The Artistic Sterility Of The Church
- The Fruits Of Romanism
- The Existence of God (1913, 1933)
- The Popes and Their Church (1918)
- A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists London: Watts & Co. (1920). See List of names in A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists
- The Human Origin of Morals (1926) [Little Blue Book No. 1061]
- Christianity and Slavery (1926) [Little Blue Book No. ?]
- Why I Believe In Fair Taxation Of Church Property (1930)
- The True (Hi)Story of the Roman Catholic Church (1930)
- Is The Position Of Atheism Getting Stronger (1936)
- A History of the Popes (1939)
- A Biographical Dictionary of Ancient, Medieval, and Modern Freethinkers. Girard, Kans: Haldeman-Julius, 1945. (Note that online sources often erroneously date this work to 1920, confusing it with his Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists.)
- A Rationalist Encyclopædia: A Book of Reference, On Religion, Philosophy, Ethics, and Science (1948)
- The Columbia Encyclopedia's Crimes Against The Truth
- Lies And Fallacies Of The Encyclopedia Britannica (originally published in 1935 as The social record of Christianity; The lies and fallacies of the Encyclopedia Britannica:how powerful and shameless clerical forces castrated a famous work of reference and in 1947 under the given title)
- Luther Burbank Speaks Out
- The Psychology of Religion [Little Blue Book No. 446]
- Rome's Syllabus Of Condemned Opinions: The Last Blast Of The Catholic Church's Medieval Trumpet
- The Story Of Religious Controversy
- The Story of Evolution
- ^ The Secular Web" by Joseph McCabe accessdate=2006-04-05
- ^ The Secular Web
- ^ The Secular Web
- ^ "Lies and fallacies of the Encyclopedia Britannica" by Joseph McCabe (Haldeman-Julius Publications, 1947)
- ^ "The Columbia Encyclopedia's crimes against the truth by Joseph McCabe"
- ^ ASA (An organization of Evangelical Christians)
- ^ Catholic League
- ^ Cooke, Bill. A Rebel to his Last Breath. p.211
- ^ TSW
- Cooke, Bill (2001). A rebel to his last breath: Joseph McCabe and Rationalism. Prometheus Books. ISBN 1-57392-878-X.
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