From what I've read, the following incident took place during his travels in England on one occasion. He was staying in a small hotel somewhere in the midlands at the same time a denominational preacher happened to be staying there. Upon learning that the famous Ingersoll was a fellow-guest, the preacher asked for an interview and sat down to talk with the noted skeptic. In the conversation, the preacher asked: "Mr. Ingersoll, some months ago I wrote to you challenging you for a debate concerning the Bible. Why did you not respond?" Mr. Ingersoll asked: "Do you believe that baptism is necessary for salvation?" The preacher responded that he did not believe that it was required. Mr. Ingersoll asked for a copy of the Bible and, when he received it, opened it to Mark 16:16. He then read from the King James Version of the Scriptures - "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that disbelieveth shall be damned." Mr. Ingersoll then explained: "Why should I debate the Bible with you? You don't believe it either."
Wow! That's quite an argument. Mr. Ingersoll did not believe the Bible, but he knew what it taught. He was convinced that the Scriptures set forth the necessity of baptism for the salvation of one's soul. He was right in that the Bible does teach this, even though he personally rejected the notion. Mr. Ingersoll saw no reason to debate the Bible with a person who claimed to believe it yet didn't accept the plain declaration of Mark 16:16 (as well as Acts 2:38; 22:16; etc.). Although the preacher claimed to believe the Bible, Mr. Ingersoll easily proved that he didn't--at least not all of it.
Friends, what about us? Do we truly believe the Bible? Do we embrace all of its teachings or just the ones we like? When we affirm to be Christians, others will take notice of our speech and actions. If they observe inconsistencies in us, it will only make it more difficult for them to believe the gospel and obey it! Such was the case with Mr. Ingersoll.
Dear listeners, what kind of influence do you have among unbelievers? Do they view you as a genuine Christian (i.e., one who really believes God's word), or do they perceive you as a hypocrite? Think about it, and make changes in your life where needed. I can't think of many things more tragic than an unbeliever sincerely affirming that I don't believe the Bible either!