Discuss Religion Quotes

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Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it.
G.K. Chesterton
There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people... Religion, Politics, and The Great Pumpkin.
Charles M. Schulz
A Russian astronaut and a Russian brain surgeon were once discussing religion. The brain surgeon was a Christian but the astronaut was not. The astronaut said, 'I've been out in space many times but I've never seen God or angels.' And the brain surgeon said, 'And I've operated on many clever brains but I've never seen a single thought.
Jostein Gaarder (Sophie’s World)
The Anatomy of Conflict: If there is no communication then there is no respect. If there is no respect then there is no caring. If there is no caring then there is no understanding. If there is no understanding then there is no compassion. If there is no compassion then there is no empathy. If there is no empathy then there is no forgiveness. If there is no forgiveness then there is no kindness. If there is no kindness then there is no honesty. If there is no honesty then there is no love. If there is no love then God doesn't reside there. If God doesn't reside there then there is no peace. If there is no peace then there is no happiness. If there is no happiness ----then there IS CONFLICT BECAUSE THERE IS NO COMMUNICATION!
Shannon L. Alder
Do you know, the only people I can have a conversation with are the Jews? At least when they quote scripture at you they are not merely repeating something some priest has babbled in their ear. They have the great merit of disagreeing with nearly everything I say. In fact, they disagree with almost everything they say themselves. And most importantly, they don't think that shouting strengthens their argument.
Iain Pears (The Dream of Scipio)
I don't believe in God. Can you understand that? Look around you man. Cant you see? The clamor and din of those in torment has to be the sound most pleasing to his ear. And I loathe these discussions. The argument of the village atheist whose single passion is to revile endlessly that which he denies the existence of in the first place. Your fellowship is a fellowship of pain and nothing more. And if that pain were actually collective instead of simply reiterative then the sheer weight of it would drag the world from the walls of the universe and send it crashing and burning through whatever night it might yet be capable of engendering until it was not even ash. And justice? Brotherhood? Eternal life? Good god, man. Show me a religion that prepares one for death. For nothingness. There's a church I might enter. Yours prepares one only for more life. For dreams and illusions and lies. If you could banish the fear of death from men's hearts they wouldnt live a day. Who would want this nightmare if not for fear of the next? The shadow of the axe hangs over every joy. Every road ends in death. Or worse. Every friendship. Every love. Torment, betrayal, loss, suffering, pain, age, indignity, and hideous lingering illness. All with a single conclusion. For you and for every one and everything that you have chosen to care for. There's the true brotherhood. The true fellowship. And everyone is a member for life. You tell me that my brother is my salvation? My salvation? Well then damn him. Damn him in every shape and form and guise. Do I see myself in him? Yes. I do. And what I see sickens me. Do you understand me? Can you understand me?
Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
The old restriction meant that only the orthodox were allowed to discuss religion. Modern liberty means that nobody is allowed to discuss it. Good taste, the last and vilest of human superstitions, has succeeded in silencing us where all the rest have failed.
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
I believe in rendering to science the things that belong to science. I have no problem with evolution or discussions of the age of the Earth, for I don't believe that we come anywhere near comprehending the mind of God or the workings of the universe. Science can explain a lot, but it cannot give us faith, and I think we need both.
Brandon Sanderson
Jennifer Tracey, a former client, called to discuss a case involving her two sons. Jennifer Tracey? Do I know her? Probably another crap case—teenage drunks? I'll call her tomorrow.
Mark M. Bello (Betrayal of Faith (Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, #1))
That a good man may have his back to the wall is no more than we knew already, but that God could have His back to the wall is a boast for all insurgents forever. Christianity is the only religion on earth that has felt that omnipotence made God incomplete. Christianity alone felt that God, to be wholly God, must have been a rebel as well as a king. Alone of all creeds, Christianity has added courage to the virtues of the Creator. For the only courage worth calling courage must necessarily mean that the soul passes a breaking point -- and does not break. In this indeed I approach a matter more dark and awful than it is easy to discuss; and I apologize in advance if any of my phrases fall wrong or seem irreverent touching a matter which the greatest saints and thinkers have justly feared to approach. But in the terrific tale of the Passion there is a distinct emotional suggestion that the author of all things (in some unthinkable way) went not only through agony, but through doubt. It is written, "Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God." No; but the Lord thy God may tempt Himself; and it seems as if this was what happened in Gethsemane. In a garden Satan tempted man: and in a garden God tempted God. He passed in some superhuman manner through our human horror of pessimism. When the world shook and the sun was wiped out of heaven, it was not at the crucifixion, but at the cry from the cross: the cry which confessed that God was forsaken of God. And now let the revolutionists choose a creed from all the creeds and a god from all the gods of the world, carefully weighing all the gods of inevitable recurrence and of unalterable power. They will not find another god who has himself been in revolt. Nay (the matter grows too difficult for human speech), but let the atheists themselves choose a god. They will find only one divinity who ever uttered their isolation; only one religion in which God seemed for an instant to be an atheist.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
The idea of Zen is to catch life as it flows. There is nothing extraordinary or mysterious about Zen. I raise my hand ; I take a book from the other side of the desk ; I hear the boys playing ball outside my window; I see the clouds blown away beyond the neighbouring wood: — in all these I am practising Zen, I am living Zen. No wordy discussions is necessary, nor any explanation. I do not know why — and there is no need of explaining, but when the sun rises the whole world dances with joy and everybody’s heart is filled with bliss. If Zen is at all conceivable, it must be taken hold of here.
D.T. Suzuki (An Introduction to Zen Buddhism)
There are a whole lot of religious people in America, including the majority of Democrats. When we abandon the field of religious discourse—when we ignore the debate about what it means to be a good Christian or Muslim or Jew; when we discuss religion only in the negative sense of where or how it should not be practiced, rather than in the positive sense of what it tells us about our obligations toward one another; when we shy away from religious venues and religious broadcasts because we assume that we will be unwelcome—others will fill the vacuum. And those who do are likely to be those with the most insular views of faith, or who cynically use religion to justify partisan ends.
Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream)
What the hell does it all mean anyhow? Nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nothing comes to anything. And yet, there's no shortage of idiots to babble. Not me. I have a vision. I'm discussing you. Your friends. Your coworkers. Your newspapers. The TV. Everybody's happy to talk. Full of misinformation. Morality, science, religion, politics, sports, love, your portfolio, your children, health. Christ, if I have to eat nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day to live, I don't wanna live. I hate goddamn fruits and vegetables. And your omega 3's, and the treadmill, and the cardiogram, and the mammogram, and the pelvic sonogram, and oh my god the-the-the colonoscopy, and with it all the day still comes where they put you in a box, and its on to the next generation of idiots, who'll also tell you all about life and define for you what's appropriate. My father committed suicide because the morning newspapers depressed him. And could you blame him? With the horror, and corruption, and ignorance, and poverty, and genocide, and AIDS, and global warming, and terrorism, and-and the family value morons, and the gun morons. "The horror," Kurtz said at the end of Heart of Darkness, "the horror." Lucky Kurtz didn't have the Times delivered in the jungle. Ugh... then he'd see some horror. But what do you do? You read about some massacre in Darfur or some school bus gets blown up, and you go "Oh my God, the horror," and then you turn the page and finish your eggs from the free range chickens. Because what can you do. It's overwhelming!
Woody Allen
Can’t a lawyer take his client out to dinner to discuss the case? Haven’t you ever heard of the two-martini lunch?” “Yes, but this is dinner,” she corrected. “It’s the same thing. I looked it up in my Etiquette and Tax Deductions for Lawyers handbook . . .
Mark M. Bello (Betrayal of Faith (Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, #1))
Only bad religions depend on mysteries, just as bad governments depend on secret police." A character's response to a discussion about eating from the tree of knowledge.
Alasdair Gray (Poor Things)
Nell did not imagine that Constable Moore wanted to get into a detailed discussion of recent events, so she changed the subject. "I think I have finally worked out what you were trying to tell me, years ago, about being intelligent," she said. The Constable brightened all at once. "Pleased to hear it." The Vickys have an elaborate code of morals and conduct. It grew out of the moral squalor of an earlier generation, just as the original Victorians were preceded by the Georgians and the Regency. The old guard believe in that code because they came to it the hard way. They raise their children to believe in that code– but their children believe it for entirely different reasons." They believe it," the Constable said, "because they have been indoctrinated to believe it." Yes. Some of them never challenge it– they grow up to be smallminded people, who can tell you what they believe but not why they believe it. Others become disillusioned by the hypocrisy of the society and rebel– as did Elizabeth Finkle-McGraw." Which path do you intend to take, Nell?" said the Constable, sounding very interested. "Conformity or rebellion?" Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded– they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.
Neal Stephenson (The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer)
Things it is not polite to discuss at the dinner table: politics, religion, and the walking dead.
Mira Grant (Deadline (Newsflesh, #2))
A defense [of religion] is needed because none has been forthcoming. The discussion has been ceded to men who regard religious belief with frivolous contempt. Their books have in recent years poured from every press, and although differing widely in their style, they are identical in their message: Because scientific theories are true, religious beliefs must be false.
David Berlinski (The Devil's Delusion: Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions)
Nowadays nobody bothers, and it is considered in slightly bad taste to even raise the question of God's existence. Matters of religion are like matters of sexual preference: they are not discussed in public, and even the abstract questions are discussed only by bores.
John Rogers Searle
They talk about human rights until the rights include things they personally do not like as alternatives. There needs to be Frank discussions. And Shirley can join too because the pun works. The ideas of human beings of all demeanor and venues are at stake here.
Leviak B. Kelly (Religion: The Ultimate STD: Living a Spiritual Life without Dogmatics or Cultural Destruction)
There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people - Religion, Politics, and the Great Pumpkin.
Linus Van Pelt
...much theological discussion is wasted, not because the words used have no possible meaning, but because the people who use them don't mean anything by them.
Rosemary Haughton (Transformation of Man)
Three rules of hospitality industry. 1. Always smile no matter what. 2. Never discuss religion and politics 3. You may wear a torn underwear inside but always wear the three piece suit outside.
Himmilicious
Sunday was the normal day for the political awareness session at sea. Ordinarily Putin would have officiated, reading some Pravada editorials, followed by selected quotations from the works of Lenin and a discussion of the lessons to be learned from the readings. It is very much like a church service.
Tom Clancy (The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan, #3))
I never discuss anything else except politics and religion. There is nothing else to discuss.
G.K. Chesterton
Have dinner with me tonight. I can fill you in on my conversation with Micah.” “And if I say no?” She wouldn’t have. “Then, I’ll keep my discussions with Micah to myself.” “Zack, that’s bribery.” “Sue me.
Mark M. Bello (Betrayal of Faith (Zachary Blake Legal Thriller, #1))
We are fond of talking about 'liberty'; but the way we end up actually talking of it is an attempt to avoid discussing what is 'good.' We are fond of talking about 'progress'; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. We are fond of talking about 'education'; that is a dodge to avoid discussing what is good. The modern man says, 'Let us leave all these arbitrary standards and embrace unadulterated liberty.' This is, logically rendered, 'Let us not decide what is good, but let it be considered good not to decide it.' He says, 'Away with your old moral standard; I am for progress.' This, logically stated, means, 'Let us not settle what is good; but let us settle whether we are getting more of it.' He says, 'Neither in religion nor morality, my friend, lie the hopes of the race, but in education.' This, clearly expressed, means, 'We cannot decide what is good, but let us give it to our children.
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
Islam is not man's ultimate justification to do as he pleases--it is, instead, a religion built on reason and evidence. If each of us asks the ustaz for the causes of his religious opinions, then we should, by doing so, help realise the principles of Islam and thus improve intellectual discussion in our own community.
Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin (Islam in Malaysia: Perceptions & Facts)
One cannot ignore half of life for the purposes of science, and then claim that the results of science give a full and adequate picture of the meaning of life. All discussions of 'life' which begin with a description of man's place on a speck of matter in space, in an endless evolutionary scale, are bound to be half-measures, because they leave out most of the experiences which are important to use as human beings.
Colin Wilson (Religion and the Rebel)
If you are looking for a hate book you have come to the wrong place here. This book may be full of fact and discussion and even argument but it is out of concern, a concern that is not subject to some group partisan issues. It has opinion as well and this is most certainly what many critics will call many things in this book to the point that there will be whole essays of review that are just diatribes of psychological issues on both sides.
Leviak B. Kelly (Religion: The Ultimate STD: Living a Spiritual Life without Dogmatics or Cultural Destruction)
I dont believe in God. Can you understand that? Look around you man. Cant you see? The clamour and din of those in torment has to be the sound most pleasing to his ear. And I loathe these discussions. The argument of the village atheist whose single passion is to revile endlessly that which he denies the existence of in the first place. Your fellowship is a fellowship of pain and nothing more. And if that pain were actually collective instead of simply reiterative then the sheer weight of it would drag the world from the walls of the universe and send it crashing and burning through whatever night it might yet be capable of engendering until it was not even ash. And justice? Brotherhood? Eternal life? Good god, man. Show me a religion that prepares one for death. For nothingness. There's a church I might enter. Yours prepares one only for more life. For dreams and illusions and lies. If you could banish the fear of death from men's hearts they wouldnt live a day. Who would want this nightmare if not for fear of the next? The shadow of the axe hangs over every joy. Every road ends in death. Or worse. Every friendship. Every love. Torment, betrayal, loss, suffering, pain, age, indignity, and hideous lingering illness. All with a single conclusion. For you and for every one and every thing that you have chosen to care for. There's the true brotherhood. The true fellowship. And everyone is a member for life. You tell me that my brother is my salvation? My salvation? Well then damn him. Damn him in every shape and form and guise. Do I see myself in him? Yes, I do. And what I see sickens me. Do you understand me? Can you understand me?
Cormac McCarthy (The Sunset Limited)
Once we have broken free of the prejudices of our own provincially limited ecclesiastical, tribal, or national rendition of the world archetypes, it becomes possible to understand that the supreme initiation is not that of the local motherly fathers, who then project aggression onto the neighbors for their own defense. The good news, which the World Redeemer brings and which so many have been glad to hear, zealous to preach, but reluctant, apparently, to demonstrate, is that God is love, the He can be, and is to be, loved, and that all without exception are his children. Such comparatively trivial matters as the remaining details of the credo, the techniques of worship, and devices of episcopal organization (which have so absorbed the interest of Occidental theologians that they are today seriously discussed as the principal questions of religion), are merely pedantic snares, unless kept ancillary to the major teaching. Indeed, where not so kept, they have the regressive effect: they reduce the father image back again to the dimensions of the totem. And this, of course, is what has happened throughout the Christian world. One would think that we had been called upon to decide or to know whom, of all of us, the Father prefers. Whereas, the teaching is much less flattering: "Judge not, that ye be not judged." The World Savior's cross, in spite of the behavior of its professed priests, is a vastly more democratic symbol than the local flag.
Joseph Campbell (The Hero With a Thousand Faces)
I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can't for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards—in heaven if not on earth—all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.
Paul A.M. Dirac
I don't believe in school prayer. I think it's total nonsense...who is the teacher there that is going to have them pray? And is the teacher going to be Catholic or Mormon or Episcopalian or what? It just causes all sorts of problems. And what are the kids praying about anyway? Does it really matter, does praying in school...what are you doing it for? The whole thing just opens up all sorts of elements of discussion. I think it's crazy.
Charles M. Schulz (Charles M. Schulz: Conversations (Conversations with Comic Artists Series))
One does not need to be brown to discuss racism, one does not need to be Muslim to discuss Islam. Ideas have no color, or country. Good ideas are truly universal. Any attempt to police ideas, to quarantine thought based on race or religion, and to pre-define what is and what isn’t a legitimate conversation, must be resisted by all.
Maajid Nawaz
Government is a true religion: it has its dogmas, its mysteries, its ministers. To annihilate it or to submit it to the discussion of all individuals, is the same thing.
Joseph de Maistre
So I close this long reflection on what I hope is a not-too-quaveringly semi-Semitic note. When I am at home, I will only enter a synagogue for the bar or bat mitzvah of a friend's child, or in order to have a debate with the faithful. (When I was to be wed, I chose a rabbi named Robert Goldburg, an Einsteinian and a Shakespearean and a Spinozist, who had married Arthur Miller to Marilyn Monroe and had a copy of Marilyn’s conversion certificate. He conducted the ceremony in Victor and Annie Navasky's front room, with David Rieff and Steve Wasserman as my best of men.) I wanted to do something to acknowledge, and to knit up, the broken continuity between me and my German-Polish forebears. When I am traveling, I will stop at the shul if it is in a country where Jews are under threat, or dying out, or were once persecuted. This has taken me down queer and sad little side streets in Morocco and Tunisia and Eritrea and India, and in Damascus and Budapest and Prague and Istanbul, more than once to temples that have recently been desecrated by the new breed of racist Islamic gangster. (I have also had quite serious discussions, with Iraqi Kurdish friends, about the possibility of Jews genuinely returning in friendship to the places in northern Iraq from which they were once expelled.) I hate the idea that the dispossession of one people should be held hostage to the victimhood of another, as it is in the Middle East and as it was in Eastern Europe. But I find myself somehow assuming that Jewishness and 'normality' are in some profound way noncompatible. The most gracious thing said to me when I discovered my family secret was by Martin, who after a long evening of ironic reflection said quite simply: 'Hitch, I find that I am a little envious of you.' I choose to think that this proved, once again, his appreciation for the nuances of risk, uncertainty, ambivalence, and ambiguity. These happen to be the very things that 'security' and 'normality,' rather like the fantasy of salvation, cannot purchase.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
It may interest you that, a day or so ago, attempting to discuss your ideas with regard to sex and religion, my eccentric friend, fixing his eyes rather fiercely upon me, growled abruptly: "Semen is God." Unwilling to excite him further, I replied: Sir, though I understand perfectly what you mean by Semen, I am unacquainted with the connotation which you attach to the term "God".
Aleister Crowley
The best prophylactic for god viruses, especially fundamentalist variants, is science education. The more science is taught or discussed, the fewer tools a god virus has to infect populations.
Darrel W. Ray (The God Virus: How Religion Infects Our Lives and Culture)
The same benefits misleadingly associated with religion — security, spiritual comfort, dogmatic relief from doubt — are thought to flow from a therapeutic politics of identity. In effect, identity politics has come to serve as a substitute for religion — or at least for the feeling of self-righteousness that is so commonly confused with religion. These developments shed further light on the decline of democratic debate. ‘Diversity’ — a slogan that looks attractive on the face of it — has come to mean the opposite of what it appears to mean. In practice, diversity turns out to legitimize a new dogmatism, in which rival minorities take shelter behind a set of beliefs impervious to rational discussion.
Christopher Lasch (The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy)
The weird thing about the bible is that almost everything in it is a metaphor. So it seems to me that when the bible describes church as a place where two or more people discuss God, they don’t mean just the cathedral like churches. I don’t know what, who or where God is; but if everything is a metaphor, I think he or she is a comparison to us. I think we are like, or as God. I think when we get together, and talk about ourselves, about being human, about what hurts us; we are also talking about God. So that’s also church, right? I know this might seem blasphemous, but my priest tells me its okay to ask questions, even if they seem bizarre.
Elizabeth Acevedo (The Poet X)
But there is yet time to change our ways. Give up all those old discussions, old fights about things which are meaningless, which are nonsensical in their very nature. Think of the last six hundred or seven hundred years of degradation when grown-up men by hundreds have been discussing for years whether we should drink a glass of water with the right hand or the left, whether the hand should be washed three times or four times, whether we should gargle five or six times. What can you expect from men who pass their lives in discussing such momentous questions as these and writing most learned philosophies on them! There is a danger of our religion getting into the kitchen. We are neither Vedantists, most of us now, nor Pauranics, nor Tantrics. We are just "Don't-touchists". Our religion is in the kitchen. Our God is the cooking-pot, and our religion is, "Don't touch me, I am holy". If this goes on for another century, every one of us will be in a lunatic asylum. It is a sure sign of softening of the brain when the mind cannot grasp the higher problems of life; all originality is lost, the mind has lost all its strength, its activity, and its power of thought, and just tries to go round and round the smallest curve it can find.
Swami Vivekananda (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3)
The new atheists show a disturbing lack of understanding of or concern about the complexity and ambiguity of modern experience, and their polemic entirely fails to mention the concern for justice and compassion that, despite their undeniable failings, has been espoused by all three of the monotheisms. Religious fundamentalists also develop an exagerrated view of their enemy as the epitome of evil. This tendency makes critique of the new atheists too easy. They never discuss the work of such theologians as Bultmann or Tillich, who offer a very different view of religion and are closer to mainstream tradition than any fundamentalist. Unlike Feurerbach, Marx and Freud, the new atheists are not theologically literate. As one of their critics has remarked, in any military strategy it is essential to confront the enemy at its strongest point; failure to do so means that their polemic remains shallow and lacks intellectual depth. It is also morally and intellectually conservative. Unlike Feurerback, Marx, Ingersoll or Mill, these new Atheists show little concern about the poverty, injustice and humiliation that has inspired many of the atrocities they deplore; they show no yearning for a better world. Nor, like Nietzsche , Sartre or Camus, do they compel their readers to face up to the pointlessness and futility that ensue when people lack the resources to create a sense of meaning. They do not appear to consider the effect of such nihilism on people who do not have privileged lives and absorbing work.
Karen Armstrong (The Case for God)
The Countess was of a mind that dinner should provide one with respite from life’s trials and tribulations. Thus, she could not countenance discussions of religion, politics, or personal sorrows at her table.
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
The most deadly enemies of the Roman Catholics are they who love best their religion as Protestants. When we look to individuals we always find it so, though it hardly suits us to admit as much when we discuss these subjects broadly.
Anthony Trollope (Rachel Ray)
You need not specifically discuss the perspectives of different religions in your essay, so no research is necessary. Your knowledge, or lack thereof, has been established in the quizzes you've taken this semester. I am interested in how you are able to fit the uncontestable fact of suffering into your understanding of the world, and how you hope to navigate through life in spite of it.
John Green (Looking for Alaska)
[L]et us talk about the unholy vice of self-esteem, the beginning and completion of the passions; and let us talk briefly, for to undertake an exhaustive discussion would be to act like someone who inquires into the weight of the winds.
John Climacus
I see no reason why church services have to be standard. I've discussed this with the man who used to be a pastor here at the Methodist Church in Sebastopol. I told him I saw no reason why, on a certain Sunday morning, if a minister has felt during the week the burden of a topic upon his heart and he knows that it is going to take more than the standard twenty minutes to discuss this thing, why he can't rise at the beginning of the service and say 'I have something of special importance this morning so let's sing just one song, and if you'll forgive me, I think I'm going to need about an hour to explain it to you.' I think the congregation would appreciate his candor and give him their attention. If, on the other hand, he does not feel that a definite message has been given him, why not admit it from the pulpit and say, 'This morning, I'm not going to try to make up something to fill the time. We'll sing a few extra hymns and go home!' Why do the services have to begin and end at the same time, and why does everything have to be so rigid?
Charles M. Schulz (Charles M. Schulz: Conversations (Conversations with Comic Artists Series))
The Greeks think they justly honor players, because they worship the gods who demand plays; the Romans, on the other hand, do not suffer an actor to disgrace by his name his own plebeian tribe, far less the senatorial order. And the whole of this discussion may be summed up in the following syllogism. The Greeks give us the major premise: If such gods are to be worshiped, then certainly such men may be honored. The Romans add the minor: But such men must by no means be honoured. The Christians draw the conclusion: Therefore such gods must by no means be worshiped.
Augustine of Hippo (City of God)
At the tattoo parlor, my friend worked with needle and ink applying a design to the skin on his client's back, as the three of us sat discussing our spiritual desires and ambivalence about religion. In the midst of our conversation, the man under the needle turned and said, 'Jesus is cool, it's just that they have f***ed with Jesus. I mean, Christianity was at its best when it was secret and hidden and you could die for it.' This profound, if crass, statement recognizes that the power of the gospel lay in its ability to be a counter-cultural and revolutionary force - not only a story to believe, but a distinctive way of life. The man's comment prompted me to consider the questions: Am I in some measure complicit in the domestication of Jesus?
Mark Scandrette (Soul Graffiti: Making a Life in the Way of Jesus)
We will have no generalizations. Mr. Bernard Shaw has put the view in a perfect epigram: "The golden rule is that there is no golden rule." We are more and more to discuss details in art, politics, literature. A man's opinion on tramcars matters; his opinion on Botticelli matters; his opinion on all things does not matter. He may turn over and explore a million objects, but he must not find that strange object, the universe; for if he does he will have a religion, and be lost. Everything matters — except everything.
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
It's rude to discuss religion', the Buraq sniffed. 'But I don't hold with Teatimers. I'm of the Midnight Snack school. You have tea because it's three o'clock and that's what's done and yes, yes, it's pleasant to have a nice cup and a sandwich with no crusts on, but pleasant is not enough for me! When you tuck into a Midnight Snack, it's because you're hungry in the dark. You want that bit of roast you couldn't finish at supper and you want it now. Midnight Snackery is primal, like a wolf in the wood, hunkering down over her kill.
Catherynne M. Valente (The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Fairyland, #3))
Lucia opened the door. "They say not to discuss politics and religion on the first date." “Well, then.” I gave her a huge smile. “We’re screwed.
Jennifer Lane (Blocked)
People of very different opinions--friends who can discuss politics, religion, and sex with perfect civility--are often reduced to red-faced rage when the topic of conversation is the serial comma or an expression like more unique. People who merely roll their eyes at hate crimes feel compelled to write jeremiads on declining standards when a newspaper uses the wrong form of its. Challenge my most cherished beliefs about the place of humankind in God's creation, and while I may not agree with you, I'll fight to the death for your right to say it. But dangle a participle in my presence, and I'll consider you a subliterate cretin no longer worth listening to, a menace to decent society who should be removed from the gene pool before you do any more damage.
Jack Lynch (The Lexicographer's Dilemma: The Evolution of "Proper" English, from Shakespeare to South Park)
A politician discussing his religion now refers to himself as a “person of faith,” which tells you more about the politician’s balls than it does about his soul. He doesn’t have enough of the former to call himself “religious,” because that leads to the question of which religion and why he chooses to follow it and not one of the dozens of others, or none of them at all. Such questions cause actual thought to break out, something that all modern politicians endeavor to avoid.
Charles P. Pierce (Idiot America: How Stupidity Became a Virtue in the Land of the Free)
Let them all come,' said the Commdor, expansively. 'A symbolic friendly union of our nations. It will give us a chance for further friendly discussion. But one thing.' his face lengthened and grew stern, 'none of your religion. Don't think that all this is an entering wedge for the missionaries.' 'Commdor,' said Mallow, dryly, 'I give you my word that religion would cut my profits.
Isaac Asimov (Foundation (Foundation, #1))
Corona virus is not a cult, perception or religion to discuss if it is real or not. People who don’t believe that Corona Virus is real. Are inconveniencing and endangering the lives of others. They become the carriers of the virus and spreading it everywhere. For your own sake. Stay at HOME.
De philosopher DJ Kyos
In discussing the subject of free will, the question is not, whether external obstacles will permit a man to execute what he has internally resolved, but whether, in any matter whatever, he has a free power of judging and of willing.
John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion)
I do not say that there are no stronger men than these; but will any one say that there are any men stronger than those men of old who were dominated by their philosophy and steeped in their religion? Whether bondage be better than freedom may be discussed. But that their bondage came to more than our freedom it will be difficult for any one to deny.
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
Atheism is not synonymous with anti-theism and not all atheists are 'active.' There are many non-believers who aren’t activists, who don’t oppose religion at all, or who are simply not all are interested in discussing belief or lack thereof.
David G. McAfee
Someone with a fresh mind, one not conditioned by upbringing and environment, would doubtless look at science and the powerful reductionism that it inspires as overwhelmingly the better mode of understanding the world, and would doubtless scorn religion as sentimental wishful thinking. Would not that same uncluttered mind also see the attempts to reconcile science and religion by disparaging the reduction of the complex to the simple as attempts guided by muddle-headed sentiment and intellectually dishonest emotion? ...Religion closes off the central questions of existence by attempting to dissuade us from further enquiry by asserting that we cannot ever hope to comprehend. We are, religion asserts, simply too puny. Through fear of being shown to be vacuous, religion denies the awesome power of human comprehension. It seeks to thwart, by encouraging awe in things unseen, the disclosure of the emptiness of faith. Religion, in contrast to science, deploys the repugnant view that the world is too big for our understanding. Science, in contrast to religion, opens up the great questions of being to rational discussion, to discussion with the prospect of resolution and elucidation. Science, above all, respects the power of the human intellect. Science is the apotheosis of the intellect and the consummation of the Renaissance. Science respects more deeply the potential of humanity than religion ever can.
Peter Atkins (Nature's Imagination: The Frontiers of Scientific Vision)
It is a three-piece affair, everything quilted, long jacket, waistcoat, and trousers, which have Feet at the ends of them, all in striped silk, a double stripe of some acidick Rose upon Celadon for the Trousers and Waistcoat, and for the Jacket, whose hem touches the floor when, as now, he is seated, a single stripe of teal-blue upon the same color, which is also that of the Revers. . . . It is usually not wise to discuss matters of costume with people who dress like this, -- politics or religion being far safer topicks.
Thomas Pynchon (Mason & Dixon)
Even on social and cultural matters Muhammad liked to engage with people and hear views, routinely publicly praising the view of the person who initiated the discussion or whose opinion eventually prevailed, even if it had differed from his own. He delighted in good ideas, and made sure everyone knew who had advanced them, without claiming them as his own. He believed that credit should go to whom it was due.
Joel Hayward (The Leadership of Muhammad: A Historical Reconstruction)
Casey meant it when she said, 'Forgive us for our debts as we forgive our debtors,' because they were for her the hardest words to live by, and by saying them, she hoped they'd become possible. Like Ted, Casey would never discuss her ambivalent views on religion. She was honest enough to admit that her privacy cloaked a fear: the fear of being found out as a hypocrite" (Free Food For Millionaires, p.100-101.)
Min Jin Lee (Free Food for Millionaires)
When the old Liberals removed the gags from all the heresies, their idea was that religious and philosophical discoveries might thus be made. Their view was that cosmic truth was so important that every one ought to bear independent testimony. The modern idea is that cosmic truth is so unimportant that it cannot matter what any one says. The former freed inquiry as men loose a noble hound; the latter frees inquiry as men fling back into the sea a fish unfit for eating. Never has there been so little discussion about the nature of men as now, when, for the first time, any one can discuss it. The old restriction meant that only the orthodox were allowed to discuss religion. Modern liberty means that nobody is allowed to discuss it. Good taste, the last and vilest of human superstitions, has succeeded in silencing us where all the rest have failed.
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
After an injunction had been judicially intimated to me by this Holy Office, to the effect that I must altogether abandon the false opinion that the sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center of the world, and moves, and that I must not hold, defend, or teach in any way whatsoever, verbally or in writing, the said false doctrine, and after it had been notified to me that the said doctrine was contrary to Holy Scripture — I wrote and printed a book in which I discuss this new doctrine already condemned, and adduce arguments of great cogency in its favor, without presenting any solution of these, and for this reason I have been pronounced by the Holy Office to be vehemently suspected of heresy, that is to say, of having held and believed that the Sun is the center of the world and immovable, and that the earth is not the center and moves: Therefore, desiring to remove from the minds of your Eminences, and of all faithful Christians, this vehement suspicion, justly conceived against me, with sincere heart and unfeigned faith I abjure, curse, and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies, and generally every other error, heresy, and sect whatsoever contrary to the said Holy Church, and I swear that in the future I will never again say or assert, verbally or in writing, anything that might furnish occasion for a similar suspicion regarding me; but that should I know any heretic, or person suspected of heresy, I will denounce him to this Holy Office, or to the Inquisitor or Ordinary of the place where I may be. Further, I swear and promise to fulfill and observe in their integrity all penances that have been, or that shall be, imposed upon me by this Holy Office. And, in the event of my contravening, any of these my promises and oaths, I submit myself to all the pains and penalties imposed and promulgated in the sacred canons and other constitutions, general and particular, against such delinquents.
Galileo Galilei (Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems: Ptolemaic and Copernican)
We march on, though sometimes strange moods fill our children. Our march toward security and peace is the march of freedom—the freedom that we should like to become a living part of. It is the dignity of the individual to live in a society of free men, where the spirit of understanding and belief exists; of understanding that all men, whatever their color, race, religion or estate, should be given equal opportunity to serve themselves and each other according to their needs and abilities. But we are not really free unless we use what we produce. So long as the fruit of our labor is denied us, so long will want manifest itself in a world of slaves. It is only when we have plenty to eat—plenty of everything— that we begin to understand what freedom means. To us, freedom is not an intangible thing. When we have enough to eat, then we are healthy enough to enjoy what we eat. Then we have the time and ability to read and think and discuss things. Then we are not merely living but also becoming a creative part of life. It is only then that we become a growing part of democracy.
Carlos Bulosan
In the West the idea that religion is inherently violent is now taken for granted and seems self-evident. As one who speaks on religion, I constantly hear how cruel and aggressive it has been, a view that, eerily, is expressed in the same way almost every time: “Religion has been the cause of all the major wars in history.” I have heard this sentence recited like a mantra by American commentators and psychiatrists, London taxi drivers and Oxford academics. It is an odd remark. Obviously the two world wars were not fought on account of religion. When they discuss the reasons people go to war, military historians acknowledge that many interrelated social, material, and ideological factors are involved, one of the chief being competition for scarce resources. Experts on political violence or terrorism also insist that people commit atrocities for a complex range of reasons.3 Yet so indelible is the aggressive image of religious faith in our secular consciousness that we routinely load the violent sins of the twentieth century onto the back of “religion” and drive it out into the political wilderness.
Karen Armstrong (Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence)
Our time prides itself on having finally achieved the freedom from censorship for which libertarians in all ages have struggled...The credit for these great achievements is claimed by the new spirit of rationalism, a rationalism that, it is argued, has finally been able to tear from man's eyes the shrouds imposed by mystical thought, religion, and such powerful illusions as freedom and dignity. Science has given us this great victory over ignorance. But, on closer examination, this victory too can be seen as an Orwellian triumph of an even higher ignorance: what we have gained is a new conformism, which permits us to say anything that can be said in the functional languages of instrumental reason, but forbids us to allude to...the living truth...so we may discuss the very manufacture of life and its 'objective' manipulations, but we may not mention God, grace, or morality.
Joseph Weizenbaum (Computer Power and Human Reason: From Judgment to Calculation)
The gentleman was asking what you thought of democracy, sir,’ said Vidal, smiling. ‘Alas I cannot tell you, sir,’ said Stephen, returning the smile. ‘For although it would not be proper to call this barque or vessel a King’s ship except in the largest sense, we nevertheless adhere strictly to the naval tradition which forbids the discussion of religion, women, or politics in our mess. It has been objected that this rule makes for insipidity, which may be so; yet on the other hand it has its uses, since in this case for example it prevents any member from wounding any other gentleman present by saying that he did not think the policy that put Socrates to death and that left Athens prostrate was the highest expression of human wisdom, or by quoting Aristotle’s definition of democracy as mob-rule, the depraved version of a commonwealth.’ ‘Can you suggest a better system?’ asked Dutourd. ‘Sir,’ said Stephen, ‘my words were those of some hypothetical person: where my own views are concerned, tradition seals my mouth. As I have told you, we do not discuss politics at this table.
Patrick O'Brian (The Wine-Dark Sea (Aubrey/Maturin, #16))
No matter how bleak or dire, end-of-the-world scenarios appeal to us because we take meaning from the end. Aside from the obvious and well-discussed idea that our narcissism is served when imagining we, out of all the billions who perish, might survive, Andrew has argued there’s also undeniable allure to witnessing the beginning of the end and perishing along with everyone and everything else. He has impishly said to a classroom, to the scowl of more than a few students, “Within the kernel of end-times awe and ecstasy is the seed of all organized religions.
Paul Tremblay (The Cabin at the End of the World)
Though at times interested in reforms, notably prohibition (I have never tasted alcoholic liquor), I was inclined to be bored by ethical casuistry; since I believed conduct to be a matter of taste and breeding, with virtue, delicacy, and truthfulness as symbols of gentility. Of my word and honour I was inordinately proud, and would permit no reflections to be cast upon them. I thought ethics too obvious and commonplace to be scientifically discussed, and considered philosophy solely in its relation to truth and beauty. I was, and still am, pagan to the core.
H.P. Lovecraft (Against Religion: The Atheist Writings of H.P. Lovecraft)
I perceive that it is far more practical to begin at the beginning and discuss theories. I see that the men who killed each other about the orthodoxy of the Homoousion were far more sensible than the people who are quarrelling about the Education Act. For the Christian dogmatists were trying to establish a reign of holiness, and trying to get defined, first of all, what was really holy. But our modern educationists are trying to bring about a religious liberty without attempting to settle what is religion or what is liberty. If the old priests forced a statement on mankind, at least they previously took some trouble to make it lucid. It has been left for the modern mobs of Anglicans and Nonconformists to persecute for a doctrine without even stating it.
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
If we put this whole progression in terms of our discussion of the possibilities of heroism, it goes like this: Man breaks through the bounds of merely cultural heroism; he destroys the character lie that had him perform as a hero in the everyday social scheme of things; and by doing so he opens himself up to infinity, to the possibility of cosmic heroism, to the very service of God. His life thereby acquires ultimate value in place of merely social and cultural, historical value. He links his secret inner self, his authentic talent, his deepest feelings of uniqueness, his inner yearning for absolute significance, to the very ground of creation. Out of the ruins of the broken cultural self there remains the mystery of the private, invisible, inner self which yearned for ultimate significance, for cosmic heroism. This invisible mystery at the heart of every creature now attains cosmic significance by affirming its connection with the invisible mystery at the heart of creation. This is the meaning of faith. At the same time it is the meaning of the merger of psychology and religion in Kierkegaard's thought. The truly open person, the one who has shed his character armor, the vital lie of his cultural conditioning, is beyond the help of any mere "science," of any merely social standard of health. He is absolutely alone and trembling on the bring of oblivion-which is at the same time the brink of infinity. To give him the new support that he needs, the "courage to renounce dread without any dread...only faith is capable of," says Kierkegaard. Not that this is an easy out for man, or a cure-all for the human condition-Kierkegaard is never facile. He gives a strikingly beautiful idea: not that [faith] annihilates dread, but remaining ever young, it is continually developing itself out of the death throe of dread. In other words, as long as man is an ambiguous creature he can never banish anxiety; what he can do instead is to use anxiety as an eternal spring for growth into new dimensions of thought and trust. Faith poses a new life task, the adventure in openness to a multi-dimensional reality.
Ernest Becker (The Denial of Death)
If I were you," he said with a wink and a smile as his eyes swept over those who's started the discussion, "I would waste far less time ragging on religion and find out just how much Jesus wants to be your friend without any strings attached. He will care for you and if given a chance will become more real to you than your best friend, and you will cherish him more than anything else you desire. He will give you a purpose and a fullness of life that will carry you through every stress and pain and will change you from the inside to show you what true freedom and joy really are.
Wayne Jacobsen (So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore)
The letters between Pliny and Trajan amount to one of the most loquacious non-Christian discussions of the new religion to survive. The Christian texts of the third, fourth and fifth centuries CE are some of the most extreme examples ever of the rewriting of history to fit the agenda of the winners. They construct a triumphalist history of Christianity as victorious both against its pagan rivals, despite cruel persecution by the Roman state, and against all the internal variants (‘heresies’, as later Christians defined them), which challenged what came to be Christian orthodoxy.
Mary Beard (SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome)
General theories are everywhere condemned; the doctrine of the Rights of Man is dismissed with the doctrine of the Fall of Man. Atheism itself is too theological for us to-day. Revolution itself is too much of a system; liberty itself is too much of a restraint. We will have no generalizations. Mr. Bernard Shaw has put the view in a perfect epigram: 'The golden rule is that there is no golden rule.' We are more and more to discuss details in art, politics, literature. A man's opinion on tramcars matters; his opinion on Botticelli matters; his opinion on all things does not matter. He may turn over and explore a million objects, but he must not find that strange object, the universe; for if he does he will have a religion, and be lost. Everything matters--except everything.
G.K. Chesterton (Heretics)
Wilson says his own private hell would be to be locked forever into a room full of people discussing the hypocrisies of religion, for example, that many religions preach love, compassion, and virtue yet sometimes cause war, hatred, and terrorism. From Wilson’s higher perspective, there is no contradiction. Group selection creates interlocking genetic and cultural adaptations that enhance peace, harmony, and cooperation within the group for the express purpose of increasing the group’s ability to compete with other groups. Group selection does not end conflict; it just pushes it up to the next level of social organization. Atrocities committed in the name of religion are almost always committed against out-group members, or against the most dangerous people of all: apostates (who try to leave the group) and traitors (who undermine the group).
Jonathan Haidt (The Happiness Hypothesis: Putting Ancient Wisdom to the Test of Modern Science)
And just like that, as if I hadn't said anything at all, the ladies sprang into a conversation about the sinful nature the Jews possessed when killing their Lord Jesus. I didn't know if I was hearing this right because I had become so intoxicated, but I couldn't believe that anyone would talk about religion while on vacation. How could Miss Nebraska think this was a proper environment to discuss something so controversial? One woman went on to say that if she had her way not only would President Bush serve a second four-year term, but she hoped they would overturn Roe v. Wade. This woman was obviously a menace to society and needed to be stopped.
Chelsea Handler (My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands)
Human reason reduced to its own resources is perfectly worthless, not only for creating but also for preserving any political or religious association, because it only produces disputes, and, to conduct himself well, man needs not problems but beliefs. His cradle should be surrounded by dogmas, and when his reason is awakened, it should find all his opinions ready-made, at least all those relating to his conduct. Nothing is so important to him as prejudices, Let us not take this word in a bad sense. It does not necessarily mean false ideas, but only, in the strict sense of the word, opinions adopted before any examination. Now these sorts of opinions are man’s greatest need, the true elements of his happiness, and the Palladium of empires. Without them, there can be neither worship, nor morality, nor government. There must be a state religion just as there is a state policy; or, rather, religious and political dogmas must be merged and mingled together to form a complete common or national reason strong enough to repress the aberrations of individual reason, which of its nature is the mortal enemy of any association whatever because it produces only divergent opinions. All known nations have been happy and powerful to the extent that they have more faithfully obeyed this national reason, which is nothing other than the annihilation of individual dogmas and the absolute and general reign of national dogmas, that is to say, of useful prejudices. Let each man call upon his individual reason in the matter of religion, and immediately you will see the birth of an anarchy of belief or the annihilation of religious sovereignty. Likewise, if each man makes himself judge of the principles of government, you will at once see the birth of civil anarchy or the annihilation of political sovereignty. Government is a true religion: it has its dogmas, its mysteries, and its ministers. To annihilate it or submit it to the discussion of each individual is the same thing; it lives only through national reason, that is to say through political faith, which is a creed. Man’s first need is that his nascent reason be curbed under this double yoke, that it be abased and lose itself in the national reason, so that it changes its individual existence into another common existence, just as a river that flows into the ocean always continues to exist in the mass of water, but without a name and without a distinct reality.
Joseph de Maistre (Against Rousseau: On the State of Nature and On the Sovereignty of the People)
Religion should be subject to commonsense appraisal and rational review, as openly discussible as, say, politics, art and the weather. The First Amendment, we should recall, forbids Congress both from establishing laws designating a state religion and from abridging freedom of speech. There is no reason why we should shy away from speaking freely about religion, no reason why it should be thought impolite to debate it, especially when, as so often happens, religious folk bring it up on their own and try to impose it on others.
Jeffrey Tayler
For Dawkins, atheism is a necessary consequence of evolution. He has argued that the religious impulse is simply an evolutionary mistake, a ‘misfiring of something useful’, it is a kind if virus, parasitic on cognitive systems naturally selected because they had enabled a species to survive. Dawkins is an extreme exponent of the scientific naturalism, originally formulated by d’Holbach, that has now become a major worldview among intellectuals. More moderate versions of this “scientism” have been articulated by Carl Sagan, Steven Weinberg, and Daniel Dennett, who have all claimed that one has to choose between science and faith. For Dennett, theology has been rendered superfluous, because biology can provide a better explanation of why people are religious. But for Dawkins, like the other “new atheists” – Sam Harris, the young American philosopher and student of neuroscience, and Christopher Hitchens, critic and journalist – religion is the cause of the problems of our world; it is the source of absolute evil and “poisons everything.” They see themselves in the vanguard of a scientific/rational movement that will eventually expunge the idea of God from human consciousness. But other atheists and scientists are wary of this approach. The American zoologist Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) followed Monod in his discussion of the implications of evolution. Everything in the natural world could indeed be explained by natural selection, but Gould insisted that science was not competent to decide whether God did or did not exist, because it could only work with natural explanations. Gould had no religious axe to grind; he described himself as an atheistically inclined agnostic, but pointed out that Darwin himself had denied he was an atheist and that other eminent Darwinians - Asa Gray, Charles D. Walcott, G. G. Simpson, and Theodosius Dobzhansky - had been either practicing Christians or agnostics. Atheism did not, therefore, seem to be a necessary consequence of accepting evolutionary theory, and Darwinians who held forth dogmatically on the subject were stepping beyond the limitations that were proper to science.
Karen Armstrong
Humans are a story telling species. Throughout history we have told stories to each other and ourselves as one of the ways to understand the world around us. Every culture has its creation myth for how the universe came to be, but the stories do not stop at the big picture view; other stories discuss every aspect of the world around us. We humans are chatterboxes and we just can't resist telling a story about just about everything. However compelling and entertaining these stories may be, they fall short of being explanations because in the end all they are is stories. For every story you can tell a different variation, or a different ending, without giving reason to choose between them. If you are skeptical or try to test the veracity of these stories you'll typically find most such stories wanting. One approach to this is forbid skeptical inquiry, branding it as heresy. This meme is so compelling that it was independently developed by cultures around the globes; it is the origin of religion—a set of stories about the world that must be accepted on faith, and never questioned.
Nathan Myhrvold
Our Constitution’s separation of church and state never meant that religion could have nothing to do with the governing of our nation. The Founders simply intended that the United States would not have an established state religion and that no one could be sanctioned by the state for being of the wrong faith. Separation of church and state does not mean, as many people inside government believe today, that religion can never be discussed when investigating a threat or interrogating a suspect. And it definitely does not mean that a subject under surveillance as a threat to American lives cannot be recorded or otherwise monitored when he steps into a mosque. If someone is suspected of being a terrorist, it matters not whether he steps into a mosque, a church, or a temple; he is still a threat and should be treated as such.
Sebastian Gorka (Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War)
Plain speaking is necessary in any discussion of religion, for if the freethinker attacks the religious dogmas with hesitation, the orthodox believer assumes that it is with regret that the freethinker would remove the crutch that supports the orthodox. And all religious beliefs are 'crutches' hindering the free locomotive efforts of an advancing humanity. There are no problems related to human progress and happiness in this age which any theology can solve, and which the teachings of freethought cannot do better and without the aid of encumbrances.
David Marshall Brooks (The Necessity Of Atheism)
William James used to preach the “will to believe.” For my part, I should wish to preach the “will to doubt.” None of our beliefs are quite true; all have at least a penumbra of vagueness and error. The methods of increasing the degree of truth in our beliefs are well known; they consist in hearing all sides, trying to ascertain all the relevant facts, controlling our own bias by discussion with people who have the opposite bias, and cultivating a readiness to disregard any hypothesis which has proved inadequate… In religion and politics, on the contrary, though there is as yet nothing approaching scientific knowledge, everybody considers it de rigueur to have a dogmatic opinion, to be backed up by inflicting starvation, prison, and war, and to be carefully guarded from argumentative competition with any different opinion.
Bertrand Russell (Free Thought and Official Propaganda)
{Wells discussing his experiences with Christianity} I realised as if for the first time, the menace of these queer shaven men in lace and petticoats who had been intoning, responding, and going through ritual gestures at me. I realised something dreadful about them. They were thrusting an incredible and ugly lie upon the world and the world was making no such resistance as I was disposed to make to this enthronement of cruelty. Either I had to come into this immense luminous coop and submit, or I had to declare the Catholic Church, the core and substance of Christendom with all its divines, sages, saints, and martyrs, with successive thousands of believers, age after age, wrong. ...I found my doubt of his essential integrity, and the shadow of contempt it cast, spreading out from him to the whole Church and religion of which he with his wild spoutings about the agonies of Hell, had become the symbol. I felt ashamed to be sitting there in such a bath of credulity.
H.G. Wells
The True Believer ignores anything that doesn't fit his belief system. Instead, he inevitably comes to hold those beliefs at a very profound level. They can become absolutely part of his identity. It is this that brings together the religious, the psychic, the cynic (as opposed to the open skeptic) and the narrow-minded of all kinds. It is something I encountered a lot among my fellow Christians. At one level it can be seen in the circular discussion which goes as follows: Why do you believe in the bible? Because it is Gods word. And why do you believe in God? Because of what it says in the bible. At a less obvious level, it can be seen in the following common exchange: Why do you believe Christianity is true? Because I have the experience of a personal relationship with God. So how do you know you're not fooling yourself? Because i know it is real. Even as an enthusiastic believer myself I could see this kind of tautology at work, and over time I realized that it is common to all forms of True Belief., regardless of the particular belief in question. The fact is, it's enormously difficult - and you need to be fantastically brave - to overcome the circularity of your own ideologies. But just because our identity might be tied up with what we believe, it doesn't make that belief any more correct. One wishes that True Believers of any sort would learn a little modesty in their convictions.
Derren Brown (Tricks of the Mind)
[Asked by an audience member at a public Q&A session] Considering that atheism cannot possibly have any sense of 'absolute morality', would it not then be an irrational leap of faith – which atheists themselves so harshly condemn – for an atheist to decide between right and wrong? [Dawkins] Absolute morality...the absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include, what, stoning people for adultery? Death for apostasy? [...] These are all things which are religiously-based absolute moralities. I don't think I want an absolute morality; I think I want a morality that is thought out, reasoned, argued, discussed, and based on – you could almost say intelligent design. [...] If you actually look at the moralities that are accepted among modern people – among 21st century people – we don't believe in slavery anymore; we believe in equality of women; we believe in being gentle; we believe in being kind to animals...these are all things which are entirely recent. They have very little basis in Biblical or Koranic scripture. They are things that have developed over historical time; through a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy. These do not come from religion. To the extent that you can find the 'good bits' in religious scriptures, you have to cherry-pick. You search your way through the Bible or the Koran, and you find the occasional verse that is an acceptable profession of morality – and you say, look at that! That's religion!...and you leave out all the horrible bits. And you say, 'Oh, we don't believe that anymore, we've grown out of that.' Well, of course we've grown out of it. We've grown out of it because of secular moral philosophy and rational discussion.
Richard Dawkins
The advisors, on the other hand, were like older brothers and sisters. My favorite was Bill Symes, who'd been a founding member of Fellowship in 1967. He was in his early twenties now and studying religion at Webster University. He had shoulders like a two-oxen yoke, a ponytail as thick as a pony's tail, and feet requiring the largest size of Earth Shoes. He was a good musician, a passionate attacker of steel acoustical guitar strings. He liked to walk into Burger King and loudly order two Whoppers with no meat. If he was losing a Spades game, he would take a card out of his hand, tell the other players, "Play this suit!" and then lick the card and stick it to his forehead facing out. In discussions, he liked to lean into other people's space and bark at them. He said, "You better deal with that!" He said, "Sounds to me like you've got a problem that you're not talking about!" He said, "You know what? I don't think you believe one word of what you just said to me!" He said, "Any resistance will be met with an aggressive response!" If you hesitated when he moved to hug you, he backed away and spread his arms wide and goggled at you with raised eyebrows, as if to say, "Hello? Are you going to hug me, or what?" If he wasn't playing guitar he was reading Jung, and if he wasn't reading Jung he was birdwatching, and if he wasn't birdwatching he was practicing tai chi, and if you came up to him during his practice and asked him how he would defend himself if you tried to mug him with a gun, he would demonstrate, in dreamy Eastern motion, how to remove a wallet from a back pocket and hand it over. Listening to the radio in his VW Bug, he might suddenly cry out, "I want to hear... 'La Grange' by ZZ Top!" and slap the dashboard. The radio would then play "La Grange.
Jonathan Franzen (The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History)
My vocation in life is to wonder about at the nature of the universe. This leads me into philosophy, psychology, religion, and mysticism, not only as subjects to be discussed but also as things to be experienced, and thus I make an at least tacit claim to be a philosopher and a mystic. Some people, therefore, expect me to be their guru or messiah or exemplar, and are extremely disconcerted when they discover my “wayward spirit” or element of irreducible rascality, and say to their friends, “How could he possibly be a genuine mystic and be so addicted to nicotine and alcohol?” Or have occasional shudders of anxiety? Or be sexually interested in women? Or lack enthusiasm for physical exercise? Or have any need for money? Such people have in mind an idealized vision of the mystic as a person wholly free from fear and attachment, who sees within and without, and on all sides, only the translucent forms of a single divine energy which is everlasting love and delight, as which and from which he effortlessly radiates peace, charity, and joy. What an enviable situation! We, too, would like to be one of those, but as we start to meditate and look into ourselves we find mostly a quaking and palpitating mess of anxiety which lusts and loathes, needs love and attention, and lives in terror of death putting an end to its misery. So we despise that mess, and look for ways of controlling it and putting “how the true mystic feels” in its place, not realizing that this ambition is simply one of the lusts of the quaking mess, and that this, in turn, is a natural form of the universe like rain and frost, slugs and snails, flies and disease. When the “true mystic” sees flies and disease as translucent forms of the divine, that does not abolish them. I—making no hard-and-fast distinction between inner and outer experience—see my quaking mess as a form of the divine, and that doesn’t abolish it either. But at least I can live with it.
Alan W. Watts (In My Own Way: An Autobiography)
It was common among Muslim scholars to discuss the delicate balance between hope and fear. If one is overwhelmed with fear, he enters a psychological state of terror that leads to despair (ya’s)— that is, despair of God’s mercy. In the past, this religious illness was common, but it is less so today because, ironically, people are not as religious as they used to be. However, some of this is still found among certain strains of evangelical Christianity that emphasize Hellfire and eternal damnation. One sect believes that only 144,000 people will be saved based on its interpretation of a passage in the Book of Revelations. Nonetheless, an overabundance of hope is a disease that leads to complacency and dampens the aspiration to do good since salvation is something guaranteed (in one’s mind, that is). According to some Christian sects that believe in unconditional salvation, one can do whatever one wills (although he or she is encouraged to do good and avoid evil) and still be saved from Hell and gain entrance to Paradise. This is based on the belief that once one accepts Jesus a personal savior, there is nothing to fear about the Hereafter. Such religiosity can sow corruption because human beings simply cannot handle being assured of Paradise without deeds that warrant salvation. Too many will serve their passions like slaves and still consider themselves saved. In Islam, faith must be coupled with good works for one’s religion to be complete. This does not contradict the sound Islamic doctrine that “God’s grace alone saves us.” There is yet another kind of hope called umniyyah, which is blameworthy in Islam. Essentially, it is having hope but neglecting the means to achieve what one hopes for, which is often referred to as an “empty wish.” One hopes to become healthier, for example, but remains sedentary and is altogether careless about diet. To hope for the Hereafter but do nothing for it in terms of conduct and morality is also false hope.
Hamza Yusuf (Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart)
If the Pentateuch be true, religious persecution is a duty. The dungeons of the Inquisition were temples, and the clank of every chain upon the limbs of heresy was music in the ear of God. If the Pentateuch was inspired, every heretic should be destroyed; and every man who advocates a fact inconsistent with the sacred book, should be consumed by sword and flame. In the Old Testament no one is told to reason with a heretic, and not one word is said about relying upon argument, upon education, nor upon intellectual development—nothing except simple brute force. Is there to-day a christian who will say that four thousand years ago, it was the duty of a husband to kill his wife if she differed with him upon the subject of religion? Is there one who will now say that, under such circumstances, the wife ought to have been killed? Why should God be so jealous of the wooden idols of the heathen? Could he not compete with Baal? Was he envious of the success of the Egyptian magicians? Was it not possible for him to make such a convincing display of his power as to silence forever the voice of unbelief? Did this God have to resort to force to make converts? Was he so ignorant of the structure of the human mind as to believe all honest doubt a crime? If he wished to do away with the idolatry of the Canaanites, why did he not appear to them? Why did he not give them the tables of the law? Why did he only make known his will to a few wandering savages in the desert of Sinai? Will some theologian have the kindness to answer these questions? Will some minister, who now believes in religious liberty, and eloquently denounces the intolerance of Catholicism, explain these things; will he tell us why he worships an intolerant God? Is a god who will burn a soul forever in another world, better than a christian who burns the body for a few hours in this? Is there no intellectual liberty in heaven? Do the angels all discuss questions on the same side? Are all the investigators in perdition? Will the penitent thief, winged and crowned, laugh at the honest folks in hell? Will the agony of the damned increase or decrease the happiness of God? Will there be, in the universe, an eternal auto da fe?
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
Whether the human mind can advance or not, is a question too little discussed, for nothing can be more dangerous than to found our social philosophy on any theory which is debatable but has not been debated. But if we assume, for the sake of argument, that there has been in the past, or will be in the future, such a thing as a growth or improvement of the human mind itself, there still remains a very sharp objection to be raised against the modern version of that improvement. The vice of the modern notion of mental progress is that it is always something concerned with the breaking of bonds, the effacing of boundaries, the casting away of dogmas. But if there be such a thing as mental growth, it must mean the growth into more and more definite convictions, into more and more dogmas. The human brain is a machine for coming to conclusions; if it cannot come to conclusions it is rusty. When we hear of a man too clever to believe, we are hearing of something having almost the character of a contradiction in terms. It is like hearing of a nail that was too good to hold down a carpet; or a bolt that was too strong to keep a door shut. Man can hardly be defined, after the fashion of Carlyle, as an animal who makes tools; ants and beavers and many other animals make tools, in the sense that they make an apparatus. Man can be defined as an animal that makes dogmas. As he piles doctrine on doctrine and conclusion on conclusion in the formation of some tremendous scheme of philosophy and religion, he is, in the only legitimate sense of which the expression is capable, becoming more and more human. When he drops one doctrine after another in a refined scepticism, when he declines to tie himself to a system, when he says that he has outgrown definitions, when he says that he disbelieves in finality, when, in his own imagination, he sits as God, holding no form of creed but contemplating all, then he is by that very process sinking slowly backwards into the vagueness of the vagrant animals and the unconsciousness of the grass. Trees have no dogmas. Turnips are singularly broad-minded. If then, I repeat, there is to be mental advance, it must be mental advance in the construction of a definite philosophy of life.
G.K. Chesterton
One of our Church educators published what he purports to be a history of the Church's stand on the question of organic evolution. His thesis challenges the integrity of a prophet of God. He suggests that Joseph Fielding Smith published his work, Man: His Origin and Destiny, against the counsel of the First Presidency and his own Brethren. This writer's interpretation is not only inaccurate, but it also runs counter to the testimony of Elder Mark E. Petersen, who wrote this foreword to Elder Smith's book, a book I would encourage all to read. Elder Petersen said: Some of us [members of the Council of the Twelve] urged [Elder Joseph Fielding Smith] to write a book on the creation of the world and the origin of man.... The present volume is the result. It is a most remarkable presentation of material from both sources [science and religion] under discussion. It will fill a great need in the Church and will be particularly invaluable to students who have become confused by the misapplication of information derived from scientific experimentation. When one understands that the author to whom I alluded is an exponent of the theory of organic evolution, his motive in disparaging President Joseph Fielding Smith becomes apparent. To hold to a private opinion on such matters is one thing, but when one undertakes to publish his views to discredit the work of a prophet, it is a very serious matter. It is also apparent to all who have the Spirit of God in them that Joseph Fielding Smith's writings will stand the test of time.
Ezra Taft Benson
{From Luther Burbank's funeral. He was loved until he revealed he was an atheist, then he began to receive death threats. He tried to amiably answer them all, leading to his death} It is impossible to estimate the wealth he has created. It has been generously given to the world. Unlike inventors, in other fields, no patent rights were given him, nor did he seek a monopoly in what he created. Had that been the case, Luther Burbank would have been perhaps the world's richest man. But the world is richer because of him. In this he found joy that no amount of money could give. And so we meet him here today, not in death, but in the only immortal life we positively know--his good deeds, his kindly, simple, life of constructive work and loving service to the whole wide world. These things cannot die. They are cumulative, and the work he has done shall be as nothing to its continuation in the only immortality this brave, unselfish man ever sought, or asked to know. As great as were his contributions to the material wealth of this planet, the ages yet to come, that shall better understand him, will give first place in judging the importance of his work to what he has done for the betterment of human plants and the strength they shall gain, through his courage, to conquer the tares, the thistles and the weeds. Then no more shall we have a mythical God that smells of brimstone and fire; that confuses hate with love; a God that binds up the minds of little children, as other heathen bind up their feet--little children equally helpless to defend their precious right to think and choose and not be chained from the dawn of childhood to the dogmas of the dead. Luther Burbank will rank with the great leaders who have driven heathenish gods back into darkness, forever from this earth. In the orthodox threat of eternal punishment for sin--which he knew was often synonymous with yielding up all liberty and freedom--and in its promise of an immortality, often held out for the sacrifice of all that was dear to life, the right to think, the right to one's mind, the right to choose, he saw nothing but cowardice. He shrank from such ways of thought as a flower from the icy blasts of death. As shown by his work in life, contributing billions of wealth to humanity, with no more return than the maintenance of his own breadline, he was too humble, too unselfish, to be cajoled with dogmatic promises of rewards as a sort of heavenly bribe for righteous conduct here. He knew that the man who fearlessly stands for the right, regardless of the threat of punishment or the promise of reward, was the real man. Rather was he willing to accept eternal sleep, in returning to the elements from whence he came, for in his lexicon change was life. Here he was content to mingle as a part of the whole, as the raindrop from the sea performs its sacred service in watering the land to which it is assigned, that two blades may grow instead of one, and then, its mission ended, goes back to the ocean from whence it came. With such service, with such a life as gardener to the lilies of the field, in his return to the bosoms of infinity, he has not lost himself. There he has found himself, is a part of the cosmic sea of eternal force, eternal energy. And thus he lived and always will live. Thomas Edison, who believes very much as Burbank, once discussed with me immortality. He pointed to the electric light, his invention, saying: 'There lives Tom Edison.' So Luther Burbank lives. He lives forever in the myriad fields of strengthened grain, in the new forms of fruits and flowers, plants, vines, and trees, and above all, the newly watered gardens of the human mind, from whence shall spring human freedom that shall drive out false and brutal gods. The gods are toppling from their thrones. They go before the laughter and the joy of the new childhood of the race, unshackled and unafraid.
Benjamin Barr Lindsey
Does God get what God wants? That’s a good question. An interesting question. And it’s an important question that has given us much to discuss. But there’s a better question. One that we actually can answer. One that takes all of the speculation about the future, which no one has been to and returned with hard empirical evidence, and brings it back to one absolute we can depend on in the midst of all of this which turns out to be another question. It’s not, “Does God get what God wants?” but “Do we get what we want?” and the answer to that is a resounding, affirming, sure and certain yes. Yes, we get what we want, God is that loving. If we want isolation, despair, and the right to be our own god, God graciously grants us that option. If we insist on using our God-given power and strength to make the world in our own image, God allows us that freedom and we have that kind of license to do that. If we want nothing to do with light, love, hope, grace, and peace God respects that desire on our part and we are given a life free from any of those realities. The more we want nothing to do with what God is, the more distance and space is created. If we want nothing to do with love, we are given a reality free from love. If, however, we crave light, we’re drawn to truth, we’re desperate for grace, we’ve come to the end of our plots and schemes and we want someone else’s path, God gives us what we want. If we have this sense that we have wandered far from home and we want to return, God is there standing in the driveway arms open, ready to invite us in. If we thirst for Shalom and we long for the peace that transcends all understanding, God doesn’t just give, they are poured out on us lavishly, heaped until we are overwhelmed. It’s like a feast where the food and wine do not run out. These desires can start with the planting of an infinitesimally small seed in our heart, or a yearning for life to be better, or a gnawing sense that we are missing out, or an awareness that beyond the routine and grind of life there is something more, or the quiet hunch that this isn’t all there is. It often has it’s birth in the most unexpected ways, arising out of our need for something we know we do not have, for someone we know we are not. And to that, that impulse, craving, yearning, longing, desire God says, “Yes!”. Yes there is water for that thirst, food for that hunger, light for that darkness, relief for that burden. If we want hell, if we want heaven then they are ours. that’s how love works, it can’t be forced, manipulated, or coerced. It always leaves room for the other to decide. God says, “yes”, we can have what we want because love wins.
Rob Bell (Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived)
Now everyone knows that to try to say something in the mainstream Western media that is critical of U.S. policy or Israel is extremely difficult; conversely, to say things that are hostile to the Arabs as a people and culture, or Islam as a religion, is laughably easy. For in effect there is a cultural war between spokespersons for the West and those of the Muslim and Arab world. In so inflamed a situation, the hardest thing to do as an intellectual is to be critical, to refuse to adopt a rhetorical style that is the verbal equivalent of carpet-bombing, and to focus instead on those issues like U.S. support for unpopular client re­gimes, which for a person writing in the U.S. are somewhat more likely to be affected by critical discussion. Of course, on the other hand, there is a virtual cer­tainty of getting an audience if as an Arab intellectual you passionately, even slavishly support U.S. policy, you attack its critics, and if they happen to be Arabs, you invent evi­dence to show their villainy; if they are American you confect stories and situations that prove their duplicity; you spin out stories concerning Arabs and Muslims that have the effect of defaming their tradition, defacing their history, accentuating their weaknesses, of which of course there are plenty. Above all, you attack the officially ap­ proved enemies-Saddam Hussein, Baathism, Arab na­tionalism, the Palestinian movement, Arab views of Israel. And of course this earns you the expected accolades: you are characterized as courageous, you are outspoken and passionate, and on and on. The new god of course is the West. Arabs, you say, should try to be more like the West, should regard the West as a source and a reference point. · Gone is the history of what the West actually did. Gone are the Gulf War's destructive results. We Arabs and Mus­lims are the sick ones, our problems are our own, totally self-inflicted. A number of things stand out about these kinds of performance. In the first place, there is no universalism here at all. Because you serve a god uncritically, all the devils are always on the other side: this was as true when you were a Trotskyist as it i's now when you are a recanting former Trotskyist. You do not think of politics in terms of interrelationships or of common histories such as, for instance, the long and complicated dynamic that has bound the Arabs and Muslims to the West and vice versa. Real intellectual analysis forbids calling one side innocent, the other evil. Indeed the notion of a side is, where cultures are at issue, highly problematic, since most cultures aren't watertight little packages, all homogenous, and all either good or evil. But if your eye is on your patron, you cannot think as an intellectual, but only as a disciple or acolyte. In the back of your mind there is the thought that you must please and not displease.
Edward W. Said (Representations of the Intellectual)
I now turn to a *subjective* consideration that belongs here; yet I can give even less distinctness to it than to the objective consideration just discussed, for I shall be able to express it only by image and simile. Why is our consciousness brighter and more distinct the farther it reaches outwards, so that its greatest clearness lies in sense perception, which already half belongs to things outside us; and, on the other hand, becomes more obscure as we go inwards, and leads, when followed to its innermost recesses, into a darkness in which all knowledge ceases? Because, I say, consciousness presupposes *individuality*; but this belongs to the mere phenomenon, since, as the plurality of the homogeneous, it is conditioned by the forms of the phenomenon, time and space. On the other hand, our inner nature has its root in what is no longer phenomenon but thing-in-itself, to which therefore the forms of the phenomenon do not reach; and in this way, the chief conditions of individuality are wanting, and distinct consciousness ceases therewith. In this root-point of existence the difference of beings ceases, just as that of the radii of a sphere ceases at the centre. As in the sphere the surface is produced by the radii ending and breaking off, so consciousness is possible only where the true inner being runs out into the phenomenon. Through the forms of the phenomenon separate individuality becomes possible, and on this individuality rests consciousness, which is on this account confined to phenomena. Therefore everything distinct and really intelligible in our consciousness always lies only outwards on this surface on the sphere. But as soon as we withdraw entirely from this, consciousness forsakes us―in sleep, in death, and to a certain extent also in magnetic or magic activity; for all these lead through the centre. But just because distinct consciousness, as being conditioned by the surface of the sphere, is not directed towards the centre, it recognizes other individuals certainly as of the same kind, but not as identical, which, however, they are in themselves. Immortality of the individual could be compared to the flying off at a tangent of a point on the surface; but immortality, by virtue of the eternity of the true inner being of the whole phenomenon, is comparable to the return of that point on the radius to the centre, whose mere extension is the surface. The will as thing-in-itself is entire and undivided in every being, just as the centre is an integral part of every radius; whereas the peripheral end of this radius is in the most rapid revolution with the surface that represents time and its content, the other end at the centre where eternity lies, remains in profoundest peace, because the centre is the point whose rising half is no different from the sinking half. Therefore, it is said also in the *Bhagavad-Gita*: *Haud distributum animantibus, et quasi distributum tamen insidens, animantiumque sustentaculum id cognoscendum, edax et rursus genitale* (xiii, 16, trans. Schlegel) [Undivided it dwells in beings, and yet as it were divided; it is to be known as the sustainer, annihilator, and producer of beings]. Here, of course, we fall into mystical and metaphorical language, but it is the only language in which anything can be said about this wholly transcendent theme.
Arthur Schopenhauer (The World as Will and Representation, Volume II)
{The final resolutions at Robert Ingersoll's funeral, quoted here} Whereas, in the order of nature -- that nature which moves with unerring certainty in obedience to fixed laws -- Robert G. Ingersoll has gone to that repose which we call death. We, his old friends and fellow-citizens, who have shared his friendship in the past, hereby manifest the respect due his memory. At a time when everything impelled him to conceal his opinions or to withhold their expression, when the highest honors of the state were his if he would but avoid discussion of the questions that relate to futurity, he avowed his belief; he did not bow his knee to superstition nor countenance a creed which his intellect dissented. Casting aside all the things for which men most sigh -- political honor, the power to direct the futures of the state, riches and emoluments, the association of the worldly and the well- to-do -- he stood forth and expressed his honest doubts, and he welcomed the ostracism that came with it, as a crown of glory, no less than did the martyrs of old. Even this self-sacrifice has been accounted shame to him, saying that he was urged thereto by a desire for financial gain, when at the time he made his stand there was before him only the prospect of loss and the scorn of the public. We, therefore, who know what a struggle it was to cut loose from his old associations, and what it meant to him at that time, rejoice in his triumph and in the plaudits that came to him from thus boldly avowing his opinions, and we desire to record the fact that we feel that he was greater than a saint, greater than a mere hero -- he was a thoroughly honest man. He was a believer, not in the narrow creed of a past barbarous age, but a true believer in all that men ought to hold sacred, the sanctity of the home, the purity of friendship, and the honesty of the individual. He was not afraid to advocate the fact that eternal truth was eternal justice; he was not afraid of the truth, nor to avow that he owed allegiance to it first of all, and he was willing to suffer shame and condemnation for its sake. The laws of the universe were his bible; to do good, his religion, and he was true to his creed. We therefore commend his life, for he was the apostle of the fireside, the evangel of justice and love and charity and happiness. We who knew him when he first began his struggle, his old neighbors and friends, rejoice at the testimony he has left us, and we commend his life and efforts as worthy of emulation.
Herman E. Kittredge (Ingersoll: A Biographical Appreciation (1911))