If God Permits Quotes

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Gaze into the fire, into the clouds, and as soon as the inner voices begin to speak... surrender to them. Don't ask first whether it's permitted, or would please your teachers or father or some god. You will ruin yourself if you do that.
Hermann Hesse (Demian. Die Geschichte von Emil Sinclairs Jugend)
Now and then we had a hope that if we lived and were good, God would permit us to be pirates.
Mark Twain (Life on the Mississippi)
Without God all things are permitted.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
The poor man shuddered, overflowed with an angelic joy; he declared in his transport that this would last through life; he said to himself that he really had not suffered enough to deserve such radiant happiness, and he thanked God, in the depths of his soul, for having permitted that he, a miserable man, should be so loved by this innocent being.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
A person who...does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God, must be a clodhopper indeed and does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs." [Foreward to Georg Rhau's (1488-1548) Collection Symphoniae iucundae, 1538]
Martin Luther
It was my first clue that atheists are my brothers and sisters of a different faith. Like me, they go as far as the legs of reason will carry them - and then they leap. I'll be honest about it. It is not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics. Doubt is useful for awhile. We must all pass through the garden of Gethsemane. If Christ played with doubt, so must we. If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.
Yann Martel (Life of Pi)
How could a just God permit great misery? The Haitian peasants answered with a proverb: "Bondye konn bay, men li pa konn separe," in literal translation, "God gives but doesn't share." This meant... God gives us humans everything we need to flourish, but he's not the one who's supposed to divvy up the loot. That charge was laid upon us.
Tracy Kidder
Don't be more serious than God. God invented dog farts. God designed your body's plumbing system. God designed an ostrich. If He didn't do it, He permitted a drunken angel to do it. Empirical facts can add significantly to the meaning of "being godlike".
Peter Kreeft (Before I Go: Letters to Our Children About What Really Matters)
He said to himself that he really had not suffered enough to deserve such radiant happiness, and he thanked God, in the depths of his soul, for having permitted that he, a miserable man, should be so loved by this innocent being." Jean Valjean about Cossette
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
We see our sins reflected everywhere: in the pallor of our intimates’ faces, in the scratching of tree branches against windows, in the strange movements of everyday objects. These may be messages from God or tricks of the eye, but in neither case are we permitted to ignore them.
Anna Godbersen (The Luxe (Luxe, #1))
That kind of tenderness couldn't be permitted to last. You only got a taste, enough to know what perfection meant, and then you paid for it the rest of your life. Like the guy chained to a rock, who stole fire. The gods made an eagle eat his liver for all eternity. You paid for every second of beauty you managed to steal.
Janet Fitch (Paint it Black)
Well, it is a particular sin to permit grief for what is gone to poison the praise for what blessings remain to us.
Lois McMaster Bujold (The Curse of Chalion (World of the Five Gods, #1))
Remember, love is all a woman has to give, but it is the only thing which God permits us to carry beyond the grave.
Theodore Dreiser (A Sister Carrie Portfolio)
I'll be honest about it. It is not atheists who get stuck in my craw, but agnostics. Doubt is useful for a while. We must all pass through the garden of Gethsemane. If Christ played with doubt, so must we. If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if He burst out from the Cross, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' then surely we are also permitted doubt. But we must move on. To choose doubt as a philosophy of life is akin to choosing immobility as a means of transportation.
Yann Martel
If there is no God, Not everything is permitted to man. He is still his brother's keeper And he is not permitted to sadden his brother, By saying there is no God.
Czesław Miłosz
If there's no God, all is permitted.
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Until every soul is freely permitted to investigate every book, and creed, and dogma for itself, the world cannot be free. Mankind will be enslaved until there is mental grandeur enough to allow each man to have his thought and say. This earth will be a paradise when men can, upon all these questions differ, and yet grasp each other's hands as friends. It is amazing to me that a difference of opinion upon subjects that we know nothing with certainty about, should make us hate, persecute, and despise each other. Why a difference of opinion upon predestination, or the trinity, should make people imprison and burn each other seems beyond the comprehension of man; and yet in all countries where Christians have existed, they have destroyed each other to the exact extent of their power. Why should a believer in God hate an atheist? Surely the atheist has not injured God, and surely he is human, capable of joy and pain, and entitled to all the rights of man. Would it not be far better to treat this atheist, at least, as well as he treats us? Christians tell me that they love their enemies, and yet all I ask is—not that they love their enemies, not that they love their friends even, but that they treat those who differ from them, with simple fairness. We do not wish to be forgiven, but we wish Christians to so act that we will not have to forgive them. If all will admit that all have an equal right to think, then the question is forever solved; but as long as organized and powerful churches, pretending to hold the keys of heaven and hell, denounce every person as an outcast and criminal who thinks for himself and denies their authority, the world will be filled with hatred and suffering. To hate man and worship God seems to be the sum of all the creeds.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell.
Thomas Aquinas
The difficulties of life do not have to be unbearable. It is the way we look at them - through faith or unbelief - that makes them seem so. We must be convinced that our Father is full of love for us and that He only permits trials to come our way for our own good. Let us occupy ourselves entirely in knowing God. The more we know Him, the more we will desire to know Him. As love increases with knowledge, the more we know God, the more we will truly love Him. We will learn to love Him equally in times of distress or in times of great joy.
Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God)
Deep hearts, sage minds, take life as God has made it; it is a long trial, an incomprehensible preparation for an unknown destiny. This destiny, the true one, begins for a man with the first step inside the tomb. Then something appears to him, and he begins to distinguish the definitive. The definitive, meditate upon that word. The living perceive the infinite; the definitive permits itself to be seen only by the dead. In the meanwhile, love and suffer, hope and contemplate. Woe, alas! to him who shall have loved only bodies, forms, appearances! Death will deprive him of all. Try to love souls, you will find them again.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
The orthodox tend to think that people who, like the postmodernists and me, believe neither in God nor in some suitable substitute, must feel that everything is permitted, that everybody can do what they like.
Richard Rorty
If you will tell me when God permits a Christian to lay aside his armour, I will tell you when Satan has left off temptation. Like the old knights in war time, we must sleep with helmet and breastplate buckled on, for the arch-deceiver will seize our first unguarded hour to make us his prey. The Lord keep us watchful in all seasons, and give us a final escape from the jaw of the lion and the paw of the bear.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Morning and Evening, Based on the English Standard Version)
I told you, in my last, that He sometimes permits bodily diseases to cure the distempers of the soul. Have courage then: make a virtue of necessity: ask of GOD, not deliverance from your pains, but strength to bear resolutely, for the love of Him, all that He should please, and as long as He shall please.
Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God)
If God permits virtue to be persecuted on earth, it is not for us to question his intentions. It may be that his rewards are held over for another life, for is it not true as written in Holy Scripture that the Lord chastenenth only the righteous! And after all, is not virtue it's own reward?
Marquis de Sade (Justine, Philosophy in the Bedroom, and Other Writings)
The point is that if there is no God, then objective right and wrong do not exist. As Dostoyevsky said, “All things are permitted.
William Lane Craig (On Guard: Defending Your Faith with Reason and Precision)
When she looked at herself in her wedding photographs, Ammu felt the woman that looked back at her was someone else. A foolish jewelled bride. Her silk sunset-coloured sari shot with gold. Rings on every finger. White dots of sandalwood paste over her arched eye-brows. Looking at herself like this, Ammu's soft mouth would twist into a small, bitter smile at the memory - not of the wedding itself so much as the fact that she had permitted herself to be so painstakingly decorated before being led to the gallows. It seemed so absurd. So futile. Like polishing firewood.
Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
We have made men proud of most vices, but not of cowardice. Whenever we have almost succeeded in doing so, God permits a war or an earthquake or some other calamity, and at once courage becomes so obviously lovely and important even in human eyes that all our work is undone, and there is still at least one vice of which they feel genuine shame. The danger of inducing cowardice in our patients, therefore, is lest we produce real self-knowledge and self-loathing, with consequent repentance and humility.
C.S. Lewis (The Screwtape Letters)
God is good, and I love Him. Right now, God is permitting a very hard thing. Why, I don't know, but I still trust Him.
Dee Henderson
Some communities don't permit open, honest inquiry about the things that matter most. Lots of people have voiced a concern, expressed a doubt, or raised a question, only to be told by their family, church, friends, or tribe: "We don't discuss those things here." I believe the discussion itself is divine. Abraham does his best to bargain with God, most of the book of Job consists of arguments by Job and his friends about the deepest questions of human suffering, God is practically on trial in the book of Lamentations, and Jesus responds to almost every question he's asked with...a question.
Rob Bell (Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived)
If a society permits one portion of its citizenry to be menaced or destroyed, then, very soon, no one in that society is safe. The forces thus released in the people can never be held in check, but run their devouring course, destroying the very foundations which it was imagined they would save. But we are unbelievably ignorant concerning what goes on in our country--to say nothing of what goes on in the rest of the world--and appear to have become too timid to question what we are told. Our failure to trust one another deeply enough to be able to talk to one another has become so great that people with these questions in their hearts do not speak them; our opulence is so pervasive that people who are afraid to lose whatever they think they have persuade themselves of the truth of a lie, and help disseminate it; and God help the innocent here, that man or womn who simply wants to love, and be loved. Unless this would-be lover is able to replace his or her backbone with a steel rod, he or she is doomed. This is no place for love. I know that I am now expected to make a bow in the direction of those millions of unremarked, happy marriages all over America, but I am unable honestly to do so because I find nothing whatever in our moral and social climate--and I am now thinking particularly of the state of our children--to bear witness to their existence. I suspect that when we refer to these happy and so marvelously invisible people, we are simply being nostalgic concerning the happy, simple, God-fearing life which we imagine ourselves once to have lived. In any case, wherever love is found, it unfailingly makes itself felt in the individual, the personal authority of the individual. Judged by this standard, we are a loveless nation. The best that can be said is that some of us are struggling. And what we are struggling against is that death in the heart which leads not only to the shedding of blood, but which reduces human beings to corpses while they live.
James Baldwin (Nothing Personal)
The flaw in being civilized is that it permit’s the uncivilized among us to perpetrate horrific crimes against us in the name of freedom and equality. Foreword 'RHG
M.J. Croan (Right Hand Up To God: No More Will Die)
I believe that many a time trouble and sorrow are permitted to come to us that we may see the face of God, and be shut up to trust in Him alone.
Dwight L. Moody (Men of the Bible)
...What I have denied and what my reason compels me to deny, is the existence of a Being throned above us as a god, directing our mundane affairs in detail, regarding us as individuals, punishing us, rewarding us as human judges might. When the churches learn to take this rational view of things, when they become true schools of ethics and stop teaching fables, they will be more effective than they are to-day... If they would turn all that ability to teaching this one thing – the fact that honesty is best, that selfishness and lies of any sort must surely fail to produce happiness – they would accomplish actual things. Religious faiths and creeds have greatly hampered our development. They have absorbed and wasted some fine intellects. That creeds are getting to be less and less important to the average mind with every passing year is a good sign, I think, although I do not wish to talk about what is commonly called theology. The criticisms which have been hurled at me have not worried me. A man cannot control his beliefs. If he is honest in his frank expression of them, that is all that can in justice be required of him. Professor Thomson and a thousand others do not in the least agree with me. His criticism of me, as I read it, charged that because I doubted the soul’s immortality, or ‘personality,’ as he called it, my mind must be abnormal, ‘pathological,’ in other, words, diseased... I try to say exactly what I honestly believe to be the truth, and more than that no man can do. I honestly believe that creedists have built up a mighty structure of inaccuracy, based, curiously, on those fundamental truths which I, with every honest man, must not alone admit but earnestly acclaim. I have been working on the same lines for many years. I have tried to go as far as possible toward the bottom of each subject I have studied. I have not reached my conclusions through study of traditions; I have reached them through the study of hard fact. I cannot see that unproved theories or sentiment should be permitted to have influence in the building of conviction upon matters so important. Science proves its theories or it rejects them. I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. I earnestly believe that I am right; I cannot help believing as I do... I cannot accept as final any theory which is not provable. The theories of the theologians cannot be proved. Proof, proof! That is what I always have been after; that is what my mind requires before it can accept a theory as fact. Some things are provable, some things disprovable, some things are doubtful. All the problems which perplex us, now, will, soon or late, be solved, and solved beyond a question through scientific investigation. The thing which most impresses me about theology is that it does not seem to be investigating. It seems to be asserting, merely, without actual study. ...Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now. [Columbian Magazine interview]
Thomas A. Edison
God bids you not to commit lechery, that is, not to have sex with any woman except your wife. You ask of her that she should not have sex with anyone except you -- yet you are not willing to observe the same restraint in return. Where you ought to be ahead of your wife in virtue, you collapse under the onset of lechery. ... Complaints are always being made about men's lechery, yet wives do not dare to find fault with their husbands for it. Male lechery is so brazen and so habitual that it is now sanctioned [= permitted], to the extent that men tell their wives that lechery and adultery are legitimate for men but not for women.
Augustine of Hippo (Sermons 1-19 (Vol. III/1) (The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century))
As long as there is one person suffering an injustice; as long as one person is forced to bear an unnecessary sorrow; as long as one person is subject to an undeserved pain, the worship of a God is a demoralizing humiliation. As long as there is one mistake in the universe; as long as one wrong is permitted to exist; as long as there is hatred and antagonism among mankind, the existence of a God is a moral impossibility. Ingersoll said: 'Injustice upon earth renders the justice of of heaven impossible.
Joseph Lewis (An Atheist Manifesto)
But you'd get arguments from all kinds of people that the Bible has got to be perfect. That God would not permit such errors to be made in the Holy Word." "I thought God gave everyone free will. Which would presumably - and evidently - include the freedom to be incorrect when translating one language into another." "Stop making me think. I'm believing over here.
Jim Butcher (White Night (The Dresden Files, #9))
God judged it better to bring good out of evil than to permit no evil to exist.
Augustine of Hippo
The existentialist, on the contrary, finds it extremely embarrassing that God does not exist, for there disappears with Him all possibility of finding values in an intelligible heaven. There can no longer be any good a priori, since there is no infinite and perfect consciousness to think it. It is nowhere written that “the good” exists, that one must be honest or must not lie, since we are now upon the plane where there are only men. Dostoevsky once wrote: “If God did not exist, everything would be permitted”; and that, for existentialism, is the starting point. Everything is indeed permitted if God does not exist, and man is in consequence forlorn, for he cannot find anything to depend upon either within or outside himself. He discovers forthwith, that he is without excuse.
Jean-Paul Sartre (Existentialism is a Humanism)
There are no obstacles which our Savior’s love cannot overcome. The High Places of victory and union with Christ can be reached by learning to accept, day by day, the actual conditions and tests permitted by God, by laying down of our own will and accepting His. The lessons of accepting and triumphing over evil, of becoming acquainted with grief, and pain, and of finding them transformed into something incomparably precious; these are the lessons of the allegory in this book.
Hannah Hurnard (Hinds Feet on High Places)
Next to the word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. It controls our hearts, minds and spirits. A person who does not regard music as a marvelous creation of God does not deserve to be called a human being; he should be permitted to hear nothing but the braying of asses and the grunting of hogs!
Martin Luther
Accustom yourself to unreasonableness and injustice. Abide in peace in the presence of God Who sees all these evils more clearly than you do, and Who permits them. Be content with doing with calmness the little which depends upon yourself, and let all else be to you as if it were naught.
François Fénelon
If God had not permitted the people of Jerusalem to be torn asunder and driven them from the land, but had let them keep it after before, no one could convince them that they are not God`s chosen people.
Martin Luther (The Jews and Their Lies)
Before we can minister to others, we must permit God to minister to us.
Warren W. Wiersbe (Be Comforted (Isaiah): Feeling Secure in the Arms of God)
If a dream can tell the future it can also thwart that future. For God will not permit that we shall know what is to come. He is bound to no one that the world unfold just so upon its course and those who by some sorcery or by some dream might come to pierce the veil that lies so darkly over all that is before them may serve by just that vision to cause that God should wrench the world from its heading and set it upon another course altogether and then where stands the sorcerer? Where the dreamer and his dream?
Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
The most detestable wickedness, the most horrid cruelties, and the greatest miseries, that have afflicted the human race have had their origin in this thing called revelation, or revealed religion. It has been the most dishonourable belief against the character of the divinity, the most destructive to morality, and the peace and happiness of man, that ever was propagated since man began to exist. It is better, far better, that we admitted, if it were possible, a thousand devils to roam at large, and to preach publicly the doctrine of devils, if there were any such, than that we permitted one such impostor and monster as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and the Bible prophets, to come with the pretended word of God in his mouth, and have credit among us. Whence arose all the horrid assassinations of whole nations of men, women, and infants, with which the Bible is filled; and the bloody persecutions, and tortures unto death and religious wars, that since that time have laid Europe in blood and ashes; whence arose they, but from this impious thing called revealed religion, and this monstrous belief that God has spoken to man? The lies of the Bible have been the cause of the one, and the lies of the Testament of the other.
Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)
The more we believe that God hurts only to heal, the less we can believe that there is any use in begging for tenderness. A cruel man might be bribed...But suppose that what you are up against is a surgeon whose intentions are wholly good. The kinder and more conscientious he is, the more inexorably he will go on cutting. If he yielded to your entreaties, if he stopped before the operation was complete, all the pain up to that point would have been useless. But is it credible that such extremities of torture should be necessary for us? Well, take your choice. The tortures occur. If they are unnecessary, then there is no God or a bad one. If there is a good God, then these tortures are necessary. For no even moderately good Being could possibly inflict or permit them if they weren't. Either way, we're for it.
C.S. Lewis
With God’s help, good cheer permits us to rise above the depressing present or difficult circumstances. … It is sunshine when clouds block the light. Ensign, May 1986
Marvin J. Ashton
The greatest barrier I have met is the almost total absence from the minds of my audience of any sense of sin... The early Christian preachers could assume in their hearers, whether Jews, Metuentes, or Pagans, a sense of guilt. (That this was common among Pagans is shown by the fact that both Epicureanism and the mystery religions both claimed, though in different ways, to assuage it.) Thus the Christian message was in those days unmistakably the Evangelium, the Good News. It promised healing to those who knew they were sick. We have to convince our hearers of the unwelcome diagnosis before we can expect them to welcome the news of the remedy. The ancient man approached God (or even the gods) as the accused person approaches his judge. For the modern man, the roles are quite reversed. He is the judge: God is in the dock. He is quite a kindly judge; if God should have a reasonable defense for being the god who permits war, poverty, and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the important thing is that man is on the bench and God is in the dock.
C.S. Lewis (God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics)
People in general know not what wickedness there is in this pretended word of God. Brought up in habits of superstition, they take it for granted that the Bible is true, and that it is good; they permit themselves not to doubt of it, and they carry the ideas they form of the benevolence of the Almighty to the book which they have been taught to believe was written by his authority. Good heavens! it is quite another thing, it is a book of lies, wickedness, and blasphemy.
Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason)
Chacko had been a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and was permitted excesses and eccentricities nobody else was. He claimed to be writing a Family Biography that the Family would have to pay him not to publish. Ammu said that there was only one person in the family who was a fit candidate for biographical blackmail and that was Chacko himself.
Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
Since God has given it such great dignity, permitting it to wander at will through the rooms of the castle, from the lowest to the highest. Let it not force itself to remain for very long in the same mansion, even the one of self-knowledge.
Teresa de Ávila (Interior Mansions (Women of Faith Book 1))
Let the water flow beneath the bridge; let men be men, that is to say, weak, vain, inconstant, unjust, false, and presumptuous; let the world be the world still; you cannot prevent it. Let every one follow his own inclination and habits; you cannot recast them, and the best course is, to let them be as they are and bear with them. Do not think it strange when you witness unreasonableness and injustice; rest in peace in the bosom of God; He sees it all more clearly than you do, and yet permits it. Be content to do quietly and gently what it becomes you to do, and let everything else be to you as though it were not.
François Fénelon (Spiritual Letters Of Fenelon)
Good cheer is a state of mind or mood that promotes happiness or joy... With God’s help, good cheer permits us to rise above the depressing present or difficult circumstances. It is a process of positive reassurance and reinforcement. It is sunshine when clouds block the light.
Marvin J. Ashton
Mysticism keeps men sane. As long as you have mystery you have health; when you destroy mystery you create morbidity. The ordinary man has always been sane because the ordinary man has always been a mystic. He has permitted the twilight. He has always had one foot in earth and the other in fairyland. He has always left himself free to doubt his gods; but (unlike the agnostic of to-day) free also to believe in them. He has always cared more for truth than for consistency. If he saw two truths that seemed to contradict each other, he would take the two truths and contradiction along with them. His spiritual sight is stereoscopic, like his physical sight: he sees two different pictures at once and yet sees all the better for that. Thus, he has always believed that there was such a thing as fate, but such a thing as free will also. Thus, he believes that children were indeed the kingdom of heaven, but nevertheless ought to be obedient to the kingdom of earth. He admired youth because it was young and age because it was not. It is exactly this balance of apparent contradictions that has been the whole buoyancy of the healthy man. The whole secret of mysticism is this: that man can understand everything by the help of what he does not understand. The morbid logician seeks to make everything lucid, and succeeds in making everything mysterious. The mystic allows one thing to be mysterious, and everything else becomes lucid.
G.K. Chesterton
Fear corrodes our confidence in God's goodness. We begin to wonder if love lives in heaven. If God can sleep in our storms, if his eyes stay shut when our eyes grow wide, if he permits storms after we got on his boat, does he care? Fear unleashes a swarm of doubts, anger-stirring doubts. Fear at its center, is a perceived loss of control.
Max Lucado (Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear)
I have you – a god of mixed heritage – on an expedition that could unleash the Destroyer from her hole. Arikos, another god, on the same team who is masquerading as a human. The demigod Solin, who I have to ride herd on constantly anyway, who gave them their permits. Megeara, a human who is sensitive and subjective to the voices of the gods. And the pissed-off goddess, Apollymi, who will do anything to be free, and once free wouldn’t hesitate to destroy every one of us. I can’t imagine why I’m concerned over this, can you? (ZT)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (The Dream-Hunter (Dark-Hunter, #10; Dream-Hunter, #1))
Genuine trust involves allowing another to matter and have an impact in our lives. For that reason, many who hate and do battle with God trust Him more deeply than those whose complacent faith permits an abstract and motionless stance before Him. Those who trust God most are those whose faith permits them to risk wrestling with Him over the deepest questions of life. Good hearts are captured in a divine wrestling match; fearful, doubting hearts stay clear of the mat.
Dan B. Allender (The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse with Bonus Content)
Then, turning to his sister: "Sister, never a precaution on the part of the priest, against his fellow-man. That which his fellow does, God permits. Let us confine ourselves to prayer, when we think that a danger is approaching us. Let us pray, not for ourselves, but that our brother may not fall into sin on our account.
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
Satan is too hard a master. He would never command as did the Other with divine simplicity: 'Do likewise.' The devil will have no victims resemble him. He permits only a rough caricature, impotent, abject, which has to serve as food for eternal irony, the mordant irony of the depths.
Georges Bernanos (The Diary of a Country Priest)
Have you ever stopped to think in your own personal life why God permits certain people to cross your path? Do you wish that you had never met certain people? Are there people whom you would call your enemies? Someone may have caused you sorrow, but it is all for His purpose. God has permitted all that for a particular purpose. Learn to recognize the hand of God in your life.
J. Vernon McGee (Jeremiah and Lamentations)
Beloved, are you being sifted? Has God permitted the enemy to launch a full-scale attack against you? God knows what He's doing. He isn't looking the other way, and He's not being mean to you. Maybe this is the only way He can get you to attend to the old so He can do something new. Grab onto Him for dear life! Give Him full reign to remove anything in you that needs to go. Hasten the end of the process. Sift, dear one. Sift!
Beth Moore (When Godly People Do Ungodly Things: Finding Authentic Restoration in the Age of Seduction)
He said to himself that he really had not suffered enough to deserve such radiant happiness, and he thanked God, in the depths of his soul, for having permitted that he, a miserable man, should be so loved by this innocent being." -Jean Valjean about Cossette-
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
We are not perfect. What god is Examine yours. According to your mythos he was so disappointed with his initial efforts creating your race that he tried again. At least we imprisoned our mistakes. Your god permits his to roam free. At a mere few thousand years old your creation myths are far more absurd than ours.
Karen Marie Moning (Shadowfever (Fever, #5))
No one is adequate to comprehending the misery of my lot! Fate obliges me to be constantly in movement: I am not permitted to pass more than a fortnight in the same place. I have no Friend in the world, and from the restlessness of my destiny I never can acquire one. Fain would I lay down my miserable life, for I envy those who enjoy the quiet of the Grave: But Death eludes me, and flies from my embrace. In vain do I throw myself in the way of danger. I plunge into the Ocean; The Waves throw me back with abhorrence upon the shore: I rush into fire; The flames recoil at my approach: I oppose myself to the fury of Banditti; Their swords become blunted, and break against my breast: The hungry Tiger shudders at my approach, and the Alligator flies from a Monster more horrible than itself. God has set his seal upon me, and all his Creatures respect this fatal mark!
Matthew Gregory Lewis (The Monk)
This is how we recognize the man who has tendencies toward an inner quest: he will set failure above any success, he will even seek it out, unconsciously of course. This is because failure, always essential, reveals us to ourselves, permits us to see ourselves as God sees us, whereas success distances us from what is most inward in ourselves and indeed in everything.
Emil M. Cioran (The Trouble With Being Born)
Do not grieve over temptations you suffer. When the Lord intends to bestow a particular virtue on us, He often permits us first to be tempted by the opposite vice. Therefore, look upon every temptation as an invitation to grown in a particular virtue and a promise by God that you will be successful, if only you stand fast.
Philip Neri
This book is dedicated to the Ancient Ones, to the Lord of Abominations, Humwawa, whose face is a mass of entrails, whose breath is the stench of dung and the perfume of death, Dark Angel of all that is excreted and sours, Lord of Decay, Lord of the Future, who rides on a whispering south wind, to Pazuzu, Lord of Fevers and Plagues, Dark Angel of the Four Winds with rotting genitals from which he howls through sharpened teeth over stricken cities, to Kutulu, the Sleeping Serpent who cannot be summoned, to the Akhkharu, who such the blood of men since they desire to become men, to the Lalussu, who haunt the places of men, to Gelal and Lilit, who invade the beds of men and whose children are born in secret places, to Addu, raiser of storms who can fill the night sky with brightness, to Malah, Lord of Courage and Bravery, to Zahgurim, whose number is twenty-three and who kills in an unnatural fashion, to Zahrim, a warrior among warriors, to Itzamna, Spirit of Early Mists and Showers, to Ix Chel, the Spider-Web-that-Catches-the-Dew-of-Morning, to Zuhuy Kak, Virgin Fire, to Ah Dziz, the Master of Cold, to Kak U Pacat, who works in fire, to Ix Tab, Goddess of Ropes and Snares, patroness of those who hang themselves, to Schmuun, the Silent One, twin brother of Ix Tab, to Xolotl the Unformed, Lord of Rebirth, to Aguchi, Master of Ejaculations, to Osiris and Amen in phallic form, to Hex Chun Chan, the Dangerous One, to Ah Pook, the Destroyer, to the Great Old One and the Star Beast, to Pan, God of Panic, to the nameless gods of dispersal and emptiness, to Hassan i Sabbah, Master of Assassins. To all the scribes and artists and practitioners of magic through whom these spirits have been manifested…. NOTHING IS TRUE. EVERYTHING IS PERMITTED.
William S. Burroughs (Cities of the Red Night (The Red Night Trilogy, #1))
In this country, in one way or another, everyone had bean, was, or would be part of the regime. "The worst thing that can happen to a Dominican is to be intelligent or competent," he had once heard Agustín Cabral say ...and the words had been etched in his mind: "Because sooner or later Trujillo will call upon him to serve the regime, or his person, and when he calls, one is not permitted to say no." [Agustín Cabral] was proof of this truth....As Estrella Sadhalá always said, the Goat had taken from people the sacred attribute given to them by God: their free will.
Mario Vargas Llosa (The Feast of the Goat)
The flower, as he saw it, ruled over evil; it absorbed in itself all innocently shed blood (that is why it is so red) all tears and all the gall of humanity. It was an awful and mysterious being, the antitheses of God, an Ahriman presenting a most unassuming and innocent appearance. It was necessary to break it off and kill it. But this was not all; it was also necessary not to permit it at its death to discharge its evil upon the world.
Vsevolod Garshin
If the bible be true, God commanded his chosen people to destroy men simply for the crime of defending their native land. They were not allowed to spare trembling and white-haired age, nor dimpled babes clasped in the mothers' arms. They were ordered to kill women, and to pierce, with the sword of war, the unborn child. 'Our heavenly Father' commanded the Hebrews to kill the men and women, the fathers, sons and brothers, but to preserve the girls alive. Why were not the maidens also killed? Why were they spared? Read the thirty-first chapter of Numbers, and you will find that the maidens were given to the soldiers and the priests. Is there, in all the history of war, a more infamous thing than this? Is it possible that God permitted the violets of modesty, that grow and shed their perfume in the maiden's heart, to be trampled beneath the brutal feet of lust? If this was the order of God, what, under the same circumstances, would have been the command of a devil? When, in this age of the world, a woman, a wife, a mother, reads this record, she should, with scorn and loathing, throw the book away. A general, who now should make such an order, giving over to massacre and rapine a conquered people, would be held in execration by the whole civilized world. Yet, if the bible be true, the supreme and infinite God was once a savage.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
If it's true there's a beginning to the universe, as modern cosmologists now agree, then this implies a cause that transcends the universe. If the laws of physics are fine-tuned to permit life, as contemporary physicists are discovering, then perhaps there's a designer who fine-tuned them. If there's information in the cell, as molecular biology shows, then this suggests intelligent design. To get life going in the first place would have required biological information; the implications point beyond the material realm to a prior intelligent cause. -Stephen C Meyer, PHD
Lee Strobel (The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God)
Indeed, theological discourse offers its strange jubilation only to the strict extent that it permits and, dangerously, demands of it wokman that he speak beyond his means, precisely because he does not speak of himself. Hence the danger of a speech that, in a sense, speaks against the one who lends himself to it. One must obtain forgiveness for every essay in theology. In all senses.
Jean-Luc Marion (God Without Being)
Because we cannot discover God's throne in the sky with a radiotelescope or establish (for certain) that a beloved father or mother is still about in a more or less corporeal form, people assume that such ideas are "not true." I would rather say that they are not "true" enough, for these are conceptions of a kind that have accompanied human life from prehistoric times, and that still break through into consciousness at any provocation. Modern man may assert that he can dispose with them, and he may bolster his opinion by insisting that there is no scientific evidence of their truth. Or he may even regret the loss of his convictions. But since we are dealing with invisible and unknowable things (for God is beyond human understanding, and there is no means of proving immortality), why should we bother about evidence? Even if we did not know by reason our need for salt in our food, we should nonetheless profit from its use. We might argue that the use of salt is a mere illusion of taste or a superstition; but it would still contribute to our well-being. Why, then, should we deprive ourselves of views that would prove helpful in crises and would give a meaning to our existence? And how do we know that such ideas are not true? Many people would agree with me if I stated flatly that such ideas are probably illusions. What they fail to realize is that the denial is as impossible to "prove" as the assertion of religious belief. We are entirely free to choose which point of view we take; it will in any case be an arbitrary decision. There is, however, a strong empirical reason why we should cultivate thoughts that can never be proved. It is that they are known to be useful. Man positively needs general ideas and convictions that will give a meaning to his life and enable him to find a place for himself in the universe. He can stand the most incredible hardships when he is convinced that they make sense; he is crushed when, on top of all his misfortunes, he has to admit that he is taking part in a "tale told by an idiot." It is the role of religious symbols to give a meaning to the life of man. The Pueblo Indians believe that they are the sons of Father Sun, and this belief endows their life with a perspective (and a goal) that goes far beyond their limited existence. It gives them ample space for the unfolding of personality and permits them a full life as complete persons. Their plight is infinitely more satisfactory than that of a man in our own civilization who knows that he is (and will remain) nothing more than an underdog with no inner meaning to his life.
C.G. Jung (Man and His Symbols)
Sometimes I thought God was a compassionate Father, who would forgive my sins for the sake of my sufferings. At other times, it seemed to me there was no justice or mercy in the divine government. I asked why the curse of slavery was permitted to exist, and why I had been so persecuted and wronged from youth upward. These things took the shape of mystery, which is to this day not so clear to my soul as I trust it will be hereafter.
Harriet Ann Jacobs (Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl)
Not a fig shall I care then for all the devils in hell: it is they who will fear me. I do not understand these fears. "Oh, the devil, the devil!" we say, when we might be saying "God! God!" and making the devil tremble. Of course we might, for we know he cannot move a finger unless the Lord permits it. Whatever are we thinking of? I am quite sure I am more afraid of people who are themselves terrified of the devil than I am of the devil himself.
Teresa de Ávila (Complete Works St. Teresa Of Avila, Volume I)
Theft is punished by Your law, O Lord, and by the law written in men's hearts, which iniquity itself cannot blot out. For what thief will suffer a thief? Even a rich thief will not suffer him who is driven to it by want. Yet had I a desire to commit robbery, and did so, compelled neither by hunger, nor poverty through a distaste for well-doing, and a lustiness of iniquity. For I pilfered that of which I had already sufficient, and much better. Nor did I desire to enjoy what I pilfered, but the theft and sin itself. There was a pear-tree close to our vineyard, heavily laden with fruit, which was tempting neither for its colour nor its flavour. To shake and rob this some of us wanton young fellows went, late one night (having, according to our disgraceful habit, prolonged our games in the streets until then), and carried away great loads, not to eat ourselves, but to fling to the very swine, having only eaten some of them; and to do this pleased us all the more because it was not permitted.Behold my heart, O my God; behold my heart, which You had pity upon when in the bottomless pit. Behold, now, let my heart tell You what it was seeking there, that I should be gratuitously wanton, having no inducement to evil but the evil itself. It was foul, and I loved it. I loved to perish. I loved my own error— not that for which I erred, but the error itself. Base soul, falling from Your firmament to utter destruction— not seeking anything through the shame but the shame itself!
Augustine of Hippo (Confessions)
In the rare moments I permitted any stillness, I noted a small fluttering at the pit of my belly, a barely perceptible disturbance. The faint whisper of a word would sound in my head: writing. At first I could not say whether it was heartburn or inspiration. The more I listened, the louder the message became: I needed to write, to express myself through written language not only so that others might hear me but so that I could hear myself. The gods, we are taught, created humankind in their own image. Everyone has an urge to create. Its expression may flow through many channels: through writing, art, or music or through the inventiveness of work or in any number of ways unique to all of us, whether it be cooking, gardening, or the art of social discourse. The point is to honor the urge. To do so is healing for ourselves and for others; not to do so deadens our bodies and our spirits. When I did not write, I suffocated in silence.
Gabor Maté (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction)
The world is not everything Ruth. Nor is the want of men’s good opinion and esteem the highest need which man has. Teach Leonard this. You would not wish his life to be one summer’s day. You dared not make it so, if you had the power. Teach him to bid a noble, Christian welcome to the trials which God sends—and this is one of them. Teach him not to look on a life of struggle, and perhaps of disappointment and incompleteness, as a sad and mournful end, but as the means permitted to the heroes and warriors in the army of Christ, by which to show their faithful following. Tell him of the hard and thorny path which was trodden once by the bleeding feet of One. Think of the Saviour’s life and cruel death, and of His divine faithfulness… We have all been cowards hitherto. God help us to be so no longer!
Elizabeth Gaskell
If anyone attempted to rule the world by the gospel and to abolish all temporal law and sword on the plea that all are baptized and Christian, and that, according to the gospel, there shall be among them no law or sword - or need for either - pray tell me, friend, what would he be doing? He would be loosing the ropes and chains of the savage wild beasts and letting them bite and mangle everyone, meanwhile insisting that they were harmless, tame, and gentle creatures; but I would have the proof in my wounds. Just so would the wicked under the name of Christian abuse evangelical freedom, carry on their rascality, and insist that they were Christians subject neither to law nor sword, as some are already raving and ranting. To such a one we must say: Certainly it is true that Christians, so far as they themselves are concerned, are subject neither to law nor sword, and have need of neither. But take heed and first fill the world with real Christians before you attempt to rule it in a Christian and evangelical manner. This you will never accomplish; for the world and the masses are and always will be unchristian, even if they are all baptized and Christian in name. Christians are few and far between (as the saying is). Therefore, it is out of the question that there should be a common Christian government over the whole world, or indeed over a single country or any considerable body of people, for the wicked always outnumber the good. Hence, a man who would venture to govern an entire country or the world with the gospel would be like a shepherd who should put together in one fold wolves, lions, eagles, and sheep, and let them mingle freely with one another, saying, “Help yourselves, and be good and peaceful toward one another. The fold is open, there is plenty of food. You need have no fear of dogs and clubs.” The sheep would doubtless keep the peace and allow themselves to be fed and governed peacefully, but they would not live long, nor would one beast survive another. For this reason one must carefully distinguish between these two governments. Both must be permitted to remain; the one to produce righteousness, the other to bring about external peace and prevent evil deeds. Neither one is sufficient in the world without the other. No one can become righteous in the sight of God by means of the temporal government, without Christ's spiritual government. Christ's government does not extend over all men; rather, Christians are always a minority in the midst of non-Christians. Now where temporal government or law alone prevails, there sheer hypocrisy is inevitable, even though the commandments be God's very own. For without the Holy Spirit in the heart no one becomes truly righteous, no matter how fine the works he does. On the other hand, where the spiritual government alone prevails over land and people, there wickedness is given free rein and the door is open for all manner of rascality, for the world as a whole cannot receive or comprehend it.
Martin Luther (Luther and Calvin on Secular Authority (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought))
What is the usual reaction among our friends and neighbors if in a family something unexpected happens?...Telephone and [email] are immediately put to work...and the incident is discussed for days on end. It is no wonder there is no time left in which to ponder on what it might mean, what message God might want to bring home to us by permitting this or that to happen in our lives...'To ponder' is an all-but-forgotten art in our days. Who thinks? We don't need to anymore. The TV and [internet] do it for us.
Maria Augusta von Trapp (Yesterday, Today, and Forever)
As a journalist, I have seen things that have scarred me. I have interacted with people who have haunted me. I have heard things that have pained me. As a result, I have long struggled with the notion of faith. I have said more times than I can count, "If there is a God, how can he allow this to happen? How can he let so many people suffer?" Several years ago, I married a man of strong faith. One day he sent an email to me that said this: "On a street corner I saw a cold, shivering girl in a thin dress, with no hope of a decent meal. I got angry and said to God, 'Why did you permit this? Why don't you do something about it?' God replied, 'I certainly did something about it. I made you." Whenever I start to blame God for what I encounter in the world, I stop and remind myself that maybe it is I who should be doing more. We get so hung up on the notion of success that we can easily forget about being of service to others. I have actually found that giving of oneself is far more fulfilling than gifting oneself.
Lisa Ling
We shouldn’t have tried to create new symbols,” he said. We should’ve realized we weren’t supposed to introduce uncertainties into accepted belief, that we weren’t supposed to stir up curiosity about God. We are daily confronted by the terrifying instability of all things human, yet we permit our religions to grow more rigid and controlled, more conforming and oppressive. What is this shadow across the highway of Divine Command? It is a warning that institutions endure, that symbols endure when their meaning is lost, that there is no summa of all attainable knowledge. "Admission" of C.E.T. Chairman Toure Bomoko, in "Appendix II: The Religion of Dune
Frank Herbert (Dune (Dune, #1))
The very purpose of designing the Temple of Jerusalem as a series of ever more restrictive ingressions was to maintain the priestly monopoly over who can and cannot come into the presence of God and to what degree. The sick, the lame, the leper, the "demon-possessed," menstruating women, those with bodily discharges, those who had recently given birth—none of these were permitted to enter the Temple and take part in the rituals unless first purified according to the priestly code. With every leper cleansed, every paralytic healed, every demon cast out, Jesus was not only challenging that priestly code, he was invalidating the very purpose of the priesthood.
Reza Aslan (Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth)
Was it permitted to believe that there was nowhere upon the earth, or above the earth, a heaven for hogs, where they were requited for all this suffering? Each one of these hogs was a separate creature. Some were white hogs, some were black; some were brown, some were spotted; some were old, some young; some were long and lean, some were monstrous. And each of them had an individuality of his own, a will of his own, a hope and a heart's desire; each was full of self- confidence, of self-importance, and a sense of dignity. And trusting and strong in faith he had gone about his business, the while a black shadow hung over him and a horrid Fate waited in his pathway. Now suddenly it had swooped upon him, and had seized him by the leg. Relentless, remorseless, it was; all his protests, his screams, were nothing to it— it did its cruel will with him, as if his wishes, his feelings, had simply no existence at all; it cut his throat and watched him gasp out his life. And now was one to believe that there was nowhere a god of hogs, to whom this hog personality was precious, to whom these hog squeals and agonies had a meaning? Who would take this hog into his arms and comfort him, reward him for his work well done, and show him the meaning of his sacrifice?
Upton Sinclair (The Jungle)
Circenn moved swiftly, intending to catch the tear upon his finger, kiss it away, then kiss away all her pain and fear, and assure her that he would permit no harm to touch her and would spend his life making things up to her; but she dropped the flask onto the table and turned swiftly. "Please, leave me alone," she said and turned away from him. "Let me comfort you, Lisa," he entreated. "Leave me alone." For the first time in his life, Circenn felt utterly helpless. Let her grieve, his heart instructed. She would need to grieve, for discovering that the flask didn't work was tantamount to lowering her mother into a solitary grave. She would grieve her mother as if she'd in truth died that very day. May God forgive me, he prayed. I did not know what I was doing when I cursed that flask.
Karen Marie Moning (The Highlander's Touch (Highlander, #3))
But were the coming narrative to reveal in any instance, the complete abasement of poor Starbuck's fortitude, scarce might I have the heart to write it; for it is a thing most sorrowful, nay shocking, to expose the fall of valour in the soul. Men may seem detestable as joint stock-companies and nations; knaves, fools, and murderers there may be; men may have mean and meagre faces; but man, in the ideal, is so noble and so sparkling, such a grand and glowing creature, that over any ignominious blemish in him all his fellows should run to throw their costliest robes. That immaculate manliness we feel within ourselves, so far within us, that it remains intact though all the outer character seem gone; bleeds with keenest anguish at the undraped spectacle of a valor-ruined man. Nor can piety itself, at such a shameful sight, completely stifle her upbraidings against the permitting stars. But this august dignity I treat of, is not the dignity of kings and robes, but that abounding dignity which has no robed investiture. Thou shalt see it shining in the arm that wields a pick or drives a spike; that democratic dignity which, on all hands, radiates without end from God; Himself! The great God absolute! The centre and circumference of all democracy! His omnipresence, our divine equality!
Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
But if man is free to define for himself the conditions of a life which is valid in his own eyes, can he not choose whatever he likes and act however he likes? Dostoievsky asserted, “If God does not exist, everything is permitted.” Today’s believers use this formula for their own advantage. To re-establish man at the heart of his destiny is, they claim, to repudiate all ethics. However, far from God’s absence authorizing all license, the contrary is the case, because man is abandoned on the earth, because his acts are definitive, absolute engagements. He bears the responsibility for a world which is not the work of a strange power, but of himself, where his defeats are inscribed, and his victories as well.
Simone de Beauvoir (The Ethics of Ambiguity)
That truth set me free, along with other truths like leaning daily on God’s grace and realizing that God’s children are never victims. Everything that touches their lives, he permits. The irony is, you can’t imagine a more victimized person than Jesus. Yet when he died, he didn’t say, “I am finished” but “It is finished.” He did not play the victim, and thus he emerged the victor. Forget the self-pity. True, your supervisor may be trying to push you out of your job. Your marriage may be a fiery trial. You might be living below the poverty level. But victory is ours in Christ. His grace is sufficient. Know this truth and it will set you free. This day, Jesus, I can feel sorry for myself or victorious in you. Show me how to choose the latter.
Joni Eareckson Tada (More Precious Than Silver: 366 Daily Devotional Readings)
And in the background, the constant, high, whining mewl of local disapproval. Within the first few months of her return, to her parents' home, Ammy quickly learned to recognize and despise the ugly face of sympathy. Old female relations with incipient beards and several wobbling chins made overnight trips to Ayemenem to commiserate with her about her divorce. They squeezed her knee and gloated. She fought off the urge to slap them. Or twiddle their nipples. With a spanner. Like Chaplin in Modern Times. When she looked at herself in her wedding photographs, Ammu felt the woman that looked back at her was someone else. A foolish jeweled bride. Her silk sunset-colored sari shot with gold. Rings on very finger. White dots of sandalwood paste over her arched eye-brows. Looking at herself like this, Ammu's soft mouths would twist into a small, bitter, smile at the memory - not of the wedding itself so much as the fact that she had permitted herself to be so painstakingly decorated before being led to the gallows. It seemed so absurd. So futile. Like polishing firewood. ....... Ammu knew that weddings were not something that could be avoided altogether. At least not practically speaking. But for the rest of her life she advocated small weddings in ordinary clothes. it made them less ghoulish, she thought.
Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things)
This is the lesson of all great television commercials: They provide a slogan, a symbol or a focus that creates for viewers a comprehensive and compelling image of themselves. In the shift from party politics to television politics, the same goal is sought. We are not permitted to know who is best at being President or Governor or Senator, but whose image is best in touching and soothing the deep reaches of our discontent. We look at the television screen and ask, in the same voracious way as the Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all?" We are inclined to vote for those whose personality, family life, and style, as imaged on the screen, give back a better answer than the Queen received. As Xenophanes remarked twenty-five centuries ago, men always make their gods in their own image. But to this, television politics has added a new wrinkle: Those who would be gods refashion themselves into images the viewers would have them be.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
There are many subtle variants of theistic evolution, but a typical version rests upon the following premises: The universe came into being out of nothingness, approximately 14 billion years ago. Despite massive improbabilities, the properties of the universe appear to have been precisely tuned for life. While the precise mechanism of the origin of life on earth remains unknown, once life arose, the process of evolution and natural selection permitted the development of biological diversity and complexity over very long periods of time. Once evolution got under way, no special supernatural intervention was required. Humans are part of this process, sharing a common ancestor with the great apes. But humans are also unique in ways that defy evolutionary explanation and point to our spiritual nature. This includes the existence of the Moral Law (the knowledge of right and wrong) and the search for God that characterizes all human cultures throughout history.
Francis S. Collins (The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief)
Since Aureliano at that time had very confused notions about the difference between Conservatives and Liberals, his father in law gave him some schematic lessons. The Liberals, he said, were Freemasons, bad people, wanting to hang priests, to institute civil marriage and divorce, to recognize the rights of illegitimate children as equal to those of legitimate ones, and to cut the country up into a federal system that would take power away from the supereme authority. The Conservatives, on the other hand, who had received their power directly from God, proposed the establishment of public order and family morality. They were the defenders of the faith of Christ, of the principle of authority, and were not prepared to permit the country to be broken down into autonomous entities.
Gabriel García Márquez
1. Myth: Without God, life has no meaning. There are 1.2 billion Chinese who have no predominant religion, and 1 billion people in India who are predominantly Hindu. And 65% of Japan's 127 million people claim to be non-believers. It is laughable to suggest that none of these billions of people are leading meaningful lives. 2. Myth: Prayer works. Studies have now shown that inter-cessionary prayer has no effect whatsoever of the health or well-being of the subject. 3. Myth: Atheists are immoral. There are hundreds of millions of non-believers on the planet living normal, decent, moral lives. They love their children, care about others, obey laws, and try to keep from doing harm to others just like everyone else. In fact, in predominantly non-believing countries such as in northern Europe, measures of societal health such as life expectancy at birth, adult literacy, per capita income, education, homicide, suicide, gender equality, and political coercion are better than they are in believing societies. 4. Myth: Belief in God is compatible with science. In the past, every supernatural or paranormal explanation of phenomena that humans believed turned out to be mistaken; science has always found a physical explanation that revealed that the supernatural view was a myth. Modern organisms evolved from lower life forms, they weren't created 6,000 years ago in the finished state. Fever is not caused by demon possession. Bad weather is not the wrath of angry gods. Miracle claims have turned out to be mistakes, frauds, or deceptions. We have every reason to conclude that science will continue to undermine the superstitious worldview of religion. 5. Myth: We have immortal souls that survive death. We have mountains of evidence that makes it clear that our consciousness, our beliefs, our desires, our thoughts all depend upon the proper functioning of our brains our nervous systems to exist. So when the brain dies, all of these things that we identify with the soul also cease to exist. Despite the fact that billions of people have lived and died on this planet, we do not have a single credible case of someone's soul, or consciousness, or personality continuing to exist despite the demise of their bodies. 6. Myth: If there is no God, everything is permitted. Consider the billions of people in China, India, and Japan above. If this claim was true, none of them would be decent moral people. So Ghandi, the Buddha, and Confucius, to name only a few were not moral people on this view. 7. Myth: Believing in God is not a cause of evil. The examples of cases where it was someone's belief in God that was the justification for their evils on humankind are too numerous to mention. 8. Myth: God explains the origins of the universe. All of the questions that allegedly plague non-God attempts to explain our origins still apply to the faux explanation of God. The suggestion that God created everything does not make it any clearer to us where it all came from, how he created it, why he created it, where it is all going. In fact, it raises even more difficult mysteries: how did God, operating outside the confines of space, time, and natural law 'create' or 'build' a universe that has physical laws? We have no precedent and maybe no hope of answering or understanding such a possibility. What does it mean to say that some disembodied, spiritual being who knows everything and has all power, 'loves' us, or has thoughts, or goals, or plans? 9. Myth: There's no harm in believing in God. Religious views inform voting, how they raise their children, what they think is moral and immoral, what laws and legislation they pass, who they are friends and enemies with, what companies they invest in, where they donate to charities, who they approve and disapprove of, who they are willing to kill or tolerate, what crimes they are willing to commit, and which wars they are willing to fight.
Matthew S. McCormick
I'm sorry I was short with him--but I don't like a man to approach me telling me it for my sake. "Maybe it was," said Wylie "It's poor technique." "I'd all for it," said Wylie. "I'm vain as a woman. If anybody pretends to be interested in me, I'll ask for more. I like advice." Stahr shook his head distastefully. Wylie kept on ribbing him--he was one of those to whom this privilege was permitted. "You fall for some kinds of flattery," he said. "this 'little Napoleon stuff.'" "It makes me sick," said Stahr, "but it's not as bad as some man trying to help you." "If you don't like advice, why do you pay me?" "That's a question of merchandise," said Stahr. "I'm a merchant. I want to buy what's in your mind." "You're no merchant," said Wylie. "I knew a lot of them when I was a publicity man, and I agree with Charles Francis Adams." "What did he say?" "He knew them all--Gould, Vanderbilt, Carnegie, Astor--and he said there wasn't one he'd care to meet again in the hereafter. Well--they haven't improved since then, and that's why I say you're no merchant." "Adams was probably a sourbelly," said Stahr. "He wanted to be head man himself, but he didn't have the judgement or else the character." "He had brains," said Wylie rather tartly. "It takes more than brains. You writers and artists poop out and get all mixed up, and somebody has to come in and straighten you out." He shrugged his shoulders. "You seem to take things so personally, hating people and worshipping them--always thinking people are so important-especially yourselves. You just ask to be kicked around. I like people and I like them to like me, but I wear my heart where God put it--on the inside.
F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Last Tycoon)
He had not stopped looking into her eyes, and she showed no signs of faltering. He gave a deep sigh and recited: "O sweet treasures, discovered to my sorrow." She did not understand. "It is a verse by the grandfather of my great-great-grandmother," he explained. "He wrote three eclogues, two elegies, five songs, and forty sonnets. Most of them for a Portuguese lady of very ordinary charms who was never his, first because he was married, and then because she married another man and died before he did." "Was he a priest too?" "A soldier," he said. Something stirred in the heart of Sierva María, for she wanted to hear the verse again. He repeated it, and this time he continued, in an intense, well-articulated voice, until he had recited the last of the forty sonnets by the cavalier of amours and arms Don Garcilaso de la Vega, killed in his prime by a stone hurled in battle.When he had finished, Cayetano took Sierva María's hand and placed it over his heart. She felt the internal clamor of his suffering. "I am always in this state," he said. And without giving his panic an opportunity, he unburdened himself of the dark truth that did not permit him to live. He confessed that every moment was filled with thoughts of her, that everything he ate and drank tasted of her, that she was his life, always and everywhere, as only God had the right and power to be, and that the supreme joy of his heart would be to die with her. He continued to speak without looking at her, with the same fluidity and passion as when he recited poetry, until it seemed to him that Sierva María was sleeping. But she was awake, her eyes, like those of a startled deer, fixed on him. She almost did not dare to ask: "And now?" "And now nothing," he said. "It is enough for me that you know." He could not go on. Weeping in silence, he slipped his arm beneath her head to serve as a pillow, and she curled up at his side. And so they remained, not sleeping, not talking, until the roosters began to crow and he had to hurry to arrive in time for five-o'clock Mass. Before he left, Sierva María gave him the beautiful necklace of Oddúa: eighteen inches of mother-of-pearl and coral beads. Panic had been replaced by the yearning in his heart. Delaura knew no peace, he carried out his tasks in a haphazard way, he floated until the joyous hour when he escaped the hospital to see Sierva María. He would reach the cell gasping for breath, soaked by the perpetual rains, and she would wait for him with so much longing that only his smile allowed her to breathe again. One night she took the initiative with the verses she had learned after hearing them so often. 'When I stand and contemplate my fate and see the path along which you have led me," she recited. And asked with a certain slyness: "What's the rest of it?" "I reach my end, for artless I surrendered to one who is my undoing and my end," he said. She repeated the lines with the same tenderness, and so they continued until the end of the book, omitting verses, corrupting and twisting the sonnets to suit themselves, toying with them with the skill of masters. They fell asleep exhausted. At five the warder brought in breakfast, to the uproarious crowing of the roosters, and they awoke in alarm. Life stopped for them.
Gabriel García Márquez (Of Love and Other Demons)
This present universe is only one element in the kingdom of God. But it is a very wonderful and important one. And within it the Logos, the now risen Son of man, is currently preparing for us to join him (John 14:2–4). We will see him in the stunning surroundings that he had with the Father before the beginning of the created cosmos (17:24). And we will actively participate in the future governance of the universe. We will not sit around looking at one another or at God for eternity but will join the eternal Logos, “reign with him,” in the endlessly ongoing creative work of God. It is for this that we were each individually intended, as both kings and priests (Exod. 19:6; Rev. 5:10). Thus, our faithfulness over a “few things” in the present phase of our life develops the kind of character that can be entrusted with “many things.” We are, accordingly, permitted to “enter into the joy of our Lord” (Matt. 25:21). That “joy” is, of course, the creation and care of what is good, in all its dimensions. A place in God’s creative order has been reserved for each one of us from before the beginnings of cosmic existence. His plan is for us to develop, as apprentices to Jesus, to the point where we can take our place in the ongoing creativity of the universe.
Dallas Willard (The Divine Conspiracy: Rediscovering Our Hidden Life In God)
It is a great wonder How Almighty God in his magnificence Favors our race with rank and scope And the gift of wisdom; His sway is wide. Sometimes He allows the mind of a man Of distinguished birth to follow its bent, Grants him fulfillment and felicity on earth And forts to command in his own country. He permits him to lord it in many lands Until the man in his unthinkingness Forgets that it will ever end for him. He indulges his desires; illness and old age Mean nothing to him; his mind is untroubled By envy or malice or thought of enemies With their hate-honed swords. The whole world Conforms to his will, he is kept from the worst Until an element of overweening Enters him and takes hold While the soul’s guard, its sentry, drowses, Grown too distracted. A killer stalks him, An archer who draws a deadly bow. And then the man is hit in the heart, The arrow flies beneath his defenses, The devious promptings of the demon start. His old possessions seem paltry to him now. He covets and resents; dishonors custom And bestows no gold; and because of good things That the Heavenly powers gave him in the past He ignores the shape of things to come. Then finally the end arrives When the body he was lent collapses and falls Prey to its death; ancestral possessions And the goods he hoarded and inherited by another Who lets them go with a liberal hand. “O flower of warriors, beware of that trap. Choose, dear Beowulf, the better part, Eternal rewards. Do not give way to pride. For a brief while your strength is in bloom But it fades quickly; and soon there will follow Illness or the sword to lay you low, Or a sudden fire or surge of water Or jabbing blade or javelin from the air Or repellent age. Your piercing eye Will dim and darken; and death will arrive, Dear warrior, to sweep you away.
Seamus Heaney
The root destruction of religion in the country, which throughout the twenties and thirties was one of the most important goals of the GPU-NKVD, could be realized only by mass arrests of Orthodox believers. Monks and nuns, whose black habits had been a distinctive feature of Old Russian life, were intensively rounded up on every hand, placed under arrest, and sent into exile. They arrested and sentenced active laymen. The circles kept getting bigger, as they raked in ordinary believers as well, old people and particularly women, who were the most stubborn believers of all and who, for many long years to come, would be called 'nuns' in transit prisons and in camps. True, they were supposedly being arrested and tried not for their actual faith but for openly declaring their convictions and for bringing up their children in the same spirit. As Tanya Khodkevich wrote: You can pray freely But just so God alone can hear. (She received a ten-year sentence for these verses.) A person convinced that he possessed spiritual truth was required to conceal it from his own children! In the twenties the religious education of children was classified as a political crime under Article 58-10 of the Code--in other words, counterrevolutionary propaganda! True, one was permitted to renounce one's religion at one's trial: it didn't often happen but it nonetheless did happen that the father would renounce his religion and remain at home to raise the children while the mother went to the Solovetsky Islands. (Throughout all those years women manifested great firmness in their faith.) All persons convicted of religious activity received 'tenners,' the longest term then given. (In those years, particularly in 1927, in purging the big cities for the pure society that was coming into being, they sent prostitutes to the Solovetsky Islands along with the 'nuns.' Those lovers of a sinful earthly life were given three-year sentences under a more lenient article of the Code. The conditions in prisoner transports, in transit prisons, and on the Solovetsky Islands were not of a sort to hinder them from plying their merry trade among the administrators and the convoy guards. And three years later they would return with laden suitcases to the places they had come from. Religious prisoners, however, were prohibited from ever returning to their children and their home areas.)
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago)
The central fact of biblical history, the birth of the Messiah, more than any other, presupposes the design of Providence in the selecting and uniting of successive producers, and the real, paramount interest of the biblical narratives is concentrated on the various and wondrous fates, by which are arranged the births and combinations of the 'fathers of God.' But in all this complicated system of means, having determined in the order of historical phenomena the birth of the Messiah, there was no room for love in the proper meaning of the word. Love is, of course, encountered in the Bible, but only as an independent fact and not as an instrument in the process of the genealogy of Christ. The sacred book does not say that Abram took Sarai to wife by force of an ardent love, and in any case Providence must have waited until this love had grown completely cool for the centenarian progenitors to produce a child of faith, not of love. Isaac married Rebekah not for love but in accordance with an earlier formed resolution and the design of his father. Jacob loved Rachel, but this love turned out to be unnecessary for the origin of the Messiah. He was indeed to be born of a son of Jacob - Judah - but the latter was the offspring, not of Rachel but of the unloved wife, Leah. For the production in the given generation of the ancestor of the Messiah, what was necessary was the union of Jacob precisely with Leah; but to attain this union Providence did not awaken in Jacob any powerful passion of love for the future mother of the 'father of God' - Judah. Not infringing the liberty of Jacob's heartfelt feeling, the higher power permitted him to love Rachel, but for his necessary union with Leah it made use of means of quite a different kind: the mercenary cunning of a third person - devoted to his own domestic and economic interests - Laban. Judah himself, for the production of the remote ancestors of the Messiah, besides his legitimate posterity, had in his old age to marry his daughter-in-law Tamar. Seeing that such a union was not at all in the natural order of things, and indeed could not take place under ordinary conditions, that end was attained by means of an extremely strange occurrence very seductive to superficial readers of the Bible. Nor in such an occurrence could there be any talk of love. It was not love which combined the priestly harlot Rahab with the Hebrew stranger; she yielded herself to him at first in the course of her profession, and afterwards the casual bond was strengthened by her faith in the power of the new God and in the desire for his patronage for herself and her family. It was not love which united David's great-grandfather, the aged Boaz, with the youthful Moabitess Ruth, and Solomon was begotten not from genuine, profound love, but only from the casual, sinful caprice of a sovereign who was growing old.
Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov (The Meaning of Love)