Religion And Politics Quotes

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My concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God's side, for God is always right.
Abraham Lincoln
I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.
Abraham Lincoln
I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. ... These two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.
George Carlin
When religion and politics travel in the same cart, the riders believe nothing can stand in their way. Their movements become headlong - faster and faster and faster. They put aside all thoughts of obstacles and forget the precipice does not show itself to the man in a blind rush until it's too late.
Frank Herbert (Dune (Dune #1))
A cult is a religion with no political power.
Tom Wolfe
In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion.
Carl Sagan
Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.
Robert A. Heinlein
I have a problem with people who take the Constitution loosely and the Bible literally.
Bill Maher
In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make four.
George Orwell (1984)
Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.
G.K. Chesterton (Orthodoxy)
I don't know how you feel, but I'm pretty sick of church people. You know what they ought to do with churches? Tax them. If holy people are so interested in politics, government, and public policy, let them pay the price of admission like everybody else. The Catholic Church alone could wipe out the national debt if all you did was tax their real estate.
George Carlin
When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons.
Anaïs Nin (The Diary of Anaïs Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947)
When you call yourself an Indian or a Muslim or a Christian or a European, or anything else, you are being violent. Do you see why it is violent? Because you are separating yourself from the rest of mankind. When you separate yourself by belief, by nationality, by tradition, it breeds violence. So a man who is seeking to understand violence does not belong to any country, to any religion, to any political party or partial system; he is concerned with the total understanding of mankind.
J. Krishnamurti
We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.
Elie Wiesel (The Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, The Accident)
The Bible tells us to be like God, and then on page after page it describes God as a mass murderer. This may be the single most important key to the political behavior of Western Civilization.
Robert Anton Wilson
Jasnah had once defined a fool as a person who ignored information because it disagreed with desired results.
Brandon Sanderson (Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive, #2))
Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must — at that moment — become the center of the universe.
Elie Wiesel
There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people... Religion, Politics, and The Great Pumpkin.
Charles M. Schulz
As a species we're fundamentally insane. Put more than two of us in a room, we pick sides and start dreaming up reasons to kill one another. Why do you think we invented politics and religion?
Stephen King
The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries. [Letter objecting to the use of government land for churches, 1803]
James Madison
These things will destroy the human race: politics without principle, progress without compassion, wealth without work, learning without silence, religion without fearlessness, and worship without awareness.
Anthony de Mello
The Supreme Court has ruled that they cannot have a nativity scene in Washington, D.C. This wasn't for any religious reasons. They couldn't find three wise men and a virgin.
Jay Leno
In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.
Mark Twain
Politics: the art of using euphemisms, lies, emotionalism and fear-mongering to dupe average people into accepting--or even demanding--their own enslavement.
Larken Rose
The opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holders lack of rational conviction. Opinions in politics and religion are almost always held passionately.
Bertrand Russell (Sceptical Essays)
Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either -- but right through every human heart -- and through all human hearts. This line shifts. Inside us, it oscillates with the years. And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained. And even in the best of all hearts, there remains ... an unuprooted small corner of evil. Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being). It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956 (Abridged))
Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they're sure trying to do so, it's going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know, I've tried to deal with them.
Barry M. Goldwater
The chief danger that confronts the coming century will be religion without the Holy Ghost, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, heaven without hell.
William Booth
Morality binds and blinds. It binds us into ideological teams that fight each other as though the fate of the world depended on our side winning each battle. It blinds us to the fact that each team is composed of good people who have something important to say.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
If you have to say or do something controversial, aim so that people will hate that they love it and not love that they hate it.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the business of the state.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Republicans are for both the man and the dollar, but in case of conflict the man before the dollar.
Abraham Lincoln
Anyone who values truth should stop worshipping reason.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
If you think that moral reasoning is something we do to figure out the truth, you’ll be constantly frustrated by how foolish, biased, and illogical people become when they disagree with you.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.
Frank Herbert (Chapterhouse: Dune (Dune #6))
Why worry about minor little details like clean air, clean water, safe ports and the safety net when Jesus is going to give the world an "Extreme Makeover: Planet Edition" right after he finishes putting Satan in his place once and for all?
Arianna Huffington
What looks like politics, and imagines itself to be political, will one day unmask itself as a religious movement.
Søren Kierkegaard
I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.
Thomas Jefferson
We must remember that the test of our religious principles lies not just in what we say, not only in our prayers, not even in living blameless lives - but in what we do for others
Harry Truman
The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends.
Henry A. Wallace
All religions lead to the same God, and all deserve the same respect. Anyone who chooses a religion is also choosing a collective way for worshipping and sharing the mysteries. Nevertheless, that person is the only one responsible for his or her actions along the way and has no right to shift responsibility for any personal decisions on to that religion.
Paulo Coelho (Like the Flowing River)
فشعر عندها فجأة برغبة غامضة لا تقاوم في سماع موسيقى هائلة، في سماع ضجيج مطلق وصخب جميل وفرح يكتنف كل شيء ويُغرق ويخنق كل شيء، فيختفي إلى الأبد الألم والغرور وتفاهة الكلمات.
ميلان كونديرا (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
I’m an atheist, and a militant atheist when religion starts impacting on legislation.
Daniel Radcliffe
In modern society most of us don't want to be in touch with ourselves; we want to be in touch with other things like religion, sports, politics, a book - we want to forget ourselves. Anytime we have leisure, we want to invite something else to enter us, opening ourselves to the television and telling the television to come and colonize us.
Thich Nhat Hanh (Being Peace (Being Peace, #1))
If you grow up in a WEIRD society, you become so well educated in the ethic of autonomy that you can detect oppression and inequality even where the apparent victims see nothing wrong.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
الوقت الإنساني لا يسير في شكل دائري بل يتقدم في خط مستقيم. من هنا، لا يمكن للإنسان أن يكون سعيداً لأن السعادة رغبة في التكرار.
ميلان كونديرا (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
So no, I’m not too big on religion...and not very fond of politics or economics either...And why should I be? They are the man-created trinity of terrors that ravages the earth and deceives those I care about. What mental turmoil and anxiety does any human face that is not related to one of those three?
William Paul Young (The Shack)
Intuitions come first, strategic reasoning second.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Indeed, it's futile to try and use Holy Scripture to support any political position. I deeply distrust anyone who does. Just look at what an Islamic Republic is like.
Christopher Hitchens
If I were a dictator, religion and state would be separate. I swear by my religion. I will die for it. But it is my personal affair. The state has nothing to do with it. The state would look after your secular welfare, health, communications, foreign relations, currency and so on, but not your or my religion. That is everybody's personal concern!
Mahatma Gandhi
A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.
Aristotle
People who devote their lives to studying something often come to believe that the object of their fascination is the key to understanding everything.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Our moral thinking is much more like a politician searching for votes than a scientist searching for truth.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
There is a reason why it used to be that politics, religion, and sex were not topics for polite conversation. It is because our grandparents knew that while everyone is legally entitled to vote, pray, and fuck, the vast majority of people aren’t competent to do any one of the three properly.
J.K. Franko
[W]hen a group of people make something sacred, the members of the cult lose the ability to think clearly about it. Morality binds and blinds.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
To regret religion is to regret Western civilization.
Theodore Dalrymple
كانت تشعر برغبة جامحة لأن تقول له كما تقول أتفه النساء: «لا تتركني، احتفظ بي إلى جوارك، استعبدني، كن قوياً». ولكنها لا تستطيع ولا تعرف أن تتلفظ بمثل هذه الكلمات.
ميلان كونديرا (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
I'm very depressed how in this country you can be told "That's offensive" as though those two words constitute an argument.
Christopher Hitchens
Wherever politics tries to be redemptive, it is promising too much. Where it wishes to do the work of God, it becomes not divine, but demonic.
Benedict XVI (Truth And Tolerance: Christian Belief And World Religions)
We are all born to love people and use things. Unfortunately, we grow to love things and use people...
T. Rafael Cimino
I have to remember, too, that sex is one of those areas—like religion and politics—where otherwise decent and rational people may have intense, irrational feelings.
Oliver Sacks (On the Move: A Life)
I began to see that for some, religion was just a form of politics you couldn’t criticize.
Gloria Steinem (My Life on the Road)
There are plenty of good reasons for fighting, I said, but no good reason ever to hate without reservation, to imagine that God Almighty Himself hates with you, too.
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Mother Night)
People bind themselves into political teams that share moral narratives. Once they accept a particular narrative, they become blind to alternative moral worlds.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
The world, viewed philosophically, remains a series of slave camps, where citizens – tax livestock – labor under the chains of illusion in the service of their masters.
Stefan Molyneux
The Catholic novelist in the South will see many distorted images of Christ, but he will certainly feel that a distorted image of Christ is better than no image at all. I think he will feel a good deal more kinship with backwoods prophets and shouting fundamentalists than he will with those politer elements for whom the supernatural is an embarrassment and for whom religion has become a department of sociology or culture or personality development.
Flannery O'Connor
Truth has drawn me into the field of politics; and I can say without the slightest hesitation, and yet in all humility, that those who say that religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means.
Mahatma Gandhi (Gandhi: An Autobiography)
The temple of the most high begins with the body which houses our life, the essence of our existence. Africans are in bondage today because they approach spirituality through religion provided by foreign invaders and conquerors. We must stop confusing religion and spirituality. Religion is a set of rules, regulations and rituals created by humans, which was suppose to help people grow spiritually. Due to human imperfection religion has become corrupt, political, divisive and a tool for power struggle. Spirituality is not theology or ideology. It is simply a way of life, pure and original as was given by the Most High of Creation. Spirituality is a network linking us to the Most High, the universe, and each other…
P.K. Nvenge
Senses of humor define people, as factions, deeper rooted than religious or political opinions. When carrying out everyday tasks, opinions are rather easy to set aside, but those whom a person shares a sense of humor with are his closest friends. They are always there to make the biggest influence.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
Only fanatics — in religion as well as in politics — can find a meaning in someone else’s death.
Elie Wiesel (The Judges)
Sports, politics, and religion are the three passions of the badly educated.
William H. Gass (In the Heart of the Heart of the Country and Other Stories)
it is not true that good can follow only from good and evil only from evil, but that often the opposite is true. Anyone who fails to see this is, indeed, a political infant.
Max Weber (From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology)
Our politics, religion, news, athletics, education and commerce have been transformed into congenial adjuncts of show business, largely without protest or even much popular notice. The result is that we are a people on the verge of amusing ourselves to death.
Neil Postman
People changed lots of other personal things all the time. They dyed their hair and dieted themselves to near death. They took steroids to build muscles and got breast implants and nose jobs so they'd resemble their favorite movie stars. They changed names and majors and jobs and husbands and wives. They changed religions and political parties. They moved across the country or the world — even changed nationalities. Why was gender the one sacred thing we weren’t supposed to change? Who made that rule?
Ellen Wittlinger (Parrotfish)
لا يمكن للإنسان أبداً أن يدرك ماذا عليه أن يفعل، لأنه لا يملك إلا حياة واحدة، لا يسعه مقارنتها بِحَيوات سابقة ولا إصلاحها في حيوات لاحقة.
ميلان كونديرا (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
Whatever you proclaim as your identity here in the material realm is also your drag. You are not your religion. You are not your skin color. You are not your gender, your politics, your career, or your marital status. You are none of the superficial things that this world deems important. The real you is the energy force that created the entire universe!
RuPaul (Workin' It! Rupaul's Guide to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Style)
Religion, too, is a weapon. What manner of weapon is religion when it becomes the government?
Frank Herbert (Dune Messiah (Dune Chronicles, #2))
If he'd learned one thing while he'd been away, it was that loneliness is the most taboo subject in the world. Forget sex or politics or religion. Or even failure. Loneliness is what clears out a room.
Douglas Coupland (Miss Wyoming)
Jerry Falwell said that the reason that September 11th happened, the reason that God allowed it to happen, was because of certain people in our country. People like, and I'm quoting, 'the pagans,' which is a motorcycle group. Feminists; he brought up feminists. [...] And I couldn't believe it, he said that God had actually talked to him and said, these were the people. That was the reason. It was those people, and that was the reason God allowed this to happen. And I thought, 'That's odd.' Because God had called me twelve hours before, and He said the reason He was upset was because of people like Jerry Falwell.
Lewis Black
For in politics, as in religion, it is equally absurd to aim at making proselytes by fire and sword. Heresies in either can rarely be cured by persecution.
Alexander Hamilton (The Federalist Papers)
I don't want to see religious bigotry in any form. It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.
Billy Graham
I couldn’t trust my own emotions. Which emotional reactions were justified, if any? And which ones were tainted by the mental illness of BPD? I found myself fiercely guarding and limiting my emotional reactions, chastising myself for possible distortions and motivations. People who had known me years ago would barely recognize me now. I had become quiet and withdrawn in social settings, no longer the life of the party. After all, how could I know if my boisterous humor were spontaneous or just a borderline desire to be the center of attention? I could no longer trust any of my heart felt beliefs and opinions on politics, religion, or life. The debate queen had withered. I found myself looking at every single side of an issue unable to come to any conclusions for fear they might be tainted. My lifelong ability to be assertive had turned into a constant state of passivity.
Rachel Reiland (Get Me Out of Here: My Recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder)
Your right of religious freedom ends where my right of religious abstinence begins...
T. Rafael Cimino (Mid Ocean)
Understanding the simple fact that morality differs around the world, and even within societies, is the first step toward understanding your righteous mind.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
It is time we admitted, from kings and presidents on down, that there is no evidence that any of our books was authored by the Creator of the universe. The Bible, it seems certain, was the work of sand-strewn men and women who thought the earth was flat and for whom a wheelbarrow would have been a breathtaking example of emerging technology. To rely on such a document as the basis for our worldview-however heroic the efforts of redactors- is to repudiate two thousand years of civilizing insights that the human mind has only just begun to inscribe upon itself through secular politics and scientific culture. We will see that the greatest problem confronting civilization is not merely religious extremism: rather, it is the larger set of cultural and intellectual accommodations we have made to faith itself.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
You can't believe that AIDS is a curse from God against Gays without accepting that Lyme Disease is a curse from the same God against Deer Hunters...
T. Rafael Cimino (Table 21)
The point is not that Jesus was a good guy who accepted everybody, and thus we should do the same (though that would be good). Rather, his teachings and behavior reflect an alternative social vision. Jesus was not talking about how to be good and how to behave within the framework of a domination system. He was a critic of the domination system itself.
Marcus J. Borg (The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion to a More Authentic Contemporary Faith)
This is a lttle prayer dedicated to the separation of church and state. I guess if they are going to force those kids to pray in schools they might as well have a nice prayer like this: Our Father who art in heaven, and to the republic for which it stands, thy kingdom come, one nation indivisible as in heaven, give us this day as we forgive those who so proudly we hail. Crown thy good into temptation but deliver us from the twilight's last gleaming. Amen and Awomen.
George Carlin
The chief danger of the 20th century will be religion without the Holy Spirit, Christianity without Christ, forgiveness without repentance, salvation without regeneration, politics without God, and heaven without hell.
William Booth
In the blood-heat of pursuing the enemy, many people are forgetting what we are fighting for. We are fighting for our hard-won liberty and freedom; for our Constitution and the due processes of our laws; and for the right to differ in ideas, religion and politics. I am convinced that in your zeal to fight against our enemies, you, too, have forgotten what you are fighting for.
Julia Child (My Life in France)
Being a wiseass in a groupthink environment is like throwing an egg at a bulldozer.
Matt Taibbi (The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire)
Groups create supernatural beings not to explain the universe but to order their societies.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Humans are the only animals that have children on purpose, keep in touch (or don't), care about birthdays, waste and lose time, brush their teeth, feel nostalgia, scrub stains, have religions and political parties and laws, wear keepsakes, apologize years after an offense, whisper, fear themselves, interpret dreams, hide their genitalia, shave, bury time capsules, and can choose not to eat something for reasons of conscience. The justifications for eating animals and for not eating them are often identical: we are not them.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Eating Animals)
Liberty a word without which all other words are vain.
Robert G. Ingersoll
In art, religion, and politics the respect must be mutual, no matter how violent the disagreement.
Vincent Price (I Like What I Know: A Visual Autobiography)
I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute - where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote - where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference - and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him. I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish - where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source - where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials - and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all. [Remarks to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, September 12 1960]
John F. Kennedy
Curiosity and irreverence go together. Curiosity cannot exist without the other. Curiosity asks, "Is this true?" "Just because this has always been the way, is the best or right way of life, the best or right religion, political or economic value, morality?" To the questioner, nothing is sacred. He detests dogma, defies any finite definition of morality, rebels against any repression of a free, open search of ideas no matter where they may lead. He is challenging, insulting, agitating, discrediting. He stirs unrest.
Saul D. Alinsky (Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals)
When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some.
Harry A. Blackmun
Science is not enough, religion is not enough, art is not enough, politics and economics is not enough, nor is love, nor is duty, nor is action however disinterested, nor, however sublime, is contemplation. Nothing short of everything will really do.
Aldous Huxley (Island)
Politics will help you understand the world until you don’t understand it anymore, and then it will get you thrown into a prison camp. Politics and religion both.
Heather Morris (The Tattooist of Auschwitz (The Tattooist of Auschwitz, #1))
Another night then,' Mom said. 'Maybe on the weekend we can have a barbecue and invite your sister.' 'Or,' I said turning to Rafe, 'if you want to skip the whole awkward meet-the-family social event you could just submit your life story including your view on politics religion and every social issue imaginable along with anything else you think they might need to conduct a thorough background check.' Mom sighed. 'I really don't know why we even bother trying to be subtle around you.' 'Neither do I. It's not like he isn't going to realize he's being vetted as daughter-dating material.' Rafe grinned. 'So we are dating.' 'No. You have to pass the parental exam first. It'll take you awhile to compile the data. They'd like it in triplicate.' I turned to my parents. 'We have Kenjii. We have my cell phone. Since we aren't yet officially dating I'm sure you'll agree that's all the protection we need.' Dad choked on his coffee.
Kelley Armstrong (The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1))
For man seems to be unable to live without myth, without the belief that the routine and drudgery, the pain and fear of this life have some meaning and goal in the future. At once new myths come into being – political and economic myths with extravagant promises of the best of futures in the present world. These myths give the individual a certain sense of meaning by making him part of a vast social effort, in which he loses something of his own emptiness and loneliness. Yet the very violence of these political religions betrays the anxiety beneath them – for they are but men huddling together and shouting to give themselves courage in the dark.
Alan W. Watts (The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety)
The most elementary of good manners . . . at a social gathering one does not bring up the subject of personalities, sad topics or unfortunate facts, religion, or politics.
Laura Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate)
Everyone cares about fairness, but there are two major kinds. On the left, fairness often implies equality, but on the right it means proportionality —people should be rewarded in proportion to what they contribute, even if that guarantees unequal outcomes.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Christian love draws no distinction between one enemy and another, except that the more bitter our enemy's hatred, the greater his need of love. Be his enmity political or religious, he has nothing to expect from a follower of Jesus but unqualified love. In such love there is not inner discord between the private person and official capacity. In both we are disciples of Christ, or we are not Christians at all.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (The Cost of Discipleship)
When women understand that governments and religions are human inventions; that Bibles, prayer-books, catechisms, and encyclical letters are all emanations from the brains of man, they will no longer be oppressed by the injunctions that come to them with the divine authority of *Thus sayeth the Lord.*
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
The very ritual practices that the New Atheists dismiss as costly, inefficient and irrational turn out to be a solution to one of the hardest problems humans face: cooperation without kinship
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Left-wing and right-wing political ideologies have themselves become secular religions, providing people with a community of like-minded brethren, a catechism of sacred beliefs, a well-populated demonology, and a beatific confidence in the righteousness of their cause.
Steven Pinker (Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress)
سبق لي أن قُلْتُ آنفاً إن الاستعارات خطيرة وإن الحب يبدأ من استعارة. وبكلمة أُخرى: الحب يبدأ في اللحظة التي تسجَّل فيها امرأة دخولها في ذاكرتنا الشعرية من خلال عبارة.
ميلان كونديرا (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
Any system was a straightjacket if you insisted on adhering to it so totally and humorlessly.
Erica Jong (Fear of Flying)
Since Jimmy Carter, religious fundamentalists play a major role in elections. He was the first president who made a point of exhibiting himself as a born again Christian. That sparked a little light in the minds of political campaign managers: Pretend to be a religious fanatic and you can pick up a third of the vote right away. Nobody asked whether Lyndon Johnson went to church every day. Bill Clinton is probably about as religious as I am, meaning zero, but his managers made a point of making sure that every Sunday morning he was in the Baptist church singing hymns.
Noam Chomsky
Science is a smorgasbord, and google will guide you to the study that's right for you.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
He is a weak ruler who needs religion to uphold his government; it is as if he would catch his people in a trap.
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
Hindu fundamentalism is a contradiction in terms, since Hinduism is a religion without fundamentals; there is no such thing as a Hindu heresy. How dare a bunch of goondas shrink the soaring majesty of the Vedas and the Upanishads to the petty bigotry of their brand of identity politics?
Shashi Tharoor (India: From Midnight to the Millennium and Beyond)
يمكن اختصار مأساة حياة «باستعارة» الثقل. نقول مثلاً إن حملاً قد سقط فوق أكتافنا. فنحمل هذا الحمل. نتحمله أو لا نتحمله ونتصارع معه، وفي النهاية إما أن نخسر وإما أن نربح. ولكن ما الذي حدث مع سابينا بالضبط؟ لا شيء. افترقت عن رجل لأنها كانت راغبة في الافتراق عنه. هل لاحقها بعد ذلك؟ هل حاول الانتقام؟ لا. فمأساتها ليست مأساة الثقل إنما مأساة الخفة والحمل الذي سقط فوقها لم يكن حملاً بل كان خفة الكائن التي لا تُطاق.
ميلان كونديرا (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
In the past, when gays were very flamboyant as drag queens or as leather queens or whatever, that just amused people. And most of the people that come and watch the gay Halloween parade, where all those excesses are on display, those are straight families, and they think it's funny. But what people don't think is so funny is when two middle-aged lawyers who are married to each other move in next door to you and your wife and they have adopted a Korean girl and they want to send her to school with your children and they want to socialize with you and share a drink over the backyard fence. That creeps people out, especially Christians. So, I don't think gay marriage is a conservative issue. I think it's a radical issue.
Edmund White
A kernel of truth lurks at the heart of religion, because spiritual experience, ethical behavior, and strong communities are essential for human happiness. And yet our religious traditions are intellectually defunct and politically ruinous. While spiritual experience is clearly a natural propensity of the human mind, we need not believe anything on insufficient evidence to actualize it.
Sam Harris
If you really want to change someone’s mind on a moral or political matter, you’ll need to see things from that person’s angle as well as your own. And if you do truly see it the other person’s way—deeply and intuitively—you might even find your own mind opening in response. Empathy is an antidote to righteousness, although it’s very difficult to empathize across a moral divide.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
It's not about whether or not someone is a bigot, but whether or not the argument which that someone is arguing is worth being a bigot about.
Criss Jami (Killosophy)
كان الحب بينه وبين تيريزا جميلاً، بكل تأكيد، ولكنه كان متعباً: وجب عليه دائماً أن يخفي أمراً ما، وأن يتكتم، وأن يستدرك، وأن يرفع من معنوياتها، وأن يؤاسيها، وأن يثبت باستمرار حبه لها وأن يتلقى ملامات غيرتها وألمها وأحلامها، وأن يشعر بالذنب، وأن يبرر نفسه وأن يعتذر . . الآن كل التعب تلاشى ولم تبقَ إلا الحلاوة.
ميلان كونديرا (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
Some women do not masturbate for pleasure; they masturbate to make a political statement: to remind us that women do not really need men (or at least not as much and as frequently as every single male chauvinist and every single misogynist believes).
Mokokoma Mokhonoana (On Masturbation: A Satirical Essay)
A sect or party is an elegant incognito devised to save a man from the vexation of thinking.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
تذكر عندها أسطورة أفلاطون الشهيرة «المأدبة»: ففي السابق كان البشر مزدوجي الجنس فقسّمهم الله إلى أنصاف تهيم عبر العالم مفتشة بعضها عن بعض. الحب هو تلك الرغبة في إيجاد النصف الآخر المفقود من أنفسنا.
ميلان كونديرا (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
The social intuitionist model offers an explanation of why moral and political arguments are so frustrating: because moral reasons are the tail wagged by the intuitive dog. A dog’s tail wags to communicate. You can’t make a dog happy by forcibly wagging its tail. And you can’t change people’s minds by utterly refuting their arguments.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Being Southern isn't talking with an accent...or rocking on a porch while drinking sweet tea, or knowing how to tell a good story. It's how you're brought up -- with Southerners, family (blood kin or not) is sacred; you respect others and are polite nearly to a fault; you always know your place but are fierce about your beliefs. And food along with college football -- is darn near a religion.
Jan Norris
The suppression of uncomfortable ideas may be common in religion or in politics, but it is not the path to knowledge, and there's no place for it in the endeavor of science. We do not know beforehand where fundamental insights will arise from about our mysterious and lovely solar system. The history of our study of our solar system shows us clearly that accepted and conventional ideas are often wrong, and that fundamental insights can arise from the most unexpected sources.
Carl Sagan
I have never thought much of the courage of a lion tamer. Inside the cage he is at least safe from other men. There is not much harm in a lion. He has no ideals, no religion, no politics, no chivalry, no gentility; in short, no reason for destroying anything that he does not want to eat
George Bernard Shaw
I told them we’re tired of the culture wars, tired of Christianity getting entangled with party politics and power. Millennials want to be known by what we’re for, I said, not just what we’re against. We don’t want to choose between science and religion or between our intellectual integrity and our faith. Instead, we long for our churches to be safe places to doubt, to ask questions, and to tell the truth, even when it’s uncomfortable. We want to talk about the tough stuff—biblical interpretation, religious pluralism, sexuality, racial reconciliation, and social justice—but without predetermined conclusions or simplistic answers. We want to bring our whole selves through the church doors, without leaving our hearts and minds behind, without wearing a mask.
Rachel Held Evans (Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church)
الموسيقى بالنسبة لفرانز هي الفن الأكثر قرباً من الجمال الديونيسي الذي يقدّس النشوة. يمكن لرواية أو للوحة أن تدوّخنا ولكن بصعوبة. أما مع السمفونية التاسعة لبيتهوڤن، أو مع السوناتة المؤلفة من آلتيْ بيانو وآلات النقر لبارتوك، أو مع أغنية للبيتلز، فإن النشوة تعترينا. من جهة أخرى فإن فرانز لا يفرّق بين الموسيقى العظيمة والموسيقى الخفيفة. فهذا التفريق يبدو له خبيثاً وبالياً، فهو يحب موسيقى الروك وموزار على حد سواء. الموسيقى بالنسبة له محرّرة: إذ تحرره من الوحدة والانعزال ومن غبار المكتبات. وتفتح في داخل جسده أبواباً لتخرج النفس وتتآخى مع الآخرين. كما أنه يحب الرقص إلى جانب ذلك ويشعر بالأسى لأن سابينا لا تشاركه هذا الولع.
ميلان كونديرا (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
Historians have a word for Germans who joined the Nazi party, not because they hated Jews, but out of a hope for restored patriotism, or a sense of economic anxiety, or a hope to preserve their religious values, or dislike of their opponents, or raw political opportunism, or convenience, or ignorance, or greed. That word is "Nazi." Nobody cares about their motives anymore.
A.R. Moxon
The science, the art, the jurisprudence, the chief political and social theories, of the modern world have grown out of Greece and Rome—not by favour of, but in the teeth of, the fundamental teachings of early Christianity, to which science, art, and any serious occupation with the things of this world were alike despicable.
Thomas Henry Huxley (Agnosticism and Christianity and Other Essays)
Whatever our religion and our private convictions, we are the collective inheritors of things both excellent and rare, and political life, for us, ought to have one overriding goal, which is to hold fast to those things, in order to pass them on to our children.
Roger Scruton (How to Be a Conservative)
فكّر توماس: إن مضاجعة امرأة والنوم معها رغبتان ليستا مختلفتين فحسب بل متناقضتان أيضاً. فالحب لا يتجلى بالرغبة في ممارسة الجنس (وهذه الرغبة تنطبق على جملة لا تحصى من النساء) ولكن بالرغبة في النوم المشترك (وهذه الرغبة لا تخصّ إلا امرأة واحدة).
ميلان كونديرا (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
The human psyche has two great sicknesses: the urge to carry vendetta across generations, and the tendency to fasten group labels on people rather than see them as individuals. Abrahamic religion mixes explosively with (and gives strong sanction to) both. Only the willfully blind could fail to implicate the divisive force of religion in most, if not all, of the violent enmities in the world today. Without a doubt it is the prime aggravator of the Middle East. Those of us who have for years politely concealed our contempt for the dangerous collective delusion of religion need to stand up and speak out. Things are different now. ‘All is changed, changed utterly.
Richard Dawkins (A Devil's Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love)
لم يكونا متحدين بحنان إلَّا في الليل أثناء النوم. كانا يمسكان دائماً بأيديهما فتُنسى عندئذ الهاوية (هاوية ضوء النهار) التي كانت تفصل بينهما. ولكن هذه الليالي لم تكن تعطي توماس لا الوقت ولا الوسيلة لحمايتها والاعتناء بها. لذلك فهو عندما كان يراها في الصباح ينقبض قلبه ويرتجف خوفاً من أجلها: كانت تبدو حزينة ومتوعكة.
ميلان كونديرا (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
People don't want children to know what they need to know. They want their kids to know what they ought to need to know. If you're a teacher you're in a constant battle with mildly deluded adults who think the world will get better if you imagine it is better. You want to teach about sex? Fine, but only when they're old enough to do it. You want to talk politics? Sure, but nothing modern. Religion? So long as you don't actually think about it. Otherwise some furious mob will come to your house and burn you for a witch.
Nick Harkaway (The Gone-Away World)
We instinctively tend to limit for whom we exert ourselves. We do it for people like us, and for people whom we like. Jesus will have none of that. By depicting a Samaritan helping a Jew, Jesus could not have found a more forceful way to say that anyone at all in need - regardless of race, politics, class, and religion - is your neighbour. Not everyone is your brother or sister in faith, but everyone is your neighbour, and you must love your neighbour.
Timothy J. Keller (Generous Justice: How God's Grace Makes Us Just)
Let’s de-bunk some of this, shall we? Myth 1– Kings and Queens are divine beings – rubbish. Kings and queens of old were murdering bastards who ruled with a rod of iron. Myth 2 – the rich prosper out of godliness – more rubbish. They gained their wealth by royal patronage and taxing and stealing from the masses. Myth 3 - the poor are poor because they’re depraved – yet more rubbish. They’re poor because of their naivety and childlike belief in, oh yes, Kings and Queens, the Church and the order of things. Finally, Myth 4 - women are evil and deliberately seductive – the biggest nonsense of all. Women are sexually attractive to men because they are the opposite sex to men; it’s not hard to see, is it? It’s the same for every species on the planet, you can see it in any mating ritual on the Discovery channel but this truth has been reversed and buried under the eternal lie fostered upon us by the church. That’s what the bible has achieved and that’s why our society is divided and divided again. That’s why we are never working as one, because religion was designed to divide and rule the masses,” she broke off and looked deliberately round the room, “but the big question is, for what purpose and by whom?
Arun D. Ellis
Humans think they are free, conscious beings, when in truth they are deluded animals. At the same time they never cease trying to escape from what they imagine themselves to be. Their religions are attempts to be rid of a freedom they have never possessed. In the twentieth century, the utopias of Right and Left served the same function. Today, when politics is unconvincing even as entertainment, science has taken on the role of mankind's deliverer.
John N. Gray (Straw Dogs: Thoughts on Humans and Other Animals)
Muhammad introduced the concept of such Glorious and Omnipotent God in Whose eyes all worldly systems are pieces of straw. Islamic equality of mankind is no fiction as it is in Christianity. No human mind has ever thought of such total freedom as established by Muhammad.
Mawde Royden
Until one nation ceases its attempts to dominate another, there will never be true freedom. Until one religion relinquishes its quest to prove its god superior to that of another, there shall never be world peace. We will never truly prosper or experience lasting harmony, until we refrain from preaching the gospel of our own moral values and our personal preferences by forcing it upon others.
Anthon St. Maarten (Divine Living: The Essential Guide To Your True Destiny)
Entirely in accordance with what education is supposed to be. Education is the sum of what students teach each other in between lectures and seminars. You sit in each other's rooms and drink coffee - I suppose it would be vodka and Red Bull now - you share enthusiasms, you talk a lot of wank about politics, religion, art and the cosmos and then you go to bed, alone or together according to taste. I mean, how else do you learn anything, how else do you take your mind for a walk?
Stephen Fry (The Fry Chronicles)
We should not expect individuals to produce good, open-minded, truth-seeking reasoning, particularly when self-interest or reputational concerns are in play. But if you put individuals together in the right way, such that some individuals can use their reasoning powers to disconfirm the claims of others, and all individuals feel some common bond or shared fate that allows them to interact civilly, you can create a group that ends up producing good reasoning as an emergent property of the social system. This is why it's so important to have intellectual and ideological diversity within any group or institution whose goal is to find truth (such as an intelligence agency or a community of scientists) or to produce good public policy (such as a legislature or advisory board).
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Women - why aren't you running the world yet? Frankly I'm disappointed in you. Men are still far too dominant for their own good, and consequently we've made a testosterone-sodden pig's ear of just about everything: politics, the economy, religion, the environment ... you name it, it's in a gigantic man-wrought mess.
Charlie Brooker
I am most often irritated by those who attack the bishop but somehow fall for the securities analyst--those who exercise their skepticism against religion but not against economists, social scientists, and phony statisticians. Using the confirmation bias, these people will tell you that religion was horrible for mankind by counting deaths from the Inquisition and various religious wars. But they will not show you how many people were killed by nationalism, social science, and political theory under Stalin or during the Vietnam War. Even priests don't go to bishops when they feel ill: their first stop is the doctor's. But we stop by the offices of many pseudoscientists and "experts" without alternative. We no longer believe in papal infallibility; we seem to believe in the infallibility of the Nobel, though....
Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable)
Ultimately, totalitarianism is the only sort of politics that can truly serve the sky-god's purpose. Any movement of a liberal nature endangers his authority and that of his delegates on earth. One God, one King, one Pope, one master in the factory, one father-leader in the family at home.
Gore Vidal
Let me put it this way: You cannot live in the world without being in pain, spiritual and physical pain. We have developed mechanisms to deal with these pains, to overcome them somehow. Therapy, religion and spirituality, relationships, material success. All this can work, but also become a problem itself. The pursuit of happiness has even been put into the American constitution a couple centuries ago. Today we're so rich, we own much more than we need, we have liberties unknown before, even though they are endangered in the current political climate in the US - and we forget how wonderful it nevertheless is, compared to most other political and economic systems. We have a saying that goes: Give a man enough rope and he hangs himself.
David Foster Wallace
Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the centre of the universe.
Eli Weisel
When we are young, we spend much time and pains in filling our note-books with all definitions of Religion, Love, Poetry, Politics, Art, in the hope that, in the course of a few years, we shall have condensed into our encyclopaedia the net value of all the theories at which the world has yet arrived. But year after year our tables get no completeness, and at last we discover that our curve is a parabola, whose arcs will never meet.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (Essays)
People define themselves in terms of ancestry, religion, language, history, values, customs, and institutions. They identify with cultural groups: tribes, ethnic groups, religious communities, nations, and, at the broadest level, civilizations. People use politics not just to advance their interests but also to define their identity. We know who we are only when we know who we are not and often only when we know whom we are against.
Samuel P. Huntington (The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order)
You cannot avoid the interplay of politics within an orthodox religion. The power struggle permeates the training, education and disciplining of the orthodox community. Because of this pressure, the leaders of such a community inevitably much face that ultimate internal question: to succumb to complete opportunism as the price of maintaining their rule, or risk sacrificing themselves for the sake of the orthodox ethic.
Frank Herbert (Dune (Dune #1))
So this is where all the vapid talk about the 'soul' of the universe is actually headed. Once the hard-won principles of reason and science have been discredited, the world will not pass into the hands of credulous herbivores who keep crystals by their sides and swoon over the poems of Khalil Gibran. The 'vacuum' will be invaded instead by determined fundamentalists of every stripe who already know the truth by means of revelation and who actually seek real and serious power in the here and now. One thinks of the painstaking, cloud-dispelling labor of British scientists from Isaac Newton to Joseph Priestley to Charles Darwin to Ernest Rutherford to Alan Turing and Francis Crick, much of it built upon the shoulders of Galileo and Copernicus, only to see it casually slandered by a moral and intellectual weakling from the usurping House of Hanover. An awful embarrassment awaits the British if they do not declare for a republic based on verifiable laws and principles, both political and scientific.
Christopher Hitchens
Chimerical and empty being, your name alone has caused more blood to flow on the face of the earth than any political war ever will. Return to the nothingness from which the mad hope and ridiculous fright of men dared call you forth to their misfortune. You only appeared as a torment for the human race. What crimes would have been spared the world, if they had choked the first imbecile who thought of speaking of you.
Marquis de Sade
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
Societies that exclude the exoskeleton of religion should reflect carefully to what will happen to them over several generations. We don’t really know, because the first atheistic societies have only emerged in Europe in the last few decades. They are the least efficient societies ever known at turning resources (of which they have a lot) into offspring (of which they have few).
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
Study so that you are able to meet arguments of your opponents. Equip your ideology with supporting arguments. If you oppose a prevailing belief, if you criticize a great person who is considered to be an incarnation, you will find that your criticism will be answered by calling you vain and egoist. The reason for this is mental ignorance. Logic and free thinking are the twin qualities that a revolutionary must inevitably possess. To say that Mahatmas, who are great, should not be criticized because they are above criticism and for this reason, whatever they say about politics, religion, economics and ethics is correct and that whatever they say will have to be accepted, whether you believe it or not, reveals a mentality which cannot lead us to progress and is clearly regressive.
Bhagat Singh
the underlying struggle - between worlds of plenty and worlds of want; between the modern and the ancient; between those who embrace our teeming, colliding, irksome diversity, while still insisting on a set of values that binds us together, and those who would seek, under whatever flag or slogan or sacred text, a certainty and simplification that justifies cruelty toward those not like us...
Barack Obama (Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance)
However modest one may be in one's demand for intellectual cleanliness, one cannot help feeling, when coming into contact with the New Testament, a kind of inexpressible discomfiture: for the unchecked impudence with which the least qualified want to raise their voice on the greatest problems, and even claim to be judges of things, surpasses all measure. The shameless levity with which the most intractable problems (life, world, God, purpose of life) are spoken of, as if they were not problems at all but simply things that these little bigots KNEW!
Friedrich Nietzsche (The Will to Power)
Marriage is not an institution. It's a relationship. Like I said I don't create institutions that's an occupation for those who want to play God. So no I'm not too big on religion and not very fond of politics or economics either. And why should I be They are the man-created trinity of terrors that ravages the earth and deceives those I care about. What mental turmoil and anxiety does any human face that is not related to one of those three
William Paul Young (The Shack)
Political liberty,” what are we to understand by that? Perhaps the individual’s independence of the State and its laws? No; on the contrary, the individual’s subjection in the State and to the State’s laws... Political liberty means that the polis, the State, is free; freedom of religion that religion is free, as freedom of conscience signifies that conscience is free; not, therefore, that I am free from the State, from religion, from conscience, or that I am rid of them. It does not mean my liberty, but the liberty of a power that rules and subjugates me; it means that one of my despots, like State, religion, conscience, is free. State, religion, conscience, these despots, make me a slave, and their liberty is my slavery.
Max Stirner (The Ego and Its Own)
...Bin Laden's quotes from the Quaran resonated in my brain: "When you meet the unbelievers, strike them in the neck." "If you do not go out and fight, God will punish you severely and put others in your place." "Wherever you find the polytheists, kill them, seize them, besiege them, ambush them." "You who believe, do not take the Jews and Christians as friends; they are allies only to each other. Anyone who takes them as an ally becomes one of them.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Infidel)
We modern human beings are looking at life, trying to make some sense of it; observing a 'reality' that often seems to be unfolding in a foreign tongue--only we've all been issued the wrong librettos. For a text, we're given the Bible. Or the Talmud or the Koran. We're given Time magazine, and Reader's Digest, daily papers, and the six o'clock news; we're given schoolbooks, sitcoms, and revisionist histories; we're given psychological counseling, cults, workshops, advertisements, sales pitches, and authoritative pronouncements by pundits, sold-out scientists, political activists, and heads of state. Unfortunately, none of these translations bears more than a faint resemblance to what is transpiring in the true theater of existence, and most of them are dangerously misleading. We're attempting to comprehend the spiraling intricacies of a magnificently complex tragicomedy with librettos that describe the barrom melodramas or kindergarten skits. And when's the last time you heard anybody bitch about it to the management?
Tom Robbins (Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas)
I understand we all have our differences. But while learning about history I've read about white people coming together, Jews coming together, Spanish coming together, different cultures and religions understanding and coming together despite their differences. Slavery was never something that shocked me. What shocks me is how black people have not yet overcome the odds and we're such strong smart people. Why we can't just stand together?
Jonathan Anthony Burkett
some might say: ‘Fragmentation of cities, religions, political systems, conflict in the form of wars, general violence, fratricide, etc., are the reality. Wholeness is only an ideal, toward which we should perhaps strive.’ But this is not what is being said here. Rather, what should be said is that wholeness is what is real, and that fragmentation is the response of this whole to man’s action, guided by illusory perception, which is shaped by fragmentary thought.
David Bohm (Wholeness and the Implicate Order (Routledge Classics))
Infuriatingly stupid analysts - especially people who called themselves Arabists, yet who seemed to know next to nothing about the reality of the Islamic world - wrote reams of commentary [after 9/11]. Their articles were all about Islam saving Aristotle and the zero, which medieval Muslim scholars had done more than eight hundred years ago; about Islam being a religion of peace and tolerance, not the slightest bit violent. These were fairy tales, nothing to do with the real world I knew.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Infidel)
--"And then I explained to him how naive we were, that the world did know and remained silent. And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the opppresso, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must--at that moment--become the center of the universe." "Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere." "As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our life will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs." ‎" We know that every moment is a moment of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them. Our lives no longer belong to us alone; they belong to all those who need us desperately.
Elie Wiesel (Night (The Night Trilogy, #1))
There is, simply, no way, to ignore privacy. Because a citizenry’s freedoms are interdependent, to surrender your own privacy is really to surrender everyone’s. You might choose to give it up out of convenience, or under the popular pretext that privacy is only required by those who have something to hide. But saying that you don’t need or want privacy because you have nothing to hide is to assume that no one should have, or could have to hide anything – including their immigration status, unemployment history, financial history, and health records. You’re assuming that no one, including yourself, might object to revealing to anyone information about their religious beliefs, political affiliations and sexual activities, as casually as some choose to reveal their movie and music tastes and reading preferences. Ultimately, saying that you don’t care about privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different from saying you don’t care about freedom of speech because you have nothing to say. Or that you don’t care about freedom of the press because you don’t like to read. Or that you don’t care about freedom of religion because you don’t believe in God. Or that you don’t care about the freedom to peaceably assemble because you’re a lazy, antisocial agoraphobe. Just because this or that freedom might not have meaning to you today doesn’t mean that that it doesn’t or won’t have meaning tomorrow, to you, or to your neighbor – or to the crowds of principled dissidents I was following on my phone who were protesting halfway across the planet, hoping to gain just a fraction of the freedom that my country was busily dismantling.
Edward Snowden (Permanent Record)
The "omnivore's dilemma" (a term coined by Paul Rozin) is that omnivores must seek out and explore new potential foods while remaining wary of them until they are proven safe. Omnivores therefore go through life with two competing motives: neophilia (an attraction to new things) and neophobia (a fear of new things). People vary in terms of which motive is stronger, and this variation will come back to help us in later chapters: Liberals score higher on measures of neophilia (also known as "openness to experience"), not just for new foods but also for new people, music, and ideas. Conservatives are higher on neophobia; they prefer to stick with what's tried and true, and they care a lot more about guarding borders, boundaries, and traditions.
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion)
We're not really taught how to recreate constructively. We need to do more than find diversions; we need to restore and expand ourselves. Our idea of relaxing is all too often to plop down in front of the television set and let its pandering idiocy liquefy our brains. Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery -- it recharges by running. You may be surprised to find how quickly daily routine and the demands of "just getting by" absorb your waking hours. You may be surprised to find how quickly you start to see your politics and religion become matters of habit rather than thought and inquiry. You may be surprised to find how quickly you start to see your life in terms of other people's expectations rather than issues. You may be surprised to find out how quickly reading a good book sounds like a luxury.
Bill Watterson
I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C" and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of "conservatism.
Barry M. Goldwater
Man ordinarily lives in loneliness. To avoid loneliness, he creates all kinds of relationships, friendships, organizations, political parties, religions and what not. But the basic thing is that he is very much afraid of being lonely. Loneliness is a black hole, a darkness, a frightening negative state almost like death … as if you are being swallowed by death itself. To avoid it, you run out and fall into anybody, just to hold somebody’s hand, to feel that you are not lonely… Nothing hurts more than loneliness. But the trouble is, any relationship that arises out of the fear of being lonely is not going to be a blissful experience, because the other is also joining you out of fear. You both call it love. You are both deceiving yourself and the other. It is simply fear, and fear can never be the source of love. Only those who love are absolutely fearless; only those who love are able to be alone, joyously, whose need for the other has disappeared, who are sufficient unto themselves… The day you decide that all these efforts are failures, that your loneliness has remained untouched by all your efforts, that is a great moment of understanding. Then only one thing remains: to see whether loneliness is such a thing that you should be afraid of, or if it is just your nature. Then rather than running out and away, you close your eyes and go in. Suddenly the night is over, and a new dawn … The loneliness transforms into aloneness. Aloneness is your nature. You were born alone, you will die alone. And you are living alone without understanding it, without being fully aware of it. You misunderstand aloneness as loneliness; it is simply a misunderstanding. You are sufficient unto yourself.
Osho
Let true Christians then, with becoming earnestness, strive in all things to recommend their profession, and to put to silence the vain scoffs of ignorant objectors. Let them boldly assert the cause of Christ in an age when so many, who bear the name of Christians, are ashamed of Him: and let them consider as devolved on Them the important duty of suspending for a while the fall of their country, and, perhaps, of performing a still more extensive service to society at large; not by busy interference in politics, in which it cannot but be confessed there is much uncertainty; but rather by that sure and radical benefit of restoring the influence of Religion, and of raising the standard of morality.
William Wilberforce (Real Christianity)
In past ages, a war, almost by definition, was something that sooner or later came to an end, usually in unmistakable victory or defeat. In the past, also, war was one of the main instruments by which human societies were kept in touch with physical reality. All rulers in all ages have tried to impose a false view of the world upon their followers, but they could not afford to encourage any illusion that tended to impair military efficiency. So long as defeat meant the loss of independence, or some other result generally held to be undesirable, the precautions against defeat had to be serious. Physical facts could not be ignored. In philosophy, or religion, or ethics, or politics, two and two might make five, but when one was designing a gun or an aeroplane they had to make four. Inefficient nations were always conquered sooner or later, and the struggle for efficiency was inimical to illusions. Moreover, to be efficient it was necessary to be able to learn from the past, which meant having a fairly accurate idea of what had happened in the past. Newspapers and history books were, of course, always coloured and biased, but falsification of the kind that is practiced today would have been impossible. War was a sure safeguard of sanity, and so far as the ruling classes were concerned it was probably the most important of all safeguards. While wars could be won or lost, no ruling class could be completely irresponsible.
George Orwell (1984)
In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or the propaganda might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies - the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions. In the past most people never got a chance of fully satisfying this appetite. They might long for distractions, but the distractions were not provided. Christmas came but once a year, feasts were "solemn and rare," there were few readers and very little to read, and the nearest approach to a neighborhood movie theater was the parish church, where the performances though frequent, were somewhat monotonous. For conditions even remotely comparable to those now prevailing we must return to imperial Rome, where the populace was kept in good humor by frequent, gratuitous doses of many kinds of entertainment - from poetical dramas to gladiatorial fights, from recitations of Virgil to all-out boxing, from concerts to military reviews and public executions. But even in Rome there was nothing like the non-stop distractions now provided by newspapers and magazines, by radio, television and the cinema. In "Brave New World" non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation. The other world of religion is different from the other world of entertainment; but they resemble one another in being most decidedly "not of this world." Both are distractions and, if lived in too continuously, both can become, in Marx's phrase "the opium of the people" and so a threat to freedom. Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it.
Aldous Huxley (Brave New World Revisited)
God told us to love everyone. However, when you don’t like someone then you need to walk away and focus not on him or her, but the hatred you’re harboring. Otherwise, you will allow your piety to take over. Before you know it, you’re using the gospel as a sword to slice other religious people apart, which have offended you. From your point of helplessness, it will be is easy to recruit people that will mistake your kindness as righteousness, when in reality it is a hidden agenda to humiliate through the words of Christ. This game is so often used by women in the Christian faith, that it is the number one reason why many people become inactive. It is a silent, unspoken hypocrisy that is inconsistent with the teachings of the gospel. If you choose not to like someone, then avoid them. If you wish to love them, the only way to overcome your frustrations is through empathy, prayer, forgiveness and allowing yourself time to heal through distance. Try focusing on what you share as sisters in the gospel, rather than the negative aspects you dislike about that person.
Shannon L. Alder
Incompatible religious doctrines have balkanized our world into separate moral communities, and these divisions have become a continuous source of bloodshed. Indeed, religion is as much a living spring of violence today as it has been at any time in the past. The recent conflicts in Palestine (Jews vs. Muslims), the Balkans (Orthodox Serbians vs. Catholic Croatians; Orthodox Serbians vs. Bosnian and Albanian Muslims), Northern Ireland (Protestants vs. Catholics), Kashmir (Muslims vs. Hindus), Sudan (Muslims vs. Christians and animists), Nigeria (Muslims vs. Christians), Ethiopia and Eritrea (Muslims vs. Christians), Sri Lanka (Sinhalese Buddhists vs. Tamil Hindus), Indonesia (Muslims vs. Timorese Christians), Iran and Iraq (Shiite vs. Sunni Muslims), and the Caucasus (Orthodox Russians vs. Chechen Muslims; Muslim Azerbaijanis vs. Catholic and Orthodox Armenians) are merely a few cases in point. These are places where religion has been the explicit cause of literally millions of deaths in recent decades. Why is religion such a potent source of violence? There is no other sphere of discourse in which human beings so fully articulate their differences from one another, or cast these differences in terms of everlasting rewards and punishments. Religion is the one endeavor in which us–them thinking achieves a transcendent significance. If you really believe that calling God by the right name can spell the difference between eternal happiness and eternal suffering, then it becomes quite reasonable to treat heretics and unbelievers rather badly. The stakes of our religious differences are immeasurably higher than those born of mere tribalism, racism, or politics.
Sam Harris
If they hate your race, pardon them. If they hate your religion, enlighten them. If they hate your gender, admonish them. If they hate your class, avoid them. If they hate your politics, debate them. If they hate your culture, question them. If they hate your tribe, confront them. If they hate your ancestry, defy them. If they hate your age, outshine them. If they hate your appearance, disregard them. If they love you for your knowledge, teach them. If they love you for your wisdom, counsel them. If they love you for your understanding, instruct them. If they love you for your intuition, guide them. If they love you for your excellence, inspire them. If they love you for your humility, honor them. If they love you for your compassion, welcome them. If they love you for your honesty, value them. If they love you for your kindness, treasure them. If they love you for your virtue, cherish them.
Matshona Dhliwayo
The liberty of man is not safe in the hands of any church. Wherever the Bible and sword are in partnership, man is a slave. All laws for the purpose of making man worship God, are born of the same spirit that kindled the fires of the auto da fe, and lovingly built the dungeons of the Inquisition. All laws defining and punishing blasphemy -- making it a crime to give your honest ideas about the Bible, or to laugh at the ignorance of the ancient Jews, or to enjoy yourself on the Sabbath, or to give your opinion of Jehovah, were passed by impudent bigots, and should be at once repealed by honest men. An infinite God ought to be able to protect himself, without going in partnership with State Legislatures. Certainly he ought not so to act that laws become necessary to keep him from being laughed at. No one thinks of protecting Shakespeare from ridicule, by the threat of fine and imprisonment. It strikes me that God might write a book that would not necessarily excite the laughter of his children. In fact, I think it would be safe to say that a real God could produce a work that would excite the admiration of mankind.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts – between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war. This is the more dramatic side of history; it captures the eye of the historian and the interest of the reader. But if we turn from that Mississippi of strife, hot with hate and dark with blood, to look upon the banks of the stream, we find quieter but more inspiring scenes: women rearing children, men building homes, peasants drawing food from the soil, artisans making the conveniences of life, statesmen sometimes organizing peace instead of war, teachers forming savages into citizens, musicians taming our hearts with harmony and rhythm, scientists patiently accumulating knowledge, philosophers groping for truth, saints suggesting the wisdom of love. History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks.
Will Durant
For while this year it may be a Catholic against whom the finger of suspicion is pointed, in other years it has been, and may someday be again, a Jew--or a Quaker--or a Unitarian--or a Baptist. It was Virginia's harassment of Baptist preachers, for example, that helped lead to Jefferson's statute of religious freedom. Today I may be the victim- -but tomorrow it may be you--until the whole fabric of our harmonious society is ripped at a time of great national peril. Finally, I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end--where all men and all churches are treated as equal--where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice--where there is no Catholic vote, no anti-Catholic vote, no bloc voting of any kind--and where Catholics, Protestants and Jews, at both the lay and pastoral level, will refrain from those attitudes of disdain and division which have so often marred their works in the past, and promote instead the American ideal of brotherhood. That is the kind of America in which I believe. And it represents the kind of Presidency in which I believe--a great office that must neither be humbled by making it the instrument of any one religious group nor tarnished by arbitrarily withholding its occupancy from the members of any one religious group. I believe in a President whose religious views are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office. ... This is the kind of America I believe in--and this is the kind I fought for in the South Pacific, and the kind my brother died for in Europe. No one suggested then that we may have a "divided loyalty," that we did "not believe in liberty," or that we belonged to a disloyal group that threatened the "freedoms for which our forefathers died.
John F. Kennedy
فهي لم تكن تملك , في مقابلة عالم التفاهة الذي يحيط بها، إلا سلاحاً واحداً: الكتب التي تستعيرها من مكتبة البلدية وخصوصاً الروايات. كانت تقرأ أكداساً منها، ابتداءً بفيلدنغ وانتهاءً بتوماس مان. كانت هذه الروايات تمنحها فرصة للهروب الخيالي، وتقتلعها من حياة لم تكن تعطيها أي شعور بالاكتفاء. لكنها كانت أيضاً تعني لها بصفتها أدوات: كانت تحب أن تتنزه وهي تتأبط كتباً. كانت تميّزها عن الآخرين مثلما كانت العصا تميز المتأنق في القرن الفائت. (المقارنة بين الكتاب وعصا المتأنق ليست صحيحة تماماً. فالعصا التي تميّر المتأنق كانت تجعل منه شخصاً عصرياً و «على الموضة». أمّا الكتاب الذي يميّز تيريزا عن النساء الأخريات فيجعلها خارج زمانها. كانت طبعاً أكثر شباباً من أن تفهم ما هو «قديم الزي» في شخصيتها. كانت تجد المراهقين الذين يتنزهون حولها حاملين ترانزستوارت زاعقة، بُلهاء، ولم يكن يخطر في بالها أنهم عصريون.)
ميلان كونديرا
In speaking of the fear of religion, I don’t mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper–namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.”(”The Last Word” by Thomas Nagel, Oxford University Press: 1997)
Thomas Nagel
I have always been interested in this man. My father had a set of Tom Paine's books on the shelf at home. I must have opened the covers about the time I was 13. And I can still remember the flash of enlightenment which shone from his pages. It was a revelation, indeed, to encounter his views on political and religious matters, so different from the views of many people around us. Of course I did not understand him very well, but his sincerity and ardor made an impression upon me that nothing has ever served to lessen. I have heard it said that Paine borrowed from Montesquieu and Rousseau. Maybe he had read them both and learned something from each. I do not know. But I doubt that Paine ever borrowed a line from any man... Many a person who could not comprehend Rousseau, and would be puzzled by Montesquieu, could understand Paine as an open book. He wrote with a clarity, a sharpness of outline and exactness of speech that even a schoolboy should be able to grasp. There is nothing false, little that is subtle, and an impressive lack of the negative in Paine. He literally cried to his reader for a comprehending hour, and then filled that hour with such sagacious reasoning as we find surpassed nowhere else in American letters - seldom in any school of writing. Paine would have been the last to look upon himself as a man of letters. Liberty was the dear companion of his heart; truth in all things his object. ...we, perhaps, remember him best for his declaration: 'The world is my country; to do good my religion.' Again we see the spontaneous genius at work in 'The Rights of Man', and that genius busy at his favorite task - liberty. Written hurriedly and in the heat of controversy, 'The Rights of Man' yet compares favorably with classical models, and in some places rises to vaulting heights. Its appearance outmatched events attending Burke's effort in his 'Reflections'. Instantly the English public caught hold of this new contribution. It was more than a defense of liberty; it was a world declaration of what Paine had declared before in the Colonies. His reasoning was so cogent, his command of the subject so broad, that his legion of enemies found it hard to answer him. 'Tom Paine is quite right,' said Pitt, the Prime Minister, 'but if I were to encourage his views we should have a bloody revolution.' Here we see the progressive quality of Paine's genius at its best. 'The Rights of Man' amplified and reasserted what already had been said in 'Common Sense', with now a greater force and the power of a maturing mind. Just when Paine was at the height of his renown, an indictment for treason confronted him. About the same time he was elected a member of the Revolutionary Assembly and escaped to France. So little did he know of the French tongue that addresses to his constituents had to be translated by an interpreter. But he sat in the assembly. Shrinking from the guillotine, he encountered Robespierre's enmity, and presently found himself in prison, facing that dread instrument. But his imprisonment was fertile. Already he had written the first part of 'The Age of Reason' and now turned his time to the latter part. Presently his second escape cheated Robespierre of vengeance, and in the course of events 'The Age of Reason' appeared. Instantly it became a source of contention which still endures. Paine returned to the United States a little broken, and went to live at his home in New Rochelle - a public gift. Many of his old companions in the struggle for liberty avoided him, and he was publicly condemned by the unthinking. {The Philosophy of Paine, June 7, 1925}
Thomas A. Edison (Diary and Sundry Observations of Thomas Alva Edison)
...Maybe it's low-wage work in general that has the effect of making feel like a pariah. When I watch TV over my dinner at night, I see a world in which almost everyone makes $15 an hour or more, and I'm not just thinking of the anchor folks. The sitcoms and dramas are about fashion designers or schoolteachers or lawyers, so it's easy for a fast-food worker or nurse's aide to conclude that she is an anomaly — the only one, or almost the only one, who hasn't been invited to the party. And in a sense she would be right: the poor have disappeared from the culture at large, from its political rhetoric and intellectual endeavors as well as from its daily entertainment. Even religion seems to have little to say about the plight of the poor, if that tent revival was a fair sample. The moneylenders have finally gotten Jesus out of the temple.
Barbara Ehrenreich (Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America)
Religion is, as I say, something universal and something human, and something impossible to eradicate, nor would I want to eradicate it. I am a religious person, although I am not a believer. Religion is at its best when it is a long way from political power. The founder of the Christian religion -- or, the founders of the Christian religion, Jesus and St. Paul -- were both clear about this. "Blessed are the meek." "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." St. Paul is perfectly clear that the highest Christian virtue is charity, not patriotism, not martial valor, not exalting your class, your group, your race above others, but charity. That's the highest virtue. When religion remembers that and acts accordingly, it does good. But religion, at various points in human history, notably the history of western Europe and the history of some parts of the Middle East more recently, has acquired political power, and put its hands on the levers of social authority. It decides who shall live and who shall die. It decides how we shall dress, what we shall be allowed to read, whether we shall go to war, and so on. When religion acquires that power, it goes bad very rapidly.
Philip Pullman
I think most historians would agree that the part played by impulses of selfish, individual aggression in the holocausts of history was small; first and foremost, the slaughter was meant as an offering to the gods, to king and country, or the future happiness of mankind. The crimes of a Caligula shrink to insignificance compared to the havoc wrought by Torquemada. The number of victims of robbers, highwaymen, rapists, gangsters and other criminals at any period of history is negligible compared to the massive numbers of those cheerfully slain in the name of the true religion, just policy or correct ideology. Heretics were tortured and burnt not in anger but in sorrow, for the good of their immortal souls. Tribal warfare was waged in the purported interest of the tribe, not of the individual. Wars of religion were fought to decide some fine point in theology or semantics. Wars of succession dynastic wars, national wars, civil wars, were fought to decide issues equally remote from the personal self-interest of the combatants. Let me repeat: the crimes of violence committed for selfish, personal motives are historically insignificant compared to those committed ad majorem gloriam Dei, out of a self-sacrificing devotion to a flag, a leader, a religious faith or a political conviction. Man has always been prepared not only to kill but also to die for good, bad or completely futile causes. And what can be a more valid proof of the reality of the self-transcending urge than this readiness to die for an ideal?
Arthur Koestler (The Ghost in the Machine)
You felt, in spite of all bureaucracy and inefficiency and party strife something that was like the feeling you expected to have and did not have when you made your first communion. It was a feeling of consecration to a duty toward all of the oppressed of the world which would be as difficult and embarrasing to speak about as religious experience and yet it was as authentic as the feeling you had when you heard Bach, or stood in Chartres Cathedral or the Cathedral at León and saw the light coming through the great windows; or when you saw Mantegna and Greco and Brueghel in the Prado. It gave you a part in something that you could believe in wholly and completely and in which you felt an absolute brotherhood with the others who were engaged in it. It was something that you had never known before but that you had experienced now and you gave such importance to it and the reasons for it that you own death seemed of complete unimportance; only a thing to be avoided because it would interfere with the performance of your duty. But the best thing was that there was something you could do about this feeling and this necessity too. You could fight.
Ernest Hemingway (For Whom the Bell Tolls)
There is nothing wrong with entertainment. As some psychiatrist once put it, we all build castles in the air. The problems come when we try to live in them. The communications media of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, with telegraphy and photography at their center, called the peek-a-boo world into existence, but we did not come to live there until television. Television gave the epistemological biases of the telegraph and the photograph their most potent expression, raising the interplay of image and instancy to an exquisite and dangerous perfection. And it brought them into the home. We are by now well into a second generation of children for whom television has been their first and most accessible teacher and, for many, their most reliable companion and friend. To put it plainly, television is the command center of the new epistemology. There is no audience so young that it is barred from television. There is no poverty so abject that it must forgo television. There is no education so exalted that it is not modified by television. And most important of all, there is no subject of public interest—politics, news, education, religion, science, sports—that does not find its way to television. Which means that all public understanding of these subjects is shaped by the biases of television.
Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business)
The morning after the 9/11 attacks...we began talking about the Twin Towers attack. Ruud shook his head sadly about it all. He said, "It's so weird, isn't it, all these people saying this has to do with Islam?" I couldn't help myself...I blurted out, "But it *is* about Islam. This is based in belief. This is Islam." Ruud said, "Ayaan, of course these people may have been Muslims, but they are a lunatic fringe. We have extremist Christians, too, who interpret the bible literally. Most Muslims do not believe these things. To say so is to disparage a faith which is the second largest religion in the world, and which is civilized, and peaceful." I walked into the office thinking, "I have to wake these people up."...The Dutch had forgotten that it was possible for people to stand up and wage war, destroy property, imprison, kill, impose laws of virtue because of the call of God. That kind of religion hadn't been present in Holland for centuries. It was not a lunatic fringe who felt this way about America and the West. I knew that a vast mass of Muslims would see the attacks as justified retaliation against the infidel enemies of Islam.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali
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
Newton Pulsifer had never...as far as he knew, ever believed in anything. It had been embarrassing, because he quite wanted to believe in something, since he recognized that belief was the lifebelt that got most people through the choppy waters of Life. He'd have liked to believe in a supreme God, although he'd have preferred a half-hour's chat with Him before committing himself, to clear up one or two points. He'd sat in all sorts of churches, waiting for that single flash of blue light, and it hadn't come. And then he'd tried to become an official Atheist and hadn't got the rock-hard, self-satisfied strength of belief even for that. And every single political party had seemed to him equally dishonest. .... Then he'd tried believing in the Universe, which seemed sound enough until he'd innocently started reading new books with words like Chaos and Time and Quantum in the titles. He'd found that even the people whose job of work was, so to speak, the Universe, didn't really believe in it and were actually quite proud of not knowing what it really was or even if it could theoretically exist. To Newt's straightforward mind this was intolerable.
Neil Gaiman (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch)
During the cold war, the anticommunist ideological framework could transform any data about existing communist societies into hostile evidence. If the Soviets refused to negotiate a point, they were intransigent and belligerent; if they appeared willing to make concessions, this was but a skillful ploy to put us off our guard. By opposing arms limitations, they would have demonstrated their aggressive intent; but when in fact they supported most armament treaties, it was because they were mendacious and manipulative. If the churches in the USSR were empty, this demonstrated that religion was suppressed; but if the churches were full, this meant the people were rejecting the regime's atheistic ideology. If the workers went on strike (as happened on infrequent occasions), this was evidence of their alienation from the collectivist system; if they didn't go on strike, this was because they were intimidated and lacked freedom. A scarcity of consumer goods demonstrated the failure of the economic system; an improvement in consumer supplies meant only that the leaders were attempting to placate a restive population and so maintain a firmer hold over them. If communists in the United States played an important role struggling for the rights of workers, the poor, African-Americans, women, and others, this was only their guileful way of gathering support among disfranchised groups and gaining power for themselves. How one gained power by fighting for the rights of powerless groups was never explained. What we are dealing with is a nonfalsifiable orthodoxy, so assiduously marketed by the ruling interests that it affected people across the entire political spectrum.
Michael Parenti (Blackshirts and Reds: Rational Fascism and the Overthrow of Communism)
Guess what? The Nazis didn't lose the war after all. They won it and flourished. They took over the world and wiped out every last Jew, every last Gypsy, black, East Indian, and American Indian. Then, when they were finished with that, they wiped out the Russians and the Poles and the Bohemians and the Moravians and the Bulgarians and the Serbians and the Croatians--all the Slavs. Then they started in on the Polynesians and the Koreans and the Chinese and the Japanese--all the peoples of Asia. This took a long, long time, but when it was all over, everyone in the world was one hundred percent Aryan, and they were all very, very happy. Naturally the textbooks used in the schools no longer mentioned any race but the Aryan or any language but German or any religion but Hitlerism or any political system but National Socialism. There would have been no point. After a few generations of that, no one could have put anything different into the textbooks even if they'd wanted to, because they didn't know anything different. But one day, two young students were conversing at the University of New Heidelberg in Tokyo. Both were handsome in the usual Aryan way, but one of them looked vaguely worried and unhappy. That was Kurt. His friend said, "What's wrong, Kurt? Why are you always moping around like this?" Kurt said, "I'll tell you, Hans. There is something that's troubling me--and troubling me deeply." His friend asked what it was. "It's this," Kurt said. "I cannot shake the crazy feeling that there is some small thing that we're being lied to about." And that's how the paper ended.' Ishmael nodded thoughtfully. 'And what did your teacher think of that?' 'He wanted to know if I had the same crazy feeling as Kurt. When I said I did, he wanted to know what I thought we were being lied to about. I said, 'How could I know? I'm no better off than Kurt.
Daniel Quinn (Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit (Ishmael, #1))
First thing: There is no need to survive in this world. This world is a madhouse. There is no need to survive in it. There is no need to survive in the world of ambition, politics, ego. It is the disease. But there is another way to be, and the whole religious standpoint is: You can be in this world and not be of it. “When I listen to my feelings, my inner voice, they tell me to do nothing.…” Then don’t do anything. There is nobody higher than you, and God speaks to you directly. Start trusting your inner feelings. Then don’t do anything. If you feel just to sleep, eat, and play on the beach, perfect. Let that be your religion. Don’t be afraid then. You will have to drop fear. And if it is a question of choosing between the inner feeling and the fear, choose the inner feeling. Don’t choose the fear. So many people have chosen their path out of fear, so they live in a limbo, they live in indecision. Fear is not going to help. Fear always means the fear of the unknown. Fear always means the fear of death. Fear always means the fear of being lost—but if you really want to be alive, you have to accept the possibility of being lost. You have to accept the insecurity of the unknown, the discomfort and the inconvenience of the unfamiliar, the strange. That is the price one has to pay for the blessing that follows it, and nothing can be achieved without paying for it. You have to pay for it: Otherwise you will remain fear-paralyzed. Your whole life will be lost. Enjoy whatsoever your inner feeling is.
Osho (Living on Your Own Terms: What Is Real Rebellion?)
Young Tchitcherine was the one who brought up political narcotics. Opiates of the people. Wimpe smiled back. An old, old smile to chill even the living fire in Earth’s core. "Marxist dialectics? That’s not an opiate, eh?" "It’s the antidote." "No." It can go either way. The dope salesman may know everything that’s ever going to happen to Tchitcherine, and decide it’s no use—or, out of the moment’s velleity, lay it right out for the young fool. "The basic problem," he proposes, "has always been getting other people to die for you. What’s worth enough for a man to give up his life? That’s where religion had the edge, for centuries. Religion was always about death. It was used not as an opiate so much as a technique—it got people to die for one particular set of beliefs about death. Perverse, natürlich, but who are you to judge? It was a good pitch while it worked. But ever since it became impossible to die for death, we have had a secular version—yours. Die to help History grow to its predestined shape. Die knowing your act will bring will bring a good end a bit closer. Revolutionary suicide, fine. But look: if History’s changes are inevitable, why not not die? Vaslav? If it’s going to happen anyway, what does it matter?" "But you haven’t ever had the choice to make, have you." "If I ever did, you can be sure—" "You don’t know. Not till you’re there, Wimpe. You can’t say." "That doesn’t sound very dialectical." "I don’t know what it is." "Then, right up to the point of decision," Wimpe curious but careful, "a man could still be perfectly pure . . ." "He could be anything. I don’t care. But he’s only real at the points of decision. The time between doesn’t matter." "Real to a Marxist." "No. Real to himself." Wimpe looks doubtful. "I've been there. You haven't.
Thomas Pynchon (Gravity's Rainbow)
At present, the successful office-seeker is a good deal like the center of the earth; he weighs nothing himself, but draws everything else to him. There are so many societies, so many churches, so many isms, that it is almost impossible for an independent man to succeed in a political career. Candidates are forced to pretend that they are catholics with protestant proclivities, or christians with liberal tendencies, or temperance men who now and then take a glass of wine, or, that although not members of any church their wives are, and that they subscribe liberally to all. The result of all this is that we reward hypocrisy and elect men entirely destitute of real principle; and this will never change until the people become grand enough to allow each other to do their own thinking. Our government should be entirely and purely secular. The religious views of a candidate should be kept entirely out of sight. He should not be compelled to give his opinion as to the inspiration of the bible, the propriety of infant baptism, or the immaculate conception. All these things are private and personal. The people ought to be wise enough to select as their officers men who know something of political affairs, who comprehend the present greatness, and clearly perceive the future grandeur of our country. If we were in a storm at sea, with deck wave-washed and masts strained and bent with storm, and it was necessary to reef the top sail, we certainly would not ask the brave sailor who volunteered to go aloft, what his opinion was on the five points of Calvinism. Our government has nothing to do with religion. It is neither christian nor pagan; it is secular. But as long as the people persist in voting for or against men on account of their religious views, just so long will hypocrisy hold place and power. Just so long will the candidates crawl in the dust—hide their opinions, flatter those with whom they differ, pretend to agree with those whom they despise; and just so long will honest men be trampled under foot.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
Your frequent claim that we must understand religious belief as a “social construct,” produced by “societal causes,” dependent upon “social and cultural institutions,” admitting of “sociological questions,” and the like, while it will warm the hearts of most anthropologists, is either trivially true or obscurantist. It is part and parcel of the double standard that so worries me—the demolition of which is the explicit aim of The Reason Project. Epidemiology is also a “social construct” with “societal causes,” etc.—but this doesn’t mean that the germ theory of disease isn’t true or that any rival “construct”—like one suggesting that child rape will cure AIDS—isn’t a dangerous, deplorable, and unnecessary eruption of primeval stupidity. We either have good reasons or bad reasons for what we believe; we can be open to evidence and argument, or we can be closed; we can tolerate (and even seek) criticism of our most cherished views, or we can hide behind authority, sanctity, and dogma. The main reason why children are still raised to think that the universe is 6,000 years old is not because religion as a “social institution” hasn’t been appropriately coddled and cajoled, but because polite people (and scientists terrified of losing their funding) haven’t laughed this belief off the face of the earth. We did not lose a decade of progress on stem-cell research in the United States because of religion as a “social construct”; we lost it because of the behavioural and emotional consequences of a specific belief. If there were a line in the book of Genesis that read – “The soul enters the womb on the hundredth day (you idiots)” – we wouldn’t have lost a step on stem-cell research, and there would not be a Christian or Jew anywhere who would worry about souls in Petri dishes suffering the torments of the damned. The beliefs currently rattling around in the heads of human beings are some of the most potent forces on earth; some of the craziest and most divisive of these are “religious,” and so-dubbed they are treated with absurd deference, even in the halls of science; this is a very bad combination—that is my point.
Sam Harris
These are lines from my asteroid-impact novel, Regolith: Just because there are no laws against stupidity doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be punished. I haven’t faced rejection this brutal since I was single. He smelled trouble like a fart in the shower. If this was a kiss of gratitude, then she must have been very grateful. Not since Bush and Cheney have so few spent so much so fast for so long for so little. As a nympho for mind-fucks, Lisa took to politics like a pig to mud. She began paying men compliments as if she expected a receipt. Like the Aerosmith song, his get-up-and-go just got-up-and-went. “You couldn’t beat the crap out of a dirty diaper!” He embraced his only daughter as if she was deploying to Iraq. She was hotter than a Class 4 solar flare! If sex was a weapon, then Monique possessed WMD I haven’t felt this alive since I lost my virginity. He once read that 95% of women fake organism, and the rest are gay. Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but ugly is universal. Why do wives fart, but not girlfriends? Adultery is sex that is wrong, but not necessarily bad. The dinosaurs stayed drugged out, drooling like Jonas Brothers fans. Silence filled the room like tear gas. The told him a fraction of the truth and hoped it would take just a fraction of the time. Happiness is the best cosmetic, He was a whale of a catch, and there were a lot of fish in the sea eager to nibble on his bait. Cheap hookers are less buck for the bang, Men cannot fall in love with women they don’t find attractive, and women cannot fall in love with men they do not respect. During sex, men want feedback while women expect mind-reading. Cooper looked like a cow about to be tipped over. His father warned him to never do anything he couldn’t justify on Oprah. The poor are not free -- they’re just not enslaved. Only those with money are free. Sperm wasn’t something he would choose on a menu, but it still tasted better than asparagus. The crater looked alive, like Godzilla was about to leap out and mess up Tokyo. Bush follows the Bible until it gets to Jesus. When Bush talks to God, it’s prayer; when God talks to Bush, it’s policy. Cheney called the new Miss America a traitor – apparently she wished for world peace. Cheney was so unpopular that Bush almost replaced him when running for re-election, changing his campaign slogan to, ‘Ain’t Got Dick.’ Bush fought a war on poverty – and the poor lost. Bush thinks we should strengthen the dollar by making it two-ply. Hurricane Katrina got rid of so many Democratic voters that Republicans have started calling her Kathleen Harris. America and Iraq fought a war and Iran won. Bush hasn’t choked this much since his last pretzel. Some wars are unpopular; the rest are victorious. So many conservatives hate the GOP that they are thinking of changing their name to the Dixie Chicks. If Saddam had any WMD, he would have used them when we invaded. If Bush had any brains, he would have used them when we invaded. It’s hard for Bush to win hearts and minds since he has neither. In Iraq, you are a coward if you leave and a fool if you stay. Bush believes it’s not a sin to kill Muslims since they are going to Hell anyway. And, with Bush’s help, soon. In Iraq, those who make their constitution subservient to their religion are called Muslims. In America they’re called Republicans. With great power comes great responsibility – unless you’re Republican.
Brent Reilly
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