Religion Equality Quotes

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He - and if there is a God, I am convinced he is a he, because no woman could or would ever fuck things up this badly.
George Carlin
Race, gender, religion, sexuality, we are all people and that's it. We're all people. We're all equal.
Connor Franta
I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects)
The various modes of worship which prevailed in the Roman world were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher as equally false; and by the magistrate as equally useful.
Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher.
Lucretius (On the Nature of Things: de Rerum Natura)
Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.
Frédéric Bastiat (The Law)
If we submit everything to reason our religion will be left with nothing mysterious or supernatural. If we offend the principles of reason our religion will be absurd and ridiculous . . . There are two equally dangerous extremes: to exclude reason, to admit nothing but reason.
Blaise Pascal (Pensées)
About once or twice every month I engage in public debates with those whose pressing need it is to woo and to win the approval of supernatural beings. Very often, when I give my view that there is no supernatural dimension, and certainly not one that is only or especially available to the faithful, and that the natural world is wonderful enough—and even miraculous enough if you insist—I attract pitying looks and anxious questions. How, in that case, I am asked, do I find meaning and purpose in life? How does a mere and gross materialist, with no expectation of a life to come, decide what, if anything, is worth caring about? Depending on my mood, I sometimes but not always refrain from pointing out what a breathtakingly insulting and patronizing question this is. (It is on a par with the equally subtle inquiry: Since you don't believe in our god, what stops you from stealing and lying and raping and killing to your heart's content?) Just as the answer to the latter question is: self-respect and the desire for the respect of others—while in the meantime it is precisely those who think they have divine permission who are truly capable of any atrocity—so the answer to the first question falls into two parts. A life that partakes even a little of friendship, love, irony, humor, parenthood, literature, and music, and the chance to take part in battles for the liberation of others cannot be called 'meaningless' except if the person living it is also an existentialist and elects to call it so. It could be that all existence is a pointless joke, but it is not in fact possible to live one's everyday life as if this were so. Whereas if one sought to define meaninglessness and futility, the idea that a human life should be expended in the guilty, fearful, self-obsessed propitiation of supernatural nonentities… but there, there. Enough.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
the gods play no favorites.
Charles Bukowski (You Get So Alone at Times That it Just Makes Sense)
Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on Brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs and denied simple human rights? No I’m not going 10,000 miles from home to help murder and burn another poor nation simply to continue the domination of white slave masters of the darker people the world over. This is the day when such evils must come to an end. I have been warned that to take such a stand would cost me millions of dollars. But I have said it once and I will say it again. The real enemy of my people is here. I will not disgrace my religion, my people or myself by becoming a tool to enslave those who are fighting for their own justice, freedom and equality. If I thought the war was going to bring freedom and equality to 22 million of my people they wouldn’t have to draft me, I’d join tomorrow. I have nothing to lose by standing up for my beliefs. So I’ll go to jail, so what? We’ve been in jail for 400 years.
Muhammad Ali
All men are Prophets or else God does not exist.
Jean-Paul Sartre
A religion contradicting science and a science contradicting religion are equally false.
P.D. Ouspensky
We can either emphasize those aspects of our traditions, religious or secular, that speak of hatred, exclusion, and suspicion or work with those that stress the interdependence and equality of all human beings. The choice is yours. (22)
Karen Armstrong (Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life)
I pray every single moment of my life; not on my knees but with my work. My prayer is to lift women to equality with men. Work and worship are one with me.
Susan B. Anthony
It has been often said, very truly, that religion is the thing that makes the ordinary man feel extraordinary; it is an equally important truth that religion is the thing that makes the extraordinary man feel ordinary.
G.K. Chesterton
I like the religion that teaches liberty, equality and fraternity.
B.R. Ambedkar
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)
Whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, religious or nonbelieving, man or woman, black, white, or brown, we are all the same. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, we are all equal. We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety, and love. We all aspire to happiness and we all shun suffering. Each of us has hopes, worries, fears, and dreams. Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones. We all experience pain when we suffer loss and joy when we achieve what we seek. On this fundamental level, religion, ethnicity, culture, and language make no difference.
Dalai Lama XIV (Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World's Religions Can Come Together)
Numbers still gave Astrid pleasure. That was the great thing about numbers: it required no faith to believe that two plus two equaled four. And math never, ever condemned you for your thoughts and desires.
Michael Grant (Fear (Gone, #5))
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
Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, it beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap... Now there are times when a whole generation is caught in this way between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence. Naturally, every one does not feel this equally strongly.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
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)
If anyone makes you feel less than you are, for the color of you skin, for where you come from, for the gender of the person you love, for the religion you have faith in, stand up, speak up, roar. No silence till we are equal.
Thisuri Wanniarachchi (COLOMBO STREETS)
Teach her about difference. Make difference ordinary. Make difference normal. Teach her not to attach value to difference. And the reason for this is not to be fair or to be nice but merely to be human and practical. Because difference is the reality of our world. And by teaching her about difference, you are equipping her to survive in a diverse world. She must know and understand that people walk different paths in the world and that as long as those paths do no harm to others, they are valid paths that she must respect. Teach her that we do not know – we cannot know – everything about life. Both religion and science have spaces for the things we do not know, and it is enough to make peace with that. Teach her never to universalise her own standards or experiences. Teach her that her standards are for her alone, and not for other people. This is the only necessary form of humility: the realisation that difference is normal.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Dear Ijeawele, or a Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions)
It is no more narrow to claim that one religion is right than to claim that one way to think about all religions (namely that all are equal) is right. We are all exclusive in our beliefs about religion, but in different ways.
Timothy J. Keller (The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism)
We need to eliminate the concept of division by class, skills, race, income, religion, and nationality. Every human requires food and water to survive and every human has a heart that bleeds, loves, and grieves.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Even kings and emperors, with mountains of property and oceans of wealth - these are not even equal to an ant, who does not forget God.
Guru Nanak (Sri Guru Granth Sahib)
It would be frightening to think that in all the cosmos, which is so harmonious, so complete and equal to itself, that only human life is happening randomly, that only one's destiny lacks meaning.
Mircea Eliade
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)
Countries with a high percentage of nonbelievers are among the freest, most stable, best-educated, and healthiest nations on earth. When nations are ranked according to a human-development index, which measures such factors as life expectancy, literacy rates, and educational attainment, the five highest-ranked countries -- Norway, Sweden, Australia, Canada, and the Netherlands -- all have high degrees of nonbelief. Of the fifty countires at the bottom of the index, all are intensly religious. The nations with the highest homicide rates tend to be more religious; those with the greatest levels of gender equality are the least religious. These associations say nothing about whether atheism leads to positive social indicators or the other way around. But the idea that atheists are somehow less moral, honest, or trustworthy have been disproven by study after study.
Greg Graffin
Doctors of ancient times used to recommend reading to their patients as a physical exercise on an equal level as walking, running, or ball-playing.
Jean Leclercq
Our government rests upon religion. It is from that source that we derive our reverence for truth and justice, for equality and liberality, and for the rights of mankind. Unless the people believe in these principles they cannot believe in our government. There are only two main theories of government in our world. One rests on righteousness and the other on force. One appeals to reason, and the other appeals to the sword. One is exemplified in the republic, the other is represented by despotism. The government of a country never gets ahead of the religion of a country. There is no way by which we can substitute the authority of law for the virtue of man. Of course we endeavor to restrain the vicious, and furnish a fair degree of security and protection by legislation and police control, but the real reform which society in these days is seeking will come as a result of our religious convictions, or they will not come at all. Peace, justice, humanity, charity—these cannot be legislated into being. They are the result of divine grace.
Calvin Coolidge
- What is a Socialist? - That's when all are equal and all have property in common, there are no marriages, and everyone has any religion and laws he likes best. You are not old enough to understand that yet.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (The Brothers Karamazov)
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
Besides the danger of a direct mixture of religion and civil government, there is an evil which ought to be guarded against in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by ecclesiastical corporations. The establishment of the chaplainship in Congress is a palpable violation of equal rights as well as of Constitutional principles. The danger of silent accumulations and encroachments by ecclesiastical bodies has not sufficiently engaged attention in the U.S.
James Madison
If conversion to Christianity makes no improvement in a man's outward actions – if he continues to be just a snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before – then I think we must suspect that his 'conversion' was largely imaginary; and after one's original conversion, every time one thinks one has made an advance, that is the test to apply. Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in 'religion' mean nothing unless they make our actual behavior better; just as in an illness 'feeling better' is not much good if the thermometer shows that your temperature is still going up. In that sense the outer world is quite right to judge Christianity by its results. Christ told us to judge by results. A tree is known by its fruit; or, as we say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. When we Christians behave badly, or fail to behave well, we are making Christianity unbelievable to the outside world. The war-time posters told us that Careless Talk costs Lives. It is equally true that Careless Lives cost Talk. Our careless lives set the outer world taking; and we give them grounds for talking in a way that throws doubt on the truth of Christianity itself.
C.S. Lewis
If all men are made in God's reflection, then why do some people continue to acknowledge only what is in their part of the mirror? If every man was created equal and in the image of God, then how can any man claim that one race is better than another?
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
I know God heard them both the same at the end, that he loved them both equally even though their prayers were different.
Zeyn Joukhadar (The Map of Salt and Stars)
The policy of the emperors and the senate, as far as it concerned religion, was happily seconded by the reflections of the enlightened, and by the habits of the superstitious, part of their subjects. The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful. And thus toleration produced not only mutual indulgence, but even religious concord.
Edward Gibbon (The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire)
We should remember that the Declaration of Independence is not merely a historical document. It is an explicit recognition that our rights derive not from the King of England, not from the judiciary, not from government at all, but from God. The keystone of our system of popular sovereignty is the recognition, as the Declaration acknowledges, that 'all men are created equal' and 'endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.' Religion and God are no alien to our system of government, they're integral to it.
Mark R. Levin (Men in Black: How Judges are Destroying America)
The personality of Muhammad, it is most difficult to get into the whole truth of it. Only a glimpse of it I can catch. What a dramatic succession of picturesque scenes! There is Muhammad, the Prophet; there is Muhammad, the Warrior; Muhammad, the Businessman; Muhammad, the Statesman; Muhammad, the Orator; Muhammad, the Reformer; Muhammad, the Refuge of Orphans; Muhammad, the Protector of Slaves; Muhammad, the Emancipator of Women; Muhammad, the Judge; Muhammad, the Saint. All in all these magnificent roles, in all these departments of human activities, he is like a hero.
K.S. Ramakrishna Rao
We are not sheep or cows. God didn’t create fences for us or boundaries to contain our nationalities. Man did. God didn’t draw up religious barriers to separate us from each other. Man did. And on top of that, no father would like to see his children fighting or killing each other. The Creator favors the man who spreads loves over the man who spreads hate. A religious title does not make anyone more superior over another. If a kind man stands by his conscience and exhibits truth in his words and actions, he will stand by God regardless of his faith. If mankind wants to evolve, we must learn from our past mistakes. If not, our technology will evolve without us.
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretext, infringed.
James Madison
I was raised thinking that moral and ethical standards are universals that apply equally to everyone. And these values aren't easily compatible with the kind of religion that posits a Creator. To my way of thinking, an omnipotent being who sets up a universe in which thinking beings proliferate, grow old, and die (usually in agony, alone, and in fear) is a cosmic sadist.
Charles Stross (The Fuller Memorandum (Laundry Files, #3))
But what about human nature? Can it be changed? And if not, will it endure under Anarchism? Poor human nature, what horrible crimes have been committed in thy name! Every fool, from king to policeman, from the flatheaded parson to the visionless dabbler in science, presumes to speak authoritatively of human nature. The greater the mental charlatan, the more definite his insistence on the wickedness and weaknesses of human nature. Yet, how can any one speak of it today, with every soul in a prison, with every heart fettered, wounded, and maimed? John Burroughs has stated that experimental study of animals in captivity is absolutely useless. Their character, their habits, their appetites undergo a complete transformation when torn from their soil in field and forest. With human nature caged in a narrow space, whipped daily into submission, how can we speak of its potentialities? Freedom, expansion, opportunity, and, above all, peace and repose, alone can teach us the real dominant factors of human nature and all its wonderful possibilities. Anarchism, then, really stands for the liberation of the human mind from the dominion of religion; the liberation of the human body from the dominion of property; liberation from the shackles and restraint of government. Anarchism stands for a social order based on the free grouping of individuals for the purpose of producing real social wealth; an order that will guarantee to every human being free access to the earth and full enjoyment of the necessities of life, according to individual desires, tastes, and inclinations. This is not a wild fancy or an aberration of the mind. It is the conclusion arrived at by hosts of intellectual men and women the world over; a conclusion resulting from the close and studious observation of the tendencies of modern society: individual liberty and economic equality, the twin forces for the birth of what is fine and true in man.
Emma Goldman (Anarchism and Other Essays)
The humble sage, by virtue of true knowledge, sees with equal vision a learned and gentle brāhmaṇa, a cow, an elephant, a dog, and a dog-eater.
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda (The Science of Self-Realization)
Religious moderation is the product of secular knowledge and scriptural ignorance. [...] By failing to live by the letter of the texts [scripture], while tolerating the irrationality of those who do, religious moderates betray faith and reason equally.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
I believe in political equality. But there are two opposite reasons for being a democrat. You may think all men so good that they deserve a share in the government of the commonwealth, and so wise that the commonwealth needs their advice. That is, in my opinion, the false, romantic doctrine of democracy. On the other hand, you may believe fallen men to be so wicked that not one of them can be trusted with any irresponsible power over his fellows. That I believe to be the true ground of democracy. I do not believe that God created an egalitarian world. I believe the authority of parent over child, husband over wife, learned over simple to have been as much a part of the original plan as the authority of man over beast. I believe that if we had not fallen...patriarchal monarchy would be the sole lawful government. But since we have learned sin, we have found, as Lord Acton says, that 'all power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.' The only remedy has been to take away the powers and substitute a legal fiction of equality. The authority of father and husband has been rightly abolished on the legal plane, not because this authority is in itself bad (on the contrary, it is, I hold, divine in origin), but because fathers and husbands are bad. Theocracy has been rightly abolished not because it is bad that learned priests should govern ignorant laymen, but because priests are wicked men like the rest of us. Even the authority of man over beast has had to be interfered with because it is constantly abused.
C.S. Lewis (The Weight of Glory)
Zero is powerful because it is infinity’s twin. They are equal and opposite, yin and yang. They are equally paradoxical and troubling. The biggest questions in science and religion are about nothingness and eternity, the void and the infinite, zero and infinity. The clashes over zero were the battles that shook the foundations of philosophy, of science, of mathematics, and of religion. Underneath every revolution lay a zero – and an infinity.
Charles Seife (Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea)
The Indians are the Italians of Asia", Didier pronounced with a sage and mischievous grin. "It can be said, certainly, with equal justice, that the Italians are the Indians of Europe, but you do understand me, I think. There is so much Italian in the Indians, and so much Indians in the Italians. They are both people of the Madonna - they demand a goddess, even if the religion does not provide one. Every man in both countries is a singer when he is happy, and every woman is a dancer when she walks to the shop at the corner. For them, food is music inside the body, and music is food inside the heart. The Language of India and the language of Italy, they make every man a poet, and make something beautiful from every banalite. They are nations where love - amore, pyaar - makes a cavalier of a Borsalino on a street corner, and makes a princess of a peasant girl, if only for the second that her eyes meet yours.
Gregory David Roberts (Shantaram)
[Buddhism and Christianity] are in one sense parallel and equal; as a mound and a hollow, as a valley and a hill. There is a sense in which that sublime despair is the only alternative to that divine audacity. It is even true that the truly spiritual and intellectual man sees it as sort of dilemma; a very hard and terrible choice. There is little else on earth that can compare with these for completeness. And he who does not climb the mountain of Christ does indeed fall into the abyss of Buddha.
G.K. Chesterton (Saint Thomas Aquinas)
All religions, plainly and simply, cannot be true. Some beliefs are false, and we know them to be false. So it does no good to put a halo on the notion of tolerance as if everything could be equally true. To deem all beliefs equally true is sheer nonsense for the simple reason that to deny that statement would also, then, be true. But if the denial of the statement is also true, then all religions are not true.
Ravi Zacharias (Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message)
This is God's universe and he is the master gardener of all. If we were to eliminate all colors in his garden,then what would be a rainbow with only one color? Or a garden with only one kind of flower? Why would the Creator create a vast assortment of plants, ethnicities, and animals, if only one beast or seed is to dominate all of existence?
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
The only foundation for a useful education in a republic is to be laid in religion. Without this there can be no virtue, and without virtue there can be no liberty; and liberty is the object and life of all republican governments....We waste so much time and money in punishing crimes, and take so little pains to prevent them. We profess to be republicans, and yet we neglect the only means of establishing and perpetuating our republican forms of government, that is, the universal education of our youth in the principles of Christianity, by means of the Bible; for this divine book, above all others favors that equality among mankind, that respect for just laws.
Benjamin Rush
Many religious moderates have taken the apparent high road of pluralism, asserting the equal validity of all faiths, but in doing so they neglect to notice the irredeemably sectarian truth claims of each.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
To respect someone means to treat their ideas, personal space, belongings, and needs as equal in importance to your own, while to honor someone means to treat all those things as more important than your own.
Sarah Arthur (Dating Mr. Darcy)
My faith in the expertise of physicists like Richard Feynman, for instance, permits me to endorse—and, if it comes to it, bet heavily on the truth of—a proposition that I don't understand. So far, my faith is not unlike religious faith, but I am not in the slightest bit motivated to go to my death rather than recant the formulas of physics. Watch: E doesn't equal mc2, it doesn't, it doesn't! I was lying, so there!
Daniel C. Dennett (Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon)
No man [...] can be so stupid to deny that all men naturally were born free, being the image and resemblance of God himself.
John Milton (The Tenure of Kings and Magistrates)
Despite what some may try to tell themselves. In the new testament there is no case for equality in the bible.
Gillian Dance (The Ultimate Religion)
To confuse compulsory schooling with equal educational opportunity is like confusing organized religion with spirituality. One does not necessarily lead to the other. Schooling confuses teaching with learning, grade advancement with education, a diploma with competence, and fluency with the ability to say something new.
Wendy Priesnitz
People in general are equally horrified at hearing the Christian religion doubted, and at seeing it practiced.
Samuel Butler
What we need today is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be equally acceptable to those with faith and those without: a secular ethics.
Dalai Lama XIV (Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World)
In this America, too, the Christian teaching that every human soul is unique and precious has been stressed, by the prophets of self-fulfillment and gurus of self-love, at the expense of the equally important teaching that every human soul is fatally corrupted by original sin. Absent the latter emphasis, religion becomes a license for egotism and selfishness, easily employed to justify what used to be considered deadly sins. The result is a society where pride becomes 'healthy self-esteem', vanity becomes 'self-improvement', adultery becomes 'following your heart', greed and gluttony become 'living the American dream'.
Ross Douthat (Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics)
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
Historically, all ethics undoubtedly begin with religion; but I do not now deal with historical questions. I do not ask who was the first lawgiver. I only maintain that it is we, and we alone, who are responsible for adopting or rejecting some suggested moral laws; it is we who must distinguish between the true prophets and the false prophets. All kinds of norms have been claimed to be God-given. If you accept 'Christian' ethics of equality and toleration and freedom of conscience only because of its claim to rest upon divine authority, then you build on a weak basis; for it has been only too often claimed that inequality is willed by God, and that we must not be tolerant with unbelievers. If, however, you accept the Christian ethics not because you are commanded to do so but because of your conviction that it is the right decision to take, then it is you who have decided.
Karl Popper (The Open Society and Its Enemies - Volume One: The Spell of Plato)
At the time, infatuated with Nietzsche (and half asleep), Leonard didn't want to get into this argument, the truth of which wasn't that all religions were equally valid but that they were equally nonsensical.
Jeffrey Eugenides (The Marriage Plot)
But let’s not forget the Jew. Anybody that gives even a just criticism of the Jew is instantly labeled anti-Semite. The Jew cries louder than anybody else if anybody criticizes him. You can tell the truth about any minority in America, but make a true observation about the Jew, and if it doesn’t 't pat him on the back, then he uses his grip on the news media to label you anti-Semite.
Malcolm X
As women, we have come a long way but the struggle is real and our hunger is stirring up the right to be treated equally regardless of age, religion, race, and or which “group” we belong to. There is so much more that needs to be done but if we continue to come together as women instead of being each other’s enemies, filled with the rage of envy and competition, we will be able to move further along a lot faster than expected.
Charlena E. Jackson (A Woman's Love Is Never Good Enough)
It does not answer the aim which God had in this institution, merely for men to have good commentaries and expositions on the Scripture, and other good books of divinity; because, although these may tend, as well as preaching, to give a good doctrinal or speculative understanding of the word of God, yet they have not an equal tendency to impress them on men's hearts and affections. God hath appointed a particular and lively application of his word, in the preaching of it, as a fit means to affect sinners with the importance of religion, their own misery, the necessity of a remedy, and the glory and sufficiency of a remedy provided; to stir up the pure minds of the saints, quicken their affections by often bringing the great things of religion in their remembrance, and setting them in their proper colours, though they know them, and have been fully instructed in them already.
Jonathan Edwards
Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, real hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap. A man of the Classical Age who had to live in medieval times would suffocate miserably just as a savage does in the midst of our civilization. Now there are times when a whole generation is caught in this way between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence. Naturally, everyone does not feel this equally strongly. A nature such as Nietzsche’s had to suffer our present ills more than a generation in advance. What he had to go through alone and misunderstood, thousands suffer today.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
I have always known that the best of the Saracens could out-Christian many of us Christians.
Ellis Peters (The Leper of Saint Giles (Chronicles of Brother Cadfael, #5))
It should go without saying that these rival belief systems [Judaism, Islam, Christianity] are all equally uncontaminated by evidence.
Sam Harris (The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason)
Men in prayer give greater license to their unlawful desires than if they were telling jocular tales among their equals.
John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2 Vols)
What is man if the signs that predate him have such power? A human race has to invent sacrifices equal to the natural cataclysmic order that surrounds it.
Jean Baudrillard
religions of the Roman Empire “were all considered by the people, as equally true, by the philosopher, as equally false, and by the magistrate, as equally useful.”8
Steven Weinberg (To Explain the World: The Discovery of Modern Science)
Emma Willard told the legislature that the education of women "has been too exclusively directed to fit them for displaying to advantage the charms of youth and beauty" The problem, she said, was that "the taste of men, whatever it might happen to be, has made into a standard for the formation of the female character." Reason and religion teach us, she said, that "we too are primary existences...not the satellites of men.
Howard Zinn
We must also remember that in every little village-god and every little superstitious custom is that which we are accustomed to call our religious faith. But local customs are infinite and contradictory. Which are we to obey, and which not to obey? The Brāhmin of Southern India, for instance, would shrink in horror at the sight of another Brahmin eating meat; a Brahmin in the North thinks it a most glorious and holy thing to do—he kills goats by the hundred in sacrifice. If you put forward your custom, they are equally ready with theirs. Various are the customs all over India, but they are local. The greatest mistake made is that ignorant people always think that this local custom is the essence of our religion.
Swami Vivekananda (The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 3)
Frankly, it's self-evident. As people of faith, it's our duty to love everyone, the way God loves everyone. There's no reason why any one group is less deserving of love - either the love of a church community, to the love of a family - than any other.
Robin Talley (Our Own Private Universe)
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)
When the Crossfire paradigm loses its force, all that's left is a bunch of people with different views all sitting together in a room, wondering why they're all paying three bucks a gallon for gas, why they have no health insurance, why their tax rates are higher than Warren Buffet's. If we're all equally a bunch of suckers, how could any of us be worth hating?
Matt Taibbi (The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion at the Twilight of the American Empire)
The religious leaders of the day had written the script for the Messiah. When Jesus announced he was the Messiah, the Pharisees and others screamed at him, "There is no Jesus in the Messiah script. Messiahs do not hang out with losers. Our Messiah does not break all the rules, Our Messiah does not question our leadership or threaten our religion or act so irresponsibly. Our Messiah does not disregard his reputation, befriend riffraff, or frequent the haunts of questionable people." Jesus' reply? "This Messiah does"! Do you see why Christianity is called "good news"? Christianity proclaims that it is an equal-opportunity faith, open to all, in spite of the abundance of playwrights in the church who are more than anxious to announce, "There is no place for you in Christianity if you [wear an earring/have a tattoo/drink wine/have too many questions/look weird/smoke/dance/haven't been filled with the Spirit/aren't baptized/swear/have pink hair/are in the wrong ethnic group/have a nose ring/have had an abortion/are gay or lesbian/are too conservative or too liberal].
Mike Yaconelli
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)
This is God's universe and he is the master gardener of all. If we were to eliminate all colors in his garden, then what would be a rainbow with only one color? Or a garden with only one kind of flower? Why would the Creator create a vast assortment of plants, ethnicities, and animals, if only one beast or seed is to dominate all of existence?
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
Generally religion and puritanism prevail in periods when the laws are feeble and morals must bear the burden of maintaining social order; skepticism and paganism (other factors being equal) progress as the rising power of law and government permits the decline of the church, the family, and morality without basically endangering the stability of the state.
Will Durant (The Lessons of History)
There is a fine line between: ego and confidence, weakness and cowardice, piety and self-righteousness, lust and infatuation, patience and procrastination, contentment and apathy, fear and hatred, greed and ambition, sin and pleasure, want and need, and hope and delusion. There is also a fine line between: sleep and death, rest and idleness, envy and desire, noise and music, sight and blindness, respect and idolatry, poverty and crime, corruption and equality, tyranny and despair, religion and exploitation, and freewill and destiny.
Matshona Dhliwayo
Our civilization is not Christian. It does not come from the skies. It is not a result of "inspiration." It is the child of invention, of discovery, of applied knowledge -- that is to say, of science. When man becomes great and grand enough to admit that all have equal rights; when thought is untrammeled; when worship shall consist in doing useful things; when religion means the discharge of obligations to our fellow-men, then, and not until then, will the world be civilized.
Robert G. Ingersoll
If learning lessons from history is a mark of enlightenment, so is breaking free from it. This applies equally to every religion, caste, creed and group.
S.L. Bhyrappa (Aavarana: The Veil)
When we begin to see the equality of our biology then our ideology is exposed,
fyuif (Unspirituality: Permission to Be Human)
Because sex, drugs, and religion all hinge on the same kind of simple neurochemical events: addictive, euphoric, exhilirating - and all, equally, meaningless.
Greg Egan (Distress (Subjective Cosmology #3))
I had escaped from my prior partisan mind-set (reject first, ask rhetorical questions later) and began to think about liberal and conservative policies as manifestations of deeply conflicting but equally heartfelt visions of the good society.28
Jonathan Haidt (The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion)
In a society where women are truly equal to men, a kid bred by a theist mother and an atheist father is born an agnostic. In a patriarchal society, the kid is automatically an atheist.
Mokokoma Mokhonoana
And a further reason for caution, in this respect, might be drawn from the reflection that we are not always sure that those who advocate the truth are influenced by purer principles than their antagonists. Ambition, avarice, personal animosity, party opposition, and many other motives not more laudable than these, are apt to operate as well upon those who support as those who oppose the right side of a question. Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. 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 (Federalist Papers)
The principle of equality sums up the teachings of moralists. But it also contains something more. This something more is respect for the individual. By proclaiming our morality of equality, or anarchism, we refuse to assume a right which moralists have always taken upon themselves to claim, that of mutilating the individual in the name of some ideal. We do not recognize this right at all, for ourselves or anyone else. We recognize the full and complete liberty of the individual; we desire for him plentitude of existence, the free development of all his faculties. We wish to impose nothing upon him; thus returning to the principle which Fourier placed in opposition to religious morality when he said: "Leave men absolutely free. Do not mutilate them as religions have done enough and to spare. Do not fear even their passions. In a free society these are not dangerous.
Pyotr Kropotkin (Anarchist Morality)
The social organs are constituted so as to enable them to develop harmoniously in the grand air of liberty. Away, then, with quacks and organizers! Away with their rings, and their chains, and their hooks, and their pincers! Away with their artificial methods! Away with their social laboratories, their governmental whims, their centralization, their tariffs, their universities, their State religions, their inflationary or monopolizing banks, their limitations, their restrictions, their moralizations, and their equalization by taxation! And now, after having vainly inflicted upon the social body so many systems, let them end where they ought to have begun — reject all systems, and try of liberty — liberty, which is an act of faith in God and in His work
Frédéric Bastiat
Barth was the first theologian to begin the criticism of religion...but he set in its place the positivist doctrine of revelation which says in effect, 'Take it or leave it': Virgin Birth, Trinity or anything else, everything which is an equally significant and necessary part of the whole, which latter has to be swallowed as a whole or not at all. That is not in accordance with the Bible. There are degrees of perception and degrees of significance, i.e. a secret discipline must be re-established whereby the mysteries of the Christian faith are preserved from profanation.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Letters and Papers from Prison)
Newton Pulsifer had 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)
Religion will disappear from men's consciousness when, finally, we have constructed a world of equals, without class distinctions, and with a sound of scientific conception of society and of life
Elena Ferrante (The Story of a New Name (The Neapolitan Novels #2))
Were there not even these inducements to moderation, nothing could be more ill-judged than that intolerant spirit which has, at all times, characterized political parties. 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)
If the many and the One be indeed the same Reality, then it is not all modes of worship alone, but equally all modes of work, all modes of struggle, all modes of creation, which are paths of realization. No distinction, henceforth, between sacred and secular. To labour is to pray. To conquer is to renounce. Life is itself religion. To have and to hold is as stern a trust as to quit and to avoid.
Sister Nivedita
I am the interpretation of the prophet I am the artist in the coffin I am the brave flag stained with blood I am the wounds overcome I am the dream refusing to sleep I am the bare-breasted voice of liberty I am the comic the insult and the laugh I am the right the middle and the left I am the poached eggs in the sky I am the Parisian streets at night I am the dance that swings till dawn I am the grass on the greener lawn I am the respectful neighbour and the graceful man I am the encouraging smile and the helping hand I am the straight back and the lifted chin I am the tender heart and the will to win I am the rainbow in rain I am the human who won’t die in vain I am Athena of Greek mythology I am the religion that praises equality I am the woman of stealth and affection I am the man of value and compassion I am the wild horse ploughing through I am the shoulder to lean onto I am the Muslim the Jew and the Christian I am the Dane the French and the Palestinian I am the straight the square and the round I am the white the black and the brown I am the free speech and the free press I am the freedom to express I will die for my right to be all the above here mentioned And should threat encounter I’ll pull my pencil
Mie Hansson (Where Pain Thrives)
Love, the great, the strong, the conquering god --- Love that subdues a world, and rides roughshod over principle, virtue, tradition, over home, kindred, and religion -- what cares he for the easy conquest of the pathetic being, who appeals to his sympathy? Love means equality -- the same height of heroism or of sin. When Love stoops to pity, he has ceased to soar in the boundless space, that rarefied atmosphere wherein man feels himself made at last truly in the image of God.
Emmuska Orczy (I Will Repay)
Predatory animals usually devour prey in order to convert flesh into fuel. Most human predators, however, seek power, not food. To destroy or damage something is to take its power. This applies equally to a political movement, a government, a campaign, a career, a marriage, a performance, a fortune, or a religion. To push a pie into the face of the world’s richest man is to take his power, if only for a moment.
Gavin de Becker (The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence)
Here there comes a practical question which has often troubled me. Whenever I go into a foreign country or a prison or any similar place they always ask me what is my religion. I never know whether I should say "Agnostic" or whether I should say "Atheist". It is a very difficult question and I daresay that some of you have been troubled by it. As a philosopher, if I were speaking to a purely philosophic audience I should say that I ought to describe myself as an Agnostic, because I do not think that there is a conclusive argument by which one prove that there is not a God. On the other hand, if I am to convey the right impression to the ordinary man in the street I think I ought to say that I am an Atheist, because when I say that I cannot prove that there is not a God, I ought to add equally that I cannot prove that there are not the Homeric gods. None of us would seriously consider the possibility that all the gods of homer really exist, and yet if you were to set to work to give a logical demonstration that Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, and the rest of them did not exist you would find it an awful job. You could not get such proof. Therefore, in regard to the Olympic gods, speaking to a purely philosophical audience, I would say that I am an Agnostic. But speaking popularly, I think that all of us would say in regard to those gods that we were Atheists. In regard to the Christian God, I should, I think, take exactly the same line.
Bertrand Russell
As a citizen of the world, I will not confine myself within the gates of one nation or religion. I will not identify with only one species, sex, class or race; for I am a complete being, and that means that I embrace all of humanity, all of nature, every star and universe within the greater universe as a part of me. If we were all created in the image of God, and his love is unconditional, then why can't we love all living things with the same eyes as God? How can anybody say that one race is more superior than another, when we were all created in God's reflection?
Suzy Kassem (Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem)
The main tenets of liberalism are political democracy, limitations on the powers of government, the development of universal human rights, legal equality for all adult citizens, freedom of expression, respect for the value of viewpoint diversity and honest debate, respect for evidence and reason, the separation of church and state, and freedom of religion.
Helen Pluckrose (Cynical Theories: How Activist Scholarship Made Everything about Race, Gender, and Identity—and Why This Harms Everybody)
In the tenth century BC, the priests of India devised the Brahmodya competition, which would become a model of authentic theological discourse. The object was to find a verbal formula to define the Brahman, the ultimate and inexpressible reality beyond human understanding. The idea was to push language as far as it would go, until participants became aware of the ineffable. The challenger, drawing on his immense erudition, began the process by asking an enigmatic question and his opponents had to reply in a way that was apt but equally inscrutable. The winner was the contestant who reduced the others to silence. In that moment of silence, the Brahman was present - not in the ingenious verbal declarations but in the stunning realisation of the impotence of speech. Nearly all religious traditions have devised their own versions of this exercise. It was not a frustrating experience; the finale can, perhaps, be compared to the moment at the end of the symphony, when there is a full and pregnant beat of silence in the concert hall before the applause begins. The aim of good theology is to help the audience to live for a while in that silence.
Karen Armstrong (The Case for God)
James Madison, the author of the First Amendment to the Constitution, prohibiting any law respecting an establishment of religion, was also an author of Article VI, which states unambiguously that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust.” His later Detached Memoranda make it very plain that he opposed the government appointment of chaplains in the first place, either in the armed forces or at the opening ceremonies of Congress. “The establishment of the chaplainship to Congress is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles.
Christopher Hitchens (God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything)
When I was older, I found Iqbal's work hugely inspirational. He argued against an unquestioning acceptance of Western democracy as the self-governing model, and instead suggested that by following the rules of Islam a society would tend naturally towards social justice, tolerance, peace and equality. Iqbal's interpretation of Islam differs very widely from the narrow meaning that is sometimes given to it. For Iqbal, Islam is not just the name for certain beliefs and forms of worship. The difference between a Muslim and a non-Muslim is not merely a theological one - it is a difference of a fundamental attitude towards life.
Imran Khan (Pakistan: A Personal History)
This doctrine of total inability which declares that men are dead in sin does not mean that all men are equally bad, nor that any man is as bad as he could be, nor that anyone is entirely destitute of virtue, nor that human nature is equal in itself, nor that man’s spirit in inactive, and much less does it mean that the body is dead. What is does mean is that since the fall, man rests under the curse of sin, that he is actuated by wrong principles, and that he is wholly unable to love God, or to do anything meriting salvation. His corruption is extensive, but not necessarily intensive. It is in this sense that man, since the fall, is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, wholly inclined to all evil. He possesses a fixed bias of the will against God, and instinctively and willingly and turns to evil. He is an alien by birth, and a sinner by choice. The inability under which he labors is not an inability to exercise volition, but an inability to be willing to exercise holy volitions. And it is this phase of it which led Luther to declare that ‘free will’ is an empty term, whose reality is lost; and a lost liberty, according to my grammar, is no liberty at all.
Loraine Boettner (The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)
Title 'Yikin heykellerimi' ->'Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me' O nation I am Kemal Mustafa If my thoughts and beliefs are not of this day and age If my wisdom isn't still the most authentic mentor Then let my tongue cleave to the roof of my palate I apoligize Forget everything I said Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me If freedom isn’t still the supreme value If you’d rather have slaves stay chained Forget everything I said Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me If you see no sense in living a civilized life If you want to be sent back in time to the middle ages and wish to put a crown on the head of a man who spits into the face of art Forget everything I said Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me If the pain of war violence was not enough If peace at home, peace in the world has no meaning If to be awarded requires an arms race Forget everything I said Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me If you miss the fez and the veil and prefer to light the night If you’re still hoping to find healing from a dervish, a sheik or an amulet Forget everything I said Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me If you say women should not be equal to men and should be covered in black sheets in order to flee from the wrath of bigots If you say you don’t want to see our women and daughters to get an education just because you believe this is their fate Forget everything I said Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me If freedom and democracy is too much for you to handle If you have a longing for the sultan of the Sultanate and are still not able to determine the significance of being a nation Be servants, stay on the path of religion and wait for şeyhülislam to lay down the law for you Forget everything I said Destroy and shatter the statues you have built of me And LEAVE ME ALONE… -Musafa Kemal Atatürk
Suleyman Apaydin
Jasnah raised an eyebrow. “You will find wise men in any religion, Shallan, and good men in every nation. Those who truly seek wisdom are those who will acknowledge the virtue in their adversaries and who will learn from those who disabuse them of error. All others—heretic, Vorin, Ysperist, or Maakian—are equally closed-minded.
Brandon Sanderson (The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1))
We disapprove of state education. Than the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Than the socialists say that we don't want an religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Than they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.
Frédéric Bastiat (The Law)
If you do not want to stop the wheels of progress; if you do not want to go back to the Dark Ages; if you do not want to live again under tyranny, then you must guard your liberty, and you must not let the church get control of your government. If you do, you will lose the greatest legacy ever bequeathed to the human race—intellectual freedom. Now let me tell you another thing. If all the energy and wealth wasted upon religion—in all of its varied forms—had been spent to understand life and its problems, we would today be living under conditions that would seem almost like Utopia. Most of our social and domestic problems would have been solved, and equally as important, our understanding and relations with the other peoples of the world would have, by now, brought about universal peace. Man would have a better understanding of his motives and actions, and would have learned to curb his primitive instincts for revenge and retaliation. He would, by now, know that wars of hate, aggression, and aggrandizement are only productive of more hate and more human suffering. The enlightened and completely emancipated man from the fears of a God and the dogma of hate and revenge would make him a brother to his fellow man. He would devote his energies to discoveries and inventions, which theology previously condemned as a defiance of God, but which have proved so beneficial to him. He would no longer be a slave to a God and live in cringing fear!
Joseph Lewis (An Atheist Manifesto)
God has given to men all that is necessary for them to accomplish their destinies. He has provided a social form as well as a human form. And these social organs of humans are so constituted that they will develop themselves harmoniously in the clean air of liberty. Away, then, with the quacks and organizers! Away with their rings, chains, hooks and pincers! Away with their artificial systems! Away with the whims of governmental administrators, their socialized projects, their centralization, their tariffs, their government schools, their state religions, their free credit, their bank monopolies, their regulations, their restrictions, their equalization by taxation, and their pious moralizations! And, now that the legislators and do-gooders have so futilely inflicted so many systems upon society, may they finally end where they should have begun: May they reject all systems, and try liberty; for liberty is an acknowledgment of faith in God and His works.
Frédéric Bastiat (The Law)
Try as we will to take the “cure” of ineffectuality; to meditate on the Taoist fathers’ doctrine of submission, of withdrawal, of a sovereign absence; to follow, like them, the course of consciousness once it ceases to be at grips with the world and weds the form of things as water does, their favorite element—we shall never succeed. They scorn both our curiosity and our thirst for suffering; in which they differ from the mystics, and especially from the medieval ones, so apt to recommend the virtues of the hair shirt, the scourge, insomnia, inanition, and lament. “A life of intensity is contrary to the Tao,” teaches Lao Tse, a normal man if ever there was one. But the Christian virus torments us: heirs of the flagellants, it is by refining our excruciations that we become conscious of ourselves. Is religion declining? We perpetuate its extravagances, as we perpetuate the macerations and the cell-shrieks of old, our will to suffer equaling that of the monasteries in their heyday. If the Church no longer enjoys a monopoly on hell, it has nonetheless riveted us to a chain of sighs, to the cult of the ordeal, of blasted joys and jubilant despair. The mind, as well as the body, pays for “a life of intensity.” Masters in the art of thinking against oneself, Nietzsche, Baudelaire, and Dostoevsky have taught us to side with our dangers, to broaden the sphere of our diseases, to acquire existence by division from our being. And what for the great Chinaman was a symbol of failure, a proof of imperfection, constitutes for us the sole mode of possessing, of making contact with ourselves.
Emil M. Cioran (The Temptation to Exist)
You see, at the center of all religions is the idea of Karma. You know, what you put out comes back to you: an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, or in physics; in physical laws every action is met by an equal or an opposite one. It's clear to me that Karma is at the very heart of the universe. I'm absolutely sure of it. And yet, along comes this idea called Grace to upend all that "as you reap, so you will sow" stuff. Grace defies reason and logic. Love interrupts, if you like, the consequences of your actions, which in my case is very good news indeed, because I've done a lot of stupid stuff. But I'd be in big trouble if Karma was going to finally be my judge. I'd be in deep s---. It doesn't excuse my mistakes, but I'm holding out for Grace. I'm holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don't have to depend on my own religiosity
The new atheists are unwitting disciples of Comte’s Positivist philosophy. It seems self-evident to them that religion is a primitive sort of science. But this is itself a primitive view, and a remark made by Wittgenstein about Frazer applies equally to Richard Dawkins and his followers: ‘Frazer is much more savage than most of his savages … His explanations of primitive practices are much cruder than the meaning of these practices themselves.’1
John N. Gray (Seven Types of Atheism)
The basis of all scientific work is the conviction that the world is an ordered and comprehensive entity, which is a religious sentiment. My religious feeling is a humble amazement at the order revealed in the small patch of reality to which our feeble intelligence is equal.
Albert Einstein (On Cosmic Religion and Other Opinions and Aphorisms)
The great experiment. In democracy. The equality of rabble. In not much more than a generation they have come back to CLASS. As the French have done. What a tragic thing, that Revolution. Bloody George was a bloody fool. But no matter. The experiment doesn't work. Give them fifty years, and all that equality rot is gone. Here they have the same love of the land and of tradition, of the right form, of breeding, in their horses, their women. Of course slavery is a bit embarrassing, but that, of course, will go. But the point is they do it all exactly as we do in Europe. And the North does not. THAT'S what the war is really about. The North has those huge bloody cities and a thousand religions, and the only aristocracy is the aristocracy of wealth. The Northerner doesn't give a damn for tradition, or breeding, or the Old Country. He hates the Old Country. Odd. You very rarely hear a Southerner refer to "the Old Country". In that painted way a German does. Or an Italian. Well, of course, the South IS the Old Country. They haven't left Europe. They've merely transplanted it. And THAT'S what the war is about.
Michael Shaara (The Killer Angels (The Civil War Trilogy, #2))
What I realized standing there, is that this dark yearning is what happens when we idealize anything: the form of a woman, a landscape, a spiritual impulse. We move it closer to the realm of the dead, if not outright kill it. The living joyful exuberant woman becomes statue marble and dead, or pornographic and equally dead. The spiritual impulse becomes religion. And dead.
Peter Heller (The Painter)
Here’s why the life of Muhammad [and Jesus] matters: Contrary to what many secularists would have us believe, religions are not entirely determined (or distorted) by the faithful over time. The lives and words of the founders remain central, no matter how long ago they lived. The idea that believers shape religion is derived, instead, from the fashionable 1960s philosophy of deconstructionism, which teaches that written words have no meaning other than that given to them by the reader. Equally important, it follows that if the reader alone finds meaning, there can be no truth (and certainly no religious truth); one person’s meaning is equal to another’s. Ultimately, according to deconstructionism, we all create our own set of “truths,” none better, or worse than any other. Yet for the religious man or woman on the streets of Chicago, Rome, Jerusalem, Damascus, Calcutta, and Bangkok, the words of Jesus, Moses, Muhammad, Krishna, and Buddha mean something far greater than any individual’s rendering of them. And even to the less-than-devout reader, the words of these great religious leaders are clearly not equal in their meaning.
Robert Spencer
The problem is that one man's superstition is another man's religion, and vice versa. Many Protestants today still see Catholicism as being rife with superstition, ... while atheists and agnostics would see bien-pensant Protestants as worshiping an equally absurd form of the supernatural.
David Gibson
Killing, raping and looting have been common practices in religious societies, and often carried out with clerical sanction. The catalogue of notorious barbarities – wars and massacres, acts of terrorism, the Inquisition, the Crusades, the chopping off of thieves’ hands, the slicing off of clitorises and labia majora, the use of gang rape as punishment, and manifold other savageries committed in the name of one faith or another — attests to religion’s longstanding propensity to induce barbarity, or at the very least to give it free rein. The Bible and the Quran have served to justify these atrocities and more, with women and gay people suffering disproportionately. There is a reason the Middle Ages in Europe were long referred to as the Dark Ages; the millennium of theocratic rule that ended only with the Renaissance (that is, with Europe’s turn away from God toward humankind) was a violent time. Morality arises out of our innate desire for safety, stability and order, without which no society can function; basic moral precepts (that murder and theft are wrong, for example) antedated religion. Those who abstain from crime solely because they fear divine wrath, and not because they recognize the difference between right and wrong, are not to be lauded, much less trusted. Just which practices are moral at a given time must be a matter of rational debate. The 'master-slave' ethos – obligatory obeisance to a deity — pervading the revealed religions is inimical to such debate. We need to chart our moral course as equals, or there can be no justice.
Jeffrey Tayler
With reciprocity all things do not need to be equal in order for acceptance and mutuality to thrive. If equality is evoked as the only standard by which it is deemed acceptable for people to meet across boundaries and create community, then there is little hope. Fortunately, mutuality is a more constructive and positive foundation for the building of ties that allow for differences in status, position, power, and privilege whether determined by race, class, sexuality, religion, or nationality.
bell hooks (Belonging: A Culture of Place)
The moment men begin to care more for education than for religion they begin to care more for ambition than for education. It is no longer a world in which the souls of all are equal before heaven, but a world in which the mind of each is bent on achieving unequal advantage over the other. There begins to be a mere vanity in being educated whether it be self-educated or merely state-educated. Education ought to be a searchlight given to a man to explore everything, but very specially the things most distant from himself. Education tends to be a spotlight; which is centered entirely on himself. Some improvement may be made by turning equally vivid and perhaps vulgar spotlights upon a large number of other people as well. But the only final cure is to turn off the limelight and let him realize the stars.
G.K. Chesterton
Here is something I have learned the hard way, but which a lot of well-meaning people in the West have a hard time accepting: All human beings are equal, but all cultures and religions are not. A culture that celebrates femininity and considers women to be the masters of their own lives is better than a culture that mutilates girls’ genitals and confines them behind walls and veils or flogs or stones them for falling in love. A culture that protects women’s rights by law is better than a culture in which a man can lawfully have four wives at once and women are denied alimony and half their inheritance. A culture that appoints women to its supreme court is better than a culture that declares that the testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man. It is part of Muslim culture to oppress women and part of all tribal cultures to institutionalize patronage, nepotism, and corruption. The culture of the Western Enlightenment is better. In the real world, equal respect for all cultures doesn’t translate into a rich mosaic of colorful and proud peoples interacting peacefully while maintaining a delightful diversity of food and craftwork. It translates into closed pockets of oppression, ignorance, and abuse. Many people genuinely feel pain at the thought of the death of whole cultures. I see this all the time. They ask, “Is there nothing beautiful in these cultures? Is there nothing beautiful in Islam?” There is beautiful architecture, yes, and encouragement of charity, yes, but Islam is built on sexual inequality and on the surrender of individual responsibility and choice. This is not just ugly; it is monstrous.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations)
...But besides the danger of a direct mixture of Religion & civil Government, there is an evil which ought to be guarded agst in the indefinite accumulation of property from the capacity of holding it in perpetuity by ecclesiastical corporations. ...Is the appointment of Chaplains to the two Houses of Congress consistent with the Constitution, and with the pure principle of religious freedom? In strictness the answer on both points must be in the negative. The Constitution of the U. S. forbids everything like an establishment of a national religion. The law appointing Chaplains establishes a religious worship for the national representatives, to be performed by Ministers of religion, elected by a majority of them; and these are to be paid out of the national taxes. Does not this involve the principle of a national establishment, applicable to a provision for a religious worship for the Constituent as well as of the representative Body, approved by the majority, and conducted by Ministers of religion paid by the entire nation. The establishment of the chaplainship to Congs is a palpable violation of equal rights, as well as of Constitutional principles: The tenets of the chaplains elected [by the majority] shut the door of worship agst the members whose creeds & consciences forbid a participation in that of the majority. ...Better also to disarm in the same way, the precedent of Chaplainships for the army and navy, than erect them into a political authority in matters of religion. [Detached Memoranda, ca. 1817 W. & M. Q., 3d ser., 3:554--60 1946]
James Madison (James Madison: Writings)
Why doesn't the pope convert to Calvinism? Why doesn't the Dalai Lama, convert to Christianity, why doesn't Billy Graham convert to Islam, Why doesn't the Ayatollahs convert to Buddhism, Why isn't Buddhism swept away? Religious leaders know that all religions are equal; they know that no one of them has the monopoly to the knowledge of God. They know that each religion is trying to find the hidden God and that no one religion can claim to have found him beyond doubt. That's why they remain where they are and respect each other.
Bangambiki Habyarimana (Pearls Of Eternity)
If there is no extant God and no extant gods, no good and no evil, no right and no wrong, no meaning and no purpose: if there are no values that are inherently valuable; no justice that is ultimately justifiable; no reasoning that is fundamentally rational, then there is no sane way to choose between science, religion, racism, philosophy, nationalism, art, conservatism, nihilism, liberalism, surrealism, fascism, asceticism, egalitarianism, subjectivism, elitism, ismism. If reason is incapable of deducing ultimate, non-arbitrary human ends, and nothing can be judged as ultimately more important than anything else, then freedom is equal to slavery; cruelty is equal to kindness; love is equal to hate; war is equal to peace; dignity is equal to contempt; destruction is equal to creation; life is equal to death and death is equal to life. Nihilism represents the ultimate logical conclusion of our great values and ideals- because we must experience nihilism before we can find out what value these "values" really had.
Mitchell Heisman (Suicide Note)
Spending extended amounts of time inside other religious worldviews has loosened the screws on my own, which is beginning to seem like a good thing. Disowning God has been a great help to me. Owning my distinct view of God has helped me understand it much better. Although I can see the places where religious truth claims collide, this does not bother me as much as it could. I am far more interested in how people live than what they believe. When other Christians threaten or disappoint me, I work as hard to see God in them as in people of other (or no) faiths. It helps to remember that these are often the same Christians whom I threaten and disappoint in equal measure. The only clear line I draw these days is this: when my religion tries to come between me and my neighbor, I will choose my neighbor. That self-canceling feature of my religion is one of the things I like best about it. Jesus never commanded me to love my religion.
Barbara Brown Taylor (Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others)
We're not very different from one another, not different at all, in fact. We're all just people with the same needs, the same desires, the same feelings. It's a lie about us being different. It's something they cooked up so we'd be fighting one another instead of them, the ones who keep us down and make their fortunes off our labor, the same ones who send us off to war when they get to fighting among themselves over the spoils. You'll find that out someday. They'll be calling on you to go to war for them, you can be sure of that, because there's going to be lots more wars in the future. I got in one myself, as you know. I saw men getting killed and wounded and crippled, and I must have killed a lot of men myself, and I'm just sick every time I think of it. Why? Because we were fighting one another instead of those who'd sent us out there. Oh, they're clever, those capitalists. It's hard to beat them at their game. They've fooled us with words like patriotism and duty and honor, and they've got us divided up into classes and religions so that each one of us figures he's better than the other. But it'll all change, 'arry. Believe me, it will. People get smarter. The human brain has a potential for development. Someday it will grow big enough so that everybody will see and understand the truth, and then we won't act like a bunch of sheep, and then that wall that separates the two sides of our street will crumble.
Harry Bernstein (The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers)
Equality over stereotype. In our field, we deal with all kinds of people from different backgrounds, races, and religions. There is no such thing as normal in our job. And the sad truth is that it's easy to place a stereotype on a person you don't know. One look at a person is all it takes for our minds to be made up on the type of person we think they are.
Belle Aurora (Raw (RAW Family, #1))
There is no religion and no philosophy that can give us a comprehensive answer to the whole of our problems, and the abandonment and isolation of the individual who is given no answer, or only inadequate answers, to his question lead to a situation in which more and more cheap, obvious solutions and answers are sought and provided. As, everywhere and in all departments of life, there are contradictory schools and parties, and an equal number of contradictory answers, one of the most frequent reactions is that modern man ceases to ask questions and takes refuge in a conception that considers only the most obvious, superficial aspects, and becomes skeptical, nihilistic, and egocentric. Or, alternatively, he tries to solve all his problems by plunging headlong into a collective situation and a collective conviction, and seeks to redeem himself in this way.
Erich Neumann (The Fear of the Feminine and Other Essays on Feminine Psychology)
When Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning-rod, the clergy, both in England and America, with the enthusiastic support of George III, condemned it as an impious attempt to defeat the will of God. For, as all right-thinking people were aware, lightning is sent by God to punish impiety or some other grave sin—the virtuous are never struck by lightning. Therefore if God wants to strike any one, Benjamin Franklin [and his lightning-rod] ought not to defeat His design; indeed, to do so is helping criminals to escape. But God was equal to the occasion, if we are to believe the eminent Dr. Price, one of the leading divines of Boston. Lightning having been rendered ineffectual by the 'iron points invented by the sagacious Dr. Franklin,' Massachusetts was shaken by earthquakes, which Dr. Price perceived to be due to God's wrath at the 'iron points.' In a sermon on the subject he said, 'In Boston are more erected than elsewhere in New England, and Boston seems to be more dreadfully shaken. Oh! there is no getting out of the mighty hand of God.' Apparently, however, Providence gave up all hope of curing Boston of its wickedness, for, though lightning-rods became more and more common, earthquakes in Massachusetts have remained rare.
Bertrand Russell (An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish: A Hilarious Catalogue of Organized and Individual Stupidity)
The horrors of the Middle Ages were really nonexistent. A man of the Middle Ages would detest the whole mode of our present-day life as something far more than horrible, far more than barbarous. Every age, every culture, every custom and tradition has its own character, its own weakness and its own strength, its beauties and ugliness; accepts certain sufferings as matters of course, puts up patiently with certain evils. Human life is reduced to real suffering, to hell, only when two ages, two cultures and religions overlap. A man of the Classical Age who had to live in medieval times would suffocate miserably just as a savage does in the midst of our civilization. Now there are times when a whole generation is caught in this way between two ages, two modes of life, with the consequence that it loses all power to understand itself and has no standard, no security, no simple acquiescence. Naturally, every one does not feel this equally strongly. A nature such as Nietzsche's had to suffer our present ills more than a generation in advance. What he had to go through alone and misunderstood, thousands suffer today.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
They were a remarkable company, each one of them a unique person, yet characterized to some extent by his particular national type. And all were distinctively “scientists” of the period. Formerly this would have implied a rather uncritical leaning towards materialism, and an affectation of cynicism; but by now it was fashionable to profess an equally uncritical belief that all natural phenomena were manifestations of the cosmic mind. In both periods, when a man passed beyond the sphere of his own serious scientific work he chose his beliefs irresponsibly, according to his taste, much as he chose his recreation or his food.
Olaf Stapledon (Last and First Men)
Two ideas are opposed — not concepts or abstractions, but Ideas which were in the blood of men before they were formulated by the minds of men. The Resurgence of Authority stands opposed to the Rule of Money; Order to Social Chaos, Hierarchy to Equality, socio-economico-political Stability to constant Flux; glad assumption of Duties to whining for Rights; Socialism to Capitalism, ethically, economically, politically; the Rebirth of Religion to Materialism; Fertility to Sterility; the spirit of Heroism to the spirit of Trade; the principle of Responsibility to Parliamentarism; the idea of Polarity of Man and Woman to Feminism; the idea of the individual task to the ideal of ‘happiness’; Discipline to Propaganda-compulsion; the higher unities of family, society, State to social atomism; Marriage to the Communistic ideal of free love; economic self-sufficiency to senseless trade as an end in itself; the inner imperative to Rationalism.
Francis Parker Yockey (Imperium)
The president tells one group of citizens: You are the good ones. No one else is equal to you. All the others are not as significant, not as important. They should not have the same rights. They should be treated as less-than. They are alien. They should be stricken. That is the language used by totalitarian regimes and fundamentalist religions to generate shock troops of core believers and sow the seeds of extremism.
Andrew G. McCabe (The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump)
Why are Muslims being “preserved” in some time capsule of centuries gone by? Why is it okay that we continue to live in a world where our women are compared to candy waiting to be consumed? Why is it okay for women of the rest of the world to fight for freedom and equality while we are told to cover our shameful bodies? Can’t you see that we are being held back from joining this elite club known as the 21st century? Noble liberals like yourself always stand up for the misrepresented Muslims and stand against the Islamophobes, which is great but who stands in my corner and for the others who feel oppressed by the religion? Every time we raise our voices, one of us is killed or threatened. . . . What you did by screaming “racist!” was shut down a conversation that many of us have been waiting to have. You helped those who wish to deny there are issues, deny them. What is so wrong with wanting to step into the current century? There should be no shame. There is no denying that violence, misogyny and homophobia exist in all religious texts, but Islam is the only religion that is adhered to so literally, to this day. In your culture you have the luxury of calling such literalists “crazies.” . . . In my culture, such values are upheld by more people than we realise. Many will try to deny it, but please hear me when I say that these are not fringe values. It is apparent in the lacking numbers of Muslims willing to speak out against the archaic Shariah law. The punishment for blasphemy and apostasy, etc, are tools of oppression. Why are they not addressed even by the peaceful folk who aren’t fanatical, who just want to have some sandwiches and pray five times a day? Where are the Muslim protestors against blasphemy laws/apostasy? Where are the Muslims who take a stand against harsh interpretation of Shariah?7
Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now)
A new concept of god: “something not very different from the sum total of the physical laws of the universe; that is, gravitation plus quantum mechanics plus grand unified field theories plus a few other things equaled god. And by that all they meant was that here were a set of exquisitely powerful physical principles that seemed to explain a great deal that was otherwise inexplicable about the universe. Laws of nature…that apply not just locally, not just in Glasgow, but far beyond: Edinburgh, Moscow…Mars…the center of the Milky Way, and out by the most distant quarters known. That the same laws of physics apply everywhere is quite remarkable. Certainly that represents a power greater than any of us.
Carl Sagan (The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God)
I suddenly knew that religion, God - something beyond everyday life - was there to be found, provided one is really willing. And I saw that though what I felt in the church was only imagination, it was a step on the way; because imagination itself can be a kind of willingness - a pretense that things are real, due to one's longing for them. It struck me that this was somehow tied up with what the Vicar said about religion being an extension of art - and then I had a glimpse of how religion can really cure you of sorrow; somehow make use of it, turn it to beauty, just as art can make sad things beautiful. I found myself saying: 'Sacrifice is the secret - you have to sacrifice things for art and it's the same with religion; and then the sacrifice turns out to be a gain.' Then I got confused and I couldn't hold on to what I meant - until Miss Blossom remarked: 'Nonsense, duckie - it's prefectly simple. You lose yourself in something beyond yourself and it's a lovely rest.' I saw that, all right. Then I thought: 'But that's how Miss Marcy cured her sorrow, too - only she lost herself in other people instead of in religion.' Which way of life was best - hers or the Vicar's? I decided that he loves God and merely likes the villagers, whereas she loves the villagers and merely likes God - and then I suddenly wondered if I could combine both ways, love God and my neighbor equally. Was I really willing to?
Dodie Smith
If someone who had given up his whole life to thinking about goodness and rightness and truth and still expected nuns to cook him his fish fingers (because after all, nuns haven't got anything else better to do, and none of them are ever going to be priests or become the Pope, because women aren't good enough for that), then something was very wrong. How could he have missed the bit about everyone being equal in the eyes of God?
Scarlett Thomas (The End of Mr. Y)
It seems to me that the greatest triumph of any human rights movement, be it fighting for racial, religious, sexual or gender equality – is to achieve that moment where eyes are opened so wide that a sort of blindness sets in. I don’t care if someone is black, white, gay or straight. I don’t care if a woman has children or no – I just want to know who they are. [...] At the end of the day, gender differences seem to me to be just a tiny, tiny drop in the great expanse of things that make people unique. Unique, not ‘different’, not ‘other’ merely another piece of that great teaming mass that makes up the wonderfully rich, thrillingly varied definition of ‘humanity’." [Playing Butch: Blog entry, February 24, 2014]
Kate Griffin
The moment men begin to care more for education than for religion, they begin to care more for ambition than for education. It is no longer a world in which the souls of all are equal before heaven, but a world in which the mind of each is bent on achieving unequal advantage of the other.
G.K. Chesterton
Besides, we weren't made to battle villains, because there weren't any. No nation, creed, or race was any better or worse than another; all were flawed, all were equally doomed to suffering, mostly because they couldn't see that they were all alike. Mortals might have been contemptible, true, but not evil entirely. They did enjoy killing one another and frequently came up with ingenious excuses for doing so on a grand scale—religions, economic theories, ethnic pride—but we couldn't condemn them for it, as it was in their mortal natures and they were too stupid to know any better.
Kage Baker (In the Garden of Iden (The Company, #1))
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
When reading the history of the Jewish people, of their flight from slavery to death, of their exchange of tyrants, I must confess that my sympathies are all aroused in their behalf. They were cheated, deceived and abused. Their god was quick-tempered unreasonable, cruel, revengeful and dishonest. He was always promising but never performed. He wasted time in ceremony and childish detail, and in the exaggeration of what he had done. It is impossible for me to conceive of a character more utterly detestable than that of the Hebrew god. He had solemnly promised the Jews that he would take them from Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey. He had led them to believe that in a little while their troubles would be over, and that they would soon in the land of Canaan, surrounded by their wives and little ones, forget the stripes and tears of Egypt. After promising the poor wanderers again and again that he would lead them in safety to the promised land of joy and plenty, this God, forgetting every promise, said to the wretches in his power:—'Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness and your children shall wander until your carcasses be wasted.' This curse was the conclusion of the whole matter. Into this dust of death and night faded all the promises of God. Into this rottenness of wandering despair fell all the dreams of liberty and home. Millions of corpses were left to rot in the desert, and each one certified to the dishonesty of Jehovah. I cannot believe these things. They are so cruel and heartless, that my blood is chilled and my sense of justice shocked. A book that is equally abhorrent to my head and heart, cannot be accepted as a revelation from God. When we think of the poor Jews, destroyed, murdered, bitten by serpents, visited by plagues, decimated by famine, butchered by each, other, swallowed by the earth, frightened, cursed, starved, deceived, robbed and outraged, how thankful we should be that we are not the chosen people of God. No wonder that they longed for the slavery of Egypt, and remembered with sorrow the unhappy day when they exchanged masters. Compared with Jehovah, Pharaoh was a benefactor, and the tyranny of Egypt was freedom to those who suffered the liberty of God. While reading the Pentateuch, I am filled with indignation, pity and horror. Nothing can be sadder than the history of the starved and frightened wretches who wandered over the desolate crags and sands of wilderness and desert, the prey of famine, sword, and plague. Ignorant and superstitious to the last degree, governed by falsehood, plundered by hypocrisy, they were the sport of priests, and the food of fear. God was their greatest enemy, and death their only friend. It is impossible to conceive of a more thoroughly despicable, hateful, and arrogant being, than the Jewish god. He is without a redeeming feature. In the mythology of the world he has no parallel. He, only, is never touched by agony and tears. He delights only in blood and pain. Human affections are naught to him. He cares neither for love nor music, beauty nor joy. A false friend, an unjust judge, a braggart, hypocrite, and tyrant, sincere in hatred, jealous, vain, and revengeful, false in promise, honest in curse, suspicious, ignorant, and changeable, infamous and hideous:—such is the God of the Pentateuch.
Robert G. Ingersoll (Some Mistakes of Moses)
It is difficult to exaggerate the adverse influence of the precepts and practices of religion upon the status and happiness of woman. Owing to the fact that upon women devolves the burden of motherhood, with all its accompanying disabilities, they always have been, and always must be, at a natural disadvantage in the struggle of life as compared with men.... With certain exceptions, women all the world over have been relegated to a position of inferiority in the community, greater or less according to the religion and the social organisation of the people; the more religious the people the lower the status of the women...
Hypatia Bradlaugh Bonner
To Judaism Christians ascribe the glory of having been the first religion to teach a pure monotheism. But monotheism existed long before the Jews attained to it. Zoroaster and his earliest followers were monotheists, dualism being a later development of the Persian theology. The adoption of monotheism by the Jews, which occurred only at a very late period in their history, was not, however, the result of a divine revelation, or even of an intellectual superiority, for the Jews were immeasurably inferior intellectually to the Greeks and Romans, to the Hindus and Egyptians, and to the Assyrians and Babylonians, who are supposed to have retained a belief in polytheism. This monotheism of the Jews has chiefly the result of a religious intolerance never before equaled and never since surpassed, except in the history of Christianity and Mohammedanism, the daughters of Judaism. Jehovistic priests and kings tolerated no rivals of their god and made death the penalty for disloyalty to him. The Jewish nation became monotheistic for the same reason that Spain, in the clutches of the Inquisition, became entirely Christian.
John E. Remsburg (The Christ)
There is coming a day, when freedom will just be a essence of the mind, an inner dwelling that was once physically attainable. They will tell you where you can live, and what you can wear and drive, what and how much you can eat and drink, and how to purchase those. They will strip you of your religion, race, gender, national origin, age, color, creed, views and power, and have control of the population. They will set in a new world order, and put you in the back of the line, marked and branded. Everything before will be erased, and the new will be manipulated. And what you believe most, can only be kept secret, for all must fall in line of their govern. Anything outside will be abolished. Even death, will be sought, but restrained. They will execute complete and total control over everything, and be sole owners of your soul. The light, that once guided will go dim, and liberty will be like an unwilled bird, suppressed in the cage of your ribs; wings cut off.
Anthony Liccione
1) There exist instances of intense suffering which an omnipotent, omniscient being could have prevented without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. 2) An omniscient, wholly good being would prevent the occurrence of any intense suffering it could, unless it could not do so without thereby losing some greater good or permitting some evil equally bad or worse. 3) (Therefore) There does not exist an omnipotent, omniscient, wholly good being.
William L. Rowe (God and the Problem of Evil)
Die Religionen Müsen alle Tolleriret werden und Mus der fiscal nuhr das auge darauf haben, das keine der andern abruch Tuhe, den hier mus ein jeder nach Seiner Fasson Selich werden!" [Rand-Verfügung des Königs zum Immediat-Bericht des Geistlichen Departements: Katholische Schulen und Proselytenmacherei; Berlin, 22. Mai 1740]
Frederick the Great
Equality in mutual relations with the solidarity arising from it, this is the most powerful weapon of the animal world in the struggle for existence. And equality is equity. By proclaiming ourselves anarchists, we proclaim before- hand that we disavow any way of treating others in which we should not like them to treat us; that we will no longer tolerate the inequality that has allowed some among us to use their strength, their cunning or their ability after a fashion in which it would annoy us to have such qualities used against ourselves. Equality in all things, the synonym of equity, this is anarchism in very deed. It is not only against the abstract trinity of law, religion, and authority that we declare war. By becoming anarchists we declare war against all this wave of deceit, cunning, exploitation, depravity, vice --in a word, inequality-- which they have poured into all our hearts. We declare war against their way of acting, against their way of thinking. The governed, the deceived, the exploited, the prostitute, wound above all else our sense of equality. It is in the name of equality that we are determined to have no more prostituted, exploited, deceived and governed men and women.
Pyotr Kropotkin (Anarchist Morality)
When we place the Bible on equal footing with God, we become paralyzed by how to deal with it--because any criticism of the Bible becomes criticism of God himself. The cure for the religion of Biblicism is the realization that Jesus is the inerrant Word of God, and the Bible is just a collection of inspired and useful writings that introduce us to him. Let me be clear: whenever we find tension between something Jesus taught and something taught elsewhere in the Bible, the tiebreaker always goes to Jesus. Always.
Benjamin L. Corey (Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith)
Start working on your child’s mind. Start building your child’s character. Raise your child as a human being, instead of raising boys and girls. Raise human beings with the religion of love in their hearts. Raise human beings with the language of compassion on their lips. Raise human beings with the color of joy on their face. Raise human beings with the force of bravery in their nerves. And these brave conscientious souls with the flames of compassion in their hearts shall one day change the course of human history.
Abhijit Naskar (The Bengal Tigress: A Treatise on Gender Equality (Humanism Series))
Our Revolution commenced on more favorable ground. It presented us an album on which we were free to write what we pleased. We had no occasion to search into musty records, to hunt up royal parchments, or to investigate the laws and institutions of a semi-barbarous ancestry. We appealed to those of nature, and found them engraved on our hearts. Yet we did not avail ourselves of all the advantages of our position. We had never been permitted to exercise self-government. When forced to assume it, we were novices in its science. Its principles and forms had entered little into our former education. We established however some, although not all its important principles. The constitutions of most of our States assert, that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves, in all cases to which they think themselves competent, (as in electing their functionaries executive and legislative, and deciding by a jury of themselves, in all judiciary cases in which any fact is involved,) or they may act by representatives, freely and equally chosen; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed; that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of the press.
Thomas Jefferson
We march on, though sometimes strange moods fill our children. Our march toward security and peace is the march of freedom—the freedom that we should like to become a living part of. It is the dignity of the individual to live in a society of free men, where the spirit of understanding and belief exists; of understanding that all men, whatever their color, race, religion or estate, should be given equal opportunity to serve themselves and each other according to their needs and abilities. But we are not really free unless we use what we produce. So long as the fruit of our labor is denied us, so long will want manifest itself in a world of slaves. It is only when we have plenty to eat—plenty of everything— that we begin to understand what freedom means. To us, freedom is not an intangible thing. When we have enough to eat, then we are healthy enough to enjoy what we eat. Then we have the time and ability to read and think and discuss things. Then we are not merely living but also becoming a creative part of life. It is only then that we become a growing part of democracy.
Carlos Bulosan
The problem is that moderates of all faiths are committed to reinterpreting, or ignoring outright, the most dangerous and absurd parts of their scripture—and this commitment is precisely what makes them moderates. But it also requires some degree of intellectual dishonesty, because moderates can’t acknowledge that their moderation comes from outside the faith. The doors leading out of the prison of scriptural literalism simply do not open from the inside. In the twenty-first century, the moderate’s commitment to scientific rationality, human rights, gender equality, and every other modern value—values that, as you say, are potentially universal for human beings—comes from the past thousand years of human progress, much of which was accomplished in spite of religion, not because of it. So when moderates claim to find their modern, ethical commitments within scripture, it looks like an exercise in self-deception. The truth is that most of our modern values are antithetical to the specific teachings of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And where we do find these values expressed in our holy books, they are almost never best expressed there. Moderates seem unwilling to grapple with the fact that all scriptures contain an extraordinary amount of stupidity and barbarism that can always be rediscovered and made holy anew by fundamentalists—and there’s no principle of moderation internal to the faith that prevents this. These fundamentalist readings are, almost by definition, more complete and consistent—and, therefore, more honest. The fundamentalist picks up the book and says, “Okay, I’m just going to read every word of this and do my best to understand what God wants from me. I’ll leave my personal biases completely out of it.” Conversely, every moderate seems to believe that his interpretation and selective reading of scripture is more accurate than God’s literal words. Presumably, God could have written these books any way He wanted. And if He wanted them to be understood in the spirit of twenty-first-century secular rationality, He could have left out all those bits about stoning people to death for adultery or witchcraft. It really isn’t hard to write a book that prohibits sexual slavery—you just put in a few lines like “Don’t take sex slaves!” and “When you fight a war and take prisoners, as you inevitably will, don’t rape any of them!” And yet God couldn’t seem to manage it. This is why the approach of a group like the Islamic State holds a certain intellectual appeal (which, admittedly, sounds strange to say) because the most straightforward reading of scripture suggests that Allah advises jihadists to take sex slaves from among the conquered, decapitate their enemies, and so forth.
Sam Harris (Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue)
People have gotten into the practice of following private religious hunches rather than learning of God from His Word; we have to try to help them unlearn the pride and, in some cases, the misconceptions about Scripture which gave rise to this attitude and to base there convictions henceforth not on what they feel but on what the Bible says…modern people think of all religions as equal and equivalent – they draw their ideas about God from pagan as well as Christian sources; we have to try to show people the uniqueness and finality of the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s last word to man…people have ceased to recognize the reality of their own sinfulness, which imparts a degree of perversity and enmity against God to all that they think and do; it is our task to try to introduce people to this fact about themselves and so make them self-distrustful and open to correction by the Word of Christ…people today are in the habit of disassociating the thought of God’s goodness from that of His severity; we must seek to wean them from this habit, since nothing but misbelief is possible as long as that persists.
J.I. Packer (Knowing God)
It is a special blessing to belong among those who can and may devote their best energies to the contemplation and exploration of objective and timeless things. How happy and grateful I am for having been granted this blessing, which bestows upon one a large measure of independence from one's personal fate and from the attitude of one's contemporaries. Yet this independence must not inure us to the awareness of the duties that constantly bind us to the past, present and future of humankind at large. Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here, involuntarily and uninvited, for a short stay, without knowing the why and the wherefore. In our daily lives we feel only that man is here for the sake of others, for those whom we love and for many other beings whose fate is connected with our own. I am often troubled by the thought that my life is based to such a large extent on the work of my fellow human beings, and I am aware of my great indebtedness to them. I do not believe in free will. Schopenhauer's words: 'Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills,' accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of free will keeps me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and deciding individuals, and from losing my temper. I have never coveted affluence and luxury and even despise them a good deal. My passion for social justice has often brought me into conflict with people, as has my aversion to any obligation and dependence I did not regard as absolutely necessary. [Part 2] I have a high regard for the individual and an insuperable distaste for violence and fanaticism. All these motives have made me a passionate pacifist and antimilitarist. I am against any chauvinism, even in the guise of mere patriotism. Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as does any exaggerated personality cult. I am an adherent of the ideal of democracy, although I know well the weaknesses of the democratic form of government. Social equality and economic protection of the individual have always seemed to me the important communal aims of the state. Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice keeps me from feeling isolated. The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all there is.
Albert Einstein
Pascal was even convinced that he could use his theories to justify a belief in God. He stated that ‘the excitement that a gambler feels when making a bet is equal to the amount he might win multiplied by the probability of winning it’. He then argued that the possible prize of eternal happiness has an infinite value and that the probability of entering heaven by leading a virtuous life, no matter how small, is certainly finite. Therefore, according to Pascal’s definition, religion was a game of infinite excitement and one worth playing, because multiplying an infinite prize by a finite probability results in infinity.
Simon Singh (Fermat's Last Theorem)
We often fail to deconstruct how proslavery theology still influences American Christianity. But simply put: Theological arguments upheld the institution of slavery long after every other argument failed. American Christian theology was born in a cauldron of proslavery ideology, and one of the spectacular failures of the Christian church today is its inability to name, interrogate, confront, repent, and dismantle the cauldron which has shaped much of its theology. We are daily living with the remnants of a theological white supremacy, coupled with social and political power, which continues to uphold racist ideologies….Can this nation afford to keep ignoring the truth that black people in America live under a threat of racial violence, never quite feeling that we are fully equal citizens in the nation that our enslaved ancestors built?
Brian D. McLaren (The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World's Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian)
So-called Islamic 'fundamentalism' does not spring, in Pakistan, from the people. It is imposed on them from above. Autocratic regimes find it useful to espouse the rhetoric of faith, because people respect that language, are reluctant to oppose it. This how religions shore up dictators; by encircling them with words of power, words which the people are reluctant to see discredited, disenfranchised, mocked. But the ramming-down-the-throat point stands. In the end you get sick of it, you lose faith in the faith, if not qua faith then certainly as basis for a state. And then the dictator falls, and it is discovered that he had brought God down with him, that the justifying myth of the nation has been unmade. This leaves only two options: disintegration, or a new dictatorship ... no, there is a third, and I shall not be o pessimistic as to deny its possibility. The third option is the substitution of a new myth for the old one. Here are three such myths, all available from stock at short notice: liberty; equality; fraternity. I recommend them highly.
Salman Rushdie (Shame)
Clare is silent. Her pragmatism and her romantic feelings about Jesus and Mary are, at thirteen, almost equally balanced. A year ago she would have said God without hesitation. In ten years she will vote for determinism, and ten years after that Clare will believe that the universe is arbitrary, that if God exists he does not hear our prayers, that cause and effect are inescapable and brutal, but meaningless. And after that? I don't know. But right now Clare sits on the threshold of adolescence with her faith in one hand and her growing skepticism in the other, and all she can do is try to juggle them, or squeeze them together until they fuse.
Audrey Niffenegger (The Time Traveler's Wife)
The supernatural worldview is causing a great number of otherwise intelligent people to cling to a collection of atavistic concepts that have not, and never will serve humanity in any ultimately beneficial way. Any benefits that spirituality ostensibly provides to its adherents, can be found equally in the worldview of philosophy and ethics, communities of other kinds, and so on. It's a myth that the only morality, hope, purpose and comfort to be found, resides only in the supernatural.
Kelli Jae Baeli (Supernatural Hypocrisy: The Cognitive Dissonance of a God Cosmology)
To exist is to be in communion, and to be in communion is to exchange information. Accordingly, the fundamental science, indeed the science that needs to ground all other sciences, is a theory of communication, and not, as is widely supposed, an atomistic, reductionistic, and mechanistic science of particles or other mindless entities, which then need to be built up to ever greater orders of complexity by equally mindless principles of association, known as natural laws or algorithms or emergent properties or principles of self-organization.2 Within such a theory of communication, the proper object of study is not particles, but the information that passes between entities—entities in turn defined by their ability to communicate information.
William A. Dembski (Being as Communion (Ashgate Science and Religion Series))
The padres set great store by addressing prayer to personal gods: 'Genuine prayer exists only in religions in which there is a God as a person and a shape and endowed with a will.' That was stated by a famous Protestant. The anarch does not want to have anything to do with that conception. As for the One God: while he may be able to shape persons, he is not a person himself, and the he is already a patriarchal prejudice. A neuter One is beyond our grasp, while man converses ten with the Many Gods on equal terms, whether as their inventor or as their discoverer. In any case, it is man who named the gods. This is not to be confused with a high level soliloquy. Divinity must, without a doubt, be inside us and recognized as being inside us; otherwise we would have no concept of gods.
Ernst Jünger (Eumeswil)
When love of one’s people becomes an absolute, it turns into racism. When love of equality turns into a supreme thing, it can result in hatred and violence toward anyone who has led a privileged life. It is the settled tendency of human societies to turn good political causes into counterfeit gods. As we have mentioned, Ernest Becker wrote that in a society that has lost the reality of God, many people will look to romantic love to give them the fulfillment they once found in religious experience. Nietzsche, however, believed it would be money that would replace God. But there is another candidate to fill this spiritual vacuum. We can also look to politics. We can look upon our political leaders as “messiahs,” our political policies as saving doctrine, and turn our political activism into a kind of religion.
Timothy J. Keller (Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters)
In my travels on the surface, I once met a man who wore his religious beliefs like a badge of honor upon the sleeves of his tunic. "I am a Gondsman!" he proudly told me as we sat beside eachother at a tavern bar, I sipping my wind, and he, I fear, partaking a bit too much of his more potent drink. He went on to explain the premise of his religion, his very reason for being, that all things were based in science, in mechanics and in discovery. He even asked if he could take a piece of my flesh, that he might study it to determine why the skin of the drow elf is black. "What element is missing," he wondered, "that makes your race different from your surface kin?" I think that the Gondsman honestly believed his claim that if he could merely find the various elements that comprised the drow skin, he might affect a change in that pigmentation to make the dark elves more akin to their surface relatives. And, given his devotion, almost fanaticism, it seemed to me as if he felt he could affect a change in more than physical appearance. Because, in his view of the world, all things could be so explained and corrected. How could i even begin to enlighten him to the complexity? How could i show him the variations between drow and surface elf in the very view of the world resulting from eons of walking widely disparate roads? To a Gondsman fanatic, everything can be broken down, taken apart and put back together. Even a wizard's magic might be no more than a way of conveying universal energies - and that, too, might one day be replicated. My Gondsman companion promised me that he and his fellow inventor priests would one day replicate every spell in any wizard's repertoire, using natural elements in the proper combinations. But there was no mention of the discipline any wizard must attain as he perfects his craft. There was no mention of the fact that powerful wizardly magic is not given to anyone, but rather, is earned, day by day, year by year and decade by decade. It is a lifelong pursuit with gradual increase in power, as mystical as it is secular. So it is with the warrior. The Gondsman spoke of some weapon called an arquebus, a tubular missile thrower with many times the power of the strongest crossbow. Such a weapon strikes terror into the heart of the true warrior, and not because he fears that he will fall victim to it, or even that he fears it will one day replace him. Such weapons offend because the true warrior understands that while one is learning how to use a sword, one should also be learning why and when to use a sword. To grant the power of a weapon master to anyone at all, without effort, without training and proof that the lessons have taken hold, is to deny the responsibility that comes with such power. Of course, there are wizards and warriors who perfect their craft without learning the level of emotional discipline to accompany it, and certainly there are those who attain great prowess in either profession to the detriment of all the world - Artemis Entreri seems a perfect example - but these individuals are, thankfully, rare, and mostly because their emotional lacking will be revealed early in their careers, and it often brings about a fairly abrupt downfall. But if the Gondsman has his way, if his errant view of paradise should come to fruition, then all the years of training will mean little. Any fool could pick up an arquebus or some other powerful weapon and summarily destroy a skilled warrior. Or any child could utilize a Gondsman's magic machine and replicate a firebal, perhaps, and burn down half a city. When I pointed out some of my fears to the Gondsman, he seemed shocked - not at the devastating possibilities, but rather, at my, as he put it, arrogance. "The inventions of the priests of Gond will make all equal!" he declared. "We will lift up the lowly peasant
R.A. Salvatore (Streams of Silver (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #5))
I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed. Great things have been achieved through feminism. We now have pretty much equality at least on the pay and opportunities front, though almost nothing has been done on child care, the real liberation. We have many wonderful, clever, powerful women everywhere, but what is happening to men? Why did this have to be at the cost of men? I was in a class of nine- and ten-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men. You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives. The teacher tried to catch my eye, thinking I would approve of this rubbish. This kind of thing is happening in schools all over the place and no one says a thing. It has become a kind of religion that you can't criticise because then you become a traitor to the great cause, which I am not. It is time we began to ask who are these women who continually rubbish men. The most stupid, ill-educated and nasty woman can rubbish the nicest, kindest and most intelligent man and no one protests. Men seem to be so cowed that they can't fight back, and it is time they did.
Doris Lessing
Dropping cluster bombs from the air is not only less repugnant: it is somehow deemed, by Western people at least, to be morally superior,’ says British psychologist Jacqueline Rose. 'Why dying with your victim should be seen as a greater sin than saving yourself is unclear.'The colonial West had created a two-tier hierarchy that privileged itself at the expense of 'The Rest’. The Enlightenment had preached the equality of all human beings, yet Western policy in the developing world often adopted a double standard so that we failed to treat others as we would wish to be treated. Our focus on the nation seems to have made it hard for us to cultivate the global outlook that we need in our increasingly interrelated world. We must deplore any action that spills innocent blood or sows terror for its own sake. But we must also acknowledge and sincerely mourn the blood that we have shed in pursuit of national interests. Otherwise we can hardly defend ourselves against accusations of maintaining an 'arrogant silence’ in the face of others’ pain and of creating a world order in which some people’s lives are deemed more valuable than others
Karen Armstrong (Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence)
The vulgar modern argument used against religion, and lately against common decency, would be absolutely fatal to any idea of liberty. It is perpetually said that because there are a hundred religions claiming to be true, it is therefore impossible that one of them should really be true. The argument would appear on the face of it to be illogical, if anyone nowadays troubled about logic. It would be as reasonable to say that because some people thought the earth was flat, and others (rather less incorrectly) imagined it was round, and because anybody is free to say that it is triangular or hexagonal, or a rhomboid, therefore it has no shape at all; or its shape can never be discovered; and, anyhow, modern science must be wrong in saying it is an oblate spheroid. The world must be some shape, and it must be that shape and no other; and it is not self-evident that nobody can possibly hit on the right one. What so obviously applies to the material shape of the world equally applies to the moral shape of the universe. The man who describes it may not be right, but it is no argument against his rightness that a number of other people must be wrong.
G.K. Chesterton
It has often given my pleasure to observe, that independent America was not composed of detached and distant territories, but that one connected fertile, wide-spreading country was the portion of our western sons of liberty. Providence has in a particular manner blessed it with a variety of soils and productions, and watered it with innumerable streams, for the delight and accommodation of its inhabitants. A succession of navigable waters form a kind of chain round its borders, as if to bind them together; while the most noble rivers in the world, running at convenient distances, present them with highways for the easy communication of friendly aids, and the mutual transportation of their various ties. With equal pleasure I have as often taken notice, that Providence has been pleased to give us this one connected country to one united people -a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by they their joint counsels, arms, and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established general liberty and independence.
John Jay (The Federalist Papers)
But the real reasons why scientists promote accommodationism are more self-serving. To a large extent, American scientists depend for their support on the American public, which is largely religious, and on the U.S. Congress, which is equally religious. (It’s a given that it’s nearly impossible for an open atheist to be elected to Congress, and at election time candidates vie with one another to parade their religious belief.) Most researchers are supported by federal grants from agencies like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, whose budgets are set annually by Congress. To a working scientist, such grants are a lifeline, for research is expensive, and if you don’t do it you could lose tenure, promotions, or raises. Any claim that science is somehow in conflict with religion might lead to cuts in the science budget, or so scientists believe, thus endangering their professional welfare.
Jerry A. Coyne (Faith Versus Fact: Why Science and Religion Are Incompatible)
It is recorded in the monastic rules that a monk once performed an abortion on a girl; the Buddha judged his action seriously wrong, which incurred him the highest offense in the monastic rule. A monk committing this kind of wrongful deed must be expelled from the monastic community. The Buddha considered the embryo to be a person like an adult, so the monk who killed the embryo through abortion was judged by Buddhist monastic rules as having committed a crime equal in gravity to killing an adult. In the commentary on the rule stated above, it is stated clearly that killing a human being means destroying human life from the first moment of fertilization to human life outside the womb. So, even though the Buddha himself did not give a clear-cut pronouncement about when personhood occurs, the Buddhist tradition, especially the Theravada tradition, clearly states that personhood starts when the process of fertilization takes place.
Soraj Hongladarom (Genomics and Bioethics: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Technologies and Advancements)
The mystics have always stressed the religious aspect of Islam, the rationalists the other one. All the same, both of them have always had difficulties with Islam, simply because it cannot be put into any of their classifications. Take wudu as an example. A mystic will define it as a religious ablution with symbolic meaning. A rationalist will look upon it as a matter of hygiene only. They are both right, but only partly. The defectiveness of the mystic explanation lies in the fact that it lets the hygienic side of wudu become a mere form. Following the same logic in other questions, this approach will reduce Islam to pure religion, by eliminating all physical, intellectual, and social components from it. The rationalists take quite the opposite way. By neglecting the religious side, they degrade Islam to a political movement only, creating a new type of nationalism from it, a so called Islamic nationalism, deprived of ethical-religious substance, empty and equal to all other nationalisms in this regard. To be a Muslim in this case, does not represent an appeal or a duty, a moral or a religious obligation, or any attitude to the universal truth. It means only belonging to a group different from the other one. Islam has never been only a nation. Rather, Islam is a call to a nation, " to enjoin the right and to forbid the wrong" Quran- that is, to perform a moral mission. If we disregard the political component of Islam and accept religious mysticism , we silently admit dependence and slavery. On the contrary, if we ignore the religious component , we cease to be any moral force.
Alija Izetbegović
What would the new teacher, representing France, teach us? Railroading? No. France knows nothing valuable about railroading. Steamshipping? No. France has no superiorities over us in that matter. Steamboating? No. French steamboating is still of Fulton's date--1809. Postal service? No. France is a back number there. Telegraphy? No, we taught her that ourselves. Journalism? No. Magazining? No, that is our own specialty. Government? No; Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Nobility, Democracy, Adultery the system is too variegated for our climate. Religion? No, not variegated enough for our climate. Morals? No, we cannot rob the poor to enrich ourselves.
Mark Twain (Tales, Speeches, Essays, and Sketches)
And suddenly it seemed utterly right to me that resistance had been his wish, his intention. It made a kind of emotional sense that caused me to feel, instantly, how little sense my earlier more or less unframed assumptions had made. Of course! I thought. And with that thought it was as though my father stepped forward to meet me as he had been in 1940: twenty-five years old, newly married, teaching literature and history and religion as his first real job, as an assistant professor at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. That stage of his life – and he in it – had always been indistinct to me, as the lives of parents before their children exist always are to those children; but now, holding this letter in my hands, I remembered anew and vividly the numerous photographs in our family albums of him then – a slender young man, intense-looking and handsome, with a shock of dark hair swept back from his high forehead. A radical young man, it would seem. More radical in many ways than my own son was now. A young man, ready, perhaps even eager to embrace the fate his powerful beliefs were calling him to. Sitting there, I felt a rush of love and pity for him in his youth, in his passionate convictions – really, the same feelings I often had for my son when he argued his heartfelt positions. Abruptly, they seemed alike to me and equally dear: my father, my son. I felt as though my father had been waiting for this moment to be born to me as the young man he’d been, so touchingly willing to bear witness to his conscience; and the surprise of this new sense of him, this birth, was a gift to me, a sudden balm in those days of my most intense grief.
Sue Miller (The Story of My Father)
For Chesterton and Tolkien, the goodness, truth, and beauty of fairy stories are to be found in the way they judge the way things are from the perspective of the way things ought to be. The should judges the is. This is the way things ought to be. We do not condone selfishness merely because it is normal, nor should we. A healthy perspective always judges selfishness—most especially our own selfishness—from the perspective of selflessness. In the language of religion, we always judge sin from the perspective of virtue, that which is wrong from the perspective of that which is right. Fairy stories share with religion the belief in objective morality, which is the fruit of the knowledge of the union of the natural with the supernatural and therefore the communion of the one with the other. This moral perspective is condemned by the materialist and the relativist, which is why such people are equally skeptical of the respective value of fairy stories and religion, seeing both as intrinsically untrue.
Joseph Pearce (Frodo's Journey: Discover the Hidden Meaning of The Lord of the Rings)
We have seen the kind of morality which is even now shaping itself in the ideas of the masses and of the thinkers. This morality will issue no commands. It will refuse once and for all to model individuals according to an abstract idea, as it will refuse to mutilate them by religion, law or government. It will leave to the individual man full and perfect liberty. It will be but a simple record of facts, a science. And this science will say to man: "If you are not conscious of strength within you, if your energies are only just sufficient to maintain a colorless, monotonous life, without strong impressions, without deep joys, but also without deep sorrows, well then, keep to the simple principles of a just equality. In relations of equality you will find probably the maximum of happiness possible to your feeble energies. "But if you feel within you the strength of youth, if you wish to live, if you wish to enjoy a perfect, full and overflowing life --that is, know the highest pleasure which a living being can desire-- be strong, be great, be vigorous in all you do. "Sow life around you. Take heed that if you deceive, lie, intrigue, cheat, you thereby demean yourself. belittle yourself, confess your own weakness beforehand, play the part of the slave of the harem who feels himself the inferior of his master. Do this if it so pleases you, but know that humanity will regard you as petty, contemptible and feeble, and treat you as such. Having no evidence of your strength, it will act towards you as one worthy of pity-- and pity only. Do not blame humanity if of your own accord you thus paralyze your energies. Be strong on the other hand, and once you have seen unrighteousness and recognized it as such --inequity in life, a lie in science, or suffering inflicted by another-- rise in revolt against the iniquity, the lie or the injustice. "Struggle! To struggle is to live, and the fiercer the struggle the intenser the life. Then you will have lived; and a few hours of such life are worth years spent vegetating.
Pyotr Kropotkin (Anarchist Morality)
The modern mind is merely a blank about the philosophy of toleration; and the average agnostic of recent times has really had no notion of what he meant by religious liberty and equality. He took his own ethics as self-evident and enforced them; such as decency or the error of the Adamite heresy. Then he was horribly shocked if he heard of anybody else, Moslem or Christian, taking his ethics as self-evident and enforcing them; such as reverence or the error of the Atheist heresy. And then he wound up by taking all this lop-sided illogical deadlock, of the unconscious meeting the unfamiliar, and called it the liberality of his own mind. Medieval men thought that if a social system was founded on a certain idea it must fight for that idea, whether it was as simple as Islam or as carefully balanced as Catholicism. Modern men really think the same thing, as is clear when communists attack their ideas of property. Only they do not think it so clearly, because they have not really thought out their idea of property.
G.K. Chesterton (Saint Francis of Assisi)
And so when the generation, which itself desired to level and to be emancipated, to destroy authority and at the same time itself, has, through the scepticism of the principle association, started the hopeless forest fire of abstraction; when as a result of levelling with this scepticism, the generation has rid itself of the individual and of everything organic and concrete, and put in its place 'humanity' and the numerical equality of man and man: when the generation has, for a moment, delighted in this unlimited panorama of abstract infinity, unrelieved by even the smallest eminence, undisturbed by even the slightest interest, a sea of desert; then the time has come for work to begin, for every individual must work for himself, each for himself. No longer can the individual, as in former times, turn to the great for help when he grows confused. That is past; he is either lost in the dizziness of unending abstraction or saved for ever in the reality of religion. Perhaps very many will cry out in despair, but it will not help them--already it is too late...Nor shall any of the unrecognizable presume to help directly or to speak directly or to teach directly at the head of the masses, in order to direct their decisions, instead of giving his negative support and so helping the individual to make the decision which he himself has reached; any other course would be the end of him, because he would be indulging in the short-sighted compassion of man, instead of obeying the order of divinity, of an angry, yet so merciful, divinity. For the development is, in spite of everything, a progress because all the individuals who are saved will receive the specific weight of religion, its essence at first hand, from God himself. Then it will be said: 'behold, all is in readiness, see how the cruelty of abstraction makes the true form of worldliness only too evident, the abyss of eternity opens before you, the sharp scythe of the leveller makes it possible for every one individually to leap over the blade--and behold, it is God who waits. Leap, then, into the arms of God'. But the 'unrecognizable' neither can nor dares help man, not even his most faithful disciple, his mother, or the girl for whom he would gladly give his life: they must make the leap themselves, for God's love is not a second-hand gift. And yet the 'unrecognizable' neither can nor dares help man, not even his most faithful disciple, his mother, or the girl for whom he would gladly give his life: they must make the leap themselves, for God's love is not a second-hand gift. And yet the 'unrecognizable' (according to his degree) will have a double work compared with the 'outstanding' man (of the same degree), because he will not only have to work continuously, but at the same time labour to conceal his work.
Søren Kierkegaard (The Present Age)
The law of manifestation operates like a triangle: First, know what you want and visualize it as if you already had it; Second, see it behind the illusion of reality, practice it in your decisions, choose the people you hang out with, etc; Third, believe, have faith and work on your emotions to be at the right frequency. This triangle of manifestation is one of the secrets of many religions: Christianity, Scientology, and Freemasonry. In Masonry is seen as "heart, mind and desire"; in Scientology is perceived as "reality, communication and affinity"; in Christianity is understood as "Father, son and holy ghost"; basically, "actions, learnings and emotions". In Christianity, the Father equals reality or the Creator of the illusion, the son is the way, the path, he road of our decisions and actions, and the holy ghost is our heart, instincts and desires manifested in that same path. In word words, through Jesus, and with the power of the holy ghost, you reach God. This is an allegory that not many Christians can understand. Jesus represent behavior - right and wrong, the holy ghost is our faith, your heart and emotions reflecting back at you what you attract, it's the energy that connects you to your dreams, and God represents the Architect of Reality. So, through moral behavior and positive emotions, your understand God and life, and then you receive "paradise". This paradise is whatever you dream for yourself. Furthermore, if someone has shown you this way, he has been as an angel to you, a messenger of God; if someone stopped you from reaching it, he has been as a demon, a worker for Satan, the enemy, if you failed in seeing this path, you have redirected yourself towards hell. And if you hate your life, you are already in hell. If you want to get out of hell, you must accept the truth, and this truth is that you must know God, for He is the truth. He and the truth are one and the same.
Robin Sacredfire
Many religious fundamentalists around the world would like to see the establishment of theocracies — states where religion and government are closely intertwined. While some just reject separation of [name of place of worship] and state, others go further and insist that one religion’s tenets be made law. The normal arguments for a theocracy are that, for example, it would lend a greater sense of morality to the making and enforcement of laws. Or that as our laws were originally derived from some moral commandments in a particular religion, it makes sense to enthrone this religion as chief in the state. Basically, theocrats can talk until the cows come home about how great it would be if we were ruled by God, how great it would be if our laws followed God’s laws, and so forth. But this vision of theocracy will never come to be, and should never come to be. The fundamental problem with every theocracy is that is innately unfair. Not just unfair to those who do not follow the state religion, but also unfair to those who do not follow the state religion as it is understood and interpreted by the humans who run the state. After all, who really believes that all the Muslims in any of the Islamic theocracies we have today are happy? Those who believe the wrong things about Islam from one particular point of view are mercilessly vilified — the present civil war in Iraq is an excellent example. Why a theocracy would be unfair to those who don’t practice the state religion should be very apparent. Whatever flowery talk there may be of equality, if the laws are derived from one religion, then the laws will favour that religion, like it or not. At this point, supporters of theocracy often get riled up. This is because they can point topassages in their holy book which they argue justify their claims that their religion would be fair to all. On occasion they will also argue that their particular God’s laws are perfect.
John Lee
If you believe in learning, you believe in inquiry. If you believe in education, you believe in literacy. If you believe in knowledge, you believe in curiosity. If you believe in understanding, you believe in practicality. If you believe in reason, you believe in sanity. If you believe in wisdom, you believe in sagacity. If you believe in dreams, you believe in fantasy. If you believe in diligence, you believe in prosperity. If you believe in exellence, you believe in mastery. If you believe in brilliance, you believe in longevity. If you believe in wealth, you believe in luxury. If you believe in justice, you believe in liberty. If you believe in tolerance, you believe in equality. If you believe in respect, you believe in courtesy. If you believe in manners, you believe in civility. If you believe in honor, you believe in decency. If you believe in culture, you believe in history. If you believe in tradition, you believe in stability. If you believe in order, you believe in harmony. If you believe in time, you believe in eternity. If you believe in fate, you believe in destiny. If you believe in life, you believe in reality. If you believe in permanance, you believe in infinity. If you believe in virtue, you believe in morality. If you believe in peace, you believe in humanity. If you believe in love, you believe in divinity. If you believe in God, you believe in spirituality. If you believe in faith, you believe in expectancy. If you believe in religion, you believe in sanctity. If you believe in Heaven, you believe in perpetuity. If you believe in the afterlife, you believe in immortality.
Matshona Dhliwayo
influences. I took from Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls that defending the dignity of others is never a lost cause whether you succeed or not. And I thrill to the exhortation in the poem that inspired the novel, to be “part of the main,” to be “involved in mankind.” It’s who we are. The right to life and liberty, to be governed by consent and ruled by laws, to have equal justice and protection of property, these values are the core of our national identity. And it is fidelity to them—not ethnicity or religion, culture or class—that makes one an American. To accept the abolition or abridgement of those rights in other societies should be no less false to Americans than their abridgment in our own society. Human rights are not our invention. They don’t represent standards from which particular cultures or religions can be exempted. They are universal. They exist above the state and beyond history. They cannot be rescinded by one government any more than they can be granted by another. That’s our creed. The authors put it right at the beginning of the manifesto they wrote to declare our independence. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.
John McCain (The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations)
The number of victims of robbers, highwaymen, rapers, 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. The Communist purges, as the word 'purge' indicates, were understood as operations of social hygiene, to prepare mankind for the golden age of the classless society. The gas chambers and crematoria worked for the advent of a different version of the millennium. Heinrich Eichmann (as Hannah Ahrendt, reporting on his trial, has pointed out) was not a monster or a sadist, but a conscientious bureaucrat, who considered it his duty to carry out his orders and believed in obedience as the supreme virtue; far from being a sadist, he felt physically sick on the only occasion when he watched the Zircon gas at work.
Arthur Koestler (The Ghost in the Machine)
Fakir Azizuddin. He was one of the ablest and certainly the most honest of all Ranjit Singh's courtiers. Azizuddin was of so engaging a disposition, and so perfect a courtier in his manners, that he made few declared enemies, though many were doubtless jealous of his influence. One reason of his popularity, as a Muhammadan minister at a Hindu Court, was the liberality of his belief. He was a Sufi, a sect held, indeed, as infidel by orthodox Muhammadans, but to which the best thinkers and poets of the East have belonged. He had no love for the barren dogmata of the Kuran, but looked on all religions as equally to be respected and disregarded. On one occasion Ranjit Singh asked him whether he preferred the Hindu or the Muhammadan religion. ' I am,' he replied, 'I am a man floating in the midst of a mighty river. I turn my eyes towards the land, but can distinguish no difference in either bank.
Lepel H. Griffin (Ranjit Singh)
And the man who learns most from the levelling and himself becomes greatest does not become an outstanding man or hero--that would only impede the levelling process, which is rigidly consistent to the end--he himself prevents that from happening because he has understood the meaning of levelling; he becomes a man and nothing else, in the complete equalitarian sense. That is the idea of religion. But, under those conditions, the equalitarian order is severe and the profit is seemingly very small; seemingly, for unless the individual learns in the reality of religion and before God to be content with himself, and learns, instead of dominating others, to dominate himself, content as priest to be his own audience, and as author his own reader, if he will not learn to be satisfied with that as the highest, because it is the expression of the equality of all men before God and of our likeness to others, then he will not escape from reflection.
Søren Kierkegaard (The Present Age)
As for law and religion, which also have preached this principle, they have simply filched it to cloak their own wares, their injunctions for the benefit of the conqueror, the exploiter, the priest. Without this principle of solidarity, the justice of which is so generally recognized, how could they have laid hold on men's minds? Each of them covered themselves with it as with a garment; like authority which made good its position by posing as the protector of the weak against the strong. By flinging overboard law, religion and authority, mankind can regain possession of the moral principle which has been taken from them. Regain that they may criticize it, and purge it from the adulterations wherewith priest, judge and ruler have poisoned it and are poisoning it yet. Besides this principle of treating others as one wishes to be treated oneself, what is it but the very same principle as equality, the fundamental principle of anarchism? And how can any one manage to believe himself an anarchist unless he practices it? We do not wish to be ruled. And by this very fact, do we not declare that we ourselves wish to rule nobody? We do not wish to be deceived, we wish always to be told nothing but the truth. And by this very fact, do we not de- clare that we ourselves do not wish to deceive anybody, that we promise to always tell the truth, nothing but the truth, the whole truth? We do not wish to have the fruits of our labor stolen from us. And by that very fact, do we not declare that we respect the fruits of others' labor?
Pyotr Kropotkin (Anarchist Morality)
Is God really real?”This is a perennial question for the philosophy of religion. Fortunately, the Pythons have answers to it. Perhaps too many answers. If we asked Arthur, King of the Britons, he would certainly testify that God exists, speaks English, and can’t stand people groveling, averting their eyes, ceaselessly apologizing, and deeming themselves unworthy. Yet when we begin inquiring into Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, “there is some doubt” about whether God is really real, or, to put it more philosophically, there is doubt over whether God’s existence can be established through a valid argument. There is a long philosophical tradition of constructing rational arguments for the existence and attributes of God, and an equally long skeptical tradition of deconstructing those same arguments. The Pythons have been exemplary participants in the latter tradition, either through parody, or by echoing in a funnier and more succinct way the skeptical arguments of such philosophical predecessors as Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776).
George A. Reisch (Monty Python and Philosophy: Nudge Nudge, Think Think!)
The failure of Hellenism has been, largely, a matter of organization. Rome never tried to impose any sort of worship upon the countries it conquered and civilized; in fact, quite the contrary, Rome was eclectic. All religions were given an equal opportunity and even Isis—after some resistance—was worshipped at Rome. As a result we have a hundred important gods and a dozen mysteries. Certain rites are—or were—supported by the state because they involved the genius of Rome. But no attempt was ever made to coordinate the worship of Zeus on the Capitol with, let us say, the Vestals who kept the sacred fire in the old forum. As time passed our rites became, and one must admit it bluntly, merely form, a reassuring reminder of the great age of the city, a token gesture to the old gods who were thought to have founded and guided Rome from a village by the Tiber to world empire. Yet from the beginning, there were always those who mocked. A senator of the old Republic once asked an auger how he was able to get through a ceremony of divination without laughing. I am not so light-minded, though I concede that many of our rites have lost their meaning over the centuries; witness those temples at Rome where certain verses learned by rote are chanted year in and year out, yet no one, including the priests, knows what they mean, for they are in the early language of the Etruscans, long since forgotten. As the religious forms of the state became more and more rigid and perfunctory, the people were drawn to the mystery cults, many of them Asiatic in origin. At Eleusis or in the various caves of Mithras, they were able to get a vision of what this life can be, as well as a foretaste of the one that follows. There are, then, three sorts of religious experiences. The ancient rites, which are essentially propitiatory. The mysteries, which purge the soul and allow us to glimpse eternity. And philosophy, which attempts to define not only the material world but to suggest practical ways to the good life, as well as attempting to synthesize (as Iamblichos does so beautifully) all true religion in a single comprehensive system.
Gore Vidal (Julian)
[Asked by an audience member at a public Q&A session] Considering that atheism cannot possibly have any sense of 'absolute morality', would it not then be an irrational leap of faith – which atheists themselves so harshly condemn – for an atheist to decide between right and wrong? [Dawkins] Absolute morality...the absolute morality that a religious person might profess would include, what, stoning people for adultery? Death for apostasy? [...] These are all things which are religiously-based absolute moralities. I don't think I want an absolute morality; I think I want a morality that is thought out, reasoned, argued, discussed, and based on – you could almost say intelligent design. [...] If you actually look at the moralities that are accepted among modern people – among 21st century people – we don't believe in slavery anymore; we believe in equality of women; we believe in being gentle; we believe in being kind to animals...these are all things which are entirely recent. They have very little basis in Biblical or Koranic scripture. They are things that have developed over historical time; through a consensus of reasoning, sober discussion, argument, legal theory, political and moral philosophy. These do not come from religion. To the extent that you can find the 'good bits' in religious scriptures, you have to cherry-pick. You search your way through the Bible or the Koran, and you find the occasional verse that is an acceptable profession of morality – and you say, look at that! That's religion!...and you leave out all the horrible bits. And you say, 'Oh, we don't believe that anymore, we've grown out of that.' Well, of course we've grown out of it. We've grown out of it because of secular moral philosophy and rational discussion.
Richard Dawkins
We observe in this torrent of incoherence a lack of regularity in the subject himself; the "I" has fallen to pieces after struggling for three centuries against the great objective institutions and dissolving them with its subjectivism and rejecting in them any law that was sacred and binding on itself. There is no reason to think that Decadence - obviously an historical phenomenon of great inevitability and significance — has confined itself to poetry; we should expect in the more or less distant future the Decadence of philosophy and finally the Decadence of morality, politics, and forms of communal life. To a certain extent Nietzsche can already be considered the Decadent of human thought — at least to the extent that Maupassant, in certain "final touches" of his art, can be considered the Decadent of human emotion. Like Maupassant, Nietzsche ended in madness; and in Nietzsche, just as in Maupassant, the cult of the "I" loses all restraining limits: the world, history, and the human being with his toils and legitimate demands have disappeared equally from the works of both; both were "mystic males" to a considerable degree, only one of them preferred to "flutter " above "quivering orchids," whereas the other liked to sit inside a cave or upon a mountaintop and proclaim a new religion to mankind in his capacity as the reborn "Zarathustra." The religion of the "superman," he explained. But all of them, including Maupassant, were already "supermen" in that they had absolutely no need of mankind and mankind had absolutely no need of them. On this new type of nisus formativus of human culture, so to speak, we should expect to see great oddities, great hideousness, and perhaps great calamities and dangers. ("On Symbolists And Decadents")
Vasily Rozanov (The Silver Age of Russian Culture: An Anthology)
We maintain therefore that in matters of Religion, no man’s right is abridged by the institution of Civil Society, and that Religion is wholly exempt from its cognizance. True it is, that no other rule exists, by which any question which may divide a Society, can be ultimately determined, but the will of the majority; but it is also true, that the majority may trespass on the rights of the minority. ...Because it is proper to take alarm at the first experiment on our liberties. We hold this prudent jealousy to be the first duty of Citizens, and one of the noblest characteristics of the late Revolution. The free men of America did not wait till usurped power had strengthened itself by exercise, and entangled the question in precedents. They saw all the consequences in the principle, and they avoided the consequences by denying the principle. We revere this lesson too much soon to forget it. Who does not see that the same authority which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects? that the same authority which can force a citizen to contribute three pence only of his property for the support of any one establishment, may force him to conform to any other establishment in all cases whatsoever? ...Because experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. ...What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny: in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wished to subvert the public liberty, may have found an established Clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just Government instituted to secure & perpetuate it needs them not. Such a Government will be best supported by protecting every Citizen in the enjoyment of his Religion with the same equal hand which protects his person and his property; by neither invading the equal rights of any Sect, nor suffering any Sect to invade those of another. [Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments, 20 June 1785. This was written in response to a proposed bill that would establish 'teachers of the Christian religion', violating the 1st Amendment's establishment clause]
James Madison (A Memorial And Remonstrance, On The Religious Rights Of Man: Written In 1784-85 (1828))
When he was twenty-three years old, he (George Fox) saw the inner light in a vision. For him it symbolized the spirit against the letter, silence against chatter, experience against dogma, and equality against all who build inequality on authority and power, be it of the state or religion. His mistrust of the official Anglican Church was immense. He spoke with disdain of the "towered houses" and was tormented by the ringing of church bells. He frequently interrupted preachers, standing in the church's doorway, a hat covering his head, and uttering threatening words toward the pulpit, causing great excitement in the gathered congregation. It often resulted in Fox being beaten up, banished, and, later on, jailed for years. What aroused his ire, above all, were the priests who, without ever having experienced or even looked for illumination, presented themselves as servants of God but, in truth, comprised a "society of cannibals." It is "not enough to have been educated in Oxford or Cambridge in order to become capable for and efficient in the service of Christ. To this day it is difficult for many Friends to speak of "Quaker theology." The Friends believe in Scripture - George Fox knew it by heart - but they also believe that the Spirit transcends Scripture and that the inner light is experienced by all human beings without human mediation. "The inner light," "the inward teacher" are names that the early Quakers gave to their experiences of the Spirit. They believe that everyone can meet the "Christ within," even though he has different names in different ages and places and is not tied to any form of religion. This light is open to everyone and, yet, it is not simply the natural light of reason. In a conversation that Fox had with Lord Protector Oliver Cromwell, he vigorously resisted this rational interpretation. In every human being is "that of God," hidden, eclipsed, often forgotten. Linguistically a clumsy expression at best, "that of God in everyone" is the foundation of human dignity. In addition, it is the admonition to believe in it, to discover it in each and everyone and to respond to it. Fox said, "Walk joyfully on the earth and respond to that of God in every human being.
Dorothee Sölle (The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance)
{From Luther Burbank's funeral. He was loved until he revealed he was an atheist, then he began to receive death threats. He tried to amiably answer them all, leading to his death} It is impossible to estimate the wealth he has created. It has been generously given to the world. Unlike inventors, in other fields, no patent rights were given him, nor did he seek a monopoly in what he created. Had that been the case, Luther Burbank would have been perhaps the world's richest man. But the world is richer because of him. In this he found joy that no amount of money could give. And so we meet him here today, not in death, but in the only immortal life we positively know--his good deeds, his kindly, simple, life of constructive work and loving service to the whole wide world. These things cannot die. They are cumulative, and the work he has done shall be as nothing to its continuation in the only immortality this brave, unselfish man ever sought, or asked to know. As great as were his contributions to the material wealth of this planet, the ages yet to come, that shall better understand him, will give first place in judging the importance of his work to what he has done for the betterment of human plants and the strength they shall gain, through his courage, to conquer the tares, the thistles and the weeds. Then no more shall we have a mythical God that smells of brimstone and fire; that confuses hate with love; a God that binds up the minds of little children, as other heathen bind up their feet--little children equally helpless to defend their precious right to think and choose and not be chained from the dawn of childhood to the dogmas of the dead. Luther Burbank will rank with the great leaders who have driven heathenish gods back into darkness, forever from this earth. In the orthodox threat of eternal punishment for sin--which he knew was often synonymous with yielding up all liberty and freedom--and in its promise of an immortality, often held out for the sacrifice of all that was dear to life, the right to think, the right to one's mind, the right to choose, he saw nothing but cowardice. He shrank from such ways of thought as a flower from the icy blasts of death. As shown by his work in life, contributing billions of wealth to humanity, with no more return than the maintenance of his own breadline, he was too humble, too unselfish, to be cajoled with dogmatic promises of rewards as a sort of heavenly bribe for righteous conduct here. He knew that the man who fearlessly stands for the right, regardless of the threat of punishment or the promise of reward, was the real man. Rather was he willing to accept eternal sleep, in returning to the elements from whence he came, for in his lexicon change was life. Here he was content to mingle as a part of the whole, as the raindrop from the sea performs its sacred service in watering the land to which it is assigned, that two blades may grow instead of one, and then, its mission ended, goes back to the ocean from whence it came. With such service, with such a life as gardener to the lilies of the field, in his return to the bosoms of infinity, he has not lost himself. There he has found himself, is a part of the cosmic sea of eternal force, eternal energy. And thus he lived and always will live. Thomas Edison, who believes very much as Burbank, once discussed with me immortality. He pointed to the electric light, his invention, saying: 'There lives Tom Edison.' So Luther Burbank lives. He lives forever in the myriad fields of strengthened grain, in the new forms of fruits and flowers, plants, vines, and trees, and above all, the newly watered gardens of the human mind, from whence shall spring human freedom that shall drive out false and brutal gods. The gods are toppling from their thrones. They go before the laughter and the joy of the new childhood of the race, unshackled and unafraid.
Ben Lindsey
My four things I care about are truth, meaning, fitness and grace. [...] Sam [Harris] would like to make an argument that the better and more rational our thinking is, the more it can do everything that religion once did. [...] I think about my personal physics hero, Dirac – who was the guy who came up with the equation for the electron, less well-known than the Einstein equations but arguably even more order to predict that, he needed a positively-charged and a negatively-charged particle, and the only two known at the time were the electron and the proton to make up, let's say, a hydrogen atom. Well, the proton is quite a bit heavier than the electron and so he told the story that wasn't really true, where the proton was the anti-particle of the electron, and Heisenberg pointed out that that couldn't be because the masses are too far off and they have to be equal. Well, a short time later, the anti-electron -- the positron, that is -- was found, I guess by Anderson at Caltech in the early 30s and then an anti-proton was created some time later. So it turned out that the story had more meaning than the exact version of the the story was sort of more true than the version of the story that was originally told. And I could tell you a similar story with Einstein, I could tell it to you with Darwin, who, you know, didn't fully understand the implications of his theory, as is evidenced by his screwing up a particular kind of orchid in his later work...not understanding that his theory completely explained that orchid! So there's all sorts of ways in which we get the...the truth wrong the first several times we try it, but the meaning of the story that we tell somehow remains intact. And I think that that's a very difficult lesson for people who just want to say, 'Look, I want to' know, Feynman would say, "If an experiment disagrees with you, then you're wrong' and it's a very appealing story to tell to people – but it's also worth noting that Feynman never got a physical law of nature and it may be that he was too wedded to this kind of rude judgment of the unforgiving. Imagine you were innovating in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The first few times might not actually work. But if you told yourself the story, 'No, no, no – this is actually genius and it's working; no, you just lost three consecutive bouts' -- well, that may give you the ability to eventually perfect the move, perfect the technique, even though you were lying to yourself during the period in which it was being set up. It's a little bit like the difference between scaffolding and a building. And too often, people who are crazy about truth reject scaffolding, which is an intermediate stage in getting to the final truth.
Eric R. Weinstein
Much of the so-called environmental movement today has transmuted into an aggressively nefarious and primitive faction. In the last fifteen years, many of the tenets of utopian statism have coalesced around something called the “degrowth” movement. Originating in Europe but now taking a firm hold in the United States, the “degrowthers,” as I shall characterize them, include in their ranks none other than President Barack Obama. On January 17, 2008, Obama made clear his hostility toward, of all things, electricity generated from coal and coal-powered plants. He told the San Francisco Chronicle, “You know, when I was asked earlier about the issue of coal . . . under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. . . .”3 Obama added, “. . . So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”4 Degrowthers define their agenda as follows: “Sustainable degrowth is a downscaling of production and consumption that increases human well-being and enhances ecological conditions and equity on the planet. It calls for a future where societies live within their ecological means, with open localized economies and resources more equally distributed through new forms of democratic institutions.”5 It “is an essential economic strategy to pursue in overdeveloped countries like the United States—for the well-being of the planet, of underdeveloped populations, and yes, even of the sick, stressed, and overweight ‘consumer’ populations of overdeveloped countries.”6 For its proponents and adherents, degrowth has quickly developed into a pseudo-religion and public-policy obsession. In fact, the degrowthers insist their ideology reaches far beyond the environment or even its odium for capitalism and is an all-encompassing lifestyle and governing philosophy. Some of its leading advocates argue that “Degrowth is not just an economic concept. We shall show that it is a frame constituted by a large array of concerns, goals, strategies and actions. As a result, degrowth has now become a confluence point where streams of critical ideas and political action converge.”7 Degrowth is “an interpretative frame for a social movement, understood as the mechanism through which actors engage in a collective action.”8 The degrowthers seek to eliminate carbon sources of energy and redistribute wealth according to terms they consider equitable. They reject the traditional economic reality that acknowledges growth as improving living conditions generally but especially for the impoverished. They embrace the notions of “less competition, large scale redistribution, sharing and reduction of excessive incomes and wealth.”9 Degrowthers want to engage in polices that will set “a maximum income, or maximum wealth, to weaken envy as a motor of consumerism, and opening borders (“no-border”) to reduce means to keep inequality between rich and poor countries.”10 And they demand reparations by supporting a “concept of ecological debt, or the demand that the Global North pays for past and present colonial exploitation in the Global South.”11
Mark R. Levin (Plunder and Deceit: Big Government's Exploitation of Young People and the Future)
To narrow natural rights to such neat slogans as "liberty, equality, fraternity" or "life, liberty, property," . . . was to ignore the complexity of public affairs and to leave out of consideration most moral relationships. . . . Burke appealed back beyond Locke to an idea of community far warmer and richer than Locke's or Hobbes's aggregation of individuals. The true compact of society, Burke told his countrymen, is eternal: it joins the dead, the living, and the unborn. We all participate in this spiritual and social partnership, because it is ordained of God. In defense of social harmony, Burke appealed to what Locke had ignored: the love of neighbor and the sense of duty. By the time of the French Revolution, Locke's argument in the Second Treatise already had become insufficient to sustain a social order. . . . The Constitution is not a theoretical document at all, and the influence of Locke upon it is negligible, although Locke's phrases, at least, crept into the Declaration of Independence, despite Jefferson's awkwardness about confessing the source of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." If we turn to the books read and quoted by American leaders near the end of the eighteenth century, we discover that Locke was but one philosopher and political advocate among the many writers whose influence they acknowledged. . . . Even Jefferson, though he had read Locke, cites in his Commonplace Book such juridical authorities as Coke and Kames much more frequently. As Gilbert Chinard puts it, "The Jeffersonian philosophy was born under the sign of Hengist and Horsa, not of the Goddess Reason"--that is, Jefferson was more strongly influenced by his understanding of British history, the Anglo-Saxon age particularly, than by the eighteenth-century rationalism of which Locke was a principal forerunner. . . . Adams treats Locke merely as one of several commendable English friends to liberty. . . . At bottom, the thinking Americans of the last quarter of the eighteenth century found their principles of order in no single political philosopher, but rather in their religion. When schooled Americans of that era approved a writer, commonly it was because his books confirmed their American experience and justified convictions they held already. So far as Locke served their needs, they employed Locke. But other men of ideas served them more immediately. At the Constitutional Convention, no man was quoted more frequently than Montesquieu. Montesquieu rejects Hobbes's compact formed out of fear; but also, if less explicitly, he rejects Locke's version of the social contract. . . . It is Montesquieu's conviction that . . . laws grow slowly out of people's experiences with one another, out of social customs and habits. "When a people have pure and regular manners, their laws become simple and natural," Montesquieu says. It was from Montesquieu, rather than from Locke, that the Framers obtained a theory of checks and balances and of the division of powers. . . . What Madison and other Americans found convincing in Hume was his freedom from mystification, vulgar error, and fanatic conviction: Hume's powerful practical intellect, which settled for politics as the art of the possible. . . . [I]n the Federalist, there occurs no mention of the name of John Locke. In Madison's Notes of Debates in the Federal Convention there is to be found but one reference to Locke, and that incidental. Do not these omissions seem significant to zealots for a "Lockean interpretation" of the Constitution? . . . John Locke did not make the Glorious Revolution of 1688 or foreordain the Constitution of the United States. . . . And the Constitution of the United States would have been framed by the same sort of men with the same sort of result, and defended by Hamilton, Madison, and Jay, had Locke in 1689 lost the manuscripts of his Two Treatises of Civil Government while crossing the narrow seas with the Princess Mary.
Russell Kirk (Rights And Duties: Reflections On Our Conservative Constitution)