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Martin Buber (1878-1965)
Since the primary motive of the evil is disguise, one of the places evil people are most likely to be found is within the church. What better way to conceal one's evil from oneself, as well as from others, than to be a deacon or some other highly visible form of Christian within our culture? ... I do not mean to imply that the evil are anything other than a small minority among the religious or that the religious motives of most people are in any way spurious. I mean only that evil people tend to gravitate toward piety for the disguise and concealment it can offer them.
About what mainly constituted what you ask, it was something other. It was just a certain inclination to meet people. And as far as possible, to change something in the other, but also to let me be changed by him. At any event, I had no resistance, I put no resistance to it. I already began as a young man. I felt I have not the right to want to change another if I am not open to be changed by him as far as it is legitimate.
Here is the infallible test. Imagine yourself in a situation where you are alone, wholly alone on earth, and you are offered one of the two, books or men. I often hear men prizing their solitude but that is only because there are still men somewhere on earth even though in the far distance. I knew nothing of books when I came forth from the womb of my mother, and I shall die without books, with another human hand in my own. I do, indeed, close my door at times and surrender myself to a book, but only because I can open the door again and see a human being looking at me.
When I meet a man, I am not concerned about his opinions. I am concerned about the man.
I think no human being can give more than this. Making life possible for the other, if only for a moment.
Friedman: The Most Human Person I Have Met
"The first actual meeting I could never forget. First of all this man who I had felt so close to seemed so really 'other' to me. He was very short, much shorter than I could have imagined him. His eyes were the most striking part about him -- gentle yet penetrating. And he said to me 'Do not think I am mostly interested in you because you have written a book on me. I am more concerned about you as a person.' And even of his own books he said 'I write them as a snake sheds its skins, because I must. But they are not the most important part of my life.'"
"He was for me in every sense of the term the most human person I have met."
[The Government of the United States] possesses no power whatever over the question of religion.
I have seldom met an intelligent person whose views were not narrowed and distorted by religion.
Steiner: Buchanan No Political Opportunist
"In August, 1860, his last year in the White House, President Buchanan was stopping at Bedford Springs, a summer resort in Pennsylvania, where the Rev Dr. Wilham M Paxton, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of New York City, was also a guest. Having had some previous acquaintance with the reverend doctor he one day invited him into his room, where he opened his heart. He said:
I feel no need for any other faith than my faith in human beings.
I am so absorbed in the wonder of earth and the life upon it that I cannot think of heaven and the angels. I have enough for this life.
-- Pearl S Buck, What America Means To Me, quoted from James A Haught, ed, 2000 Years of Disbelief
It has been demonstrated, unequivocally and unambiguously, that the experience of God is built into the human mind. The god of mind is undeniable: the mind of God will forever remain a matter of personal belief. It is at least possible that there is no God -- or that there are no gods -- watching over us and preventing us from doing major damage to our species or the planet. Whether that is a fact or not, it gives us a useful and practical guideline: it might be a better world if we all believe whatever we wish, but behave as if there was no suprahuman deity to sort out our problems for us. -- Robert Buckman, Can We Be Good Without God? Biology, Behavior, and the Need to Believe (Prometheus: 2002) back cover; excerpted by PAM, January, 2008
Religious people are not entitled to special rights, even if they are elected leaders or in the majority; they are not allowed to force everyone to support their religion.
The Chief Justice's ... main point seemed to be that the references to God in the Pledge of Allegiance aren't really religious and therefore are not that important -- something I would think would offend Christians who think it should stay because it is religious and does matter. Too many Christians appear to be desperate to shore up their failing confidence in their own religious beliefs by having the government officially endorse those beliefs.
We urge all people to recognize that religious freedom requires not trying to use the power of government to force religious ideas on others.
Doubt everything. Find your own light.
Believe nothing, O monks, merely because you have been told it ... or because it is traditional, or because you yourselves have imagined it. Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings -- that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.
I do not fight with the world but the world fights with me.
That the system of morals propounded in the New Testament contained no maxim which had not been previously enunciated, and that some of the most beautiful passages in the apostolic writings are quotations from Pagan authors, is well known to every scholar.... To assert that Christianity communicated to man moral truths previously unknown, argues on the part of the asserted either gross ignorance or wilful fraud.
The clergy, with a few honorable exceptions, have in all modern countries been the avowed enemies of the diffusion of knowledge, the danger of which to their own profession they, by a certain instinct, seem always to have perceived.
For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can't readily accept the God formula, the big answers don't remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command or faith a dictum. I am my own God. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state and our education system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
The whole LSD, STP, marijuana, heroin, hashish, prescription cough medicine crowd suffers from the "Watchtower" itch: you gotta be with us, man, or you're out, you're dead. This pitch is a continual and seeming MUST with those who use the stuff. It's no wonder they keep getting busted.
If someone were to prove to me -- right this minute -- that God, in all his luminousness, exists, it wouldn't change a single aspect of my behavior.
I am an atheist still, thank God.
Thank God, I am still an atheist.
I am an atheist, thanks be to God.
I have learned from Nature that dependence on unnatural beliefs weakens us in the struggle and shortens our breath for the race.
Obsolete misleading theologies bear the same relation to the essence of true religion that scarlet fever, mumps, and measles do to education.
Justice, love, truth, peace and harmony, a serene unity with science and the laws of the universe.
Most people's religion is what they would like to believe, not what they do believe. And very few of them stop to examine its foundations.
As a scientist I cannot help feeling that all religions are on a tottering foundation. None is perfect or inspired. As for their prophets, there are as many today as ever before, only now science refuses to let them overstep the bounds of common sense.
The idea that a good God would send people to a burning hell is utterly damnable to me. The ravings of insanity! Superstition gone to seed! I don't want to have anything to do with such a God.
I do not believe what has been served to me to believe. I am a doubter, a questioner, a skeptic. However, when it can be proved to me that there is immortality, that there is resurrection beyond the gates of death, then will I believe. Until then, no.
I have seen myself lose intolerance, narrowness, bigotry, complacence, pride and a whole bushel-basket of other intellectual vices through my contact with Nature and with men. And when you take weeds out of a garden it gives you room to grow flowers. So, every time I lost a little self-satisfaction, or arrogance, I could plant some broadness or love of my own in its place, and after a while the garden of my mind began to bloom and be fragrant and I found myself better equipped for my work and more useful to others as a consequence.
The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea
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