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"Heaven help us," said the old
religion; the new one, from its very lack of that faith, will teach us all the more to help one another.
I am influenced at the present time by far higher considerations and by a nobler idea of duty than I ever was when I held the Evangelical belief.
Among all forms of mistake, prophecy is the most gratuitous.
I could not without vile hypocrisy and a miserable truckling to the smile of the world ... profess to join in worship which I wholly disapprove.
Given, a man with moderate intellect, a moral standard not higher than the average, some rhetorical affluence and a great glibness of speech, what is the career in which, without the aid of birth or
money, he may most easily attain power and reputation in English society? Where is that Goshen of mediocrity in which a smattering of science and learning will pass for profound instruction, where platitudes will be accepted as wisdom, bigoted narrowness
as holy zeal, unctuous egoism as God-given piety?
Minds fettered by this doctrine no longer
inquire concerning a proposition whether it is attested by sufficient evidence, but whether it accords with Scripture; they do not search for facts as such, but for facts that will bear out their doctrine. It is easy to see that this mental habit blunts
not only the perception of truth, but the sense of truthfulness, and that the man whose faith drives him into fallacies treads close upon the precipice of falsehood.... So long as a belief in propositions is regarded as indispensable to salvation, the
pursuit of truth as such is not possible.
Your dunce who can't do his sums always has a taste for the infinite.
God, immortality, duty -- how inconceivable the first, how unbelievable the second, how peremptory and absolute the third.
It is time the clergy are told that thinking men, after a close examination of that doctrine [Christianity], pronounce it to be subversive of true moral development and, therefore,
A perverted moral judgment belongs to the dogmatic system.
Subtract from the New Testament the miraculous and highly impossible, and what will be the remainder?
When the soul is just liberated from the wretched giant's bed of dogmas on which it has been racked and stretched ever since it began to think, there is a feeling of exultation and strong hope.
Fatally powerful as religious systems have
been, human nature is stronger and wider, and though dogmas may hamper they cannot absolutely repress its growth.
My childhood was full of deep sorrows -- colic, whooping-cough, dread of ghosts, hell, Satan, and a Deity in the sky who was angry when I ate too much plumcake.
The strongest principle of growth lies in human choice.
To justify Christian morality because it
provides a foundation of morality, instead of showing the necessity of Christian morality from the truth of Christianity, is a very dangerous inversion.
Cannot bear very much reality.
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
I quite agree with Earl Doherty that the most important result of research carried out by writers like Wells, himself, Freke and Gandy, and myself, is the demonstration that the Jesus figure of the
New Testament Gospels and Acts is a fiction, without any real evidential support. The earliest Christian documents, by Paul and many others, if interpreted on their own terms, yield a very different picture of Jesus, and indeed of the origin of Christianity
as a whole. If we are largely right, the whole history of Christianity has to be radically rewritten. It has to be based, not on the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles, but on the relevant first century literature, which is quite extensive.
I think that the Teacher of Righteousness of the Essenes was in fact the figure -- either historical or not -- behind the Jesus of Paul and his contemporaries. The main question of this stage is why
the second century Christians substituted another, fictional Jesus, and how they managed to convince their communities on this point, and how they succeeded in obliterating virtually all evidence about the original, Essene Jesus.
No sign of purpose can be detected in any part of the vast universe disclosed by our most powerful telescopes.
All human knowledge is derived by observation and experiment. The facts thus made known are co-ordinated or systemized in the various sciences. They are the individual bricks out of which the edifice
of a scientific theory is built. As isolated facts, they have little philosophic import; but in proportion they can be co-ordinated into broad generalizations, they take on deeper philosophical significance. Science therefore, alone can
furnish the data of philosophy. If there is any knowledge attainable that can truly be called philosophic, it is such knowledge only as is yielded by a study of the various sciences. Consequently, the first thing to be done in any search after philosophic
principles is to travel over the special sciences with a view to extracting from them such information as is relevant to our purpose.
is a very intimate connection between hypnotic phenomena and religion.
The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum.
is curious how there seems to be an instinctive disgust in Man for his nearest ancestors and relations. If only Darwin could conscientiously have traced man back to the Elephant or the Lion or the Antelope, how much ridicule and prejudice would have been
spared to the doctrine of Evolution.
What we call "morals" is simply blind obedience to words of command.
It is only the great men who are truly obscene.
If they had not dared to be obscene, they could never have dared to be great.
The man who has never wrestled with his early faith, the faith that he was brought up with and that yet is not truly his own -- for no faith is our own that we have not arduously won -- has missed not
only a moral but an intellectual discipline. The absence of that discipline may mark a man for life and render all his work ineffective. He has missed a training in criticism, in analysis, in open-mindedness, in the resolutely impersonal treatment of
personal problems, which no other training can compensate. He is, for the most part, condemned to live in a mental jungle where his arm will soon be too feeble to clear away the growths that enclose him, and his eyes too weak to find the light.
Jerusalem has been -- and for many, still is -- a metaphor for destruction
and the vengeance of an offended God. She is the city where believers have killed unbelievers to give life to faith.
In Jerusalem, the various modes of worship essentially stood for the same cause but were equally hateful to one another. They never served as a unifying factor. Their adherents were equally manipulated
by the clergies to regard the others as wicked infidels or idolaters. The centuries passed in constant pious agitation and in frequent religious wars.
Local psychiatrists now speak of a Jerusalem syndrome. A hundred-odd pilgrims and tourists are treated each year at Kfar Shaul Hospital, the government mental-health center serving the Jerusalem area,
for breakdowns related to this syndrome, which involves messianic fantasies and delusions of being Mary Magdalene, John the Baptist, or other biblical characters. They are mostly Americans and almost all are Protestant. Many have a strong grounding in
the Bible. In Jerusalem, they suddenly take off their clothes or shout prophecies on street corners, only to revert to normal after a few days' treatment.
The sole purpose and effect of it [Article
VI] is to exclude persecution and to secure the important right of religious liberty.
Legislatures have no right to set up an inquisition and examine into the private opinions of men. Test-laws are useless and ineffectual, unjust and tyrannical.
We must get rid of that Christ, we must
get rid of that Chris!
As men's prayers are a disease of the will, so are their creeds a disease of the intellect.
The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next.
"Other world? There is no other world; here or nowhere is the whole fact."
If a man fasten his attention of a single aspect of truth and apply himself to that alone for a long time, the truth becomes distorted and not itself but falsehood.
The history of persecution is a
history of endeavors to cheat nature, to make water run up hill, to twist a rope of sand.
Every burned book or house enlightens the world; every suppressed or expunged word reverberates through the earth from side to side.
Leave this hypocritical prating
about the masses. Masses are rude, lame, unmade, pernicious in their demands and influence, and need not to be flattered, but to be schooled. I wish not to concede anything to them, but to tame, drill, divide, and break them up, and draw individuals out
Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.
To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart, is true for all men -- that is genius.... Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.... What I must do, is
all that concerns me; not what the people think.... Nothing can bring you peace but yourself; nothing, but the triumph of principles.
The word Miracle, as pronounced by Christian churches, gives a false impression; it is Monster. It is not one with the blowing clover and the falling rain.
The way of Providence is a little rude. The habit of snake and spider, the snap of the tiger and other leapers and bloody jumpers, the crackle of the bones of his prey in the coil of the anaconda-these
are in the system, and our habits are like theirs.
Once one accepts the premise of the Declaration of Independence -- that governments derive "their just powers from the consent of the governed" -- it follows that the governed must, in order
to exercise their right of consent, have full freedom of expression.
Suppression of expression conceals the real problems confronting a society and diverts public attention from the critical issues. It is likely to result in neglect of the grievances which are the actual
basis of the unrest, and thus prevent their correction.
The United States is a country of no distinct religious
denomination, but one of perfect freedom, and of a vast variety of religious opinions; one whose inhabitants have solemnly interdicted to its government any interference, direct or indirect, with the subject of their religion.
Our federal government is not warranted to intermeddle with the interests of religion, directly or indirectly. It is not commissioned to take any part whatever in religious concerns.
Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death
is, I am not. Why should I fear that which cannot exist when I do?
I have never wished to cater to the crowd; for what I know they do not approve, and what they approve I do not know.
If the gods listened to the prayers of men, all humankind would quickly perish since they constantly pray for many evils to befall one another.
Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; Or he can, but does not want to; Or he cannot and does not want to. If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent. If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked.
But, if God both can and wants to abolish evil, then how come evil is in the world?
Grow accustomed to the belief that death is nothing to us, since every good and evil lie in sensation. However, death is the deprivation of sensation. Therefore, correct understanding that death is
nothing to us makes a mortal life enjoyable, not by adding an endless span of time but by taking away the longing for immortality. For there is nothing dreadful in life for the man who has truly comprehended that there is nothing terrible in not living.
Therefore, foolish is the man who says that he fears death, not because it will cause pain when it arrives but because anticipation of it is painful. What is no trouble when it arrives is an idle worry in anticipation. Death, therefore -- the most dreadful
of evils -- is nothing to us, since while we exist, death is not present, and whenever death is present, we do not exist. It is nothing either to the living or the dead, since it does not exist for the living, and the dead no longer are.
Two Versions of The Epicurean Riddle
God is all-powerful.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Lucretius: Genius Surpassed All Humankind
"Epicurus ... whose genius surpassed all humankind, extinguished the light of others, as the stars are dimmed by the rising sun." ("Epicurus
... qui genus humanum ingenio superavit, et omnis restinxit, stellas exortus ut aetherius sol.")
Man's mind is so formed that it is far more susceptible
to falsehood than to truth.
This type of man who is devoted to the study of wisdom is always most unlucky in everything, and particularly when it comes to procreating children; I imagine this is because Nature wants to ensure
that the evils of wisdom shall not spread further throughout mankind.
For them it's out-of-date and outmoded to perform miracles; teaching the people is too like hard work, interpreting the holy scriptures is for schoolmen and praying is a waste of time; to shed tears
is weak and womanish, to be needy is degrading; to suffer defeat is a disgrace and hardly fitting for one who scarcely permits the greatest of kings to kiss the toes of his sacred feet; and finally, death is an unattractive prospect, and dying on a cross
would be an ignominious end.
Christians would show sense if they dispatched these
argumentative Scotists and pigheaded Ockhamists and undefeated Albertists along with the whole regiment of Sophists to fight the Turks and Saracens instead of sending those armies of dull-witted soldiers with whom they've long been carrying on war with
It's the generally accepted privilege of theologians to stretch the heavens, that is the Scriptures, like tanners with a hide.
They are looking in utter darkness for that which has no existence whatsoever.
The historic alliance of liberal and evangelical forces, joined in support of freedom of thought and the separation of church and state, brought into being and sustains our pluralistic secular democracy.
The secular democratic state is the surest protector of religious and intellectual liberty ever crafted by human ingenuity. Nothing is more fallacious, or inimical to genuine religious liberty, than the seductive notion that the state should "favor" or "foster" religion.
All history testifies that such practices inevitably result in favoring one religion over less powerful minorities and secular opinion.
when established identities become outworn or unfinished ones threaten to remain incomplete, special crises compel men to wage holy wars, by the cruelest means, against those who seem to question or threaten their unsafe ideological bases.
Parsons always seem to be specially horrified about things like sunbathing and naked bodies. They don't mind poverty and misery and cruelty to animals nearly as much.
Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy afternoon.
Check Senator Ervin's Scary Side
A school prayer amendment would
confer upon public school boards a power the First Amendment now denies to Congress and the states, that is, the power to establish religion.
What James Madison and the other men of his generation had in mind when they wrote the First Amendment was that there should be no official relationship of any character between government and any church
or many churches, and no levying of taxes for the support of any church, or many churches, or all churches, or any institution conducted by any of them.
believe in a wall between church and state so high that no one can climb over it.
Government is contemptuous of true religion when it confiscates the taxes of Caesar to finance the things of God.
If religious freedom is to endure in America, the responsibility for teaching
religion to public school children must be left to the homes and churches of our land, where this responsibility rightfully belongs. It must not be assumed by the government through the agency of the public school system.
Doth some one say that there be gods above?
In his glowing review of two "intelligent design" videotapes, Unlocking the Mystery of Life and Icons of
Evolution in Christianity Today, Thomas E Woodward writes "The stories they tell challenge the myth that Intelligent Design is a movement driven by religious bias." But if it is a "myth that Intelligent Design is a movement driven by religious
bias," why do its proponents have to work so hard to hide their fundamentalist roots?
The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea
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