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There is nothing more innately human than the tendency to transmute what has become customary into what has been divinely ordained.
Most people, no doubt, when they espouse human rights, make their own mental reservations about the proper application of the word "human."
Until economic freedom is attained for everybody, there can be no real freedom for anybody.
Here [in Jerusalem], no mercy is shown. One hates
one's fellow man to the glory of God.
To define twentieth-century humanism briefly, I would say that it is a philosophy
of joyous service for the greater good of all humanity in this natural world and advocating the methods of reason, science, and democracy.
Supernatural entities simply do not exist. This nonreality of the supernatural means,
on the human level, that men do not possess supernatural and immortal souls; and, on the level of the universe as a whole, that our cosmos does not possess a supernatural and eternal God.
God, once imagined to be an omnipresent force throughout the whole world of nature and man. has been increasingly tending to seem omniabsent. Everywhere, intelligent and educated people rely more and
more on purely secular and scientific techniques for the solution of their problems. As science advances, belief in divine miracles and the efficacy of prayer becomes fainter and fainter.
Even the weakest disputant is made so conceited by what he calls religion, as to think
himself wiser than the wisest who thinks differently from him.
The most pernicious of absurdities is that weak, blind, stupid faith is better than the constant practice of every human virtue.
Every sect is a moral check on its neighbour. Competition is as wholesome in religion as in commerce.
I strove with none, for none was worth my strife:
[An ideology can be defined as a] group of beliefs that individuals borrow; most people borrow an ideology by identifying with a social group ... [with] a
body of sacred documents and heroes.
Stereotypes are the minds shorthand for dealing with complexities. They have two aspects: they are much blunter than reality; they are shaped to fit a mans preferences or prejudgments. Thus
two principles are involved: differentiation or its lack, and biased preferential perception.
Changing ideas is a strain not to be lightly incurred, particularly when these ideas are intimately related to ones self-esteem ... men have elaborated an explanation for their situation in life....
Their rationales are endowed with moral qualities.
Dr. James Langer (b. 1934)
It just absolutely boggles the mind. I wouldn't want my doctor thinking that intelligent
design was an equally plausible hypothesis to evolution any more than I would want my airplane pilot believing in the flat Earth.
The telescope sweeps the skies without finding God.
I have no need of that hypothesis.
Dogma is a defensive reaction against doubt in the mind of the theorist, but doubt of which he is unaware.
The essential mark of the agitator is the high value he places on the emotional response of the public. Whether he attacks or defends social institutions is a secondary matter.
At various key points in the Opinion, Creationism is charged with being untestable, dogmatic (and thus non-tentative), and unfalsifiable. All three charges are of dubious merit. For instance, to make
the interlinked claims that Creationism is neither falsifiable nor testable is to assert that Creationism makes no empirical assertions whatever. This is surely false. Creationists make a wide range of testable assertions about empirical matters of fact.
Thus, as Judge Overton himself grants (apparently without seeing its implications), the creationists say that the earth is of very recent origin (say 6,000 to 20,000 years old); they argue that most of the geological features of the earth's surface are
diluvial in character (i.e., products of the postulated worldwide Noachian deluge); they are committed to a large number of factual historical claims with which the Old Testament is replete; they assert the limited variability of species. They are committed
to the view that, since animals and man were created at the same time, the human fossil record must be paleontologically co-extensive with the record of lower animals. It is fair to say that no one has shown how to reconcile such claims with the available
evidence -- evidence which speaks persuasively to a long earth history, among other things.
The soundness of creation-science can and must be separated from all questions about the dogmatism of creationists. Once we make that rudimentary separation, we discover both (a) that creation-science
is testable and falsifiable, and (b) that creation-science has been tested and falsified -- insofar as any theory can be said to be falsified. But, as I pointed out in the earlier essay, that damning indictment cannot be drawn so long as we confuse Creationism
and creationists to such an extent that we take the creationists' mental intransigence to entail the immunity of creationist theory from empirical confrontation.
On Saturday night, I would see men lusting after half-naked girls dancing at the carnival,
and on Sunday morning when I was playing organ for tent-show evangelists at the other end of the carnival lot, I would see these same men sitting in the pews with their wives and children, asking God to forgive them and purge them of carnal desires. And
the next Saturday they'd be back at the carnival or some other place of indulgence. I knew then that the Christian church thrives on hypocrisy, and that man's carnal nature will out no matter how much it is purged or scoured by any white-light religion.
God is only a great imaginative experience.
I know the greatness of Christianity; it is a past greatness.... I live in 1924, and the Christian venture is done.
I cannot be a materialist -- but Oh, how is it possible that a God who speaks to all hearts can let Belgravia go laughing to a vicious luxury, and Whitechapel cursing to a filthy debauchery -- such
suffering, such dreadful suffering -- and shall the short years of Christ's mission atone for it all?
Sing then the core of dark and absolute oblivion where the soul at last is lost in utter peace.
You'll never succeed in idealizing hard work. Before you can dig mother earth you've got to take off your ideal jacket. The harder a man works, at brute labour, the thinner becomes his idealism, the
darker his mind.
Brute force crushes many plants. Yet the plants rise again. The Pyramids will not last a moment compared with the daisy. And before Buddha or Jesus spoke the nightingale sang, and long after the words
of Jesus and Buddha are gone into oblivion the nightingale still will sing. Because it is neither preaching nor commanding nor urging. It is just singing. And in the beginning was not a Word, but a chirrup.
Be a good animal, true to your animal instincts.
The modern pantheist not only sees the god in everything, he takes photographs of it.
Men are free when they are in a living homeland, not when they are straying and breaking away. Men are free when they are obeying some deep, inward voice of religious belief. Obeying from within. Men
are free when they belong to a living, organic, believing community, active in fulfilling some unfulfilled, perhaps unrealized purpose. Not when they are escaping to some wild west. The most unfree souls go west, and shout of freedom. Men are freest
when they are most unconscious of freedom. The shout is a rattling of chains, always was.
Myth is an attempt to narrate a whole human experience, of which the purpose is too deep, going too deep in the blood and soul, for mental explanation or description.
We need not feel ashamed of flirting with the zodiac. The zodiac is well worth flirting with.
A man has no religion who has not slowly and painfully gathered one together, adding to it, shaping it; and one's religion is never complete and final, it seems, but must always be undergoing modification.
All vital truth contains the memory of all that for which it is not true.
Oh build your ship of death, oh build it!
"Humanism" is to be human, to think, to analyze, and to probe. To respond and to be stimulated by all living things -- beasts, fowl, and fishes. To respond through touch, sight, smell, and sound to all things in nature -- both organic and inorganic-to colors, shapes, and textures -- to not only look at a blade of grass but to really see a blade of grass. These things, to me, are what life and living are all about. I would call it "Humanism."
If you're doubtful about the existence of God, you are of doubtful loyalty to the nation.
One lesson of religious persecutions is that the Free Exercise Clause must protect religiously motivated conduct, as well as belief and speech. Conscientious objectors to government policy are willing
to suffer greatly rather than violate their conscience; attempts to coerce religious conscience lead inevitably to persecution.
Unquestionably mankind is special, and in many ways, too.... There is now a critical need for a deep
awareness that, no matter how special we are as an animal, we are still part of the greater balance of nature.... During that relatively brief span evolutionary pressures forged a brain capable of profound understanding of matters animate and inanimate:
the fruits of intellectual and technological endeavour in this latter quarter of the 20th century give us just an inkling of what the human mind can achieve. The potential is enormous, almost infinite. We can, if we so choose, do virtually anything.
The whole story is about change. We are very lucky that the earth's history is recorded in fossilized remains. And we can see the changes. Unfortunately, there will always be gaps in our knowledge,
but there is no doubt that we and everything living today has evolved.
I have been raised to believe in freedom of thought and speech. If a minority wishes to accept that position it's their right. What I fear is that this minority may seem to be larger than it truly is.
What is strange is that there are still people who believe the world is not a globe.
I ... believe the study of human history remains important and should not be banned. We should ensure that any archaeological studies are conducted with sensitivity and respect. Reburying relics, in
my view, does not help anyone go anywhere.
The greatest problem we face is the growing number of people living in poverty. The related sense of hopelessness has to be impacting on every part of environmental management.
like to understand what they believe in. Others like to believe in what they understand.
Do not make gods in your own images.
There are parodies of non-existent things.
Do I have no soul as punishment for not believing in the soul?
Perhaps God chose me to be an atheist?
Sometimes the devil tempts me to believe in God.
You can change your faith without changing gods. And vice versa.
The finger of God never leaves identical fingerprints.
In the beginning there was the Word -- at the end just the Cliché.
Every bush can burn if you fire it with your imagination.
What do I believe? I believe in God, if he exists.
Do I believe? God only knows.
There is a dispute about the existence of God. Both sides try to hide that they killed Him -- even before He came into being.
All Gods were immortal.
The spirit of the times can haunt even the atheists.
An error becomes an error when born as truth.
Puritans should wear fig leaves on their eyes.
Let him who is without guilt cast the first stone. A trap. Because then he will be no longer without guilt.
Witches admitted their relations with the devil. Our blood boils -- how could they be forced to admit this when there is no devil. But reason tells us this is not true. The devil does exist and was
in fact the inquisitor.
How many prison years in the years since Christ!
The mob shouts with one big mouth and eats with a thousand little ones.
To god what is God's, to Caesar what is Caesar's. To humans -- what?
Many who tried to enlighten were hanged from the lamppost.
Burning stakes do not lighten the darkness.
The face of the enemy frightens me only when I see how much it resembles mine.
You cannot play the Song of Freedom on an instrument of oppression.
Value your words. Each one may be the last.
"Oh to be old again," said a young corpse.
The consumer's side of the coffin lid isn't showy.
The only fool bigger than the person who knows it all is the person who argues with him.
When it began, Christianity was regarded as a system entirely beyond the range and scope of human reason; it was impious to question; it was impious to examine; it was impious to discriminate. On the
other hand, it was visibly instinct with the supernatural. Miracles of every order and degree of magnitude were flashing forth incessantly from all its parts.
The doctrine of a material hell in its effect was to chill and deaden the sympathies, predispose men to inflict suffering, and to retard the march of civilization.
When the Church obtained the direction of the civil power, she soon modified or abandoned the tolerant maxims she had formerly inculcated; and, in the course of a few years, restrictive laws were enacted,
both against the Jews and against the heretics.
Whenever the clergy were at the elbow of the civil arm, no matter whether they were Catholic or Protestant, persecution was the result.
All history shows that, in exact proportion as nations advance in civilisation, the accounts of miracles taking place among them become rarer and rarer, until at last they entirely cease.
Fierce invectives against women form a conspicuous and grotesque portion of the writings of the Church fathers.
The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea
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