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Meditation 221
Quotations XIX

"I hate quotations, tell me what you know." Ralph Waldo Emerson.

But as some people do like quotations and think they can be useful in succinctly communicating an opinion, we will publish a selection occasionally, mostly but not entirely relevant. This is the nineteenth in an ongoing series.

  1. Living in fear is not living at all. Christopher Reeve

  2. If you talk to God, you're praying. If God talks back, it's schizophrenia. Phil Spector

  3. Scepticism is the first step toward truth. Denis Diderot

  4. Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones. Bertrand Russell

  5. Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience. C.S. Lewis

  6. Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia. Charles Schultz

  7. Whatever a man prays for, he prays for a miracle. Every prayer reduces itself to this: "Great God, grant that twice two be not four. Ivan Turgenev

  8. For ages, a deadly conflict has been waged between a few brave men and women of thought and genius upon the one side, and the great ignorant religious mass on the other. This is the war between Science and Faith. The few have appealed to reason, to honor, to law, to freedom, to the known, and to happiness here in this world. The many have appealed to prejudice, to fear, to miracle, to slavery, to the unknown, and to misery hereafter. The few have said, "Think!" The many have said, "Believe!" Robert G. Ingersoll

  9. History shows that there is nothing so easy to enslave and nothing so hard to emancipate as ignorance, hence it becomes the double enemy of civilization. By its servility it is the prey of tyranny, and by its credulity it is the foe of enlightenment. Lemuel K. Washburn

  10. In an early class, one of the students asked me if I believed in God. I replied, 'I don't think so.' And then proceeded to wail on the theme, using material from this column of some weeks ago, in which I observed the perpetuation of insanity on this planet through the mediums of Arabs-vs-Jews, Catholics-vs-Protestants, Southern Baptists-vs-Everyone. I said I felt if 'God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he them,' then we were God. And when Man in his most creative, his most loving, his most gentle and most human, then he is most God-like. The student said he would pray for my immortal soul. He also asked for my address, so he could send me some literature on the subject of God. I thanked him politely and told him I'd gotten all the literature I could handle on the subject from a certain Thomas Aquinas. Harlan Ellison

  11. Sunday school: a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents. H.L. Mencken

  12. Apart from moral conduct, all that man thinks himself able to do in order to become acceptable to God is mere superstition and religious folly. Immanuel Kant

  13. Seek only the truth; seek not "The Truth." John Tyrrell

  14. [The] men of the technostructure are the new and universal priesthood. Their religion is business success; their test of virtue is growth and profit. Their bible is the computer printout; their communion bench is the committee room. J.K. Galbraith

  15. We must be greater than God, for we have to undo His injustice. Jules Renard

  16. I don't know why it is that the religious never ascribe common sense to God. Somerset Maugham

  17. Woe to him who would ascribe to something like reason to Chance and make a religion of surrendering to it. Johann von Goethe

  18. From silly devotions and from sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us.
    Saint Theresa of Avila

  19. The pursuit of happiness belongs to us, but we must climb around or over the church to get to it. Heywood Broun

  20. I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death. George Carlin