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Meditation 601
Quotations XLIII

A discussion on the attribution of quotations has been opened on this Meditation. An earlier such discussion may be found here. To contribute your thoughts to this exchange, please use the Contact form.

"I always have a quotation for everything - it saves original thinking." Dorothy L. Sayers

On the other hand, an apt quotation can stimulate the mind towards original thought. A quotation better serves as the starting point for a discussion rather than a means for closing it. We will continue to publish a selection occasionally, mostly but not entirely relevant to agnosticism, rationalism, and free thought. This is the forty-third in an apparently unending series. Quotations are indexed by author and by opening words to assist anyone trying to locate a specific one. Quotations are also available as a set of downloadable pdf files (menu to the left.). Suggestions for previously unused quotations are always welcome.

  1. If you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.
    Friedrich Nietzsche

  2. When did I realise I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realised I was talking to myself. Peter O'Toole

  3. I have only a small flickering light to guide me in the darkness of a thick forest. Up comes a theologian and blows it out. Denis Diderot

  4. I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. Galileo Galilei

  5. A miracle is not an explanation of what we cannot comprehend. Lemuel K Washburn

  6. In science, 'fact' can only mean 'confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.' I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms. Stephen Jay Gould

  7. Freedom from the desire for an answer is essential to the understanding of a problem.
    Jiddu Krishnamurti

  8. It is not white hair that engenders wisdom. Menander

  9. The Bible tells us to love our neighbours, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people. G. K. Chesterton

  10. To be good is noble; but to show others how to be good is nobler and no trouble.
    Mark Twain

  11. The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion. Arnold H. Glasgow

  12. According to St. Thomas the soul is not transmitted with the semen, but is created afresh with each man. There is, it is true, a difficulty: when a man is born out of wedlock, this seems to make God an accomplice in adultery. This objection, however, is only specious. There is a grave objection which troubled St. Augustine, and that is as to the transmission of original sin. It is the soul that sins, and if the soul is not transmitted, but created afresh, how can it inherit the sin of Adam? This is not discussed by St. Thomas.
    Bertrand Russell

  13. I sometimes think that God, in creating man, overestimated his ability. Oscar Wilde

  14. Reverend Paul Barnes, the pastor of a Denver mega-church, resigned after confessing th having sex with men, saying that he had often begged God to end his homosexual urges. Unfortunately, God just kept introducing him to hotter and hotter dudes.
    Seth Meyers

  15. I think people should be free to engage in any sexual practice they choose; they should draw the line at goats though. Elton John

  16. It is a universal condition of the enjoyable that the mind must believe in the existence of a law, and yet have a mystery to move about in. James Clerk Maxwell

  17. Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right. Isaac Asimov

  18. Ideas won't keep. Something must be done about them. Alfred North Whitehead

  19. The evidence, so far at least and laws of Nature aside, does not require a Designer. Maybe there is one hiding, maddeningly unwilling to be revealed. Carl Sagan

  20. The creationists have this creator who is evil, who is small-minded, who is malevolent, and who is not very bright and can't even get his science right. Creationists have made their creator in their own image, in my view. Ian Plimer