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Meditation 211
Quotations XVIII

"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 eighteenth in an ongoing series.

  1. The churches must learn humility as well as teach it. George Bernard Shaw

  2. Strange as it may seem, no amount of learning can cure stupidity and formal education positively reinforces it. Stephen Vizinczey

  3. Truth is a shining goddess, always veiled, always distant, never wholly approachable, but worthy of all the devotion of which the human spirit is capable. Bertrand Russell

  4. It is a wry commentary on the value-system in the United States that one speaks there of "teacher training" and "driver education." Peter Hilton

  5. People make the mistake of talking about 'natural laws.' There are no natural laws. There are only temporary habits of nature. Alfred North Whitehead.

  6. Never accept ultimatums, conventional wisdom, or absolutes. Christopher Reeve

  7. The evidence of history confirms and demonstrates that the status of women is inseparably tied to the status of a nation. Qasim Amin

  8. At 18, our convictions are hills from which we look; at 45 they are caves in which we hide. F. Scott Fitzgerald

  9. If this supposedly omniscient and perfect god really has a plan, why do people insist on praying to him to change the plan? John Tyrrell

  10. Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. Jean-Paul Sartre

  11. There are more hypocrites in church than anyplace else. Loretta Lynn

  12. Our ideas are only intellectual instruments which we use to break into phenomena; we must change them when they have served their purpose, as we change a blunt lancet we have used long enough. Claude Bernard

  13. After a few days in hospital, I was thinking, Oh, gee - I raised in a church, Protestant upbringing which I'd rejected as an adult - I'm lying in bed thinking, Hmmm, maybe I ought to pray. They always say there are no atheists in a foxhole... and I thought, Here I am in a pretty good-sized foxhole... and I thought Naahhh. I wouldn't respect any God who would listen to me after I'd rejected him so vociferously. Chuck Close

  14. All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry. Edgar Allen Poe

  15. Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. Jiddu Krishnamurti

  16. As soon as you are willing to discard observational data because it conflicts with religion, you are giving up any hope of ever really understanding the universe. As soon as you pick religion as the touchstone of reality, then we have to start discussing how one can demonstrate the correctness of one religion over another when different religions disagree. Wilson Heydt

  17. When a man really believes that it is necessary to do a certain thing to be happy forever, or that a certain belief is necessary to ensure eternal joy, there is in that man no spirit of concession. He divides the whole world into saints and sinners, into believers and unbelievers, into God's sheep and Devil's goats, into people who will be glorified and people who are damned. Robert Ingersoll

  18. All great truths begin as blasphemies. George Bernard Shaw

  19. After the survivor of the Spanish conquest has told his life's story he is convicted by the Inquisition: He posted no brief in defense or mitigation of his offenses, and when he was most solemnly advised by the Court President of the dire consequences he faced if found guilty, Juan Damasceno volunteered only one comment: "It will mean I do not go to the Christian heaven?" He was told that that would indeed be the worst of his punishments: that he would most assuredly not go to Heaven. At which, his smile sent a thrill of horror through every soul of the Court. Gary Jennings, Aztec

  20. Religion is unusual among divisive labels in being spectacularly unnecessary. If religious beliefs had any evidence going for them, we might have to respect them in spite of their concomitant unpleasantness. But there is no such evidence. To label people as death-deserving enemies because of disagreements about real world politics is bad enough. To do the same for disagreements about a delusional world inhabited by archangels, demons and imaginary friends is ludicrously tragic. Richard Dawkins