Quotations about   belief

Note that not all quotations have been tagged, so the Search function may find additional quotations on this topic.



Civilization is a fiction which becomes a fact only as long as everyone can believe in it. It is the cynic, rather than the rebel, who pulls down the whole flimsy structure periodically throughout history.

Helen McCloy
Helen McCloy (1904-1994) American writer [pseud. Helen Clarkson]
A Question of Time, ch. 6 (1971)
    (Source)
Added on 10-Aug-22 | Last updated 10-Aug-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by McCloy, Helen

The river of truth is always splitting up into arms that reunite. Islanded between them, the inhabitants argue for a lifetime as to which is the mainstream.

Cyril Connolly (1903-1974) English intellectual, literary critic and writer.
The Unquiet Grave, Part 3 “La Clé des Chants” (1944)
    (Source)

Often misquoted:

Truth is a river that is always splitting up into arms that reunite. Islanded between the arms, the inhabitants argue for a lifetime as to which is the main river.
Added on 14-Jun-22 | Last updated 14-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Connolly, Cyril

Cherish what you believe. Don’t job off one single value judgment because it swims upstream against what appears to be a majority. Respect your own logic, your own sense of morality. Death and taxes may be the only absolutes. It’s for you to conjure up the modus operandi of how you live, act, react and hammer out a code of ethics. Certainly listen to arguments; certainly ponder and respect the opinions of your peers. But there’s a point you compromise, and there’s a point all human beings draw a line and say, “Beyond this point it’s not right or just or honest, and beyond this point I don’t move.”

Rod Serling (1924-1975) American screenwriter, playwright, television producer, narrator
Commencement Address, Ithaca College, New York (13 May 1972)
    (Source)
Added on 14-Jun-22 | Last updated 14-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Serling, Rod

Of publishing a book on religion, my dear Sir, I never had an idea. I should as soon think of writing for the reformation of Bedlam, as of the world of religious sects. Of these there must be, at least, ten thousand, every individual of every one of which believes all wrong but his own. To undertake to bring them all right, would be like undertaking, single-handed, to fell the forests of America.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Charles Clay (29 Jan 1815)
    (Source)
Added on 13-May-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

The uncommitted life is not worth living. We either believe in something or we don’t. Commitment is willingness to stand up and be counted. It is a human must — for young and old, for black and white, for Christian, Moslem and Buddhist. It is skill plus good will. It is a thoughtful decision on the part of an individual to participate passionately in the events of his time. It is the dogged staying-power coupled with the sensible idealism that makes the word go ’round.

William G Saltonstall
William Saltonstall (1905-1989) American educator and writer
“Commitment — To What? Why?” speech, School of International Training for Homecoming (Feb 1963)
    (Source)

Speech to parents hosting foreign students. The opening lines are often misattributed to Pearl S. Buck. See also Socrates.
Added on 28-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Saltonstall, William

The rules are simple: they lie to us, we know they’re lying, they know we know they’re lying but they keep lying anyway, and we keep pretending to believe them.

Elena Gorokhova
Elena Gorokhova (b. 1955) Russo-American novelist, linguist, educator
A Mountain of Crumbs: A Memoir, ch. 13 (2010)
    (Source)

On the relationship between the Soviet government and media and the Soviet people. Sometimes attributed to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.
Added on 27-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Gorokhova, Elena

And that this is the Case very often, we may observe from the Behaviour of some of the most zealous for Orthodoxy, who have often great Friendships and Intimacies with vicious immoral Men, provided they do but agree with them in the same Scheme of Belief.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
The Spectator, #185 (2 Oct 1711)
    (Source)
Added on 27-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Addison, Joseph

Being tolerant does not mean that I share another one’s belief. But it does mean I acknowledge another one’s right to believe, and obey, his own conscience.

Viktor Frankl (1905-1997) German-American psychologist, writer
The Will to Meaning, Part 1, ch. 3 (1969)
    (Source)
Added on 6-Apr-22 | Last updated 6-Apr-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Frankl, Viktor

Some men believe their own Opinions no less firmly than others do their positive Knowledge.

Aristotle - Some men believe their own Opinions no less firmly than others do their positive Knowledge - wist.info quote

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Nicomachean Ethics [Ἠθικὰ Νικομάχεια], Book 7, ch. 3 (7.3) (c. 325 BC) [tr. Chase (1847)]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

Some men put no less faith in their own uncertified opinions than do others in the verified truths of science.
[tr. Williams (1869), sec. 127]

For some people are as strongly convinced of their opinions as others of their knowledge.
[tr. Welldon (1892)]

Some people have just as strong a belief in their mere opinions as others have in what they really know.
[tr. Peters (1893), 7.3.4]

Some men are no less convinced of what they think than others of what they know.
[tr. Ross (1908)]

Some men are just as firmly convinced of what they opine as others are of what they know.
[tr. Rackham (1934)]

Some people have no less conviction about that they believe than others do about what they know scientifically.
[tr. Reeve (1948)]

Some men are just as sure of the truth of their opinions as others are of what they know.
[tr. Thomson (1953)]

Some men are no less convinced of their opinions about things than others of the things they know.
[tr. Apostle (1975)]

There are some people who have no less confidence than others hav ein what they know.
[tr. Thomson/Tredennick (1976)]

Some are no less convinced of what they opine about than are other people of what they know.
[tr. Bartlett/Collins (2011)]

Added on 29-Mar-22 | Last updated 29-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Aristotle

To suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles, on the supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy, which at once destroys all religious liberty, because he being of course judge of that tendency, will make his opinions the rule of judgment, and approve or condemn the sentiments of others only as they shall square with or differ from his own.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
“Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom” (18 Jun 1779; enacted 16 Jan 1786)
    (Source)
Added on 14-Mar-22 | Last updated 4-Jul-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

If I had been on the hills of Bethlehem in the year one, I do not think I should have heard angels singing because I do not hear them now, & there is no reason to suppose that they have stopped.

Northrop Frye (1912-1991) Canadian literary critic and literary theorist
Notebooks and Lectures on the Bible and Other Religious Texts, Notebook 11f, entry 5 (2003) [ed. Robert D. Denham]
    (Source)
Added on 7-Mar-22 | Last updated 7-Mar-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Frye, Northrop

In the course of my travels I remarked that all those whose opinions are decidedly repugnant to ours are not in that account barbarians and savages, but on the contrary that many of these nations make an equally good, if not better, use of their reason than we do. I took into account also the very different character which a person brought up from infancy in France or Germany exhibits, from that which, with the same mind originally, this individual would have possessed had he lived always among the Chinese or with savages, and the circumstance that in dress itself the fashion which pleased us ten years ago, and which may again, perhaps, be received into favor before ten years have gone, appears to us at this moment extravagant and ridiculous. I was thus led to infer that the ground of our opinions is far more custom and example than any certain knowledge.

[Et depuis, en voyageant, ayant reconnu que tous ceux qui ont des sentiments fort contraires aux nôtres ne sont pas pour cela barbares ni sauvages, mais que plusieurs usent autant ou plus que nous de raison; et ayant considéré combien un même homme, avec son même esprit, étant nourri dès son enfance entre des Français ou des Allemands, devient différent de ce qu’il seroit s’il avoit toujours vécu entre des Chinois ou des cannibales, et comment, jusques aux modes de nos habits, la même chose qui nous a plu il y a dix ans, et qui nous plaira peut-être encore avant dix ans, nous semble maintenant extravagante et ridicule; en sorte que c’est bien plus la coutume et l’exemple qui nous persuade, qu’aucune connaissance certaine.]

René Descartes (1596-1650) French philosopher, mathematician
Discourse on Method [Discours de la méthode], Part 2 (1637) [tr. Veitch (1901)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

And having since observ’d in my travails, That all those whose opinions are contrary to ours, are not therefore barbarous or savage, but that many use as much or more reason then we; and having consider’d how much one Man with his own understanding, bred up from his childhood among the French or the Dutch, becomes different from what he would be, had he alwayes liv’d amongst the Chineses, or the Cannibals: And how even in the fashion of our Clothes, the same thing which pleas’d ten years since, and which perhaps wil please ten years hence, seems now to us ridiculous and extravagant. So that it’s much more Custome and Example which perswades us, then any assured knowledg.
[tr. Newcombe ed. (1649)]

I further recognized in the course of my travels that all those whose sentiments are very contrary to ours are yet not necessarily barbarians or savages, but may be possessed of reason in as great or even a greater degree than ourselves. I also considered how very different the self-same man, identical in mind and spirit, may have become, according as he is brought up from childhood amongst the French or Germans, or has passed his whole life amongst Chinese or cannibals. I likewise noticed how even in the fashions of one's clothing the same thing that pleased us ten years ago, and which will perhaps please us once again before ten years are passed, seems at the present time extravagant and ridiculous. I thus concluded that it is much more custom and example that persuade us than any certain knowledge.
[tr. Haldane & Ross (1911)]

Since then I have recognized through my travels that those with views quite contrary to ours are not on that account barbarians or savages, but that many of them make use of reason as much or more than we do. I thought, too, how the same man, with the same mind, if brought up from infancy among the French or Germans, develops otherwise than he would if he had always lived among the Chinese or cannibals; and how, even in our fashions of dress, the very thing that pleased us ten years ago, and will perhaps please us again ten years hence, now strikes us as extravagant and ridiculous. Thus it is custom and example that persuade us, rather than any certain knowledge.
[tr. Cottingham, Stoothoff (1985)]

Added on 11-Jan-22 | Last updated 4-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Descartes, René

The point is that we are all capable of believing things which we know to be untrue, and then, when we are finally proved wrong, impudently twisting the facts so as to show that we were right. Intellectually, it is possible to carry on this process for an indefinite time: the only check on it is that sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.

Orwell - Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality usually on a battlefield - wist.info quote

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“In Front of Your Nose,” Tribune (22 Mar 1946)
    (Source)
Added on 5-Jan-22 | Last updated 5-Jan-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Orwell, George

Inquiry into the evidence of a doctrine is not to be made once for all, and then taken as finally settled. It is never lawful to stifle a doubt; for either it can be honestly answered by means of the inquiry already made, or else it proves that the inquiry was not complete.

“But,” says one, “I am a busy man; I have no time for the long course of study which would be necessary to make me in any degree a competent judge of certain questions, or even able to understand the nature of the arguments.” Then he should have no time to believe.

William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Ethics of Belief,” Part 1 “The Duty of Inquiry,” Lecture, London (11 Apr 1876)
    (Source)
Added on 6-Dec-21 | Last updated 6-Dec-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Clifford, William Kingdon

If I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.

William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Ethics of Belief,” Part 1 “The Duty of Inquiry,” Lecture, London (11 Apr 1876)
    (Source)
Added on 29-Nov-21 | Last updated 29-Nov-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Clifford, William Kingdon

Every time we let ourselves believe for unworthy reasons, we weaken our powers of self-control, of doubting, of judicially and fairly weighing evidence. We all suffer severely enough from the maintenance and support of false beliefs and the fatally wrong actions which they lead to, and the evil born when one such belief is entertained is great and wide. But a greater and wider evil arises when the credulous character is maintained and supported, when a habit of believing for unworthy reasons is fostered and made permanent.

William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Ethics of Belief,” Part 1 “The Duty of Inquiry,” Lecture, London (11 Apr 1876)
    (Source)
Added on 15-Nov-21 | Last updated 15-Nov-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Clifford, William Kingdon

We were like a lot of clocks, he thought, all striking different hours, all convinced we were telling the right time.

Susan Ertz
Susan Ertz (1887-1985) Anglo-American writer
The Story of Julian (1931)
    (Source)
Added on 9-Nov-21 | Last updated 9-Nov-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Ertz, Susan

Truth is like the flu. I fight it off, but it changes in other bodies and returns in a form to which I am not immune.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, #49 (Spring 1999)
    (Source)
Added on 9-Nov-21 | Last updated 9-Nov-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Richardson, James

No simplicity of mind, no obscurity of station, can escape the universal duty of questioning all that we believe.

William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Ethics of Belief,” Part 1 “The Duty of Inquiry,” Contemporary Review (Jan 1877)
    (Source)
Added on 1-Nov-21 | Last updated 1-Nov-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Clifford, William Kingdon

A faith is dead when no one can think of a heresy.

James Richardson (b. 1950) American poet
“Vectors: 56 Aphorisms and Ten-second Essays,” Michigan Quarterly Review, # 40 (Spring 1999)
    (Source)
Added on 26-Oct-21 | Last updated 26-Oct-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Richardson, James

I know that the Bible is a special kind of book, but I find it as seductive as any other. If I am not careful, I can begin to mistake the words on the page for the realities they describe. I can begin to love the dried ink marks on the page more than I love the encounters that gave rise to them. If I am not careful, I can decide that I am really much happier reading my Bible than I am entering into what God is doing in my own time and place, since shutting the book to go outside will involve the very great risk of taking part in stories that are still taking shape. Neither I nor anyone else knows how these stories will turn out, since at this point they involve more blood than ink. The whole purpose of the Bible, it seems to me, is to convince people to set the written word down in order to become living words in the world for God’s sake. For me, this willing conversion of ink back to blood is the full substance of faith.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith, Part 1 (2006)
    (Source)
Added on 22-Oct-21 | Last updated 22-Oct-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Taylor, Barbara Brown

No real belief, however trifling and fragmentary it may seem, is ever truly insignificant; it prepares us to receive more of its like, confirms those which resembled it before, and weakens others; and so gradually it lays a stealthy train in our inmost thoughts, which may someday explode into overt action, and leave its stamp upon our character for ever.

William Kingdon Clifford (1845-1879) English mathematician and philosopher
“The Ethics of Belief,” Part 1 “The Duty of Inquiry,” Lecture, London (11 Apr 1876)
    (Source)
Added on 4-Oct-21 | Last updated 4-Oct-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Clifford, William Kingdon

There are thousands of things in the Scriptures that everybody believes. Everybody believes the Scriptures are right when they say, “Thou shalt not steal” — everybody. And when they say “Give good measure, heaped up and running over,” everybody says, “Good!” So when they say “Love your neighbor,” everybody applauds that.

Suppose a man believes that, and practices it, does it make any difference whether he believes in the flood or not? Is that of any importance? Whether a man built an ark or not — does that make the slightest difference? A man might deny it and yet be a very good man. Another might believe it and be a very mean man. Could it now, by any possibility, make a man a good father, a good husband, a good citizen? Does it make any difference whether you believe it or not?

Does it make any difference whether or not you believe that a man was going through town and his hair was a little short, like mine, and some little children laughed at him, and thereupon two bears from the woods came down and tore to pieces about forty of these children? Is it necessary to believe that? Suppose a man should say, “I guess that is a mistake. They did not copy that right. I guess the man that reported that was a little dull of hearing and did not get the story exactly right.” Any harm in saying that? Is a man to be sent to the penitentiary for that? Can you imagine an infinitely good God sending a man to hell because he did not believe the bear story?

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
Speech to the Jury, Trial of C. B. Reynolds for Blasphemy, Morristown, New Jersey (May 1887)
    (Source)
Added on 29-Sep-21 | Last updated 29-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Ingersoll, Robert Green

A man may be in as just possession of Truth as of a City, and yet be forced to surrender.

Thomas Browne (1605-1682) English physician and author
Religio Medici, Part 1, sec. 6 (1643)
    (Source)
Added on 29-Sep-21 | Last updated 29-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Browne, Thomas

Dogma thinks it knows. Belief knows it does not. Dogma is credulous. Belief is sceptical, but forever open-minded.

Graham Dunstan Martin
Graham Dunstan Martin (1932-2021) British author, translator, philologist
Shadows in the Cave (1990)
Added on 29-Jul-21 | Last updated 29-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Martin, Graham Dunstan

One can only blaspheme if one believes.

W. H. Auden (1907-1973) Anglo-American poet [Wystan Hugh Auden]
“Concerning the Unpredictable,” Forewords and Afterwords (1973)
    (Source)
Added on 14-Jul-21 | Last updated 14-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Auden, W. H.

Doubts are not the enemy of belief, they are its companion.

Malcolm Gladwell
Malcolm Gladwell (b. 1963) Anglo-Canadian journalist, author, public speaker
Talking to Strangers (2019)
    (Source)
Added on 12-Jul-21 | Last updated 12-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Gladwell, Malcolm

A middle-aged white male wearing a tie and saying anything with some conviction will be believed by at least 55 percent of people, especially if they already want to believe it. (Sixty-five percent if he has a classy accent.)

Bill Oakley
Bill Oakley (b. 1966) American television writer and producer
“One of the defenses of Trump is — literally — a TV-cartoon joke,” Washington Post (14 Nov 2019)
    (Source)
Added on 9-Jul-21 | Last updated 9-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Oakley, Bill

FAUSTUS: Blasphemy and prayer are one. Both assert the existence of a superior power. The first, however, with conviction.

David Mamet (b. 1947) American writer, playwright, director
Faustus (2004)
    (Source)
Added on 7-Jul-21 | Last updated 7-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Mamet, David

There is a rumour going around that I have found god. I think is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
“I create gods all the time — now I think one might exist,” Daily Mail (21 Jun 2008)
    (Source)
Added on 29-Jun-21 | Last updated 29-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

A lot of people seem to believe in a big-daddy-God or a big-cop-God or a big-king-God. They believe in a kind of superperson. A few believe God is another word for nature. And nature turns out to mean just about anything they happen not to understand or feel in control of.

Octavia Butler (1947-2006) American writer
Parable of the Sower, ch. 2 (1993)
    (Source)
Added on 17-Jun-21 | Last updated 17-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Butler, Octavia

The general uncertainty as to what is really happening makes it easier to cling to lunatic beliefs. Since nothing is ever quite proved or disproved, the most unmistakable fact can be impudently denied.

George Orwell (1903-1950) English writer [pseud. of Eric Arthur Blair]
“Notes on Nationalism” (May 1945)
    (Source)
Added on 14-Jun-21 | Last updated 14-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Orwell, George

There probably is a God. Many things are easier to explain if there is than if there isn’t.

John von Neumann (1903-1957) Hungarian-American mathematician, physicist, inventor, polymath [János "Johann" Lajos Neumann]
(Attributed)
    (Source)

As quoted in Norman Macrae, John Von Neumann: The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer, Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence and Much More (1992).
Added on 8-Jun-21 | Last updated 8-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Von Neumann, John

No one gets upset about the belief that rocks fall down as opposed to up, because all sane people can see it with their own eyes. Not so for the belief that babies are born with original sin or that God exists in three persons or that Ali was the second-most divinely inspired man after Muhammad. When people organize their lives around these beliefs, and then learn of other people who seem to be doing just fine without them — or worse, who credibly rebut them — they are in danger of looking like fools. Since one cannot defend a belief based on faith by persuading skeptics it is true, the faithful are apt to react to unbelief with rage, and may try to eliminate that affront to everything that makes their lives meaningful.

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, author
The Better Angels of Our Nature, ch. 4 (2011)
    (Source)
Added on 26-May-21 | Last updated 26-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Pinker, Steven

People become wedded to their beliefs, because the validity of those beliefs reflects on their competence, commends them as authorities, and rationalizes their mandate to lead. Challenge a person’s beliefs, and you challenge his dignity, standing, and power.

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, author
The Better Angels of Our Nature, ch. 4 (2011)
    (Source)
Added on 19-May-21 | Last updated 19-May-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Pinker, Steven

You submit to tyranny when you renounce the difference between what you want to hear and what is actually the case. This renunciation of reality can feel natural and pleasant, but the result is your demise as an individual — and thus the collapse of any political system that depends upon individualism.

Timothy Snyder (b. 1969) American historian, author
On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (2017)
    (Source)
Added on 28-Apr-21 | Last updated 28-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Snyder, Timothy

I hate doubt, yet I am certain that doubt is the only way to approach anything worth believing in.

Edward Teller (1908-2003) Hungarian-American theoretical physicist
In Phillip Berman, The Courage of Conviction (1985)
    (Source)
Added on 6-Apr-21 | Last updated 19-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Teller, Edward

You must have three essentials for the investigation of Chan [Zen]. The first is that you must have the foundation of great faith. The second is that you must have a zealous determination. The third is that you must have the feeling of great doubt. If you omit one of these it is like breaking off the leg of a tripod, which ends up becoming a useless vessel.

高峰云、叅禪須具三要 一有大信根
二有大憤志 三有大疑情 苟闕其一
如折足之鼎 終成廢器。

Hyujeong (1520-1604) Korean Seon (Sŏn, Zen) Master [Sosan Taesa, Seosan Daesa, Dae Seonsa]
Mirror of Zen [Samga Gwigam; Samga Kwigom; Seonga Gwigam], ch. 14 [tr. Jorgensen (2012)]
    (Source)

Alternate translations:

For the study of Seon, there are three requirements: (1) having the great root of faith; (2) having great determination, and (3) having great doubt. If you lack one of these, it is like a broken like on a tripod sacrificial vessel. In the end you will discard it.
[tr. Miller (2017)]

There are three essentials to Sŏn meditation. First of all, you must be rooted in Great Faith and Great Confidence. Secondly, one must have Great Anger -- a strong, inwardly-directed, ardent determination to practice. Thirdly, one must have Great Doubt. If one of these is missing, it is like a tripod vessel with one leg cut off -- in the end, it will be of no use.
[Source]

It is well known that Ganhwaseon practitioners must have three things of essential importance: The first is a Foundation of Great Faith (大信根) for the practice which is possible; the second is Great Zealous Determination (大憤志) of practice to attain enlightenment; the third is a Great Feeling of Doubt (大疑情) on the Hwadu. If one of these is lacking, then it is like a tripod pot with a broken foot and is useless.
[Source]

Added on 22-Mar-21 | Last updated 22-Mar-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Hyujeong

A fact is a simple statement that everyone believes. It is innocent, unless found guilty. A hypothesis is a novel suggestion that no one wants to believe. It is guilty, until found effective.

Edward Teller (1908-2003) Hungarian-American theoretical physicist
Conversations on the Dark Secrets of Physics, ch. 5 (1991) [with Wendy Teller, Wilson Talley]
    (Source)
Added on 2-Mar-21 | Last updated 2-Mar-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Teller, Edward

Ideas have consequences, and totally erroneous ideas are likely to have destructive consequences.

Steve Allen (1922-2000) American composer, entertainer, and wit.
More Steve Allen on the Bible, Religion, and Morality, “Authenticity of the Bible” (1993)
    (Source)
Added on 26-Feb-21 | Last updated 26-Feb-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Allen, Steve

Once a faith is shattered, it takes a long time to grow again — for its soil is experience — and to become effective again.

Daniel Bell (1919-2011) American sociologist, writer, editor, academic
The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism, ch. 6 “The Public Household” (1976)
Added on 22-Feb-21 | Last updated 22-Feb-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Bell, Daniel

Men are educated and the State uplifted by allowing all — every one — to broach all their mistakes and advocate all their errors. The community that will not protect its most ignorant and unpopular member in the free utterance of his opinions, no matter how false or hateful, is only a gang of slaves.

Wendell Phillips (1811-1884) American abolitionist, orator
“The Scholar in a Republic,” Speech, Centennial Anniversary of the Phi Beta Kapa of Harvard College (30 Jun 1881)
    (Source)
Added on 17-Feb-21 | Last updated 17-Feb-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Phillips, Wendell

If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie — a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days — but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and to judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) German-American philosopher, political theorist
Interview with Roger Errera (Oct 1973), The New York Review of Books (26 Oct 1978)
    (Source)
Added on 21-Jan-21 | Last updated 21-Jan-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Arendt, Hannah

A dogma is the hand of the dead on the throat of the living.

Lemuel K. Washburn (1846-1927) American freethinker, writer
Is the Bible Worth Reading and Other Essays (1911)
    (Source)
Added on 19-Jan-21 | Last updated 19-Jan-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Washburn, Lemuel

The critic who at forty believes the same things he believed at twenty is either a genius or a jackass.

George Jean Nathan (1892-1958) American editor and critic
The World in Falseface, “Art & Criticism,” #62 (1923)
    (Source)
Added on 4-Jan-21 | Last updated 4-Jan-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Nathan, George Jean

The path of sound credence is through the thick forest of skepticism.

George Jean Nathan (1892-1958) American editor and critic
Materia Critica, “Critic and Criticism,” sec. 4 (1924)
    (Source)
Added on 14-Dec-20 | Last updated 14-Dec-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Nathan, George Jean

One need not go back two thousand years to the time when those who believed in the gospel of Jesus were thrown into the arena or hunted into dungeons to realize how little great beliefs or earnest believers are understood. The history of progress is written in the blood of men and women who have dared to espouse an unpopular cause, as, for instance, the black man’s right to his body, or woman’s right to her soul. If, then, from time immemorial, the New has met with opposition and condemnation, why should my beliefs be exempt from a crown of thorns?

Emma Goldman (1869-1940) Lithuanian-American anarchist, activist
“What I Believe,” New York World (19 Jul 1908)
    (Source)
Added on 3-Dec-20 | Last updated 3-Dec-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Goldman, Emma

I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian; and tho’ some of the Dogmas of that Persuasion, such as the Eternal Decrees of God, Election, Reprobation, &c. appear’d to me unintelligible, others doubtful, & I early absented myself from the Public Assemblies of the Sect, Sunday being my Studying-Day, I never was without some religious Principles; I never doubted, for instance, the Existence of the Deity, that he made the World, & govern’d it by his Providence; that the most acceptable Service of God was the doing Good to Man; that our Souls are immortal; and that all Crime will be punished & Virtue rewarded either here or hereafter; these I esteem’d the Essentials of every Religion, and being to be found in all the Religions we had in our Country I respected them all, tho’ with different degrees of Respect as I found them more or less mix’d with other Articles which without any Tendency to inspire, promote or confirm Morality, serv’d principally to divide us & make us unfriendly to one another.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Autobiography, Part 2 (1785)
    (Source)
Added on 19-Nov-20 | Last updated 19-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Franklin, Benjamin

ONLY THE MADMAN IS ABSOLUTELY SURE.

Robert Anton Wilson (1932-2007) American author, futurist self-described "agnostic mystic" [pen name of Robert Edward Wilson]
The Eye in the Pyramid (1975) [with Robert Shea]
    (Source)
Added on 16-Nov-20 | Last updated 16-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Wilson, Robert Anton

Our law affords constitutional protection to personal decisions relating to marriage, procreation, contraception, family relationships, child rearing, and education. Our cases recognize “the right of the individual, married or single, to be free from unwarranted governmental intrusion into matters so fundamentally affecting a person as the decision whether to bear or beget a child.” Our precedents “have respected the private realm of family life which the state cannot enter.” These matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State.

Anthony Kennedy (b. 1936) US Supreme Court Justice
Planned Parenthood v. Casey (91-744), 505 U.S. 833 (29 Jun 1992) [Majority Opinion]
    (Source)

Citations removed.
Added on 11-Nov-20 | Last updated 11-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Kennedy, Anthony

An old belief is like an old shoe. We so value its comfort that we fail to notice the hole in it.

Robert Brault (b. c. 1945) American aphorist, programmer
(Attributed)
Added on 10-Nov-20 | Last updated 10-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Brault, Robert

Nothing is so firmly believed, as what we least know.

[Qu’il faut sobrement se mêler de juger des ordonnances divines.]

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) French essayist
Essays, Book 1, ch. 31, “That a Man must not be too hasty in judging of Divine Ordinances” (1580) [tr. Cotton (1686), Hazlitt (1877)]
    (Source)

Alt. trans.:
  • "Nothing is so firmly believed, as that which a man knoweth least." [tr. Florio (1603)]
  • "Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known."
Added on 9-Nov-20 | Last updated 9-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Montaigne, Michel de

How easy it is to make people believe a lie, and how hard it is to undo that work again!

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Dictation (2 Dec 1906), The Autobiography of Mark Twain, Vol. 2 (2013)
    (Source)

A sentiment that may be behind the spurious Twain quotation, "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."
Added on 29-Oct-20 | Last updated 29-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

I have no faith in the sense of comforting beliefs which persuade me that all my troubles are blessings in disguise.

Rebecca West (1892-1983) British author, journalist, literary critic, travel writer [pseud. for Cicily Isabel Fairfield]
“Pleasure Be Your Guide,” The Nation, “Living Philosophies” series #10 (25 Feb 1939)
    (Source)

Adapted into Clifton Fadiman, I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Certain Eminent Men and Women of Our Time (1952)
Added on 27-Oct-20 | Last updated 27-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by West, Rebecca

Few of us take the pains to study the origin of our cherished convictions; indeed, we have a natural repugnance to so doing. We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to them. The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already do.

James Harvey Robinson (1863-1936) American historian and educator
The Mind in the Making, ch. 4 “Rationalizing” (1921)
    (Source)
Added on 20-Oct-20 | Last updated 20-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Robinson, James Harvey