Quotations about:
    Christianity


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


Christians are beginning to lose the spirit of intolerance which animated them: experience has shown the error of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, and of the persecution of those Christians in France whose belief differed a little from that of the king. They have realized that zeal for the advancement of religion is different from a due attachment to it; and that in order to love it and fulfill its behests, it is not necessary to hate and persecute those who are opposed to it.

[On commence à se défaire parmi les chrétiens de cet esprit d’intolérance qui les animoit : on s’est mal trouvé en Espagne, de les avoir chassés, et en France, d’avoir fatigué des chrétiens dont la croyance différoit un peu de celle du prince. On s’est aperçu que le zèle pour les progrès de la religion est différent de l’attachement qu’on doit avoir pour elle ; et que, pour l’aimer et l’observer, il n’est pas nécessaire de haïr et de persécuter ceux qui ne l’observent pas.]

Charles-Lewis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) French political philosopher
Persian Letters [Lettres Persanes], Letter 60, Usbek to Ibben (1721) [tr. Davidson (1891)]
    (Source)

Referring to the expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492, and the persecution of the Huguenots (Protestants) in France culminating under Louis XIV in the late 17th Century (and who were still being persecuted while Montesquieu was writing this).

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

The Christians begin to lay aside that untolerating Spirit, which used to sway them: the Spaniards are sensible how much they have lost by driving the Jews out, and the French by vexing of Christians whose Belief differed a little from that of the Prince. They are now convinced that the Zeal for the Progress of a Religion, is very different form the Devotion she requires; and that to love and observe her, there is no manner of Necessity for hating and persecuting those who do not.
[tr. Ozell (1736), Letter 58]

Christians begin to lay aside that intolerating spirit which formerly influenced them. Spain hath experienced the bad consequence of having expelled the Jews, and France of having worried the Christians, whose faith differed a little from that of the prince. They are nos sensible that a zeal for the progress of religion is different from that attachment which ought to be preserved towards her; and that, in order to love and obey her, it is not necessary to hate and persecute those who do not regard her.
[tr. Floyd (1762)]

Christians are fast losing that spirit of intolerance which formerly animated them: they are beginning to find out that the expulsion of the Jews from Spain was a mistake, and that the persecution of Christians in France whose beliefs differed a little from those of their sovereign was another. They have discovered that fanatic zeal for the advancement of a religion is far different from the attachment which every one ought to feel towards it, and that, in order to love and practise its precepts, it is not necessary to hate and afflict those who refuse to do so.
[tr. Betts (1897)]

The Christians are beginning to lose that spirit of intolerance which animated them. It is now seen that it was a mistake to chase the Jews from Spain, and to persecute French Christians whose belief differed a bit from that of the king. They now perceive that zeal for the expansion of religion is different from dutiful devotion to it, and that love and observance of a religion need not require hatred and persecution of those who do not so believe.
[tr. Healy (1964)]

Christians are beginning to abandon that spirit of intolerance which formerly inspired them; the Spanish regret having banished the Jews, and the French regret having persecuted Christians whose beliefs differed slightly from those of their monarch. They have realized that zeal for the advancement of religion is different form the love one should bear it, and that in order to love it, and observe its precepts, there is no need to hate and persecute those who do not do so.
[tr. Mauldon (2008), Letter 58]

The Christians are beginning to abandon that old spirit of religious intolerance; it was a mistake to expel the Jews from Spain, just as it was to persecute the Christians in France whose beliefs differed only slightly from those of their king. They have realized here that zeal for the advancement of one's religion is different from the attachment one ought to have for it, and that to love and observe one's faith, it is not necessary to hate and persecute those who do not observe it.
[tr. MacKenzie (2014)]

 
Added on 13-Feb-24 | Last updated 13-Feb-24
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Montesquieu, Baron de

You know not, will not know, what Christians are;
Their pride is to be Christians, never men;
Ay, even that which since their Founder’s time
Hath tinged their superstition with a touch
Of pure humanity, is prized by them
Never because ’tis human, but because
‘Twas preached and practised by their Jesus Christ.
‘Tis well for them he was so rare a man;
Well that they take his virtues upon trust;
But what to them the virtues of their Christ?
‘Tis was not his virtues, but his name alone
They seek to spread, that it may dominate
And cloud the names of other noble men;
Ay, ’tis the name, the name of Christ alone
Your Christian cares about.

[Du kennst die Christen nicht, willst sie nicht kennen.
Ihr Stolz ist: Christen sein; nicht Menschen. Denn
Selbst das, was, noch von ihrem Stifter her,
Mit Menschlichkeit den Aberglauben würzt,
Das lieben sie, nicht weil es menschlich ist:
Weil’s Christus lehrt; weil’s Christus hat getan.—
Wohl ihnen, daß er so ein guter Mensch
Noch war! Wohl ihnen, daß sie seine Tugend
Auf Treu und Glaube nehmen können!—Doch
Was Tugend?—Seine Tugend nicht; sein Name
Soll überall verbreitet werden; soll
Die Namen aller guten Menschen schänden,
Verschlingen. Um den Namen, um den Namen
Ist ihnen nur zu tun.]

Gotthold Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramaturg, writer
Nathan the Wise [Nathan der Weise], Act 2, sc. 1 [Sittah] (1779) [tr. Maxwell (1917)]
    (Source)

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

You do not know the christians.
You will not know them. 'Tis this people's pride
not to be men, but to be christians. Even
what of humane their founder felt, and taught,
and left to savour their fond superstition,
they value not because it is humane,
lovely, and good for man; they only prize it
because 'twas Christ who taught it, Christ who did it.
'Tis well for them he was so good a man:
well that they take his goodness all for granted,
and in his virtues put their trust. His virtues --
'Tis not his virtues, but his name alone
they wish to thrust upon us. -- 'Tis his name
which they desire should overspread the world,
should swallow up the name of all good men,
and put the best to shame. Tis his mere name
they care for --
[tr. Taylor (1790)]

Thou dost not know the Christians, wilt not know them.
Their pride, that is: the Christian; not the Man.
For even what, still coming from their founder,
With human worth, imbibes their superstition,
Is not adored by them, because 'tis human:
No, but because Christ taught, Christ acted so. --
'Tis well for them, that yet so good a man
He was! 'Tis well for them, that they may take
His virtue granted, and on faith! -- But what
Of virtue! -- Not his Virtue; no, his Name
They wish to spread all o'er the world; his name
Shall stigmatize the names of all good men,
And swallow them. The name, and but the name, --
That's what they cherish.
[tr. Reich (1860)]

You do not, will not, know the Christian race.
It is their pride not to be men, but Christians.
The virtue which their founder felt and taught,
The charity He mingled with their creed,
Is valued, not because it is humane,
And good, and lovely, but for this alone,
That it was Christ who taught it, Christ who did it.
;Tis well for them He was so good a man.
Well that they take His goodness all on trust.
And in His virtues put their faith. His virtues!
'Tis not His virtues, but His name alone
They wish to thrust upon us -- His mere name,
Which they desire should overspread the world,
Should swallow up the name of all good men.
And put the rest to shame. 'Tis for His name
Alone they care.
[tr. Boylan (1878)]

Thou knowest not the christians, will'st not know them:
Their pride is to be Christians, and not men.
For even that which from their Founder's time
Seasons their superstition with humanity, --
That love they not because 'tis human; -- no,
Because Christ taught it and Christ practised it.
'Tis well for them that he was really such
A good man! Well, that they can take on trust
His virtue! Yet what speak I of his virtue?
'Tis not his virtue, 'tis his name alone,
That over all the earth shall spread abroad,
To put to scorn and swallow up the name
Of every other good man. 'Tis the name,
The name alone they care for, they.
[tr. Corbett (1883)]

Thou knowest the Christians not -- wilt not know them.
Their pride is to be Christians -- not men. For
Even that humanity, which by their Founder
Was rooted in their superstition, that love they
Not because it is humane, but because
He taught it -- because so Christ hath done.
Tis well for them He was indeed so
Good a man. 'Tis well for them that they
His virtue can accept on faith, and on belief.
His virtue say I? Not His virtue. His name alone
Shall over all be spread, and shall the name
Of all good men shame and destroy. The name --
And nothing but the name -- is their concern.
[tr. Jacks (1894)]

You do not know the Christians, don’t want to know them. Their pride is to be Christians, not men. Because even what leavens superstition with mitigating aspects, -- dating back to their founder -- they don’t love because it is human. (They love it) because Christ teaches it, because Christ has done it. Lucky they that such a good man existed yet! Lucky they that they can take his virtue on faith and belief! But what virtue? Not his virtue, his name is to be propagated everywhere, is to desecrate the name of all good men, devour it. For the name, for the name only, they care.
[tr. Reinhardt (1950)]

You do not know the Christians, will not know them.
Their pride is to be Christians, and not men.
For even that which from their Founder’s day
With human nature spices superstition
They don’t love for its human worth: because
Their Jesus taught it, by him it was done. --
O well for them, that he was a good man!
And well for them, that they can take his virtue
On faith! -- But what of virtue? -- It’s not that
Shall overspread the world, but just his name;
That name shall swallow all the names of men,
Put them to shame. The name, the name alone,
Is all they care for.
[tr. Morgan (1955), l. 72ff]

You don't know Christians, and you'll never know them. Their pride's not to be men, its to be Christians. Even humanity -- which from the days of their dear Lord Jesus Christ has lessened superstition -- they love, not for its human quality, but only because Christ taught it and showed it in His deeds. It is indeed a blessing that He was so good a man, a man in whose virtues they can place their entire faith! But are His virtues really theirs? No, not at all, it's not His virtues but His name that they attempt to spread throughout the world and, in so doing, cloud with slander and obliterate the names of all good men. The name alone is everything to these Christians.
[tr. Ade (1972)]

 
Added on 27-Dec-23 | Last updated 27-Dec-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lessing, Gotthold

On the necessary points, unity. On the questionable points, liberty. In everything, love.

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
(Misattributed)

A commentary on theological / doctrinal dispute, frequently attributed to Augustine, but not found in his works.

The first known occurrence of such an expression is in Marco Antonio de Dominis, De Republica Ecclesiastica, Book 4, ch. 8, penultimate sentence (1617):

Omnesque mutuam amplecteremur unitatem in necessariis, in non necessariis libertatem, in omnibus caritatem.

[And let us all embrace one another, unity in what is necessary, liberty in what is not necessary, charity in all things.]

The phrase was also adapted by Richard Baxter (1615-1691) as his motto. See also Rupertus Meldenius (1626).

More discussion about this quotation here: Liber locorum communium: In necessariis unitas, in non necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas (Marco Antonio De Dominis, 1617), cf. In necessariis unitas, in dubiis libertas, in omnibus caritas (and other variants). English: "In essentials unity ..."
 
Added on 6-Nov-23 | Last updated 6-Nov-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Augustine of Hippo

Nothing enlarges more the Gulf of Atheism, than that Μέγα Χάσμα, wide passage, which lies between the Faith and Lives of Men pretending to be Christians.

Edward Stillingfleet
Edward Stillingfleet (1635-1699) British Christian theologian, polemicist, preacher, prelate
Origines Sacræ, “The Epistle Dedicatory” (1663)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Oct-23 | Last updated 3-Oct-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Stillingfleet, Edward

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

Brennan Manning
Brennan Manning (1934-2013) American author, laicized priest, theologian, speaker [Richard Francis Xavier Manning]
(Attributed)

Widely attributed to Manning (1, 2, 3), though I cannot find an original citation.

See King.
 
Added on 12-Sep-23 | Last updated 12-Sep-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Manning, Brennan

Gustave Dore - Inferno 4.42 - The virtuous pagans (1890)
Gustave Dore – Inferno 4.42 – The virtuous pagans (1890)

Down there, to judge only by what I heard,
there were no wails but just the sounds of sighs
rising and trembling through the timeless air,
The sounds of sighs of untormented grief
burdening these groups, diverse and teeming,
made of men and women and of infants.
Then the good master said, “You do not ask
what sort of souls are these you see around you.
Now you should know before we go on farther,
they have not sinned. But their great worth alone
was not enough, for they did not know Baptism
which is the gateway to the faith you follow,
and if they came before the birth of Christ
They did not worship God the way one should;
I myself am a member of this group.
For this defect, and for no other guilt,
we here are lost. In this alone we suffer:
cut off from hope, we live on in desire.”

[Quivi, secondo che per ascoltare,
non avea pianto mai che di sospiri
che l’aura etterna facevan tremare;
ciò avvenia di duol sanza martìri,
ch’avean le turbe, ch’eran molte e grandi,
d’infanti e di femmine e di viri.
Lo buon maestro a me: “Tu non dimandi
che spiriti son questi che tu vedi?
Or vo’ che sappi, innanzi che più andi,
ch’ei non peccaro; e s’elli hanno mercedi,
non basta, perché non ebber battesmo,
ch’è porta de la fede che tu credi;
e s’e’ furon dinanzi al cristianesmo,
non adorar debitamente a Dio:
e di questi cotai son io medesmo.
Per tai difetti, non per altro rio,
semo perduti, e sol di tanto offesi
che sanza speme vivemo in disio”.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 4, l. 25ff (4.25-42) (1309) [tr. Musa (1971)]
    (Source)

In the First Circle of Hell, Dante encounters the "virtuous pagans," without sin but who cannot go to heaven because they were not baptized (such as children), or because they were born before Christ and therefore could not be saved by faith. They are not physically punished, but languish in an otherwise-pleasant Limbo, longing to be united with God. (Dante did not invent Limbo, but popularized it.)

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Loud Lamentations were not heard from thence,
But heavy Sighs which trembled through the air:
From th' anguish these of Mind, not Body, came
Of many Infants, Women, and of Men.
You do not ask me, my kind Master said,
What are these Spirits in this place you see;
This you should know before we farther pass.
These have not sinn'd; and 'though they had reward
Deserved for their meritorious acts,
'Twould not avail, since they were ne'er baptiz'd;
For this in your Belief's the Gate of Faith.
They who have lived before Christ appear'd
Have not with proper Prayers ador'd their God.
And I myself, alas! am one of those.
For these defects, and not for any crime,
We're lost; and, without other punishment,
We live desiring, yet depriv'd of hope.
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 35ff]

Now thro' the void and viewless shadows drear,
Short sighs, thick-coming, led the list'ning ear,
Trembling in murmurs low along the gale:
No pang is here, no tort'ring hour is known,
Their irrecoverable loss alone
Matrons, and fires, and tender babes bewail.
"And can the mournful train that here abide
Unnotic'd pass thee by?" the Poet cry'd,
"These were of the race renown'd of ancient time:
Unknown a Saviour, unador'd a God,
Their blind presumptuous course in reason's road
They still pursu'd, unconscious of a crime.
No bleeding ransom of their sins they knew
Nor from the fount regeneration drew
The sacred symbol of eternal joy!
In ceaseless languors now forlorn they dwell,
Not heirs of Heav'n, nor denizens of Hell,
And of their sad society am I!"
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 5-7]

Here, as mine ear could note, no plaint was heard
Except of sighs, that made th’ eternal air
Tremble, not caus’d by tortures, but from grief
Felt by those multitudes, many and vast,
Of men, women, and infants. Then to me
The gentle guide: “Inquir’st thou not what spirits
Are these, which thou beholdest? Ere thou pass
Farther, I would thou know, that these of sin
Were blameless; and if aught they merited,
It profits not, since baptism was not theirs,
The portal to thy faith. If they before
The Gospel liv’d, they serv’d not God aright;
And among such am I. For these defects,
And for no other evil, we are lost;
Only so far afflicted, that we live
Desiring without hope.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Here never aught of louder plaint or moan
Disturbed the listener's hearing; but the air
Trembled eternally with sighs alone.
The cause, a grief where torment hath no share,
Endured of crowded hostings not a few,
Men, women, infants, all assembled there.
And thus the good preceptor -- "Canst thou view
So vast a throng, nor ask of whom the spirits?
I will thou learn, ere we our path pursue.
These were not sinners; yet, whatever their merits.
Suffice not them, wanting baptismal rite.
That each partaker of thy faith inherits.
And if they rose before the Christian light.
Duly they honoured not their Maker's name;
But what these are, am I: our fates unite.
For such default, and not for deeper blame,
Heaven have we lost; yet this our only smart.
Our hope is not, our longing still the same."
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

Here was no plaint, that could be heard, except of sighs, which caused the eternal air to tremble;
And this arose from the sadness, without torment, of the crowds that were many and great, both of children, and women and men.
The good Master said to me: "Thou askest not what spirits are these thou seest? I wish thee to know, before thou goest further,
that they sinned not; and though they have merit, it suffices not: for they had not Baptism, which is the portal of the faith that thou believest;
and seeing they were before Christianity, they worshipped not God aright; and of these am I myself.
For such defects, and for no other fault, are we lost; and only in so far afflicted, that without hope we live in desire."
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Here was no sound, to any listener's ear,
Of loud complaint, but frequent sighs of care,
Which made to tremble the eternal air.
It happened thus, from grief of torments void,
Possessing crowds beyond our sight and ken
Of infants, and of women, and of men.
The good master said, "You do not ask me
What are these spirits which you now descry --
Wouldst thou discover, ere we yet draw nigh?
These have not sinn'd, though merit they should have --
'Tis not enough, for baptism they have none,
A portion of the faith you also own:
They lived ere Christianity began;
The God of heaven adored not as they ought.
And of these here, I'm also in the fault
For these defects; for other evil none
Are lost, -- afflicted only thus so far:
Live in desire, but want hope's brightening star."
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

There as I listen'd I could hear no sound
Of plaint or moan, but rather that of sighs
Which tremulous did stir th' eternal air;
This came not from the martyrdom of pain
But from the dole of those, many and great,
Of children, and of women, and of men.
My kindly master said -- "Thou askest not
Who be these spirits which thou seest now?
Yet here we further go, be to thee known
They sinned not; yet no merit claim'd by them
Availeth aught, because they never knew
The Grace Baptismal, portal of they creed:
And if they liv'd before the day of Grace
They could not in right spirit worship God:
And of that number I myself am one.
For this default and for no other guilt
We are lost souls; afflicted only thus,
That ever hopeless we must still desire."
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

There, in so far as I had power to hear, ⁠
⁠Were lamentations none, but only sighs,
⁠That tremulous made the everlasting air.
And this arose from sorrow without torment,
⁠Which the crowds had, that many were and great,
⁠Of infants and of women and of men. ⁠
To me the Master good: "Thou dost not ask
⁠What spirits these, which thou beholdest, are?
⁠Now will I have thee know, ere thou go farther,
That they sinned not; and if they merit had,
'T is not enough, because they had not baptism, ⁠
⁠Which is the portal of the Faith thou holdest;
And if they were before Christianity,
⁠⁠In the right manner they adored not God;
⁠⁠And among such as these am I myself.
For such defects, and not for other guilt,
⁠⁠Lost are we, and are only so far punished,
⁠⁠That without hope we live on in desire."
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Here, so far as listening went, lamentation was not, save of sighs which made the everlasting mist tremble. And this befel of woe without torments which the crowds had, that were many and great, both of infants and of women and of men. The good Master to me: 'Thou demandest not what spirits these are whom thou seest ? Now will I that thou know ere thou go further, that they did not sin; and if they have deserts, it suffices not; because they had not baptism, which is a part of the faith which thou believest. And if they were before Christianity, they adored not God duly; and of this sort am I myself. For such defects, not for other crime, we are lost; and we are harmed only in so far as we live without hope in longing.'
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Here, in as far as hearing is aware,
⁠Was no loud weeping, but a sound of sighs.
⁠Which ever trembled in the eternal air,
And these from sorrow without torments rise,
⁠Sorrow that holds the crowds both many and great,
⁠Men, women, children, of all age and size.
Turned my good master to me: "Dost thou wait
⁠To ask what souls are these thou seest here?
⁠I will that thou shouldst know at once their state.
These have not sinned, and if their acts were fair,
⁠'Twas not sufficient, since they baptism lacked,
⁠The gateway of the Faith which thou dost share.
And if they lived ere Christ's law was a fact.
⁠They did not in fit fashion God adore;
⁠And I myself amongst these last am wreckt.
For such deficiencies, and nothing more,
⁠Our penalty is fixed, the lost among,
⁠To yearn for ever on this hopeless shore.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Here, so far as could be heard, there was no plaint but that of sighs which made the eternal air to tremble: this came of the woe without torments felt by the crowds, which were many and great, of infants and of women and of men. The good Master to me, “Thou dost not ask what spirits are these that thou seest. Now I would have thee know, before thou goest farther, that they sinned not; and if they have merits it sufficeth not, because they had not baptism, which is part of the faith that thou believest; and if they were before Christianity, they did not duly worship God: and of such as these am I myself. Through such defects, and not through other guilt, are we lost, and only so far harmed that without hope we live in desire.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Here, so far as I could tell by listening, there was no wailing, but sighs only, making the air to tremble without ceasing; and this arose from the misery, albeit uncaused by torture, which the crowds felt, and they were many and great; babes and women and men. My gentle Master said to me: "Thou dost not ask what shades are these thou seest. I now would have thee know, or ever thou goest farther, that they have not sinned; and though they have good works to their account, it sufficeth not, for they knew not baptism, which is the gateway of the faith the which thou dost believe. And as they were before Christ's coming, they failed to worship God aright ; and of their number am I myself. For shortcomings such as these, and for no other fault, are we lost: and this our only punishment, that without hope we live in yearning.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Therein, so far as listening was of service,
⁠There was no lamentation, save of sighing,
⁠That made the eternal weight of air to quiver.
This came to pass from sorrow without torments.
⁠That the crowds had, which were both great and many.
⁠Of little children, and of men, and women.
To me the master kind: "Dost thou not ask me
⁠What spirits these are here, whom thou beholdest?
⁠Now I would have thee know, ere thou go further,
That they sinned not: and yet that they have merits
⁠Sufficeth not, because they had not baptism.
⁠Which is a portion of the faith thou holdest:
And, if they were before the Christian advent,
⁠They did not render unto God due worship.
⁠And I of such as these myself am also.
For such defects, and not for other forfeit,
⁠Are we among the lost, and only troubled
⁠At this, that without hope we live in longing.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

Here, so far as I could tell by listening, was no lamentation more than sighs which kept the air forever trembling; these came from grief without torments that was borne by the crowds, which were vast, of men and women and little children. The good Master said to me: "Does thou not ask what spirits are these thou seest? I would have the know, then, before thou goest farther, that they did not sin; but though they have merits it is not enough, for they had not baptism, which is the gateway of the faith thou holdest; and if they were here before Christianity they did not worship God aright, and of these I am one. For such defects, and not for any guilt, we are lost, and only so far afflicted that without hope we live in desire."
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

Here was no sound that the ear could catch of rue,
⁠Save only of sighs, that still as they complain
⁠Make the eternal air tremble anew.
And this rose form the sorrow, unracked by pain,
⁠That was in the great multitude below
⁠Of children and of women and of men.
The good Master to me: "Wouldst thou not know
⁠'What spirits are these thou seest and hearest grieve?
⁠I'd have thee learn before thou farther go,
These sinned not: but the merit that they achieve
⁠Helps not, since baptism was not theirs, the gate
⁠Of that faith, which was given thee to believe.
And if ere Christ they came, untimely in date,
⁠They worshipped not with right experience;
⁠And I myself am numbered in their state.
For such defect, and for no other offence,
⁠We are lost, and only in so far amerced
⁠That without hope we languish in suspense."
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

We heard no loud complaint, no crying there,
⁠No sound of grief except the sound of sighing
⁠Quivering for ever through the eternal air;
Grief, not for torment, but for loss undying,
⁠By women, men, and children sighed for so,
⁠Sorrowers thick-thronged, their sorrows multiplying.
Then my good guide: "Thou dost not ask me who
⁠These spirits are,” said he, “whom thou perceivest?
⁠Ere going further, I would have thee know
They sinned not; yet their merit lacked its chiefest
⁠Fulfilment, lacking baptism, which is
⁠The gateway to the faith which thou believest;
Or, living before Christendom, their knees
⁠Paid not aright those tributes that belong
⁠To God; and I myself am one of these.
For such defects alone -- no other wrong --
⁠We are lost; yet only by this grief offended:
⁠That, without hope, we ever live, and long.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

No tortured wailing rose to greet us here
⁠but sounds of sighing rose from every side,
⁠sending a tremor through the timeless air,
a grief breathed out of untormented sadness,
⁠the passive state of those who dwelled apart,
⁠men, women, children -- a dim and endless congress.
And the Master said to me: "You do not question
⁠what souls these are that suffer here before you?
⁠I wish you to know before you travel on
that these were sinless. And still their merits fail,
⁠for they lacked Baptism's grace, which is the door
⁠of the true faith you were born to. Their birth fell
before the age of the Christian mysteries,
⁠and so they did not worship God's Trinity
⁠in fullest duty. I am one of these.
For such defects are we lost, though spared the fire
⁠and suffering Hell in one affliction only:
⁠that without hope we live on in desire."
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

Here there was no plaint, that could be heard, except of sighs, which caused the eternal air to tremble; and this arose from the sadness, without torments, of the crowds that were many and great, both of children and of women and men. The good master said to me, “Do you not ask what spirits are these that you see ? Now, before you go farther, I will have you know that they did not sin; but if they have merit, that does not suffice, for they did not have baptism, which is the portal of the faith you hold; and if they were before Christianity, they did not worship God aright, and I myself am one of these. Because of these shortcomings, and for no other fault, we are lost, and only so far afflicted that without hope we live in longing.”
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

Here, for as much as hearing could discover,
⁠there was no outcry louder than the sighs
⁠that caused the everlasting air to tremble.
The sighs arose from sorrow without torments,
⁠out of the crowds -- the many multitudes --
⁠of infants and of women and of men.
The kindly master said: “Do you not ask
⁠who are these spirits whom you see before you?
⁠I'd have you know, before you go ahead,
they did not sin; and yet, though they have merits,
⁠that’s not enough, because they lacked baptism,
⁠the portal of the faith that you embrace.
And if they lived before Christianity,
⁠they did not worship God in fitting ways;
⁠and of such spirits I myself am one.
For these defects, and for no other evil,
⁠we now are lost and punished just with this:
⁠we have no hope and yet we live in longing.”
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

There, in so far as listening could tell me,
⁠The only lamentations were the sighs,
⁠Yet they made the eternal air tremble.
They came from the sadness, without any torment,
⁠Felt by the crowds -- there were many of them, and huge --
⁠Of infants and of men and of men.
The master said: "Are you not going to ask
⁠What sprits these are which you see in this place?
⁠I think you should know before you go on;
They have committed no sin, and if they have merits,
⁠That is not enough, because they are not baptized,
⁠Which all must be, to enter the faith which is yours.
And if they lived before the Christian era,
⁠They did not adore God as he should be adored:
⁠And I am one of those in that position.
For these deficiencies, and no other fault,
⁠We are lost; there is no other penalty
⁠Than to live here without hope, but with desire."
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

⁠Here we encountered
No laments that we could hear -- except for sighs
That trembled the timeless air: they emanated
From the shadowy sadnesses, not agonies,
Of multitudes of children and women and men.
He said, "And don't you ask, what spirits are these?
Before you go on, I tell you: they did not sin:
If they have merit, it can't suffice without
Baptism, portal to the faith you maintain.
Some lived before the Christian faith, so that
They did not worship God aright -- and I
Am one of these. Through this, no other fault,
We are lost, afflicted only this one way:
That having no hope, we live in longing."
[tr. Pinsky (1994), l. 19ff]

⁠Here, as far as could be heard, there was no weeping except of sighs which caused the eternal air to tremble;
⁠these resulted from grief without torture, felt by the crowds, which were many and large, of infants and of women and of men.
⁠My good master to me: “You do not ask what spirits are these you see? Now I wish you to know, before you walk further,
⁠that they did not sin; and if they have merits, it is not enough, because they did not receive baptism, which is the gateway to the faith that you believe.
⁠And if they lived before Christianity, they did not adore God as was needful: and of this kind am I myself.
⁠Because of such defects, not for any other wickedness, we are lost, and only so far harmed that without hope we live in desire.”
[tr. Durling (1996)]

Here there was no sound to be heard, except the sighing, that made the eternal air tremble, and it came from the sorrow of the vast and varied crowds of children, of women, and of men, free of torment. The good Master said to me: ‘You do not demand to know who these spirits are that you see. I want you to learn, before you go further, that they had no sin, yet, though they have worth, it is not sufficient, because they were not baptised, and baptism is the gateway to the faith that you believe in. Since they lived before Christianity, they did not worship God correctly, and I myself am one of them. For this defect, and for no other fault, we are lost, and we are only tormented, in that without hope we live in desire.’
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Here, there was no pandemonium of tortured groans;
only interminable sighs, which trembled the air
with a murderous hum; and this arose
from all the sadnesses, albeit painless,
of the multitude of men and women,
and children of every size.
Then he to me: "Why don't you ask me who these spirits are?
Before you go much further
on, I'd like it to be understood that they are
innocent of sin; however,
lacking Baptism, they could not claim
its saving grace, and thus are doomed forever;
living, as they did, before Christ came
they did not pay the Lord his due respect;
and I myself am classed as one of them.
For these faults, not for any other defect,
are we lost; our only pain
is hopeless, unfulfilled desire. These are the facts.
[tr. Carson (2002)]

Here, there was no pandemonium of tortured groans; only interminable sighs, which trembled the air with a murmurous hum; and this arose from all the sadnesses, albeit painless, of the multitude of men and women, and children of every size. Then he to me: "Why don't you ask me who these spirits are? Before you go much further on, I'd like it to be understood that they are innocent of sin; however, lacking Baptism, they could not claim its saving grace, and thus are doomed forever; living, as they did, before Christ came, they did not pay the Lord his due respect; and I myself am classed as one of them. For these faults, not for any other defect, are we lost; our only pain is hopeless, unfulfilled desire. These are the facts.
[tr. Carson (2002)]

Here in the dark (where only hearing told)
⁠there were no tears, no weeping, only sighs
⁠that caused a trembling in the eternal air --
sighs drawn from sorrowing, although no pain.
⁠This weighs on all of them, those multitudes
⁠of speechless children, women and full-grown men.
'You do not ask,' my teacher in his goodness said,
⁠'who all these spirits are that you see here?
⁠Do not, I mean, go further till you know:
these never sinned. And some attained to merit.
⁠But merit falls far short. None was baptized.
⁠None passed the gate, in your belief, to faith.
They lived before the Christian age began.
⁠They paid no reverence, as was due to God.
⁠And in this number I myself am one.
For such deficiencies, no other crime,
⁠we all are lost yet only suffer harm
⁠through living in desire, but hopelessly.'
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

Here, as far as I could tell by listening,
⁠was no lamentation other than the sighs
⁠that kept the air forever trembling.
These came from grief without torment
⁠borne by vast crowds
⁠of men, and women, and little children.
My master began: 'You do not ask about
⁠the souls you see? I want you to know,
⁠before you venture farther,
they did not sin. Though they have merit,
⁠that is not enough, for they were unbaptized,
⁠denied the gateway to the faith that you profess.
And if they lived before the Christians lived,
⁠they did not worship God aright.
⁠And among these I am one.
For such defects, and for no other fault,
⁠we are lost, and afflicted but in this,
⁠that without hope we live in longing.'
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

And here there was no weeping; the only signs
⁠Of sorrow I heard were sighs that caused a gentle
⁠Trembling, stirring eternal air, yet rising
Not from tortured pain or punishment
⁠But only because there were so many, men
⁠And women and children. My Master asked this question
Of me: "Don't you mean to inquire, again,
⁠Who and what are the spirits you see in here?
⁠I want you to know, before you take another step,
These are not sinners; no matter what they deserve ⁠It can't be enough, for none have been baptized -- ⁠The gateway to Heaven in your faith's clearest terms. All those born before the coming of Christ
⁠Cannot be Christians, worshipping god as He
⁠Requires, and one of many such men am I.
These imperfections, and nothing more, no crimes,
⁠Bar us from Paradise, not punished, not hurt.
⁠We have no hope, we live for our great desire.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

⁠To the extent
That I could hear at all, all cries were sighs.
The air without end shook to the lament
Not just of men and women: with surprise
I saw young children too. Why were they sent?
I thought, and once again my Master saw
Into my mind, and said: “You do not ask
Who these ones are, why here, and by what law?
I'll tell you, before we resume our task,
Of pain without a sin. But though they be
Ever so virtuous, no unbaptized
Souls are exempted from this penalty,
And if they lived before His Son, they prized
God insufficiently. And I was one
Of those. For such defects, and for no crime
More grave, we're lost: for something left undone
We're doomed to live without hope for all time.”
[tr. James (2013), l. 31ff]

 
Added on 26-Aug-23 | Last updated 10-Sep-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Dante Alighieri

It is a curious accident of history that the Christian religion became heavily involved with theology. No other religion finds it necessary to formulate elaborately precise statements about the abstract qualities and relationships of gods and humans. […] The idea that God may be approached and understood through intellectual analysis is uniquely Christian.

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson (1923-2020) English-American theoretical physicist, mathematician, futurist
The Scientist as Rebel, Part 4, ch. 25 “Is God in the Lab?” (2006)
    (Source)

Originally published in New York Review of books (1998-05-28).
 
Added on 1-May-23 | Last updated 1-May-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Dyson, Freeman

I think we’re just communicating wrong, because, like, what I know “woke” to mean is, like, learning new things about people or the world, and then acting accordingly. Like, basic kindness. Maybe a gesture of care to people who are more vulnerable than you. You know what, actually, you wouldn’t like it. It’s Jesus stuff.

Sarah Silverman
Sarah Silverman (b. 1970) American stand-up comedian, actress, writer
The Daily Show (15 Feb 2023)
    (Source)
 
Added on 21-Mar-23 | Last updated 21-Mar-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Silverman, Sarah

I never saw, heard, nor read, that the clergy were beloved in any nation where Christianity was the religion of the country. Nothing can render them popular, but some degree of persecution.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Religion” (1726)
    (Source)
 
Added on 13-Feb-23 | Last updated 13-Feb-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Swift, Jonathan

I believe that thousands of men would be orthodox enough in certain points, if divines had not been too curious, or too narrow, in reducing orthodoxy within the compass of subtleties, niceties, and distinctions, with little warrant from Scripture, and less from reason or good policy.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Religion” (1726)
    (Source)
 
Added on 7-Feb-23 | Last updated 7-Feb-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Swift, Jonathan

I am content to be one of the multitude of Christians who do not care much about the doctrine of the Trinity or the historical truth of the gospels. Both as a scientist and as a religious person, I am accustomed to living with uncertainty. Science is exciting because it is full of unsolved mysteries, and religion is exciting for the same reason.

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson (1923-2020) English-American theoretical physicist, mathematician, futurist
“Progress in Religion,” Templeton Prize acceptance speech, Washington National Cathedral (9 May 2000)
    (Source)
 
Added on 19-Dec-22 | Last updated 19-Dec-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Dyson, Freeman

I have often wondered, that persons who make a boast of professing the Christian religion, namely, love, joy, peace, temperance, and charity to all men, should quarrel with such rancorous animosity, and display daily towards one another such bitter hatred, that this, rather than the virtues they claim, is the readiest criterion of their faith.

Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677) Dutch philosopher
Theological-Political Treatise [Tractatus Theologico-Politicus], Part 1, Preface, sec. 23 (1670)
    (Source)
 
Added on 24-Oct-22 | Last updated 24-Oct-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Spinoza, Baruch

It is the speculations of crazy theologists which have made a Babel of a religion the most moral and sublime ever preached to man, and calculated to heal, and not to create differences. These religious animosities I impute to those who call themselves his ministers, and who engraft their casuistries on the stock of his simple precepts. I am sometimes more angry with them than is authorised by the blessed charities which he preached.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Ezra Styles Ely (25 Jun 1819)
    (Source)
 
Added on 10-Oct-22 | Last updated 10-Oct-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

Nay, we have heard it said that there is not a quaker or a baptist, a presbyterian or an episcopalian, a catholic or a protestant in heaven: that, on entering that gate, we leave those badges of schism behind, and find ourselves united in those principles only in which god has united us all. Let us not be uneasy then about the different roads we may pursue, as believing them the shortest, to that our last abode: but, following the guidance of a good conscience, let us be happy in the hope that, by these different paths, we shall all meet in the end. and that you and I may there meet and embrace is my earnest prayer: and with this assurance I salute you with brotherly esteem and respect.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Miles King (26 Sep 1814)
    (Source)

Where he had "heard it said" might be an 1813 letter from John Adams.
 
Added on 26-Sep-22 | Last updated 26-Sep-22
Link to this post | 1 comment
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

I told him to preach the Gospel. That’s our calling. I want to preserve the purity of the Gospel and the freedom of religion in America. I don’t want to see religious bigotry in any form. Liberals organized in the ’60s, and conservatives certainly have a right to organize in the ’80s, but it would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.

Billy Graham
Billy Graham (1918-2018) American evangelist, revivalist, author [William Franklin Graham Jr.]
“Billy Graham: America Is Not God’s Only Kingdom,” Parade Magazine (1 Feb 1981)
    (Source)

A comment Graham said he gave to Jerry Falwell, head of the Moral Majority. Usually quoted in an abbreviated version:

I don't want to see religious bigotry in any form. It would disturb me if there was a wedding between religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it.
 
Added on 5-Sep-22 | Last updated 5-Sep-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Graham, Billy

My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest. The artificial structures they have built on the purest of all moral systems, for the purpose of deriving from it pence and power, revolts those who think for themselves, and who read in that system only what is really there.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Margaret Bayard Smith (6 Aug 1816)
    (Source)
 
Added on 25-Jul-22 | Last updated 25-Jul-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

Nay, we have heard it said that there is not a quaker or a baptist, a presbyterian or an episcopalian, a catholic or a protestant in heaven: that, on entering that gate, we leave those badges of schism behind, and find ourselves united in those principles only in which god has united us all. Let us not be uneasy then about the different roads we may pursue, as believing them the shortest, to that our last abode: but, following the guidance of a good conscience, let us be happy in the hope that, by these different paths, we shall all meet in the end. and that you and I may there meet and embrace is my earnest prayer: and with this assurance I salute you with brotherly esteem and respect.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Miles King (26 Sep 1814)
    (Source)
 
Added on 18-Jul-22 | Last updated 18-Jul-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

But much I fear, that when this great truth shall be re-established, its votaries will fall into the fatal error of fabricating formulas of creed and confessions of faith, the engines which so soon destroyed the religion of Jesus, and made of Christendom a mere Aceldama; that they will give up morals for mysteries, and Jesus for Plato. How much wiser are the Quakers, who, agreeing in the fundamental doctrines of the gospel, schismatize about no mysteries, and, keeping within the pale of common sense, suffer no speculative differences of opinion, any more than of feature, to impair the love of their brethren. Be this the wisdom of Unitarians, this the holy mantle which shall cover within its charitable circumference all who believe in one God, and who love their neighbor!

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Benjamin Waterhouse (26 Jun 1822)
    (Source)
 
Added on 21-Jun-22 | Last updated 21-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

Had the doctrines of Jesus been preached always as pure as they came from his lips, the whole civilized world would now have been Christian. I rejoice that in this blessed country of free inquiry and belief, which has surrendered its creed and conscience to neither kings nor priests, the genuine doctrine of one only God is reviving, and I trust that there is not a young man now living in the United States who will not die an Unitarian.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Benjamin Waterhouse (26 Jun 1822)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Jun-22 | Last updated 15-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

I agree with you likewise in your wishes to keep religion and government independent of each Other. Were it possible for St. Paul to rise from his grave at the present juncture, he would say to the Clergy who are now so active in settling the political Affairs of the World. “Cease from your political labors your kingdom is not of this World. Read my Epistles. In no part of them will you perceive me aiming to depose a pagan Emperor, or to place a Christian upon a throne. Christianity disdains to receive Support from human Governments. From this, it derives its preeminence over all the religions that ever have, or ever Shall exist in the World. Human Governments may receive Support from Christianity but it must be only from the love of justice, and peace which it is calculated to produce in the minds of men. By promoting these, and all the Other Christian Virtues by your precepts, and example, you will much sooner overthrow errors of all kind, and establish our pure and holy religion in the World, than by aiming to produce by your preaching, or pamphlets any change in the political state of mankind.”

Benjamin Rush (1746-1813) American physician, writer, educator, humanitarian
Letter to Thomas Jefferson (6 Oct 1800)
    (Source)
 
Added on 10-May-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Rush, Benjamin

We have now, it seems a National Bible Society, to propagate King James Bible, through all Nations. Would it not be better, to apply these pious Subscriptions, to purify Christendom from the corruptions of Christianity; than to propagate those Corruptions in Europe, Asia, Africa and America!

John Adams (1735-1826) American lawyer, Founding Father, statesman, US President (1797-1801)
Letter to Thomas Jefferson (4 Nov 1816)
    (Source)

After the founding of the American Bible Society (11 May 1816).
 
Added on 11-Feb-22 | Last updated 11-Feb-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Adams, John

I can consequently assure you that no kingdom has ever existed with as many civil wars as occur in the kingdom of Christ.
 
[Aussi puis-je t’assurer qu’il n’y a jamais eu de royaume où il y ait eu tant de guerres civiles que dans celui de Christ.]

Charles-Lewis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) French political philosopher
Persian Letters [Lettres Persanes], Letter 29, Rica to Ibben (1721) [tr. Mauldon (2008)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

And accordingly I can assure thee there never was a Kingdom that had so many Civil Wars in it, as that of Christ.
[tr. Ozell (1736), Letter 27]

I can also affirm to thee that there never was a kingdom where there has been so many civil wars as in that of Christ.
[tr. Floyd (1762)]

I can also assure you that there never was a realm in which so many civil wars have broken out, as in the kingdom of Christ.
[tr. Davidson (1891)]

Consequently, I am able to assure you that there never has been a kingdom in which there have been so many civil wars as in that of Christ.
[tr. Betts (1897)]

I can also assure you that there has never been a realm so prone to civil wars as that of Christ.
[tr. Healy (1964)]

I assure you that no countries have had as many civil wars as those in the realm of Christ.
[tr. MacKenzie (2014)]

 
Added on 8-Dec-21 | Last updated 10-Oct-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Montesquieu, Baron de

If I had to name my disability, I would call it an unwillingness to fall. On the one hand, this is perfectly normal. I do not know anyone who likes to fall. But, on the other hand, this reluctance signals mistrust of the central truth of the Christian gospel: life springs from death, not only at the last but also in the many little deaths along the way. When everything you count on for protection has failed, the Divine Presence does not fail. The hands are still there — not promising to rescue, not promising to intervene — promising only to hold you no matter how far you fall. Ironically, those who try hardest not to fall learn this later than those who topple more easily. The ones who find their lives are the losers, while the winners come in last.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith, Part 3, ch. 17 (2006)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Oct-21 | Last updated 15-Oct-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Taylor, Barbara Brown

Both Christianity and alcohol have the power to convince us that what we previously thought deficient in ourselves and the world does not require attention; both weaken our resolve to garden our problems; both deny us the chance to fulfilment.

Alain de Botton (b. 1969) Swiss-British author
The Consolations of Philosophy, ch. 6 “Consolation for Difficulties” (sec. 19) (2000)
    (Source)

Sometimes attributed to, but actually summarizing, Friedrich Nietzsche, who himself wrote of "the two great European narcotics, alcohol and Christianity" (Twilight of the Idols, "Things the Germans Lack" (sec. 2) (1888) [tr. Ludovici]).
 
Added on 14-Oct-21 | Last updated 14-Oct-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by De Botton, Alain

All these years later, the way many of us are doing church is broken and we know it, even if we do not know what to do about it. We proclaim the priesthood of all believers while we continue with hierarchical clergy, liturgy, and architecture. We follow a Lord who challenged the religious and political institutions of his time while we fund and defend our own. We speak and sing of divine transformation while we do everything in our power to maintain our equilibrium. If redeeming things continue to happen to us in spite of these deep contradictions in our life together, then I think that is because God is faithful even when we are not.

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

To make sure that my blasphemy is thoroughly expressed, I hereby state my opinion that the notion of a god is a basic superstition, that there is no evidence for the existence of any god(s), that devils, demons, angels and saints are myths, that there is no life after death, heaven nor hell, that the Pope is a dangerous, bigoted, medieval dinosaur, and that the Holy Ghost is a comic-book character worthy of laughter and derision. I accuse the Christian god of murder by allowing the Holocaust to take place — not to mention the “ethnic cleansing” presently being performed by Christians in our world — and I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial prejudice and commanding the degradation of women. (This comprehensive statement was arrived at by examining the statutes of those seven states that have remained in the Dark Ages, so that I might satisfy their definitions of blasphemy.)

James Randi
James Randi (1928-2020) Canadian-American stage magician ("The Amazing Randi") and scientific skeptic. [b. Randall James Hamilton Zwinge]
Skeptic Magazine (1995)

Written in an unsuccessful attempt to garner an official charge of blasphemy from any of those seven states that still had such laws on the books.
 
Added on 4-Aug-21 | Last updated 4-Aug-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Randi, James

Christ died for our sins. Dare we make his martyrdom meaningless by not committing them?

Jules Feiffer (b. 1929) American cartoonist, authork, satirist
Little Murders, Act 1 (1967)
    (Source)

Motto of "The First Existential Church."
 
Added on 1-Apr-21 | Last updated 1-Apr-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Feiffer, Jules

There has only been one Christian. They caught Him and crucified Him early.

Mark Twain (1835-1910) American writer [pseud. of Samuel Clemens]
Mark Twain’s Notebook (1933) [ed. Paine]
    (Source)
 
Added on 19-Mar-21 | Last updated 19-Mar-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Twain, Mark

For if a Christian is touched only once a year, the touching is still worth it. And maybe on some given Christmas, some final quiet morning, the touch will take.

Harry Reasoner (1923-1991) American journalist
Concluding Essay, 60 Minutes (16 Dec 1969)
    (Source)

An expansion of a 1962 essay for Calendar.
 
Added on 22-Dec-20 | Last updated 22-Dec-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Reasoner, Harry

Each party abuses the other; the profane and the infidel believe both sides, and enjoy the fray; the reputation of religion in general suffers, and its enemies are ready to say, not what was said in the primitive times, Behold how these Christians love one another, — but, Mark how these Christians HATE one another! Indeed, when religious people quarrel about religion, or hungry people about their victuals, it looks as if they had not much of either among them.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Letter to Jane Mecom (23 Feb 1769)
    (Source)

On the vociferous denominational debate in America over whether a new bishop should be sent from the Church of England to the Colonies.
 
Added on 17-Dec-20 | Last updated 17-Dec-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Franklin, Benjamin

How then do you demand Chastity, while thou dost not yourself observe it? How do you demand that which thou dost not give? How, though you are equally a body, do you legislate unequally? If you enquire into the worse — the Woman sinned, and so did Adam. The serpent deceived them both; and one was not found to be the stronger and the other the weaker. But do you consider the better? Christ saves both by His Passion. Was He made flesh for the Man? So He was also for the woman. Did He die for the Man? The Woman also is saved by His death. He is called of the seed of David; and so perhaps you think the Man is honoured; but He is born of a Virgin, and this is on the Woman’s side. They two, He says, shall be one Flesh; so let the one flesh have equal honour.

Gregory of Nazianzus (329-390) Byzantine prelate, Doctor of the Church, saint, rhetorician [Γρηγόριος ὁ Ναζιανζηνός; Gregory the Theologian]
Oration 37, sec. 7 [tr. Browne & Swallow]
    (Source)
 
Added on 1-Dec-20 | Last updated 1-Dec-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Gregory of Nazianzus

It is necessary that we too should see the beam in our own eyes, and learn to distinguish between the Christianity of the nineteenth century and the religion of Christ. If we find that the Christianity of the nineteenth century does not win as many hearts in India and China as it ought, let us remember that it was the Christianity of the first century in all its dogmatic simplicity, but with its overpowering love of God and man, that conquered the world and superseded religions and philosophies, more difficult to conquer than the religious and philosophical systems of Hindus and Buddhists.

Max Müller (1823-1900) German-British philologist, Orientalist, religious studies founder
Chips from a German Workshop, Preface (1866)
    (Source)
 
Added on 6-Nov-20 | Last updated 6-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Muller, Max

If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practised it against the Puritans. These found it wrong in the bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves, both here and in New England.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Letter in The London Packet (3 Jun 1772)
    (Source)
 
Added on 5-Nov-20 | Last updated 5-Nov-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Franklin, Benjamin

The Faith you mention has doubtless its use in the World. I do not desire to see it diminished, nor would I endeavour to lessen it in any Man. But I wish it were more productive of good Works, than I have generally seen it: I mean real good Works, Works of Kindness, Charity, Mercy, and Publick Spirit; not Holiday-keeping, Sermon-Reading or Hearing; performing Church Ceremonies, or making long Prayers, filled with Flatteries and Compliments, despis’d even by wise Men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher, aphorist
Letter to Joseph Huey (6 Jun 1753)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Oct-20 | Last updated 15-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Franklin, Benjamin

The one and only test of a valid religious idea, doctrinal statement, spiritual experience, or devotional practice was that it must lead directly to practical compassion. If your understanding of the divine made you kinder, more empathetic, and impelled you to express this sympathy in concrete acts of loving-kindness, this was good theology. But if your notion of God made you unkind, belligerent, cruel, or self-righteous, or if it led you to kill in God’s name, it was bad theology. Compassion was the litmus test for the prophets of Israel, for the rabbis of the Talmud, for Jesus, for Paul, and for Muhammad, not to mention Confucius, Lao-tsu, the Buddha, or the sages of the Upanishads.

Karen Armstrong (b. 1944) British author, comparative religion scholar
The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darkness (2004)
    (Source)
 
Added on 12-Oct-20 | Last updated 12-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Armstrong, Karen

He must be a man of little faith, who would fear to subject his own religion to the same critical tests to which the historian subjects all other religions. We need not surely crave a tender or merciful treatment for that faith which we hold to be the only true one. We should rather challenge it for the severest tests and trials, as the sailor would for the good ship to which he trusts his own life, and the lives of those who are dear to him. In the Science of Religion, we can decline no comparisons, nor claim any immunities for Christianity, as little as the missionary can, when wrestling with the subtle Brahmin, or the fanatical Mussulman, or the plain speaking Zulu.

Max Müller (1823-1900) German-British philologist, Orientalist, religious studies founder
Chips from a German Workshop, vol. 1, Preface (1866)
    (Source)
 
Added on 9-Oct-20 | Last updated 16-Oct-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Muller, Max

It is tiresome to keep hearing that the Bible is “the best-selling book” of all time, as though the fact that many people buy it indicates that they read it, understand it or follow it.

Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986) Anglo-American columnist, journalist, author
For the Time Being (1972)
    (Source)
 
Added on 4-Sep-20 | Last updated 4-Sep-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Harris, Sydney J.

In the most deeply significant of the legends concerning Jesus, we are told how the devil took him up into a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time; and the devil said unto him: “All this power will I give unto thee, and the glory of them, for that is delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will, I give it. If thou, therefore, wilt worship me, all shall be thine.” Jesus, as we know, answered and said “Get thee behind me, Satan!” And he really meant it; he would have nothing to do with worldly glory, with “temporal power;” he chose the career of a revolutionary agitator, and died the death of a disturber of the peace. And for two or three centuries his church followed in his footsteps, cherishing his proletarian gospel. The early Christians had “all things in common, except women;” they lived as social outcasts, hiding in deserted catacombs, and being thrown to lions and boiled in oil.

But the devil is a subtle worm; he does not give up at one defeat, for he knows human nature, and the strength of the forces which battle for him. He failed to get Jesus, but he came again, to get Jesus’ church. He came when, through the power of the new revolutionary idea, the Church had won a position of tremendous power in the decaying Roman Empire; and the subtle worm assumed the guise of no less a person than the Emperor himself, suggesting that he should become a convert to the new faith, so that the Church and he might work together for the greater glory of God. The bishops and fathers of the Church, ambitious for their organization, fell for this scheme, and Satan went off laughing to himself. He had got everything he had asked from Jesus three hundred years before; he had got the world’s greatest religion.

Upton Sinclair (1878-1968) American writer, journalist, activist, politician
The Profits of Religion, Book Seven “The Church of the Social Revolution” (1917)
    (Source)
 
Added on 27-Aug-20 | Last updated 27-Aug-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Sinclair, Upton

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!
Praise Him, all creatures here below!
Praise Him above, ye heavenly host!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Thomas Ken (1637-1711) English cleric, poet, hymnist
Doxology (1695)

This doxology was added at the end of Ken's Morning, Evening, and Midnight Hymns ("Awake, My Soul, and with the Sun," "All Praise to Thee, My God, This Night" (or "Glory to Thee, My God, This Night"), and "Lord, Now My Sleep Does Me Forsake." It is now often sung on its own in some Christian denominations, particularly Anglican.
 
Added on 24-Jul-20 | Last updated 24-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Ken, Thomas

The philosophical historian must admit that all the changes which the Catholic Church has undergone — its concessions to Pagan superstition, its secular power, its ruthless extirpation of rebels against its authority, its steadily growing centralisation and autocracy — were forced upon it in the struggle for existence. Those who wish that Church history had been different are wishing the impossible, or wishing that the Church had perished. But this argument is not valid as a defence of a divine institution. It is rather a merciless exposure of what happens, and must happen, to a great idea when it is enslaved by an institution of its own creation. The political organisation which has grown up round the idea ends by strangling it, and continues to fight for its own preservation by the methods which govern the policy of all other political organisations –force, fraud, and accommodation.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“Institutionalism and Mysticism” (1914), Outspoken Essays: First Series (1914)
    (Source)
 
Added on 6-Jul-20 | Last updated 6-Jul-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Inge, William Ralph

Faith is, on the practical side, just the resolution to stand or fall by the noblest hypothesis; and, on the intellectual side, it is a progressive initiation, by experiment which ends in experience, into the unity of the good, the true, and the beautiful, founded on the inner assurance that these three attributes of the divine nature have one source and conduct to one goal.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“Roman Catholic Modernism” (1909), Outspoken Essays: First Series (1911)
    (Source)
 
Added on 18-May-20 | Last updated 18-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: ,
More quotes by Inge, William Ralph

Jesus Christ chose to be born of poor and humble parents, in a land remote from the centre of political or intellectual influence, and in the circle of labouring men. He chose to belong to the class of the respectable artisan, and most of the twelve Apostles came from the same social level. In His teaching He plainly associated blessedness with the lot of poverty, and extreme danger with the lot of wealth. All through the New Testament the assumption is that God is on the side of the poor against the rich. As Jowett once said, there is more in the New Testament against being rich, and in favour of being poor, than we like to recognise.

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“Bishop Gore and the Church of England,” Edinburgh Review (Jan 1908)
    (Source)

Reprinted in Outspoken Essays: First Series (1911).
 
Added on 4-May-20 | Last updated 4-May-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Inge, William Ralph

Don’t flang him off the bluff, boys. Tain’t christian.

Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) American novelist, playwright, screenwriter
Outer Dark (1968)
    (Source)
 
Added on 27-Jan-20 | Last updated 27-Jan-20
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by McCarthy, Cormac

If conversion to Christianity makes no improvements in a man’s outward actions — if he continues to be just as snobbish or spiteful or envious or ambitious as he was before — then I think we must suspect that his “conversion” was largely imaginary; and after one’s original conversion, every time one thinks one has made an advance, that is the test to apply. Fine feelings, new insights, greater interest in “religion” mean nothing unless they make our actual behavior better.

C. S. Lewis (1898-1963) English writer, literary scholar, lay theologian [Clive Staples Lewis]
Mere Christianity, ch. 10 “Nice People or New Men” (1952)
    (Source)
 
Added on 30-Oct-19 | Last updated 7-Sep-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lewis, C.S.

My personal disillusionment with the church began when I was thrust into the leadership of the bus protest in Montgomery. I was confident that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would prove strong allies in our just cause. But some became open adversaries, some cautiously shrank from the issue, and others hid behind silence. My optimism about help from the white church was shattered; and on too many occasions since, my hopes for the white church have been dashed. There are many signs that the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. Unless the early sacrificial spirit is recaptured, I am very much afraid that today’s Christian church will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and we will see the Christian church dismissed as a social club with no meaning or effectiveness for our time, as a form without substance, as salt without savor. The real tragedy, though, is not Martin Luther King’s disillusionment with the church — for I am sustained by its spiritual blessings as a minister of the gospel with a lifelong commitment: The tragedy is that in my travels, I meet young people of all races whose disenchantment with the church has soured into outright disgust.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Playboy interview (Jan 1965)
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Dec-18 | Last updated 28-Dec-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by King, Martin Luther

The essence of the Epistles of Paul is that Christians should rejoice at being deemed worthy to suffer for what they believe. The projection of a social gospel, in my opinion, is the true witness of a Christian life. This is the meaning of the true ekklesia — the inner, spiritual church. The church once changed society. It was then a thermostat of society. But today I feel that too much of the church is merely a thermometer, which measures rather than molds popular opinion.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Playboy interview (Jan 1965)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Oct-18 | Last updated 15-Oct-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by King, Martin Luther

When Christianity asks the aid of government beyond mere impartial protection, it denies itself. Its laws are divine, and not human. Its essential interests lie beyond the reach and range of human governments. United with government, religion never rises above the merest superstition; united with religion, government never rises above the merest despotism; and all history shows us that the more widely and completely they are separated, the better it is for both.

John Welch (1805-1891) American politician, jurist
Board of Education of Cincinnati v. Minor, Ohio Supreme Court (1872)
    (Source)
 
Added on 4-Sep-18 | Last updated 4-Sep-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Welch, John

I decided that perhaps I would like to think of myself as an extremist — in the light of the spirit which made Jesus an extremist for love. If it sounds as though I am comparing myself to the Savior, let me remind you that all who honor themselves with the claim of being “Christians” should compare themselves to Jesus. Thus I consider myself an extremist for that brotherhood of man which Paul so nobly expressed: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” Love is the only force on earth that can be dispensed or received in an extreme manner, without any qualifications, without any harm to the giver or to the receiver.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Playboy interview (Jan 1965)
    (Source)
 
Added on 3-Aug-18 | Last updated 3-Aug-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by King, Martin Luther

There are many signs that the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. Unless the early sacrificial spirit is recaptured, I am very much afraid that today’s Christian church will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and we will see the Christian church dismissed as a social club with no meaning or effectiveness for our time, as a form without substance, as salt without savor. The real tragedy, though, is not Martin Luther King’s disillusionment with the church — for I am sustained by its spiritual blessings as a minister of the gospel with a lifelong commitment. The tragedy is that in my travels, I meet young people of all races whose disenchantment with the church has soured into outright disgust.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
Playboy interview (Jan 1965)
    (Source)
 
Added on 6-Apr-18 | Last updated 6-Apr-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by King, Martin Luther

For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course, that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere. “Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. (1922-2007) American novelist, journalist
A Man Without A Country, ch. 9 (2005)
    (Source)

The Beatitudes (Matthew 5).
 
Added on 2-Apr-18 | Last updated 6-Apr-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr.

There are three possible ways in which the church can act toward the state: in the first place, as has been said, it can ask the state whether its actions are legitimate and in accordance with its character as state, i.e., it can throw the state back on its responsibilities. Secondly, it can aid the victims of state action. The church has an unconditional obligation to the victims of any ordering society, even if they do not belong to the Christian community. “Do good to all men.” In both these course of action, the church serves the free state in its free way, and at times when laws are changed the church may in no way withdraw itself from these two tasks.

The third possibility is not just to bandage the victims under the wheel, but to put a spoke in the wheel itself. Such action would be direct political action, and is only possible and required when the church sees the state fail in its function of creating law and order, i.e., when it sees the state unrestrainedly bring about too much or too little law and order.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) German Lutheran pastor, theologian, martyr
“The Church and the Jewish Question” (1933)
    (Source)

On the need for Christian clergy to actively oppose the Nazi regime's persecution of Jews.
 
Added on 8-Jan-18 | Last updated 8-Jan-18
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bonhoeffer, Dietrich

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it is nobody’s business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy.

Thomas Merton (1915-1968) French-American religious and writer [a.k.a. Fr. M. Louis]
Disputed Questions, “The Power and Meaning of Love” (1953)
    (Source)
 
Added on 18-Oct-17 | Last updated 18-Oct-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Merton, Thomas

Segregation is a cancer in the body politic which must be removed before our democratic health can be realized. The underlying philosophy of segregation is diametrically opposed to the underlying philosophy of democracy and Christianity and all the sophisms of the logicians cannot make them lie down together.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) American clergyman, civil rights leader, social activist, preacher
“Keep Moving from This Mountain,” Spelman College (10 Apr 1960)
    (Source)

King used many of these phrases in other speeches and sermons during this period.
 
Added on 8-Sep-17 | Last updated 8-Sep-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by King, Martin Luther

[Dr. John] Campbell is a good man, a pious man. I am afraid he has not been in the inside of a church for many years; but he never passes a church without
pulling off his hat. This shews that he has good principles.

Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
Comment (1 Jul 1763)

In James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson (1791).
 
Added on 24-Feb-17 | Last updated 24-Feb-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Johnson, Samuel

And, when you, looking on your fellow men
Behold them doomed to endless misery,
How can you talk of joy and rapture then?
May God withhold such cruel joy from me!

Anne Brontë (1820-1849) British novelist, poet [pseud. Acton Bell]
“A Word to Calvinists” (28 May 1843)
    (Source)
 
Added on 26-Jan-17 | Last updated 26-Jan-17
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Bronte, Anne