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I could no longer reconcile the claims of faith with the facts of life. In particular, I could no longer explain how there can be a good and all-powerful God actively involved with this world, given the state of things. For many people who inhabit this planet, life is a cesspool of misery and suffering. I came to a point where I simply could not believe that there is a good and kindly disposed Ruler who is in charge of it.

Bart Ehrman
Bart D. Ehrman (b. 1955) American Biblical scholar, author
God’s Problem, ch. 1 (2008)
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If there is an all-powerful and loving God in this world, why is there so much excruciating pain and unspeakable suffering? The problem of suffering has haunted me for a very long time. It was what made me begin to think about religion when I was young, and it was what led me to question my faith when I was older. Ultimately, it was the reason I lost my faith.

Bart Ehrman
Bart D. Ehrman (b. 1955) American Biblical scholar, author
God’s Problem, ch. 1 “Suffering and a Crisis of Faith” (2008)
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Those who turn to God for comfort may find comfort but I do not think they will find God.

Mignon McLaughlin (1913-1983) American journalist and author
The Neurotic’s Notebook, ch. 8 (1963)
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Usbek, it seems to me that we always judge things by secretly relating them to our own concerns. I am not surprised that black men envision the devil as being a brilliant white color, and that they picture their gods as being black as coal — nor that certain peoples picture Venus as having breasts that hang down to her thighs — nor that all idolaters have always pictured their gods in human form, ascribing to them all their own predilections. It has been well said that if triangles had a god, they would imagine him as having three sides.

[Il me semble, Usbek, que nous ne jugeons jamais des choses que par un retour secret que nous faisons sur nous-mêmes. Je ne suis pas surpris que les nègres peignent le diable d’une blancheur éblouissante et leurs dieux noirs comme du charbon ; que la Vénus de certains peuples ait des mamelles qui lui pendent jusqu’aux cuisses ; et qu’enfin tous les idolâtres aient représenté leurs dieux avec une figure humaine, et leur aient fait part de toutes leurs inclinations. On a dit fort bien que, si les triangles faisoient un dieu, ils lui donneroient trois côtés.]

Charles-Lewis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) French political philosopher
Persian Letters [Lettres Persanes], Letter 59, Rica to Usbek (1721) [tr. MacKenzie (2014)]
    (Source)

The triangles reference is often attributed directly to Montesquieu, though it's referenced here as having another origin. It is sometimes cited as a Jewish or Yiddish proverb.

Some early editions leave out the triangle metaphor altogether, thinking it alludes to the Trinity.

See also Voltaire.

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

It is my Opinion, Usbek, that we never judge of Things but with a private View to our selves. I am not surprised that the Negroes shou'd paint the Devil of the most glaring Whiteness, and their Gods as black as a Coal; that the Venus of some Nations shou'd have Breasts hanging down to her very Thighs; and lastly, that all Idolaters have represented their Gods with a Human Figure, and given them all their own Inclinations. It has been said with good Reason that if the Triangles were to make a God they wou'd give him three Sides.
[tr. Ozell (1736), No. 57]

It appears to me, Usbek, that we never judge of things but with a private view to ourselves. I do not wonder that the Negroes paint the devil in the most glaring whiteness, and their gods as black as a coal; that the Venus of some nations should be represented with breasts pendent to her thighs; nor indeed that all idolaters have made their gods of human figures, and have ascribed to them all their own passions.
[tr. Floyd (1762)]

It seems to me, Usbek, that our opinions are always influenced by a secret application to ourselves. I am not surprised that Negroes paint the devil with a complexion of dazzling whiteness, and their gods as black as coal; that the Venus of certain races has breasts that hang down to her thighs; and finally, that all idolaters have represented their gods in the likeness of men, and have ascribed to them all their own passions. It has been very well said, that if triangles were to make to themselves gods, they would give them three sides.
[tr. Davidson (1891)]

It seems to me, Usbek, that our judgment of things is always controlled by the secret influence they have had on our own actions. I am not surprised that the negroes paint the devil with a face of dazzling whiteness, and their gods as black as coal; that the Venus of certain tribes has breasts that hang down to her thighs; and, in fine, that all nations have represented their gods in the human form, and have supposed them to be imbued with their own passions. It has been very well said that if triangles were to make a god for themselves, they would give him three sides.
[tr. Betts (1897)]

It seems to me, Usbek, that we judge things only by applying them secretly to ourselves. I am not surprised that Negroes paint the devil in dazzling white and their gods in carbon black; or that the Venus of certain peoples has breasts that hang to her thighs; or, finally, that all idolaters have represented their gods in human shape and assign to them all their own attributes. It is well said that if triangles were to create a god, they would describe him with three sides.
[tr. Healy (1964)]

It seems to me, Usbek, that we never judge anything without secretly considering it in relation to our own self. I am not surprised that black men depict the devil as brilliantly white, and their own gods as coal-black, that the Venus of certain peoples has breasts that hang down to her thighs, and, in short, that all idolaters have depicted their gods with human faces, and have endowed them with their own propensities. It has been quite correctly observed that if triangles were to make themselves a god, they would give him three sides.
[tr. Mauldon (2008), No. 57]

 
Added on 30-Jan-24 | Last updated 30-Jan-24
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Whoso pretends that Love is no great god,
The lord and master of all deities,
Is either dull of soul, or, dead to beauty,
Knows not the greatest god that governs men.
 
[Ἔρωτα δ᾿ ὅστις μὴ θεὸν κρίνει μέγαν
καὶ τῶν ἁπάντων δαιμόνων ὑπέρτατον,
ἢ σκαιός ἐστιν ἢ καλῶν ἄπειρος ὢν
οὐκ οἶδε τὸν μέγιστον ἀνθρώποις θεόν.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Auge [Αὐγῃ], frag. 269 (c. 408 BC) [tr. Symonds (1880)]
    (Source)

The second line ("καὶ ... ὑπέρτατον" = "the highest of all deities") was apparently inserted by Stobaeus.

Nauck (TGF) frag. 269, Barnes frag. 15, Musgrave frag. 3. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

He who esteems not Love a mighty God,
And to all other Deities superior,
Devoid of reason, or to beauty blind,
Knows not the ruler of this nether world.
[tr. Wodhall (1809)]

Anyone who does not count Love a great god,
and the highest of all the divine powers,
is either obtuse or, lacking experience in his benefits,
is unacquainted with human beings’ greatest god.
[tr. Collard / Cropp (2008); Funke (2013)]

Whoever does not judge Love to be a great god, and highest of all the divine powers, is either a fool or, lacking experience of his good things, is not acquainted with mankind's greatest god.
[tr. Wright (2017)]

Whoever does not think Eros a great god
is either silly or ignorant of blessings.
[Source]

 
Added on 23-Jan-24 | Last updated 23-Jan-24
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One single grateful thought towards heaven, is the most perfect prayer!

[Ein einziger dankbarer Gedanke gen Himmel ist das vollkommenste Gebet!]

Gotthold Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramaturg, writer
Minna von Barnhelm, Act 2, sc. 7 [Minna] (1763) [tr. Holroyd/Bell (1888)]
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(Source (German)). Alternate translation:

A single grateful thought toward heaven is the most perfect prayer.
[Source (1884)]

 
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Beauty is indeed a good gift of God; but that the good may not think it a great good, God dispenses it even to the wicked.

[Quod bonum Dei quidem donum est; sed propterea id largitur etiam malis, ne magnum bonum uideatur bonis.]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
City of God [De Civitate Dei], Book 15, ch. 22 (15.22) (AD 412-416) [tr. Dods (1871)]
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Referencing Genesis 6:1-4, and of the "sons of God" who fell in love with the physical beauty of the women of the earthly city.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Bodily beauty [...] is indeed a gift of God, but given to the evil also, lest the good should imagine it of any such great worth.
[tr. Healey (1610)]

Their beauty, in itself, was a gift of God, but it is the kind of gift which God gives even to the wicked so that good men may realize how slight a good it is.
[tr. Walsh/Monahan (1952)]

This beauty is indeed a good given by God, but he bestows it also on the wicked lest the good should regard it as a great good.
[tr. Levine (Loeb) (1966)]

Such beauty is certainly a good, a gift of God; but he bestows it on the evil as well as on the good for this reason, for fear that the good may consider it an important good.
[tr. Bettenson (1972)]

Such beauty is certainly a good, a gift from God; but He grants it to the evil also, lest it should come to seem too great a good to the good.
[tr. Dyson (1998)]

This good of beauty is indeed God's gift, but it is bestowed also on the wicked, so that it may not appear as a great blessing to those who are good.
[tr. Babcock (2012)]

 
Added on 8-Jan-24 | Last updated 8-Jan-24
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People complain about the bad things that happen to em that they don’t deserve but they seldom mention the good. About what they done to deserve them things. I don’t recall that I ever give the good Lord all that much cause to smile on me. But he did.

Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) American novelist, playwright, screenwriter
No Country for Old Men, ch. 4 (2005)
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How does it help us to say that the Bible is the inerrant word of God if in fact we don’t have the words that God inerrantly inspired, but only the words copied by the scribes — sometimes correctly but sometimes (many times!) incorrectly? What good is it to say that the autographs (i.e., the originals) were inspired? We don’t have the originals! We have only error-ridden copies, and the vast majority of these are centuries removed from the originals and different from them, evidently, in thousands of ways.

Bart Ehrman
Bart D. Ehrman (b. 1955) American Biblical scholar, author
Misquoting Jesus, Introduction (2005)
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Added on 14-Dec-23 | Last updated 14-Dec-23
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Some joys, it’s true, are wrong in Heaven’s eyes;
Yet Heaven is not averse to compromise.

[Le ciel défend, de vrai, certains contentements;
Mais on trouve avec lui des accommodements.]

Molière (1622-1673) French playwright, actor [stage name for Jean-Baptiste Poquelin]
Tartuffe, Act 4, sc. 5 [Tartuffe to Elmire] (1664) [tr. Wilbur (1961)]
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Moliere inserts a note in this line, "A scoundrel is speaking [C’est un scélérat qui parle.]"

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Heaven, it is true, forbids certain gratifications, but there are ways and means of compounding such matters.
[tr. Van Laun (c. 1870)]

Heaven, it is true, forbids certain gratifications; but there are ways of compounding these matters.
[tr. Mathew (1890)]

Heaven forbids, 't is true, some satisfactions;
But we find means to make things right with Heaven.
[tr. Page (1909)]

It's true that heaven forbids some satisfactions,
But there are possible ways to understandings.
[tr. Bishop (1957)]

It's true, there are some pleasures Heaven denies;
But there are ways to reach a compromise.
[tr. Frame (1967)]

It's true that Heaven forbids certain pleasures,
but it's possible to make bargains.
[tr. Steiner (2008)]

Heaven forbids, in truth, certain contentments;
But we find with him accomodations.
[Source]

It's true Heaven forbids some pleasures, but a compromise can usually be found.
[E.g.]

 
Added on 12-Dec-23 | Last updated 12-Dec-23
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Our Father in Heaven, not by Heaven bounded
but there indwelling for the greater love Thou
bear’st Thy first works in the realm first-founded,
hallowed be Thy name, hallowed Thy Power
by every creature as its nature grants it
to praise Thy quickening breath in its brief hour.
Let come to us the sweet peace of Thy reign,
for if it come not we cannot ourselves
attain to it however much we strain.
And as Thine Angels kneeling at the throne
offer their wills to Thee, singing Hosannah,
so teach all men to offer up their own.
Give us this day Thy manna, Lord we pray,
for if he have it not, though man most strive
through these harsh wastes, his speed is his delay.
As we forgive our trespassers the ill
we have endured, do Thou forgive, not weighing
our merits, but the mercy of Thy will.
Our strength is as a reed bent to the ground:
do not Thou test us with the Adversary,
but deliver us from him who sets us round.
This last petition. Lord, with grateful mind,
we pray not for ourselves who have no need,
but for the souls of those we left behind.

[O Padre nostro, che ne’ cieli stai,
non circunscritto, ma per più amore
ch’ai primi effetti di là sù tu hai,
laudato sia ’l tuo nome e ’l tuo valore
da ogne creatura, com’è degno
di render grazie al tuo dolce vapore.
Vegna ver’ noi la pace del tuo regno,
ché noi ad essa non potem da noi,
s’ella non vien, con tutto nostro ingegno.
Come del suo voler li angeli tuoi
fan sacrificio a te, cantando osanna,
così facciano li uomini de’ suoi.
Dà oggi a noi la cotidiana manna,
sanza la qual per questo aspro diserto
a retro va chi più di gir s’affanna.
E come noi lo mal ch’avem sofferto
perdoniamo a ciascuno, e tu perdona
benigno, e non guardar lo nostro merto.
Nostra virtù che di legger s’adona,
non spermentar con l’antico avversaro,
ma libera da lui che sì la sprona.
Quest’ultima preghiera, segnor caro,
già non si fa per noi, ché non bisogna,
ma per color che dietro a noi restaro.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 2 “Purgatorio,” Canto 11, l. 1ff (11.1-24) (1314) [tr. Ciardi (1961)]
    (Source)

A paraphrase of the Christian Paternoster (the Lord's Prayer or "Our Father," from Matt. 6.9-13) prayer, recited by the Proud in Purgatory as both a "first children's prayer" and an act of humility. While it may seem blasphemous for Dante to modify a Biblical prayer in this way, St. Augustine wrote that the Lord's Prayer could be personalized, so long as its main petitions remained intact.

Given the length of the passage, I've reduced the number of parallel translations shown.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Great Father! whom the Universe obeys!
Who, by thy boundless Love's transcendent rays.
In purest light, the brightest virtue flows:
Let all the orders of creation join
In one deep plaudit to that love divine.
Which thro' the countless tribes of being glows.
Let thy celestial Grace, with heav'nly plume,
Descend, where, plung'd in this terrestrial gloom,
We ply our powers in vain, to seize the boon;
And as the Powers above, that own thy sway,
With joy the dictates of thy will obey.
So may th' example spread beneath the Moon.
May thy unsparing hand, with daily food,
Supply our frailty; else, by Time subdu'd,
Our steps must falter in this vale of woe;
As other's faults we pass, do thou forgive! --
Let not our deep defects our souls deprive
Of thy supernal favours, bounteous flow!
With thy protecting hand, O Saviour! shield
Our stagg'ring virtue, in the dangerous field!
And keep at bay the sin-provoking Foe.
We pray not for ourselves, but those behind.
That, breathing still, their painful journey wind
Thro' the sublunar vale of crimes and woe.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 1-4]

Our Father, thou who dwellest in the heavens,
Not circumscribed, but from the greater love
Thou bearest to the first effects on high,
Praised be thy name and thine omnipotence
By every creature, as befitting is
To render thanks to thy sweet effluence.
Come unto us the peace of thy dominion,
For unto it we cannot of ourselves,
If it come not, with all our intellect.
Even as thine own Angels of their will
Make sacrifice to thee, Hosanna singing,
So may all men make sacrifice of theirs.
Give unto us this day our daily manna,
Withouten which in this rough wilderness
Backward goes he who toils most to advance.
And even as we the trespass we have suffered
Pardon in one another, pardon thou
Benignly, and regard not our desert.
Our virtue, which is easily o'ercome,
Put not to proof with the old Adversary,
But thou from him who spurs it so, deliver.
This last petition verily, dear Lord,
Not for ourselves is made, who need it not,
But for their sake who have remained behind us.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Our Father, who in the heavens abidest, not as circumscribed, but through the greater love which Thou hast to Thy first effects on high, praised be Thy name and Thy worth by every creature, as it is meet to render thanks to Thy sweet Spirit. Let the peace of Thy kingdom come to us, for we towards it can naught of ourselves, if it comes not, with all our wit As of their will Thy angels make sacrifice to Thee, chanting Hosanna, so may men do of theirs. Give this day to us the daily manna, without which through this rough desert backward he goes who most toils to go forward. And as we forgive to each man the evil which we have suffered, do Thou also graciously forgive, and not regard our merit. Our strength, which easily surrenders, put not Thou to proof with the old adversary, but deliver it from him, who so urges it This last prayer, dear Lord, no longer is made for us, for it needs not, but for those who have remained behind us.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Our Father who dost dwell in Heaven above,
Not circumscribed, but that Thou there dost place
Upon Thy primal effluence, higher love,
For ever hallowed be Thy Name and grace,
By each created thing, as is most right
In rendering thanks Thy savour to embrace.
The peace of Thy own kingdom on us light,
Which of ourselves we never could attain.
Unless it come through striving with all might.
As, by their own desire, Thy angels fain
Singing Hosanna, sacrifice to Thee,
So may Thy will be done on earth by man.
Provide us with our daily manna free,
Without the which, this desert road along.
He would go back, who striveth most to flee.
And as we pardon unto each the wrong
Which we have suffered, be our pardoner,
Nor weigh the merits which to us belong.
Our virtue, which so easily doth err,
Do not thou test it with the ancient foe,
Deliver us from him that so doth spur.
This last petition, O dear Lord, we owe
Not for ourselves, for whom is no more need,
Rather for those we've left behind below.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

O our Father, who art in heaven above,
Not as being circumscribed, but because toward
Thy first creation thou hast greater love,
Hallowed thy name be and thy power adored
By every creature, as is meet and right
To give thanks for the sweetness from thee poured;
May upon us thy kingdom's peace alight.
For to it of ourselves we cannot rise,
Unless it come itself, with all our wit.
As of their will thine angels' companies
Make sacrifice, as they Hosanna sing,
So may men make of their will sacrifice.
To us this day our daily manna bring:
Else through this desert harsh must he revert
His steps, who most to advance is labouring.
And as we pardon every one the hurt
That we have suffered, do thou pardon too,
Begninant, nor remember our desert.
Try not our will, so easy to subdue,
With the old adversary, and by thine aid
Save us from him who goads it, to our rue.
This last prayer, dear Lord, is for us not made
Any more, since remaineth now no need,
But 'tis for those who have behind us stayed.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

Our Father, dwelling in the Heavens, nowise
As circumscribed, but as the things above,
Thy first effects, are dearest in Thine eyes.
Hallowed Thy name be and the Power thereof,
By every creature, as right meet it is
We praise the tender effluence of Thy Love.
Let come to us, let come Thy Kingdom's peace;
If it come not, we've no power of our own
To come to it, for all our subtleties.
Like as with glad Hosannas as Thy throne
Thine angels offer up their wills away,
So let men offer theirs, that Thine be done.
Our daily manna give to us this day,
Without which he that through this desert wild
Toils most to speed goes backward on his way.
As we, with all our debtors reconciled,
Forgive, do Thou forgive us, nor regard
Our merits, but upon our sins look mild.
Put not our strength, too easily ensnared
And overcome, to proof with the old foe;
But save us from him, for he tries it hard.
This last prayer is not made for us -- we know,
Dear Lord, that it is needless -- but for those
Who still remain behind us we pray so.
[tr. Sayers (1955)]

Our Father Who in Heaven dost abide,
not there constrained but dwelling there because
Thou lovest more Thy lofty first effects,
hallowed by Thy name, hallowed Thy Power,
by Thy creatures as it behooves us all
to render thanks for Thy sweet effluence.
Thy kingdom come to us with all its peace;
if it come not, we of ourselves cannot
attain to it, no matter how we strive.
And as Thine angels offer up their wills
to Thee in sacrifice, singing Hosannah,
let all men offer up to Thee their own.
Give us this day our daily manna, Lord:
without it, those most eager to advance
go backwards through this wild wasteland of ours.
As we forgive our trespassers, do Thou,
forgive our trespasses, merciful Lord,
look not upon our undeserving worth.
Our strength is only weakness, lead us not
into temptation by our ancient foe,
deliver us from him who urges evil.
This last request, beloved Lord, we make
not for ourselves, who know we have no need,
but for those souls who still remain behind.
[tr. Musa (1981)]

Our father, which art in heaven,
Not because circumscribed, but out of the greater love
You have for your first creation on high,
Praise be to your name and worthiness
From every creature, as it is appropriate
To render thanks to your sweet charity.
Thy kingdom come, and the peace of thy kingdom,
Because we cannot attain it of ourselves,
If it does not come, for all our ingenuity.
As of their own freewill your angels
Make sacrifice to you, singing Hosanna,
So may men also do of their freewill.
Give us this day our daily manna,
Without which, through the roughness of this desert,
He who tries hardest to advance, goes backward.
And as we forgive everyone the evil
That we have suffered, may you pardon us
Graciously, and have no regard to our merits.
Do not put our virtue to the test
With the old adversary, it is easily overcome,
But free us from him who spurs us on.
This last prayer, dear Lord, we no longer
Make for ourselves, having no need of it,
But for those who are left behind us.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

Our Father, You who dwell within the heavens --
but are not circumscribed by them -- out of
Your greater love for Your first works above,
praised be Your name and Your omnipotence,
by every creature, just as it is seemly
to offer thanks to Your sweet effluence.
Your kingdom’s peace come unto us, for if
it does not come, then though we summon all
our force, we cannot reach it of our selves.
Just as Your angels, as they sing Hosanna,
offer their wills to You as sacrifice,
so may men offer up their wills to You.
Give unto us this day the daily manna
without which he who labors most to move
ahead through this harsh wilderness falls back.
Even as we forgive all who have done
us injury, may You, benevolent,
forgive, and do not judge us by our worth.
Try not our strength, so easily subdued,
against the ancient foe, but set it free
from him who goads it to perversity.
This last request we now address to You,
dear Lord, not for ourselves -- who have no need --
but for the ones whom we have left behind.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1982)]

O our Father who are in the heavens, not circumscribed, but because of the greater love you bear those first effects up there,
praised be your Name and your Power by every creature, for it is fitting to give thanks to your sweet Spirit.
Let the peace of your kingdom come to us, for we cannot attain to it by ourselves, if it does not come, with all our wit.
As the angels sacrifice their wills to you, singing Hosanna, so let men do with theirs.
Give us this day our daily manna, without which in this harsh wilderness he goes backwards who most strives forward.
And as we forgive all others for the evil we have suffered, do you forgive us lovingly, and do not regard our merit.
Our strength, which is easily subdued, do not tempt with the ancient adversary, but free it from him who spurs it so.
This last prayer, dear Lord, we do not make for ourselves, since there is no need, but for those who have stayed behind.
[tr. Durling (2003)]

O our Father, who are in Heaven, not because of your limitation, but because of the greater love you have for your first sublime works, praised be your name and worth by every creature, as it is fitting to give thanks for your sweet outpourings. May the peace of your kingdom come to us, since we cannot reach it by ourselves, despite all our intellect, if it does not come to us itself. As Angels sacrifice their will to yours, singing Hosanna: so may men sacrifice theirs. Give us this day our daily bread, without which he who labours to advance, goes backward, through this harsh desert. And forgive in loving-kindness, as we forgive everyone, the evil we have suffered, and judge us not by what we deserve. Do not test our virtue, that is easily conquered, against the ancient enemy, but deliver us from him who tempts it. And this last prayer, dear Lord, is not made on our behalf, since we do not need it, but for those we have left behind.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

O our Father, whose place is high in Heaven
Not fixed or held in the sky, but there ascending
Because of Your love for the first of Your creations,
May Your name be praised by every living
Creature, and also Your virtues, for You deserve
Such gratitude for all the emanations
You send us. May your kingdom's peace come down
To us, who are not strong enough by ourselves,
And can not take it, no matter how we strive.
Just as Your angels sacrifice their wills
To You, singing Hosannah, men as well
Should bend their wills to Yours, and sing Hosannah.
Give us, this day, our daily grace, without which
Men go backwards, here in this bitter desert,
Forced to go back, although they struggle for more.
And just as we forgive to all men the wrongs
We have endured, may You in loving kindness
Pardon us, in spite of all our sins.
Our powers are weak, and easily overcome:
Do not oblige us to fight our ancient foe,
But free us from him, who tries to woo us with evil.
And this last prayer, dear Lord, we do not make
For ourselves, who are not in need, but for the sake
Of those behind us, as we rise to Your face.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

 
Added on 1-Dec-23 | Last updated 1-Dec-23
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If the gods do a shameful thing, they are not gods.

[εἰ θεοί τι δρῶσιν αἰσχρόν, οὐκ εἰσὶν θεοί.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bellerophon [Βελλεροφῶν], frag. 292, l. 7 (TGF) (c. 430 BC) [tr. @sentantiq (2014)]
    (Source)

Barnes frag. 112, Musgrave frag. 19. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

But to thee
This I maintain, that if the Gods commit
Aught that is base, they are no longer Gods.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

If gods do anything shameful, they are not gods.
[tr. Collard, Hargreaves, Cropp (1995)]

If gods do what is shameful, they are not gods.
[tr. Stevens (2012), frag. 286b]

If the gods do anything base, they are not gods.
[tr. Dixon (2014)]

 
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BACCHUS, n. A convenient deity invented by the ancients as an excuse for getting drunk.

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914?) American writer and journalist
“Bacchus,” The Cynic’s Word Book (1906)
    (Source)

Included in The Devil's Dictionary (1911). Originally published in the "Devil's Dictionary" column in the San Francisco Wasp (1881-04-23).
 
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“God is love,” as Scripture says, and that means the revelation is in the relationship. “God is love” means God is known devotionally, not dogmatically. “God is love” does not clear up old mysteries; it discloses new mystery. “God is love” is not a truth we can master; it is only one to which we can surrender. Faith is being grasped by the power of love.

William Sloane Coffin, Jr. (1924-2006) American minister, social activist
“Emmanuel,” sermon (1979-12-09)
    (Source)

Sermon on Matthew 1:23.

Coffin had used very similar language in an earlier sermon, "Born to Set Thy People Free" (1977-12-04), on John 1:14:

God is known devotionally, not dogmatically. If as Scripture says, "God is love," then the revelation is the relationship. Christianity is not cleaning up old mysteries; it's the disclovsure of a new mystery. It is not a truth that you can master; it's only one to which you can surrender. Faith is being grasped by the power of love.
 
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I think that if there go on being great wars and great oppressions and many people leading very unhappy lives, probably religion will go on, because I’ve observed that the belief in the goodness of God is inversely proportional to the evidence. When there’s no evidence for it at all, people believe it, and, when things are going well and you might believe it, they don’t.

Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Interview by Woodrow Wyatt, BBC TV (1959)
    (Source)

Collected in Bertrand Russell's BBC Interviews (1959) [UK] and Bertrand Russell Speaks His Mind (1960) [US]. Reprinted (abridged) in The Humanist (1982-11/12), and in Russell Society News, #37 (1983-02).
 
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To suffer torments both of heat and chill,
the Utmost Power gives bodies, fit for that,
not wishing how it does to be revealed.
It’s madness if we hope that rational minds
should ever follow to its end the road
that one true being in three persons takes.
Content yourselves with quia, human kind.
Had you been able to see everything,
Mary need not have laboured to give birth.

[A sofferir tormenti, caldi e geli
simili corpi la Virtù dispone
che, come fa, non vuol ch’a noi si sveli.
Matto è chi spera che nostra ragione
possa trascorrer la infinita via
che tiene una sustanza in tre persone.
State contenti, umana gente, al quia;
ché, se potuto aveste veder tutto,
mestier non era parturir Maria.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 2 “Purgatorio,” Canto 3, l. 31ff (3.31-39) (1314) [tr. Kirkpatrick (2007)]
    (Source)

Virgil chides Dante to stop trying to figure out the biology, let alone divine purpose, of the Afterlife, and just accept the what (quia), the existence of it, rather than the how or why, which are as incomprehensible as the Trinity; if human reason could suffice to understand God, there would have been no reason for Jesus to have been born to save humanity.

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Why these sky-woven forms, that seem to fly
All mortal sense, can suffer and enjoy
Heav'n's bliss, and all th' extremes of fire and frost,
That Power that so decrees, can best explain:
Created plummet sounds that depth in vain.
In that, as in the Trinal Union, lost.
Too anxious mortals! learn to be resign'd;
Could the deep secrets of th' Almighty Mind
Be seen, nor Sin nor Savior had been known.
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 7-8]

To endure
Torments of heat and cold extreme, like frames
That virtue hath dispos’d, which how it works
Wills not to us should be reveal’d. Insane
Who hopes, our reason may that space explore,
Which holds three persons in one substance knit.
Seek not the wherefore, race of human kind;
Could ye have seen the whole, no need had been
For Mary to bring forth.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

To suffer torments, both the cold and hot,
Bodies alike in form has he annealed --
The how he wishes not to use revealed.
Foolish! who think our reason can unveil,
Or hope to pass the infinital way
To find three persons one Substantiality:
Remain content without the manner how.
Could you have seen at once the whole of worth,
Why was it meet Maria should bring forth?
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

To suffer torments, both of cold and heat,
Bodies like this that Power provides, which wills
That how it works be not unveiled to us.
Insane is he who hopeth that our reason
Can traverse the illimitable way, ⁠
Which the one Substance in three Persons follows!
Mortals, remain contented at the Quia;
For if ye had been able to see all,
No need there were for Mary to give birth.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

To suffer torments both of heat and cold that Power ordains such bodies, which will not that the manner of its working be revealed to us. Mad is he who hopes that our reason can travel over the boundless way, which one Substance in three Persons holds. Remain content, race of mankind, at the quia, for if you could have seen all no need was there that Mary should bring forth.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

To suffer torments, heat, and cold, is given
To bodies like to this, by high decree,
The how 'tis done by man cannot be riven.
He's mad who thinks our human reason free
Along the infinite career to run,
Of God, the substance one in Persons three.
Be ye content, O man, the Why unknown:
Had ye been able to behold the whole,
No need had Mary to bring forth her son.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

To suffer torments, both hot and cold, bodies like this the Power ordains, which wills not that how it acts be revealed to us. Mad is he who hopes that our reason can traverse the infinite way which One Substance in Three Persons holds. Be content, human race, with the quia; for if ye had been able to see everything, need had not been for Mary to bear child.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

To suffer torments, heat and frost, bodies such as these that power disposes, which will not that its workings be revealed to us.
Mad is he who hopes that our reason may compass that infinitude which one substance in three persons fills.
Be ye content, O human race, with the quia! For if ye had been able to see the whole, no need was there for Mary to give birth.
[tr. Okey (1901)]

The Power fits such bodies as these to suffer torments of heat and frost which wills not that the way of its working should be revealed to us. Foolish is he who hopes that our reason can trace the infinite ways taken by one Substance in three Persons. Rest content, race of men, with the quia; for if you had been able to see all there was no need for Mary to give birth.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

That power disposes bodies like to mine
In torments both of heat and frost to weep
Which wills not that its working we divine.
He is mad who hopes that reason in its sweep
The infinite way can traverse back and forth
Which the Three Persons in one substance keep.
With the quia stay content, children of earth!
For if the whole before your eyes had lain,
No need was there for Mary to give birth.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

Bodies like mine, to bear pain, cold and heat,
That power ordains, whose will forever spreads
A veil between its working and our wit.
Madness! that reason lodged in human heads
should hope to traverse backward and unweave
The infinite path Three-personed Substance treads.
Content you with the quia, sons of Eve,
For had you power to see the whole truth plain
No need had been for Mary to conceive.
[tr. Sayers (1955)]

We react
within these bodies to pain and heat and cold
according to the workings of That Will
which does not will that all Its ways be told.
He is insane who dreams that he may learn
by mortal reasoning the boundless orbit
Three Persons in One Substance fill and turn.
Be satisfied with the quia of cause unknown,
O humankind! for could you have seen All,
Mary need not have suffered to bear a son.
[tr. Ciardi (1961)]

To suffer torments, heat, and frost, bodies such as these that Power ordains, which wills not that the way of its working be revealed to us. Foolish is he who hopes that our reason may compass the infinite course taken by One Substance in Three Persons. Be content, human race, with the quia; for if you had been able to see everything, no need was there for Mary to give birth.
[tr. Singleton (1973)]

Yet bodies such as ours are sensitive
to pain and cold and heat -- willed by that Power
which wills its secret not to be revealed;
madness it is to hope that human minds
can ever understand the Infinite
that comprehends Three Persons in One Being.
Be staisfied with quia unexplained,
O human race! If you knew everything,
no need for Mary to have borne a son.
[tr. Musa (1981)]
v
Omnipotence disposes bodies like mine
To suffer torments both from heat and cold,
And how it does so, does not see fit to reveal.
Only a madman would expect our reason
To follow all that infinite approach
And understand one substance in three persons.
The human race should be content with the quia:
For if it had been able to see everything,
No need for Mary to have had a child.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

The Power has disposed such bodiless
bodies to suffer torments, heat and cold:
how this is done, He would not have us know.
Foolish is he who hopes our intellect
can reach the end of that unending road
only one Substance in three Persons follows.
Confine yourselves, o humans, to the quia;
had you been able to see all, there would
have been no need for Mary to give birth.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1982)]

Such bodies are disposed to suffer torments, heat, and freezings by the Power that does not wish its ways to be unveiled to us.
He is mad who hopes that our reason can traverse the infinite way taken by one Substance in three Persons.
Be content, human people, with the quia; for if you had been able to see everything, there was no need for Mary to give birth.
[tr. Durling (2003)]

That power, that does not will that its workings should be revealed to us, disposes bodies such as these to suffer torments, fire and ice. He is foolish who hopes that our reason may journey on the infinite road, that one substance in three persons owns. Stay, content, human race, with the ‘what’: since if you had been able to understand it all, there would have been no need for Mary to give birth.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

The Power that fits bodies like ours
to suffer torments, heat, and cold
does not reveal the secret of its working.
Foolish is he who hopes that with our reason
we can trace the infinite path
taken by one Substance in three Persons.
Be content, then, all you mortals, with the quia,
for could you, on your own, have understood,
there was no need for Mary to give birth.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

These bodies were made by God, they endure troubles,
And heat, and frost -- but we are not informed
How this is accomplished; He does not want us to know.
You have to be mad, hoping that human reason
Can ever unravel the infinite things He does,
Three Persons simultaneously only One.
Be satisfied, O humans, with Reality,
For had you ever been able to see and know
It all, why bother with God in Mary's womb?
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

 
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

For love of God, cheerfully endure everything — labour, sorrow, temptation, provocation, anxiety, necessity, weakness, injury and insult; censure, humiliation, disgrace, contradiction and contempt. All these things foster your growth in virtue, for they test the unproved servant of Christ, and form the jewels of his heavenly crown.

[Pro amore Dei debes omnia libenter subire , labores scilicet et dolores, tentationes et vexationes, anxietates et necessitates , infirmitates , injurias, oblocutiones , reprehensiones, humiliationes, confusiones, correctiones et despectiones. Haec juvant ad virtutem , haec probant Christi tironem, haec fabricant coelestem coronam.]

Thomas von Kempen
Thomas à Kempis (c. 1380-1471) German-Dutch priest, author
The Imitation of Christ [De Imitatione Christi], Book 3, ch. 5, v. 2 (3.5.2) (c. 1418-27) [tr. Sherley-Price (1952)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For the love of God thou oughtest to suffer gladly all things, that is to say, all labours, sorrows, temptations, vexations, anguishes, neediness, sickness, injuries, evil sayings, reprovings, oppressions, confusions, corrections, and despisings. These help a man greatly to virtue, these prove the true knight of Christ, and make ready for him the heavenly crown.
[tr. Whitford/Raynal (1530/1871)]

You ought gladly to suffer all things for the love of God: all labors, sorrows, temptations, vexations; all anguish, need, sickness, injuries, evil sayings, reproaches; all oppressions, confusions, corrections, and despisings. These greatly help a man to virtue; these prove the true knight of Christ and prepare for him a heavenly crown.
[tr. Whitford/Gardiner (1530/1955)]

Thou oughtest for the love of God willingly to undergoe whatsoever labours, to endure whatsoever griefes, temptations, vexations, anxieties, necessities, infirmities, onjuries, detractions, reprehensions, humiliations, confusions, corrections, and contempts. These helpe to the attaining of vertue: these try a Novice of Christ, these make up an heavenly Crowne.
[tr. Page (1639), 3.35.8-9]

In obedience to his Will, you should contentedly undergo Labour and Toil, Tryals and Troubles, Distress and Anguish of Heart, Poverty and Want, Infirmities and Diseases, Injuries and Affronts, Scandal and Reproach, Disparagement and Disgrace, Punishment and Torture. These whet and brighten a Christian's Virtue, exercise and distinguish him. These Thorns are woven into Wreaths of Glory.
[tr. Stanhope (1696; 1706 ed.), 3.40]

For the love of God, therefore, thou must cheerfully and patiently endure labor and sorrow, persecution, temptation, and anxiety, poverty, and want, pain and sickness, detraction, reproof, humiliation, confusion, correction and contempt. By these the virtues of the new man Christ Jesus are exercised and strengthened; these form the ornaments of his celestial crown.
[tr. Payne (1803), 3.27.8]

For the love of God thou oughtest cheerfully to undergo all things, that is to say, all labour and pain, temptation, vexation, anxiety, necessity, infirmity, injury, obloquy, reproof, humiliation, confusion, correction, and scorn [of every kind and degree.] These help to virtue; these are the trial of a novice in Christ; these frame the heavenly Crown.
[ed. Parker (1841)]

For the love of GOD, therefore, thou must cheerfully and patiently endure all things: labour and sorrow, temptation, vexation and anxiety, poverty and want, pain and sickness, detraction, reproof, humiliation, confusion, correction, and contempt. These help to virtue; these prove "the new man in Christ Jesus; these obtain for him the celestial crown.
[tr. Dibdin (1851), 3.31.2]

Thou must be willing, for the love of God, to suffer all things, viz., labours and sorrows, temptations and vexations, anxieties, necessities, sicknesses, injuries, obloquy, reproof, humiliation, shame, correction, and contempt. These things help to obtain virtue; these prove the young soldier of Christ; these weave a heavenly crown.
[ed. Bagster (1860)]

For the love of God thou must willingly undergo all things, whether labours or sorrows, temptations, vexations, anxieties, necessities, infirmities, injuries, gainsayings, rebukes, humiliations, confusions, corrections, despisings; these things help unto virtue, these things prove the scholar of Christ; these things fashion the heavenly crown.
[tr. Benham (1874)]

For the love of God thou oughtest cheerfully to undergo all labour, grief, temptation, vexation, anxiety, necessity, infirmity, injury, detraction, reproof, humiliation, shame, correction, and scorn. These help to virtue; these are the trial of a babe in Christ; of these consist the heavenly crown.
[tr. Anon. (1901)]

For love of God you should undergo all things cheerfully, all labors and sorrows, temptations and trials, anxieties, weaknesses, necessities, injuries, slanders, rebukes, humiliations, confusions, corrections, and contempt. For these are helps to virtue. These are the trials of Christ's recruit. These form the heavenly crown.
[tr. Croft/Bolton (1940)]

For love of God you should undergo everything cheerfully: for example, toils and pains, trials, vexations, anxieties, wants, sickness, wrongs, contradictions, reproofs, humiliations, distresses, corrections, and contempt. These are aids to character: these test the soldier of Christ: these shape the heavenly crown.
[tr. Daplyn (1952)]

For the love of God you ought to endure with gladness all that befalls you: toil and sorrow, temptations, afflictions, anxiety, want, weakness, injury and slander, rebuke, humiliation, shame, correction and scorn. All these things are aids to holiness; they test the man who has newly entered the service of Christ, and go to the making of his heavenly crown.
[tr. Knox-Oakley (1959)]

For love of God you should be prepared to endure anything -- toil, pain, temptation, vexation, anxiety, need, weakness, injustice, slander, blame, humiliation, shame, censure and contempt. Such things strengthen virtue; they test the soldier of Christ and make up his heavenly crown.
[tr. Knott (1962)]

The love of God should make you put up with everything: toil and sorrow, trials, annoyance, anxiety, restriction, weakness, injury, detraction, criticism, humiliation, shame, correction and contempt. These are aids to virtue. They are tests for one newly committed to Christ. They are the things that make up the heavenly crown.
[tr. Rooney (1979)]

Certainly you should willingly endure labor and sorrows, temptations, vexations, anxieties, necessities, illnesses, injuries, contradictions, rebukes, humiliations, doubts, chastisements and contempt. These things are all aids to virtue; these test one who has begun to follow Christ; these mold a heavenly crown.
[tr. Creasy (1989)]

 
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More quotes by Thomas a Kempis

The man who consciously owns a tree and knows how to use it and gives you thanks for it may not know its exact height or how widely the branches spread; but he is better off than the man who, while he has measured the tree and counted all its branches, neither owns it nor knows and loves its creator.

[Sicut enim melior est qui novit possidere arborem et de usu eius tibi gratias agit, quamvis nesciat vel quot cubitis alta sit vel quanta latitudine diffusa, quam ille qui eam metitur et omnes ramos eius numerat et neque possidet eam neque creatorem eius novit aut diligit.]

Augustine of Hippo (354-430) Christian church father, philosopher, saint [b. Aurelius Augustinus]
Confessions, Book 5, ch. 4 / ¶ 7 (5.4.7) (c. AD 398) [tr. Warner (1963)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

For as he is better off who knows how to possess a tree, and return thanks to Thee for the use thereof, although he know not how many cubits high it is, or how wide it spreads, than he that can measure it, and count all its boughs, and neither owns it, nor knows or loves its Creator.
[tr. Pusey (1838)]

But as he is happier who knows how to possess a tree, and for the use thereof renders thanks to Thee, although he may not know how many cubits high it is, or how wide it spreads, than he that measures it and counts all its branches, and neither owns it nor knows or loves its Creator.
[tr. Pilkington (1876)]

For as he is better off who knows how to possess a tree, and gives thanks for its use, though he knows not its height or breadth, than he who has accurate knowledge of its dimensions , and the number of its boughs, and yet does not own it, and neither knows nor loves its Creator.
[tr. Hutchings (1890)]

For as he who knows that he owns a tree, and gives thanks to thee for its use, although he knows not how many feet high it is, or how wide it spreads, is better than he who measures it and counts all its branches, yet neither owns it nor knows nor loves its Creator.
[tr. Bigg (1897), 5.4.2]

For just as he is better who knows he possesses a tree and gives thanks to You for the use it is to him, although he does not know how many cubits high it is or the width of its spread, than another man who can measure it and number its branches but neither possesses it nor knows and loves Him who created it.
[tr. Sheed (1943)]

For just as that man who knows how to possess a tree, and give thanks to thee for the use of it -- although he may not know how many feet high it is or how wide it spreads -- is better than the man who can measure it and count all its branches, but neither owns it nor knows or loves its Creator.
[tr. Outler (1955)]

A man who knows that he owns a tree, and gives thanks to you for its fruit, even though he may not know how many cubits high it is or how wide it spreads, is better than one who measures it and counts all its branches, but does not own it and does not know or love its creator.
[tr. Ryan (1960)]

A man who knows that he owns a tree and thanks you for the use he has of it, even though he does not know its exact height or the width of its spread, is better than another who measures it and counts all its branches, but neither owns it nor knows and loves its Creator.
[tr. Pine-Coffin (1961)]

For example, he is the better man who knows how to own a tree and thanks you for its usefulness, though he does not know how many cubits high it is, or how broad its spread, than the man who measures it, counts its branches, but never calls it his own or esteems the one who made it.
[tr. Blaiklock (1983)]

Someone who knows enough to become the owner of a tree, and gives thanks to you for the benefits it brings him, is in a better state, even if ignorant of its height in feet and the extent of its spread, than another who measures and counts all its branches but neither owns it nor knows its creator nor loves him.
[tr. Boulding (1997)]

 
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More quotes by Augustine of Hippo

It is often said […] that although there is no positive evidence for the existence of God, nor is there evidence against his existence. So it is best to keep an open mind and be agnostic. At first sight that seems an unassailable position, at least in the weak sense of Pascal’s wager. But on second thoughts it seems a cop-out, because the same could be said of Father Christmas and tooth fairies. There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can’t prove that there aren’t any, so shouldn’t we be agnostic with respect to fairies?

Richard Dawkins (b. 1941) English ethologist, evolutionary biologist, author
Speech, Edinburgh International Science Festival (1992-04-15)

Quoted in "EDITORIAL: A scientist's case against God," The Independent (1992-04-20).
 
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If there be any man who derides the unseen world, let him consider the death of Pentheus, and acknowledge the gods.

[εἰ δ᾽ ἔστιν ὅστις δαιμόνων ὑπερφρονεῖ,
ἐς τοῦδ᾽ ἀθρήσας θάνατον ἡγείσθω θεούς.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 1325ff [Cadmus/κάδμος] (405 BC) [tr. Vellacott (1973)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

If any impious mortal yet contemns
The Powers celestial, let him view the death
Of Pentheus, to convince him there are Gods.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

If anyone scorns the gods, let him look to the death of this man and acknowledge them.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

O if there be he who scorneth the great gods,
Gaze on this death, and know that there are gods.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

If there be one who still disdains the gods,
Let him behold this corpse and reverence them.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 1293ff]

Ah! if there be any man that scorns the gods, let him well mark this prince’s death and then believe in them.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

If any man there be that scorns the Gods,
This man's death let him note, and so believe.
[tr. Way (1898)]

Oh, whoso walketh not in dread
Of Gods, let him but look on this man dead!
[tr. Murray (1902)]

If there is still any mortal man
who despises or defies the gods, let him look
on this boy's death and believe in the gods.
[tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]

If there is any man who despises deity
let him look on Pentheus’ death, and judge that gods exist!
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

If any man thinks light of the divine ones,
let him consider this man’s death, and believe in gods.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

If there be any man who challenges or scorns
the unseen powers,
let him look on this boy's death and accept
that which is God.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

If there is anyone who despises the gods,
Looking on this death, let him believe.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

So if there is anyone who disdains the gods
let him look at the death of this man here and let him believe that gods exist.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

If there is anyone who despises the divine,
he should look at this man's death and believe in gods.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

Anyone who feels
Superior to the gods should study this:
Pentheus is dead -- believe in the gods!
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

If there is anyone who thinks nothing of heaven's power, let him look at this man's death and believe that the gods exist.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

Let he who would defy the gods’ demands
Look at this piteous death and believe.
[tr. Teevan (2002)]

If there’s anyone who insults the gods let him turn his eyes to this and let him believe.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

If there is anyone here who casts a disparaging eye
Upon the Divine, look now on this and know the Gods exist.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

If there's a man who disrespects the gods,
let him think about how this man perished --
then he should develop faith in them.
[tr. Johnston (2008)]

If anyone still disputes the power of heaven,
let them look at this boy's death
and they will see that the gods live.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

If there are any left who would look down on the gods, let them see this.
This death.
And let them know the gods.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

If anyone, anywhere, denies the gods,
seeing this death, let him belisve in them.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

If anyone scorns the daimones, let him look to the death of this man and acknowledge them.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
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More quotes by Euripides

Civilization is a concerted effort to remedy the blunders and check the practical joking of the Creator.

Mencken - Civilization is a concerted effort to remedy the blunders and check the practical joking of the Creator - wist.info quote

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major, ch. 2, § 2 (1916)
    (Source)
 
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That in the Heavens no gods there be
Selius affirms, and proves, ’cause he
Still thinking so lives happily.

[Nullos esse deos, inane caelum
Adfirmat Segius: probatque, quod se
Factum, dum negat haec, videt beatum.]

Marcus Valerius Martial
Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 4, epigram 21 (4.21) (AD 89) [tr. May (1629)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

That heav'ns are voide, & that no gods there are,
Rich Paulus saith, and all his proofe is this:
That while such blasphemies pronounce he dare,
He liveth here in ease, and earthly blisse.
[tr. Harington (1618), ep. 110 (Book 2, ep. 14), "Against an Atheist"]

Selius affirms, in heav'n no gods there are:
And while he thrives, and they their thunder spare,
His daring tenet to the world seems fair.
[tr. Killigrew (1695)]

Selius asserts, there is no providence:
Anmd what he thus asserts, he proves from hence;
Tht such a villain as himself still lives;
And, what is more, is courted too, and thrives.
[tr. Hay (1755)]

A Selius swears there is no god,
And thus attests an oath so odd.
Heaven has no habitant, quoth he;
Else how could heaven so smile on me?
[tr. Elphinston (1782), Book 7, ep. 12]

That there's no God, John gravely swears,
And quotes, in proof, his own affairs;
For how should such an atheist thrive,
If there was any God alive?
[Anon., Westminster Review, 1853-04]

Selius affirms that there are no Gods, and that Heaven is empty; and he produces a proof of his assertion; viz. that while he denies all Providence, he beholds himself affluent.
[tr. Amos (1858)]

Selius affirms that there are no gods, and that heaven is empty; and thinks he has sufficient proof of his opinion in seeing himself become rich while he maintains it.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1859)]

"There are no gods: heaven is empty," Segius asserts; and he proves it, for in the midst of these denials he sees himself made rich!
[tr. Ker (1919)]

When Segius declaims he knows
That Heaven is void and gods are not,
It is because his record shows
That knaves may have a prosperous lot.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921), "The Test of Facts"]

"There are no gods," says Segius, "and the blue
Is void." He lives and thrives and proves it true.
[tr. Francis & Tatum (1924), ep. 169]

"There are no gods, and heaven's all a lie!
No gods," said Segius, "give a damn or care
What happens to us." And he must be right:
Today the rat's a multi-millionaire.
[tr. Marcellino (1968)]

Sergius swears by the hollow sky that there are no gods,
and the truth is plain, since he,
denouncing them, is wealthy as can be.
[tr. Bovie (1970)]

"The skies are empty
and the gods are dead,"
says Segius, the proof of which
is that he sees himself made rich.
[tr. Porter (1972)]

"God doesn't exist, there's no one in the skies,"
Says Segius. If it's justice he denies,
He's right: would he be wealthy otherwise?
[tr. Michie (1972)]

Segius declares that there are no gods, that the sky is empty; and proves it, for in the course of these denials he sees himself become a rich man.
[tr. Shackleton Bailey (1993)]

This darkling world he claims, with rue
Has run itself into a ditch.
And he can prove his thesis true:
In such a cosmos -- he is rich.
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Segius says there are no gods, no heaven.
The proof he offers? He's a rich man.
[tr. Kennelly (2008), "Proof"]

Segius asserts that there are no gods, that heaven is empty. And he’s the proof, because, even as he denies these things, he sees that he’s become prosperous.
[tr. @aleatorclassicus (2012)]

Segius claims there are no gods, the skies
are bare. He proves it, too: while he denies
the gods exist, he sees his fortune rise.
[tr. McLean (2014)]

 
Added on 5-May-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
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Because
He is all-powerful, must all-good, too, follow?
I judge but by the fruits — and they are bitter —
Which I must feed on for a fault not mine.

Lord Byron
George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824) English poet
Cain, Act 1, sc. 1 [Cain] (1821)
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He shall come to know
Dionysus, son of Zeus, consummate god,
most terrible, and yet most gentle, to mankind.

[γνώσεται δὲ τὸν Διὸς
Διόνυσον, ὃς πέφυκεν ἐν τέλει θεός,
δεινότατος, ἀνθρώποισι δ᾽ ἠπιώτατος.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 859ff [Dionysus/Διόνυσος] (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
    (Source)

Speaking of King Pentheus. (Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

Thus he shall know dread Bacchus, son of Jove,
A god most terrible when he asserts
His slighted power: but gracious to mankind.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

He will recognize the son of Zeus, Dionysus, who is in fact a god, the most terrible and yet most mild to men.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

Know he must
Dionysus, son of Jove, among the gods
Mightiest, yet mildest to the sons of men.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

There belike to tell
That Dionysus, son to Zeus, is god,
Most terrible, most gracious unto men.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 820ff]

So shall he recognize Dionysus, the son of Zeus, who proves himself at last a god most terrible, for all his gentleness to man.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

And he shall know Zeus' son
Dionysus, who hath risen at last a God
Most terrible, yet kindest unto men.
[tr. Way (1898)]

So shall he learn and mark
God's true Son, Dionyse, in fulness God,
Most fearful, yet to man most soft of mood.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

And he shall recognize the son of Zeus,
Dionysus, as a god in perfect essence:
a terrible one, but to men most gentle.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

And he shall know the son of Zeus, Dionysus; who, those most gentle to mankind, can prove a god of terror irresistible.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

Consummate god, most terrible, most gentle
To mankind.
[tr. Soyinka (1973), Bacchante speaking]

He shall know Zeus’ son
Dionysos, that he is in his fullness a god
most dreadful, and to men most mild.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

So shall Pentheus come to know Dionysus, son of Zeus,
a God sprung from nature, like nature most cruel,
and, yet, most gentle to mankind.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

And he'll know
Zeus-born Dionysos is a true divinity,
Most terrifying to men, and most kind.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

He will come to know Dionysus, the son of Zeus,
that he is, in the ritual of initiation, a god most terrifying,
but for mankind a god most gentle.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

Then he will know the son of Zeus,
Dionysus, and realize that he was born a god, bringing
terrors for initiation, and to the people, gentle grace.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

And he will know that Dionysos, son
Of Zeus, was born a god in full, and is
Most terrible to mortals and most gentle.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

He will learn that Dionysus is in the full sense a god, a god most dreadful to morals -- but also most gentle!
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

He'll learn the nature of this son of Zeus:
The sweetest and most fearsome of the gods.
[tr. Teevan (2002)]

Only then will he learn that the son of Zeus, Dionysos, is a god of peace for the good folk but he is also a fearsome god who those who don’t respect him.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

He will recognize Zeus' son Dionysus, born in ritual,
The most terrible god -- and kindest to humans.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

He'll come to acknowledge
Dionysus, son of Zeus, born in full divinity,
most fearful, yet most kind to human beings.
[tr. Johnston (2008)]

And he shall finally know Dionysus, son of Zeus,
a god both terrible and gentle to the world of man.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

He will know Dionysus. He will know the son of Zeus to be true-god-born, to be the greatest horror to mortal kind.
And the greatest helper.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

He shall learn that Dionysus is the son of Zeuis, a god with the power of a god, a god most fearful and most gentle.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

And he will come to know the son of Zeus,
Dionysus, the one who is by his own nature a god in the end [telos],
the one who is most terrifying [deinos], but, for humans, also most gentle [ēpios ].
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
Added on 25-Apr-23 | Last updated 11-Jul-23
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Gustave Dore - Dante, Inferno, Canto 14O endless wrath of God: how utterly
thou shouldst become a terror to all men
who read the frightful truths revealed to me!

[O vendetta di Dio, quanto tu dei
esser temuta da ciascun che legge
ciò che fu manifesto a li occhi mei!]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 14, l. 16ff (14.16-18) (1309) [tr. Ciardi (1954), l. 13ff]
    (Source)

On entering the Seventh Circle, third ring, and seeing flames drifting down from the sky, landing on the damned trapped there (blasphemers, sodomites, usurers).

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

O Vengeance dire of God, how much you should
By ev'ry one be dreaded, when he reads
What to my eyes was manifestly shewn!
[tr. Rogers (1782)]

Vengeance of Heav'n! I saw thy hand severe
(Your doom! ye Atheists and Blasphemers, hear!)
O'er many a naked soul the scourge display!
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 4]

Vengeance of Heav’n! Oh! how shouldst thou be fear’d
By all, who read what here my eyes beheld!
[tr. Cary (1814)]

O vengeance of the Eternal! how ought they
Who read the tale, thy workings mark with awe,
In that my troubled eyes did here survey!
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

O vengeance of God! how shouldst thou be feared by every one who reads what was revealed to my eyes!
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Avenging power of God! how should each fear,
Who reads of this, arresting with surprise,
The sight which manfestly met mine eyes!
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

Oh, God's great vengeance! with what heavy dread
Thou should'st be fear'd by ev'ry one who reads
What to mine eyes so manifest was made!
[tr. Johnston (1867), l. 16ff]

Vengeance of God, O how much oughtest thou
By each one to be dreaded, who doth read
That which was manifest unto mine eyes!
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

O vengeance of God, how oughtest thou to be feared by each one who reads that which was manifested to my eyes!
[tr. Butler (1885)]

O vengeance of great God! with what a fear
Thou shouldst be held by all who read in awe
That which before my eyes was visibly clear!
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

O vengeance of God, how much thou oughtest to be feared by every one who readeth that which was manifest unto mine eyes!
[tr. Norton (1892)]

O Vengeance of God, how mightily shouldst thou be feared by all who read that which was given mine eyes to look upon!
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Vengeance of God! In what great fear and trembling
Should'st thou be held by each who reads the story
Of that which to my eyes was manifested.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

O vengeance of God, how must thou be feared by everyone who reads what was plain before my eyes!
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

O chastisement of God, how oughtest thou
To be of each one feared who reads with awe
What to my eyes was manifested now.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

Fearful indeed art thou, vengeance of God!
He that now reads what mine own eyes with awe
Plainly beheld, well may he dread thy rod!
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

O vengeance of God, how much should you be feared by all who read what was revealed to my eyes!
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

O just revenge of God! how awesomely
you should be feared by everyone who reads
these truths that were revealed to my own eyes!
[tr. Musa (1971)]

O vengeance of the Lord, how you should be
dreaded by everyone who now can read
whatever was made manifest to me!
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

O vengeance of God, how much you ought
To be feared by everyone who reads
What was there manifested to my eyes.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

O vengeance of God, how much
Should you be feared by all of those who read
What my eyes saw!
[tr. Pinsky (1994)]

O vengeance of God, how much must you be feared by everyone who reads what was made manifest to my eyes!
[tr. Durling (1996)]

O God’s vengeance, how what was shown to my sight should be feared, by all who read!
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Great God! Your vengeance must be rightly feared
by all who read the verses I compose
to say what there was straight before my eyes.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

O vengeance of God, how much
should you be feared by all who read
what now I saw revealed before my eyes!
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

But O God's awful vengeance! Reading this,
You all should tremble with fear for what my eyes
Were shown, dark and terrible, a burning brilliance!
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Holy Vengeance, how you must
Be feared by all who read what now I saw!
[tr. James (2013)]

 
Added on 14-Apr-23 | Last updated 22-Mar-24
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And know, reader, that an ounce of mirth, with the same degree of grace, will serve God farther than a pound of sadness.

Thomas Fuller
Thomas Fuller (1608-1661) English churchman, historian
The History of the Worthies of England, “Worthies of Hertfordshire,” “Writers” (1662)
    (Source)

Writing of Jeremiah Dike. By the late 19th Century, Fuller's comment had been paraphrased into something simpler, though still attributed to him:

An ounce of cheerfulness is worth a pound of sadness to serve God with.
[Source 1872, 1895, 1867]

This sentiment is not unique to Fuller. In Richard Baxter's A Treatise of Self-Denial (1659), in "A Dialog of Self-Denial" between Flesh and Spirit, Flesh says:

Why should I think of what will be tomorrow?
An ounce of mirth is worth a pound of sorrow.

The second line here may have been a common English aphorism prior to Fuller and Baxter.
 
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Therefore Father, you who have given visible light as the first fruits of creation and, at the summit of your works, have breathed intellectual light into the face of man, protect and govern this work, which began in your goodness and and returns to your glory.

[Itaque Tu Pater, qui lucem visibilem primitias creaturae dedisti, et lucem intellectualem ad fastigium operum tuorum in faciem hominis inspirasti; opus hoc, quod a tua bonitate profectum tuam gloriam repetit, tuere et rege.]

Francis Bacon (1561-1626) English philosopher, scientist, author, statesman
Instauratio Magna [The Great Instauration], “Distributo Operis [Plan of the Work]” (1620) [tr. Silverthorne (2000)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

May thou, therefore, O Father, who gavest the light of vision as the first-fruits of creation, and hast inspired the countenance of man with the light of the understanding as the completion of thy works, guard and direct this work, which, proceeding from thy bounty, seeks in return thy glory.
[tr. Wood (1831)]

May thou, therefore, O Father, who gavest the light of vision as the first fruit of creation, and who hast spread over the fall of man the light of thy understanding as the accomplishment of thy works, guard and direct this work, which, issuing from thy goodness, seeks in return thy glory!
[tr. Wood/Devey (1844)]

Therefore do thou, O Father, who gavest the visible light as the first fruits of creation, and didst breathe into the face of man the intellectual light as the crown and consummation thereof, guard and protect this work, which coming from thy goodness returneth to thy glory.
[tr. Spedding (1858)]

 
Added on 13-Mar-23 | Last updated 12-Oct-23
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Miserable mortals! Can we contribute to the honour and glory of God? I could wish that expression were struck out of our prayer books.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Religion” (1726)
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Ah, God’s avenging justice! who could heap up
suffering and pain as strange as I saw here?
How can we let our guilt bring us to this?

[Ahi giustizia di Dio! tante chi stipa
nove travaglie e pene quant’io viddi?
e perché nostra colpa sì ne scipa?]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 7, l. 19ff (7.19-21) (1309) [tr. Musa (1971)]
    (Source)

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Great is God's Justice; as increase with Crimes
Their Punishments, which here I many saw:
But why do we encourage this increase?
[tr. Rogers (1782)]

Justice of Heav'n, from thine avenging hand
What nameless toils and tortures fill the strand!
Ah! why on mortal failings so severe!
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 4]

Almighty Justice! in what store thou heap’st
New pains, new troubles, as I here beheld!
Wherefore doth fault of ours bring us to this?
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Justice of God! who might such travail heap,
Such unimagined pangs as there I saw?
And wherefore drains our guilt the cup so deep?
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

Ah, Justice Divine! who shall tell in few the many fresh pains and travails that I saw? and why does guilt of ours thus waste us?
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Ah! justice of our God! how it heaps up
New troubles and new punishments I saw,
And fault of ours such penalty to draw!
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

Oh, God's great justice! who heaps up the mass
Of pains and labors new which meet mine eye?
Why does our crime so tear and torture us?
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

Justice of God, ah! who heaps up so many
New toils and sufferings as I beheld?
And why doth our transgression waste us so?
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Ah justice of God! who crowds all the new labours and pains that I saw? and wherefore does our sin so bring us low?
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Justice of God! who heapeth up such store
Of novel toils and pains which I have seen!
And why doth sin in such profusion pour?
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Ah, Justice of God! Who heapeth up so many new travails and penalties as I saw? And why doth our sin so waste us?
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Ah me! Justice of God, that heapeth up un-heard-of toils and tortures in numbers such as I beheld! And why doth man's transgression scourge man so?
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Justice of God! that it can pack together
Such novel pains and travails as I witnessed!
And why is our own fault thus our destruction?
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

Ah, Justice of God, who crams together
all the new toils and pains that I saw?
And why does our sin so lay us waste?
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

Ah! Divine Justice! Who crowds throe on throe,
Toil upon toil, such as mine eyes now met?
And why doth guilt of ours consume us so?
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

God's justice! Who shall tell the agonies,
Heaped thick and new before my shuddering glance?
Why must our guilt smite us with strokes like this?
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

O Holy Justice,
who could relate the agonies I saw!
What guilt is man that he can come to this?
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

Ah, justice of God! who crams together so many new travails and penalties as I saw? And why does our guilt so waste us?
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

Justice of God! Who has amassed as many
strange tortures and travails as I have seen?
Why do we let our guilt consume us so?
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

Justice of God! Who except you could gather
As many pains and punishments as I saw?
And why is it our faults must so devour us?
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

Justice of God! Who is it hat heaps together
So much peculiar torture and travail?
How is it that we choose to sin and wither?
[tr. Pinsky (1994), ll. 17-19]

Ah, justice of God! who stuffs in so many strange
travails and punishments as I saw? and why does
our own guilt so destroy us?
[tr. Durling (1996)]

O Divine Justice! Who can tell the many new pains and troubles, that I saw, and why our guilt so destroys us?
[tr. Kline (2002)]

God in all justice! I saw there so many
new forms of travail, so tightly crammed. By whom?
How can our guilt so rend and ruin us?
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

Ah, Justice of God, who heaps up
such strange punishment and pain as I saw there?
And why do our sins so waste us?
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

Ah, God of Justice, Who does this, scraping
Together the brand-new pains and punishments
I saw? And why should sinning cause such wastage?
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Merciful God! Who gets it in,
This wretched harvest? What accounts for it?
And why to such pain are we led by sin?
[tr. James (2013), ll. 18-20]

 
Added on 10-Feb-23 | Last updated 22-Mar-24
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

I do not claim any ability to read God’s mind. I am sure of only one thing. When we look at the glory of stars and galaxies in the sky and the glory of forests and flowers in the living world around us, it is evident that God loves diversity. Perhaps the universe is constructed according to a principle of maximum diversity.

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 23-Jan-23 | Last updated 23-Jan-23
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So I am thinking that atoms and humans and God may have minds that differ in degree but not in kind. We stand, in a manner of speaking, midway between the unpredictability of atoms and the unpredictability of God. Atoms are small pieces of our mental apparatus, and we are small pieces of God’s mental apparatus. Our minds may receive inputs equally from atoms and from God. This view of our place in the cosmos may not be true, but it is compatible with the active nature of atoms as revealed in the experiments of modern physics. I don’t say that this personal theology is supported or proved by scientific evidence. I only say that it is consistent with scientific evidence.

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)
 
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It is impossible that anything so natural, so necessary, and so universal as death should ever have been designed by Providence as an evil to mankind.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) English writer and churchman
“Thoughts on Religion” (1726)
    (Source)
 
Added on 19-Dec-22 | Last updated 19-Dec-22
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Charon, bite back your spleen:
this has been willed where what is willed must be,
and is not yours to ask what it may mean.

[Caron, non ti crucciare:
vuolsi così colà dove si puote
ciò che si vuole, e più non dimandare]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 3, l. 94ff (3.94-96) [Virgil] (1309) [tr. Ciardi (1954), l. 91ff]
    (Source)

Replying to Charon who complains that he cannot ferry a living person. (Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Caron, do not torment
Yourself, nor trouble us with asking more;
For who would this, can do whate'er he wills.
[tr. Rogers (1782), l. 78ff]

Cease, sullen Pilot of th' Infernal Tide!
Comission'd from above he seeks the shore,
And pleads the will of Heav'n's immortal Sire!
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 21]

Charon! thyself torment not: so 't is will'd,
Where will and power are one: ask thou no more.
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Rest, angry Charon, rest:
So is it willed to be, where might and will
Go hand in hand, and brook no farther quest.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

Charon, vex not thyself: thus it is willed there, where what is willed can be done; and ask no more.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Vex not thyself:
Such is the will of Him, whose dwelling's where
He can do what he wills. Questions forbear.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

"Charon," -- the Leader said -- "cease from thy rage;
There it is will'd, where is the pow'r to do
That which is will'd; so question thou no more."
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

Vex thee not, Charon;
It is so willed there where is power to do
That which is willed; and farther question not.
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

Charon, vex not thyself; thus is it willed in that place where what is willed can be; and ask no more.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Charon, be not sore;
So is it willed above, where will can do
That which it pleases; do not question more.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Charon, vex not thyself, it is thus willed there where is power to do that which is willed; and farther ask not.
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Charon, trouble not thyself: thus is it willed, where what is willed hath power to be accomplished; and ask no more.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Charon, restrain thy fury;
Thus is it willed there where can be accomplished
Whatever is willed -- and further ask no question.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

Charon, do not torment thyself. It is so willed where will and power are one, and ask no more.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]

Charon, thy frowns forbear.
Thus is this thing willed there, where what is willed
Can be accomplished. Further question spare.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

Charon, why wilt thou roar
And chafe in vain? Thus it is willed where power
And will are one; enough; ask thou no more.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

Charon, do not rage. Thus it is willed there where that can be done which is willed; and ask no more.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

Charon, this is no time for anger!
It is so willed, there where the power is
for what is willed; that's all you need to know.
[tr. Musa (1971)]

Charon, don't torment yourself:
our passage has been willed above, where One
can do what He has willed; and ask no more.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

Charon, don't torment yourself:
It is willed there, where anything can be done
If it is willed: no need for further questions.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

Charon, do not rage:
Thus it is willed where everything may be
Simply if it is willed. Therefore, oblige,
And ask no more,
[tr. Pinsky (1994), l. 77ff]

Charon, do not torture yourself with anger: this is willed where what is willed can be done, so ask no more.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

Charon, do not vex yourself: it is willed there, where what is willed is done: ask no more.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Charon, to protest is useless.
What is willed is what will be, because
it can be done; so leave the matter thus.
[tr. Carson (2002)]
"Charon," my leader, "don't torment yourself.
For this is willed where all is possible
that is willed there. And so demand no more."
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

Charon, do not torment yourself.
It is willed where will and power are one,
and ask no more.
[tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]

Charon, this nonsense won't do.
These things were decided by those forever able
To make decisions and see them done. Not you.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

Charon, never fear:
All this is wanted there where what is willed
Is said and done, so more than that don't ask.
[tr. James (2013)]

 
Added on 2-Dec-22 | Last updated 10-Sep-23
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

No longer dream that human prayer
The will of Fate can overbear.

[Desine fata deum flecti sperare precando.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 6, l. 176ff (6.176) [The Sybil] (29-19 BC) [tr. Conington (1866)]
    (Source)

Speaking to dead Palinurus.

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Desist to hope that fates will heare thy prayer
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

Fate, and the dooming gods, are deaf to tears.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

Cease to hope that the decrees of the gods are to be altered by prayers.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Cease to hope
By prayers to bend the destinies divine.
[tr. Cranch (1872)]

Cease to hope prayers may bend the decrees of heaven.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

Hope not the Fates of very God to change by any prayer.
[tr. Morris (1900)]

Hope not by prayer to bend the Fates' decree.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 51, l. 454]

Hope not by prayer to change the laws of Heaven!
[tr. Williams (1910)]

Cease to dream that heaven's decrees may be turned aside by prayer.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

Give up the hope
That fate is changed by praying.
[tr. Humphries (1951)]

Give up this hope that the course of fate can be swerved by prayer.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1952)]

Leave any hope that prayer can turn aside
the gods' decrees.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), ll. 495-96]

Abandon hope by prayer to make the gods
Change their decrees.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), ll. 506-7]

You must cease to hope that the Fates of the gods can be altered by prayers.
[tr. West (1990)]

Cease to hope that divine fate can be tempered by prayer.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Stop hoping that the gods' decrees
Can be bent with prayer.
[tr. Lombardo (2005)]

Hope no more
the gods’ decrees can be brushed aside by prayer,
[tr. Fagles (2006), l. 428-29]

As if the gods' fates could be bent by prayer.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
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More quotes by Virgil

It is supposed to be true that those who do not know history are doomed to repeat it. I don’t believe knowing can save us. What is constant in history is greed and foolishness and a love of blood, and this is a thing that even God — who knows all that can be known — seems powerless to change.

Cormac McCarthy (1933-2023) American novelist, playwright, screenwriter
All the Pretty Horses, ch. 4 (1992)
    (Source)

See Santayana.
 
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Perhaps the meaning of all human activity lies in the artistic consciousness, in the pointless and selfless creative act? Perhaps our capacity to create is evidence that we ourselves were created in the image and likeness of God?

Andrei Tarkovsky
Andrei Tarkovsky (1932-1986) Russian film director, screenwriter, film theorist [Андрей Арсеньевич Тарковский]
Sculpting in Time (1986) [tr. Hunter-Blair]
    (Source)
 
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Charon is here,
The guardian of these mingling waters, Charon,
Uncouth and filthy, on whose chin the hair
Is a tangled mat, whose eyes protrude, are burning,
Whose dirty cloak is knotted at the shoulder.
He poles a boat, tends to the sail, unaided,
Ferrying bodies in his rust-hued vessel.
Old, but a god’s senility is awful
In its raw greenness.

[Portitor has horrendus aquas et flumina servat
terribili squalore Charon, cui plurima mento
canities inculta iacet; stant lumina flamma,
sordidus ex umeris nodo dependet amictus.
Ipse ratem conto subigit, velisque ministrat,
et ferruginea subvectat corpora cymba,
iam senior, sed cruda deo viridisque senectus.]

Virgil the Poet
Virgil (70-19 BC) Roman poet [b. Publius Vergilius Maro; also Vergil]
The Aeneid [Ænē̆is], Book 6, l. 298ff (6.298-304) (29-19 BC) [tr. Humphries (1951)]
    (Source)

(Source (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Charon the horrid ferry-man these deeps,
With dreadful squallidnesse, and river keeps.
His untrim'd cheeks were rough with hoary hair,
Knotty his beard, his fiery eyes did stare,
Tye'd on his shoulders hung a sordid coat;
He trims his sails, drives with a pole his boat,
And in his rusty bark wafts Passengers;
The God was youthful still, though struck in years.
[tr. Ogilby (1649)]

There Charon stands, who rules the dreary coast --
A sordid god: down from his hoary chin
A length of beard descends, uncomb'd, unclean;
His eyes, like hollow furnaces on fire;
A girdle, foul with grease, binds his obscene attire.
He spreads his canvas; with his pole he steers;
The freights of flitting ghosts in his thin bottom bears.
He look'd in years; yet in his years were seen
A youthful vigor and autumnal green.
[tr. Dryden (1697)]

A grim ferryman guards these floods and rivers, Charon, of frightful slovenliness; on whose chin a load of grey hair neglected lies; his eyes are flame: his vestments hang from his shoulders by a knot, with filth overgrown. Himself thrust on the barge with a pole, and tends the sails, and wafts over the bodies in his iron-coloured boat, now in years: but the god is of fresh and green old age.
[tr. Davidson/Buckley (1854)]

Grim, squalid, foul, with aspect dire,
His eye-balls each a globe of fire,
The watery passage Charon keeps,
Sole warden of those murky deeps:
A sordid mantle round him thrown
Girds breast and shoulder like a zone.
He plies the pole with dexterous ease,
Or sets the sail to catch the breeze,
Ferrying the legions of the dead
In bark of dusky iron-red,
Now marked with age; but heavenly powers
Have fresher, greener eld than ours.
[tr. Conington (1866)]

By these dread rivers waits the ferryman
Squalid and grim, Charon, his grisly beard
Uncombed and thick ; his eyes are flaming lamps;
A filthy garment from his shoulders hangs.
He tends his sails, and with his pole propels
His barge of dusky iron hue, that bears
The dead across the river. Old he seems,
But with a green old age.
[tr. Cranch (1872)]

Charon, the dread ferryman, guards these flowing streams, ragged and awful, his chin covered with untrimmed masses of hoary hair, and his glassy eyes aflame; his soiled raiment hangs knotted from his shoulders. Himself he plies the pole and trims the sails of his vessel, the steel-blue galley with freight of dead; stricken now in years, but a god's old age is lusty and green.
[tr. Mackail (1885)]

This flood and river's ferrying doth Charon take in hand,
Dread in his squalor: on his chin untrimmed the hoar hair lies
Most plenteous; and unchanging flame bides in his staring eyes:
Down from his shoulders hangs his gear in filthy knot upknit;
And he himself poles on his ship, and tends the sails of it,
And crawls with load of bodies lost in bark all iron-grey,
Grown old by now: but fresh and green is godhead's latter day.
[tr. Morris (1900), l. 298ff]

Charon there,
Grim ferryman, stands sentry. Mean his guise,
His chin a wilderness of hoary hair,
And like a flaming furnace stare his eyes.
Hung in a loop around his shoulders lies
A filthy gaberdine. He trims the sail,
And, pole in hand, across the water plies
His steel-grey shallop with the corpses pale,
Old, but a god's old age has left him green and hale.
[tr. Taylor (1907), st. 41, l. 361ff]

A ferryman of gruesome guise keeps ward
Upon these waters, -- Charon, foully garbed,
With unkempt, thick gray beard upon his chin,
And staring eyes of flame; a mantle coarse,
All stained and knotted, from his shoulder falls,
As with a pole he guides his craft, tends sail,
And in the black boat ferries o'er his dead; --
Old, but a god's old age looks fresh and strong.
[tr. Williams (1910)]

A grim warden guards these waters and streams, terrible in his squalor -- Charon, on whose chin lies a mass of unkempt, hoary hair; his eyes are staring orbs of flame; his squalid garb hangs by a knot from his shoulders. Unaided, he poles the boat, tends the sails, and in his murky craft convoys the dead -- now aged, but a god's old age is hardy and green.
[tr. Fairclough (1916)]

A dreadful ferryman looks after the river crossing,
Charon: appallingly filthy he is, with a bush of unkempt
White beard upon his chin, with eyes like jets of fire;
And a dirty cloak draggles down, knotted about his shoulders.
He poles the boat, he looks after the sails, he is all the crew
Of that rust-coloured wherry which takes the dead across --
An ancient now, but a god's old age is green and sappy.
[tr. Day-Lewis (1952)]

Grim Charon is the squalid ferryman,
is guardian of these streams, these rivers; his
white hairs lie thick, disheveled on his chin;
his eyes are firest that stare, a filthy mantle
hangs down his shoulder by a knot. Alone,
he poles the boat and tends the sails and carries
the dead in his dark ship, old as he is;
but old age in a god is tough and green.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1971), l. 394ff.]

Here the ferryman,
A figure of fright, keeper of waters and streams,
Is Charon, fowl and terrible, his beard
Grown wild and hoar, his staring eyes all flame,
His sordid cloak hung from a shoulder knot.
Alone he poles his craft and trims the sail
And in his rusty hull ferries the dead,
Old now -- but old age in the gods is green.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1981), l. 407ff]

These are the rivers and waters guarded by the terrible Charon in his filthy rags. On his chin there grows a thick grey beard, never trimmed. His glaring eyes are lit with fire and a foul cloak hangs from a knot at his shoulder. With his own hands he plies the pole and sees to the sails as he ferries the dead in a boat the colour of burnt iron. He is no longer young but, being a god, enjoys rude strength and a green old age.
[tr. West (1990)]

A grim ferryman watches over the rivers and streams,
Charon, dreadful in his squalor, with a mass of unkempt
white hair straggling from his chin: flames glow in his eyes,
a dirty garment hangs, knotted from his shoulders.
He poles the boat and trims the sails himself,
and ferries the dead in his dark skiff,
old now, but a god’s old age is fresh and green.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

The keeper of these waters
Was Charon, the grim ferryman, frightening
In his squalor. Unkempt hoary whiskers
Bristled on his chin,m his eyes like flares
Were sunk in flame, and a filhy cloak hung
By a knot from his shoulder. He poled the boat
Himself, and trimmed the sails, hauling the dead
In his rusty barge. He was already old,
But a god's old age is green and raw.
[tr. Lombardo (2005), l. 367ff]

And here the dreaded ferryman guards the flood,
grisly in his squalor -- Charon ...
his scraggly beard a tangled mat of white, his eyes
fixed in a fiery stare, and his grimy rags hang down
from his shoulders by a knot. But all on his own
he punts his craft with a pole and hoists sail
as he ferries the dead souls in his rust-red skiff.
He’s on in years, but a god’s old age is hale and green.
[tr. Fagles (2006), l. 340ff]

Filthy Charon, wearing rags, ferried ghosts across the sxtream. His lengthy beard was matted stiff, his eyes stared fixed and fierce. A dirty wrap was tied around his neck. He poled the boat himself, tending to the sails, toting bodies in the dingy raft. He was old, but it was the green and raw old age of gods.
[tr. Bartsch (2021)]

 
Added on 2-Nov-22 | Last updated 21-Jun-23
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More quotes by Virgil

“You’ve got to admit it’s a bit of a pantomime, though,” said Crawly. “I mean, pointing out the Tree and saying ‘Don’t Touch’ in big letters. Not very subtle, is it? I mean, why not put it on top of a high mountain or a long way off? Makes you wonder what He’s really planning.”

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Good Omens, 1. “In the Beginning” (1990) [with Neil Gaiman]
    (Source)

Referring to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (Gen. 2:16-17).
 
Added on 27-Oct-22 | Last updated 22-Dec-23
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More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE CITY OF WOE,
THROUGH ME THE WAY TO EVERLASTING PAIN.
THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG THE LOST.
JUSTICE MOVED MY MAKER ON HIGH.
DIVINE POWER MADE ME,
WISDOM SUPREME, AND PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME NOTHING BUT THINGS ETERNAL,
AND ETERNAL I ENDURE.
ABANDON ALL HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER HERE.

[Per me si va ne la città dolente,
per me si va ne l’etterno dolore,
per me si va tra la perduta gente.
Giustizia mosse il mio alto fattore;
fecemi la divina podestate,
la somma sapïenza e ’l primo amore.
Dinanzi a me non fuor cose create
se non etterne, e io etterno duro.
Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.]

Dante Alighieri the poet
Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) Italian poet
The Divine Comedy [Divina Commedia], Book 1 “Inferno,” Canto 3, l. 1ff (3.1-9) (1309) [tr. Hollander/Hollander (2007)]
    (Source)

Inscription on the outer gate to Hell. Sometimes quoted/translated to use "all" to modify "you who enter" rather than "hope," but in the Italian, "ogni speranza" means "all hope."

Note that Hell is the creation of all aspects of the Trinity: Power (the Father), Wisdom (the Son), and Love (the Holy Spirit). Regarding the last, Boyd notes: "That Love to the general welfare that must induce a moral Governor to enforce his laws by the sanction of punishment; as here a mistaken humanity is cruelty."

(Source (Italian)). Alternate translations:

Through me you to the doleful City go;
Through me you go where there is eternal Grief;
Through me you go among the Sinners damn'ed.
With strictest justice is this portal made,
By Power, Wisdom, and by Love divine.
Nothing before me e'er created was;
Unless eternal, as I also am.
Ye who here enter to return despair.
[tr. Rogers (1782)]

Thro' me, the newly-damn'd for ever fleet,
In ceaseless shoals, to Pain's eternal seat;
Thro' me they march, and join the tortur'd crew.
The mighty gulph offended Justice made;
Unbounded pow'r the strong foundation laid,
And Love, by Wisdom led, the limits drew.

Long ere the infant world arose to light,
I found a being in the womb of night.
Eldest of all -- but things that ever last! --
And I for ever last! -- Ye hear is of Hell,
Here bid at once your ling'ring hope farewell,
And mourn the moment of repentance past!
[tr. Boyd (1802), st. 1-2]

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric mov'd:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
"All hope abandon ye who enter here."
[tr. Cary (1814)]

Through me the path to city named of Wail;
Through me the path to woe without remove;
Through me the path to damned souls in bale!
Justice inclined my Maker from above;
I am by virtue of the Might Divine,
The Supreme Wisdom, and the Primal Love.
Created birth none antedates to mine,
Save endless things, and endless I endure:
Ye that are entering -- all hope resign.
[tr. Dayman (1843)]

Through me is the way into the doleful city; through me the way into the eternal pain; through me the way among the people lost.
Justice moved my High Maker; Divine Power made me, Wisdom Supreme, and Primal Love.
Before me were no things created, but eternal; and eternal I endure: leave all hope, ye that enter.
[tr. Carlyle (1849)]

Through me the way into the sad city --
Through me the way into eternal grief --
Through me to nations lost without relief.
Justice it was that moved my Maker high,
The power divine of Architect above,
The highest wisdom and the earliest love.
The things of time were not before me, and
'Mid eternal eternally I stand.
All you that enter must leave hope behind.
[tr. Bannerman (1850)]

I am the way unto the dolorous city;
I am the way unto th' eternal dole;
I am the way unto the spirits lost.
By Justice was my mighty Maker mov'd;
Omnipotence Divine created me,
Infinite Wisdom and Primeval Love.
Prior to me no thing created was
But things eternal -- I eternal am;
Leave hope behind all ye who enter here.
[tr. Johnston (1867)]

Through me the way is to the city dolent;
Through me the way is to eternal dole;
Through me the way among the people lost.
Justice incited my sublime Creator;
⁠Created me divine Omnipotence,
⁠The highest Wisdom and the primal Love.
Before me there were no created things,
⁠Only eterne, and I eternal last.
All hope abandon, ye who enter in!
[tr. Longfellow (1867)]

THROUGH ME IS THE WAY INTO THE WOEFUL CITY; THROUGH ME IS THE WAY TO THE ENTERNAL WOE; THROUGH ME IS THE WAY AMONG THE LOST FOLK. JUSTICE MOVED MY HIGH MAKER; MY MAKER WAS THE POWER OF GOD, THE SUPREME WISDOM, AND PRIMAL LOVE. BEFORE ME WERE NO THINGS CREATED SAVE THINGS ETERNAL, AND ETERNAL I ABIDE; LEAVE EVERY HOPE, O YE THAT ENTER.
[tr. Butler (1885)]

Through me ye pass into the city of woe,
Through me into eternal pain ye rove;
Through me amidst the people lost ye go.
My high Creator justice first did move;
Me Power Divine created, and designed,
The highest wisdom and the primal love.
Previous to me was no created kind,
Save the Eternal; I eternal last.
Ye who here enter, leave all hope behind.
[tr. Minchin (1885)]

Through me is the way into the woeful city; through me is the way into eternal woe; through me is the way among the lost people. Justice moved my lofty maker: the divine Power, the supreme Wisdom and the primal Love made me. Before me were no things created, unless eternal, and I eternal last. Leave every hope, ye who enter!
[tr. Norton (1892)]

Through me lieth the way to the city of tribulation; through me lieth the way to the pain that hath no end; through me lieth the way amongst the lost. Justice it was that moved my august maker; God's puissance reared me, wisdom from on high, and first-born love. Before me created things were not, save those that are eternal; and I abide eternally. Leave every hope behind, ye that come within.
[tr. Sullivan (1893)]

Through me the road is to the city doleful:
Through me the road is to eternal dolour:
Through me the road is through the lost folk's dwelling:
Justice it was that moved my lofty Maker:
Divine Omnipotence it was that made me,
Wisdom supreme, and Love from everlasting:
Before me were not any things created.
Save things eternal: I endure eternal:
Leave every hope behind you, ye who enter.
[tr. Griffith (1908)]

THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE WOEFUL CITY,
THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE ETERNAL PAIN,
THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG THE LOST PEOPLE.
JUSTICE MOVED MY MAKER ON HIGH,
DIVINE POWER MADE ME
AND SUPREME WISDOM AND PRIMAL LOVE;
BEFORE ME NOTHING WAS CREATED
BUT ETERNAL THINGS AND I ENDURE ETERNALLY.
ABANDON EVERY HOPE, YE THAT ENTER.
[tr. Sinclair (1939)]
v
THROUGH ME THE WAY IS TO THE CITY OF WOE:
THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE ETERNAL PAIN;
THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG THE LOST BELOW.
RIGHTEOUSNESS DID MY MAKER ON HIGH CONSTRAIN.
ME DID DIVINE AUTHORITY UPREAR;
ME SUPREME WISDOM AND PRIMAL LOVE SUSTAIN.
BEFORE I WAS, NO THINGS CREATED WERE
SAVE THE ETERNAL, AND I ETERNAL ABIDE.
RELINQUISH ALL HOPE, YE WHO ENTER HERE.
[tr. Binyon (1943)]

THROUGH ME THE ROAD TO THE CITY OF DESOLATION,
THROUGH ME THE ROAD TO SORROWS DIUTURNAL,
THROUGH ME THE ROAD AMONG THE LOST CREATION.
JUSTICE MOVED MY GREAT MAKER; GOD ETERNAL
WROUGHT ME: THE POWER, AND THE UNSEARCHINBLY
HIGH WISDOM, AND THE PRIMAL LOVE SUPERNAL.
NOTHING ERE I 2WAS MADE WAS MADE TO BE
SAVE THINGS ENTERNE, AND I ETERNE ABIDE;
LAY DOWN ALL HOPE, YOU THAT GO IN BY ME.
[tr. Sayers (1949)]

I AM THE WAY INTO THE CITY OF WOE.
I AM THE WAY TO A FORSAKEN PEOPLE.
I AM THE WAY INTO ETERNAL SORROW.
SACRED JUSTICE MOVED MY ARCHITECT.
I WAS RAISED HERE BY DIVINE OMNIPOTENCE,
PRIMORDIAL LOVE, AND ULTIMATE INTELLECT.
ONLY THOSE ELEMENTS TIME CANNOT WEAR
WERE MADE BEFORE ME, AND BEHOND TIME I STAND.
ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE.
[tr. Ciardi (1954)]

THROUGH ME YOU ENTER THE WOEFUL CITY,
THROUGH ME YOU ENTER ETERNAL GRIEF,
THROUGH ME YOU ENTER AMONG THE LOST.
JUSTICE MOVED MY HIGH MAKER:
THE DIVINE POWER MADE ME,
THE SUPREME WISDOM, AND THE PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME NOTHING WAS CREATED
IF NOT ETERNAL, AND ETERNAL I ENDURE.
ABANDON EVERY HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER.
[tr. Singleton (1970)]

THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE DOLEFUL CITY,
THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO ETERNAL GRIEF,
THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG A RACE FORSAKEN.
JUSTICE MOVED MY HEAVENLY CONSTRUCTOR;
DIVINE OMNIPOTENCE CREATED ME,
AND HIGHEST WISDOM JOINED WITH PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME NOTHING BUT ETERNAL THINGS
WERE MADE, AND I SHALL LAST ETERNALLY.
ABANDON HOPE, FOREVER, YOU WHO ENTER.
[tr. Musa (1971)]

THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE SUFFERING CITY,
THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE ETERNAL PAIN,
THROUGH ME THE WAY THAT RUNS AMONG THE LOST.
JUSTICE URGED ON MY HIGH ARTIFICER;
MY MAKER WAS DIVINE AUTHORITY,
THE HIGHEST WISDOM, AND THE PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME NOTHING BUT ETERNAL THINGS
WERE MADE, AND I ENDURE ETERNALLY.
ABANDON EVERY HOPE WHO ENTER HERE.
[tr. Mandelbaum (1980)]

Through me you go into the city of weeping;
Through me you go into eternal pain;
Through me you go among the lost people.
Justice is what moved my exalted Maker;
I was the invention of the power of God,
Of his wisdom, and of his primal love.
Before me there was nothing that was created
Except eternal things; I am eternal:
No room for hope, when you enter this place.
[tr. Sisson (1981)]

THROUGH ME YOU ENTER INTO THE CITY OF WOES,
THROUGH ME YOU ENTER INTO ETERNAL PAIN,
THROUGH ME YOU ENTER THE POPULATION OF LOSS.
JUSTICE MOVED MY HIGH MAKER, IN POWER DIVINE,
WISDOM SUPREME, LOVE PRIMAL. NO THINGS WERE
BEFORE ME NOT ENTERNAL; ETERNAL I REMAIN.
ABANDON ALL HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER HERE.
[tr. Pinsky (1994)]

THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO THE GRIEVING CITY,
2THROUGH ME THE WAY INTO ETERNAL SORROW,
THROUGH ME THE WAY AMONG THE LOST PEOPLE.
JUSTICE MOVED MY HIGH MAKER;
DIVINE POWER MADE ME,
HIGHEST WISDOM, AND PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME WERE NO THINGS CREATED
EXCEPT ETERNAL ONES, AND I ENDURE ETERNAL.
ABANDON EVERY HOPE, YOU WHO ENTER.
[tr. Durling (1996)]

THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE INFERNAL CITY:
THROUGH ME THE WAY TO ETERNAL SADNESS:
THROUGH ME THE WAY TO THE LOST PEOPLE.
JUSTICE MOVED MY SUPREME MAKER:
I WAS SHAPED BY DIVINE POWER,
BY HIGHEST WISDOM, AND BY PRIMAL LOVE.
BEFORE ME, NOTHING WAS CREATED,
THAT IS NOT ETERNAL: AND ETERNAL I ENDURE.
FORSAKE ALL HOPE, ALL YOU THAT ENTER HERE.
[tr. Kline (2002)]

Through me, into the city full of woe;
through me, the message of eternal pain;
through me, the passage where the lost souls go.
Justice moved my Maker in his high domain;
Power Divine and Primal Love built me,
and Supreme Wisdom; I will aye remain.
Before me there was nothing made to be,
except eternity; eternal I endure;
all hope abandon, ye who go through me.
[tr. Carson (2002)]

Through me you go to the grief-wracked city.
Through me to everlasting pain you go.
Through me you go and pass among lost souls.
Justice inspired my exalted Creator.
I am a creature of the Holiest Power,
of Wisdom in the HIghest and of Primal Love.
Nothing till I was made was made, only
eternal beings. And I endure eternally.
Surrender as you enter every hope you have.
[tr. Kirkpatrick (2006)]

It is through me you come to the city of sorrow,
It is through me you reach eternal sadness,
It is through me you join the forever-lost.
Justice moved my makers' wondrous hands;
I was made by Heaven's powers, holy, divine,
Endless wisdom, primal love of man.
Eternal existence preceded mine,
And nothing more. I will exist for ever.
Give up all hope, until the end of time.
[tr. Raffel (2010)]

TO ENTER THE LOST CITY, GO THROUGH ME.
THROUGH ME YOU GO TO MEET A SUFFERING
UNCEASING AND ETERNAL. YOU WILL BE
WITH PEOPLE WHO, THROUGH ME, LOST EVERYTHING.

MY MAKER, MOVED BY JUSTICE, LIVES ABOVE.
THROUGH HIM, THE HOLY POWER, I WAS MADE --
MADE BY THE HEIGHT OF WISDOM AND FIRST LOVE,
WHOSE LAWS ALL THOSE IN HERE ONCE DISOBEYED.

FROM NOW ON, EVERY DAY FEELS LIKE YOUR LAST
FOREVER. LET THAT BE YOUR GREATEST FEAR.
YOUR FUTURE NOW IS TO REGRET THE PAST.
FORGET YOUR HOPES. THEY WERE WHAT BROUGHT YOU HERE.
[tr. James (2013)]

 
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More quotes by Dante Alighieri

If it makes you more comfortable, you could simply think of it as a metaphor. Religions are, by definition, metaphors, after all: God is a dream, a hope, a woman, an ironist, a father, a city, a house of many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert, someone who loves you — even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers and triumphs over all opposition.

Religions are places to stand and look and act, vantage points from which to view the world.

Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British author, screenwriter, fabulist
American Gods, Part 3, ch. 18 (2001)
    (Source)
 
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The benevolent and sublime reformer [Jesus] of that religion [Judaism] has told us only that god is good and perfect, but has not defined him. I am therefore of his theology, believing that we have neither words nor ideas adequate to that definition. and if we could all, after his example, leave the subject as undefinable, we should all be of one sect, doers of good & eschewers of evil. No doctrines of his lead to schism.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Ezra Styles Ely (25 Jun 1819)
    (Source)
 
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The Almighty is a wonderful handicapper: He will not give us everything.

Margot Asquith
Margot Asquith (1864-1945) British socialite, author, wit [Emma Margaret Asquith, Countess Oxford and Asquith; Margot Oxford; née Tennant]
Autobiography, Vol. 1, ch. 8 (1920)
    (Source)
 
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Hitherto I have been under the guidance of that portion of reason which He has thought proper to deal out to me. I have followed it faithfully in all important cases, to such a degree at least as leaves me without uneasiness; and if on minor occasions I have erred from its dictates, I have trust in Him who made us what we are, and knows it was not His plan to make us always unerring.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Miles King (26 Sep 1814)
    (Source)
 
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I like to see the Old Man now and then
And try not to be too uncivil.
It’s charming in a noble squire when
He speaks humanely with the very Devil.

[Von Zeit zu Zeit seh ich den Alten gern,
Und hüte mich, mit ihm zu brechen.
Es ist gar hübsch von einem großen Herrn,
So menschlich mit dem Teufel selbst zu sprechen.]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust: a Tragedy [eine Tragödie], Part 1, sc. 3 “Prologue in Heaven,” l. 350ff [Mephistopheles] (1808-1829) [tr. Kaufmann (1961)]
    (Source)

Some translations (and this site) include the Declaration, Prelude on the Stage, and Prologue in Heaven as individual scenes; others do not, leading to their Part 1 scenes being numbered three lower.

On his discussions with the Lord. (Source (German)). Alternate translations:

I like to see the Old Man not infrequently,
And I forbear to break with Him or be uncivil;
It's very pretty in so great a Lord as He
To talk so like a man even with the Devil.
[tr. Priest (1808)]

From time to time I visit the Old Fellow,
And I take care to keep on good terms with him.
Civil enough is this same God Almighty,
To talk so freely with the Devil himself.
[tr. Shelley (1815)]

I like to see the Ancient One occasionally, and take care not to break with him. It is really civil in so great a Lord, to speak so kindly with the Devil himself.
[tr. Hayward (1831)]

The ancient one I like sometimes to see,
And not to break with him am always civil;
'Tis courteous in so great a lord as he,
To speak so kindly even to the devil.
[tr. Swanwick (1850)]

I like at times to exchange with him a word,
And take care not to break with him. 'Tis civil
In the old fellow and so great a Lord
To talk so kindly with the very devil.
[tr. Brooks (1868)]

I like, at times, to hear The Ancient's word,
And have a care to be most civil:
It's really kind of such a noble Lord
So humanly to gossip with the Devil!
[tr. Taylor (1870)]

From time to time the ancient gentleman
I see, and keep on the best terms I can.
In a great Lord ’tis surely wondrous civil
So face to face to hold talk with the devil.
[tr. Blackie (1880)]

I like to see the Ancient now and then,
And shun a breach, for truly 'tis most civil
In such a mighty personage to deign
To chat so affably, e'en with the very Devil.
[tr. Latham (1908)]

From time to time it's good to see the Old Man;
I must be careful not to break with him.
How decent of so great a personage
to be so human with the devil.
[tr. Salm (1962)]

At times I don't mind seeing the old gent,
And try to keep relations smooth and level.
Say what you like, it's quite a compliment:
A swell like him so man-to-man with the Devil!
[tr. Arndt (1976)]

I like to see him sometimes, and take care
Not to fall out with him. It's civil
Of the old fellow, such a grand seigneur,
To have these man-to-man talks with the Devil!
[tr. Luke (1987)]

I like to see the Old Man now and then,
And take good care I don't fall out with him.
How very decent of a Lord Celestial
To talk man to man with the Devil of all people.
[tr. Greenberg (1992)]

I like to drop in on him if I can,
Just to keep things between us on the level.
It's really decent of the Grand Old Man
To be so civil to the very Devil.
[tr. Williams (1999)]

I like to hear the Old Man’s words, from time to time,
And take care, when I’m with him, not to spew.
It’s very nice when such a great Gentleman,
Chats with the devil, in ways so human, too!
[tr. Kline (2003)]

 
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More quotes by Goethe, Johann von

If I may be his guide, you’ll lose him yet;
I’ll subtly lead him my way, if you’ll let
Me do so; shall we have a bet?

[Was wettet Ihr? den sollt Ihr noch verlieren!
Wenn Ihr mir die Erlaubnis gebt,
Ihn meine Straße sacht zu führen.]

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust: a Tragedy [eine Tragödie], Part 1, sc. 3 “Prologue in Heaven,” l. 320ff [Mephistopheles] (1808-1829) [tr. Luke (1987)]
    (Source)

Mephisto to the Lord, on tempting His servant, Faust.

Some translations (and this site) include the Declaration, Prelude on the Stage, and Prologue in Heaven as individual scenes; others do not, leading to their Part 1 scenes being numbered three lower.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

What will you wager? Him you yet shall lose,
     If you will give me your permission
     To lead him gently on the path I choose.
[tr. Priest (1808)]

What will you bet? -- now I am sure of winning --
Only, observe you give me full permission
To lead him softly on my path.
[tr. Shelley (1815)]

What will you wager? you shall lose him yet, if you give me leave to guide him quietly my own way.
[tr. Hayward (1831)]

What wilt thou wager? Him thou yet shall lose,
If leave to me thou wilt but give,
Gently to lead him as I choose!
[tr. Swanwick (1850)]

What will you bet? You'll surely lose your wager!
If you will give me leave henceforth,
To lead him softly on, like an old stager.
[tr. Brooks (1868)]

What will you bet? There's still a chance to gain him,
If unto me full leave you give,
Gently upon my road to train him!
[tr. Taylor (1870)]

What wager you? you yet shall lose that soul!
Only give me full license, and you’ll see
How I shall lead him softly to my goal.
[tr. Blackie (1880)]

What will you wager? Give me but permission
To lead him gently on my way,
I'll win him from you to perdition.
[tr. Latham (1908)]

What will you bet? You'll lose him yet to me,
If you will graciously connive
That I may lead him carefully.
[tr. Kaufmann (1961)]

What will you bet? You'll lose him in the end, if you'll just give me your permission to lead him gently down my street.
[tr. Salm (1962)]

You'll lose him yet! I offer bet and tally,
Provided that your Honor gives
Me leave to lead him gently up my alley!
[tr. Arndt (1976)]

Would you care to bet on that? You'll lose, I tell you,
If you'll give me leave to lead the fellow
Gently down my broad, my primrose path.
[tr. Greenberg (1992)]

What would you wager? Will you challenge me
To win him from you? Give me your permission
To lead him down my path to his perdition?
[tr. Williams (1999)]

What do you wager? I might win him yet!
If you give me your permission first,
I’ll lead him gently on the road I set.
[tr. Kline (2003)]

 
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More quotes by Goethe, Johann von

THE LORD
And do you have no other news?
Do you come always only to accuse?
Does nothing please you ever on the earth?

MEPHISTOPHELES
No, Lord! I find it still of precious little worth.
I feel for mankind in their wretchedness,
It almost makes me want to plague them less.

DER HERR
Hast du mir weiter nichts zu sagen?
Kommst du nur immer anzuklagen?
Ist auf der Erde ewig dir nichts recht?

MEPHISTOPHELES
Nein Herr! ich find es dort, wie immer, herzlich schlecht.
Die Menschen dauern mich in ihren Jammertagen,
Ich mag sogar die armen selbst nicht plagen.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German poet, statesman, scientist
Faust: a Tragedy [eine Tragödie], Part 1, sc. 3 “Prologue in Heaven,” l. 301ff (1808-1829) [tr. Arndt (1976)]
    (Source)

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

THE LORD
You've nothing more to say to me?
You come but to complain unendingly?
Is never aught right to your mind?

MEPHISTOPHELES
No, Lord! All is still downright bad, I find.
Man in his wretched days makes me lament him;
I am myself reluctant to torment him.

[tr. Priest (1808)]

THE LORD
Have you no more to say. Do you come here
Always to scold, and cavil, and complain?
Seems nothing ever right to you on earth?

MEPHISTOPHELES
No, Lord! I find all there, as ever, bad at best.
Even I am sorry for man's days of sorrow;
I could myself almost give up the pleasure
Of plaguing the poor things.

[tr. Shelley (1815)]

THE LORD: Have you nothing else to say to me? Are you always coming for no other purpose than to complain? Is nothing ever to your liking upon earth?
MEPHISTOPHELES: No, Lord! I find things there, as ever, miserably bad. Men, in their days of wretchedness, move my pity; even I myself have not the heart to torment the poor things.
[tr. Hayward (1831)]

THE LORD
Hast thou naught else to say? Is blame
In coming here, as ever, thy sole aim?
Does nothing on the earth to thee seem right?

MEPHISTOPHELES
No, Lord! I find things there, as ever, in sad plight.
Men, in their evil days, move my compassion;
Such sorry things to plague is nothing worth.

[tr. Swanwick (1850)]

THE LORD
Hast nothing for our edification?
Still thy old work of accusation?
Will things on earth be never right for thee?

MEPHISTOPHELES
No, Lord! I find them still as bad as bad can be.
Poor souls! their miseries seem so much to please 'em,
I scarce can find it in my heart to tease 'em.

[tr. Brooks (1868)]

THE LORD
Hast thou, then, nothing more to mention?
Com'st ever, thus, with ill intention?
Find'st nothing right on earth, eternally?

MEPHISTOPHELES
No, Lord! I find things, there, still bad as they can be.
Man's misery even to pity moves my nature;
I've scarce the heart to plague the wretched creature.

[tr. Taylor (1870)]

THE LORD
Hast thou then nothing more to say?
And art thou here again to-day
To vent thy grudge in peevish spite
Against the earth, still finding nothing right?

MEPHISTOPHELES
True, Lord; I find things there no better than before;
I must confess I do deplore
Man’s hopeless case, and scarce have heart myself
To torture the poor miserable elf.

[tr. Blackie (1880)]

THE LORD
Is that the sum of thy narration?
Hast never aught but accusation?
Still upon Earth is nothing to thy mind?

MEPHISTOPHELES
No, Lord! all things on Earth still downright bad I find.
Mortals their piteous fate upon the rack so stretches,
Myself have scarce the heart to plague the wretches.

[tr. Latham (1908)]

THE LORD
Can you not speak but to abuse?
Do you come only to accuse?
Does nothing on the earth seem to you right?

MEPHISTO:
No, Lord. I find it still a rather sorry sight.
Man moves me to compassion, so wretched is his plight.
I have no wish to cause him further woe.

[tr. Kaufmann (1961)]

THE LORD
Is this all you can report?
Must you come forever to accuse?
Is nothing ever right for you on earth?

MEPHISTOPHELES
No, my Lord. I find it there, as always, thoroughly revolting.
I pity men in all their misery
and actually hate to plague the wretches.

[tr. Salm (1962)]

THE LORD
And that is all you have to say?
Must you complain each time you come my way?
Is nothing right in your terrestrial scene?

MEPHISTOPHELES
No, sir! The earth's as bad as it has always been.
I really feel quite sorry for mankind;
Tormenting them myself's no fun, I find.

[tr. Luke (1987)]

THE LORD
Is that all you have got to say to me?
Is that all you can do, accuse eternally?
Is nothing ever right for you down there, sir?

MEPHISTOPHELES
No, nothing, Lord -- all's just as bad as ever.
I really pity humanity's myriad miseries,
I swear I hate tormenting the poor ninnies.

[tr. Greenberg (1992)]

THE LORD
Why are you telling me all this again?
Do you always come here to complain?
Could there be something good on earth that you've forgotten?

MEPHISTOPHELES
No, Lord! I'm pleased to say it's still completely rotten.
I feel quite sorry for their miserable plight;
When it's as bad as that, tormenting them's not right.

[tr. Williams (1999), l. 293ff]

GOD
Have you nothing else to name?
Do you always come here to complain?
Does nothing ever go right on the Earth?

MEPHISTOPHELES
No, Lord! I find, as always, it couldn’t be worse.
I’m so involved with Man’s wretched ways,
I’ve even stopped plaguing them, myself, these days.

[tr. Kline (2003)]

 
Added on 8-Aug-22 | Last updated 25-Oct-22
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More quotes by Goethe, Johann von

Satan’s greatest sin, his greatest mistake, wasn’t pride or rebelling against God. His greatest mistake was believing that God would not forgive him if he asked for forgiveness. His sin wasn’t just pride — it was self-pity. I think in some ways every single person, human, vampire, whatever, has a choice to make: to be full of rage about what happens to you or to reconcile with it, to strive for the most honorable existence you can despite the odds. Do you believe in a God who understands and forgives or one who doesn’t? What it comes down to is, this is between you and God, and you’ll have to work that out for yourself.

Carrie Vaughn
Carrie Vaughn (b. 1973) American writer
Kitty and the Midnight Hour, ch. 1 (2005)
    (Source)
 
Added on 27-Jul-22 | Last updated 27-Jul-22
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HELENA: Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to Heaven.

Shakespeare
William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
All’s Well That Ends Well, Act 1, sc. 1, l. 222ff (1.1.222-223) (1602?)
    (Source)
 
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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)
 
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I sometimes think that God in creating man, somewhat over-estimated his ability.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
(Attributed)
    (Source)

The quotation first appears, without much citation, in Francis Douglas, Oscar Wilde and the Black Douglas, ch. 2 (1940), four decades after Wilde's death. Further discussion of the quotation here: God In Creating Man, Somewhat Overestimated His Ability – Quote Investigator
 
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It is the high priests that make demands — not the gods they serve.

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
More Unkempt Thoughts [Myśli nieuczesane nowe] (1964) [tr. Gałązka (1969)]
    (Source)
 
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Do not ask God the way to heaven; he will show you the hardest one.

Stanislaw Lec (1909-1966) Polish aphorist, poet, satirist
Unkempt Thoughts [Myśli nieuczesane] (1957) [tr. Gałązka (1962)]
    (Source)
 
Added on 22-Feb-22 | Last updated 22-Feb-22
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To suppose that God Almighty has confined his goodness to this world, to the exclusion of all others, is much similar to the idle fancies of some individuals in this world, that they, and those of their communion or faith, are the favorites of heaven exclusively; but these are narrow and bigoted conceptions, which are degrading to a rational nature, and utterly unworthy of God, of whom we should form the most exalted ideas.

Ethan Allen
Ethan Allen (1738-1789) American businessman, land speculator, revolutionary, writer
Reason, the Only Oracle of Man, ch. 2 sec. 7 (1782)
    (Source)
 
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BECKET: Beauty is one of the few things which don’t shake one’s faith in God.

[Le beauté est une des rares choses qui ne font pas douter de Dieu.]

Jean Anouilh (1910-1987) French dramatist
Becket, Act 1 (1959) [tr. Hill (1960)]
    (Source)

The official English translation approved by Anouilh. (Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Beauty is one of the very few things that don't shake one's faith in God.
[tr. Raphael and Raphael (2004)]

Beauty is one of the rare things that do not lead to doubt of God.
[Frequently found translation, but source unknown]

 
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I felt fairly sure that the Almighty, whatever name tag He had on at the moment, could handle a few questions from people sincerely looking for answers. Hell, He might even like it.

Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Changes, ch. 14 (2010)
    (Source)
 
Added on 20-Jan-22 | Last updated 20-Jan-22
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