Quotations about:
    religion


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


In fact, even were it not inhuman to trouble another man’s conscience, even were there none of the bad effects that spring up by the thousands, one would have to be deranged to engage in such a purpose. He who tries to make me change my religion only does so, presumably, because he would never change his own, even were someone to try to force him to do so; so how can he find it strange that I should refuse to do something that he himself would not do, even perhaps were he offered the world as his empire?

[Car, enfin, quand il n’y auroit pas de l’inhumanité à affliger la conscience des autres, quand il n’en résulteroit aucun des mauvais effets qui en germent à milliers, il faudroit être fou pour s’en aviser. Celui qui veut me faire changer de religion ne le fait sans doute que parce qu’il ne changeroit pas la sienne, quand on voudroit l’y forcer : il trouve donc étrange que je ne fasse pas une chose qu’il ne feroit pas lui-même, peut-être pour l’empire du monde.]

Charles-Lewis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) French political philosopher
Persian Letters [Lettres Persanes], Letter 86, Usbek to Mirza (1721) [tr. Mauldon (2008), # 83]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

For, in short, though there was nothing of inhumanity in forcing the consciences of others; though it occasioned none of those ill effects which spring up from it by thousands; a man must be a fool to offer at it. He that would have me change my religion, does it, no doubt, because he would not change his own if he were to be forced to it: so that he wonders I will not do a thing, which perhaps he would not do himself for the empire of the universe.
[tr. Ozell (1760 ed.)]

For indeed, if there was nothing of inhumanity in forcing the conscience of another, though there did not arise from it any of those bad effects which spring from it by thousands, it would be folly to advise it. He who would have me change my religion, no doubt, desires me to do so, because he would not change his own if he were forced to do it: he yet thinks it strange, that I will not do a thing which he himself would not do, perhaps, for the empire of the world.
[tr. Floyd (1762), # 85]

In conclusion, even if there were no inhumanity in distressing the consciences of others, even if there did not result from such a course any of the evil effects which do spring from it in thousands, it would still be foolish to advise it. He who would have me change my religion is led to that, without doubt, because he would not change his own although force were employed; and yet he finds it strange that I will not do a thing which he himself would not do, perhaps for the empire of the world.
[tr. Davidson (1891)]

For, in fine, even if the attempt to trouble the conscience of our neighbor was not in itself inhuman, if the manifold evil effects which spring from it had no existence, the mere contemplation of such a course would be an evidence of mental unsoundness.
The man who would have me change my religion does so doubtless because he would never change his own, no matter what force was brought to bear upon him: yet he thinks it strange that I should refuse to do a thing he would not himself do for the empire of the whole world!
[tr. Betts (1897)]

Finally, even if it were not inhumane to afflict another’s conscience, and even if there did not result from such an act those bad effects which spring up by the thousands, it would still be foolish to advise it. Whoever would have me change my religion doubtlessly acts as he does because he would not change his, however he was forced; yet he finds it strange that I will not do something which he would not do himself, perhaps for the entire world.
[tr. Healy (1964), # 85]

Finally, even if it were inhumane to make such an assault on the consciences of others, with its thousands of self-replicating evil consequences, one would have to be mad to advise it. The man who wants me to change my religion does so only because he would never change his, no matter how much he was forced. And thus he thinks it strange that I will not do a thing he would not do for all the kingdoms of the world.
[tr. MacKenzie (2014), # 85]

 
Added on 8-Apr-24 | Last updated 8-Apr-24
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Montesquieu, Baron de

Mystical explanations are considered deep; the truth is, they are not even shallow.

[Die mystischen Erklärungen gelten für tief; die Wahrheit ist, dass sie noch nicht einmal oberflächlich sind.]

nietzsche mystical explanations are considered deep the truth is they are not even shallow wist.info quote

Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) German philosopher and poet
The Gay Science [Die fröhliche Wissenschaft], Book 3, § 126 (1882) [tr. Nauckhoff (2001)]
    (Source)

Also known as La Gaya Scienza, The Joyful Wisdom, or The Joyous Science.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

Mystical explanations are regarded as profound; the truth is that they do not even go the length of being superficial.
[tr. Common (1911)]

Mystical explanations are considered deep. The truth is that they are not even superficial.
[tr. Kaufmann (1974)]

Mystical explanations are considered deep; the truth is they are not even shallow.
[tr. Hill (2018)]

 
Added on 4-Apr-24 | Last updated 4-Apr-24
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Nietzsche, Friedrich

I admit that history is filled with religious wars, but let us be careful here, for it is not the multiplicity of religions which has produced these wars, but the spirit of intolerance stirring those who believed themselves to be in a dominant position.

[J’avoue que les histoires sont remplies des guerres de religion : mais, qu’on y prenne bien garde, ce n’est point la multiplicité des religions qui a produit ces guerres, c’est l’esprit d’intolérance, qui animoit celle qui se croyoit la dominante.]

Charles-Lewis de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) French political philosopher
Persian Letters [Lettres Persanes], Letter 86, Usbek to Mirza (1721) [tr. Healy (1964), Letter 85]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

I confess histories are full of religious wars: but do not let us take the thing wrong; it was not the diversity of religious that occasioned these wars; it was the untolerating spirit of that which thought she had the power in her hands.
[tr. Ozell (1760 ed.)]

I acknowledge, that history is full of religious wars: but we must take care to observe, it was not the multiplicity of religions that produced these wars, it was the intolerating spirit which animated that which thought she had the power of governing.
[tr. Floyd (1762), Letter 85]

I acknowledge that history is full of religious wars: but we must distinguish; it is not the multiplicity of religions which has produced wars; it is the intolerant spirit animating that which believed itself in the ascendant.
[tr. Davidson (1891)]

I acknowledge that history is full of religious wars ; but it is an indisputable fact that these wars have not been produced by the multiplicity of religions, but rather by the intolerance of the dominant creed.
[tr. Betts (1897)]

I admit that history is full of wars of religion; but on this point we must be very careful; it is not the multiplicity of religions that produced these wars, but the spirit of intolerance animating the religion that believed itself to be dominant.
[tr. Mauldon (2008), Letter 83]

I admit that history is full of wars of religion. But one must be careful here: these wars were not caused by a multiplicity of religions, but rather by the spirit of intolerance shown by the dominant religion's believers.
[tr. MacKenzie (2014), Letter 85]

 
Added on 26-Feb-24 | Last updated 26-Feb-24
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Montesquieu, Baron de

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

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

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

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

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make love your aim, not biblical inerrancy, nor purity nor obedience to holiness codes. Make love your aim, for

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels” — musicians, poets, preachers, you are being addressed.
“and though I … understand all mysteries, and all knowledge” — professors, your turn,
“and though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor” — radicals take note;
“and though I give my body to be burned” — the very stuff of heroism;
“and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:1-3 KJV).

I doubt if any other scriptures of the world there is a more radical statement of ethics. If we fail in love, we fail in all things else.

William Sloane Coffin, Jr. (1924-2006) American minister, social activist
Credo, “Faith, Hope, Love” (2004)
    (Source)
 
Added on 13-Feb-24 | Last updated 11-Mar-24
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Coffin, William Sloane

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

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

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

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The worst of superstitions is, to think
Your own to be the most endurable.
[…] Yours, the only one,
to which dim-sighted mankind may be trusted,
Till they can bear the brighter light of truth.

[Der Aberglauben schlimmster ist, den seinen
Für den erträglichern zu halten […] dem allein
Die blöde Menschheit zu vertrauen, bis
Sie hellern Wahrheitstag gewöhne.]

Gotthold Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramaturg, writer
Nathan the Wise [Nathan der Weise], Act 4, sc. 4 [Templar] (1779) [tr. Reich (1860)]
    (Source)

Some of the translations leave out the second part.

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

The worst of superstitions is to think
One's own most bearable.
[tr. Taylor (1790)]

That superstition is the worst of all
Which thinks itself the easiest to be borne --
[...] And to trust
To it alone a blind humanity
Till it is used to truth's more brilliant light.
[tr. Boylan (1878)]

The very worst
Of superstitions is, to hold one's own
The most endurable [...]
That only to entrust
Purblind humanity, till it learn to bear
The light of truth's clear day.
[tr. Corbett (1883)]

The worst of superstitions is, to think
One's own the most supportable. [...]
To it alone trust simple human-kind
Until to truth's bright rays it grows accustomed.
[tr. Jacks (1894)]

The worst of superstitions is to deem
Our special chains the most endurable --
[...] And to these alone
To trust purblind humanity until
Its eye can bear the brilliant noon of truth.
[tr. Maxwell (1917)]

The worst superstition is to consider one's own superstition the more tolerable one [...] to which alone to entrust weak-minded mankind until it will grow used to the brighter light of truth.
[tr. Reinhardt (1950)]

That superstition
Is worst which takes itself to be of all
The most endurable [...] and to which alone one may
Entrust dull-witted humankind, till it's
Accustomed to the brighter light of truth.
[tr. Morgan (1955)]

The most bigoted of superstitions is to hold one's own faith to be the only right one [...] which poor, blind men must trust until they see the light.
[tr. Ade (1972)]

 
Added on 19-Dec-23 | Last updated 27-Dec-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lessing, Gotthold

The superstition into which we’re born,
Even when we recognize it, loses not
Its power on us! Not all those are free
Who ridicule their chains.

[Der Aberglaub’, in dem wir aufgewachsen,
Verliert, auch wenn wir ihn erkennen, darum
Doch seine Macht nicht über uns. — Es sind
Nicht alle frei, die ihrer Ketten spotten.]

Gotthold Lessing (1729-1781) German playwright, philosopher, dramaturg, writer
Nathan the Wise [Nathan der Weise], Act 4, sc. 4 [Templar] (1779) [tr. Corbett (1883)]
    (Source)

(Source (German)). Alternate translations:

Yet the superstition
in which we have grown up, not therefore loses
when we detect it, all its influence on us.
Not all are free that can bemock their fetters.
[tr. Taylor (1790)]

The superstition in which we grew up,
Does not cease influencing us, e'en after
We have discover'd its absurdity.
Not all are free who do bemock their fetters.
[tr. Reich (1860)]

The superstition in which we were brought up never loses its power over us, even after we understand it.
[Source (1866)]

And yet the superstitions we have learned
From education, do not lose their power
When we have found them out; nor are all free
Whose judgment mocks the galling chains they wear.
[tr. Boylan (1878)]

The superstition in which we have grown up
Does not lose (even if we see through it)
Its power on us, on that account;
All are not free who mock their chains.
[tr. Jacks (1894)]

The superstitions of our early years,
E'en when we know them to be nothing more,
Lose not for that their hold upon our hearts;
Not all are free who ridicule their chains.
[tr. Maxwell (1917)]

The superstition in which we have grown up does not lose its power over us even for the reason that we recognize it as such. Not all are free who mock their chains.
[tr. Reinhardt (1950)]

The superstition in which we grew up,
Though we may recognize it, does not lose
Its power over us -- Not all are free
Who make mock of their chains.
[tr. Morgan (1955)]

Merely because we see the defects of the superstition we grew up in, it doesn't lose its hold upon our souls! Those men who mock their chains are not all free!
[tr. Ade (1972)]

 
Added on 5-Dec-23 | Last updated 27-Dec-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lessing, Gotthold

Love is the abridgment of all theology.

François de Sales (1567-1622) French bishop, saint, writer [a.k.a. Francis de Sales, b. François de Boisy]
Treatise on the Love of God, Book 9, ch. 1 [tr. Mackey (1884)]
    (Source)
 
Added on 27-Nov-23 | Last updated 27-Nov-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by François de Sales

Being unable to abolish Love, the Church has desired at least to disinfect it, and has invented marriage.

[Ne pouvant supprimer l’amour, l’Église a voulu au moins le désinfecter, et elle a fait le mariage.]

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet, essayist, art critic
Journaux Intimes [Intimate Journals], “Mon cœur mis à nu [My Heart Laid Bare],” § 52 (1864–1867; pub. 1887) [tr. Isherwood (1930)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translations:

Unable to eliminate love, the Church at least wanted to disinfect it -- and hence created marriage.
[tr. Sieburth (2022)]

Unable to do away with love, the Church found a way to decontaminate it by creating marriage.
[Source]

Unable to suppress love, the Church wanted at least to disinfect it, and it created marriage.
[Source]

 
Added on 20-Nov-23 | Last updated 20-Nov-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Baudelaire, Charles

Hunt out and talk about the good that is in the other fellow’s church, not the bad, and you will do away with all this religious hatred you hear so much of nowadays.

Will Rogers (1879-1935) American humorist
“Weekly Article” column (1923-03-11)
    (Source)
 
Added on 2-Nov-23 | Last updated 2-Nov-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Rogers, Will

It is often said that the Church is a crutch. Of course it’s a crutch. What makes you think you don’t limp?

William Sloane Coffin, Jr. (1924-2006) American minister, social activist
Credo, “The Church” (2004)
    (Source)
 
Added on 31-Oct-23 | Last updated 31-Oct-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Coffin, William Sloane

Everything beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation. Crime, of which the human animal has learned the taste in his mother’s womb, is natural by origin. Virtue, on the other hand, is artificial, supernatural, since at all times and in all places gods and prophets have been needed to teach it to animalized humanity, man being powerless to discover it by himself. Evil happens without effort, naturally, fatally; Good is always the product of some art.

[Tout ce qui est beau et noble est le résultat de la raison et du calcul. Le crime, dont l’animal humain a puisé le goût dans le ventre de sa mère, est originellement naturel. La vertu, au contraire, est artificielle, surnaturelle, puisqu’il a fallu, dans tous les temps et chez toutes les nations, des dieux et des prophètes pour l’enseigner à l’humanité animalisée, et que l’homme, seul, eût été impuissant à la découvrir. Le mal se fait sans effort, naturellement, par fatalité ; le bien est toujours le produit d’un art.]

Charles Baudelaire
Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) French poet, essayist, art critic
“Le Peintre de la Vie Moderne [The Painter of Modern Life],” sec. 11 (1863) [tr. Mayne (1964)]
    (Source)

(Source (French)). Alternate translation:

Everything beautiful and noble is the result of reason and calculation. Crime, for which the human creature has acquired a taste in its mother’s womb, is natural in origin. Virtue, on the contrary, is artificial, unnatural since, at all times and among all nations, gods and prophets were necessary to teach virtue to animalistic humanity, which humanity alone was unable to discover. Evil occurs without effort, naturally, through fatality; good is always the product of artifice.
[tr. Kline (2020)]

 
Added on 30-Oct-23 | Last updated 30-Oct-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Baudelaire, Charles

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).
 
Added on 18-Oct-23 | Last updated 18-Oct-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Russell, Bertrand

There are few things more dangerous than inbred religious certainty.

Bart Ehrman
Bart D. Ehrman (b. 1955) American Biblical scholar, author
God’s Problem, ch. 8 (2008)
    (Source)
 
Added on 11-Oct-23 | Last updated 11-Oct-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Ehrman, Bart

In the main, I think religion has done a great deal of harm. Largely by sanctifying conservatism and adhesion to ancient habits, and still more by sanctifying intolerance and hatred. The amount of intolerance that has gone into religion, especially in Europe, is quite terrible.

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

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).
 
Added on 4-Oct-23 | Last updated 4-Oct-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Russell, Bertrand

I think [the effects of religion] have been bad because it was held important that people should believe something for which there did not exist good evidence and that falsified everybody’s thinking, falsified systems of education, and set up also, what I think a complete moral heresy: namely, that it is right to believe certain things, and wrong to believe certain others, apart from the question of whether the things in question are true or false.

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).
 
Added on 27-Sep-23 | Last updated 27-Sep-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Russell, Bertrand

I never diskuss politiks nor sektarianism; i beleave in letting every man fight hiz rooster hiz own way.
 
[I never discuss politics nor [religious] sectarianism; I believe in letting every man fight his rooster his own way.]

Josh Billings (1818-1885) American humorist, aphorist [pseud. of Henry Wheeler Shaw]
Everybody’s Friend, Or; Josh Billing’s Encyclopedia and Proverbial Philosophy of Wit and Humor, ch. 131 “Affurisms: Plum Pits (1)” (1874)
    (Source)
 
Added on 22-Sep-23 | Last updated 22-Dec-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Billings, Josh

A Sunday-school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil consciences of their parents.

H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American writer and journalist [Henry Lewis Mencken]
A Little Book in C Major, ch. 3, § 3 (1916)
    (Source)

Variant:

SUNDAY SCHOOL. A prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents.
A Book of Burlesques, "The Jazz Webster" (1924)

 
Added on 14-Sep-23 | Last updated 14-Sep-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Mencken, H. L.

DRUMMOND: As long as the prerequisite for that shining paradise is ignorance, bigotry and hate, I say to hell with it.

Nedrick Young
Nedrick Young (1914-1968) American screenwriter and actor [pseud. Nathan E. Douglas]
Inherit the Wind, film (1960) [with Harold Jacob Smith]
    (Source)

The original 1951 play was written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, but does not include this line, delivered in the film by Spencer Tracy. Young and Smith share the screenwriting credits.
 
Added on 29-Aug-23 | Last updated 29-Aug-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Young, Nedrick

Wonder is the basis of worship.

Thomas Carlyle
Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) Scottish essayist and historian
Sartor Resartus, Book 1, ch. 10 (1831)
    (Source)
 
Added on 10-Aug-23 | Last updated 10-Aug-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Carlyle, Thomas

What we commonly have in our mind when we speak of religion is a definite set of doctrines, of a more or less metaphysical character, formulated in a creed and supported by an organization distinct from the state. And the first thing we have to learn about the religion of the Greeks is that it included nothing of the kind. There was no church, there was no creed, there were no articles. Priests there were, but they were merely public officials, appointed to perform certain religious rites. The distinction between cleric and layman, as we know it, did not exist; the distinction between poetry and dogma did not exist; and whatever the religion of the Greeks may have been, one thing at any rate is clear, that it was something very different from all that we are in the habit of associating with the world.

Lowes Dickinson
G. Lowes Dickinson (1862-1932) British political scientist and philosopher [Goldsworthy "Goldie" Lowes Dickinson]
The Greek View of Life, ch. 1 “Religion,” sec. 1 (1911)
    (Source)
 
Added on 13-Jul-23 | Last updated 13-Jul-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Dickinson, Lowes

It is impossible to exaggerate the evil work theology has done in the world. What destruction of the beautiful monuments of past ages, what waste of life, what disturbance of domestic and social happiness, what perverted feelings, what blighted hearts, have always marked its baneful progress.

Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) American abolitionist, activist, journalist, suffragist
The Progress of Religious Ideas Through Successive Ages, Vol. 3, “Concluding Chapter” (1855)
    (Source)

Child is specifically referring to religious thinking and doctrine removed from sentiments of reverence, justice, and benevolence.
 
Added on 16-May-23 | Last updated 16-May-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Child, Lydia Maria

Religion does not consist in doctrines of any kind, but in sentiments of reverence toward God, and of justice and benevolence toward our fellow men.

Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) American abolitionist, activist, journalist, suffragist
The Progress of Religious Ideas Through Successive Ages, Vol. 3, “Concluding Chapter” (1855)
    (Source)
 
Added on 2-May-23 | Last updated 2-May-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Child, Lydia Maria

Goodness is about what you do. Not who you pray to.

Terry Pratchett (1948-2015) English author
Snuff [Miss Beedle] (2011)
    (Source)
 
Added on 7-Apr-23 | Last updated 7-Apr-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Pratchett, Terry

Scientists and business leaders who care about social justice should join forces with environmental and religious organizations to give political clout to ethics. Science and religion should work together to abolish the gross inequalities that prevail in the modern world. That is my vision, and it is the same vision that inspired Francis Bacon four hundred years ago, when he prayed that through science God would “endow the human family with new mercies.”

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)

See Bacon.
 
Added on 20-Mar-23 | Last updated 20-Mar-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Dyson, Freeman

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

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

Trouble arises when either science or religion claims universal jurisdiction, when either religious dogma or scientific dogma claims to be infallible. Religious creationists and scientific materialists are equally dogmatic and insensitive. By their arrogance they bring both science and religion into disrepute. The media exaggerate their numbers and importance. The media rarely mention the fact that the great majority of religious people belong to moderate denominations that treat science with respect, or the fact that the great majority of scientists treat religion with respect so long as religion does not claim jurisdiction over scientific questions.

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 13-Feb-23 | Last updated 13-Feb-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Dyson, Freeman

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

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

Science and religion are two windows that people look through, trying to understand the big universe outside, trying to understand why we are here. The two windows give different views, but they look out at the same universe. Both views are one-sided, neither is complete. Both leave out essential features of the real world. And both are worthy of respect.

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 7-Feb-23 | Last updated 7-Feb-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , ,
More quotes by Dyson, Freeman

When once you see
the glint of wine shining at the feasts of women,
then you may be sure the festival is rotten.

[γυναιξὶ γὰρ
ὅπου βότρυος ἐν δαιτὶ γίγνεται γάνος,
οὐχ ὑγιὲς οὐδὲν ἔτι λέγω τῶν ὀργίων.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 260ff [Pentheus/Πενθεύς] (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

For when women
Share at their feasts the grape's bewitching juice;
From their licentious orgies, I pronounce
No good results.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

For where women have the delight of the grape-cluster at a feast, I say that none of their rites is healthy any longer.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

For where ’mong women
The grape’s sweet poison mingles with the feast,
Nought holy may we augur of such worship.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

When women drain the wine-cup at the feast,
Foul is the orgie, dangerous the disease.
[tr. Rogers (1872)]

For where the gladsome grape is found at women’s feasts, I deny that their rites have any longer good results.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

For when
In women's feasts the cluster's pride hath part,
No good, say I, comes of their revelry.
[tr. Way (1898)]

When once the gleam
Of grapes hath lit a Woman's Festival,
In all their prayers is no more health at all!
[tr. Murray (1902)]

For where women
have the sparkle of the vine in their festivities,
there, I say, nothing wholesome remains in their rituals.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

As for women, my opinion is this: when the sparkle of sweet wine appears at their feasts, no good can be expected from their ceremonies.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

I tell you, when women
have the cluster’s refreshment at banquets,
there’s nothing healthy left about their orgies.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

Take my word,
when women are allowed to fast on wine, there is no
telling to what lengths their filthy minds will go!
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

I say that feast where a woman takes
The gleaming grape is most diseased.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

For whenever the liquid joy
of the grape comes into women's festivals, then, I assure, you,
there's nothing wholesome in their rites.
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

Because when women
get their sparkle at a feast from wine,
I say the entire ritual is corrupt.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

For when the women have
The bright grape-cluster gleaming at their feasts,
There’s nothing healthy in these rites, I say.
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

Wherever women get the gleaming grape to drink in their feasts, everything about their rites is diseased.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

I’m telling you both, no good comes out of drunk women.
Wine wisdom and orgies are dangerous.
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

For whenever the pleasure of the grape's
cluster comes shimmering to women in feast, I say no-
thing is left wholesome in their orgies!
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

Whenever women at some banquet start to take pleasure in the gleaming wine, I say there's nothing healthy in their worship.
[tr. Johnston (2008)]

It's always the same: as soon as you allow drink and women at a festival, everything gets sordid.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

When women start getting into the wine, I say it’s gone too far. It’s not healthy.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

There is no good in these festivals where shimmering wine corrupts women.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

For where women have the delight of the grape at a feast, I say that none of their rites is healthy any longer.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
Added on 31-Jan-23 | Last updated 11-Jul-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Euripides

Stories of our women leaving home to frisk
in mock ecstasies among the thickets on the mountain,
dancing in honor of the latest divinity,
a certain Dionysus, whoever he may be!
In their midst stand bowls brimming with wine.
And then, one by one, the women wander off
to hidden nooks where they serve the lusts of men.
Priestesses of Bacchus they claim they are,
but it’s really Aphrodite they adore.

[γυναῖκας ἡμῖν δώματ᾽ ἐκλελοιπέναι
πλασταῖσι βακχείαισιν, ἐν δὲ δασκίοις
ὄρεσι θοάζειν, τὸν νεωστὶ δαίμονα
Διόνυσον, ὅστις ἔστι, τιμώσας χοροῖς:
πλήρεις δὲ θιάσοις ἐν μέσοισιν ἑστάναι
κρατῆρας, ἄλλην δ᾽ ἄλλοσ᾽ εἰς ἐρημίαν
πτώσσουσαν εὐναῖς ἀρσένων ὑπηρετεῖν,
πρόφασιν μὲν ὡς δὴ μαινάδας θυοσκόους,
τὴν δ᾽ Ἀφροδίτην πρόσθ᾽ ἄγειν τοῦ Βακχίου.]

Euripides (485?-406? BC) Greek tragic dramatist
Bacchæ [Βάκχαι], l. 217ff [Pentheus/Πενθεύς] (405 BC) [tr. Arrowsmith (1960)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

               Their homes
Our women have deserted, on pretence
That they in mystic orgies are engaged;
On the umbrageous hills they chant the praise
Of this new God, whoe'er he be, this Bacchus;
Him in their dances they revere, and place
Amid their ranks huge goblets fraught with wine:
Some fly to pathless deserts, where they meet
Their paramours, while they in outward shew
Are Mænedes by holy rites engrossed.
Yet Venus more than Bacchus they revere.
[tr. Wodhull (1809)]

The women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with dances this new deity Dionysus, whoever he is. I hear that mixing-bowls stand full in the midst of their assemblies, and that they each creep off different ways into secrecy to serve the beds of men, on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping; but they consider Aphrodite before Bacchus.
[tr. Buckley (1850)]

Our women all have left their homes, to join
These fabled mysteries. On the shadowy rocks
Frequent they sit, this God of yesterday,
Dionysus, whosoe'er he be, with revels
Dishonorable honoring. In the midst
Stand the crowned goblets; and each stealing forth,
This way and that, creeps to a lawless bed;
In pretext, holy sacrificing Mænads,
But serving Aphrodite more than Bacchus.
[tr. Milman (1865)]

Our women have deserted from their homes,
Pretending Bacchic rites, and now they lurk
In the shady hill-tops reverencing forsooth
This Dionysus, this new deity.
Full bowls of wine are served out to the throng;
And scattered here and there through the glades,
The wantons hurry to licentious love.
They call themselves the priestess Mænades;
Bacchus invoke, but Aphrodite serve.
[tr. Rogers (1872), l. 200ff]

I hear that our women-folk have left their homes on pretence of Bacchic rites, and on the wooded hills rush wildly to and fro, honouring in the dance this new god Dionysus, whoe’er he is; and in the midst of each revel-rout the brimming wine-bowl stands, and one by one they steal away to lonely spots to gratify their lust, pretending forsooth that they are Mænads bent on sacrifice, though it is Aphrodite they are placing before the Bacchic god.
[tr. Coleridge (1891)]

How from their homes our women have gone forth
Feigning a Bacchic rapture, and rove wild
O'er wooded hills, in dances honouring
Dionysus, this new God -- whoe'er he be. ⁠
And midst each revel-rout the wine-bowls stand
Brimmed: and to lonely nooks, some here, some there,
They steal, to work with men the deed of shame,
In pretext Maenad priestesses, forsooth,
But honouring Aphroditê more than Bacchus.
[tr. Way (1898)]

               Our own
Wives, our own sisters, from their hearths are flown
To wild and secret rites; and cluster there
High on the shadowy hills, with dance and prayer
To adore this new-made God, this Dionyse,
Whate'er he be! -- And in their companies
Deep wine-jars stand, and ever and anon
Away into the loneliness now one
Steals forth, and now a second, maid or dame,
Where love lies waiting, not of God! The flame,
They say, of Bacchios wraps them. Bacchios! Nay,
'Tis more to Aphrodite that they pray.
[tr. Murray (1902)]

That our women have abandoned their homes
in fake bacchic revels, and in the deep-shaded
mountains are roaming around, honoring with dances
the new-made god Dionysus, whoever he is;
that wine-bowls are set among the sacred companies
full to the brim, and that one by one the women go crouching
into the wilderness, to serve the lechery of men --
they profess to be maenads making sacrifice,
but actually they put Aphrodite before the Bacchic god.
[tr. Kirk (1970)]

Our women, I discover, have abandoned their homes on some pretence of Bacchic worship, and go gadding about in the woods on the mountain side, dancing in honour of this upstart god Dionysus, whoever he may be. They tell me, in the midst of each group of revellers stands a bowl full of wine; and the women go creeping off this way and that to lonely places and there give themselves to lecherous men, under the excuse that they are Maenad priestesses; though in their ritual Aphrodite comes before Bacchus.
[tr. Vellacott (1973)]

They leave their home, desert their children
Follow the new fashion and join the Bacchae
Flee the hearth to mob the mountains -- those contain
Deep shadows of course, secret caves to hide
Lewd games for this new god -- Dionysos!
That's the holy spirit newly discovered.
Dionysos! Their ecstasy is flooded down
In brimming bowls of wine -- so much for piety!
Soused, with all the senses roused, they crawl
Into the bushes and there of course a man
Awaits them. All part of the service for for this
Mysterious deity. The hypocrisy? All they care about
Is getting serviced.
[tr. Soyinka (1973)]

Our women gone, abandoning their homes,
pretending to be bacchae, massing
in the bushy mountains, this latest divinity
Dionysos (whoever he is) honouring and chorusing,
filling and setting amidst the thiasus
wine-bowls, and one by one in solitude
sneaking off to cater to male bidding, --
supposedly as sacrificial maenads,
but Aphrodite ranks before their Bacchic One.
[tr. Neuburg (1988)]

Our women, I am told, have left their homes,
in a religious trance -- what travesty! --
and scamper up and down the wooded mountains, dancing
in honor of this newfangled God, Dionysus,
whoever he might be.
In the middle of each female group
of revelers, I hear,
stands a jar of wine, brimming! And that taking turns,
they steal away, one here, one there, to shady nooks,
where they satisfy the lechery of men,
pretending to be priestesses,
performing their religious duties. Ha!
That performance reeks more of Aphrodite than of Bacchus.
[tr. Cacoyannis (1982)]

Our women have abandoned our homes
And, in a jacked-up frenzy of phony inspiration,
Riot in the dark mountains,
Honoring this upstart god, Dionysos --
Whatever he is -- dancing in his chorus.
Full jugs of wine stand in their midst
And each woman slinks off
To the wilderness to serve male lust,
Pretending they are praying priestesses,
But Aphrodite leads them, not Bacchus.
[tr. Blessington (1993)]

Our women have abandoned their homes
for the sham revelries of Bacchus
frisking about on the dark-shadowed mountains
honoring with their dances the latest god, Dionysius, whoever he is.
They've set up their mixing bowls brimming with wine
amidst their cult gatherings, and each lady slinks off in a different direction
to some secluded wilderness to service the lusts of men.
They pretend to be maenads performing sacrifices
but in reality they rank Aphrodite's pleasures before Bacchus!
[tr. Esposito (1998)]

These women of ours have left their homes
and run away to the dark mountains, pretending
to be Bacchants. It's this brand-new god,
Dionysus, whoever that is; they're dancing for him!
They gather in throngs around full bowls
of wine; then one by one they sneak away
to lonely places where they sleep with men.
Priestesses they call themselves! Maenads!
It's Aphrodite they put first, not Bacchus.
[tr. Woodruff (1999)]

               Women leave
Our houses for bogus revels (“Bakkhic” indeed!),
Dashing through the dark shade of mountain forests
To honor with their dancing this new god,
Dionysos -- whoever he may be --
And right in their midst they set full bowls of wine,
And slink into the thickets to meet men there,
Saying they are maenads sacrificing
When they really rank Aphrodite first,
Over Bakkhos!
[tr. Gibbons/Segal (2000)]

The women have left our homes in fictitious ecstatic rites and flit about on the thick-shaded mountains, honoring the new god Dionysus, whoever he is, with their dancing. They set up full wine bowls in the middle of their assembles and sneak off, one here, one there, to tryst in private with men. The pretext for all of this is that they are maenads, performing their rites, but they hold Aphrodite in higher regard than the bacchic god.
[tr. Kovacs (2002)]

I hear our women have flown from their proper place in the home -- dancing about in the shadowy hills in sham ecstasy for this newfound Dionysus! And these wine-befuddled women slink into the darkness, drawn by the sirens of lust. Fine high priestesses of the new god! They seem to make more worship of Aphrodite than of Bacchus!
[tr. Rao/Wolf (2004)]

I heard that our women have left their homes and gone off to the mountains dancing the Bacchic dances! Some new, young god! Utter rubbish! There they are, placing great tubs full of wine in the centre of their group, in the middle of nowhere and off they go, one here, another there, rolling around with any man they come across and giving the excuse that they are maenads; but what are they doing? Serving Dionysos? No way! They’re serving Aphrodite!
[tr. Theodoridis (2005)]

The women have left us, abandoning their homes in
phony Bacchic worship and that they gad about on
the bushy mountaintops; that this "new" god Dio-
nysus, whoever he really is, is honoured in their dances,
and that they set the sacred wine-bowls, fill'd, in the
midst of the thiasoi, each slinking off her sep'rate
way to serve males' hot lust in the woods, pre-
tending to be Maenads sacrificing; and so
they place Aphrodite on top of Bacchus.
[tr. Valerie (2005)]

               ... women leaving home
to go to silly Bacchic rituals,
cavorting there in mountain shadows,
with dances honoring some upstart god,
this Dionysus, whoever he may be. Mixing bowls
in the middle of their meetings filled with wine,
they creep off one by one to lonsely spots
to have sex with men, claiming they're Maenads
busy worshipping. But they rank Aphrodite,
goddess of sexual desire, ahead of Bacchus.
[tr. Johnston (2008), l. 272ff]

Women have deserted their homes for these
fraudulent rites -- up in the woods and mountains,
dancing to celebrate some new god --
Dionysus, whoever he is.
Drink is at the bottom of it all.
Huge bowls stand in their midst, I'm told,
brimming with wine, and one by one the women
slip into the shadows to satisfy the lusts of men.
They say they are priestesses, sworn to Bacchus,
but it's clearly Aphrodite they adore.
[tr. Robertson (2014)]

     Women have forsaken their homes. It’s a front, it’s a fake, a false Bacchic rite, an excuse for them to cavort in the mountain’s shade, dancing to honor this "new god" Dionysus.
     Whoever that is. Whoever he really is.
     I hear they’ve got casks of wine up there, full to the brim, just sitting there in the midst of their frolicking. And that they sneak off into secluded corners, servicing men, excusing it as a sacred thing, a Maenad’s ritual.
     If it is a ritual, it’s to Aphrodite, not this Bacchus of theirs.
[tr. Pauly (2019)]

How our women
had run off
to celebrate
perferse rites
     in the mountains,
roaming about with this
brand new god, Dionysus --
     whoever he is.
Everywhere
     in the midst of their revels
          stand full wine bowls.
And women slink off
one by one
to copulate
with any man
     who happens by.
They pretend to be Maenads, priestesses.
It's Aphrodite,
not Bacchus,
     they worship.
[tr. Behr/Foster (2019)]

Our women have left our homes in contrived Bacchic rites, and rush about in the shadowy mountains, honoring with khoroi this new daimōn Dionysus, whoever he is. I hear that mixing-bowls stand full in the midst of their assemblies, and that each woman, flying to secrecy in different directions, yields to the embraces of men, on the pretext that they are Maenads worshipping. They consider Aphrodite of greater priority than Dionysus.
[tr. Buckley/Sens/Nagy (2020)]

 
Added on 24-Jan-23 | Last updated 11-Jul-23
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Euripides

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

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

Sharing the food is to me more important than arguing about beliefs. Jesus, according to the gospels, thought so too.

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 5-Dec-22 | Last updated 5-Dec-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Dyson, Freeman

One of the great but less famous heroes of World War Two was Andre Trocme, the Protestant pastor of the village of Le Chambon sur Lignon in France, which sheltered and saved the lives of five thousand Jews under the noses of the Gestapo. Forty years later Pierre Sauvage, one of the Jews who was saved, recorded the story of the village in a magnificent documentary film with the title, “Weapons of the Spirit”. The villagers proved that civil disobedience and passive resistance could be effective weapons, even against Hitler. Their religion gave them the courage and the discipline to stand firm. Progress in religion means that, as time goes on, religion more and more takes the side of the victims against the oppressors.

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 28-Nov-22 | Last updated 28-Nov-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Dyson, Freeman

Unreason is now ascendant in the United States — in our schools, in our courts, and in each branch of the federal government. Only 28 percent of Americans believe in evolution; 68 percent believe in Satan. Ignorance in this degree, concentrated in both the head and belly of a lumbering superpower, is now a problem for the entire world.

Sam Harris (b. 1967) American author, philosopher, neuroscientist
“The Politics of Ignorance,” Huffington Post (2 Aug 2005)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Nov-22 | Last updated 14-Nov-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Harris, Sam

We have no right to prejudice another in his civil enjoiments because he is of another church. If any man err from the right way, it is his own misfortune, no injury to thee; nor therefore art thou to punish him in the things of this life because thou supposeth he will be miserable in that which is to come — on the contrary accdg to the spirit of the gospel, charity, bounty, liberality is due to him.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Notes on Religion (Oct 1776?)
    (Source)

Labeled by Jefferson "Scraps Early in the Revolution."
 
Added on 7-Nov-22 | Last updated 7-Nov-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

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)
 
Added on 13-Oct-22 | Last updated 13-Oct-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Gaiman, Neil

Science and religion are two human enterprises sharing many features. They share these features also with other enterprises such as art, literature and music. The most salient features of all these enterprises are discipline and diversity. Discipline to submerge the individual fantasy in a greater whole. Diversity to give scope to the infinite variety of human souls and temperaments. Without discipline there can be no greatness. Without diversity there can be no freedom. Greatness for the enterprise, freedom for the individual — these are the two themes, contrasting but not incompatible, that make up the history of science and the history of religion.

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson (1923-2020) English-American theoretical physicist, mathematician, futurist
Infinite in All Directions, Part 1, ch. 1 “In Praise of Diversity” (1988)
    (Source)

Based on a lecture on "Science and Religion," National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Detroit (Sep 1986).
 
Added on 10-Oct-22 | Last updated 10-Oct-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Dyson, Freeman

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)
 
Added on 3-Oct-22 | Last updated 3-Oct-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

Civilization, let me tell you what it is. First the soldier, then the merchant, then the priest, then the lawyer. The merchant hires the soldier and priest to conquer the country for him. First the soldier, he is a murderer; then the priest, he is a liar; then the merchant, he is a thief; and they all bring in the lawyer to make their laws and defend their deeds, and there you have your civilization!

Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980) American journalist, essayist, author, political activist [b. Callie Russell Porter]
Ship of Fools, Part 2 [Hansen] (1962)
    (Source)
 
Added on 28-Sep-22 | Last updated 28-Sep-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Porter, Katherine Anne

Were I to be the founder of a new sect, I would call them Apriarians, and after the example of the bee, advise them to extract the honey of every sect. My fundamental principle would be the reverse of Calvin’s, that we are to be saved by our good works which are within our power, and not by our faith which is not within our power.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to Thomas B. Parker (15 May 1819)
    (Source)
 
Added on 8-Aug-22 | Last updated 8-Aug-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas

Although I never found a church where I felt completely at home again, I made a new home in the world. I renewed my membership in the priesthood of all believers, who may not have as much power as we would like, but whose consolation prize is the freedom to meet God after work, well away from all centers of religious command, wherever God shows up.

Barbara Brown Taylor (b. 1951) American minister, academic, author
Leaving Church: A Memoir of Faith (2009)
 
Added on 26-Jul-22 | Last updated 26-Jul-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Taylor, Barbara Brown

I’d be more willing to accept religion, even though I don’t believe in it, if I thought it made people nicer to each other, but I don’t think it does.

Andy Rooney
Andy Rooney (1919-2011) American journalist, commentator, author
Sincerely, Andy Rooney, Part 15 “Faith in Reason” (1999)
    (Source)

From a 1989 letter he wrote to his children about religion.
 
Added on 26-Jul-22 | Last updated 26-Jul-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Rooney, Andy

Besides justifying the transfer of wealth to kleptocrats, institutionalized religion brings two other important benefits to centralized societies. First, shared ideology or religion helps solve the problem of how unrelated individuals are able to live together without killing each other — by providing them with a bond not based on kinship. Second, it gives people a motive, other than genetic self-interest, for sacrificing their lives on behalf of others.

Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond (b. 1937) American geographer, historian, ornithologist, author
Guns, Germs, and Steel, ch. 14 (1997)
    (Source)
 
Added on 11-Jul-22 | Last updated 11-Jul-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Diamond, Jared

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

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

I love to see a Man zealous in a good Matter, and especially when his Zeal shews it self for advancing Morality, and promoting the Happiness of Mankind: But when I find the Instruments he works with are Racks and Gibbets, Gallies and Dungeons; when he imprisons Mens Persons, confiscates their Estates, ruins their Families, and burns the Body to save the Soul, I cannot stick to pronounce of such a one, that (whatever he may think of his Faith and Religion) his Faith is vain, and his Religion unprofitable.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
Joseph Addison, The Spectator, #185 (2 Oct 1711)
    (Source)
 
Added on 15-Jun-22 | Last updated 15-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , ,
More quotes by Addison, Joseph

A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers in himself harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.

Abraham Joshua Heschel
Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972) Polish-American rabbi, theologian, philosopher
“What Ecumenism Is” (1963)
    (Source)

Collected in Susanna Heschel, ed., Moral Grandeur and Spiritual Audacity (1996). In other essays in the book, he uses the first clause ("a person who holds God and man in one thought, at one time, at all times") as a definition of a "prophet."
 
Added on 10-Jun-22 | Last updated 13-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Heschel, Abraham

We are told by some of the Jewish Rabbins, that the first Murder was occasioned by a religious Controversy; and if we had the whole History of Zeal from the Days of Cain to our own Times, we should see it filled with so many Scenes of Slaughter and Bloodshed, as would make a wise Man very careful how he suffers himself to be actuated by such a Principle, when it only regards Matters of Opinion and Speculation.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
The Spectator, #185 (2 Oct 1711)
    (Source)
 
Added on 18-May-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Addison, Joseph

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

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

There is nothing in which Men more deceive themselves than in what the World calls Zeal. There are so many Passions which hide themselves under it, and so many Mischiefs arising from it, that some have gone so far as to say it would have been for the Benefit of Mankind if it had never been reckoned in the Catalogue of Virtues. It is certain, where it is once Laudable and Prudential, it is an hundred times Criminal and Erroneous; nor can it be otherwise, if we consider that it operates with equal Violence in all Religions, however opposite they may be to one another, and in all the Subdivisions of each Religion in particular.

Joseph Addison (1672-1719) English essayist, poet, statesman
The Spectator, #185 (2 Oct 1711)
    (Source)
 
Added on 11-May-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Addison, Joseph

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

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

The Church of the Interdependency and other religions found their places of worship jammed, as the faithful, the newly faithful and the not-actually-at-all-faithful-but-this-is-some-weird-shit-and-I’m-hedging-my-bets came in and, depending on experience, prayed, meditated or wondered what it was exactly they were supposed to do now that they were there.

John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
The Consuming Fire (2018)
    (Source)
 
Added on 6-May-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , ,
More quotes by Scalzi, John

To me, good works are more important than theology. We all know that religion has been historically, and still is today, a cause of great evil as well as great good in human affairs. We have seen terrible wars and terrible persecutions conducted in the name of religion. We have also seen large numbers of people inspired by religion to lives of heroic virtue, bringing education and medical care to the poor, helping to abolish slavery and spread peace among nations. Religion amplifies the good and evil tendencies of individual souls. Religion will always remain a powerful force in the history of our species. To me, the meaning of progress in religion is simply this, that as we move from the past to the future the good works inspired by religion should more and more prevail over the evil.

Freeman Dyson
Freeman Dyson (1923-2020) English-American theoretical physicist, mathematician, futurist
“Progress in Religion,” speech accepting the Templeton Prize, Washington National Cathedral (9 May 2000)
    (Source)
 
Added on 18-Apr-22 | Last updated 1-Jun-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , ,
More quotes by Dyson, Freeman

When will the churches learn that intolerance, personal or ecclesiastical, is an evidence of weakness? The confident can afford to be calm and kindly; only the fearful must defame and exclude.

Harry Emerson Fosdick (1878-1969) American clergyman, author, teacher
“Tolerance,” sec. 3, Adventurous Religion (1926)
    (Source)
 
Added on 13-Apr-22 | Last updated 13-Apr-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Fosdick, Harry Emerson