Quotations about   scripture

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In practice, people choose the book considered sacred by the community in which they are born, and out of that book they choose the parts they like, ignoring the others. At one time, the most influential text in the Bible was: “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Nowadays, people pass over this text, in silence if possible; if not, with an apology. And so, even when we have a sacred book, we still choose truth whatever suits our own prejudices.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) English mathematician and philosopher
Unpopular Essays (1950)

Quoting Exodus 22:18.
Added on 13-Nov-18 | Last updated 13-Nov-18
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So you end up with divergent sects reading from subtly different versions of the same book — which in turn is a third-generation translation of something which might have been the original codification of an oral tradition — and all convinced that their interpretation overrides such minor obstacles as observable reality. Which still wouldn’t be a problem except that some of the readers think the books are an instruction manual rather than a set of educational parables, a blueprint instead of a metaphor.

Charles "Charlie" Stross (b. 1964) British writer
The Apocalypse Codex (2012)
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Added on 2-May-17 | Last updated 2-May-17
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The Bible is a sealed book to him who has not first heard its laws from his soul.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) American essayist, lecturer, poet
“Trust Yourself,” sermon (1830)
Added on 3-Feb-16 | Last updated 3-Feb-16
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The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul producing holy witness
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart:
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
The Merchant of Venice, Act 1, sc. 3. [Antonio] (c. 1597)
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Added on 6-Mar-15 | Last updated 6-Mar-15
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Cosmogony and cosmology have always aroused great interest among peoples and religions. The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise, but in order to state the correct relationships of man with God and with the universe. Sacred Scripture wishes simply to declare that the world was created by God, and in order to teach this truth it expresses itself in the terms of the cosmology in use at the time of the writer. The Sacred Book likewise wishes to tell men that the world was not created as the seat of the gods, as was taught by other cosmogonies and cosmologies, but was rather created for the service of man and the glory of God. Any other teaching about the origin and make-up of the universe is alien to the intentions of the Bible, which does not wish to teach how heaven was made but how one goes to heaven.

Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) Polish-born Catholic Pontiff (1978-2005) [b. Karol Józef Wojtyła]
“Cosmology and Fundamental Physics,” Discourse to the Pontifical Academy of Science (3 Oct 1981)
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Added on 14-Feb-13 | Last updated 14-Mar-18
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ANTONIO: Mark you this, Bassanio,
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.
An evil soul, producing holy witness,
Is like a villain with a smiling cheek,
A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
O, what a goodly outside falsehood hath!

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English dramatist and poet
The Merchant of Venice, Act 1, scene 3, l. 97 (1596)
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Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 1-Aug-14
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Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Buddha (c.563-483 BC) Indian mystic, philosopher [b. Siddharta Gautama]
The Kalama Sutta
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 6-Feb-15
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Cave ab homine unius libri.

[Beware of anyone who has just one book.]

Other Authors and Sources
Latin proverb

Sometimes attributed to Thomas Aquinas. See also George Herbert.
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 3-Mar-16
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