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

William Ralph Inge (1860-1954) English prelate [Dean Inge]
“Institutionalism and Mysticism” (1914), Outspoken Essays: First Series (1914)
Added on 6-Jul-20 | Last updated 6-Jul-20
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True science and true religion are twin-sisters, and the separation of either from the other is sure to prove the death of both. Science prospers exactly in proportion as it is religious; and religion flourishes in exact proportion to the scientific depth and firmness of its basis. The great deeds of philosophers have been less the fruit of their intellect than of the direction of that intellect by an eminently religious tone of mind. Truth has yielded herself rather to heir patience, their love, their single-heartedness, and their self-denial, than to their logical acumen. And all the reformations in religion–all the steps by which the creeds you hold have been brought to that comparative purity and truth in which you justly glory–have been due essentially to the growth of the scientific spirit, to the ever-increasing confidence of the intellect in itself — and its incessantly repeated refusals to bow down blindly to what it had discovered to be mere idols, any more. It is above all things needful for you, working men, to note these truths. For with the limited time, and the limited means for study at your disposal, you run the risk of flying to one of two extremes–bigoted orthodoxy, or conceited scepticism.

T. H. Huxley (1825-1895) English biologist [Thomas Henry Huxley]
Lecture, “Science and Religion” (Dec 1858)

Quoted in The Government School of Mines, The Builder (Jan 1859). Quoted in Herbert Spencer, Education: Intellectual, Moral, Physical, ch. 1 (1860)
Added on 24-Jan-14 | Last updated 24-Jan-14
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I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish — where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source — where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials — and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.

John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, Greater Houston Ministerial Association (12 Sep 1960)
Added on 8-Dec-07 | Last updated 21-Jul-14
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It is contended by many that ours is a Christian government, founded upon the Bible, and that all who look upon the book as false or foolish are destroying the foundation of our country. The truth is, our government is not founded upon the rights of gods, but upon the rights of men. Our Constitution was framed, not to declare and uphold the deity of Christ, but the sacredness of humanity. Ours is the first government made by the people and for the people. It is the only nation with which the gods have had nothing to do. And yet there are some judges dishonest and cowardly enough to solemnly decide that this is a Christian country, and that our free institutions are based upon the infamous laws of Jehovah.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“Individuality” (1873)
Added on 11-Aug-06 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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