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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)
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Added on 18-Jul-22 | Last updated 18-Jul-22
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I believe, with the Quaker preacher, that he who steadily observes those moral precepts in which all religions concur, will never be questioned, at the gates of heaven, as to the dogmas in which they all differ. That on entering there, all these are left behind us, and the Aristideses & Cato’s, the Penns & Tillotsons, Presbyterians and Papists, will find themselves united in all principles which are in concert with the reason of the supreme mind.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to William Canby (18 Sep 1813)
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Added on 12-Sep-13 | Last updated 18-Jul-22
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If God made us, he will not destroy us. Infinite wisdom never made a poor investment, Upon all the works of an infinite God, a dividend must finally be declared. Why should God make failures? Why should he waste material? Why should he not correct his mistakes, instead of damning them? The pulpit has cast a shadow over even the cradle. The doctrine of endless punishment has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. I despise it, and I deny it.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“What Must We Do To Be Saved?” Sec. 1 (1880)
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Added on 19-Oct-11 | Last updated 21-Aug-14
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This family has no outsiders. Everyone is an insider. When Jesus said, “I, if I am lifted up, will draw …” Did he say, “I will draw some”? “I will draw some, and tough luck for the others”? He said, “I, if I be lifted up, will draw all.” All! All! All! — Black, white, yellow; rich, poor; clever, not so clever; beautiful, not so beautiful. All! All! It is radical. All! Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Bush — all! All! All are to be held in this incredible embrace. Gay, lesbian, so-called “straight;” all! All! All are to be held in the incredible embrace of the love that won’t let us go.

Desmond Tutu (1931-2021) South African cleric, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Nobel Laureate
“And God Smiles,” Sermon, All Saints Church, Pasadena, California (6 Nov 2005)

The Bible passage referenced is John 12:32.
 
Added on 17-Oct-11 | Last updated 26-Dec-21
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I attacked the doctrine of eternal pain. I hold it in infinite and utter abhorrence. And if there be a God in this universe who made a hell; if there be a God in this universe who denies to any human being the right of reformation, then that God is not good, that God is not just, and the future of man is infinitely dark. I despise that doctrine, and I have done what little I could to get that horror from the cradle, that horror from the hearts of mothers, that horror from the hearts of husbands and fathers, and sons, and brothers, and sisters. It is a doctrine that turns to ashes all the humanities of life and all the hopes of mankind. I despise it.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“Reply to Rev. Drs. Thomas and Lorimer,” speech, Chicago (26 Nov 1882)
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Added on 9-Oct-09 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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If people really want to go, and really try all their lives, I think they will get in; for I don’t believe there are any locks on that door, or any guards at the gate. I always imagine it is as it is in the picture, where the shining ones stretch out their hands to welcome poor Christian as he comes up from the river.

Louisa May Alcott (1832-1888) American writer
Little Women, ch. 13 [Beth] (1868)
 
Added on 2-Sep-08 | Last updated 9-Jan-20
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If there is a God who will damn his children forever, I would rather go to hell than to go to heaven and keep the society of such an infamous tyrant. I make my choice now. I despise that doctrine. It has covered the cheeks of this world with tears. It has polluted the hearts of children, and poisoned the imaginations of men.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Liberty of Man, Woman, and Child” (1877)
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Added on 28-Aug-08 | Last updated 4-Feb-16
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Is it necessary that Heaven should borrow its light from the glare of Hell? Infinite punishment is infinite cruelty, endless injustice, immortal meanness. To worship an eternal gaoler hardens, debases, and pollutes even the vilest soul. While there is one sad and breaking heart in the universe, no good being can be perfectly happy.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Great Infidels” (1881)
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Added on 10-Jul-08 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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While utterly discarding all creeds, and denying the truth of all religions, there is neither in my heart nor upon my lips a sneer for the hopeful, loving and tender souls who believe that from all this discord will result a perfect harmony; that every evil will in some mysterious way become a good, and that above and over all there is a being who, in some way, will reclaim and glorify every one of the children of men; but for those who heartlessly try to prove that salvation is almost impossible; that damnation is almost certain; that the highway of the universe leads to hell; who fill life with fear and death with horror; who curse the cradle and mock the tomb, it is impossible to entertain other than feelings of pity, contempt and scorn.

Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) American lawyer, agnostic, orator
“The Gods” (1876)
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Added on 14-Jan-08 | Last updated 2-Feb-16
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I know a number of highly sensitive and intelligent people in my own communion who consider as a heresy my faith that God’s loving concern for his creation will outlast all our willfulness and pride. No matter how many eons it takes, he will not rest until all of creation, including Satan, is reconciled to him, until there is no creature who cannot return his look of love with a joyful response of love […] Some people feel it to be heresy because it appears to deny man his freedom to refuse to love God. But this, it seems to me, denies God his freedom to go on loving us beyond all our willfulness and pride. If the Word of God is the light of the world, and this light cannot be put out, ultimately it will brighten all the dark corners of our hearts and we will be able to see, and seeing, will be given the grace to respond with love — and of our own free will.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) American writer
The Irrational Season (1977)
 
Added on 19-Sep-07 | Last updated 14-Nov-15
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Jews do not presume to judge the honest worshiper of any faith. Our prayer book tells us: “The righteous of all nations are worthy of immortality.” We Jews know that there are many mountain tops — and all of them reach for the stars.

Morris N. Kertzer (1910-1983) American rabbi, writer
“What is a Jew?” Look Magazine (1954)
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This essay was expanded into a book by the same title; this passage underwent various revisions and expansion across different editions.
 
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 4-May-15
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