Quotations about   zealotry

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



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

Violence is often caused by a surfeit of morality and justice, at least as they are conceived in the minds of the perpetrators.

Steven Pinker (b. 1954) Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, linguist, author
The Better Angels of our Nature, ch. 3 (2011)
    (Source)
 
Added on 7-Jul-21 | Last updated 7-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Pinker, Steven

To me, at least, the greatest blasphemy in the world is not the denial of God’s existence, but the claim that we have a pipeline to Him, and that all other claimants are wrong. This assertion is what plunged the world into the bloodiest of wars in the past, and might well do so again if the zealots had their way.

Sydney J. Harris (1917-1986) Anglo-American columnist, journalist, author
“Strictly Personal” column (20 Jan 1985)


Reprinted in Clearing the Ground (1986)
 
Added on 30-Jun-21 | Last updated 30-Jun-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Harris, Sydney J.

For the Bolsheviki the end to be achieved was the Communist State, or the so-called Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Everything which advanced that end was justifiable and revolutionary. The Lenins, Radeks, and Zorins were therefore quite consistent. Obsessed by the infallibility of their creed, giving of themselves to the fullest, they could be both heroic and despicable at the same time. They could work twenty hours a day, live on herring and tea, and order the slaughter of innocent men and women. Occasionally they sought to mask their killings by pretending a “misunderstanding,” for doesn’t the end justify all means? They could employ torture and deny the inquisition, they could lie and defame, and call themselves idealists. In short, they could make themselves and others believe that everything was legitimate and right from the revolutionary viewpoint; any other policy was weak, sentimental, or a betrayal of the Revolution.

Emma Goldman (1869-1940) Lithuanian-American anarchist, activist
My Disillusionment in Russia, ch. 12 (1920)
    (Source)
 
Added on 26-Jul-19 | Last updated 26-Jul-19
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , ,
More quotes by Goldman, Emma

Zealots were always hard. Zeal distorts them. Makes the normal impulses convolute. Makes people fearless and greedless and loveless and finally monstrous. I was against zeal. But being against it didn’t make it go away.

Robert B. Parker (1932-2010) American writer
Promised Land (1974)
 
Added on 15-Mar-17 | Last updated 10-Sep-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Parker, Robert

For at least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice, and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism, and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) English novelist, essayist and critic
“Knowledge and Understanding,” Vedanta and the West (May-Jun 1956)
    (Source)


Revision of a 1955 lecture given at the Vedanta Society of Southern California; this phrase, however, does not occur in it (the surrounding text is found around the 10:00 mark). Reprinted in Adonis and the Alphabet, and Other Essays (in the US Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, and Other Essays) (1956).
 
Added on 5-Nov-14 | Last updated 25-Jan-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Huxley, Aldous

Is it not strange that men are so keen to fight for a religion and so unkeen to live according to its precepts?

Georg C. Lichtenberg (1742-1799) German physicist, writer
Aphorisms, Notebook L, #85, p. 705 (1796-99) [tr. Hollingdale (1990)
    (Source)


Alternate translation: "Is it not peculiar that men are so glad to fight for religion and so reluctant to live according to its precepts?" [tr. Tester (2012)]
 
Added on 22-Nov-13 | Last updated 7-Jul-21
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Lichtenberg, Georg C.

But the greatest of all the Reformers of the depraved religion of his own country, was Jesus of Nazareth. Abstracting what is really his from the rubbish in which it is buried, easily distinguished by its lustre from the dross of his biographers, and as separable from that as the diamond from the dung hill, we have the outlines of a system of the most sublime morality which has ever fallen from the lips of man: outlines which it is lamentable he did not live to fill up. Epictetus & Epicurus give us laws for governing ourselves, Jesus a supplement of the duties & charities we owe to others. The establishment of the innocent and genuine character of this benevolent Moralist, and the rescuing it from the imputation of imposture, which has resulted from artificial systems,* invented by Ultra-Christian sects, unauthorized by a single word ever uttered by him, is a most desirable object, and one to which Priestley has successfully devoted his labors and learning. It would in time, it is to be hoped, effect a quiet euthanasia of the heresies of bigotry and fanaticism which have so long triumphed over human reason, and so generally & deeply afflicted mankind; but this work is to be begun by winnowing the grain from the chaff of the historians of his life.

* e.g. The immaculate conception of Jesus, his deification, the creation of the world by him, his miraculous powers, his resurrection & visible ascension, his corporeal presence in the Eucharist, the Trinity, original sin, atonement, regeneration, election, orders of Hierarchy, Etc.

Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) American political philosopher, polymath, statesman, US President (1801-09)
Letter to William Short (31 Oct 1819)
    (Source)
 
Added on 10-Oct-13 | Last updated 3-Aug-22
Link to this post | No comments
Topics: , , , , , , , , , ,
More quotes by Jefferson, Thomas