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Meditation 180
Quotations XV

"I hate quotations, tell me what you know." Ralph Waldo Emerson.

But as some people do like quotations and think they can be useful in succinctly communicating an opinion, we will post a selection occasionally. This is the fifteenth in an ongoing series. Quotations are now indexed to assist anyone trying to locate a specific one.

  1. A mystic is a person who is puzzled before the obvious but who understands the nonexistent. Elbert Hubbard

  2. It is best to read the weather forecast before praying for rain. Mark Twain

  3. If we must play the theological game, let us never forget that it is a game. Religion, it seems to me, can survive only as a consciously accepted system of make believe. Aldous Huxley

  4. Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion - several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn't straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother's path to happiness and heaven. Mark Twain

  5. Some things have to be believed to be seen. Ralph Hodgson

  6. Be not misled by reports or tradition or common opinion. Be not misled by proficiency in the scriptures, nor by speculation and conclusions, nor by attractive theories and favorite ideas, nor by impressions of personal merits (of the teacher) and not by the authority of some master. But rather, Kalamas, when you discern yourselves: these things are unprofitable, these things are blameworthy, these things are censured by the wise; these things, when performed and undertaken are conducive to misfortune and sorrow, indeed do you then reject them.... And when you discern yourselves: these things are profitable, these things are not blameworthy, these things are praised by the wise; these things, when performed and undertaken are conducive to good fortune and happiness, indeed do you then accept them. Buddha

  7. God is a concept by which we measure our pain. John Lennon

  8. No creed can be stretched to the size of truth; no church can be made as large as man.Lemuel K. Washburn

  9. I have repeatedly stressed that the selfish impulses of man constitute a much less historic danger than his integrative tendencies. To put it in the simplest way: the individual who indulges in an excess of aggressive self-assertiveness incurs the penalties of society - he outlaws himself, he contracts out of the hierarchy. The true believer, on the other hand, becomes more closely knit into it; he enters the womb of his church, or party, or whatever the social holon to which he surrenders his identity. Arthur Koestler

  10. I see these two legendary men [Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson] as symbolic of the American dream. Their position atop a vast religious/cable television/Bad Hair empire shows the entire world that America truly is the Land of Opportunity®, where Narrow-Minded, Really Dumb Guys can, and regularly do, get to the top. Ron Barber

  11. A religion can no more afford to degrade its Devil than to degrade its God. Havelock Ellis

  12. Faith is never identical with piety. Karl Barth

  13. Would you sing 'Krishna bless America' or pledge allegiance to 'One nation under Allah'? If not, would that make you unpatriotic? Chris Lee

  14. If all the evidence put forward for the authenticity of religious teachings originates in the past, it is natural to look round and see whether the present, about which it is easier to form judgements, may not also be able to furnish evidence of the sort. If by this means we could succeed in clearing even a single portion of the religious system from doubt, the whole of it would gain enormously in credibility. Sigmund Freud

  15. "Ours is a Christian army;" so he said
    A regiment of bangomen who led.
    "And ours a Christian navy," added he
    Who sailed a thunder-junk upon the sea.
    Better they know than men unwarlike do
    What is an army, and navy too.
    Pray God there may be sent them by-and-by
    The knowledge what a Christian is, and why
    For somewhat lamely the conception runs
    of a brass-buttoned Jesus firing guns.

    - "Arma Virumque" by Ambrose Bierce

  16. Religion is the highest vanity. Friedrich Hebbel

  17. Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain of. Mark Twain

  18. Religion has caused more harm than any other idea since the beginning of time. There's nothing good I can say about it. People use it as a crutch. Larry Flynt

  19. Suppose, however, that God did give this law to the Jews, and did tell them that whenever a man preached a heresy, or proposed to worship any other God that they should kill him; and suppose that afterward this same God took upon himself flesh, and came to this very chosen people and taught a different religion, and that thereupon the Jews crucified him; I ask you, did he not reap exactly what he had sown? What right would this god have to complain of a crucifixion suffered in accordance with his own command? Robert G. Ingersoll

  20. Whatever sympathy I feel towards religions, whatever admiration for some of their adherents, whatever historical or biological necessity I see in them, whatever metaphorical truth, I cannot accept them as credible explanations of reality; and they are incredible to me in proportion to the degree that they require my belief in positive human attributes and intervenient powers in their divinities. John Fowles