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"At the beginning of the twentieth century, religion as a central force in the fate of nations was almost nonexistent. It was commonly believed, at least by the educated and the elite, that religion would soon fade away, to survive perhaps as a quaint tradition kept alive out of sentimentality and habit but no more part of the modern world than magic and witchcraft. Insofar as Muslims embraced the attitudes and manners of the West, they shared similar sentiments.
As we now know, the death of religion was prematurely announced, and the story of the twentieth century is one of retreat followed by regrouping and an advance, not so much in Europe, but in many parts of the world. Just as the rise of nationalism went hand in hand with the decline in organized religion, the failures of nationalism contributed to a new religious revival.."
Peace Be Upon You: The Story of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Coexistence
"Religion is a most controversial subject. Its critics have described it as a major source of war and hatred between men, as a psychological crutch that encourages man to be weak and unrealistic about life.....an outmoded relic, a superstitious left-over from pre-scientific times.
Religion's supporters, on the other hand, claim that it can bring happiness to the individual and peace among nations, that it is a guiding light in an unstable world, that life is empty without it, and that man's hopes for survival and progress depend on his accepting religious principles of living.
How is it that people can hold such opposite opinions on the single phenomenon of religion?"
-Dr. Marvin Gawryn
Reaching High: The Psychology of Spiritual Living
Athens ,Greece 2008...A small group of pagans pledged Thursday to hold a protest prayer among the Acropolis temples, more than 1,500 years after Christians stamped out worship of the ancient Greek gods.
Group spokeswoman Doretta Peppa said the worshippers would pray Sunday to Athena-goddess of wisdom and patron of ancient Athens-to protect the 2,500-year old site. Peppa said followers of the old religion object to the removal of hundreds of sculptural masterpieces from a museum on the Acropolis to a large new building.'
"....The voice of the Great Spirit is heard in the twittering of birds, the rippling of mighty waters, and the sweet breathing of flowers. If this is Paganism, then at present, at least, I am a Pagan "
-Gertrude Simmons Bonnin 1876-1933 Dakota Sioux
"The theatre is a religious institution devoted entirely to the exaltation of the spirit of man....It is a church without a creed, but there is no doubt in my mind that our theater, instead of being, as the evangelical ministers used to believe, the gateway to hell, is as much a worship as the theater of the Greeks....The plays that please most and run longest in these dusty alleys are representative of human loyalty, courage, love that purges the soul, grief that ennobles."
"For the first time in our history, the majority of thinking people have come up against a crippling lack of faith. There is no faith, political, religious, social or personal, that remains unshaken nowadays....Now a good play cannot be written except out of convictions-for or against-and when conviction wobbles, the theater wobbles....The era of good play writing is an era of confidence-usually, in retrospect, mistaken-confidence that runs through playwrights, audiences, actors and the whole structure of society."
"Primitive religion is not believed. It is danced"
-Arthur Darby Nock
"THE First Canonization Bestowed By Our Invisible anti-Church belongs by right to Thomas Morton of Merry Mount. Morton came of minor West Country gentry stock, had a passable education, and could boast of contacts in the School of Night (his patron Sir Ferdinando Gorges was a close associate of the Raleigh clique). He arrived in Massachusetts at Plymouth Bay Colony in 1624, and soon fell afoul of the dour and precise sectarians. Morton was Anglican and Royalist, but in the New World these conservative instincts put him in a marginal position vis-a-vis the local elite, the Pilgrim Fathers under Governor Bradford. In truth Morton seems to have been something of a crypto-pagan, not only by heritage (for the English countryside still preserved ancient British customs), but also by conviction. As a Renaissance gentleman he preferred Greco-Roman mythology to the Bible, a taste he shared with Sidney and Spenser and others of the School of Night, and which seemed to justify his value-system of humane libertinism. In his writings he invariably refers to himself in the third person as "mine hoste of Merry Mount"- or, as he spell it, "Ma-re Mount, with a cluster of puns around his chief obsession and key term, "merry."
Near Mt. Wollaston in the wilderness Morton dropped out and built a trading-post and tavern, where he soon gathered around him a small Comus-crew of disaffected fur traders, antimonians, loose women, Indians and bon-vivants. Morton got on well with the Indians, whom he much preferred to the Puritans. In his mind the natives were like those pagan Canaanites who'd been slaughtered and oppressed by the Israelites of the Old Testament-and if the Pilgrims claimed to be the Israelites of this new holy land, Morton's sympathies would lie entirely with the redskinned Canaanites. In 1627 he erected a huge Maypole (an 80-foot pine trunk topped with set of deer antlers), proclaimed the "Revells of new Canaan" at Merry Mount; and invited his white and Indian friends to the first inter-racial neo-pagan gathering in North America. In his account of these events, Morton declares that "Cupid's mother" inspired him
With proclamation that the first of May
At Ma-re Mount shall be kept hollyday.
Going on, he says, "The setting up of this Maypole was a lamentable spectacle to the precise separatists that lived at New Plymouth. They termed it an Idoll; yea they called it the Calfe of Horeb: and stood at defiance with the place, naming it Mount Dagon; threatening to make it a woeful mount and not a merry mount."
Morton's New World experiences had turned him from an old-fashioned rural squire into a raving radical-or rather, the New World itself had changed the meaning of his life for him and revealed to him his own inner connection with wilderness. No wonder the pilgrims recoiled in horror to find Morton and his friends dancing hand-in-hand around the Maypole "whiles one of the Company sung, and filled out the good liquor like gammedes and jupiter" (i.e., Ganymede and Zeus).
Gone to Croatan: Origins of North American Dropout Culture
"Of the major components of dogma-truth, falsehood, opinion, and authority-the greatest is authority. One of the oldest human habits, a habit roundly encouraged by the brain's immeasurable inertia, is to surrender one's mind to a particular dogma, simply because of the dogma's ancient pedigree. it was the authority of age which made it possible for readily detectable falsehood in the Old Testament and Aristotelian natural philosophy to be held as truths for more than fifteen hundred years."
The Dispossessed Majority
"It is a fine thing to establish one's own religion in one's heart, not to be dependent on tradition and second-hand ideals. Life will seem to you, later, not a lesser, but a greater thing."
"The Jehovah of the Jews is a suspicious tyrant, who breathes nothing but blood, murder, and carnage, and who demands that they should nourish him with the vapours of animals. The Jupiter of the Pagans is a lascivious monster. The Moloch of the Phoenicians is a cannibal; the pure mind of the Christians resolved, in order to appease his fury , to crucify his own son; the savage god of the Mexicans cannot be satisfied without thousands of mortals which are immolated to his sanguinary appetite.
All Religious notions are uniformly founded on authority; all the religions of the world forbid examination, and are not disposed that men should reason upon them."
-Paul Henry Thiry Baron D'Holback guillotined 1789
"Paganism, and especially Vedism, could scarcely be termed a 'religion'. It would be more accurate to refer to it as the culture of a way of life. It was the greatest culture alive on the Earth, belonging to a highly spiritual civilization. This civilization did not need to believe in God-its people knew God.
This civilization's people communicated with God, they understood the thoughts of the creator.
They knew the designated purpose of every blade of grass, of every midge, of every planet.
this civilization's people continue to rest in our souls even to this day. They will most certainly awake. The happy, life-delighted curators of a marvelous planet, the children of God-the Vedruss people"
-Vladimir Megre The Energy of Life nr 7 The Ringing Cedars Series
"There is no other religion than the religion of nature, preserved in the Temples of Initiation in Egypt and Greece."
"In this most beautiful temple who would place this lamp in another or better position than that from which it can light up everything at the same time? For the sun is not inappropriately called by some people the lantern of the universe, its mind by others, and its ruler by still others."
"One could write a plausible intellectual history in which the decline of sun worship, the religion abandoned by the Roman emperor Constantine when he converted to Christianity, , was said to have produced the Dark Ages, while subsequent resurrection gave rise to the Renaissance."
Coming of Age in the Milky Way
"God has no religion."
"You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips."
"Religion is nothing but the shadow cast by the universe on human intelligence."
"The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic
emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science. Anyone to whom
this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a
state of fear, is a dead man. To know that what is impenetrable for us really
exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty,
whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties-this knowledge,
this feeling....that is the core of the true religious sentiment."
"Still, instead of trusting what their own minds tell them, men have as a rule a weakness for trusting others who pretend to super-natural sources of knowledge."
"Do not believe anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe traditions because they have been handed down for many generations' Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe anything because it is written down in religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."
"Religion is nothing else than love of God and man."
"Even if God did not exist, religious would still be holy and divine....God is the only being who does not have to exist in order to reign."
"To believe is very dull. To doubt is intensely engrossing. To be on the alert is to live, to be lulled into security is to die."
"the things one feels absolutely certain about are never true. That is the fatality of faith and the lesson of romance."
"There are many people who quite innocently and sincerely
believe that if they are earnest in attending to their own personal "spiritual"
needs, this amounts to living a morally good life. I know many activists, both
religious and secular, who agree with me: These people are deluding themselves."
"I can see how sincere, how passionately proletarian a religious prophet may be, that is the fate which sooner or later befalls him in a competitive society-to be founder of an organization of fools, conduced by knaves, for the benefit of wolves. That fate befell Buddha and Jesus, it befell Ignatius Loyola and Francis of Assisi, John Fox, and John Calvin, and John Wesley."
"It may be that religion is dead, and if it is, we had better know it and set ourselves to try to discover other sources of moral strength before it is too late."
-Pearl S. Buck Nobel Prize 1958
"Religion is the idol of the mob; it adores everything it does not understand."
-Frederick The Great, King of Prussia letter to Voltaire
'I announce that everyone is free to choose a religion. People
are free to live with all religions and take up a job provided that they never
violate other's rights."
-Cyrus The Great
"All religions must be tolerated....for in this way must every one be saved in his own way."
-Frederick The Great
"I believe in the fundamental Truth of all the great religions of the world. I believe that they are all God-given.....I came to the conclusion long ago....that all religions were true, and also that all had some error in them."
"The absence of religion in Shakespeare was a sign of his good sense; that a healthy instinct kept his attention within the sublunary world; and that he was in that respect superior to Homer and to Dante....Shakespeare, however, is remarkable among the greater poets for being without a philosophy and without a religion. In his drama there is no fixed conception of any forces, natural or moral, dominating and transcending our mortal energies."
"The bad thing about all religions is that, instead of being able to confess their allegorical nature, they have to conceal it; accordingly, they parade their doctrine in all seriousness as true sensu proprio ,and as absurdities form an essential part of these doctrines, you have the great mischief of a continual fraud."
-Arthur Schopenhauer "The Christian System"
"A good Life is the only Religion."
"There never was a false God, nor was there ever a really false religion, unless you call a child a false man."
"Men have contempt for religion, and fear that it is true."
"He who knows only one religion knows none."
"I am in the right, and you are in the wrong. When you are the stronger, you ought to tolerate me; for it is your duty to tolerate truth. But when I am the stronger, I shall persecute you; for it is my duty to persecute error."
-Thomas Babington Macaulay Critical and Historical Essays, 1870
"The great Sun, moving in the heavenly houses, has left the House of the fishes for the House of the Water bearer. In the coming age shall humanity be holy, And in the perfection of the human shall we find the humane. take up the manhood into God head, and bring down the Godhead into Manhood, and this shall be the day of God with us; for God is made manifest in nature, and nature is the self-expression of God."
Number of religions practiced in each world nation: 32 In New Guinea 648
"The Bengali writer Nirad chaudhuri was driven to exasperation by Hinduism's complexity. "The more one studies the details of the religion the more bewildering does it seem," he wrote. "It is not simply that one cannot form a clear-cut intellectual idea of the whole complex, it is not possible even to come away with a coherent emotional reaction." Hinduism is not really a "religion" in the Abrahamic sense of the word but a loose philosophy, one that has no answers but merely questions. The only clear guiding principle is ambiguity. If there is a central verse in Hinduism's most important text, the Rig Veda, it is the Creation Hymn. it reads, in part.
Who really knows, and who can swear,
How creation came, when or where!
Even gods came after creation's day.
Who really knows, who can truly say
When and how did creation start?
Did He do it? Or did He not?
Only He, up there, knows, maybe;
Or perhaps, not even He."
Compare that with the certainties of the Book of Genesis
The Post-American World
"No disease is so full of variations, so changeable in symptoms, so made up out of ideas opposed to ,nay, rather, at war with one another, as is the disease called Superstition. We must therefore fly from it, but in a safe way and to our own good-not like those who, running away from the attack of highwaymen, or wild beasts, or a fire, have entangled themselves in mazes leading to pitfalls and precipices. For thus some people, when running away from Superstation, fall headlong into atheism, but rugged and obstinate, and leap over that which lies between the two, namely, true Religion."
-Plutarch On Superstition
And I say to mankind, be not curious about God. For I, who am curious about each, am not curious about God-I hear and behold God in every object, yet understand God not in the least."
"If we must play he theological game, let us never forget it is a game. Religion, it seems to me, can survive only as a consciously accepted system of make-believe."
Aldous Huxley Time Must Have a Stop
"The best way to serve God
is by going in search of your own dreams.
Only the happy can spread happiness"
by The River Piedra I sat Down and Wept
Give me that old-time religion
Give me that old-time religion
Give me that old-time religion It's good enough for me.
Let us worship Zarathustra,
just the way we used to
I'm a Zarathustra booster.
He's good enough for me.
Let us worship like the Druids,
drinking strange fermented fluids
Running naked through the wood.
That's good enough for me.
let us meditate on Buddha
There is no god that's cuter
comes in silver, brass, and pewter.
and he's good enough for me.
I'll invoke the triple goddess
When she wears her Cretan bodice.
No, she isn't very modest
But she's good enough for me.
I will honor goddess Isis.
Of Egypt's gods she's nicest.
her husband is in slices,
but she's good enough for me.
There's Rhiannon or Epona
No man could be her owner
If he tries, he'll be a goner
She's good enough for me.
Like Epona there's Athena
Only dignified but cleaner
maybe also slightly meaner
She's good enough for me.
Shri Shiva, he's a dandy
With his old bull-buddy nandi
and his mountain-mama hand,
he's good enough for me.
(written over the years by friends of Joseph Campbell -to the tune of :Give Me that old-time religion"
from Sam Keen Hymn To An Unknown God
"humor is a prelude to faith and laughter is the beginning of prayer."
"Depend upon this truth, that every man is the worse looked upon, and the less trusted for being thought to have no religion; in spite of all the pompous and specious epithets he may assume, of Esprit fort, Free-thinker, or Moral Philosopher; and a wise Atheist (if such a thing there is) would, for his own interest, and character in this world, pretend to some religion."
-Phillip Donner Standhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield
"Divine providence does not permit any part of the world at any time to be completely without religion, although it does allow rites to differ.....God prefers to be worshipped in any manner, however unwittingly....than not to be worshipped at through pride."
"An ignorant people is generally a religious people; and a religious people nearly always an immoral people."
"My object is not to plead for the existence of God, who does not need an advocate at court, but, touching upon only the surface of a deep and tranquil lake of argument, to counter the arrogant notion that the faith and astonishment of billions across cultures and time is an absurdity to be addressed with exasperated contempt."
-Mark Helprin The Rise of Antireligous Orthodoxy
"I want nothing to do with any religion concerned with keeping the masses satisfied to live in hunger, filth and ignorance. I want nothing to do with any order, religious or otherwise, which does not teach people that they are capable of becoming happier and more civilized, on this earth, capable of becoming true man , master of his fate and captain of his soul. To attain this I would put priests to work, also and turn the temples into schools."
-Jawaharlal Nehru Indian Prime Minister
"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."
"It's silly to go on pretending that under the skin we are all brothers. The truth is more likely that under the skin we are all cannibals, assassins, traitors, liars, hypocrites, poltroons."
"In practice all men are atheists; they deny their faith by their actions."
"Religion is a collective insanity, the more powerful because it is traditional folly, and because its origin is lost in the most remote antiquity."
-Michael Bakunin, God and the State, 1871
"A little philosophy inclineth man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's mind about to religion."
"I trust, and nothing that happens disturbs my trust. i recognize the beneficence of the power which we all worship as supreme-Order, Fate, the Great Spirit, Nature, god. I recognize this power in the sun that makes all things grow and keeps life afoot. I make a friend of this indefinable force, and straightway i feel glad, brave and ready for any lot Heaven may decree for me. This is my religion of optimism."
"Religion is based....mainly upon fear....fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand....My own view on religion is that of Lucretius: I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race."
"Religion sanctions woman's self-love; it gives her the guide, father, lover, divine guardian she longs for nostalgically; it feeds her day-dreams; it fills her empty hours. But, above all, it confirms the social order, it justifies her resignation, by giving her the hope of a better future in a sexless heaven. This is why women today are still a powerful trump in the hand of the Church; it is why the Church is notably hostile to all measures liable to help in women's emancipation. There must be religion for women; and there must be women, "true women," to perpetuate religion."
Simone De Beauvoir
"Those of you who have read my books, will perhaps understand the character of the world into which I exuberantly launched myself. Ten years of that world sufficed to show one that life there, or anywhere, was unintelligible or unendurable without God. It therefore was with "a firm intellectual conviction but with little emotion that I was admitted into the Church. My life since then has been an endless delightful tour of discovery in the huge area of which I was made free."
"But in truth, in no instance has a system in regard to religion been ever established, but for the purpose, as well as with the effect of its being made an instrument of intimidation, corruption, and delusion, for the support of depredation and oppression in the hands of government."
"Of all the roads that a historian may tread none passes through more difficult country than that of religious history. To a believer religious truths are eternal."
-Sir Steven Runciman
The Great Church in Captivity
"all national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
"Much of what the genuine spiritual traditions-Christian, Muslim, esoteric-really teach is more like a skill, or a knack, knowing where we are in life, knowing what our role is, when to do what, when to be angry, when to allow our emotions full flow, when to suppress, when to use different parts of the mind. a sense of where we are and what to do...."
The Right Mind
"Lighthouses are more useful than churches."
'I care not for a man's religion whose dog or cat are not the better for it."
"I believe all Religions are becoming obsolete, clinging to ancient concepts."
-Sir John Templeton
"We guarantee the right of every citizen to combat by argument, propaganda and agitation, any and all religion. the communist Party cannot be neutral toward religion. it stands for science, and all religion is opposed to science."
-Joseph Stalin Declaration to American Labor Delegation, Moscow Sept 7, 1927
"We consider the Orthodox Religion to be more important than our Military in protecting Russia."
"Religion, which true policy befriends,
Designed by God to serve man's noblest ends,
Is by that old deceiver's subtle play
Made the chief party in its own decay,
And meets the eagle's destiny, whose breast
Felt the same shaft which his own feathers, drest."
-Katherine Phillips (1631-1664)
".....Once upon a time my God was a mighty fortress, the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land, a help in ages past, a hope for years to come. Even though I no longer accept the authority of Bible and Church, the truths in back of the words still reverberate in the depths of my being. Often, in the quiet hours when I am filled with sadness or joy, a phrase from the old psalms and stories, a refrain from a hymn, or a line from a traditional prayer will swim to the surface of my mind and bring me a measure of peace that passes understanding."
Hymns to an Unknown God
"....Zarathustra is the most important person in the recorded history of religion, bar none. The first man to promulgate a divinely revealed religion, he influenced the religions of Judaism, Christianity, Mithraism, Islam, northern (Mahayana) Buddhism. Manichaeism, and the pagan Norse myths. Over half the world has accepted a significant portion of his precepts under the guise of one or another of these faiths."
D. Jason Cooper
Mithras: Mysteries and Initiation Rediscovered
"With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil-that takes religion."
-Steven Weinberg, "A Designer Universe?" New York Review (Oct 21, 1999)
"The conviction of the religionists in all ages, is more affected than real, and scarcely ever approaches, in any degree, to that solid belief and persuasion, which governs us in the common affairs of life....(They do not) avow, even to their own hearts, the doubts which they entertain on such subjects: they make a merit of implicit faith: and disguise to themselves their real infidelity, by the strongest asseverations and most positive bigotry."
"A religionist may be an enthusiast, and imagine he sees what has no reality: he may know his narrative to be false, and yet persevere in it, with the best intentions in the world, for the sake of promoting so holy a cause; or even where this delusion has no place, vanity, excited by so strong a temptation, operates on him more powerfully than on the rest of mankind in any other circumstances."
"All gods who receive homage are cruel.
All gods dispense cruelty without reason.
Otherwise they would not be worshipped....
Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers.
Real gods require blood."
-Zora Neale Hurston Their Eyes Were Watching God
"Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair."
"Some people think that all the equipment you need to discuss religion is a mouth."
"The spirit is not a thing we display but an activity we exercise, in favor of which we choose and on which we gamble. It exists only for him who wants it and in wanting it brings it into being."
-Louis Lavelle Professor at the Sorbonne
"In the matter of religion, people eagerly fasten their eyes on the difference between their own creed and yours; whilst the charm of the study is in finding the agreements and identities in all the religions of humanity."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The Human Race is not alone in the universe....I am not alone."
-Richard E. Byrd
"God is one, and in his justice he asks us to live in conformity with his holy will, to regard ourselves as brothers and sisters of one another, and to commit ourselves to working to insure that peace is safeguarded in human relationships at every level. All human beings are put on earth by God to make a pilgrimage of peace, starting from the situation in which they find themselves and from the cultures in which they live."
- Pope John Paul II Sarejevo 1997
"It is in enthusiasm for your work
that you will find the gate to Paradise,
the love that transforms
and the choice that leads us to God."
"Few words will be necessary, with good disposition on your part. Adore God. Reverence and cherish your parents. Love your neighbors as yourself, and your country more than yourself. Be just. Be true. Murmur not about the ways of Providence."
-Thomas Jefferson, February 1825
"The great name Deist, which is not sufficiently revered, is the only name one ought to take. The only gospel one ought to read is the great book of Nature....the only religion that ought to be professed."
"Religion is a monumental chapter in the history of human egotism."
"I was born a heretic. I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desire."
-Susan B. Anthony
"There are times when men....doubt the truth of the Christian Religion; and well they may, for it is too full of conjecture, inconsistency, improbability and irrationality, to afford consolation to the thoughtful man. His reason revolts against his creed. he sees none of its articles are proved, or can be proved....here it is that the religion of Deism is superior to the Christian religion. It is free from all those invented and torturing articles that shock our reason or injure our humanity and with which the Christian religion abounds. Its creed is pure, and sublimely simple. It believes in God, and there it rests....It avoids all presumptuous beliefs and rejects, as fabulous inventions of men, all books pretending to revelation."
"A congregational pastor from Connecticut, Jonathan Edwards, took up the cause. He preached that faith rather than reason achieved salvation. He attacked Deists, describing them as people who had:
'wholly cast off the Christian religion....They deny the whole Christian religion. Indeed they own the being of a God; but they deny that Christ was the son of God, and say he was a mere cheat....They deny any revealed religion, or any word of God at all; and say that God has given mankind no other light to walk by but their own reason."
The Secret Founding of America
"All outward forms of religion are almost useless, and are the causes of endless strife....Believe there is a great power silently working all things for good, behave yourself and never mind the rest."
"Let us remind ourselves over and over again that holiness has to do with very ordinary things; truthfulness, courtesy, kindness, gentleness, consideration for others, contentment with our lot, honesty and courage in the face of life, reliability, dutifulness."
-Ruth Burrows Interior Castle Explored
"I wish you would always look at the great heavens and damn the candlesticks."
D.H. Lawrence a letter to a friend
"I say the whole earth and all the stars in the sky are for religion's sake..."
"Religion is the everlasting dialogue between humanity and God. Art is its soliloquy."
"The problem to be faced is: how to combine loyalty to one's own tradition with reverence for different traditions."
-Abraham Joshua Heschel
"My motive and object in all my political works....have been to rescue man from tyranny and false systems and false principles of government and enable him to be free, and establish government for himself....And my motive and object in all my publications on religious subjects.....have been to bring man to a right reason that God has given him; to impress on him the great principles of divine morality, justice, mercy, and a benevolent disposition to all men and to all creatures; and to excite in him a spirit of trust, confidence and consolation in his Creator unshackled by the fable and fiction of books, by whatever invented name they may be called."
"There is one religion and there are many covers. Each of these covers has a name: Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, etc. and when you take off these covers, you find that there is one religion, and it is that religion which is the religion of the Sufi"
-Hazran Inayat Khan
"My heart is capable of every form: it is a pasture for gazelles
and a convent for Christian monks,
And idol-temple and the pilgrim's Ka ba
and the tables of the Torah and the book of the Koran;
I follow the religion of Love, whichever way his camels take;
my religion and my faith is the true religion."
-Ibn al-Arabi (Sufi)
"If any lover whatsoever seeks with faith to worship any form (of God) whatever, it is I who am the founder of his faith," and However men approach Me even do I reward them for the path men take from every side is Mine."
Ghagavad Gita (VII, 21)
"I am neither Christian nor Jew nor Parsi nor Moslem. I am neither of the East nor of the West, neither of the land nor of the sea....I have put aside duality and have seen that the two worlds are one. I seek the One, I know the One, I see the One, I invoke the One. He is the First, He is the Last, He is the Outward, He is the Inward."
"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
-Tom Paine 1794
"The shepherd always tries to persuade the sheep that their interests and his own are the same."
-Stendhal (Marie-henri Beyle)
"The world needs to wake up from its long nightmare of religious belief"
-Steven Weinberg (Nobel Prize Winner)
"In their struggle for the ethical good, teachers of religion must have the stature to give up the doctrine of a personal God, that is, give up that source of fear and hope which in the past placed such vast power in the hands of priests."
"At the City of London Tavern on the night of 21 August 1817, Owen spoke before a packed crowd of radicals, clergymen and bullish free-traders. To their astonishment, and accompanied by some hisses, he rounded on religion, denouncing it as nothing but lies. Then he offered to end that 'long bondage of error, crime, and misery'. The new millennium began there and then. According to Owen's highly partial account, the audience were first thunderstruck, then burst into applause and cheering. The great crisis and misery, the Last Days, were now over, he told them, a new dawn had arrived, brought about by the 'invincible and irresistible power of Truth'.
Throughout August and September he kept up a furious pace, bombarding the press and spending L4,000 on spreading his message. The world was in crisis, everywhere men were slaves and misery reigned. But with his message came deliverance, paradise was a hand: there would be on nation, one language, swords would be turned into ploughshares, and spears into pruning hooks. All that was needed for the minds of all men....to be born again."
Paradise: A History of the Idea That Rules the World
"Religion is the only means of introducing some notion of the high significance of life into the uncultivated heads of the masses, deep sunk as they are in mean pursuits and uncultivated drudgery."
"Death is the meaning of religion."
"The reality of religion is man's dismay at what he is."
"Having the courage
to take the steps we always wanted to take
is the only way to show
that we trust in God."
"I was certain that this (religion) was the wrong way to reach God, for I knew, knew from experience, that this grace was accorded only to one who fulfilled the will of God without reservation. This was preached from the pulpit, too, but always on the assumption that revelation had made the will of God plain. To me, on the other hand, it seemed the most obscure and unknown thing of all. To me it seemed that one's duty was to explore daily the will of God."
"Let's teach our children from a very young age about the story of the universe and its incredible richness and beauty. It is already so much more glorious and awesome-and even comforting-than anything offered by any scripture or God concept I know."
-Carolyn Porco (Senior research scientist at the Space Science Institute in Boulder.Co.)
"One God, Eternal, The Reality, The Name, Creator and Doer, All-pervading, Without fear, Without rancor, Transcending time, Unicarnate, Self-existent, (understood) through the Guru's Grace."
-Siri Guru Granth Sahib Opening Verse of Sikh statement
"But enough of the old deceiver. There was no religion in Eden to begin with; and at the end, there will be no religion in the New Jerusalem. But in the meanwhile, religion has been our cup of poisoned tea. Our first, dead-earnest taste of it came as soon as Adam and Eve left the Garden-the quarrel between Cain and Abel was over whose religion the God they'd manufactured liked best. And the same hassle has been our meat and drink ever since. It's given us all the religious wars of history (dare I say all wars, period?); and it's been the story of every argument over who's right and who's wrong in every corner of creation: in every marriage, in every friendship, in every business, and in every vendetta. It certainly hasn't been a pretty story; but it's been our history, and but for the grace of the true God, we've been stuck in it."
Robert Farrar Capon
Genesis: The Movie
"A man can show his religion as much in measuring onions as he can in singing Glory Hallelujah."
Elder Grove Wright (Shaker)
"I had been religiously educated as a Presbyterian, and tho' some of the dogmas of that persuasion, such as the eternal decrees of God, election, reprobation, etc. appeared to me unintelligible, others doubtful, and I early absented myself from the public assemblies of the sect, Sunday being my studying day, I never was without some religious principles. I never doubted, for instance, the existence of the Deity, that he made the world, and govern'd it by his Providence, that the most acceptable service of God was the doing of good to men; that our souls are immortal; and that all crime will be punished, and virtue rewarded, either here or hereafter. These I estimated to be the essentials of every religion, and being to be found in all the religions we had in our country, I respected them all, tho' with different degrees of respect, as I found them more or less mix'd with other articles, which without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serv'd principally to divide us, and make us unfriendly to one another."
-Ben Franklin autobiography
"I hold, on the contrary, that when we take a view of the universe;....the movements of the heavenly bodies, so exactly held in their courses by the balance of centrifugal and centripetal forces; the structure of our earth itself.....perfectly organized; it is impossible, I say, for the human mind not to believe, that there is in all this, design, cause and effect, up to an ultimate cause a Fabricator of all things from matter and motion."
-Thomas Jefferson Letter to John Adams
"Religion is so frequently a source of confusion in political life, and so frequently dangerous to democracy, precisely because it introduces into the realm of relative values…"
"In religion as in politics it so happens that we have less charity for those who believe half our creed, than for those who deny the whole of it."
"The worst corruption is a corrupt religion."
"Very religious people always shock slightly religious people by their blasphemous attitude to religion and it was precisely for blasphemy that Jesus was crucified."
"Turn up the sod of every vital religious group and you will find dreams, visions, and what the followers believe to be telltale traces of the divine. Whenever these came along, they were interpreted as a holy whisperings or wild hallucinations, depending on the point of view."
-Marcus Back They Have Found a Faith
"Religion is the misfortune which every human being has to endure."
"The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organized religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests."
"A certain tendency to insanity has always attended the opening of the religious sense in men, as if they had been 'blasted with excess of light.' "
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Religious liberty might be supposed to mean that everybody is free to discuss religion. In practice it means that hardly anybody is allowed to mention it."
"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."
"They (fanatics) have no heart, no sympathy, no reason, no conscience. They will keep no friend, unless he make himself the mirror of their purpose; they will smite and slay you, and trample your dead corpse under foot, all the more readily, if you take the first step with them, and cannot take the second, and the third, and every other step of their terribly strait path."
"A genuine first-hand religious experience like this is bound to be a heterodoxy to its witnesses, the prophet appearing as a mere lonely madman. If his doctrine proves contagious enough to spread to any others, it becomes a definite and labeled heresy. But if then still prove contagious enough to triumph over persecution, it becomes itself an orthodoxy; and when a religion has become an orthodoxy, its day of inwardness is over: the spring is dry; the faithful live at second hand exclusively and stone the prophets in their turn. The new church, in spite of whatever human goodness it may foster, can be henceforth counted on as a staunch ally in every attempt to stifle the spontaneous religious spirit, and to stop all later babblings of the fountain from which, in purer days, it drew its own supply of inspiration."
Varieties of Religious Experience
"Turn up the sod of every vital religious group and you will find dreams, visions, and what the followers believe to be telltale traces of the divine. Whenever these came along, they were interpreted as holy whisperings or wild hallucinations, depending on the point of view."
They have Found a Faith
"Among all my patients in the second half of life-that is to say, over thirty-five...there has not been one whose problem in the last resort was not that of finding a religious outlook on life. It is safe to say that every one of them fell ill because he had lost that which the living religions of every age have given to their followers, and none of them has really been healed who did not regain his religious outlook."
"Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them."
"The religion of God is for love and unity; make it not the cause of enmity and dissension."
Baha ‘u ‘llah
"Verily, the most beloved of you by me are those of the best dispositions.
I have been sent to explain fully good dispositions."
Muhammed (Saying of Muhammed)
"Ye will not enter Paradise until ye have faith, and ye will not complete your faith until ye love one another."
Muhammed (Sayings of Muhammed)
"The true believer is an archenemy to three things, all for the same reason. He believes totally in what he totally believes in-thus he is an enemy of himself, of truth and all that cross his path."
"Religion....is the first enemy of the ability to think. That ability is not used by men to one-tenth of its possibility, yet before they learn to think they are discouraged by being ordered to take things on faith. Faith is the worst curse of mankind, as the exact antithesis and enemy of thought."
"Religion is a way of walking, not a way of talking."
-William R. Inge
"Religion....is the opium of the people."
-Karl Marx (originally Heinrich Heine--Did Marx ever say anything original?)
(modern graffiti in Eastern Europe read: "Revolution is the opium of the intellectuals")
"One day I was far from God, but at the same time never had I felt so far from my own consciousness, and I saw that without God, there is neither consciousness nor being."
Antonin Artaud (1932)
"Pure religion resides in the will alone."
"The will to love God is the whole of religion."
"It is certainly no part of religion to compel religion."
"….Religion is not always (as Marx said) the opium of the people, but it can often be so, and when used in this sense by prevaricating and misrepresenting its true nature, the scholars and intellectuals who perform this task take on the character of opium smugglers."
Jewish History, Jewish Religion
"In the old religion of the Indians in New Mexico, the whole life-effort of man was to get his life into direct contact with the elemental life of the cosmos....To come into immediate felt contact, and so derive energy, power, and a dark sort of joy. This effort into sheer naked contact, without an intermediary or mediator, is the root meaning of religion."
"Someone has called mycology the step-child of the sciences. Is it not now acquiring a wholly new and unexpected dimension? Religion has always been at the core of man's highest faculties and cultural achievements, and therefore I ask you now to contemplate our lowly mushroom-what patents of ancient lineage and nobility are coming its way!"
-R. Gordon Wasson
"The little mushroom comes of itself, no one knows whence, like the wind that comes we know not whence nor why."
"We work for the protection of the feeble, the education of the heart, head and hands for human triumph. We have respect for all worthy individuals and institutions."
King of the Sufis
"I am God, I am creature, I am Lord, I am servant I am the Throne and the mat one treads on; I am hell and I am the blissful eternity , I am water, I am fire; I am air and the earth; I am the "how much" and the "how", I am the presence and the absence I am the essence and the attributes; I am the near and the far All being is my being. I am the Only; I am the unique."
"The equation of animism with atheism is just as misguided. To begin with, animism, or the cult of spirit, is based on a perception of the soul’s immortality that is related, if no identical, to the one shared by the monotheisms; the only appreciable difference is that animism broadens the concept to include the Soul of entities other than humans."
The History of the Devil
"…The overwhelming majority of African religions grant the existence of a supreme being who created the universe. The West has long, and wrongly, prided itself on having invented monotheism, and it has rejected all other religions as being pagan or primitive; this is untrue at best, since in the first place monotheism was "invented" by Zoroaster in the sixth century B.C. and in the second place there is every indication that the African religions have long been monotheistic, albeit with polytheistic tendencies. Dinka mythology, for example, rests on the same premises as the Semitic myth of paradise; in a time immemorial, all humans had direct access to God, and suffering and death were unknown. It is quite possible that the paradise myth is universal because it is the nostalgic tale of childhood lost."
History of the Devil
"Religion is the first thing and the last thing and until a man has found God he begins at no beginnings and works to no end. He may have his friendships, his partial loyalties, his sense of honor. But all these things fall into place, and life falls into place only with God-only with God."
"I've begun worshipping the sun for a number of reasons. First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the sun. It's there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, a lovely day. There's no mystery, no one asks for money, I don't have to dress up, and there's no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to 'God' are all answered at about the same 50-percent rate."
"Copernicus was influenced by Neoplatonic sun worship as well. This was a popular view at the time-even Christ was being modeled by Renaissance painters on busts of Apollo the sun god-and decades later, back in the rainy north, Copernicus remained effusive on the subject of the sun.* In De Revolutionibus he invokes the authority of none other than Hermes Trismegistus, "the thrice-great Hermes," a fantastical figure in astrology and alchemy who had become the patron saint of the new sun-worshipers: "Tismegistus calls (the sun) a 'visible god," Sophocles' Electra,' that which gazes upon all things.' " He quotes the Neoplatonist mystic Marsilio Ficino's declaration that "the sun can signify God himself to you, and who shall dare to say the sun is false?" Finally, Copernicus tries his hand at a solar paean of his own."
In this most beautiful temple, who would place this lamp in
another or better position than that from which it can light up
everything at the same time? For the sun is not inappropriately
called by some people the lantern of the universe, its mind by others, and its ruler by still others."
* One could write a plausible intellectual history in which the decline of sun worship, the religion abandoned by the Roman emperor Constantine when he converted to Christianity, was said to have produced the Dark Ages., while its subsequent resurrection gave rise to the Renaissance
Coming of Age in the Milky Way
"It is usually when men are at their most religious that they behave with the least sense and the greatest cruelty."
"The act of bell ringing is symbolic of all proselytizing religions. It implies the pointless interference with the quiet of other people."
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon."
"Religion claims to be in possession of an absolute truth; but its history is history of errors and heresies. It gives us the promise and prospect of a transcendent world-far beyond the limits of our human experience-and it remains human, all too human."
An Essay on Many
"Bent as we are on studying religion’s existential conditions, we cannot possibly ignore these pathological aspects of the subject. We must describe and name them just as if they occurred in non-religious men."
The Varieties of Religious Experience
….Half the world believes in spirits, from Africa to the island realms of Melanesia and Polynesia, and from India, Tibet, Turkestan, China and Japan to the Taiga, Tundra and arctic. But superimposed on the ideas of these far from simple-minded people whom we so erroneously call primitive is that of the single and indivisible god before whom man fell on his knees hundreds of thousands of years ago."
Man, God and Magic
" The Great Being saith; O ye children of men! The fundamental purpose animating the Faith of God and his Religion is to safeguard the interests and promote the unity of the human race, and to foster the spirit of love and fellowship amongst men."
Baha U’ Llah
"Give all your love to God, and God will fill you with so much love that you can distribute it to all of humanity. Those who truly love God become full of kindness, love, and forgiveness, and God empowers their work."
Baba Virsa Singh
"Religion is an obsessional neurosis…..a childish illusion to defend oneself against the crushing superiority of nature."
"The farther men get from God, the further they advance into the knowledge of religions."
"About the soul I know one thing: the soul desires nearness to God. And what is God? That of which my soul is a particle."
"They that deny God destroy man' s nobility: for certainly
man is of Kin to the beasts by his body; and, if he be not
Kin to God by his Spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature."
"Man has deserted God and deserts Him daily, The dialogue between God and man which is the moving force of history has no other theme but to redeem man from his desertion. The covenant is an action in this battle: the desertion from God is death, and God calls me to life whenever he speaks to me. Faith means nothing but the trust in this call."
"Go, tell them that the worship of God is honoring his gifts in other men. "
"Find God; we've got to find the Lord. Allow him to influence us. I mean what other weapons have we to fight the forces of hatred and evil. And check out the Ten Commandments too. You can' t go too far wrong if you live them, dig it. Just a sincere and personal contact with God will keep you more together. Love the Lord, be thankful, feel peace, Thanks for life and loved ones. Thank you Jesus.
liner notes from the album
What's Going Qn
"The Lord put all these millions of people over the earth. They don ' t all agree on how they got there, and ninety percent don ' t care. But he was pretty wise when he did see to it they all do agree on one thing whether Christian, Heathen, or Mohammidism and that is the better lives you live the better you will finish."
"God does not die on the day when we cease to believe in a personal deity, but we die on the day when our lives cease to be illuminated by the steady radiance, renewed daily, of a wonder, the source of which is beyond reason."
"Each particular being...gives glory to God by being precisely what He wants it to be here and now. What replaces the surrendered self is "an infinite generosity which communicates itself to everything that is. "
Tibetan transcendental virtues (Paranutas) :
Liberality, discipline, patience, diligence, meditative
concentration, wisdom (Prajna) , skiilful means (upaya) ,
spiritual power, aspiration, gnosis (jnana) .
'The idea of God is the only supra-human idea that does not destroy man by reducing him to being a mere means. God reveals himself by his Son, and that Son is perfect God and perfect man, the God-man in whose perfection the divine and human are made one. Any other sort of superman debases man into an instrument, and thus the man-god kills true manhood, as can be seen in the example of Nietzsche. The Marxian ideal of an inhuman collectivism is equally deadly for mankind. "
"In mystical and religious eras, people lived meaningfully and free of purpose, because their entire existence transpired on the level of feelings, whereas expedient action transpires on a rational plane of the sort produced by modern civilization. '
"A man with a definite belief always appears bizarre, because he does not change with the world. He has climbed into a fixed star, and the earth whizzes below him like a zoetrope."
G. K. Chesterton
In Religions like Judaism, Islam, and Christianity the relevant experience cannot be had without a personal decision.-a decision chooses one way and rejects the other. Religion is the sigh of the creature overwhelmed by misfortune, the sentiment of a heartless world, and the soul of a soulless condition. It is the opium of the people."
"Marxism is undoubtedly a religion, in the honest sense of the word. Like every other inferior form of the religious life it has been continually used, to borrow the apt phrase of Marx himself , as an opiate for the people.
"A man without God is trusting in a Spider's web. Everything he counts on will collapse."
Job 8: 14
"But the wisdom of the past will teach you. The experience of others will speak to you, reminding you that those who forget God have no hope. "
Job 8: 10
"All the creatures of God eat and are eaten. What then is damnation? To be eaten of a lower cosmos. What is rebirth? To be incorporated in a higher. Let the cell then be incorporated in God the Absolute. For thus is the whole redeemed, and that which was separated in the beginning shall be made one in the end. "
The Christian Mystery
Ediciones Sol Mexico
Being a lover of liberty, when the revolution came to Germany , I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but no, the universities were immediately silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in the days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom, but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. Then I looked to the individual writers who as literary guides of Germany, had written so much and often concerning the place of freedom in modern life; but they too were mute. Only the churches stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and adjuration because the Church alone had had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth What I had formerly despised I now praise unreservedly."
What the Church is doing
"Religion is nothing if not obedience to awareness. "
C. G. Jung
"It is against the will of God to eat delicate food hastily, to pass gorgeous Views hurriedly, to express deep sentiments superficially, to pass a beautiful day steeped in food and drink, and to enjoy your wealth steeped in luxuries. "
Chang Ch ' 0
"Religion is the vision of something which stands beyond, behind, and within, the passing flux of immediate things; some- which is a remote possibility, and yet the greatest of present facts; something that gives meaning to all that passes, and yet eludes apprehension; something whose possession is the final goad, and yet is beyond all reach; something which is the ultimate ideal, and the road less quest."
Science and the Modern World
Alfred North Whitehead
"People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. They will practice Indian Yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet, learn the literature of the whole world-all because they cannot get on with themselves and have not the slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of their own souls. Thus the soul has gradually been turned into a Nazareth from which nothing good can come . Therefore let us fetch it from the four corners of the earth-the more far-fetched and bizarre it is the better! "
C. G. Jung
Psychology and Alchemy
"Religious experience is absolute; it cannot be disputed. You can only say that you have never had such an experience, whereupon your opponent will reply: 'Sorry, I have. ' And there your discussion will come to an end. "
C. G. Jung
Psychology and Alchemy
"Man's ultimate happiness consists solely in the contemplation of God. "
"Infinite Intelligence pervades and controls the universe, is without shape or form and is impersonal, omnipresent and omnipotent. It teaches that the spark of divinity dwells in all. That every soul will progress through the ages to heights, sublime and glorious where God is Love and Love is God."
-What Spiritualism Is and Does." (Spiritualist Manual 1940
Seven Spiritual Works or Mercy:
To teach the ignorant
To counsel the doubtful
To console the sad
To reprove the sinner
To forgive the offender
To bear with the oppressive and troublesome
and to pray for us all.
Seven Corporeal Works of Mercy
To feed the hungry
To give drink to the thirsty
To clothe the naked
To shelter the homeless
To visit the sick and prisoners
To ransom captives,
and to bury the dead.
"I hate your show and pretense--your hypocrisy of 'honoring' me with your religious feasts and solemn assemblies. I will not accept your burnt offerings of peace. Away with your hymns of praise--they are more noise to my ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is. I want to see a mighty flood of justice--a torrent of doing good."
Amos 5: verses 21-24
Christianity:" All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do you even unto them for this is the law of the prophets."
Brahmanism: "This is the sum of duty; do naught unto others which would cause pain if done unto you.
Buddhism: "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. "
Judaism: "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow men. That is the entire law, all the rest is commentary."
Confucianism: "There is one maxim of loving kindness: do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you."
Taoism: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbors loss as your own loss."
Zoroastrianism : "That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself."
Islam: "No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself."
"I know not how it is with the others, and I feel that I cannot do as others. Everybody thinks and then at once thinks of something else. I think all my life of one thing. God has tormented me all my life.. .."
Dostoevsky (from the Possessed)
"A great mind becomes that on which it meditates."
"Man must & will have some Religion, even if it has to be the Religion of Satan."
"The ancient philosophers believed that no man could live intelligently who did not have a Fundamental knowledge of nature and her laws. Before man can obey, he must understand, and the Mysteries were devoted to instructing a man concerning the operation of divine laws in the terrestrial sphere. Few of the early cults actually worshipped anthromorphic deities, although their symbolism might lead one to believe they did. They were moralistic rather than religionistic; philosophic rather than religionistic; philosophic rather than theological. They taught man to use his faculties more intelligently, to be patient in the face of adversity, to be courageous when confronted by danger, to be true in the midst of temptation, and, most of all, to view a worthy life as the most acceptable sacrifice to God, and his body as an altar sacred to the Deity."
Manly P , Hall
The Secret Teachings of all the Ages
"The day is at hand when the doom of dogma shall be sounded. The great theological Tower of Babel, with its confusion of tongues, was built of bricks of mud and mortar of slime . Out of the cold ashes of lifeless creeds, however, shall rise 'phoenix like' the ancient Mysteries."
Manly p . Hall
"The result of all sincerely followed paths, however, is a change of consciousness in the one who walks the path. Sometimes gradually, sometimes suddenly, the traveler perceives a previously unseen order and meaning in the universe-a recognition that gives significance to life by merging the boundaries of the self with the cosmos. He recognizes that, paradoxically, the deepest aspect of himself is one with all creation. That radical expansion of the meaning of I has best been termed cosmic consciousness. It is a state in which there is constant awareness of unity with the universe pervading all aspects of one's life. Every activity, every relationship, every thought is guided by the knowledge of oneness between the self and the world. Inner and outer space are unified, and the inhumanities that people perpetuate on one another and the stupidities that people mount against nature become impossible to commit. This internal self-regulation is the surest safeguard against the destruction of our world. "
Astronaut Edgar Mitchell
CHIEF YELLOW LARK ' s PRAYER
0, Great Spirit, whose voice I hear in the winds,
And whose breath gives life to all the world--hear me,
I come before you, one of your many children,
I am small and weak, I need your strength and Wisdom
Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes ever behold
the red and purple sunset,
Make my hands respect the things you have made and
my ears sharp to hear your voice
Make me wise so that I may know the things your have
taught my people,
The lessons you have hidden in every leaf and rock,
strength not to be superior to my brother,
But to be able to fight my greatest enemy, Myself.
Make me ever ready to come before you with clean hands
and straight eyes so, when life fades, like a fading sunset
My Spirit may come to you without shame.
Hay-Chee-Tu Yeah Lo!
Desire for nothing except desirelessness.
Hope for nothing except to rise above all hopes.
Want nothing and you will have everything.
Be angry with none but your own weaknesses.
Hate none, but your own lustful self.
Be greedy to own more and more wealth of tolerance and justice.
Wage war against your desires and Godhood will be your victory.
Serve others with the understanding that in them you are serving Me.
Be resigned completely to my Will, and MY Will be yours.
Let your temptation be to tempt Me with your love in order to receive My Grace.
The aim of life is to love God.
The goal of life is to become one with God.
To do this, you have not to renounce the world,
But to renounce low desires, dishonesty and hypocrisy
Then in the midst of activities you will be loving God
as he should be loved. "
"Do you see that kitten chasing so prettily her own tail? If you could look with her eyes you might see her surrounded with hundreds of figures performing complex dramas, with tragic and comic issues, long conversations, many characters, many ups and downs of fate-and meantime it is only puss and her tail. How long before our masquerade mill end its noise of tambourines, laughter and shouting, and we shall find it was a solitary performance. A subject and an object-it takes so much to make the galvanic circuit complete, but magnitude adds nothing. What imports it whether it is Kepler and the sphere, Columbus and America, a reader and his book, or puss with her tail?"
"God is a Spirit whose image lives in us, the power of which we can increase by our conduct."
"The essence of true religious teaching is that one should serve and befriend all. It is easy enough to be friendly to one's friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as you enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business."
"The esoteric, spiritual side of every religion is a beautiful, humanitarian, and transcendent code, to be understood only by those who have raised themselves above the plane of the prosaic and the conventional. For ages man has served the "letter of the law", not realizing that "the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."
Manly P. Hall
The Secret Teaching of All the Ages
"There is a spark of good within everyone, a spark of God within everyone, no matter how deeply it may be buried. It's waiting to govern your life gloriously."
"Life is but momentary whether you are a toiler in the streets, or an Emperor ruling millions. Life is but momentary, whether you have the best of health or the worst. There is but one solution of life, says the Hindu, and that solution is what they call God and .Religion. If these be true, life becomes explained, life becomes bearable, becomes enjoyable. Otherwise, life is but a useless burden."
"Let nothing worry you, let nothing frighten you, let nothing disturb you. Everything passes away but God. God alone is sufficient."
"DON'T WORRY. BE HAPPY
"All the great historic philosophies and religions have been centricity. At first sight, Buddhism and Christianity and very different from each other. But when you look beneath the surface, you will find that all of them are addressing themselves primarily to the individual human psyche or soul; they are trying to persuade it to overcome its own self-centeredness and they are offering the means for achieving this. They all find the same remedy. They all teach that ego-centricity can be conquered by love. "
Surviving The Future
Oxford Univ Press 71
Faith gives you what you have Lost -simplicity. Once you have faith, you will like it.
"May he who is the Brahman of the Hindus , the Aura Mazda of the Zoroastrians, the Buddha of the Buddhists, the Jehovah of the Jews, the Father in Heaven of the Christians, give strength to you. . .The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist is to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth. . . .The Parliament of Religions. . .has proved. . .that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possession of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character."
Swami Vivekananda (lst World Parliament
of Religions, Chicago 1893)
God is the Light of the heavens and the earth;
the likeness of His Light as a niche
wherein is a lamp
(the lamp in a glass,
the glass as it were a glittering star)
kindled from a Blessed Tree,
an olive that is neither of the East nor of the West
Whose oil well-nigh would shine, even if no fire touched it;
Light upon Light;
(God guides to His Light whom He will.)
(And God strikes similitude’s for men,
and God has knowledge of everything. )
in temples God has allowed to be raised up,
and His Name to be commemorated therein;
therein glorifying Him, in the mornings and the evenings
Surah XXIV vs 35 Quran
"In the most noble part of the soul, the domain of our spiritual powers, we are constituted in the form of a living and eternal mirror of God; we bear in it the imprint of His eternal image and no other image can enter there...This image is found essentially and personally in all men; each man possesses it whole and entire and all men together possess no, more of it than does each one. In this way we are all one, united in our eternal image which is the image of God, and the source in us of all our life and our coming into Our created essence and our life are joined to it immediately as to their eternal cause. Yet our created being does not become God any more than the image of God becomes a creature. "
John Ruysbroeck (1293-1381)
The Mirror of Eternal Salvation
"To be religious is to give your life so that the world may be more beautiful, more just, more at peace; it is to prevent egotistical and self-serving ends From disrupting this harmony of the whole."
"This life of total compassion is not a grim responsibility difficult to bear, nor is it a proud sense of duty which makes a person feel immensely important to society. This life of the Divine Love on earth, which is the perfect knowledge of unity, is primarily an expression of true spiritual joy, arising spontaneously from affirming God with every cell of our body, with every strand of our awareness. Spiritual joy is not a secret teaching, but the experience of Divine Love transmitted through the authentic prophets. The Holy Koran reveals the ultimate and perhaps the only question which God puts to the soul. "My Dear Humanity, at the dawning of the eternal Day, souls will be asked whether they have experienced only self-centered pleasure or whether they know the nature of true spiritual joy. Consider deeply what your response will be." (102:1-8)
Heart of the Koran
"Any religion which professes to be concerned about the souls of men and is not concerned about the social and economic conditions that can scar the soul, is a spiritually moribund religion only waiting for the day to be buried."
Martin Luther King Jr.
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion means."
"There where our clinging to things ends, is where God begins."
"God dwells where man lets him in."
The Rabbi of Kotzk
"Genuine Buddhism, overleaping the barrier between Finite and infinite mind, urges its Followers to aspire, by their own efforts, to that divine perfectibility of which it teaches that man is capable, and by attaining which man becomes a god,"
Brian Hollghton Hodgson
"The SUFI doctrine involved the grand idea of one universal creed which could be secretly held under any profession of an outward Faith; and, in Fact took virtually the same view of religious systems as that in which the ancient philosophers had regarded such matters."
"True religion is a matter for belief and not for controversies. It is a matter of experience and not of historical or philosophical demonstrations."
Remy De Gourmont
"Let us meet four times a year in a grand temple with music, and thank God for all his gifts, there is one sun, there is one God, Let us have one religion. Then all mankind will be brethren."
"Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet".
"So far as the religion of the day is concerned, it is a dammed fake…religion is all bunk."
Thomas Alva Edison
"Religion is a monumental chapter in the history of human egotism."
"The world would be astonished if it knew how great a proportion of its brightest ornaments, of those most distinguished even in popular estimation for wisdom and virtue, are complete skeptics in religion."
John Stuart Mill
What Great Men Think of Religion
"For urban, civilized humanity, the work of religion is to reconnect the alienated and exploited masses in a vision of unity, or to reconnect the alienated human species with nature and the heavens. Religion is not identical with spirituality; rather, religion is the form spirituality takes in a civilization; it is not so much the opiate of the masses as it is the antidote for the poisons of civilization….(Marx said the same thing.) Because religion is a response to the condition of alienation in a civilization, religion is unnecessary in a culture of hunters and gatherers. The culture of hunters and gatherers is spiritually personified; every event is flooded with the sacred. When an entire way of life is sacred, the people do not have to build churches and sing hymns on Sundays."
William Irwin Thompson
The time falling bodies take to light
"It is a mistake to suppose that God is only, or even chiefly, concerned with religion."
"If God bores you, tell Him that he bores you, that you prefer the vilest amusements to His presence, that you only feel at your ease when you are far from Him."
"Are you not scared by seeing that the gypsies are more attractive to us than the apostles.?"
"There is a goal, but no way; what we call the way is mere wavering."
"Speculations over God and the World are almost always idle, the thoughts of idlers, spectators of the theatre of life. "Is there a God?" Has man a soul?" "Why must we die?" How many hairs has the Devil’s Grandmother?" When is the Day of Judgment?"-all these are idle questions, and one fool can ask more of them than a hundred wise men can answer. Nevertheless, teachers, parents, bishops, must give answers to such questions because, otherwise, the idlers will spread their corruption. Every idle question can ensnare at lest one innocent heart. The Church Councils found themselves in the position of parents whose daughters are on the point of being seduced by young louts, the dogmas of the Church have to deal with blasphemous scoundrels, and therefore they have to speak their language, the language of shamelessness."
"Religion is a disease, but a noble disease."
"Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think."
"Whatever the world thinks, he who hath not meditated much upon God, the human mind, and the summum bonum, may possibly make a thriving earthworm, but will most indubitably make a sorry patriot and a sorry statesmen."
"Having closed our eyes to the eternal substance of things and opened them only to the shower and shams of things, we quietly believe this Universe to be intrinsically a great, unintelligible perhaps."
"In my youth, the church of England was antibuggery and pro-fox-hunting. Now, strangely enough, it's probuggery and anti-fox-hunting."
The Earl of Onslow from The Summer of a Dormouse by John Mortimer
"It is the test of a good religion whether you can make a joke about it."
"The knowledge of God is very far from the love of Him."
"It is easy to know God so long as you do not tax yourself with defining Him."
"I could not say I believe, I know! I have had the experience of being gripped by something that is stronger than myself, something that people call God."
"Zarathustra is the most important person in the recorded history of religion, bar none. The first man to promulgate a divinely revealed religion, he influenced the religions of Judaism, Christianity, Mithraism, Islam, Northern (Mahayana) Buddhism, Manicheism, and the pagan Norse myths. Over half the world has accepted a significant portion of his precepts under the guise of one or another of these faiths."
D. Jason Cooper
"Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst; every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we live in; but this attempts to stride beyond the grave, and seeks to pursue us into eternity."
"All religions must be tolerated....for....every man must get to heaven his own way."
-Frederick the Great, in re Catholic Schools, 1740
"In other matters, the "cultic" influence is not perceived as distinctly religious. One enormously significant social trend of the late twentieth century has been the twelve-step movement, which affected tens of millions of Americans both inside and outside religious denominations. In addition to the familiar Alcoholics Anonymous, the same recovery model was extended to narcotics users, sex addicts, the adult children of alcoholics, and a variety of "survivor" movements. The cult connection would certainly surprise most participants in these meetings, but in fact the AA idea emerged in the 1930s from the model of the Oxford Group. "Buchmanism," from which it derives the practice of intimate confession in group settings. Ten of the famous twelve steps are appropriated directly from Oxford Group practice."
Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions In American History
"Blood and violence lurk fascinatingly at the very heart of religion, Homo religiosus acts and attains self-awareness as homo necans -that is, "Religious man" can also be regarded as "Man the killer."
"Today we are somewhat perplexed by the discovery that to the savage all is religion, that he perpetually lives in a world of mysticism and ritualism."
Magic , Science, and Religion
"In the future we shall perhaps attain a new, truly universal humanism, and talk of Assisi and Elephanta, Botticelli and Li Lungmier of the dance of Tandava and the Deposition, as of temples, personalities, and motives all alike profoundly significant in the life of the human spirit."
"The Holy Koran never purports to add to, or to subtract from, the essential core of prophetic teachings that belong to all humanity. To respect and accept the Koran means to affirm as well all of God's revelations throughout history, which share precisely the same essence. The various Divine Revelations, which have historically developed into the revealed traditions as we know them today, are unique and self-authenticating holy ways of life, not just various sets of doctrines. Although history presents a picture of great religious diversity, God assures humanity in His Holy Koran that such diversity should not be regarded as the deviation of one tradition or another from the truth, but as a Divine Mystery which will be explained and illuminated by God Himself in a context of consciousness which transcends history. "The Ever-Present Source has revealed an uniquely authentic holy way to each and every nation, true spiritual disciplines that should be performed with care and constancy....On the Mystic Day when you awaken from the sleep of finite existence, Allah Most Wise will explain clearly to you the diversity that now appears to divide His various Revelations." (22: 67-70)
This aspect of the Koranic vision, the harmony of religions, represents much more than human generosity, tolerance, and ecumenical spirit. Only God can offer such absolute assurance concerning the unbroken and unbreakable unity of all revealed traditions. This religious unity is not a mere wish, nor an intellectual speculation, nor even a high moral ideal that may or may not be capable of fulfillment. The essential teaching transmitted through all the prophets is stated clearly by God again and again in the Koran as revealed truth. it is surprising and direct , full of healing and illuminating power to transform our basic way of experiencing the world. The instinctive feeling of separation between members of different religious or cultural bodies can be dissolved only through contemplating revealed truth and not through the rational and diplomatic processes which allow our self-centered, divisive motivations to continue functioning. "Throughout the course of history the Source of Wisdom has sent Holy Messengers to bear only one essential Message: "There are no conscious beings separate from the infinite I Am that I am. Therefore surrender your very being to the Source and Goal of Being.;'" (21;19-25)
Heart of the Koran
"Would it not be that which taught much morality and very little dogma? That which tended to make men just without making them absurd? That which did not order one to believe in things that are impossible, contradictory, injurious to divinity, and pernicious to mankind, and which dared not menace with eternal punishment anyone possessing common sense? Would it not be that which did not uphold its belief with executioners, and did not inundate the earth with blood on account of unintelligible sophism?…which taught only the worship of one god, justice, tolerance and humanity."
Philosophical Dictionary (1764)
"There is but one way to worship God; it is to be devoid of evil."
"One must be utterly abandoned to God; nothing matters but fulfilling His Will, otherwise all is folly and meaninglessness,."
Memories, Dreams and reflections
"The best way to know God is to love many things, Love a friend, a wife, something, whatever you like. But you must love with a lofty and serious intimate sympathy, with strength, with intelligence."
"All of the larger-than life questions about our presence here on earth and what gifts we have to offer are spiritual questions. To seek answers to these questions is to seek a sacred path."
Dr. Lauren Artress
"The world is charged with the grandeur of God."
Gerald Manley Hopkins
"This, then, is salvation: When we marvel at the beauty of created things and praise their beautiful Creator."
"We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness."
"Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness."
"One day, it was suddenly revealed to me that everything is pure spirit."
"I consider myself a Hindu, Christian, Moslem, Jew, Buddhist, Confucian."
"There is no social evil, no form of injustice, whether of the feudal or capitalist order, which has not been sanctified in some way or another by religious sentiment and thereby rendered more impervious to change."
"I don't like religion much; and I am glad that in the Bible the word is not to be found."
-Martin Buber BBC broadcast
"The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from (ancient) Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum."
"Four thousand years ago, a Babylonian book of advice on how to behave said:
Do not do evil to one who has a dispute with you;
Rather good to one who does evil to you;
Maintain justice to one who is bad to you;
Be pleasant to your enemy.
Do not utter slander; speak well of people;
Do not say nasty things; speak favorably.
"All great religions, in order to escape absurdity, have to admit a dilution of agnosticism. It is only the savage, whether of the African bush or the American gospel tent, who pretends to know the will and intent of God exactly and completely. "For who hath known the mind of the Lord?" asked Paul of the Romans. "How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!" "It is the glory of God," said Solomon, "to conceal a thing." "Clouds and darkness," said David, "are around Him." "No man," said the Preacher, "can find out the work of God"....The difference between religions is a difference in their relative content of agnosticism. The most satisfying and ecstatic faith is almost purely agnostic. It trusts absolutely without professing to know it all."
H.L. Mencken (From Damn! A Book of Calumny,1918)
"Religion: A fantastic faith in gods, angels, and spirits. A faith without any scientific foundations, religion is being supported and maintained by the reactionary circles. It serves for the subjugation of the working people and increases the power of the exploiting bourgeois class."
Dictionary, USSR 1951 edition
"….The pastor of any middle-class parish of the modern Christian Corporation need fear no retribution should he choose to attack orthodox dogma, but he knows he risks excommunication if he questions orthodox political and economic dogma."
Charles Merril Smith
The Pearly Gates Syndicate
"Religion is not supposed to be believed but only danced."
Sioux Holy Man
"The world in which we live can be understood as a result of muddle and accident, but if it is the outcome of a deliberate purpose, the purpose must have been that of a fiend."
U.S. Presidents on Religion
"Hold fast to the Bible as the sheet anchor of your liberties; write its precepts in your hearts, and practice them in your lives. To the influence of this book are we indebted for all the progress made in true civilization and to this must we look as our guide in the future. ‘Righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people."
Ulysses S. Grant
"Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. I had hoped that liberal and enlightened thought would not have reconciled the Christians so that their religious fights would not endanger the peace of society."
(Letter to Sir Edward Newenhaum, June 22, 1792
""Oh the void of my life! It is in vain that I burden myself with pious tasks or that I rush through the Faubourg Saint Germaine from salon to salon. It all leaves me with a soul that is ravaged, uncertain, dead."
-The Abbe Mugnier
"The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount are all the ethical code anybody needs."
Harry S. Truman
"How has it happened that millions of myths, fables, legends and tales have been blended with Jewish and Christian fables and myths and have made them the most bloody religion that has ever existed? Filled with the sordid and detestable purposes of superstition and fraud?
(Letter to F.A. Van Der Kemp 1809-16)
"All that we call religion, all that saints and churches and Bibles from the beginning of the world have aimed at, is to suppress this impertinent surface-action, and animate man to central and entire action. The human race are afflicted with a St Virus's dance; their fingers and toes, their members, their senses, their talents, are superfluously active, while the torpid heart gives no oracle. When that wakes, it will revolutionize the world. let that speak, and all these rebels will fly to their loyalty. Now every man defeats his own action,-professes this but practices the reverse; with one hand rows, but with the other backs water. A man acts not from one motive, but from many shifting fears and short motives; it is as if he were ten or twenty less men than himself, acting at discord with one another, so that the result of most lives is zero. But when he shall act from one motive, and all his faculties play true, it is clear mathematically, is it not, that this will tell in the result as if twenty men had co-operated,-will give new senses, new wisdom of its own kind; that is, not more facts, not new combinations, but divination, or direct intuition of men and things?"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
"The frustrating thing is that those who are attacking religion claim they are doing it in the name of tolerance, freedom, and open-mindedness. Questions: Isn’t the real truth that they are intolerant of religion?"
"Quakerism is the only faith that is most commonly explained in a cascade of negatives. Quakerism has no theology, no body of religious dogma, no sacred books, no written creed. Traditional Quaker worship does not involve a minister, priest or other religious leader. There is not liturgy. There are no crucifixes or other religious images in Quaker Meetinghouses or homes."
-Robert Lawrence Smith
A Quaker Book of Wisdom
"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion to make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites? To support roguery and error all over the earth."
"During almost 15 centuries, the legal establishment of Christianity has been on trial. What have been the fruits of this trial? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; and in both clergy and laity, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
(Speech to the General Assembly of Virginia 1785)
"...they that tread the path of faith, they that thirst for the wine of certitude, must cleanse themselves of all that is earthly-their ears from idle talk, their minds from vain imaginings, their hearts from worldly affections, their eyes from that which perisheth. They should put their trust in God, and holding fast unto Him, follow in His way. Then they will be made worthy of the effulgent glories of the sun of divine knowledge and understanding, and become the recipients of a grace that is infinite and unseen, inasmuch as man can never hope to attain unto the knowledge of the All-Glorious, can never quaff from the stream of divine knowledge and wisdom, can never enter the abode of immortality, nor partake of the cup of divine nearness and favor, unless and until he ceases to regard the words and deeds of mortal men as a standard for the true understanding and recognition of God and His Prophets
Wisdom from Ingersoll
A believer is a bird in a cage. A freethinker is an eagle parting the clouds with tireless wings I want no heaven for which I must give my reason; no happiness in exchange for my liberty; and no immortality that demands the surrender of my individuality. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge The man who invented the telescope found out more about heaven than the closed eyes of prayer ever discovered. Fear paints pictures of ghosts and hangs them in the gallery of ignorance Superstition is, always has been, and forever will be, the foe of progress, the enemy of education and the assassin of freedom. Liberty is my religion No one pretends that Shakespeare was inspired, and yet all the writers of the books of the Old Testament put together could not have produced Hamlet Religion can never reform mankind because religion is slavery Theology is not what we know about God, but what we do not know about nature If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would strictly follow the teachings of the New, he would be insane When I speak of God, I mean that god who prevented man from putting forth his hand and taking also the fruit of the tree of life that he might live forever; of that God who multiplied the agonies of women, increased the weary toil of man, and in his anger drowned a world- of that god whose altars reeked with human blood, who butchered babes, violated maidens, enslaved men and filled the earth with cruelty and crime; of that god who made heaven for the few, hell for the many, and who will gloat forever and ever upon the writhing of the lost and damned.
"Earlier I cited pop nihilist story-tellers as vanguard perpetrators of the genocide of the imagination. But there are other culprits as well: the fundamentalists. I'm not referring to just the usual suspects-the religious fanatics of Islam and Christianity and Judaism and Hinduism.
Scientists can be fundamentalists. So can liberals and capitalists, atheists and hedonists, patriots and anarchists, hippies and goths, you and me. Those who champion the ideology of materialism can be the most fanatical fundamentalists of all. And the journalists, filmmakers, novelists, critics, poets, and other artists who relentlessly generate rotten visions of the human condition are often pop nihilist fundamentalists.
Every fundamentalist divides the world into two camps, those who agree with him and like him and help him, and those who don't. There is only one right way to interpret the world-according to the ideas the fundamentalist believes to be true-and a million wrong ways.
The fundamental attitude of all fundamentalists is to take everything way too seriously and way too personally and way too literally. The Correct belief is the only virtue. Every fundamentalist is committed to waging war against the imagination unless the imagination is enslaved to his or her belief system.
And here's the bad news: Like almost everyone in the world, each of us has our own share of the fundamentalist virus. It may not be as virulent and dangerous to the collective welfare as, say, the fundamentalism of Islamic terrorists or right-wing Christian politicians or CEOs who act as if making a financial profit is the supreme good or scientists who deny the existence of the large part of reality that's imperceptible to the five senses.
But still: We are infected, you and I , with fundamentalism. What are we going to do about it?
I say we practice taking everything less seriously and less personally and less literally. I suggest we administer plentiful doses of healing mischief, friendly shocks, compassionate tricks, blasphemous reverence, holy pranks, and crazy wisdom."
Pronoia: is the antidote for Paranoia
"A couple of years ago, I was asked to review the eminent British scientist Richard Dawkin's book The God Delusion. I preface any further comment by saying that I am not a devoted churchgoer, but my faith has certainly been evolving. I've followed Tolstoy on his wending path, and Marcus Aurelius, and C.S. Lewis and Elie Wiesel and a host of other thinkers and writers who offer nuanced insights into the human condition. Sitting on my couch with my morning coffee and The God Delusion, I found my respect for Dawkins steadily diminishing as I turned the pages and encountered a kind of spittle-inflected zealotry in support of the rational mind. His avid followers would disagree, I know, but by dismissing Thomas Aquinas as "infantile," other theologians as "fatuous," and suggesting that Jesus Christ was "honestly mistaken" when he claimed to be the son of God, Dawkins was asking me to something easy and impetuous. Flip the bird at religion! As if my culture hadn't been goading me to do that since I entered adulthood. As if it was a radically new enticement.
By focusing his disdain entirely on the violence done in God's name, Dawkins misses a few important points, the most significant one being how and why both the need for deeper meaning and spiritual ritual are so important in human life."
A Brief History of Anxiety (Yours and Mine)
"The non-agnostic, the believers in any belief whatsoever....better endured the trials of the concentration camp and survived in a proportionately higher number....It was completely unimportant what their religious or political faith might be. Catholic or Reformed priests, rabbis of the various orthodoxies, militant Zionists, naive or sophisticated Marxists and Jehovah's Witnesses-all held in common the saving force of their faith. Their universe was vaster than ours, more extended in space and time, above all more comprehensible...They looked at us with commiseration, at times with contempt; some of them, in intervals of our labour, tried to evangelize us. But how can you, a layman, fabricate for yourself or accept on the spot an 'opportune' faith only because it is opportune?"
-Primo Levi (Nazi prisoner of war)
Moses and the Shepherd.......by Rumi
"Once Moses overheard a shepherd talking. It sounded as if the shepherd were talking to an uncle or a friend, but he was talking to God.
"I would like to help you, wherever you are, wash your clothes, pick lice from you, kiss your hands and feet at bedtime. All I can say, recalling you is ahhhhhhhh and ayyyyyyyy!"
Moses was very upset. "Are you talking in such a way to the very creator of heaven and earth? Don't you have more respect?"
The shepherd hung his head and wandered off, saddened. But God came to rebuke Moses, saying:
What's wrong for one person is right for another.
Your poison can be someone else's honey.
I don't care about purity of diligence in worship.
Or impurity and sloth.
They mean nothing to me. I am above all that.
One way of worshipping is as good as another.
Hindus do Hindu things.
Muslims in India do what they do.
It is all praise, and it is all right.
I don't listen to the words the worshippers say.
I look inside for humility. That's reality.
Mere language, phraseology, isn't reality.
I want burning, burning!
BE friends, all of you, with your burning.
Burn your thinking in humility.
Burn your phrases."
"What is morality? In this world we need certain things. We have many wants. We are exposed to many dangers. We need food, fuel, raiment and shelter, and beside these wants, there is, what may be called, the hunger of the mind.
We are conditioned beings, and our happiness depends upon conditions. There are certain things that diminish, certain things that increase, well being. There are certain things that destroy and there are others that preserve.
Happiness, including its highest forms, is after all the only good, and everything, the result of which is to produce or secure happiness, is good, that is to say, moral. Everything that destroys or diminishes well being is bad, that is to say immoral.
What then is, or can be called, a moral guide? The shortest possible answer is one word: Intelligence. We want the experience of mankind, the true history of the race. We want the history of intellectual development, of the growth of the ethical, of the idea of justice, of conscience, of charity, of self-denial. We want to know paths and roads that have been traveled by the human mind.
These facts in general, these histories in outline, the results reached, the conclusions formed, principles evolved taken together, would form the best conceivable moral guide.
We cannot depend on what are called "inspired books," or the religions of the world. These religions are based on the supernatural, and according to them we are under obligation to worship and obey some supernatural being, or beings. All these religions are inconsistent with intellectual liberty. They are the enemies of thought, of investigation, of mental honesty. They destroy the manliness of men. They promise eternal rewards of belief, for credulity, for what they call faith. This is not only absurd, but it is immoral.
These religions teach the slave virtues. They make inanimate things holy, and falsehoods sacred. They create artificial crimes. To eat meat on Friday, to enjoy yourself on Sunday, to eat on fast-days, to be happy in Lent, to dispute a priest, to ask for evidence, to deny a creed, to express your sincere thought, all these acts are sins, crimes against some god. To give your honest opinion about Jehovah, Mohammed or Christ, is far worse than to maliciously slander your neighbor. To question or doubt miracles is far worse than to deny known facts. Only the obedient, the credulous, the kneelers, the meek, the unquestioning, the true believers, are regarded as moral, as virtuous. It is not enough to be honest, generous and useful; not enough to be governed by evidence, by facts. In addition to this, you must believe. These things are the foes of morality, they subvert all natural conceptions of virtue.
All "inspired books," teaching that what the supernatural commands is right, and right because commanded, and that what the supernatural prohibits is wrong, and wrong because prohibited , are absurdly not philosophic.
And all "inspired books," teaching that only those who obey the commands of the supernatural are, or can be, truly virtuous, and that unquestioning faith will be rewarded with eternal joy, are grossly immoral.
Again I say: Intelligence is the only moral guide."
Robert Ingersoll (1833-1899)
"Since religion is based on delusion, it follows that the bolder the delusion the more successful the religious organization is likely to be. Religion flourishes with emotionalism and dies in the white light of reason. The various religious fathers have boldly put forth the most absurd claims, told the boldest lies, and promised the most impossible rewards. The wilder the tale, the more ridiculous the claim, the more followers that religion acquired. There is no limit to the credulity of the people when once they have accepted faith as their guide and discarded reason. It is quite often said that the letters "D.D." which a minister puts after his name stand for "Doctor of Delusion."
"If the god idea was not useful to capitalism, then the gods would long since have been scrapped, just as capitalism abolished the wooden plow, the hand spinning wheel, and the birch bark canoe. Capitalism discarded all the tools of production invented by our savage ancestors because it found them clumsy and inefficient. It discarded their weapons of destruction because they could not kill enough men with them. It discarded their methods of dressing, eating, and of housing people because it found them crude and unsanitary. But capitalism kept the savage gods, the barbarous mythology, the sanctified but unsanitary prophets, the sill heaven and brutal ideas and devoted them to its own uses. It did this because the capitalist class soon found that it had a place and use for god and all godly matters in its scheme. Capitalism adopted the Jewish god, the Christian god , and the Mohammedan god, and took all the gods and goddesses under its protection.
Of all the gods which have found a place in its system, however Capitalism prefers the Christian god. He is the most efficient, the most helpful, the most easily adapted to the needs of the master class and the most useful in keeping the working class satisfied and contented. Capitalism can with the utmost satisfaction quote the teaching of Jesus to "Turn the other cheek," "Lay not up treasures on earth," Servants, obey your masters as ye would the Lord himself," If a man take thy coat, give him they cloak also," and countless others of like character.
Queen Silver (God's Place in Capitalism)
Queen Silver: The Godless Girl
by Wendy McElroy
"Religion is an illusion, and it derives its strength from its readiness to fit in with our instinctual wishful impulses."
"It was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good. Gradually, it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes, not through states, not between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through all human hearts. So, bless you, prison, for having been in my life."
"(Gordon Wasson has) made the specialty of mycology something of universal importance and one of the pillars of anthropology and the history of religions."
"Let us briefly consider where our discordant religious certainties are leading us on a global scale. The earth is now home to about 1.4 billion Muslims, many of whom believe that one day you and I will either convert to Islam, live in subjugation to a Muslim caliphate, or be put to death for our unbelief. Islam is now the fastest-growing religion in Europe. The birth-rate among European Muslims is three times that of their non-Muslim neighbors. If current trends continue, France will be a majority Muslim country in twenty-five years-and that is if immigration were to stop tomorrow. Throughout Europe, Muslim communities often show little inclination to acquire the secular and civil values of their host countries, and yet they exploit these values to the utmost, demanding tolerance for their misogyny, their anti-Semitism, and the religious hatred that is regularly preached in their mosques. Forced marriages, honor killings, punitive gang rapes, and a homicidal loathing of homosexuals are now features of an otherwise secular Europe, courtesy of Islam. Political correctness and the fear of racism have made many Europeans reluctant to oppose the terrifying religious commitments of the extremists in their midst. With a few exceptions, the only public figures who had the courage to speak honestly about the threat that Islam now poses to European society seem to be fascists. This does no bode well for the future of civilization."
Letters To a Christian Nation
"Sometimes the Old Religion is called Wicca, meaning "craft of the wise." It is both a science and religion that uses elemental forces in harmony with belief in the Divine. Witches are monotheistic. This means they believe in a central, positive power source or energy. This single power source is divided into male and female archetypes, equal to each other. Real Witches are not involved with calling demons, killing animals, or other such nonsense. They are very enlightened and powerful people. They seek healing and harmony for every person in the world, regardless of their religious or political beliefs. You may be surprised to know that there are over three-quarters of a million magickal people in the United States, and this number represents a low estimate. More and more people are turning to alternative religious practices to find God/dess."
-Silver Raven Wolf
HexCraft: Dutch Country Magick
"Not God but life, more life, a larger, richer, more satisfying life, is in the last analysis the end of religion. The love of life, at any and every level of development, is the religious impulse."
"Religion is the opium of the people. Religion is a kind of spiritual vodka in which the slaves of capitalism drown their human shape and their claim for any decent human life."
"Believing in God, originally meant aligning yourself with the force of the universe."
-James L. Kugel
In the Valley of the Shadow: On the Foundations of Religious Belief
"But there is another-quite different-reason why, in the West at least, the soul is important, and arguably more important and more fertile than the idea of God. To put it plainly, the idea of the soul has outlived the idea of God; one might even say it has evolved beyond God, beyond religion, in that even people without faith-perhaps especially people without faith-are concerned with the inner life."
"Indeed, it (pantheism) opens a path to numinous experience for people uncomfortable with the literal-mindedness of the monotheistic religions-with their miracle-working deities and holy books, their virgin births and resurrected bodies. As the polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski noted attributing divinity to the natural world helps "bring God closer to human experience." while "depriving him of recognizable personal traits." For anyone who pines for transcendence but recoils at the idea of a demanding Almighty who interferes in human affairs, this is an ideal combination.
Indeed, it represents a form of religion that even atheists can support. Richard Dawkins has called pantheism "a sexed-up atheism." (he means that as a compliment.) Sam Harris concluded his polemic "The End of Faith" by rhapsodizing about the mystical experiences available from immersion in "the rolling mystery of the world." Citing Albert Einstein's expression of religious awe at the "beauty and sublimity" of the universe, Dawkins allows, "In this sense I too am religion."
-Ross Douthat "heaven and nature" New York Times op-ed page Dec 21,2009
"God is to understood as 'our higher inner self',. 'that part of us from which we cannot hide the truth, that tells us what is right or wrong, inspires us to think, speak and act our best, and gives us real and lasting strength in the moment we are weak....Not one man or woman is our saviour, but every man and woman is his or her own saviour.' Hence, the Mazdaznan religious life is one of listening to, and living according to 'the still, small voice' (the divine) within. Indeed, it is important to understand that 'anyone who strives fulfill the will of God (to listen to the voice within) and who exhibits constructive behaviour, respect for life and performs daily caring acts is living in accordance with Mazdaznan principles and be called Mazdaznan.' WE all come from the same divine source and, to some extent, are divine. This is clear in the following Mazdaznan affirmation: 'I am all in One individually and one in All collectively; I am present individually and omnipresent collectively; I am knowing individually and omniscient collectively; I am potent individually and omnipotent collectively; All is of God and God is All!' Pacifism and vegetarianism are required of Mazdaznan associates and peace and non-violence, practical love and charity, are central to the Mazdaznan way of life. The 'Mazdaznan Statement' includes the following: 'I must assist the needy, the afflicted, the distressed, the fallen, the neglected, the struggling, the perishing, and do so in a spirit of love, kindness and respect, bearing in mind that charity begins at home."
(The prophet Zoroaster who, according to Mazdaznan, revived the vision of Ainyahita)
From "New Religions, Sects and Alternative Spiritualities with Roots in Zoroastrianism
"To have a society that accepts different expressions of Divinity is one that allows a path for everyone. No one need fight over the name of the god-or goddess-one worships; if others do not like one, they can seek another. It doesn't matter. Ultimately, all these paths lead to the top of the sacred mountain, though some are perhaps rockier than others.
But all of us are under pressure from the relentless advance of fundamentalism. Emerging from the great religions, its current is slowly but inexorably, drawing us toward the edges of our respective religious traditions. here the clear water becomes muddied. Predators lie hidden in the undergrowth. Our river narrows and is stilled with weeds, its glittering fish harder to see. The light is fading. Soon, it will be difficult for us to find our way home.
But there is a solution: that we dive beneath the weeds, that we plunge deep into the waters still within our reach and head for the great ocean, where, once again, we can all swim freely.
All it takes is a shift of view and, naturally, some courage."
Racing Toward Armageddon
TRUTH FOR A NEW DAY
1. The oneness of mankind.
2. The foundation of all religion is one.
3. Religion must be in accord with science and reason.
Promulgated in the U.S. by "Abdu-l-Baha
lecture trip 1912
"Religious contention is the Devil's harvest."
"Religion is regarded by the common people as True, by the Wise as false, and by rulers as useful."
Book: "The Oxford Dictionary of World Religions" ed by John Bowker
Book: "Why Tolerate Religion?" by Brian Leiter
Book: "The Encyclopedia of Religious Phenomena" Ed. by J. Gordon Melton
Book: "New Historical Atlas of Religion In America" ed by Scott Gaustad et al
Book: "The Library of Eastern Religions: Shinto, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Islam" ed C. Scott Littleton et al
Book: "The Illustrated Guide To World Religions" ed by Michael D. Coogan
Book: "The Mystery-Religions" by S. Angus
Book: "The New Believers" by David V. Barrett
Book: "Taming the Gods: Religion and Democracy on 'Three Continents" by Ian Buruma
Book: "The Silent Cry: An Inside View of hypnosis and other methods of parapsychology; as they are used inside the church" by Ingrid Woermann
Book: "Bondage of the Mind" by R.D.Gold
Book: 'What Religions don't want you to know" by Richard Sidler
Book: "Patience With God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism) by Frank Schaeffer
Book: "Everything You Know About God Is Wrong" Ed. by Russ Kick
Book: "The Faith Instinct: How Religion Evolved and Why It Endures" by Nicholas Wade
Book: "The Case For Religion" by Keith Ward
Book: In the Name of Heaven: 3,000 Years of Religious Persecution" by Mary Jane Engh
Book: "Houses of Worship" by Stephen Prothero
Book: "There Is A God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind" by Antony Flew with Roy Abraham Varghese
Book: "The Perennial Philosophy" by Aldous Huxley
Book: "Believers: Spiritual Leaders of the World" by Elizabeth Goldman
Book: "The End Of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason" by Sam Harris
Book: "The Death of Religion and the Rebirth of Spirit" by Joseph Chilton Pearce
Book: "Buddhism: The Religion of No-Religion" by Alan Watts
Book: "Spiritual, But Not Religious: Understanding Unchurched America" by Robert C. Fuller
Book: "World Religions: Macmillan Compendium
Book: "Enthusiasm: A Chapter in the History of Religion" by Ronald A. Knox
Book: "The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions" by James R. Lewis
Book: "Bhagavad Gita" trans. Stephen Mitchell
Book: "The Quotable Spirit" eds Peter Lorie & Manuela Dunn Mascette
Book: "The world’s Religions" by Huston Smith
Book: "The World Religions Reader" Ed by Gwilym Beckerlegge
Book: "Religious Leaders Of The World: macmillan Profiles"
Book: "Dimensions of the Sacred" by Ninian Smart
Book: "Varieties of Religious Experience" by William James
Book: "Mystics and Messiahs: Cults and New Religions In American History" by Philip Jenkins
Book: "The Battle For God "...by Karen Armstrong
article: OH GODS! by Toby Lester...The Atlantic Monthly, Feb 2002
Book: "Abraham: A Journey to the Heart of Three Faiths" by Bruce Fellow
Book: "The Rivers of Paradise: Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Jesus, and Muhammad as Religious Founders" Ed. by D.N. Freedman & M.J. McClymond
Book: "When Religion Becomes Evil" by Charles Kimball
Book: "The Message & The Book" by John Bowker
Book: "Abraham's children" by Kelly James Clark
Book: "Earthly Powers: The Clash of Religion and Politics in Europe from the French Revolution to the Great War" by Michael Burleigh
Book: "The Spiral Staircase: My Climb out of Darkness" by Karen Armstrong
Book: "Experience of God and the Rationality of Theistic Belief" by Jerome I. Gellman
Book: "Religions of Japan in Practice" Ed. by George J. Tanabe Jr.
Book: "the Religious Question in Modern China" by Vincent Goossari & David A. Palmer
Book: "Religion in china: Survival and revival under Communist Rule" by Fenggang Yang
Book: "God is Red: The Secret Story of How Christianity Survived and Flourished in Communist china" by Liao Yiwu
Book: Redeemed by Fire: The Rise of Popular Christianity in Modern China" by Lian XI
Book: "Religion As a Chain of Memory" by Daniele Hrvieu-Leger
Book: "Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon" by Daniel C. Dennet
Book: "Atlas of the World's Religions" Ed by Ninian Smart
Book: "The annotated Dictionary of Modern Religious Movements" by Benjamin Beit-Hallahimi
Book: "Encyclopedia of African-American Religions" by Melton Murphy Ward
Book: "Science and Religion, 400 B.C. to A.D. 1550; From Aristotle to Copernicus" by Edward Grant
Book: "Science and Religion 1450-1900: From Copernicus to Darwin " by Richard Gil Olson
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