Harry Emerson Fosdick

Harry Emerson
Fosdick
1878
1969

American Liberal Protestant Minister, Teacher, Author

Author Quotes

He is a poor patriot whose patriotism does not enable him to understand how all men everywhere feel about their altars and their hearthstones, their flag and their fatherland.

Preaching is personal counseling on a group basis.

He is a poor son whose sonship does not make him desire to serve all men's mothers.

Religion is not a burden, not a weight, it is wings

I hate war for its consequences, for the lies it lives on and propagates, for the undying hatreds it arouses, for the dictatorships it puts in the place of democracies, and for the starvation that stalks after it. I hate war, and never again will I sanction or support another.

Religion is something that only secondarily can be taught. It must primarily be taught.

I renounce war for its consequences, for the lies it lives on and propagates, for the undying hatred it arouses, for the dictatorships it puts in place of democracy, for the starvation that stalks after it. I renounce war, and never again, directly or indirectly, will I sanction or support another.

Self-pity gets you nowhere. One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world -- making the most of one's best.

It is going to be a long, hard haul; it will require patience, courage, faith that hangs on when hope fails, if we are to tame the rude barbarity of man, so that the atomic age becomes a blessing, not a curse. There never was such a day for the Christian gospel. God help us all in these years ahead to make that gospel live in men and nations!

The all but unanimous judgment seems to be that we, the democracies, are just as responsible for the rise of the dictators as the dictatorships themselves, and perhaps more so.

Life is a library owned by an author. It has a few books which he wrote himself, but most of them were written for him.

The half is greater than the whole.

One of the most devastating experiences in human life is disillusionment. Of course there are some illusions the disillusionment of which is healthy. It takes two things to bowl over a tree - a heavy wind outside and decay inside. Much of the moral wreckage is caused by inner cynicism - a disgust with life's futility, an inability to see sense in it. A person in that mood is an easy mark for the next high wind.

When will the churches learn that intolerance, personal or ecclesiastical, is an evidence of weakness: The confident can afford to be calm and kindly; only the fearful must defame and exclude.

We used to say that we were punished for our sins, as though God were a judge on a bench who passed on the case and meted out penalty. The truth goes much deeper than that. We are not punished for our sins, but by them. It is our sins themselves that rise to slay us.

We have no definition of God; we have only a roadway that leads out toward God. We are convinced beyond peradventure that he who travels merely the path of electrons, atoms, molecules toward a vision of the ultimate misses it, and that he who travels the road of spiritual values – goodness, truth, beauty – finds it. The eternal and creative Power cannot be adequately approached through the metrical world alone; the innermost nature of the ultimate is revealed also in the personal world of spiritual values.

Two opposing mysteries are in the world – goodness and evil. If we deny God, then goodness is a mystery, for no one has ever suggested how spiritual life could rise of an unspiritual source, how souls could come from dust. If we affirm God, then evil is a mystery, for why, we ask, should love create a world with so much pain and sin? Our task is not to solve insoluble problems. It is to balance these alternatives – no God and the mystery of man’s spiritual life, against God and the mystery of evil.

The place where man vitally finds God... is within his own experience of goodness, truth, and beauty, and the truest images of God are therefore to be found in man’s spiritual life.

The first question to be answered by any individual or any social group, facing a hazardous situation, is whether the crisis is to be met as a challenge to strength or as an occasion for despair.

Religion is something that only secondarily can be taught. It must primarily be absorbed.

Prayer is the hospitality of the soul entertaining the Most High.

Our wills are the slaves of the accumulated influence of our interior companionships. What we can do is to get new mental images.

Only a theoretical deity is left to any man who has ceased to commune with God and a theoretical deity saves no man from sin and disheartenment.

One of the supreme hours of human experience arrives when a man gets his eye on something concerning which he is persuaded that is the eternal truth.

Moral evil is still the central problem of mankind.

Author Picture
First Name
Harry Emerson
Last Name
Fosdick
Birth Date
1878
Death Date
1969
Bio

American Liberal Protestant Minister, Teacher, Author