Doctrine

Live to explain thy doctrine by thy life.

For when man comes to front the everlasting God, and look the splendor of His judgments in the face, personal integrity, the dream of spotlessness and innocence, vanishes into thin air: your decencies and your church-goings and your regularities and your attachment to a correct school and party, your gospel formulas of sound doctrine - what is all that, in front of the blaze of the wrath to come?

Everybody is a bit right; nobody is completely right or completely wrong. The prevalence of this point of view among all decent people nearly always has the same dreadful result for, according to their doctrine, every time a contemporary is quite right, he must be crucified. They can never forgive him because he denies their dogma; worst still, he reveals that they hold another dogma which they conceal.

If you want a war, nourish a doctrine. doctrines are the most fearful tyrants to which men ever are subject, because doctrines get inside of a man’s own reason and betray him against himself. Civilized men have done their fiercest fighting for doctrines.

Authority is properly the servant of justice, and political powers are arbitrary and illegitimate if not based upon qualification for that service. This is the doctrine of the ethical derivation of authority or public power, as opposed to that of an unconditioned and inherent sovereignty.

The Bible is a book of faith, and a book of doctrine, and a book of morals, and a book of religion, of special revelation from God; but it is also a book which teaches man his own individual responsibility, his own dignity, and his equality with his fellow man.

Philosophy is not a body of doctrine but an activity.

Do not believe what your teacher tells you merely out of respect for the teacher. But whatsoever, after due examination and analysis, you find to be conducive to the good, the benefit, the welfare of all beings – that doctrine believe and cling to, and take it as your guide.

If there were a good cause for believing that the earth would be uninhabitable in A.D. 2000 or 2100 the doctrine of Progress would lose its meaning and would automatically disappear.

Sin is an affair of the will. It is not “a vestige of our animal inheritance.” That trivial notion comes from an unexamined, too-quickly swallowed doctrine of evolution. Why blame the brute creation? No self-respecting wolf would be guilty of our modern wars.

Is there any doctrine of immortality that can say anything more simple yet definitive about man’s fate after death? He has come from God and returns to God. From the very beginning, man is bound up with God; and this bond continues to exist, unaffected by death which befalls the body only. God’s creation of man’s spirit, then, must be understood as a principle whose consequence is immortality.

Once a doctrine, however irrational, has gained power in a society, millions of people will believe in it rather than feel ostracized and isolated.

While we fight among ourselves about doctrine we are united in the common worship of money and material success.

The doctrine that the will alone is the way to power is a most woe-begone theory for the relief to the morally sick.

Persecution always acts as a gel for members of cults; it proves to them, in the absence of history, liturgy, tradition, and doctrine that they are God’s chosen.

Detachment of doctrine from devotion, detachment of reason from reverence, of scrutiny from the sense of the ineffable reduces God as a challenge to a logical hypothesis… God is relevant only when overwhelmingly urgent.

The doctrine of original sin is a theological perversion of natural fact. It is a fact that all human beings begin life with an equipment of instincts, impulses, and desires, at war with one another and often out of harmony with the realities of eth physical, social, and spiritual world. Sin and the sense of sin will always be with us, to torture and weigh down; but… the religion of the future will try to prevent men’s being afflicted with the sense of sin, rather than encourage it, and then attempt to cure it.

All new doctrine goes through three stages. It is attacked and declared absurd; then it is admitted as true and obvious but insignificant. Finally, its true importance is recognized and its adversaries claim the honor of having discovered it.

We are bound together by a more primitive and fundamental unity than any unity of thought and doctrine; we all have the same human nature and, considered in their extra-mental reality, the same primordial tendencies.

Reward and punish no doctrine; hold out no allurement or bribe for the adoption of theological opinions… Suffer no one to be a searcher of hearts and a judge of opinions… to assume the right which the Omniscient has reserved to Himself.