He who does not engage in reproduction and propagation rises up against scripture and diminishes the Image (of God). For it says: 'For in the image of God he made man" (Gen 1:6) and 'be fruitful and multiply!'(Gen 1:7).
The word 'God' is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, and religious scripture a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change this.
Brahman is a shoreless ocean. Shakti is the omnipresent, interdependent action of its waves... As long as Her inscrutable Will keeps consciousness manifest through the human form, one is tempted to think that there are two realities - the formless God and these confusing mirror images called the universe. But no, my friend, there are no such twoness whatsoever. There is no super-knowledge separate from or opposed to ordinary ignorance. There is not day as a reality apart from night. There is only wholeness or completeness - beyond night or day, beyond ignorance or knowledge, yet containing both, manifesting both. How to describe this dynamic plenitude? Not with words from any scripture or philosophy. What is simply is!
Jesus Christ said more about money than about any other single thing because, when it comes to a man's real nature, money is of first importance. Money is an exact index to a man's true character. All through Scripture there is an intimate correlation between the development of a man's character and how he handles his money.
Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy Scriptures ever have the preeminence. Let Scripture be first and most in your hearts and hands and other books be used as subservient to it. While reading ask yourself: 1. Could I spend this time no better? 2. Are there better books that would edify me more? 3. Are the lovers of such a book as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life? 4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?
Once again, modern theologians will protest that the story of Abraham sacrificing Isaac should not be taken as literal fact. And, once again, the appropriate response is twofold. First, many many people, even to this day, do take the whole of their scripture to be literal fact, and they have a great deal of political power over the rest of us, especially in the United States and in the Islamic world. Second, if not as literal fact, how should we take the story? As an allegory? Then an allegory for what? Surely morals could one derive from this appalling story? Remember, all I am trying to establish for the moment is that we do not, as a matter of fact, derive our morals from scripture. Or, if we do, we pick and choose among the scriptures for the nice bits and reject the nasty. But then we must have some independent criterion for deciding which are the moral bits: a criterion which, wherever it comes from, cannot come from scripture itself and is presumably available to all of us whether we are religious or not.
Over the centuries, we've moved on from Scripture to accumulate precepts of ethical, legal and moral philosophy. We've evolved a liberal consensus of what we regard as underpinnings of decent society, such as the idea that we don't approve of slavery or discrimination on the grounds of race or sex, that we respect free speech and the rights of the individual. All of these things that have become second nature to our morals today owe very little to religion, and mostly have been won in opposition to the teeth of religion.
The God of the Old Testament himself, with his pitilessly vengeful jealousy, his racism, sexism, and terrifying bloodlust, will not be adopted as a literal role model by anybody you or I would wish to know. Yes, of course it is unfair to judge the customs of an earlier era by the enlightened standards of our own. But that is precisely my point! Evidently, we have some alternative source of ultimate moral conviction that overrides Scripture when it suits us.
Tradition, as held by the Romanists, is subordinate to Scripture and dependent on it, about as some parasite plants are on the tree that supports them. The former cling to the latter, and rest upon it; then gradually overspread it with their own foliage, till, by little and little, they weaken, and then smother it.
Our ideals are the blueprints of our lives.
In order that we might receive that love whereby we should love, we were ourselves loved, while as yet we had it not.
For by plucking out self-love, which is, as they say, the beginning and mother of all evils, everything that comes from it and after it is plucked out as well. Once this is no more, absolutely no form or trace of evil can any longer subsist. All the forms of virtue are introduced, fulfilling the power of love, which gather together what has been separated, once again fashioning the human being in accordance with a single meaning and mode. It levels off and makes equal any inequality or difference inclination in anything, or rather binds it to that praiseworthy inequality, by which each is so drawn to his neighbor in preference to himself and so honors him before himself, that he is eager to spurn any obstacle in his desire to excel. And for this reason each one willingly frees himself from himself, by separating himself from any thoughts or properties to which he is privately inclined, and is gathered to the one singleness and sameness, in accordance with which nothing is in anyway separated from what is common to all, so that each is in each, and all in all, or rather in God and in others, and they are radiantly established as one, having the one logos of being in themselves, utterly single in nature and inclination. And in this God is understood: in him they are all beheld together and they are bound together and raised to him, as the source and maker. The logos of being of all beings by nature preserves itself pure and inviolate for our attention, who, with conscious zeal through the virtues and the toils that accompany them, have been purified from the passions that rebel against it.
I receive Thee ransom of my soul. For love of Thee have I studied and kept vigil toiled preached and taught.
If a word be worth one Shekel, silence is worth two.
As it is our duty to pray, so it is our duty to pray with the most fervent importunity. It is our duty to love God, but with the purest and most sublime affections; every command of God requires the whole strength of the creature to be employed in it. That love to God wherein all our duty to God is summed up, is to be with all our strength, with all our might, etc. Though in the covenant of grace he hath mitigated the severity of the law, and requires not from us such an elevation of our affections as was possible in the state of innocence, yet God requires of us the utmost moral industry to raise our affections to a pitch at least equal to what they are in other things. What strength of affection we naturally have, ought to be as much and more excited in acts of worship, than upon other occasions and our ordinary works.
Providence would seem to sleep unless faith and prayer awaken it. The disciples had but little faith in their Master's accounts, yet that little faith awakened him in a storm, and he relieved them. Unbelief doth only discourage God from showing his power in taking our parts.
Terrified consciences, that are Magor-missabib, see nothing but matter of fear round about. As they have lived without the bounds of the law, they are afraid to fall under the stroke of his justice: fear wishes the destruction of that which it apprehends hurtful: it considers him as a God to whom vengeance belongs, as the Judge of all the earth. The less hopes such an one hath of his pardon, the more joy he would have to hear that his judge should he stripped of his life: he would entertain with delight any reasons that might support him in the conceit that there were no God: in his present state such a doctrine would be his security from an account: he would as much rejoice if there were no God to inflame an hell for him, as any guilty malefactor would if there were no judge to order a gibbet for him.
Such as have made a considerable improvement of their gifts and graces, have hearts as large as their heads; whereas most men's heads have outgrown their hearts.
Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the word of God. The Jews say, that their word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face; the Christians say, that their word of God came by divine inspiration: and the Turks say, that their word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from Heaven. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all.
Independence is my happiness, and I view things as they are, without regard to place or person; my country is the world, and my religion is to do good.