By the spirit of the age... the man of today is forced into skepticism about his own thinking, in order to make him receptive to truth which comes to him from authority... Truth taken over by skepticism which has become believing... is not capable of uniting itself with him to the very marrow of his being.
So I say that civilizations begin with religion and stoicism: they end with skepticism and unbelief, and the undisciplined pursuit of individual pleasure. A civilization is born stoic and dies epicurean.
The fear of God is not the beginning of wisdom. The fear of God is the death of wisdom. Skepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.
Neither acquiescence in skepticism nor acquiescence in dogma is what education should produce. What it should produce is a belief that knowledge is attainable in a measure, though with difficulty; that much of what passes for knowledge at any given time is likely to be more or less mistaken, but that the mistakes can be rectified by care and industry... Knowledge, like other good things, is difficult, but not impossible; the dogmatist forgets the difficulty, the skeptic denies the possibility. Both are mistaken, and their errors, when widespread, produce social disaster.
Truths turn into dogmas the instant that they are disputed. Thus every man who utters a doubt defines a religion. And the scepticism of our time does not really destroy the beliefs, rather it creates them; gives them their limits and their plain and defiant shape.
The cause which is blocking all progress today is the subtle scepticism which whispers in a million ears that things are not good enough to be worth improving. If the world is good we are revolutionaries, if the world is evil we must be conservatives. These essays, futile as they are considered as serious literature, are yet ethically sincere, since they seek to remind men that things must be loved first and improved afterwards.
Regardless of their prior attitudes [on near death experience] - whether skeptical or deeply religious - and regardless of the many variations in religious beliefs and degrees of skepticism from tolerant disbelief to outspoken atheism - most of these people were convinced that they had been in the presence of some supreme and loving power and had a glimpse of a life yet to come.
Religion and science wage together an incessantly continuing, never slackening fight against skepticism and dogmatism, against disbelief (Unglaube) and superstition (Aberglaube) and the guiding slogan in this fight is from times immemorial and into the whole future: Up to God! (Hin zu Gott)