Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Belief

"Being alone when one’s belief is firm, is not to be alone." - Berthold Auerbach

"He that does not respect confidence will never find happiness in his path. The belief in virtue vanishes from his heart; the source of nobler actions becomes extinct in him." - Joseph von Auffenberg

"In the past few decades American institutions have struggled with the temptations of politics. Professions and academic disciplines that once possessed a life and structure of their own have steadily succumbed, in some cases almost entirely, to the belief that nothing matters beyond politically desirable results, however achieved." - Robert Bork, fully Robert Heron Bork

"The whole history of science, art and morals proves that the mind that appears in individuals, is not as such individual mind. The former is in itself a system of belief, recognitions, and ignorances, of acceptances and rejections, of expectancies and appraisals of meanings which have been instituted under the influence of custom and tradition." - John Dewey

"One thing alone I charge you. As you live, believe in life! Always human beings will live and progress to greater, broader and fuller life. The only possible death is to lose belief in this truth simply because the great end comes slowly, because time is long." -

"It was our belief that the love of possessions is a weakness to be overcome. Its appeal is to the material part, and if allowed its way, it will in time disturb one’s spiritual balance. Therefore, children must early learn the beauty of generosity. They are taught to give what they prize most, that they may taste the happiness of giving. If a child is inclined to be grasping, or to cling to any of his or her little possessions, legends are related about the contempt and disgrace falling upon the ungenerous and mean person... The Indians in their simplicity literally give away all that they have - to relatives, to guests of other tribes or clans, but above all to the poor and the aged, from whom they can hope for no return." - Charles Alexander Eastman, first named Ohiyesa

"Without the belief in the inner harmony of the world there could be no science." - Albert Einstein

"I do not share the belief that there can or will be on earth one religion. I am striving, therefore, to find a common factor and to induce mutual tolerance" -

"Belief and unbelief never follow men’s commands. Faith is a gift from God which man can neither give nor take away by promise of rewards or menaces of torture." - Thomas Hobbes

"Hold for yourself the belief that each day that dawns is your last." - Horace, full name Quintus Horatius Flaccus NULL

"There is a very general belief that, where gadgets are concerned, we can get something for nothing - can enjoy all the advantages of an elaborate, top-heavy and constantly advancing technology without having to pay for them by any compensating disadvantages." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create that fact." - William James

"In any project the important factor is your belief. Without belief there can be no successful outcome." - William James

"Our belief in truth itself.. that there is a truth, and that our minds and it are made for each other, what is it but a passionate affirmation of desire, in which our social system backs us up? We want to have a truth; we want to believe that our experiments and studies and discussions must put us in a continually better and better position towards it; and on this line we agree to fight out our thinking lives." - William James

"Courage, contrary to popular belief, is not the absence of fear. Courage is the wisdom to act in spite of fear." - John-Roger & Peter McWilliams NULL

"Both the saint and the scientist must possess the same qualities in order to attain their ideals. But these qualities are selfless devotion, a meticulous love of truth, infinite patience, thoroughness, and a depth of mind which does not resent criticism. Without these qualities neither of the two can reach his goal. It is my firm belief that the goal which both science and religion reach by different routes is one and the same." - B. C. Kher

"Reality comes into being only when the mind is still, not made still. Therefore, there must be no disciplining of the mind to be still. When you discipline yourself, it is merely a projected desire to be in a particular state. Such a state is not the state of passivity... Liberation is from moment to moment in the understanding of what is, when the mind is free, not made free. It is only a free mind that can discover, not a mind molded by a belief or shaped according to a hypothesis. Such a mind cannot discover. There can be no freedom is there is conflict, for conflict is the fixing of the self in relationship." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"Relationship means contact, communion. There cannot be communion where people are divided by ideas. A belief may gather a group of people around itself. Such a group will inevitably breed opposition and so form another group with a different belief. Ideas postpone direct relationship with the problem." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"To most of us, relationship is a term for comfort, for gratification, for security, and in that relationship we use property, ideas, and persons for our gratification. We use belief as a means of security." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"What is important is to free ourselves from ideas, from nationalism, from all religious beliefs and dogmas, so that we can act, not according to a pattern or an ideology, but as needs demand... It is only when the mind is free of idea and belief that it can act rightly... and freedom from ideas can take place only through self-awareness and self-knowledge." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"It is as wise to moderate our belief as our desires." - Walter Savage Landor

"All belief that does not render us more happy, more free, more loving, more active, more calm, is, I fear, an erroneous and superstitious belief." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"It is not true that a man can believe or disbelieve what he will. But it is certain that an active desire to find any proposition true will unconsciously tend to that result, by dismissing importunate suggestions which run counter to the belief, and welcoming those which favor it. The psychological law, that we only see what interests us, and only assimilate what is adapted to our condition, causes the mind to select its evidence." - George Henry Lewes

"With most people, doubt about one thing is simply blind belief in another." - Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

"The unexamined life, said Socrates, is unfit to be lived by man. This is the virtue of liberty, and the ground on which we may justify our belief in it, that it tolerates error in order to serve truth." - Walter Lippmann

"The man who strives to educate himself - and no one else can educate him - must win a certain victory over his own nature. He must learn to smile at his dear idols, analyze his every prejudice, scrap if necessary his fondest and most consoling belief, question his presuppositions, and take his chances with the truth." - Everett Dean Martin

"Imagination grows by exercise, and contrary to common belief, is more powerful in the mature than in the young." -

"That belief which inspires a man to higher life, which moves him to trample down his besetting sins, to help his weaker brother, to rise into communion with God, is to him a Divine voice." - George S. Merriam

"The man of belief is necessarily a dependent man... He does not belong to himself, but to the author of the idea he believes... At every step, one has to wrestle for truth; one has to surrender to it almost everything to which the heart, to which our love, our trust in life clings otherwise. That requires greatness of soul: the service of truth is the hardest service...faith makes blessed: consequently, it lies." -

"It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime. " - Thomas Paine

"The belief that youth is the happiest time of life is founded on a fallacy. The happiest person is the person who thinks the most interesting thoughts, and we grow happier as we grow older." - William Lyon Phelps

"To believe is to be happy; to doubt is to be wretched. To believe is to be strong. Doubt cramps energy. Belief is power. Only so far as a man believes strongly, mightily, can he act cheerfully, or do any thing that is worth the doing." -

"To believe is to be strong. Doubt cramps energy. Belief is power." -

"Belief in a Divine mission is one of the many forms of certainty that have afflicted the human race." -

"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." -

"Martyrdom has always been a proof of intensity, never the correctness of a belief." - Albert Schweitzer

"The principal reason for sex deification is loss of belief in God. Once men lose God, they lose the purpose of life; and when the purpose of living is forgotten, the universe becomes meaningless. Man then tries to forget his emptiness in the intensity of a momentary experience." - Fulton Sheen, fully Archbishop Fulton John Sheen

"What we think of ourselves makes a difference in our lives, and belief in immortality gives us the highest values of ourselves. When we so believe, we achieve proportions greater than mere matter." - Jesse William Stitt

"The pious sectarian is proud because he is confident of his right of possession in God. The man of devotion is meek because he is conscious of God’s right of love over his life and soul. The object of our possession becomes smaller than ourselves, and without acknowledging it in so many words the bigoted sectarian has an implicit belief that God can be kept secured for certain individuals in a cage which is of their own make. In a similar manner the primitive races of men believe that their ceremonials have a magic influence upon their deities." -

"If choosing freely for oneself is the highest value, the free choice to wear red socks is as valuable as the free choice to murder one’s father or sacrifice oneself for one’s friend. Such a belief is ridiculous." - Mary Warnock, fully Helen Mary Warnock, Baroness Warnock

"Then still a purpose enclosing all, and over and beneath all, ever since what might be call’d thought, or the budding of thought, fairly began in my youthful mind, I had had a desire to attempt some worthy record of that entire faith and acceptance to justify the ways of God to man... which is the foundation of moral America... to formulate a poem whose every thought or fact should directly or indirectly be or connive at an implicit belief in the wisdom, health, mystery, beauty of every process, every concrete object, every human or other existence, not only consider’d from the point of view of all, but of each. While I can not understand it or argue it out, I fully believe in a clue and purpose in Nature, entire and several; and that invisible spiritual results, just as real and definite as the visible, eventuate all concrete life and all materialism through Time." - Walt Whitman, fully Walter "Walt" Whitman

"I will frankly tell you that my experience in prolonged scientific investigations convinces me that a belief in god - a God who is behind and within the chaos of vanishing points of human knowledge - adds a wonderful stimulus to the man who attempts to penetrate into the regions of the unknown." -

"A belief is not true because it is useful." -

"Beliefs about particular matters of fact (including beliefs whose content is an unrestricted existentially quantified proposition) are structures in the mind of the believer which represent or ‘map’ reality, including the believer’s own mind and belief-states. The fundamental representing elements and relations of the map represent the sorts of thing they represent because they spring from capacities of the believer to act selectively towards things of that sort." - David Malet Armstrong, aka D. M. Armstrong

"Religious addiction is using God, the Church, or a belief system as an escape from reality, in an attempt to find or elevate a sense of self-worth or well-being... It is the ultimate form of co-dependency - feeling worthless in and of ourselves and looking outside for something or someone to tell us we are worthwhile... Recovery means discovering divinity in one's own life." - Leo Booth

"It is the repetition of affirmations that leads to belief. And once that belief becomes a deep conviction, things begin to happen." - Claude M. Bristol

"When is a man actually sick? He is sick only when his mind is empty of belief and his life is empty of promise." - Sri Chinmoy, born Chinmoy Kumar Ghose

"Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself." - Robert Collier

"Your belief that you can do the thing gives your thought forces their power." - Robert Collier