Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.


"The most stormy ebullitions of passion, from blasphemy to murder, are less terrific than one single act of cool villainy; a still rabies is more dangerous than the paroxysms of a fever. Fear the boisterous savage of passion less than the sedately grinning villain." - Johann Kaspar Lavater

"To look for a purpose in Life outside Life itself amounts to killing Life. Reason is given by Life, not vice versa. Life is prior to meaning... Human life is joyful interrogation. Any answer is blasphemy." - Raimon Panikkar, fully Raimon Panikkar-Alemany

"Every petrified religion is like a blasphemy." - Franz Werfel, fully Franz Viktor Werfel

"There is only one blasphemy, and that is the refusal to experience joy." - Paul Rudnick

"What is it but blasphemy when God is merely my means to an end? That takes its toll. If we turn God into a puppet of our desires (even when that happens by the pious route of prayer) then he shuts up his heaven and we find ourselves thrown back into the silence of our unredeemed life." - Helmut Thielicke

"Independence? That's middle-class blasphemy. We are all dependent on one another, every soul of us on earth." - George Bernard Shaw

"Man's nature... is not corrupt. The idea of God is innate in man's mind from the beginning; so that by reason alone man has arrived, everywhere, at a recognition of God which is sufficient. Religious intolerance is blasphemy, since in their primal ground and ultimate sense, all religions are one, as is mankind." - Joseph Campbell

"I believe all manner of asceticism to be the vilest blasphemy - blasphemy towards the whole of the human race. I believe in the flesh and the body, which is worthy of worship." - Richard Jefferies, fully John Richard Jefferies

"This crime called blasphemy was invented by priests for the purpose of defending doctrines not able to take care of themselves." - Robert Ingersoll, fully Robert Green "Bob" Ingersoll

"Political truth is a libel - religious truth blasphemy." - William Hazlitt

"Obscenity, which is ever blasphemy against the divine beauty in life, is a monster for which the corruption of society forever brings forth new food, which it devours in secret." - Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Blasphemy is what an old mistake says of a newly discovered truth. Blasphemy is what a withered last year's leaf says to a this year's bud. Blasphemy is the bulwark of religious prejudice. Blasphemy is the breastplate of the heartless. And let me say now, that the crime of blasphemy, as set out in this statute, is impossible. No man can blaspheme a book. No man can commit blasphemy by telling his honest thought. No man can blaspheme a God, or a Holy Ghost, or a Son of God. The Infinite cannot be blasphemed. " - Robert Ingersoll, fully Robert Green "Bob" Ingersoll

"Rose-Morals - I. -- Red. Would that my songs might be What roses make by day and night -- Distillments of my clod of misery Into delight. Soul, could'st thou bare thy breast As yon red rose, and dare the day, All clean, and large, and calm with velvet rest? Say yea -- say yea! Ah, dear my Rose, good-bye; The wind is up; so; drift away. That songs from me as leaves from thee may fly, I strive, I pray. II. -- White. Soul, get thee to the heart Of yonder tuberose: hide thee there -- There breathe the meditations of thine art Suffused with prayer. Of spirit grave yet light, How fervent fragrances uprise Pure-born from these most rich and yet most white Virginities! Mulched with unsavory death, Grow, Soul! unto such white estate, That virginal-prayerful art shall be thy breath, Thy work, thy fate." - Sidney Lanier

"Conquer evil men by your gentle kindness, and make zealous men wonder at your goodness. Put the lover of legality to shame by your compassion. With the afflicted be afflicted in mind. Love all men, but keep distant from all men." - Saint Isaac of Nineveh, also Isaac the Syrian, Isaac of Qatar and Isaac Syrus NULL

"As to the Christian system of faith, it appears to me as a species of atheism -- a sort of religious denial of God. It professed to believe in man rather than in God. It is as near to atheism as twilight to darkness. It introduces between man and his Maker an opaque body, which it calls a Redeemer, as the moon introduces her opaque self between the earth and the sun, and it produces by this means a religious or irreligious eclipse of the light. It has put the whole orbit of reason into shade." - Thomas Paine

"Is it popular to pay our debts, to do justice, to defend the injured and insulted country, to protect the aged and the infant, and give top liberty a land to live in? Then must taxation, as the means by which these things are done, be popular likewi" - Thomas Paine

"Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not yet sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favor; a long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides." - Thomas Paine

"He had nothing he could do with is life's work now except leave it to a man who thought nothing of it." - Wendell Berry

"There is no lonelier man in death, except the suicide, than that man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy end to it." - Ernest Hemingway, fully Ernest Miller Hemingway