Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Religion

"Esteeming others merely for their agreement with us in religion, opinion, and manner of living is only a less offensive kind of self-adoration." - Thomas Adam

"It is indifference which is the cause of most of our unhappiness. Indifference to religion, to the happiness of others, and to the precious gift of freedom, and the wide liberty that is the inheritance of all in a free land. Are we our "Brother's Keeper"? We certainly are! If we had no regard for others' feelings or fortune, we would grow cold and indifferent to life itself. Bound up with selfishness, we could not hope for the success that could easily be ours." - George Matthew Adams

"Though religion... always envelops conduct, the sentiment of religion and the sense of moral value are distinct." - Samuel Alexander

"Religion tends to speak the language of the heart, which is the language of friends, lovers, children, and parents." -

"Nothing has wrought more prejudice to religion, or brought more disparagement upon truth, than boisterous and unseasonable zeal." - Isaac Barrow

"To revenge a wrong is easy, usual, and natural, and, as the world thinks, savors of nobleness of mind; but religion teaches the contrary, and tells us it is better to neglect than to require it." - J. Beaumont

"All the principles which religion teaches, and all the habits which it forms, are favorable to strength of mind. It will be found that whatever purifies fortifies also the heart." - Hugh Blair

"The spirit of true religion breathes gentleness and affability; it gives a native, unaffected ease to the behavior; it is social, kind, cheerful; far removed from the cloudy and illiberal disposition which clouds the brow, sharpens the temper, and dejects the spirit." - Hugh Blair

"Religion converts despair, which destroys, into resignation, which submits." - Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington, Lady Blessington, born Margaret Power

"We walk, and our religion is shown (even in the dullest and most insensitive person) in how we walk. Or to put it more accurately, living in this world means choosing, choosing to walk, and the way we choose to walk is infallibly and perfectly expressed in the walk itself. Nothing can disguise it. The walk of an ordinary man and of an enlightened man are as different as that of a snake and a giraffe." - R. H. Blyth, fully Reginald Horace Blyth

"A man without religion or spiritual vision is like a captain who finds himself in the midst of an uncharted sea, without compass, rudder and steering wheel. He never knows where he is, which way he is going and where he is going to land." - William J. H. Boetcker, fully William John Henry Boetcker

"The nobles charities, the best fruits of learning, the richest discoveries, the best institutions of law and justice, every greatest thing the world has seen, represents, more or less directly, the fruitfulness and creativeness of religion." - Horace Bushnell

"A religion giving dark views of God, and infusing superstitious fear of innocent enjoyment, instead of aiding sober habits, will, by making men abject and sad, impair their moral force and prepare them for intemperance as a refuge from depression or despair." - William Ellery Channing

"The great duty of God’s children is to love one another. This duty on earth takes the name and form of the law of humanity. We are to recognize all men as brethren, no matter where born, or under what sky, or institution or religion they may live. Every man belongs to the race, and owes a duty to mankind... Men cannot, by combining themselves into narrower or larger societies, sever the sacred, blessed bond which joins them to their kind... The law of humanity must reign; over the assertion of all human rights." - William Ellery Channing

"Morality is the vestibule of religion." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"Tolerance does not mark the progress of religion. It is the fatal sign of its decline." - Isidore van Cleef

"All religion and all ethics are summed up in justice." - Moncure Daniel Conway

"The aim of philosophic theory is the practical realization of all moral purposes, and this is the essence of religion." - Abraham Ibn Daud

"Godliness is practical religion." - Orville Dewey

"Men must beware of looking upon religion as an ideal to be yearned for, it should be an ideal to be applied." - Simon Dubnow, also spelled Semyon Markovich Dubnov

"It is the fixed law of the universe, that little things are but parts of the great. The grass does not spring up full grown, by eruptions: it rises by an increase so noiseless and gentle, as not to disturb an angel's ear - perhaps to be invisible to an angel's eye. The rain does not fall in masses, but in drops, or even in the breath-like moisture of the fine mist. The planets do not leap from end to end of their orbits, but inch by inch, and line by line, it is that they circle the heavens. Intellect, feeling, habit, character, all become what they are through the influence of little things. And in morals and religion, it is by little things - by little influences acting on us, or seemingly little decisions made by us, that everyone of us is going, not by leaps, yet surely by inches, either to life or death eternal." - Tyron Edwards

"Piety and morality are but the same spirit differently manifested. Piety is religion with its face toward God; morality is religion with its face toward the world." - Tyron Edwards

"What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life." - Albert Einstein

"Now besides life, knowledge, play, aesthetic experience, friendship, practical reasonableness, and religion, there are countless objectives and forms of good. But I suggest that these other objectives and forms of good will be found, on analysis, to be way or combinations of ways of pursuing (not always sensibly) and realizing (not always successfully) one of the seven basic forms of good, or some combination of them." - John Finnis

"It seems not to be true that there is a power in the universe, which watches over the well-being of every individual with parental care and brings all his concerns to a happy ending. On the contrary, the destinies of man are incompatible with a universal principle of benevolence or with - what is to some degree contradictory - a universal principle of justice... Dark, unfeeling, and unloving powers determine human destiny; the system of rewards and punishments, which according to religion, governs the world, seems to have no existence." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Our best hope for the future is that the intellect - the scientific spirit, reason - should in time establish a dictatorship over the human mind. The very nature of reason is a guarantee that it would not fail to concede to human emotions, and to all that is determined by them, the position to which they are entitled. But the common pressure exercised by such a domination of reason would prove to be the strongest unifying force among men, and would prepare the way for further unifications. Whatever, like the ban laid upon thought by religion, opposes such a development is a danger for the future of mankind." - Sigmund Freud, born Sigismund Schlomo Freud

"Reverence the highest, have patience with the lowest. Let this day’s performance of the meanest duty be thy religion. Are the stars too distant, pick up the pebble that lies at thy feet and from it learn the all." -

"A life without religion is a life without principles, and a life without principles is like a ship without a rudder." -

"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" -

"Longing after the Highest and Noblest, attachment to the Whole, soaring up to the Infinite, despite our finiteness and limitedness - this is religion." - Abraham Geiger

"True religion teaches us to reverence what is under us, to recognize humility, poverty, wretchedness, suffering, and death, as things divine." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Religion presents few difficulties to the humble; many to the proud; insuperable ones to the vain." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"They who boast of their tolerance merely give others leave to be as careless about religion as they are themselves. A walrus might as well pride itself on its endurance of cold." - Julius Charles Hare (1795-1855) and his brother Augustus William Hare

"Religion implies revelation." - Roswell Dwight Hitchcock

"A man who feels that his religion is a slavery has not begun to comprehend the real nature of religion." - Josiah Gilbert Holland, also Joshua Gilbert Holland

"Set about doing good to somebody. Put on your hat, and go and visit the sick and poor of your neighborhood; inquire into their circumstances, and minister to their wants. Seek out the desolate, and afflicted, and oppressed, and tell them of the consolations of religion. I have often tried this method, and have always found it the best medicine for a heavy heart." - Sidney Howard, fully Sidney Coe Howard

"Religion is not an intelligence test, but a faith." - E. W. Howe, fully Edgar Watson Howe

"A man will do more for his stubbornness than for his religion or his country." - E. W. Howe, fully Edgar Watson Howe

"Primitive societies without religion have never been found." - William Dean Howells

"Toleration is the best religion." - Victor Hugo

"Nobody can have the consolations of religion or philosophy unless he has first experienced their desolations." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"Rites and vain repetitions have a legitimate place in religion as aids to recollectedness, reminders of truth momentarily forgotten in the turmoil of worldly distractions. When spoken or performed as a kind of magic, their use is either completely useless or else (and this is worse) it may have ego-enhancing results, which do not in any way contribute to the attainment of man’s final end." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"When, for whatever reason, men and women fail to transcend themselves by means of worship, good works and spiritual exercises, they are apt to resort to religion’s chemical surrogates." - Aldous Leonard Huxley

"In civilized life... it has at last become possible for large numbers of people to pass from the cradle to the grave without ever having had a pang of genuine fear. Man of us need an attack of mental disease to teach us the meaning of the word. Hence the possibility of so much blindly optimistic philosophy and religion." - William James

"In morals, what begins in fear usually ends in wickedness; in religion, what begins in fear usually ends in fanaticism. Fear, either as a principle or a motive, is the beginning of all evil." - Anna Jameson

"The duties of religion, sincerely and regularly performed, will always be sufficient to exalt the meanest and to exercise the highest understanding." -

"Men in general are too material and do not make enough human contacts. If we search for the fundamentals which actually motivate us, we will find that they come under four headings: love, money, adventure and religion. It is to some of them that we always owe that big urge which pushes us onward. Men who crush these impulses and settle down to everyday routine are bound to sink into mediocrity. No man is a complete unity of himself; he needs the contact, the stimulus and the driving power which is generated by his contact with other men, their ideas and constantly changing scenes." - Edward S. "Ned" Jordan

"There is a wholly mistaken zeal in politics as well as in religion. By persuading others, we convince ourselves." -

"The essence of religion is the human quest for salvation." -