It is usually unbearably painful to read a book by an author who knows way less than you do, unless the book is a novel.

~ Mokokoma Mokhonoana

We are sometimes dragged into a pit of unhappiness by someone else’s opinion that we do not look happy.

~ Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Oppenheimer, haunted by his leading role in the first use of atomic weapons, understood only one aspect of prudence. His longing not to do evil himself blinded him to the need to ward off the evil of others. This painfully knotted man hoped with one swipe of his moral sword to rid himself of the impossible tangle and to be clear and simple for once in his life. But being Oppenheimer could never be as easy as that.For Oppenheimer embodied two of the highest human types, the theoretical man described by Aristotle as god-like for living in the mind, among changeless truths, and the paragon of Machiavellian virtue, god-like in commanding the power of life and death over other men. No theoretical man before Oppenheimer had known such lordly power. In certain high moments he approached that Aristotelian theoretical purity which lives for the joys of knowing the world, whatever it might prove to be; in another light he thrilled at that Machiavellian power and its attendant renown; in contrary moods he reviled himself for the suffering he brought into the world, and ached to renounce his distinction and to be merely another man among men. Perhaps no theoretical man can be equal to such a burden: to feel knowledge as power when one’s mind reshapes the world irrevocably, to see the light of truth as the agent of some dark majesty, is not grace but ordeal. Oppenheimer’s agony tore him open from top to bottom.

~ Algis Valiunas

When reading the history of the Jewish people, of their flight from slavery to death, of their exchange of tyrants, I must confess that my sympathies are all aroused in their behalf. They were cheated, deceived and abused. Their god was quick-tempered unreasonable, cruel, revengeful and dishonest. He was always promising but never performed. He wasted time in ceremony and childish detail, and in the exaggeration of what he had done. It is impossible for me to conceive of a character more utterly detestable than that of the Hebrew god. He had solemnly promised the Jews that he would take them from Egypt to a land flowing with milk and honey. He had led them to believe that in a little while their troubles would be over, and that they would soon in the land of Canaan, surrounded by their wives and little ones, forget the stripes and tears of Egypt. After promising the poor wanderers again and again that he would lead them in safety to the promised land of joy and plenty, this God, forgetting every promise, said to the wretches in his power:—'Your carcasses shall fall in this wilderness and your children shall wander until your carcasses be wasted.' This curse was the conclusion of the whole matter. Into this dust of death and night faded all the promises of God. Into this rottenness of wandering despair fell all the dreams of liberty and home. Millions of corpses were left to rot in the desert, and each one certified to the dishonesty of Jehovah. I cannot believe these things. They are so cruel and heartless, that my blood is chilled and my sense of justice shocked. A book that is equally abhorrent to my head and heart, cannot be accepted as a revelation from God.When we think of the poor Jews, destroyed, murdered, bitten by serpents, visited by plagues, decimated by famine, butchered by each, other, swallowed by the earth, frightened, cursed, starved, deceived, robbed and outraged, how thankful we should be that we are not the chosen people of God. No wonder that they longed for the slavery of Egypt, and remembered with sorrow the unhappy day when they exchanged masters. Compared with Jehovah, Pharaoh was a benefactor, and the tyranny of Egypt was freedom to those who suffered the liberty of God.While reading the Pentateuch, I am filled with indignation, pity and horror. Nothing can be sadder than the history of the starved and frightened wretches who wandered over the desolate crags and sands of wilderness and desert, the prey of famine, sword, and plague. Ignorant and superstitious to the last degree, governed by falsehood, plundered by hypocrisy, they were the sport of priests, and the food of fear. God was their greatest enemy, and death their only friend.It is impossible to conceive of a more thoroughly despicable, hateful, and arrogant being, than the Jewish god. He is without a redeeming feature. In the mythology of the world he has no parallel. He, only, is never touched by agony and tears. He delights only in blood and pain. Human affections are naught to him. He cares neither for love nor music, beauty nor joy. A false friend, an unjust judge, a braggart, hypocrite, and tyrant, sincere in hatred, jealous, vain, and revengeful, false in promise, honest in curse, suspicious, ignorant, and changeable, infamous and hideous:—such is the God of the Pentateuch.

~ Robert G. Ingersoll