It does not come to me in quite so direct a line as that; it takes a bend or two, but nothing of consequence. The stream is as good as at first; the little rubbish it collects in the turnings is easily moved away.
For as long as we are led by belief, we can never know anything for certain. It is not enough to believe or to have faith, we must know beyond all doubt. For that, we have no other option, but to search, question and investigate! There is no shame in not having found God, Brahman or the Great Spirit, but it is gravely ignorant to dismiss their existence on hearsay.
If you want to really know something you have to observe or experience it in person; if you claim to know something on the basis of hearsay, or on happening to see it in a book, you'll be a laughingstock to those who really know.
For any reputable person or organization to be successful, that person's or organization's actions must be based on solid information, not conspiracy theories, not hearsay, not rumors, and certainly not fear mongering.
Never judge someone's character based on the words of another. Instead, study the motives behind the words of the person casting the bad judgment.
You maintain hope for humanity as an infinite skeptic of gossip and slander. In all mankind's desires for entertainment and exaggeration and sensationalism, when it comes to gossip, the individual always sounds worse than he really is. This is why adhering to gossip subtly affects the mental state of the listener - he goes on holding shady opinions regardless of where the realities of their lights and darknesses may stand.
When also I am told that a woman, called the Virgin Mary, said, or gave out, that she was with child without any cohabitation with a man, and that her betrothed husband, Joseph, said that an angel told him so, I have a right to believe them or not: such a circumstance required a much stronger evidence than their bare word for it: but we have not even this; for neither Joseph nor Mary wrote any such matter themselves. It is only reported by others that they said so. It is hearsay upon hearsay, and I do not chose to rest my belief upon such evidence.
If one is content to freely speak trash about another, it is probably more correct to judge them as the one of ill repute and refuse the load of garbage they offer you.
When everyone is determined to present someone as a monster, there are two possibilities: either he is a saint orthey are not telling the whole story.
You and your husband have, I think, been very fortunate to know so little, by experience, in your own case or in that of your friends, of the wicked recklessness with which people repeat things to the disadvantage of others, without a thought as to whether they have grounds for asserting what they say. I have met with a good deal of utter misrepresentation of that kind. And another result of my experience is the conviction that the opinion of people in general is absolutely worthless as a test of right and wrong. The only two tests I now apply to such a question as the having some particular girl-friend as a guest are, first, my own conscience, to settle whether I feel it to be entirely innocent and right, in the sight of God; secondly, the parents of my friend, to settle whether I have their full approval for what I do. You need not be shocked at my being spoken against. Anybody, who is spoken about at all, is sure to be spoken against by somebody: and any action, however innocent in itself, is liable, and not at all unlikely, to be blamed by somebody. If you limit your actions in life to things that nobody can possibly find fault with, you will not do much