A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism.
I came to the conclusion long ago that all religions were true and that also that all had some error in them, and while I hold by my own religion, I should hold other religions as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we were Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu; but our innermost prayer should be that a Hindu should become a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, and a Christian a better Christian.
I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong.
The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.
How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.
Religion is still useful among the herd - that it helps their orderly conduct as nothing else could. The crude human animal is in-eradicably superstitious, and there is every biological reason why they should be. Take away his Christian god and saints, and he will worship something else...
The story goes that a public sinner was excommunicated and forbidden entry to the church. He took his woes to God. 'They won't let me in, Lord, because I am a sinner.''What are you complaining about?' said God. 'They won't let Me in either.
Dharma is not about believing in God. It’s about making the right choices, doing the right things and leading the right life.
I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. ... These two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death.
Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich.
I don't know how you feel, but I'm pretty sick of church people. You know what they ought to do with churches? Tax them. If holy people are so interested in politics, government, and public policy, let them pay the price of admission like everybody else. The Catholic Church alone could wipe out the national debt if all you did was tax their real estate.
Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest.
Half the people in the world think that the metaphors of their religious traditions, for example, are facts. And the other half contends that they are not facts at all. As a result we have people who consider themselves believers because they accept metaphors as facts, and we have others who classify themselves as atheists because they think religious metaphors are lies.
Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time.
Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so.
To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled-together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and 'improved' by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries
One of the greatest tragedies in mankind's entire history may be that morality was hijacked by religion.
The fact is that more people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, that my friends, that is true perversion!
The mind of God is greater than all the minds of men, so let all men leave the gospel just as God has delivered it unto us.
Don't tell anyone, but on the pagan day of the sun god Ra, I kneel at the foot of an ancient instrument of torture and consume ritualistic symbols of blood and flesh. ...And if any of you care to join me, come to the Harvard chapel on Sunday, kneel beneath the crucifix, and take Holy Communion.
The danger is that in reaction to abuses and distortions of an idea, we'll reject it completely. And in the process miss out on the good of it, the worth of it, the truth of it.
Mankind will never know peace until the last politician is strangled to death with the entrails of the last priest.
The Vatican won't prosecute pedophile priests but I decide I'm not ready for motherhood and it's condemnation for me? These are the same people that won't support national condom distribution that PREVENTS teenage pregnancy.
Since then your sere Majesty and your Lordships seek a simple answer, I will give it in this manner, neither horned nor toothed. Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. May God help me.
It’s common knowledge that the church is nothing more than an invention of the priesthood designed to swindle the ordinary people of the empire out of just about everything they own.
Truth changes with the season of our emotions. It is the shadow that moves with the phases of our inner sun. When the nights falls, only our perception can guess where it hides in the dark. Within every solar system of the soul lies a plan of what truth is--- the design God has created, in our own unique story. This is as varying as the constellations, and as turning as the tide. It is not one truth we live to, but many. If we ever hope to determine if there is such a thing as truth, apart from cultural and personal preferences, we must acknowledge that we are then aiming to discover something greater than ourselves, something that transcends culture and individual inclinations. Some say that we must look beyond ourselves and outside of ourselves. However, we don’t need to look farther than what is already in each other. If there was any great plan from a higher power it is a simplistic, repetitious theme found in all religions; the basic core importance to unity comes from shared theological and humanistic virtues. Beyond the synagogue, mosques, temples, churches, missionary work, church positions and religious rituals comes a simple “message of truth” found in all of us, that binds theology---holistic virtues combined with purpose is the foundation of spiritual evolution. The diversity among us all is not divided truth, but the opportunity for unity through these shared values. Truth is the framework and roadmap of positive virtues. It unifies diversity when we choose to see it and use it. It is simple message often lost among the rituals, cultural traditions and socializing that goes on behind the chapel doors of any religion or spiritual theology. As we fight among ourselves about what religion, culture or race is right, we often lose site of the simple message any great orator has whispered through time----a simplistic story explaining the importance of virtues, which magically reemphasizes the importance of loving one another through service.
Professor Smith has kindly submitted his book to me before publication. After reading it thoroughly and with intense interest I am glad to comply with his request to give him my impression.The work is a broadly conceived attempt to portray man's fear-induced animistic and mythic ideas with all their far-flung transformations and interrelations. It relates the impact of these phantasmagorias on human destiny and the causal relationships by which they have become crystallized into organized religion.This is a biologist speaking, whose scientific training has disciplined him in a grim objectivity rarely found in the pure historian. This objectivity has not, however, hindered him from emphasizing the boundless suffering which, in its end results, this mythic thought has brought upon man.Professor Smith envisages as a redeeming force, training in objective observation of all that is available for immediate perception and in the interpretation of facts without preconceived ideas. In his view, only if every individual strives for truth can humanity attain a happier future; the atavisms in each of us that stand in the way of a friendlier destiny can only thus be rendered ineffective.His historical picture closes with the end of the nineteenth century, and with good reason. By that time it seemed that the influence of these mythic, authoritatively anchored forces which can be denoted as religious, had been reduced to a tolerable level in spite of all the persisting inertia and hypocrisy.Even then, a new branch of mythic thought had already grown strong, one not religious in nature but no less perilous to mankind -- exaggerated nationalism. Half a century has shown that this new adversary is so strong that it places in question man's very survival. It is too early for the present-day historian to write about this problem, but it is to be hoped that one will survive who can undertake the task at a later date.
The spectacle of what is called religion, or at any rate organised religion, in India and elsewhere, has filled me with horror and I have frequently condemned it and wished to make a clean sweep of it. Almost always it seemed to stand for blind belief and reaction, dogma and bigotry, superstition, exploitation and the preservation of vested interests.