There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can.
The man who believes that the secrets of the world are forever hidden lives in mystery and fear. Superstition will drag him down. The rain will erode the deeds of his life. But that man who sets himself the task of singling out the thread of order from the tapestry will by the decision alone have taken charge of the world and it is only by such taking charge that he will effect a way to dictate the terms of his own fate.
When people have invested their identities into clichés, the only counter argument they have is 'being offended'.
The world, viewed philosophically, remains a series of slave camps, where citizens – tax livestock – labor under the chains of illusion in the service of their masters.
Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, though religion were not; but superstition dismounts all these, and erecteth an absolute monarchy in the minds of men. Therefore atheism did never perturb states; for it makes men wary of themselves, as looking no further: and we see the times inclined to atheism (as the time of Augustus Cæsar) were civil times. But superstition hath been the confusion of many states, and bringeth in a new primum mobile, that ravisheth all the spheres of government. The master of superstition is the people; and in all superstition wise men follow fools; and arguments are fitted to practice, in a reversed order.
If you believed in Christianity or Islam it was called 'faith', but if you believed in astrology or friday the thirteenth it was Superstition!
We live in a world where unfortunately the distinction between true and false appears to become increasingly blurred by manipulation of facts, by exploitation of uncritical minds, and by the pollution of the language.
We need not take refuge in supernatural gods to explain our saints and sages and heroes and statesmen, as if to explain our disbelief that mere unaided human beings could be that good or wise.
The greater the gap between self perception and reality, the more aggression is unleashed on those who point out the discrepancy.
May it [American independence] be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately... These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.]
I remember being scared that something must, surely, go wrong, if we were this happy, her and me, in the early days, when our love was settling into the shape of our lives like cake mixture reaching the corners of the tin as it swells and bakes.
My theory is that hope is a form of madness. A benevolent one, sure, but madness all the same. Like an irrational superstition--broken mirrors and so forth--hope's not based on any kind of logic, it's just unfettered optimism, grounded in nothing but faith in things beyond our control.
How I suffered when I had to preach to you those pious lies that I detest in my heart. What remorse your credulity caused me! A thousand times I was on the point of breaking out publicly and opening your eyes, but a fear stronger than myself held me back, and forced me to keep silence until my death.
I do not ever remember to have trembled at a tale of superstition or to have feared the apparition of a spirit. Darkness had no effect upon my fancy, and a churchyard was to me merely the receptacle of bodies deprived of life, which, from being the seat of beauty and strength, had become food for the worm.
Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith! Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge!
Imagine a land where people are afraid of dragons. It is a reasonable fear: dragons possess a number of qualities that make being afraid of them a very commendable response. Things like their terrible size, their ability to spout fire, or to crack boulders into splinters with their massive talons. In fact, the only terrifying quality that dragons do not possess is that of existence.Now, the people of this land know about dragons because their leaders have warned them about them. They tell stories about cruel dragons with razor teeth and fiery breath. They recount legends of dragons hunting by night on silent wings. In short, the leaders make sure that the people believe in all the qualities of dragons, including that key quality of existence. And then they control the people — when they need to — with their fear of dragons. The people pay a dragon-slaying tax … everyone stays indoors after dark to avoid being snatched by swooping claws … and nobody ever strays out of bounds for fear of being eaten well and truly up. one. And so it is necessary from time to time to provide evidence: a burnt tree or two, a splintered rock, the mysterious absence of a villager. The population is controlled by the dragons in its collective mind. It’s contrived superstition, and it is possible because the people do not know enough about the way the world works to know that dragons do not exist.
The best way to avoid a catastrophic conflict of beliefs is to be more compassionate about other people’s beliefs as long as they do not advocate for prejudices, bigotry and sectarianism.
Politics: the art of using euphemisms, lies, emotionalism and fear-mongering to dupe average people into accepting--or even demanding--their own enslavement.
You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. . . . Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, quite intelligent enough.
When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself.
You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?
There are two objectionable types of believers: those who believe the incredible, and those who believe that 'belief' must be discarded and replaced by 'the scientific method'.
Moreover, most people, assuming they had not altogether abandoned religious observances, or did not combine them naively with a thoroughly immoral way of living, had replaced normal religious practice by more or less extravagant superstitions.
The problem is that one man's superstition is another man's religion, and vice versa. Many Protestants today still see Catholicism as being rife with superstition, ... while atheists and agnostics would see bien-pensant Protestants as worshiping an equally absurd form of the supernatural.
[We need reforms] to make the Negro church a place where colored men and women of education and energy can work for the best things regardless of their belief or disbelief in unimportant dogmas and ancient and outworn creeds.
A degree of culture, and assuredly a very high one, is attained when man rises above superstitions and religious notions and fears, and, for instance, no longer believes in guardian angels or in original sin, and has also ceased to talk of the salvation of his soul.
If superstition could contradict science, the world may as well be on the back of a turtle. But giving into turtle worship was a bridge too far.
Mankind accepts good fortune as his due, but when bad occurs, he thinks it was aimed at him, done to him, a hex, a curse, a punishment by his deity for some transgression, as though his god were a petty storekeeper, counting up the day's receipts.
Looking at Great-Great Grandpa Baldwin's photograph, I think to myself: You've finally done it. It took four generations, but you've finally goddamned done it. Gotten that war against reason and uppity secularists you always wanted. Gotten even for the Scopes trial, which they say was one of many burrs under your saddle until your last breath. Well, rejoice, old man, because your tribes have gathered around America's oldest magical hairball of ignorance and superstition, Christian fundamentalism, and their numbers have enabled them to suck so much oxygen out of the political atmosphere that they are now acknowledged as a mainstream force in politics. Episcopalians, Jews, and affluent suburban Methodists and Catholics, they are all now scratching their heads, sweating, and swearing loudly that this pack of lower-class zealots cannot possibly represent the mainstream--not the mainstream they learned about in their fancy sociology classes or were so comfortably reassured about by media commentators who were people like themselves. Goodnight, Grandpa Baldwin. I'll toast you from hell.
There is a faculty in man that will acknowledge the unseen. He may scout and scare religion from him; but if he does, superstition perches near.
You may substitute knowledge for superstition without satisfying the needs that drive people into superstition's arms.
Progress had not invaded, science had not enlightened, the little hamlet of Pieuvrot, in Brittany. They were a simple, ignorant, superstitious set who lived there, and the luxuries of civilization were known to them as little as its learning. They toiled hard all the week on the ungrateful soil that yielded them but a bare subsistence in return; they went regularly to mass in the little rock-set chapel on Sundays and saint’s days; believed implicitly all that monsieur le cure said to them, and many things which he did not say; and they took all the unknown, not as magnificent but as diabolical
I do not pretend to be able to prove that there is no God. I equally cannot prove that Satan is a fiction. The Christian god may exist; so may the gods of Olympus, or of ancient Egypt, or of Babylon. But no one of these hypotheses is more probable than any other: they lie outside the region of even probable knowledge, and therefore there is no reason to consider any of them.
People think that epilepsy is divine simply because they don't have any idea what causes epilepsy. But I believe that someday we will understand what causes epilepsy, and at that moment, we will cease to believe that it's divine. And so it is with everything in the universe
If education were the same as information, the encyclopedias would be the greatest sages in the world.
The system that aims at educating our boys and girls in the same manner as in the circus where the trainer teaches the lion to sit on a stool, has not understood the true meaning of education itself. Instead of being like a circus where the trainer uses his stick to make animals do stunts to serve the interest of the audience, the system of education should be like an Orchestra where the conductor waves his stick to orchestrate the music already within the musicians’ heart in the most beautiful manner. The teacher should be like the conductor in the orchestra, not the trainer in the circus.
The point is, education in its truest form, is the foundation of all human endeavors. It is the most noble of all the civilized elements of human consciousness. Education enables the humans to achieve their fullest mental and physical potential in both personal and social life. The ability of being educated is what distinguishes humans from animals. You can teach a cockatoo to repeat a bunch of vocabularies, but you cannot teach it to construct a space shuttle and go to the moon.