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What is tolerance? -- it is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed
of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly --
that is the first law of nature.
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It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because
he is not of the same opinion, is a monster.
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I simply try to aid in letting the light of historical truth into that
decaying mass of outworn thought which attaches the modern world to
medieval conceptions of Christianity, and which still lingers among us --
a most serious barrier to religion and morals, and a menace to the whole
normal evolution of society.
- Andrew D. White, author, first president of Cornell University, 1896
|Linux Cookie: 354 of 1140|
The man scarce lives who is not more credulous than he ought to be.... The
natural disposition is always to believe. It is acquired wisdom and experience
only that teach incredulity, and they very seldom teach it enough.
- Adam Smith
|Linux Cookie: 355 of 1140|
I put the shotgun in an Adidas bag and padded it out with four pairs of tennis
socks, not my style at all, but that was what I was aiming for: If they think
you're crude, go technical; if they think you're technical, go crude. I'm a
very technical boy. So I decided to get as crude as possible. These days,
though, you have to be pretty technical before you can even aspire to
- Johnny Mnemonic, by William Gibson
|Linux Cookie: 356 of 1140|
However, on religious issures there can be little or no compromise.
There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious
beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than
Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being.
But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf
should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing
throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom.
They are trying to force government leaders into following their position
100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a
particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of
money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political
preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be
a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C," and "D." Just who do
they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the
right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as
a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who
thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll
call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every
step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all
Americans in the name of "conservatism."
- Senator Barry Goldwater, from the Congressional Record, September 16, 1981
|Linux Cookie: 357 of 1140|
"I think every good Christian ought to kick Falwell's ass."
- Senator Barry Goldwater, when asked what he thought of Jerry Falwell's
suggestion that all good Christians should be against Sandra Day O'Connor's
nomination to the Supreme Court
|Linux Cookie: 358 of 1140|
...And no philosophy, sadly, has all the answers. No matter how assured
we may be about certain aspects of our belief, there are always painful
inconsistencies, exceptions, and contradictions. This is true in religion as
it is in politics, and is self-evident to all except fanatics and the naive.
As for the fanatics, whose number is legion in our own time, we might be
advised to leave them to heaven. They will not, unfortunately, do us the
same courtesy. They attack us and each other, and whatever their
protestations to peaceful intent, the bloody record of history makes clear
that they are easily disposed to restore to the sword. My own belief in
God, then, is just that -- a matter of belief, not knowledge. My respect
for Jesus Christ arises from the fact that He seems to have been the
most virtuous inhabitant of Planet Earth. But even well-educated Christians
are frustated in their thirst for certainty about the beloved figure
of Jesus because of the undeniable ambiguity of the scriptural record.
Such ambiguity is not apparent to children or fanatics, but every
recognized Bible scholar is perfectly aware of it. Some Christians, alas,
resort to formal lying to obscure such reality.
- Steve Allen, comdeian, from an essay in the book "The Courage of
Conviction", edited by Philip Berman
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...it still remains true that as a set of cognitive beliefs about the
existence of God in any recognizable sense continuous with the great
systems of the past, religious doctrines constitute a speculative
hypothesis of an extremely low order of probability.
- Sidney Hook
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A fanatic is a person who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
- Winston Churchill