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Am I happy? Probably not. Having passed the prescribed biblical age limit, I have to think of death, and I do not like the thought. There is a vestigial fear of hell, and even of purgatory, and no amount of rereading rationalist authors can expunge it. If there is only darkness after death, then that darkness is the ultimate reality and that love of life that I intermittently possess is no preparation for it. In face of the approaching blackness, which Winston Churchill facetiously termed black velvet, concerning oneself with a world that is soon to fade out like a television image in a power cut seems mere frivolity. But rage against the dying of the light is only human, especially when there are still things to be done, and my rage sometimes sounds to myself like madness. It is not only a question of works never to be written; it is a matter of things unlearned. I have started to learn Japanese, but it is too late; I have started to read Hebrew, but my eyes will not take in the jots and tittles. How can one fade out in peace, carrying vast ignorance into a state of total ignorance?
A perverse nature can be stimulated by anything. Any book can be used as a pornographic instrument, even a great work of literature if the mind that so uses it is off-balance. I once found a small boy masturbating in the presence of the Victorian steel-engraving in a family Bible.
All human life is here, but the Holy Ghost seems to be somewhere else.
Rome's just a city like anywhere else. A vastly overrated city, I'd say. It trades on belief just as Stratford trades on Shakespeare.
The aura of the theocratic death penalty for adultery still clings to America, even outside New England, and multiple divorce, which looks to the European like serial polygamy, is the moral solution to the problem of the itch. Love comes into it too, of course, but in Europe we tend to see marital love as an eternity which encompasses hate and also indifference: when we promise to love we really mean that we promise to honour a contract. Americans, seeming to take marriage with not enough seriousness, are really taking love and sex with too much.
Religious persecution may shield itself under the guise of a mistaken and overzealous piety.
Superstition is the religion of feeble minds.
Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference which is, at least, half infidelity.
We must soften into a credulity below the milkiness of infancy to think all men virtuous. We must be tainted with a malignity truly diabolical, to believe all the world to be equally wicked and corrupt.
When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall, one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.
An ideologue -- one who thinks ideologically -- cant lose. He cant lose because his answer, his interpretation and his attitude have been determined in advance of the particular experience or observation. They are derived from the ideology, and not subject to the facts.
All religions are auld wives' fables, but an honest man has nothing to fear, either in this world or the world to come.
On Earth, Discord! A gloomy Heaven above, opening her jealous gates to the nineteen thousandth part of the tithe of mankind! And below, an inescapable & inexorable Hell, expanding its leviathan jaws for the vast residue of Mortals !!!
But of all Nonsense, Religious Nonsense is the most nonsensical; so enough, & more than enough of it -- Only, by the bye, will you, or can you tell me, my dear Cunningham, why a religioso turn of mind has always a tendency to narrow and illiberalise the heart?
Their sighin', cantin', grace-proud faces,
The social, friendly, honest man,
'But what shall I write to you? "The Voice said, Cry: & I said, What shall I cry?" O thou Spirit! Whatever thou art, or wherever thou makest thyself visible. Be thou a Bogle by the eerie side of an auld thorn, in the dreary glen through which the herd-callan maun bicker in his gloamin route frae the fauld! Be thou a Brownie set, at dead of night, to thy task by the blazing ingle, or in the solitary barn, where the repercussions of they iron flail half affright thyself, as thou performest the work of twenty of the sons of men ere the cockcrowing summon thee to thy ample cog of substantial brose! Be thou a Kelpie, haunting the ford or ferry in the starless night, mixing thy laughing yell with the howling of the storm & the roaring of the flood, as thou viewest the perils & miseries of Man on the foundering horse, or in the tumbling boat! Or, lastly, be thou a Ghost, paying thy nocturnal visits to the hoary ruins of decayed Grandeur; or performing thy mystic rites in the shadow of the time worn Church, while the Moon looks, without a cloud, on the silent, ghastly dwellings of the dead around thee; or, taking thy stand by the bed side of the Villain, or the Murderer, pourtraying on his dreaming fancy, pictures, dreadful as the horrors of unveiled Hell, & terrible as the wrath of incensed Deity!!! Come, thou Spirit, but not in these horrid forms; come with the milder gentle, easy inspirations which thou breathest round the wig of a prating Advocate, or the tete of a tea-bibing Gossip, while their tongues run at the light-horse gallop of clishmaclaiver for ever & ever -- come, & assist a poor devil who is quite jaded in the attempt to share half an idea among half a hundred words; to fill up four quarto pages, while he has not got one single sentence of recollection, information, or remark, worth putting pen to paper for.
Ingersoll: Frail, but Intensely Human
"Burns had his faults, his frailties. He was intensely human. Still, I would rather appear at the "Judgment Seat" drunk, and be able to say that I was the author of "A man's a man for 'a that," than to be perfectly sober and admit that I had lived and died a Scotch Presbyterian."
A functioning police state needs no police.
Some of us are sixty feet long with a brain the size of a walnut.
I think that Richard Nixon will go down in history as a true folk hero, who struck a vital blow to the whole diseased concept of the revered image and gave the American virtue of irreverence and skepticism back to the people.
Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can't mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has.
The exact objectives of Islam Inc. are obscure. Needless to say everyone involved has a different angle, and they all intend to cross each other up somewhere along the line.
The more I study religions, the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.
The dearest ambition of a slave is not liberty, but to have a slave of his own.
The more I read about man and his maniacal ruthlessness and his murderous envious scatological soul, the more I realize that he will never change. Our stupidity is immortal, nothing will change it. The same mistakes, the same prejudices, the same injustice, the same lusts wheel endlessly around the parade ground of the centuries. Immutable and ineluctable. I wish I could believe in a god of some kind but I simply cannot.
[T]he ideal of progress, freedom of thought, and the decline of ecclesiastical power go together.
Check our Big Scary List of GW Bush Quotes
I'm mindful in a free society that people can worship if they want to or not. You're equally an American if you choose to worship an almighty and if you choose not to.
My job is to make sure that, as President, people understand that in this country you can worship any way you choose. And I'll take that a step further. You can be a patriot if you don't believe in the Almighty. You can honor your country and be as patriotic as your neighbor.
Baptists have long upheld the ideal of a free church in a free state. And from the beginning, they believed that forcing a person to worship against his will violated the principles of both Christianity and civility.
We all know that men and women can be good without faith. And we also know that faith is an incredibly important source of goodness in our country.
We know that men and women can be good without faith. We know that.
Americans practice different faiths in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples. And many good people practice no faith at all.
Laura Bush: I think we're all so much aware, all Americans are so much more aware of our precious freedoms, and one of those is the freedom to worship however we want to.
As you know, God is generally on the side of the big squadrons against the small ones.
The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea
Please Feel Free
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