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Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
A conception not reducible to the small change of daily experience is like a currency not exchangeable for articles of consumption; it is not a symbol, but a fraud.
Civilization is perhaps approaching one of those long winters that overtake it from time to time. Romantic Christendom -- picturesque, passionate, unhappy episode -- may be coming to an end. Such a catastrophe would be no reason for despair.
Religion is the natural reaction of the imagination when confronted by the difficulties in a truculent world.
That fear first created the gods is perhaps as true as anything so brief could be on so great a subject.
Faith in the supernatural is a desperate wager made by man at the lowest ebb of his fortunes.
Prayer, among sane people, has never superseded practical efforts to secure the desired end.
Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim.
It is pathetic to observe how lowly the motives are that religion, even the highest, attributes to the deity... To be given the best morsel, to be remembered, to be praised, to be obeyed blindly and punctiliously -- these have been thought points of honor with the gods.
Religious doctrines would do well to withdraw their pretension to be dealing with matters of fact. That pretension is not only the source of the conflicts of religion with science and the vain and bitter controversies of sects; it is also the cause of the impurity and incoherence of religion in the soul.
Any attempt to speak without speaking any particular language is not more hopeless than the attempt to have a religion that shall be no religion in particular.... Every living and healthy religion has a marked idiosyncrasy. Its power consists in its special and surprising message and the bias which that revelation gives to life.
People who feel themselves to be exiles in this world are mightily inclined to believe themselves citizens of another.
For Shakespeare, in the matter of religion, the choice lay between Christianity and nothing. He chose nothing.
My atheism, like that of Spinoza, is true piety toward the universe and denies only gods fashioned by men in their own image, to be servants of their human interests.
The brute necessity of believing something so long as life lasts does not justify any belief in particular,
There is a kind of courtesy in skepticism. It would be an offense against polite conventions to press our doubts too far.
The more rational an institution is the less it suffers by making concessions to others.
The body is an instrument, the mind its function, the witness and reward of its operation.
Parents lend children their experience and a vicarious memory; children endow their parents with a vicarious immortality.
Nothing can be meaner than the anxiety to live on, to live on anyhow and in any shape; a spirit with any honor is not willing to live except in its own way, and a spirit with any wisdom is not over-eager to live at all.
Life is judged with all the blindness of life itself.
The Subtle Fulmination of the Encircled Sea
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