More Religion Quotations

(See "Paraclete")

And the wind shall say:
'Here were decent godless people:                      
Their only monument the asphalt road                                           
And a thousand lost golf balls'.                                               
                                                     T. S. Eliot

Our highly vaunted sexual freedom has turned out to be a new puritanism. I define puritanism as a state of alienation from the body, separation of emotion from reason, and use of the body as a machine.  Rollo May

Pleasure is not happiness. It has no more importance than a shadow following a man.   Mohammed Ali (Cassius Clay)

If this life be not a real fight, in which something is eternally gained for the universe by success, it is no better than a game of private theatricals from which one may withdraw at will. But it "feels" like a real fight.   William James, "Varieties of Relgious Experience"
It was the freewheeling seventies, and our family had chosen to live without a television. People began talking about our new "lifestyle." Funny --- I thought of it as a life, rich in friends and careers, brimming with garden-grown food and home-baked bread and the sounds of singing around the piano. The ultimate accusation came from our pastor's wife, who said, "How dare you try to protect your children from reality?"  Kathleen Wendland, Sun Magazine

Our society is dedicated almost entirely to the celebration of the ego, with all its sad fantasies about success and power, and it celebrates those very forces of greed and ignorance that are destroying the planet.  Sogyal Rinpoche

The grudge against God is the keystone to all one's unhappiness.  Follow all your petty, middling, and major grudges back to this keystone grudge, and then ask yourself the question, "Is it more likely that God was wrong to make the world this way, or that I am somehow wrong in the way I'm looking at it?"  If you decide that God is wrong --- or that there is no God, just a faceless, mechanical universe that cares nothing about the human drama --- then there isn't much you can do.  But if you realize that you can always adjust your perceptions of the world, you can start learning and contributing again.  This seems to be the way to both humility and power. 
                                                                                                   D. Patrick Miller, A Primer on Forgiveness, "The Sun", 9/94

Unless the cause of peace-based-on-law gathers behind it the force and zeal of a religion, it hardly can hope to succeed......There must be added that deep power of emotion which is a basic ingredient of religion.   Einstein
Discovering the Church is apt to be a slow procedure, but it can take place if you have a free mind and no vested interest in disbelief...  Flannery O'Connor

The causes we know everything about depend on causes we know very little about, which depend on causes we know absolutely nothing about.  Tom Stoppard

The fact that we are totally unable to imagine a form of existence without space and time by no means proves that such an existence is itself impossible.   Carl Jung

To be thoroughly modern is to confine oneself to an ultimate narrowness.   G. K. Chesterton
When I was an atheist I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered most. When I became a Christian, I was able to take a more liberal view.   C. S. Lewis

Nothing more strangely indicates an enormous and silent evil of modern society than the extraordinary use which is made nowadays of the word "orthodox." In former days the heretic was proud of not being a heretic. It was kingdoms of the world and the police and the judges who were heretics. He was orthodox... All the tortures torn out of forgotten hells could not make him admit that he was heretical... The word "heresy" not only means no longer "being wrong"; it practically means being clear-headed and courageous. The word "orthodoxy" not only no longer means being right, it practically means being wrong... (This) means that people care less for whether they are philosophically right... The dynamiter, laying a bomb, ought to insist that, whatever else he is, at least he is orthodox... General theories are everywhere contemned... We will have no generalizations... We are more and more to discuss art, politics, literature. A man's opinon on tramcars matters; his opinion on Botticelli matters; his opinon on all things does not matter. He may turn over and explore a million objects, but he must not find that strange object, the universe, for if he does, he will have a religion and be lost. Everything matters, except everything.   G. K. Chesterton

                                                                              A PARABLE

An American businessman was at the pier of a coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.  Inside the boat were several large yellow fin tuna.  The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.
The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."
The American then asked why he didn't stay out longer and catch more fish.
The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.
The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life, senor."
The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you.  You should spend more time fishing and with the proceeds buy a bigger boat.  With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor, eventually opening your own cannery.  You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."
The fisherman asked, "But senor, how long will this all take?"
To which the American replied, "15-20 years."
"But what then, senor?"
The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."
"Millions, senor? Then what?"
The American said, "Then you would retire.  Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."


If you mess up raising your children, it doesn't much matter what else you do well.  Jackie Kennedy Onassis
When family relations are no longer harmonious, we have filial children and devoted parents.  R. D. Laing

Boredom is rage spread thin.   Paul Tillich

Sin is a disproportionate seriousness.   Fulton Sheen

According to Aquinas, sin partakes of three characteristics: 1.) loss of splendor, 2.) loss of perspective,

(I bought an old farm in upstate New York.) For years I raced around digging ponds, chopping trees, clearing paths, pulling rocks, unclogging channels, planting --- always making lists, plans, agendas; always "improving" things. One day, after finishing yet another important project, I made a list of all the things I had left to do. According to my schedule, I could begin enjoying my land 25 years down the line. Something was dreadfully wrong.  John Taylor Gatto


There are others whose state of mind is still more extraordinary. They not only do not need the landscape to corroborate their history, but they do not care if the landscape contradicts their history... If the map marks the place as a waterless desert, they will declare it as dry as a bone, though the whole valley resound with the rushing river. A whole huge rock will be invisible if a little book on geology says it is impossible. This is at the opposite extreme to the irrational credultiy of the rustic, but it is infinitely more irrational... This great delusion of the prior claim of printed matter, as something anterior to experience and capable of contradicitng it, is the main weakness of modern urban society. The chief mark of the modern man has been that he has gone through a landscape with his eyes glued to a guidebook, and could actually deny in the one, anything that he could not find in the other. One man, however, happened to look up from the book and see things for himself; he was a man of too impatient a temper, and later he showed too hasty a disposition to tear the book up or toss the book away. But there had been granted to him a strange and high and heroic sort of faith. He could believe his eyes.  G. K. Chesterton, "William Cobbett" 

All belief systems - economic, social, intellectual, and cultural, as well as those usually thought of as "religious" - are essentially religious in nature. Whether one's innermost devotion is to God, sex, drugs, money, ideology, work or rock and roll, it is the intent of all belief systems to heal the existential rift that splits the human psyche. All belief systems try to "re-ligature" this rent. In fact, the word "religion" derives from the Latin "re-ligare" meaning to "re-ligature," or "reconnect." Buddhism's avowed agnostic and Jainism's overt atheism demonstrate that the "membrane" between "sacred" and "secular," is, in fact, permeable. This permeability -- and the consequent inability to segregate "elements" of the "value continuum" into "religious" and "non-religious" categories -- have epochal implications for the separation of Church and State.  Most people are content in the puerile assumption that religion depends on "a bearded fiction," typically endowed with a Mid-Eastern pedigree. The survival of plutocracy depends on such childish notions. Without them, "the almighty buck" is seen as a golden calf, Warren Buffet as a prophet, George Soros a priest, Ted Turner an acolyte ,and "Wall Street Week in Review" a televangelical event in which oracles pick over the latest set of entrails. What is the significance of "doing the numbers" but invoking ancient litanies on behalf dollar-sign deities?
         Functionally, religion does not depend on an objective deity "out there."
         Buddhism and Jainism make this clear.
         Religion depends exclusively on the decision --- perhaps the instinctualneed --- to worship.      Archibald

                                                                                   Henry David Thoreau

I wish to speak a word for Nature, for absolute freedom and wildness, as contrasted with a freedom and culture merrely civil, - to regard man as an inhabitant, or a part and parcel of Nature, rather than a member of a society. I wish to make an extreme statement, if so I may make an emphatic one, for there are enough champions of civilization: the minister and the school-committee and everyone of you will take care of that.

I have met with but one or two persons in the course of my life who undesrtood the art of Walking, that is of taking walks, - who had a genius, so to speak for sauntering: which word is beautifully derived "from idle people who roved about the country, in the Middle Ages, and asked charity, under pretense of going a la Sainte-Terrer, to the Holy Land, till the children exclaimed, "There goes a Sainte-Terrer," a Saunterer, Holy-Lander. They who never go to the Holy Land in their walks, as they pretend, are indeed mere idlers and vagabonds; but they who do go there are saunterers in the good sense, such as I mean. Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere. For this is the secret of successful sauntering.  He who sits still in a house all of the time may be the greatest vagrant of all; but the saunterer, in the good sense, is no more vagrant than the meandering river, which is all the while sedulously seeking the shortest course to the sea. But I prefer the first, which, indeed, is the most probable derivation. For every walk is a sort of crusade, preached by some Peter the Hermit within us, to go forth and reconquer this Holy Land from the hands of the Infidels.

It is true, but we are faint-hearted crusaders, even the walkers, nowadays, who undertake no persevering, never-ending enterprises. Our expeditions are but tours, and come round-again at evening to the old hearth-side from which we set out. Half the walk is retracing our steps. We should go forth on the shortest walk perchance, in the spirit of undying adventure, never to return, - prepared to send back our embalmed hearts only as relics to our desolate kingdoms. If you are ready to leave father and mother, and brother and sister, and wife and child and friend, and never see them again, - if you have paid all your debts, and made your will, and settled all your affairs, and are a free man, then you are ready for a walk.


         Whilst in this state of philosophic pessimism and general depression of spirits about my prospects, I went one evening into a dressing-room in the twilight to procure soome article that was there; when suddenly there fell upon me without any warning, just as if it came out of the darkness, a horrible fear of my own existence. Simultaneously, there arose in my mind the image of an epileptic patient whom I had seen in the asylum, a black-haired youth with greenish skin, entirely idiotic, who used to sit all day on one of the benches, or rather shelves against the wall, with his knees drawn up against his chin, and the coarse gray undershirt, which was his only garment, drawn over them inclosing his entire figure. He sat there like a sort of sculptured Egyptian cat or Peruvian mummy, moving nothing but his black eyes and looking absolutely non-human. This image and my fear entered into a species of combination with each other. That shape I am, I felt, potentially. Nothing that I possess can defend me against that fate, if the hour for it should strike for me as it struck for him. There was such a horror of him, and such a perception of my own merely momentary discrepancy from him, that it was as if something hitherto solid within my breast gave way entirely, and I became a mass of quivering fear. After this the universe was changed for me altogether. I awoke morning after morning with a horrible dread at the pit of my stomach, and with a sense of the insecurity of life that I never knew before, and that I have never felt since. It was like a revelation; and although the immediate feelings passed away, the experience has made me sympathetic with the morbid feelings of others ever since. It gradually faded, but for months I was unable to go out into the dark alone.
         In general I dreaded to be left alone. I remember wondering how other people could live, how I myself had ever lived, so unconscious of that pit of insecurity beneath the surface of life. My mother in particular, a very cheerful person, seemed to me a perfect paradox in her unconsciousness of danger, which you may well believe I was very careful not to disturb by revelations of my own state of mind. I have always thought that this experience of melancholia of mine had a religious bearing...   I mean that the fear was so invasive and powerful that if I had not clung to scripture texts like "The eternal God is my refuge," etc., "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden," etc., "I am the resurrection and the life," etc., I think I should have grown really insane.  
                                                                                                                        William James, author "The Varieties of Religious Experience"


"You can always learn something from everybody." William Arthur Archibald's reply when asked why he listened to Protestant preachers on the family "crystal set" after returning from Sunday mass. (c. 1916)

You must accept the truth from whatever source it comes. Maimonides, 12th century