Quotes about religion

A collection of quotes on the topic of religion.

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G. K. Chesterton photo

„It searched for truth not by synthesis but by subdivision. It not only broke religion into small pieces, but it was bound to choose the smallest piece.“

—  G. K. Chesterton, book What I Saw in America

"Fads and Public Opinion"
What I Saw in America (1922)
Context: The truth is that prohibitions might have done far less harm as prohibitions, if a vague association had not arisen, on some dark day of human unreason, between prohibition and progress. And it was the progress that did the harm, not the prohibition. Men can enjoy life under considerable limitations, if they can be sure of their limited enjoyments; but under Progressive Puritanism we can never be sure of anything. The curse of it is not limitation; it is unlimited limitation. The evil is not in the restriction; but in the fact that nothing can ever restrict the restriction. The prohibitions are bound to progress point by point; more and more human rights and pleasures must of necessity be taken away; for it is of the nature of this futurism that the latest fad is the faith of the future, and the most fantastic fad inevitably makes the pace. Thus the worst thing in the seventeenth-century aberration was not so much Puritanism as sectarianism. It searched for truth not by synthesis but by subdivision. It not only broke religion into small pieces, but it was bound to choose the smallest piece.

Jonathan Edwards photo
Chief Joseph photo
Ziaur Rahman photo

„Eventually an effective political ideology cannot be based on any certain religion.“

—  Ziaur Rahman President of Bangladesh 1936 - 1981

After the formation of Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Zia took initiative for formation of political institutes and sponsored workshops for the youth to get active political lessons on Bangladeshi nationalism.

Context: Eventually an effective political ideology cannot be based on any certain religion. Religion can offer some contribution, but an entire political activism cannot be oriented in accordance with religion. Political history of this region has the example of religion-based politics attempted during Pakistan era and it failed. Not only in Islam, people in other religions of many regions try to keep on politics based on religion. It's not right. It's important and it should be remembered.

Anatoli Boukreev photo
Lawrence M. Krauss photo
Periyar E. V. Ramasamy photo

„It is absurd to quote religion or God or religious doctrines to render the people as lowest castes.“

—  Periyar E. V. Ramasamy Tamil politician and social reformer 1879 - 1973

Veeramani, Collected Works of Periyar, p. 511.
Untouchability

Periyar E. V. Ramasamy photo
Periyar E. V. Ramasamy photo
Periyar E. V. Ramasamy photo

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Abraham Lincoln photo

„When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad, and that's my religion.“

—  Abraham Lincoln 16th President of the United States 1809 - 1865

Quoted in 3:439 Herndon's Lincoln (1890), p. 439 http://books.google.com/books?id=rywOAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA439&dq=%22when+i+do+good+i+feel+good%22: Inasmuch as he was so often a candidate for public office Mr. Lincoln said as little about his religious code as possible, especially if he failed to coincide with the orthodox world. In illustration of his religious code I once heard him say that it was like that of an old man named Glenn, in Indiana, whom he heard speak at a church meeting, and who said: "When I do good I feel good, when I do bad I feel bad, and that's my religion."
Posthumous attributions

Irena Sendler photo

„I was brought up to believe that a person must be rescued when drowning, regardless of religion and nationality.“

—  Irena Sendler Polish resistance fighter and Holocaust rescuer 1910 - 2008

As quoted in "Holocaust heroine's survival tale" by Adam Easton in BBC News (3 March 2005) http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/4314145.stm

Anthony Hopkins photo
Paul Dirac photo

„If we are honest — and scientists have to be — we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination.“

—  Paul Dirac theoretical physicist 1902 - 1984

Remarks made during the Fifth Solvay International Conference (October 1927), as quoted in Physics and Beyond: Encounters and Conversations (1971) by Werner Heisenberg, pp. 85-86; these comments prompted the famous remark later in the day by Wolfgang Pauli: "Well, our friend Dirac, too, has a religion, and its guiding principle is "God does not exist and Dirac is His prophet." Variant translations and paraphrases of that comment are listed in the "Quotes about Dirac" section below.
Context: If we are honest — and scientists have to be — we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions. I can't for the life of me see how the postulate of an Almighty God helps us in any way. What I do see is that this assumption leads to such unproductive questions as why God allows so much misery and injustice, the exploitation of the poor by the rich and all the other horrors He might have prevented. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet. Quiet people are much easier to govern than clamorous and dissatisfied ones. They are also much easier to exploit. Religion is a kind of opium that allows a nation to lull itself into wishful dreams and so forget the injustices that are being perpetrated against the people. Hence the close alliance between those two great political forces, the State and the Church. Both need the illusion that a kindly God rewards — in heaven if not on earth — all those who have not risen up against injustice, who have done their duty quietly and uncomplainingly. That is precisely why the honest assertion that God is a mere product of the human imagination is branded as the worst of all mortal sins.

Brandon Sanderson photo

„Are there any religions on your list that include the slaughter of noblemen as a holy duty?“

—  Brandon Sanderson American fantasy writer 1975

Kelsier, Chapter 10
Source: Mistborn: The Final Empire (2006)
Context: [.. ] overthrowing the Final Empire seems like a good start. Are there any religions on your list that include the slaughter of noblemen as a holy duty?

Muhammad Ali photo
Steven Weinberg photo
Alexis Karpouzos photo
Claude Debussy photo

„I do not practise religion in accordance with the sacred rites. I have made mysterious Nature my religion.“

—  Claude Debussy French composer 1862 - 1918

As quoted in Claude Debussy: His Life and Works (1933) by Léon Vallas, p. 225
Variant translation: Before the passing sky, in long hours of contemplation of its magnificent and ever-changing beauty, I am seized by an incomparable emotion. The whole expanse of nature is reflected in my own sincere and feeble soul. Around me the branches of trees reach out toward the firmament, here are sweet-scented flowers smiling in the meadow, here the soft earth is carpeted with sweet herbs. … Nature invites its ephemeral and trembling travelers to experience these wonderful and disturbing spectacles — that is what I call prayer.
As quoted in The Life of the Creative Spirit (2001) by H. Charles Romesburg, p. 240
Context: I do not practise religion in accordance with the sacred rites. I have made mysterious Nature my religion. I do not believe that a man is any nearer to God for being clad in priestly garments, nor that one place in a town is better adapted to meditation than another. When I gaze at a sunset sky and spend hours contemplating its marvelous ever-changing beauty, an extraordinary emotion overwhelms me. Nature in all its vastness is truthfully reflected in my sincere though feeble soul. Around me are the trees stretching up their branches to the skies, the perfumed flowers gladdening the meadow, the gentle grass-carpetted earth, … and my hands unconsciously assume an attitude of adoration. … To feel the supreme and moving beauty of the spectacle to which Nature invites her ephemeral guests! … that is what I call prayer.

„Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Etiam egestas wisi a erat. Morbi imperdiet, mauris ac auctor dictum.“