„There is some soul of goodness in things evil,
Would men observingly distill it out.“

Source: Henry V

Last update May 22, 2020. History
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William Shakespeare688
English playwright and poet 1564 - 1616

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„We too often forget that not only is there "a soul of goodness in things evil," but very generally also, a soul of truth in things erroneous.“

—  Herbert Spencer English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist 1820 - 1903

Pt. I, The Unknowable; Ch. I, Religion and Science; quoting from "There is some soul of goodness in things evil / Would men observingly distil it out", William Shakespeare, Henry V, act iv. sc. i
First Principles (1862)

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„The most momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or to evil.“

—  Pythagoras ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher -585 - -495 BC

As quoted in Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, as translated by Robert Drew Hicks (1925)
Variant translation: The most momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or evil.
As quoted in Ionia, a Quest (1954) by Freya Stark, p. 94

Steven Weinberg photo

„Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.“

—  Steven Weinberg American theoretical physicist 1933

Address at the Conference on Cosmic Design, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C. (April 1999)
This comment is modified in a later article derived from these talks:
:Frederick Douglass told in his Narrative how his condition as a slave became worse when his master underwent a religious conversion that allowed him to justify slavery as the punishment of the children of Ham. Mark Twain described his mother as a genuinely good person, whose soft heart pitied even Satan, but who had no doubt about the legitimacy of slavery, because in years of living in antebellum Missouri she had never heard any sermon opposing slavery, but only countless sermons preaching that slavery was God's will. With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil; but for good people to do evil — that takes religion.
:* "A Designer Universe?" at PhysLink.com http://www.physlink.com/Education/essay_weinberg.cfm

Adlai Stevenson photo

„There is no evil in the atom, only in men's souls.“

—  Adlai Stevenson mid-20th-century Governor of Illinois and Ambassador to the UN 1900 - 1965

Speech in Hartford, Connecticut (18 September 1952)

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Freeman Dyson photo

„Religion amplifies the good and evil tendencies of individual souls.“

—  Freeman Dyson theoretical physicist and mathematician 1923

Progress In Religion (2000)
Context: I am neither a saint nor a theologian. To me, good works are more important than theology. We all know that religion has been historically, and still is today, a cause of great evil as well as great good in human affairs. We have seen terrible wars and terrible persecutions conducted in the name of religion. We have also seen large numbers of people inspired by religion to lives of heroic virtue, bringing education and medical care to the poor, helping to abolish slavery and spread peace among nations. Religion amplifies the good and evil tendencies of individual souls.

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Fulton J. Sheen photo

„Evil men may not always do these things, but they seek to destroy goodness, virtue, morality, decency, truth and honor“

—  Fulton J. Sheen Catholic bishop and television presenter 1895 - 1979

"Bishop Sheen Writes...Communism and Tragedy," The Toledo Blade, Sunday, July 26, 1959, sec. 2, p. 5. https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%22communists%20believe%20in%20the%20devil%22%20site:news.google.com/newspapers&source=newspapers&gws_rd=ssl#hl=en&q=%22Bishop+Sheen+Writes...+Communism+And+Tragedy%22+
Context: No one can understand Communism who does not believe in the devil. The Communists believe in the devil. The Communists organized a so-called "patriotic" church. A few brain washed were to be in charge of the churches because they were loyal to the anti-God regime.
One of the first orders given by the Communists to them was that the prayer to Prayer to Saint Michael be no longer said because it invoked the protection of St. Michael against "the wickedness and snares of the devil." As one Communist judge said: "We are those devils."
It is hard for many in the free world to believe that there are not only bad men, but evil men. Bad men steal, rape, ravage and plunder. Evil men may not always do these things, but they seek to destroy goodness, virtue, morality, decency, truth and honor. Bad men who steal admit honesty; evil men who do not steal, call dishonesty "honesty," totalitarianism "democracy," slavery "freedom." Evil men can be nice at table, polite with women, courteous in Washington, refined in London and calm in Geneva.
But the principle which guides their every move is the maxim of Lenin: every lie, trickery, knavery and deceit must be used to.

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Махатма Ганди photo

„A good person will resist an evil system with his whole soul. Disobedience of the laws of an evil state is therefore a duty.“

—  Махатма Ганди pre-eminent leader of Indian nationalism during British-ruled India 1869 - 1948

Non-Violent Resistance - Often misquoted as "You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance."
Posthumous publications (1950s and later)
Context: You assist an unjust administration most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil administration never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil.
A good person will resist an evil system with his whole soul. Disobedience of the laws of an evil state is therefore a duty.

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„There is no evil in human affairs that has not some good mingled with it.“

—  Francesco Guicciardini Italian writer, historian and politician 1483 - 1540

Non è male alcuno nelle cose umane che non abbia congiunto seco qualche bene.
Storia d' Italia (1537-1540)

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