The works of nature and the works of revelation display religion to mankind in characters so large and visible that those who are not quite blind may in them see and read the first principles and most necessary parts of it and from thence penetrate into those infinite depths filled with the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
—John Locke (1632–1704) English Philosopher, Physician
One of the hardest lessons we have to learn in this life, and one that many persons never learn, is to see the divine, the celestial, the pure, in the common, the near at hand-to see that heaven lies about us here in this world.
—John Burroughs (1837–1921) American Naturalist, Writer
One cannot really be a Catholic and grown up.
—George Orwell (1903–50) English Novelist, Journalist
Nothing can be hostile to religion which is agreeable to justice.
—William Ewart Gladstone (1809–98) English Liberal Statesman, Prime Minister
Faith was once almost universally thought to be acceptance of a definite body of intellectual propositions, acceptance being based upon authority—preferably that of revelation from on high. … Of late there has developed an other conception of faith. This is sug gested by the words of an American thinker: “Faith is tendency toward action.” According to such a view, faith is the matrix of formulated creeds and the inspiration of endeavor… . Faith in its newer sense signifies that experience itself is the sole ultimate authority.
—John Dewey (1859–1952) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Educator
We always believe God is like ourselves, the indulgent think him indulgent and the stern, terrible.
—Joseph Joubert (1754–1824) French Writer, Moralist
There must be something solemn, serious, and tender about any attitude which we denominate religious. If glad, it must not grin or snicker; if sad, it must not scream or curse.
—William James (1842–1910) American Philosopher, Psychologist, Physician
A religion, that is, a true religion, must consist of ideas and facts both; not of ideas alone without facts, for then it would be mere Philosophy;—nor of facts alone without ideas, of which those facts are symbols, or out of which they arise, or upon which they are grounded: for then it would be mere History.
—Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) English Poet, Literary Critic, Philosopher
He who is near the Church is often far from God.
Science investigates; religion interprets. Science gives man knowledge which is power; religion gives man wisdom which is control. Science deals mainly with facts; religion deals mainly with values. The two are not rivals. They are complementary.
—Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929–68) American Civil Rights Leader, Clergyman
On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I’m frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism’.
—Barry Goldwater (1909–98) American Elected Representative, Businessperson, Politician
A Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy until they die!
—Philip Roth (1933–2018) American Novelist, Short-story Writer
Churchgoers are like coals in a fire. When they cling together, they keep the flame aglow; when they separate, they die out.
—Billy Graham (1918–91) American Baptist Religious Leader
He was of the faith chiefly in the sense that the church he currently did not attend was Catholic.
—Kingsley Amis (1922–95) English Novelist, Poet
The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles.
—John Adams (1735–1826) American Head of State, Lawyer
If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ, as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today.
—Mohandas K. Gandhi (1869–1948) Indian Hindu Political leader
By a Carpenter mankind was made, and only by that Carpenter can mankind be remade.
—Desiderius Erasmus (c.1469–1536) Dutch Humanist, Scholar
The greatest religious problem today is how to be both a mystic and a militant; in other words how to combine the search for an expansion of inner awareness with effective social action, and how to feel one’s true identity in both
—Ursula K. Le Guin (b.1929) American Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer
What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.
—Albert Einstein (1879–1955) German-born Physicist
I judge a man by his actions with men, much more than by his declarations Godwards—When I find him to be envious, carping, spiteful, hating the successes of others, and complaining that the world has never done enough for him, I am apt to doubt whether his humility before God will atone for his want of manliness.
—Anthony Trollope (1815–82) English Novelist
Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supporters.—A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity.
—George Washington (1732–99) American Head of State, Military Leader
No man who ever lived knows any more about the hereafter … than you and I; and all religion … is simply evolved out of chicanery, fear, greed, imagination and poetry.
—Edgar Allan Poe (1809–49) American Poet
The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself.
—Richard Burton (1925–84) Welsh Actor
Choose a subject equal to your abilities; think carefully what your shoulders may refuse and what they are capable of bearing.
—Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus) (65–8 BCE) Roman Poet
I studied the Quran a great deal. I came away from that study with the conviction that by and large there have been few religions in the world as deadly to men as that of Muhammad. As far as I can see, it is the principal cause of the decadence so visible today in the Muslim world and, though less absurd than the polytheism of old, its social and political tendencies are in my opinion more to be feared, and I therefore regard it as a form of decadence rather than a form of progress in relation to paganism itself.
—Alexis de Tocqueville (1805–59) French Historian, Political Scientist
Religion is the best armor in the world, but the worst cloak.
—John Newton (1725–1807) English Clergyman, Writer
Reverence is the highest quality of man’s nature; and that individual, or nation, which has it slightly developed, is so far unfortunate. It is a strong spiritual instinct, and seeks to form channels for itself where none exists; thus Americans, in the dearth of other objects to worship, fall to worshiping themselves.
—Lydia Maria Child (1802–80) American Abolitionist, Writer
Being a Jew is like walking in the wind or swimming: you are touched at all points and conscious everywhere.
—Lionel Trilling (1905–75) American Literary Critic
A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.
—Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907–72) American Jewish Rabbi
All the political seers and sorcerers seem to be agreed that the coming Presidential campaign will be full of bitterness, and that most of it will be caused by religion. I count Prohibition as a part of religion, for it has surely become so in the United States. The Prohibitionists, seeing all their other arguments destroyed by the logic of events, have fallen back upon the mystical doctrine that God is somehow on their side, and that opposing them thus takes on the character of blasphemy.
—H. L. Mencken (1880–1956) American Journalist, Literary Critic