MYSTICISM - METAPHYSICS - SUPERSTITION Selected Quotations Compiled by Laird Wilcox PO Box

---
Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

MYSTICISM -- METAPHYSICS -- SUPERSTITION Selected Quotations Compiled by Laird Wilcox PO Box 2047 Olathe, KS 66061 1-913-829-0609 "Fanaticism in religion is the alliance of the passions she condemns with the dogmas she professes." LORD ACTON┴ └(1834- 1902). "The philosopher aspires to explain away all mysteries, to dissolve them into light. Mystery, on the other hand, is demanded and pursued by the religious instinct; mystery con- stitutes the essence of worship." HENRI FREDERIC AMIEL (1821-1881), Amiel's Journal, 1849-72. "Man never knows what he wants; he aspires to penetrate mys- teries and as soon as he has, wants to re-establish them. Ig- norance irritates him and knowledge cloys." HENRI FREDERIC AMIEL (1821-1881), Journal, 1882-84. "We are always making God our accomplice so that we may legal- ize our own inequities. Every successful massacre is conse- crated by a Te Deum, and the clergy have never been wanting in benedictions for any victorious enormity." HENRI FREDERIC AMIEL (1821-1881), Journal, 1866.  "Faith is a certitude without proofs...a sentiment, for it is a hope; it is an instinct, for it precedes all outward in- struction." HENRY FREDERICK AMIEL (1821-1881), Journal, 1882-84. "We are always making God our accomplice, that so we may leg- alize our own iniquities. Every successful massacre is con- secrated by a Te Deum, and the clergy have never been wanting in benedictions for any victorious enormity." HENRI FREDERICK AMIEL (1821-1881), Amiel's Journal, 1849-72. "The Christian opium makes the people passive, the Communist opium invites them to revolt." RAYMOND ARON (1905-1983), The Great Debate, 1965. "Faith is to believe what you do not yet see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe." SAINT AUGUSTINE (340- 430), Sermons, 5th Century. "(Metaphysics is) an elaborate, diabolical invention for mys- tifying what was clear, and confounding what was intelligible" WILLIAM E. AYTOUN. "The general root of superstition is that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss, and commit to memory the one, and pass over the other." FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626). "All religions, with their gods, demigods, prophets, messiahs and saints, are the product of the fancy and credulity of men who have not yet reached the full development and complete possession of their intellectual powers." MICHAEL A. BAKUNIN (1814-1876), Dieu et l'etat, 1871. "In the matters of religion, it is very hard to deceive a man, and very hard to undeceive him." PIERRE BAYLE (1647-1705), Dictionary, 1697. "The idea of death, the fear of it, haunts the human animal like nothing else; it is a mainspring of human activity -- activity designed largely to avoid the fatality of death, to overcome it by denying...it." ERNEST BECKER, The Denial Of Death, 1973. "Heresy is the dislocation of some complete and self-support- ing scheme by the introduction of a novel denial of some es- sential part therein." HILAIRE BELLOC (1870-1953). "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." BIBLE, Herbrews 11:1. "Faith, n. Belief without evidence in what is told by one who speaks without knowledge, of things without parallel." AMBROSE BIERCE (1842-1914), The Devil's Dictionary, 1881-1911. "Heathen, n. A benighted creature who has the folly to wor- ship something he can see and feel." AMBROSE BIERCE (1842- 1914), The Devil's Dictionary. "Religion, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ig- norance the nature of the Unknowable." AMBROSE BIERCE (1842- 1914, The Devil's Dictionary. "Prisons are built with stones of law, brothels with bricks of religion." WILLIAM BLAKE (1757-1827), Proverbs of Hell."Religions are not revealed: they are evolved. If a religion were revealed by God, that religion would be perfect in whole and in part, and would be as perfect at the first moment of its revelation as after ten thousand years of practice. There has never been a religion that which fulfills those conditions ROBERT BLATCHFORD, God And My Neighbor, 1903. "No object is mysterious. The mystery is in your eye." ELIZA BETH BOWEN (1899- 1973), The House In Paris, 1935. "The sole result of the mystic projection of 'another' reality is that it incapacitates man psychologically for this one." NATHANIEL BRANDEN, Psychology Of Self Esteem, 1969. "Faith is the commitment of one's consciousness to beliefs for which one has no sensory evidence or proof. When a man re- jects reason as his standard of judgement, only one alterna- tive standard remains: his feelings. A mystic is a man who treats his feelings as tools of cognition. A mystic equates feelings with knowledge." NATHANIEL BRANDEN, The Psychology of Self-Esteem, 1969. "A credulous mind...finds most delight in believing strange things, and the stranger they are the easier they pass with him; but never regards those that are plain and feasible, for every man can believe such." SAMUEL BUTLER (1835- 1902), Characters, 1667/9. "The grand thing about the human mind is that it can turn its own tables and see meaninglessness as ultimate meaning." JOHN CAGE, Silence, 1961. "The certainty of a God giving meaning to life far surpasses in attractiveness the ability to behave badly with impunity." ALBERT CAMUS (1913-1960), The Myth Of Sisyphus, 1942. "I will call metaphysical all those propositions which claim to represent knowledge about something which is over or be- yond all experience....Metaphysicians cannot avoid making their propositions non-verifiable, because if they make them verifiable, the decision about the truth or falsehood of their doctrines would depend upon experience and therefore belong to the region of empirical science." R. CARNAP, Philosophy and Logical Syntax, 1935. "Precisely in proportion to our own intellectual weakness will be our credulity as to those mysterious powers assumed by others." CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon, 1825. "Religion has treated knowledge sometimes as an enemy, some- times as a hostage; often as a captive and more often as a child..." CHARLES CALEB COLTON, Lacon, 1825. "I do not pretent to know where many ignorant men are sure -- that is all that agnosticism means." CLARENCE S. DARROW (1857-1938). "A myth is a fixed way of looking at the world which cannot be destroyed be- cause, looked at through the myth, all evidence supports the myth." EDWARD DE BONO, Beyond Yes And No. "Nothing sways the stupid more than arguments they can't un- derstand." CARDINAL DE RETZ (1614-1679), Memoires. "The moment religion organizes into a specific creed it be- comes political in nature. From Moses down to Brigham Young, every creed-founder has been a State-builder." DANIEL DeLEON (1852-1914), The Vatican In Politics, 1891. "Intellectually, religious emotions are not creative but con- servative. They attach themselves readily to the current view of the world and consecrate it." JOHN DEWEY (1859-1952), The Influence Of Darwin On Philosophy, 1909. "All religions are ancient monuments to superstition, ignor- ance, ferocity; and modern religions are only ancient follies rejuvenated." BARON D'HOLBACH (1723- 1789), 1772. "Some people have an unconquerable love of riddles. They may have the chance of listening to plain sense, or so such wisdom as explains life; but no, they must go and work their brains over a riddle, just because they do not understand what it means." ISAK DINESEN (1885-1962), Seven Gothic Tales, 1934. "So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so inces- santly and so pain- fully as to find something to worship... .what is essential is that all may be together in it. The craving for community or worship is the chief misery of... all humanity. For the sake of common worship they've slain each other with the sword." FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY (1821-1881), The Brothers Karamazov. "Religion is a bandage that man has invented to protect a soul made bloody by circumstance." THEODORE DREISER "Religions are born and may die, but superstition is immortal. Only the for- tunate can take life without mythology." WILL and ARIEL DURANT, The Age Of Reason Begins, 1961. "Does history support a belief in God? If by God we mean not the creative vi- tality of nature but a supreme being intelli- gent and benevolent, the answer must be a reluctant negative. Like other departments of biology, history remains at bottom a natural selection of the fittest individuals and groups in a struggle where goodness receives no favors, misfortunes a- bound, and the final test is the ability to survive. Add to the crimes, wars, and cruelties of man the earthquakes, storms, tornadoes, pestilences, tidal waves and other "Acts of God" that periodically desolate human and animal life, and the total evidence suggests either a blind or an impartial fatal- ity..." WILL and ARIEL DURANT, The Lessons Of History, 1968. "One strength of the Communist system...is that it has some of the characteristics of a religion and inspires the emotions of a religion. ALBERT EINSTEIN 1879-1955), Out Of My Later Life, 1950. "Your dunce who can't do his sums always has a taste for the infinite." GEORGE ELIOT (1819-1880); Felix Holt, The Radical, 1860. "A sect or party is an elegant incognite devised to save man from the vexation of thinking." RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803- 1882), Journals, 1831. "Heaven always bears some proportion to earth. The god of the cannibal will be a cannibal, of the crusades a crusader, and of the merchants a merchant." RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882), The Conduct Of Life, 1860. "The most tedious of all discourses are on the subject of the Supreme Being." RALPH WALDO EMERSON (1803-1882), Journals, 1836. "Do we, holding that the gods exist, deceive ourselves with unsubstantiated dreams, and lies, while random careless chance and change alone rule the world?" EURIPIDES, 425 B.C. "Whenever morality is based on theology, whenever right is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established." LUDWIG FEUERBACH (1804-1872), The Essence Of Christianity, 1841. "Intuition attracts those who wish to be spiritual without any bother, because it promises a heaven where the intuitions of others can be ignored." E. M. FORSTER (1879-1970), Abinger Harvest, 1936. "(Humanism) rejects supernaturalism and moral absolutism and argues that the best possibilities of human beings can be ach- ieved only by a combination of informed intelligence and can- did recognition that man must bear the responsibility for whatever standards he adopts." CHARLES FRANKEL. "Homeopathic magic is founded on the association of ideas by similarity: contagious magic is founded on the association of ideas by contiguity. Homeopathic magic commits the mistake of assuming that thing which resemble each other are the same: contagious magic commits the mistake of assuming things which have once been in contact with each other are always in con- tact." SIR JAMES GEORGE FRAZER, The Golden Bough, 1922. "The fatal flaw of magic lies not in its general assumption of a sequence of events determined by law, but in its total mis- conception of the nature of the particular laws which govern that sequence." SIR JAMES GEORGE FRAZER, The Golden Bough, 1922. "Religion is the idol of the mob; it adores everything it does not understand.. ..We know the crimes that fanaticism in re- ligion has caused; let us be careful not to introduce fanatic- ism in philosophy." FREDERICK THE GREAT, Letter To Voltaire, 1775. "A religion, even if it calls itself a religion of love, must be hard and unloving to those who do not belong to it." SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939), Group Psychology And The Analysis Of The Ego, 1921. "Religion is an attempt to get control over the sensory world, in which we are placed, by means of the wish-world which we have developed inside us as a result of biological and psy- chological necessities." SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939). "Religion is any system of thought and action shared by a group which gives the individual a frame of orientation and an object of devotion." ERICH FROMM "So urgent on the vulgar is the necessity of believing, that the fall of any system of mythology will probably be succeeded by the introduction of some other mode of superstition." EDWARD GIBBON (1737-1784). "We are so constituted that we believe the most incredible things: and, once they are engraved upon the memory, woe to him who would endeavor to erase them." JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE (1749-1832), Sorrows Of Young Werther, 1771. "Superstition is rooted in a much deeper and more sensitive layer of the psyche than skepticism." JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE (1749-1832). "The people like neither the true nor the simple: they like novels and charla- tans." EDMOND (1822-1896) and JULES (1830-1870) De GONCOURT, Journal, 1861. "The garb of religion is the best cloak for power." WILLIAM HAZLITT (1778-1830) "The atheist is a man who destroys the chimeras which afflict the human race, and so leads men back to nature, to experience and to reason." PAUL H. HOLBACH "Men are idolators, and want something to look at and kiss, or throw themselves down before; they always did, they always will; and if you don't make it of wood, you must make it of words." OLIVER WENDALL HOLMES, SR. (1809-1894), The Poet At The Breakfast Table, 1872. "If your faith is opposed to experience, human learning and investigation, it is not worth the breath used in giving it expression." EDGAR WATSON HOWE (1853- 1937), Ventures In Com- mon Sense, 1919. "Metaphysics is an attempt to define a thing and by so doing escape the bother of understanding." ELBERT HUBBARD (1856-1915). "Theology is an attempt to explain a subject by men who do not understand it. The intent is not to tell the truth but to satisfy the questioner." ELBERT HUBBARD (1856-1915), The Philistine. "No man should dogmatize except on the subject of theology. Here he can take his stand, and by throwing the burden of proof on the opposition, he is invinciple. We have to die to find out whether he is right." ELBERT HUBBARD (1856- 1915), The Note Book. "Faith is the effort to believe what your common sense tells you is not true." ELBERT HUBBARD (1856-1915). "A mystic is a person who is puzzled before the obvious, but who understands the non-existent." ELBERT HUBBARD (1856- 1915). "The believer is happy; the doubter is wise." HUNGARIAN PROVERB "You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion...Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly." ALDOUS HUXLEY (1894-1963). "It is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the ob- jective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evi- dence which logically justifies that certainty. This is what agnosticism asserts." THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY (1825-1895) "(Agnosticism is) not a creed, but a method, the essence of which lies in the rigorous application of a single principle. .that every man should be able to give a reason for the faith that is in him." THOMAS HENRY HUXLEY (1825-1895) "No man with any sense of humor ever founded a religion." ROBERT C. INGERSOLL (1833-1899), Prose-Poems And Selections, 1884. "...in nature there are neither rewards nor punishments -- there are consequences." ROBERT C. INGERSOLL (1833-1899).  "It seems almost impossible for religious people to really grasp the ideas of intellectual freedom. They seem to think that a man is responsible for his honest thoughts; that un- belief is a crime, that investigation is sinful; that cred- ulity is a virtue, and that reason is a dangerous guide." ROBERT C. INGERSOLL (1833-1899), Atheist Truth vs. Religion's Ghosts.  "It has always seemed absurd to suppose that a god would choose for his companions, during all eternity, the dear souls whose highest and only ambition is to obey." ROBERT C. INGERSOLL (1833-1899), Individuality. "In the name of religion, one tortures, persecutes, builds pyres. In the guise of ideologies, one massacres, tortures and kills. In the name of equality and brotherhood there is suppression and torture. There is nothing in common between the means and the end...ideologies and religion...are the alibies of the means." EUGENE IONESCO, Esquire Magazine, 1974. "Man is a venerating animal. He venerates as easily as he purges himself. When they take away from him the gods of his fathers, he looks for others abroad." MAX JACOB (1876-1944), 1922. "It is only in the lonely emergencies of life that our creed is tested: then routine maxims fail, and we fall back on our Gods." WILLIAM JAMES (1842-1910), The Will To Believe, 1896. "A man's religious faith...means for me essentially his faith in the existence of an unseen order of some kind in which the riddles of the natural order may be found." WILLIAM JAMES (1842-1910). "On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral prin- ciples, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind." THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826), 1816. "Nothing is so firmly believed as that which is least known." FRANCIS JEFFREY (1773-1850). "Be not to hasty to trust or admire the teachers of morality; they discourse like angels but they live like men." SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1764), Rasselas, 1759 "No man will be found in whose mind airy notions do not some- time tyrannize, and force him to hope or fear beyond the lim- its of sober probability." SAMUEL JOHNSON (1709-1764), Rasselas, 1759. "There is no doctrine will do good when nature is wanting." BEN JONSON (1573- 1637), Timber, 1640. "There is holy mistaken zeal in politics as well as in re- ligion. By persuading others, we convince ourselves." JUNIUS (1769-1771). "All mystics set out to say...that the imcomprehensible is uncomprehensible, and that we knew before." FRANZ KAFKA. "Faith means intense, usually confident, belief that is not based on evidence sufficient to command assent from every reasonable person." WALTER KAUFMANN. "The anatomy of any myth is the anatomy of the men who be- lieved in it and suffered by it." MURRAY KEMPTON, Part Of Our Time, 1955. "To the religious (Rev. Jim) Jones offered religion; to the ideological, he offered politics; to the ignorant and gul- lible, he offered miracles." CHARLES A. KRAUSE, Guyana Massacre, 1978. "The skeptic has no illusions about life, nor a vain belief in the promise of immortality. Since this life here and now is all we can know, oourmost reasonable option is to live it fully. In not being deluded about the human condition we re- cognize that we are responsible in large part for what will happen to us." PAUL KURTZ, The Transcendental Temptation, 1986. "The basic methodological principle of science is that we should seek natural causal explanations for phenomena. The occult or transcendental temptation is anti-scientific. Where there is uncertainty, the most sensible response is agnostic- ism or the withholding of judgement. But this is often very difficult. Magical, occult, religious thinking persists in many areas oflife, particularly when we are beset by quand- ries. It is on the borderlands of knowledge and in areas con- cerning human meaning and purpose that the transcendental leap is especially tempting. The dissatisfaction with ambiguity and the quest for order often tempts us to invoke unknown oc- cult or magical causes." PAUL KURTZ, The Transcendental Temp- tation, 1986. "To what excesses will men not go to for the sake of a re- ligion in which they believe so little and which they prac- tice so imperfectly." JEAN DE LA BRUYERE, Characters, 1688. "Even the weakest disputant is made so conceited by what he calls religion, as to think himself wiser than the wisest tho thinks differently from him." WALTER SAVAGE LANDOR (1775- 1864), Imaginary Conversations, 1824-53. "There is no arguing with the pretenders to a divine knowledge and to a divine mission. They are possessed with the sin of pride, they have yielded to the perennial temptation." WALTER LIPPMAN (1889-1974), The Public Philosophy, 1955 "The magic relationship exists not only between and thing and its analogous imitation - equally mystical is the connection between a thing and its name. Even philosophers like Plato and Aristotle believed that the name of a thing is contained in it like an invisible kernal and that the name determines its very nature. Only during the last two thousand years have the Middle European peoples developed the idea that words are mere symbols for the objects they designate and that the things exist independently from the names by which we describe them." JULIUS E. LIPS, The Origin Of Things, 1956. "In our minds, the relationship between cause and effect is the result of our logical thinking, based especially on our experiences in the natural sciences. In the minds of primi- tive men, cause and effect are not restricted to the small domain of the physical world, but they are associated with the powers and phenomena beyond the visible world. To the primi- tive, this all-pervading power is completely natural, because to his way of thinking, the supernatural is concrete reality." JULIUS E. LIPS, The Origin Of Things, 1956. "Where all is but dream, reasoning and arguments are of no use, truth and know- ledge nothing." JOHN LOCKE (1632-1704). "Faith is the assent to any proposition not...made out by the deductions of reason, but upon the credit of the proposer, as coming from God, in some extraordinary way of communication." JOHN LOCKE (1632-1704). "Round about what is, lies a whole mysterious world of might be, a psycholog- ical romance of possibilities of things that do not happen." HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW (1807-1882). "I count religion but a childish toy, and hold there is no sin but ignorance." CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE (1564-1593), The Jew Of Malta, 1589. "It has been said that metaphysics is the finding of bad rea- sons for what we believe on instinct." W. SOMERSET MAUGHAM (1874-1965), The Summing Up, 1938. "Metaphysics is almost always an attempt to prove the incred- ible by an appeal to the unintelligible." H. L. MENCKEN (1880-1956), Minority Report, 1956. "The curse of man, and cause of nearly all of his woes, is his stupendous capacity for believing the incredible." H. L. MENCKEN (1880-1956). "The most costly of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true." H. L. MENCKEN (1880-1956), A Mencken Chrestomathy, 1949. "God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the help- less, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in his arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos; He will set them above their betters." H. L. MENCKEN (1880-1956), Minority Report, 1956. "(Menaphysicians are) men with no taste for exact facts, but only a desire to transcend and forget them as quickly as pos- sible." H. L. MENCKEN (1880-1956). "Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand: / Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!" EDNA ST. VINCENT MILLAY (1892-1950), A Few Figs From Thistles, 1921. "Life has to be given a meaning because of the obvious fact that it has no meaning." HENRY MILLER, The Wisdom Of The Heart, 1941. "Miracles appear to be so, according to our ignorance of na- ture, and not ac- cording to the essence of nature." MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE (1533-1592) "Man is certainly stark mad. He cannot make a flea, and yet he will be making Gods by the dozen." MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE (1533-1592). "The most gross and childish ravings are most found in those authors who treat of the most elevated subjects." MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE (1533-1592), Essays, 1588. "If triangles had a God, he would have three sides." CHARLES DE MONTESQUIEU (1689-1755), Letters Persanes, 1721. "Where it is a duty to worship the sun, it is pretty sure to be a crime to ex- amine the laws of heat." JOHN MORLEY (1832-1923), Voltaire, 1872. "Religion is excellent stuff for keeping the common people quiet." NAPOLEON BONAPARTE (1769-1821). "I would believe in a religion if it existed ever since the beginning of time, but when I consider Socrates, Plato, Mohamet, I no longer believe. All religions have been made by men." NAPOLEON BONAPARTE (1769-1821), To Gaspard Gourmond at St. Helena, 28 January 1817. "Man's uneasiness is such, that the vagueness and the mystery which religion presents are absolutely necessary to him." NAPOLEON BONAPARTE (1769-1821), Maxims, 1804-15. "There is no social evil, no form of injustice, whether of the feudal or capitalist order, which has not been sanctified in some way or another by religious sentiment and thereby render- ed more impervious to change." REINHOLD NIEBUHR (1892-1971), Christian Realism and Political Problems, 1953. "The desire for a strong faith is not the proof of a strong faith, rather the opposite. If one has it one may permit oneself the beautiful luxury of scep- ticism: one is secure enough, firm enough, fixed enough for it." FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844-1900), Twilight Of The Idols, 1888. "Wherever on earth the religious neurosis has appeared we find it tied to three dangerous dietary demands: solitude, fasting, and sexual abstinence." FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (1844-1900), Be- yond Good And Evil, 1886. "Religious ideologies and their fanaticisms are dangerous enough, but when these or other ideologies become frenzied elements of the political area, the only area of absolute pow- er over human lives...they become potentially dangerous in their impact on a free society." ROBERT NISBET, Prejudices: A Philosophical Dictionary, 1982. "The lie of a pipe dream is what gives life to the whole mis- begotten mad lot of us, drunk or sober." EUGENE O'NEILL (1888-1953), The Iceman Commeth, 1946. "When life is colorful and varied, religion can be austere and unimportant. Where life is appallingly monotonous, religion must be emotional, dramatic and intense. C. NORTHCOTE PARKINSON, East And West, 1963. "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from a re- ligious conviction." BLAISE PASCAL (1632- 1662), Pensees, 1670. "God must have loved the people in power, for he made them so much like their own image of him." KENNETH PATCHEN (1911- 1972), Some Little Sayings And Observations, 1956. "You are never dedicated to something you have complete confi- idence in. When people are fanatically dedicated to political or religious faiths, or any other kind of dogma or goals, it's always because these dogmas or goals are in doubt." ROBERT M. PERSIG, Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance. "But when the divine part began to fade away, they then behav- ed unseemly and grew visibly debased, full of avarice and righteous power." PLATO (427-347 BC) "Our civilization...has not yet fully recovered from the shock of its birth - the transition from the tribal or 'closed so- ciety', with its submission to magical forces, to the 'open society' which sets free the critical powers of man." SIR KARL POPPER, The Open Society And Its Enemies, 1966. "All the greatest we know have come to us from neurotics. It is they and they only who have founded religions..." MARCEL PROUST (1871-1922), Remembrance Of Things Past. "Mysticism is, in essence, little more than a certain inten- sity and depth of feeling in regard to what is believed about the universe." BERTRAND RUSSELL (1872-1970), Mysticism And Logic, 1917. "Faith in the supernatural is a desperate wager made by man at the lowest ebb of his fortunes." GEORGE SANTAYANA (1863-1952) The Life Of Reason, 1905. "Proofs are the last think looked for by a truly religious mind which feels the imaginative fitness of its faith." GEORGE SANTAYANA (1863-1952), Interpretations Of Poetry & Religion. "Even the heretics and atheists, if they had profundity, turn out after a while to be forerunners of some new orthodoxy. What they rebel against is a religion alien to their nature; they are atheists only by accident, and relatively to the conventions which inwardly offends them..." GEORGE SANTAYANA (1863-1952), Reason In Religion. "The brute necessity of believing something so long as life exists does not justify any belief in particular." GEORGE SANTAYANA (1863-1952), Skepticism And Animal Faith, 1923. "Men become superstitious, not because they have too much im- agination, but be- cause they are not aware that they have any." GEORGE SANTAYANA (1863-1952), Little Essays, 1920. "Skepticism is a discipline fit to purify the mind of preju- dice and render it all the more apt, when the time comes, to believe and act wisely." GEORGE SANTAYANA (1863-1952). "Every religion or cause grows out of a desire either to make one's own life more effortless, or to control and manipulate other people in order to enforce behavior in conformity with the expectations of the true believers." BUTLER D. SHAFFER, Calculated Chaos, 1985. "The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than that a drunken man is happier than a sober one." GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (1856-1950). "(Christianity) was a religion perfectly tailored to appeal to the lower classes; it preached that those who do well have done wrong that that those who have done nothing constructive are the most worthy of all." ROBERT SHEAFFER, Resentment Against Achievement, 1988. "A miracle signifies nothing more than an event...the cause of which cannot be explained by another familiar instance, or.... which the narrator is unable to explain." BARUCH SPINOZA (1632-1677). "The religious superstitions of women perpetuate their bondage more than all other adverse influences." ELIZABETH CADY STANTON (1815-1902). "...early man and his later brothers doubted that eath was natural and attributed it to the action of supernatural, and often malevolent, agencies. The search for a cause has led man to suspect the sun, moon, stars, animals, ghosts, ances- tors and family members. Intense fear produced generaliza- tions attributing to these entities not only the cause of disease but other misfortunes. Thus in his demonology primi- tive man attributed to nonhuman and even inanimate nature his own human motivations and methods -- an early but vivid il- lustration of projective reasoning." DAVID W. SWANSON, MD, et. al., The Paranoid, 1970. "Paranoid thinking, specifically the project of human ineffi- cacy or wrongdoing onto a noncorporeal entity, is evident in both ancient and current religious thinking. Evil spirits, gods of the underworld and Satan have been held responsible for natural catastrophes, misfortune, war, crime and unac- ceptable thoughts." DAVID W. SWANSON, MD, et. al., The Para- noid, 1970. "There lives more faith in honest doubt, believe me, than in half the creeds." ALFRED TENNYSON (1809-1892), In Memoriam, 1850. "All religious notions are uniformly founded on authority; all the religions the world forbid examination, and are not dis- posed that men should reason upon them." PAUL HENRI THIRY (1723-1789). "An agnostic is the person who admits that he does not know, and is consequent- ly open to learning." DAVID E. TRUEBLOOD "Imagination is more robust in proportion as reasoning power is weak." GIAMBATISTA VICO (1668-1744), The New Science, 1725-44. "When one speaks to another man who doesn't understand him, and when the man who's speaking no longer understands, it's metaphysics." VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), Candide, 1759. "Theological religion is the source of all imaginable follies and disturbances; it is the parent of fanaticism and civil discord; it is the enemy of mankind." VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), Philosophical Dictionary, 1764. "Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider a capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile." KURT VONNEGUT, JR. "The value of an idea has nothing whatsoever to do with the sincerity of the man who expresses it." OSCAR WILDE (1854- 1900). "(A believer is) one in whom persuasion and belief had ripened into faith and faith became a passionate intuition." WILLIAM WORDSWORTH (1770-1850).

---

E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank