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Meditation 1054
Quotations LV

I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.  Marlene Dietrich

This is an occasional selection of quotations mostly, but not entirely, relevant to agnosticism, rationalism, and free thought. This is the fifty-fifth in an apparently unending series. Suggestions for previously unused quotations are always welcome.

Your thoughts on these quotations are welcome. Please use the contact page to provide your comments for publication, or use the comments section at the bottom of the page.

  1. It is good to be without vices, but it is not good to be without temptations. Walter Bagehot

  2. A fanatic is a man that does what he thinks the Lord would do if he knew the facts. Finley Peter Dunne

  3. We must respect the other fellow’s religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart. H. L. Mencken

  4. I am patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it. Edith Sitwell

  5. For we know that the common law is that system of law which was introduced by the Saxons on their settlement in England, and altered from time to time by proper legislative authority from that time to the date of Magna Charta, which terminates the period of the common law. . . This settlement took place about the middle of the fifth century. But Christianity was not introduced till the seventh century; the conversion of the first christian king of the Heptarchy having taken place about the year 598, and that of the last about 686. Here then, was a space of two hundred years, during which the common law was in existence, and Christianity no part of it. Thomas Jefferson

  6. What influence in fact have ecclesiastical establishments had on Civil Society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny: in no instance have they been seen the guardians of the liberties of the people. James Madison

  7. We have infinite trouble in solving man-made mysteries; it is only when we set out to discover “the secret of God” that our difficulties disappear. Mark Twain

  8. In answer to the question of why it happened, I offer the modest proposal that our Universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time. Edward P. Tryon

  9. So many gods, so many creeds,
    So many paths that wind and wind,
    While just the art of being kind,
    Is all the sad world needs. Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  10. When they discover the center of the universe, a lot of people will be disappointed to discover they are not it. Bernard Bailey

  11. If I am fool, it is, at least, a doubting one; and I envy no one the certainty of his self-approved wisdom. Lord Byron

  12. Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. Aldous Huxley

  13. Our wretched species is so made that those who walk on the well-trodden path always throw stones at those who are showing a new road. Voltaire

  14. What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist. Salman Rushdie

  15. Mankind have a great aversion to intellectual labor; but even supposing knowledge to be easily attainable, more people would be content to be ignorant than would take even a little trouble to acquire it. Samuel Johnson

  16. The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them. Sir William Bragg

  17. All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit. Thomas Paine

  18. It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to unsurpastion on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will best be guarded against by an entire abstinence of the Government from interference in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect against trespasses on its legal rights by others. James Madison

  19. I won't take my religion from any man who never works except with his mouth. Albert Einstein

  20. It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge. Enrico Fermi


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