Religion (quotes)

.

What is religion?

  • Religion: The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.  Oxford Dictionary
  • Religion: The belief in and worship of a god or gods, or any such system of belief and worship.  Cambridge Dictionary
  • Religion: A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.  Dictionary,com
  • Religion:  (1) The service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) :  commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.  Merriam Webster
  • SpiritualityGodAtheismFaith
.

Religion fills a deep human need

.

Religion is our attempt to make sense of it all…

  • Religions sprang up among men to deal with the sometimes terrifying aspects of existence, to make sense out of the senseless, to explain things we find inexplicable. Gore Vidal
  • Religion is an attempt to make sense of what is incomprehensible to us, what is inexplicable, what is awe- inspiring, what is frightening, what moves us to great wonder, and so on. That is the religious impulse, and it is part of our psychological makeup — of everyone’s psychological makeup.  Philip Pullman
  • Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt. Paul Tillich
  • Where knowledge ends, religion begins. Benjamin Disraeli
  • Like art, religion is an imaginative and creative effort to find a meaning and value in human life. Karen Armstrong
  • Science is clearly one of the most profound methods that humans have yet devised for discovering truth, while religion remains the single greatest force for generating meaning. Ken Wilber
  • MeaningPurposeUnderstanding
.

… born from a sense of mystery, wonder and awe…

  • The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness. Albert Einstein
  • A religion without the element of mystery would not be a religion at all. Edwin Lewis
  • Religious awe is the same organic thrill which we feel in a forest at twilight, or in a mountain gorge. William James
  • Religion points to that area of human experience where in one way or another man comes upon mystery as a summons to pilgrimage. Frederick Buccaneer
  • WonderMysteryAwe
.

… and also fear

  • Fear of things invisible is the natural seed of that which everyone in himself calleth religion. Thomas Hobbes
  • They say religion is about love, but you wonder how much of it really is about fear. Deb Caletti
  • In our loss and fear we craved the acts of religion, the ceremonies that allow us to admit our helplessness, our dependence on the great forces we do not understand. Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Fear
.

Religion fills a deep need in people

  • Religion is the human response to being alive and having to die. Forrest Church
  • All human beings have an innate need to hear and tell stories and to have a story to live by … religion, whatever else it has done, has provided one of the main ways of meeting this abiding need. Harvey Cox
  • Religion, whatever it is, is a man’s total reaction upon life. William James
  • Religion exists not to answer all questions, or to clear up all mysteries; if that were its purpose, it could never be accomplished, for life grows, not less, but more mysterious as the intellect enters more fully into its truth. . . Religion leaves a million questions unanswered and apparently unanswerable.  Its purpose and object is not to make people certain and cock- sure about everything, but to make them certain about those things of which they must be certain if they are to live a human life at all. Religion does not relieve us from the duty of thought; it makes possible for a person to begin thinking.  A. Studdert- Kennedy
  • The enduring value of religion is in its challenge to aspiration and hope in the mind of people. Ernest Martin Hopkins
  • At bottom, the whole concern of religion is with the manner of our acceptance of the universe. William James
  • Religion can be defined as a system of beliefs and practices by means of which a group of people struggles with the ultimate problems of human life. Milton Yinger
  • If I were personally to define religion I would say that it is a bandage that man has invented to protect a soul made bloody by circumstance. Theodore Dreiser
  • Human needs
.

All religions contain truths but not the whole truth

.

All religions are based on similar principles and precepts…

  • Every major religion has similar ideas of love, the same goal of benefiting through spiritual practice, and the same effect of making its followers into better human beings. All religions teach moral precepts for perfecting the functions of the mind, body, and speech.  All teach us not to lie or steal or take others’ lives, and so on.  The common goal of all moral precepts laid down by the great teachers of humanity is unselfishness.  Those teachers wanted to lead their followers away from the paths of negative deeds caused by ignorance and to introduce them to paths of goodness.  All religions can learn from one another; their ultimate goal is to produce better human beings who will be more tolerant, more compassionate, and less selfish.  The Dalai Lama
  • Every religion emphasizes human improvement, love, respect for others, sharing other people’s suffering. On these lines every religion had more or less the same viewpoint and the same goal. The Dalai Lama
  • We can’t say that all religions are the same, different religions have different views and fundamental differences. But it does not matter, as all religions are meant to help in bringing about a better world with better and happier human beings. On this level, I think that through different philosophical explanations and approaches, all religions have the same goal and the same potential. The Dalai Lama
  • All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness. The important thing is they should be part of our daily lives.  Tenzin Gyatso, 14th The Dalai Lama
  • And so it is true in this sense that there is essentially but one religion, the religion of the living God. For to live in the conscious realisation of the fact that God lives in us, is indeed the life of our life, and that in ourselves we have no independent life, and hence no power, is the one great fact of all true religion, even as it is the one great fact of human life. Religion, therefore, at its purest, and life at its truest, are essentially and necessarily one and the same. Ralph Waldo Trine
  • PrinciplesValues
.

… and it can be said that all religions contain truths …

  • There is no one true religion, each religion has its truths and there are many paths we can choose to take that will lead us to to God.
  • For me, the different religions are beautiful flowers from the same garden, or they are branches of the same majestic tree. Therefore, they are equally true, though being received and interpreted through human instruments equally imperfect. Mahatma Gandhi
  • Christian, Jew, Muslim, shaman, Zoroastrian, stone, ground, mountain, river, each has a secret way of being with the mystery, unique and not to be judged. Rumi
  • There is only one religion, though there are a hundred versions of it. George Bernard Shaw
  • Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths. Muhammad Ali
  • I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit. Kahlil Gibran
  • Religion is like language or dress. We gravitate toward the practices with which we were raised. In the end, though, we are all proclaiming the same thing. That life has meaning. That we are grateful for the power that created us. Dan Brown
  • But in the end all religions tend to point to the same light. In between the light and us, sometimes there are too many rules. Paulo Coelho
  • I am a sort of collector of religions: and the curious thing is that I find I can believe in them all. George Bernard Shaw
  • All religions lead to the same God, and all deserve the same respect. Paulo Coelho
  • Religion is not an end in itself. One’s union with God is the ultimate goal. There are so many religions because immature people tend to emphasize trivial differences instead of important likenesses. Differences between faiths lie in creeds and rituals rather than religious principles. Peace Pilgrim
  • I believe in the fundamental truth of all great religions of the world. Mahatma Gandhi
  • Those who worship through the various religions should not be criticized but encouraged. In all religions rests a grain of truth for the masses. It is a form which the masses can comprehend, no matter how erroneous it may be. As long as those individuals attempt to live their religion, instead of a life of hypocrisy, they are seekers and we cannot look down our noses at them. Richard Rose
  • Hindus, in their capacity for love, are indeed hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in their devotion to God, are hat wearing Muslims. Yann Martel
  • All religions, all this singing, one song. The differences are just illusion and vanity. The sun’s light looks a little different on this wall than it does on that wall, and a lot different on this other one, but it’s still one light. Rumi
  • In the matter of religion, people eagerly fasten their eyes on the difference between their own creed and yours; whilst the charm of the study is in finding the agreements and identities in all the religions of humanity. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Perhaps not one religion contains all of the truth of the world. Perhaps every religion contains fragments of the truth, and it is our responsibility to identify those fragments and piece them together. Christopher Paolini
  • One religion is as true as another. Robert Burton
  • All religions have some truth in them, but none has the whole truth; all are created in time and finally decline and perish. Mahomed himself never pretended that the Koran was the last message of God and there would be no other. God and Truth outlast these religions and manifest themselves anew in whatever way or form the Divine Wisdom chooses. Sri Aurobindo
  • Each of the world religions has its own particular genius, its own special insight into the nature and requirements of compassion and has something unique to teach us. Karen Armstrong
  • Truth
.

… although our translations of the truth can be prone to human flaws

  • I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It’s just that the translations have gone wrong. John Lennon
  • I want Jesus to come back and say ‘THATS NOT WHAT I MEANT.’ Margaret Cho
  • Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed. Dan Brown
.

The problem with a religion believing it owns the copyright to God

.

Unfortunately, most religions have a fervid belief they are the one and only truth while all others are wrong …

  • Scriptures: the sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based. Ambrose Bierce
  • When the stakes are this high – when calling God by the right name can make the difference between eternal happiness and eternal suffering, it is impossible to respect the beliefs of others who don’t believe as you do. Sam Harris
  • Religion is a broad concept trapped in narrow minds. Colin Bowles
  • Most men would kill the truth if truth would kill their religion. Lemuel K. Washburn
  • BeliefLet go of the need to be right
.

… leading to closed mindedness and even fanaticism…

  • No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means. George Bernard Shaw
  • People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them. Dave Barry
  • The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world. Georgia Harkness
  • The problem with writing about religion is that you run the risk of offending sincerely religious people, and then they come after you with machetes. Dave Barry
  • Closed-mindedness
.

… and feelings of superiority and dividedness between people…

  • Religion is to be used as a stepping stone to God, but it must never be used as a tower to hold one aloft from others. We are all cells in the body of humanity. When anyone attempts to isolate another, they only isolate themselves more.  Peace Pilgrim
  • If you believe your religion is the Truth, you are using it in the service of the ego. Used in such a way, religion becomes ideology and creates an illusory sense of superiority as well as division and conflict between people. Eckhart Tolle
  • All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word, which has so unfortunately divided man. Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • I’m sickened by all religions. Religion has divided people. I don’t think there’s any difference between the pope wearing a large hat and parading around with a smoking purse and an African painting his face white and praying to a rock. Howard Stern
  • Oneness
.

… causing conflict, misery and even atrocities

  • The fact is that more people have been slaughtered in the name of religion than for any other single reason. That, my friends, is true perversion! Harvey Milk
  • Scriptures: the sacred books of our holy religion, as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based. Ambrose Bierce
  • On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, 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
  • It’s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion. Jon Stewart
  • Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire
  • Religion has caused more misery to all of mankind in every stage of human history than any other single idea. Madalyn Murray O’Hair
  • Humanity without religion is like a serial killer without a chainsaw.
  • Religion is the last refuge of human savagery. Alfred North Whitehead
  • Religions that teach brotherly love have been used as an excuse for persecution, and our profoundest scientific insight is made into a means of mass destruction. Bertrand Russell
  • At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols. Aldous Huxley
  • Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction. Blaise Pascal
  • Religion, to a large extent, became divisive rather than unifying forces. Instead of bringing about an ending of violence and hatred through a realization of the fundamental oneness of all life, they brought more violence and hatred, more divisions between people as well as between different religions and even within the same religion. They became ideologies, belief systems people could identify with and so use them to enhance their false sense of self. Through them, they could make themselves “right” and others “wrong” and thus define their identity through their enemies, the “others,” the “nonbelievers” or “wrong believers” who not infrequently they saw themselves justified in killing. Eckhart Tolle
  • If Jesus came back and saw what was being done in his name, he’d never stop throwing up. Woody Allen
  • Conflict management
.

This is the inevitable result when people believe they own the sole copyright to what God means …

  • I refuse to be forced to believe in other people’s interpretations of God. No one person can own the copyright to what God means. Marilyn Manson
  • Walk with those seeking truth… run from those who think they’ve found it. Deepak Chopra
  • Anyone who says he knows God’s intention is showing a lot of very human ego. Michael Crichton
  • I believe that life is a journey towards God, and that no one has the right to insist that you go a certain road. Pat Buckley
  • The person who thinks he has found the ultimate truth is wrong. Joseph Campbell
  • God has no religion. Mahatma Gandhi
  • Religion is like a pair of shoes….. Find one that fits for you, but don’t make me wear your shoes. George Carlin
  • There are few things more dangerous than inbred religious certainty. Bart D. Ehrman
  • The Bible may be the truth but it’s not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Samuel Butler
  • All fanaticism is false, because it is a contradiction of the very nature of God and of Truth. Truth cannot be shut up in a single book, Bible or Veda or Koran, or in a single religion. The Divine Being is eternal and universal and infinite and cannot be the sole property of the Mussulmans or of the Semitic religions only, – those that happened to be in a line from the Bible and to have Jewish or Arabian prophets for their founders. Sri Aurobindo
.

… and get fixated on dogma, theology and rituals rather than moral principles and the spirit of love and kindness…

  • Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble. Joseph Campbell
  • Some people become lost in religion and, as a result, it becomes God to them. Stevan Thayer
  • The minute you get a religion you stop thinking. Believe in one thing too much and you have no room for new ideas. Ray Bradbury
  • All ideologies are idiotic, whether religious or political, for it is conceptual thinking, the conceptual word, which has so unfortunately divided man. Jiddu Krishnamurti
  • The downside, of course, is that over time religions become encrusted with precepts and ideas that are the antithesis of soul, as each faith tries to protect its doctrines and institution instead of nurturing the evolution of consciousness. If one is not careful to distinguish the genuine insights of a religion from its irrelevant accretions, one can go through life following an inappropriate moral compass. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
  • It is a fine thing to establish one’s own religion in one’s heart, not to be dependent on tradition and second- hand ideals. Life will seem to you, later, not a lesser, but a greater thing. H. Lawrence
  • The historical religions have the tendency to become ends in themselves, and, as it were, to put themselves in God’s place, and, in fact, there is nothing that is so apt to obscure God’s face as a religion. Martin Buber
  • A great thing would be done if all these God-visions could embrace and cast themselves into each other; but intellectual dogma and cult egoism stand in the way. Sri Aurobindo
  • If religion, instead of being the manifestation of a spiritual ideal, gives prominence to scriptures and external rites, then does it disturb the peace more than anything else. Rabindranath Tagore
  • On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarrelling, 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
  • Ideology and dogma
.

… dogma, and rituals that, ironically, God is very unlikely to have any interest in…

  • I have never read any theologian who claims God is particularly interested in religion, anyway. Annie Dillard
  • God enters by a private door into each individual. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • God has no religion. Mahatma Gandhi
  • God made so many different kinds of people. Why would he allow only one way to serve him? Martin Buber
  • If Christ had returned to preach his message of liberation in the Middle Ages, he would have been crucified again and again by the leaders of that very church whose worldly power was built on his name. Per Csikszentmihalyi
.

… dogma that many believe blindly without any real examination or thought

  • Still amazes me that people spend more time researching a new vehicle than they do the religion they entrust their souls to. Larissa Ione
  • In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second- hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing. Mark Twain
  • A fundamentalist is a person who considers whether a fact is acceptable to their faith before they explore it. As opposed to a curious person who explores first and then considers whether or not they want to accept the ramifications. Seth Godin
  • To believe in God or in a guiding force because someone tells you to is the height of stupidity. We are given senses to receive our information within. With our own eyes we see, and with our own skin we feel. With our intelligence, it is intended that we understand. But each person must puzzle it out for himself or herself. Sophy Burnham
  • When we blindly adopt a religion, a political system, a literary dogma, we become automatons. We cease to grow. Anaïs Nin
  • Religion is about turning untested belief into unshakable truth through the power of institutions and the passage of time. Richard Dawkins
  • Ninety-nine percent of people will die having not examined their conditioning and beliefs in a meaningful way. Brent Kessel
.

The problem with fear-based religions

.

Fear based religions, in particular, do enormous damage

  • The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully. Richard Dawkins
  • To terrify children with the image of hell, to consider women an inferior creation—is that good for the world? Christopher Hitchens
  • The Bible tells us to be like God, and then on page after page it describes God as a mass murderer. This may be the single most important key to the political behavior of Western Civilization. Robert Anton Wilson
  • Studies show that people who perceive God as distant and punitive are more likely to be distressed and ill. Sonja Lyubomirsky
  • These studies support our argument that fear-based religions can be hazardous to your health. It’s too bad that the Surgeon General can’t place a warning sign on certain passages from the Bible or Koran, especially those that encourage violence toward people who hold different beliefs. Andrew Newberg
  • All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few. Stendhal
  • Religions are just a set of rules invented to keep the masses in control. They’re a form of police, with the ultimate threat: eternal damnation. Karl Moore
  • Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man. Thomas Paine
  • They say religion is about love, but you wonder how much of it really is about fear. Deb Caletti
  • There can be but little liberty on earth while men worship a tyrant in heaven. Robert G. Ingersoll
.

Many have become cynical about religion

.

Many have become cynical about religion saying that it is…

.

… born of impotence and weakness…

  • A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce
  • Religion is the impotence of the human mind to deal with occurrences it cannot understand. Karl Marx
  • Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. Jesse Ventura
.

… based on fear and guilt…

  • All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry. Edgar Allan Poe
  • All religions are the same: religion is basically guilt, with different holidays. Cathy Ladman
  • FearGuilt
.

… an illusion based on fears and wishful thinking…

  • What I conclude is that religion has nothing to do with experience or reason but with deep and irrational needs. Richard Taylor
  • Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires. Sigmund Freud
  • That’s the problem with religion: you beat your way past the clerics, fight your way through the demons, stand before the holy of holies, and when you rip away the veil, there’s nothing there but a mirror. Owen Rowley
  • The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality. George Bernard Shaw
  • It would be very nice if there were a God who created the world and was a benevolent providence, and if there were a moral order in the universe and an after-life; but it is a very striking fact that all this is exactly as we are bound to wish it to be. Sigmund Freud
  • Our hope of immortality does not come from any religions, but nearly all religions come from that hope. Robert Green Ingersoll
  • Illusion
.

… based on flawed and hard to believe scriptures…

  • A thorough reading and understanding of the Bible is the surest path to atheism. Donald Morgan
  • Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived. Isaac Asimov
  • To be fair, much of the Bible is not systematically evil but just plain weird, as you would expect of a chaotically cobbled- together anthology of disjointed documents, composed, revised, translated, distorted and ‘improved’ by hundreds of anonymous authors, editors and copyists, unknown to us and mostly unknown to each other, spanning nine centuries. Richard Dawkins
  • I’ve often thought the Bible should have a disclaimer in the front saying this is fiction. Ian McKellen
.

… based simply on myths and legends…

  • The word ‘God’ is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, and religious scripture a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change this. Albert Einstein
  • Religions are all alike — founded upon fables and mythologies. Thomas Jefferson
  • The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes. James Feibleman
  • Myth is what we call other people’s religion. Joseph Campbell
.

… beyond logic, reason and scientific fact…

  • Finding that no religion is based on facts and cannot be true, I began to reflect what must be the condition of mankind trained from infancy to believe in error. Robert Owen
  • What has religion to do with facts? Nothing. Robert Green Ingersoll
  • What I conclude is that religion has nothing to do with experience or reason but with deep and irrational needs. Richard Taylor
  • By religion I mean a set of beliefs held as dogmas, dominating the conduct of life, going beyond or contrary to evidence, and inculcated by methods which are emotional or authoritarian, not intellectual. Bertrand Russell
  • Religion is a pill best swallowed without chewing.
  • I find the whole business of religion profoundly interesting. But it does mystify me that otherwise intelligent people take it seriously. Douglas Adams
  • Yes, reason has been a part of organized religion, ever since two nudists took dietary advice from a talking snake. Jon Stewart
  • The biblical account of Noah’s Ark and the Flood is perhaps the most implausible story for fundamentalists to defend. Where, for example, while loading his ark, did Noah find penguins and polar bears in Palestine? Judith Hayes
  • Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be religious people. Doris Egan
  • Being unable to reason is not a positive character trait outside religion. Dewey Henize
  • It is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail. Sam Harris
  • ReasonLogicScience
.

… a testament to our human egotism…

  • The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself. Richard Burton
  • Religion is a monumental chapter in the history of human egotism. William James
  • I suppose that one reason I have always detested religion is its sly tendency to insinuate the idea that the universe is designed with ‘you’ in mind or, even worse, that there is a divine plan into which one fits whether one knows it or not. This kind of modesty is too arrogant for me. Christopher Hitchens
  • Transcending the ego
.

… a form of mind control and coercion that imposes its will on others

  • Many religions now come before us with ingratiating smirks and outspread hands, like an unctuous merchant in a bazaar. They offer consolation and solidarity and uplift, competing as they do in a marketplace. But we have a right to remember how barbarically they behaved when they were strong and were making an offer that people could not refuse. Christopher Hitchens
  • Religion is the masterpiece of the art of animal training, for it trains people as to how they shall think. Arthur Schopenhauer
  • The tendency to turn human judgments into divine commands makes religion one of the most dangerous forces in the world. Georgia Harkness
  • Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion – several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven. Mark Twain
  • Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
  • Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet. Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich. Napoleon Bonaparte
  • All religions are founded on the fear of the many and the cleverness of the few. Stendhal
  • Religion is just mind control. George Carlin
  • Religion is the opium of the masses. Karl Marx
  • Religion is the opium of the poor. Ernest Hemingway
.

Some believe we’d be better off without any religion at all

  • God save us from religion. David Eddings
  • I’m religiously opposed to religion. Victor Hugo
  • Religion is not merely the opium of the masses, it’s the cyanide. Tom Robbins
  • A man without religion is like a horse without a bridle. Latin Proverb
  • This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it. John Adams
  • Civilization will not attain to its perfection until the last stone from the last church falls on the last priest. Émile Zola
.

If religion is not mismanaged, it can be a power for good

.

The truth is religion has been mismanaged and misused throughout history and is prone to our human flaws

  • Religion is a tool to bind people together, to strengthen their unity, but like every tool, it can be mismanaged, even used in opposition to the way it should. Deepak Chopra
  • Religion isn’t the cause of wars, it’s the excuse. Jasper Forde
  • An idea isn’t responsible for the people who believe in it. Don Marquis
  • Religion is flawed, but only because man is flawed. Dan Brown
.

However, if applied in a spirit of love, tolerance and mutual respect, religion can be uplifting, beautiful and empowering

  • Many people conceive of religion as something apart from everyday affairs of the world. They think of it in terms of ceremony or ritual or sermons and often it strikes them as being dull or not particularly interesting.  Religion may be described in many ways.  I like to think of it as a medicine, a healing medicine for the mind.  Norman Vincent Peale
  • Nothing is so fatal to religion as indifference. Edmund Burke
  • Religion is not a burden, not a weight, it is wings. Harry Emerson
  • The first sign of your becoming religious is that you are becoming cheerful. Swami Vivekananda
  • Religion is essentially the art and the theory of the remaking of man. Man is not a finished creation. Edmund Burke
  • Religion is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man. Swami Vivekananda
  • Life becomes religious whenever we make it so: when some new light is seen, when some deeper appreciation is felt, when some larger outlook is gained, when some nobler purpose is formed, when some task is well done. Sophia Lyon Fahs
  • All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man’s life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom. Albert Einstein
  • Religion, like poetry, is not a mere idea, it is expression. The self-expression of God is in the endless variety of creation; and our attitude toward the Infinite Being must also in its expression have a variety of individuality – ceaseless and unending. Rabindranath Tagore
  • Let religion be to us the wonder and lure of that which is only partly known and understood: An eye that glories in nature’s majesty and beauty, and a heart that rejoices in deeds of kindness and of courage. Vincent B. Silliman
  • Religious faith is not a storm cellar to which men and women can flee for refuge from the storms of life. It is, instead, an inner spiritual strength which enables them to face those storms with hope and serenity.  Religious faith has the miraculous power to lift ordinary human beings to greatness in seasons of stress.  Sam J. Ervin, Jr.
  • LoveToleranceRespectBeauty
.

Tolerance is the key

.

If only we could all allow everyone the freedom to relate to God in their own way…

  • Everyone ought to worship God according to his own inclinations, and not to be constrained by force. Flavius Josephus
  • All religions must be tolerated for every man must get to heaven in his own way. Epictetus
  • Everybody likes to go their own way–to choose their own time and manner of devotion. Jane Austen
  • The notion of religious liberty is that you cannot be forced to participate in a religious ceremony that’s not of your choosing simply because you’re out-voted. Ira Glasser
  • Why not let people differ about their answers to the great mysteries of the Universe? Let each seek one’s own way to the highest, to one’s own sense of supreme loyalty in life, one’s ideal of life. Let each philosophy, each world-view bring forth its truth and beauty to a larger perspective, that people may grow in vision, stature and dedication. Algernon Black
.

… and recognise there are as many paths to God as there are people on this planet

  • All religions lead to the same God, and all deserve the same respect. Paulo Coelho
  • God has no religion. Mahatma Gandhi
  • God made so many different kinds of people. Why would he allow only one way to serve him? Martin Buber
  • God’s greatest truth is that there is not one way only but many ways Home. There are a thousand paths to God and everyone will get you there. Indeed, all paths lead to God. This is because there is no other place to go. N. D. Walsch
  • Hindus, in their capacity for love, are indeed hairless Christians, just as Muslims, in the way they see God in everything, are bearded Hindus, and Christians, in their devotion to God, are hat wearing Muslims. Yann Martel
  • I believe that life is a journey towards God, and that no one has the right to insist that you go a certain road. Pat Buckley
  • Each person is different and each one will reach God by his or her own path. Paulo Coelho
  • God can be realized through all paths. All religions are true. The important thing is to reach the roof. You can reach it by stone stairs or by wooden stairs or by bamboo steps or by a rope. You can also climb up by a bamboo pole. Sri
  • To connect with the great river, we all need a path, but when you get down there there’s only one river. Matthew Fox
  • There are many paths to God
.

At the end of the day, the real enemy is not really religion but human intolerance

  • The enemy is not religion; the enemy is anger, hostility, intolerance, separatism, extreme idealism, and prejudicial fear—be it secular, religious, or political. Andrew Newberg
  • The only struggle which religions can justify, the only struggle worthy of humans, is the moral struggle against humanity’s own disordered passions, against every kind of selfishness, against attempts to oppress others, against every type of hatred and violence. Pope John Paul II
.

Explore other religions, not just your own

  • It is the duty of every cultured man or woman to read sympathetically the scriptures of the world. If we are to respect others’ religions as we would have them respect our own, a friendly study of the world’s religions is a sacred duty. Mohandas K. Gandhi
  • It is useful to study different traditions in order to be free of attachment to any one way of expressing what is beyond expression. Ravi Ravindra
  • In the matter of religion, people eagerly fasten their eyes on the difference between their own creed and yours; whilst the charm of the study is in finding the agreements and identities in all the religions of humanity. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • So you call yourself religious? Please don’t do that if you’re stuck in only one of the many traditions that manifest divine love. When you’ve found connection and inspiration from many religions, then you probably know more about divine love, and less about prejudice, ego and fear.  Earon Davis
  • Explore new ideas and perspectives
.

When is a religion worth its salt and when is it a sham?

.

When do we know if a religion is worth its salt?

  • True religion has a universal quality. It does not find fault with other religions. False religions will find fault with other religions; they will say that theirs is the only valid religion and their prophet is the only saviour. But a true religion will feel that all the prophets are saviours of mankind. Forgiveness, compassion, tolerance, brotherhood and the feeling of oneness are the signs of a true religion. Sri Chinmoy
  • Our religious institutions have far too often become handmaidens of the status quo, while the genuine religious experience is anything but that. True religion is by nature disruptive of what has been, giving birth to the eternally new. Marianne Williamson
  • Religion should be our steering wheel, not our spare tire. Charles L. Wheeler
  • Self-realization is, in fact, the only religion. For it is the true purpose of religion, no matter how people define their beliefs. Paramhansa Yogananda
  • There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham. Anna Sewell
  • Don’t tell me about your god with your words. Show me about your god with your actions. Steve Maraboli
.

When is a religion a sham?

  • What religious conversion is not: if it serves us a bit too well, if it reinforces all our prejudices and allows us to call ourselves holy at the expense of others whom we can now judge to be unholy, it is probably not the real thing. Kathleen Norris
  • If your religion does not change you, then you had better change your religion. Elbert Hubbard
  • A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion. Mohandas K. Gandhi
  • I care not for a man’s religion whose dog and cat are not the better for it. Abraham Lincoln
  • No religion is a true religion that does not make men tingle to their fingertips with a sense of infinite hazard. William Ernest Hocking
  • Religion without humanity is very poor human stuff. Sojourner Truth
  • The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide. Ralph Waldo Emerson
.

True religion is about what you practice

.

Religion is not about sitting in church or a temple…

  • Anyone who thinks sitting in church can make you a Christian must also think that sitting in a garage can make you a car. Garrison Keillor
  • Not all religion is to be found in the church, any more than all knowledge is found in the classroom.
  • This is a time of revolution. There’s no holding back. So I’m about tearing down the monastery walls and seeing the whole world as the monastery, as the practice, as the spiritual temple. What we’re all working on is this very being, this very life. This is the temple, it has no walls. Genpo Roshi
  • Your daily life is your temple and your religion. Kahlil Gibran
  • The purpose of all the major religious traditions is not to construct big temples on the outside, but to create temples of goodness and compassion inside, in our hearts. The Dalai Lama
  • You think religion is what’s inside a little building filled with pretty lights from stained glass windows. But it’s not. It’s wings!  Wings!  Dorothy Canfield Fisher
  • “Religion” can no more be equated with what goes on in churches than “education” can be reduced to what happens in schools or “health care” restricted to what doctors do to patients in clinics. The vast majority of healing and learning goes on among parents and children and families and friends, far from the portals of any school or hospital.  The same is true for religion.  It is going on around us all the time. Religion is larger and more pervasive than churches.  Harvey Cox
.

… for true religion is what you practice daily, not what you preach

  • For it is in our lives, and not from our words, that our religion must be judged. Thomas Jefferson
  • Your daily life is your temple and your religion. When you enter into it take with you your all. Kahlil Gibran
  • True religion is the life we live, not the creed we profess. J.F. Wright
  • The best sermon is a good example. Benjamin Franklin
  • Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for it; anything but – live for it. Charles Caleb Colton
  • Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. Marcus Aurelius
  • Don’t tell me about your god with your words. Show me about your god with your actions. Steve Maraboli
  • What’s the good of being true to your religion on the outside, if you don’t change what’s on the inside,were it really counts ? Randa Abdel- Fattah
  • Religion is, in reality, living. Our religion is not what we profess, or what we say, or what we proclaim; our religion is what we do, what we desire, what we seek, what we dream about, what we fantasize, what we think – all these things – twenty-   four hours a day. One’s religion, then, is one’s life, not merely the ideal life but the life as it is actually lived.   Jack D. Forbes
  • Religion is not prayer, it is not a church, it is not theistic, it is not atheistic, it has little to do with what white people call “religion.” It is our every act. If we tromp on a bug, that is our religion; if we experiment on living animals, that is our religion; if we cheat at cards, that is our religion; if we dream of being famous, that is our religion; if we gossip maliciously, that is our religion; if we are rude and aggressive, that is our religion. All that we do, and are, is our religion. Jack D. Forbes
  • True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness. Albert Einstein
  • Your religion is what you do when the sermon is over. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  • Religion is to do right. It is to love, it is to serve, it is to think, it is to be humble. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Religion is doing; a man does not merely think his religion or feel it, he ”lives” his religion as much as he is able, otherwise it is not religion but fantasy or philosophy. Gurdjieff
  • Common men talk bagfuls of religion but do not practise even a grain of it. The wise man speaks a little, even though his whole life is religion expressed in action. Sri Ramakrishna
  • Religion is not something separate and apart from ordinary life. It is life — life of every kind viewed from the standpoint of meaning and purpose: life lived in the fuller awareness of its human quality and spiritual significance. Powell Davies
  • My country is the world, and my religion is to do good. Thomas Paine
  • It is in our lives and not our words that our religion must be read. Thomas Jefferson
  • Religion is meant to be bread for daily use, not cake for special occasions.
.

True religion is about love and compassion

.

Make your religion about kindness and love

  • This is my simple religion… There is no need for temples. There is no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is the temple. The philosophy is loving kindness and compassion. The Dalai Lama
  • Love is my religion – I could die for it. John Keats
  • Let your religion be less of a theory and more of a love affair. G.K. Chesterton
  • We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. Jonathan Swift
  • The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness. The Dalai Lama
  • My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. The Dalai Lama
  • It is easy enough to be friendly to one’s friends. But to befriend the one who regards himself as your enemy is the quintessence of true religion. The other is mere business. Mahatma Gandhi
  • I call him religious who understands the suffering of others. Mahatma Gandhi
  • A religious awakening which does not awaken the sleeper to love has roused him in vain. Jessamyn West
  • We must remember that the test of our religious principles lies not just in what we say, not only in our prayers, not even in living blameless lives – but in what we do for others. Harry S. Truman
  • We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love. David Mitchell
  • There is no religion without love, and people may talk as much as they like about their religion, but if it does not teach them to be good and kind to man and beast, it is all a sham. Anna Sewell
  • It seems to me that no matter what religion you subscribe to, acts of kindness are the stepping- stones to making the world a better place–because we become better people in it.  Jodi Picoult
  • 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
  • Love and kindness are the basis of my religious beliefs. The rituals and outward signs are not as important as one’s actions and deeds. Religion should be a path to God, not something to fight about.  Bernie Siegel
  • We can live without religion and meditation, but we cannot survive without human affection. The Dalai Lama
  • All major religious traditions carry basically the same message, that is love, compassion and forgiveness … the important thing is they should be part of our daily lives. The Dalai Lama
  • Religion’s in the heart, not in the knees. David Jerold
  • At the center of religion is love. I love you and I forgive you. I am like you and you are like me. I love all people. I love the world. I love creating. Everything in our life should be based on love. Ray Douglas Bradbury
  • I have an everyday religion that works for me. Love yourself first, and everything else falls into line. Lucille Ball
  • Religion’s in the heart, not in the knees. David Jerold
  • KindnessLove
.

Religion and morality

.

Some say religion is an essential vehicle for ethics and morality in society…

  • People need religion. It’s a vehicle for a moral tradition. A crucial role. Nothing can take its place. Irving Kristol
  • Piety and morality are but the same spirit differently manifested. Piety is religion with its fact toward God; morality is religion with its fact toward the world. Tryon Edwards
  • But for this book we could not know right from wrong. Abraham Lincoln
  • A conscience without God is like a court without a judge. Alphonse De Lamartine
  • Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle. George Washington
  • Whether we believe in God or karma, ethics is the foundation of every religion. The Dalai Lama
  • To love our neighbor as ourselves is such a truth for regulating human society, that by that alone one might determine all the cases in social morality. John Locke
  • Belief is a moral act for which the believer is to be held responsible. Lillian Hellman
  • The true meaning of religion is thus not simply morality, but morality touched by emotion. Matthew Arnold
  • Morality and ethics
.

… while others disagree

  • We keep on being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid. Christopher Hitchens
  • What I’m asking you to entertain is that there is nothing we need to believe on insufficient evidence in order to have deeply ethical and spiritual lives. Sam Harris
  • I do not believe in the immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern without any superhuman authority behind it. Albert Einstein
  • A man’s ethical behaviour should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. Albert Einstein
  • A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death. It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees. Albert Einstein
  • One of the greatest tragedies in mankind’s entire history may be that morality was hijacked by religion. Arthur C. Clarke
  • There seems to be a terrible misunderstanding on the part of a great many people to the effect that when you cease to believe you may cease to behave. Louis Kronenberger
  • When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad, and that is my religion. Abraham Lincoln
  • With or without religion, 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
  • Religion is no more the parent of morality than an incubator is the mother of a chicken. Lemuel K. Washburn
  • Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it. Christopher Hitchens
  • Religions are many and diverse, but reason and goodness are one. Elbert Hubbard
.

Religion and reason

.

Some feel that religion is not compatible with reason and logic…

  • If we submit everything to reason our religion will be left with nothing mysterious or supernatural. If we offend the principles of reason our religion will be absurd and ridiculous . . . There are two equally dangerous extremes: to exclude reason, to admit nothing but reason. Blaise Pascal, Pensées
  • Religion is love; in no case is it logic. Beatrice Potter Webb
  • Religion seems to have a way of making people abandon logic. Amanda Baxter
  • Yes, reason has been a part of organized religion, ever since two nudists took dietary advice from a talking snake. Jon Stewart
  • The biblical account of Noah’s Ark and the Flood is perhaps the most implausible story for fundamentalists to defend. Where, for example, while loading his ark, did Noah find penguins and polar bears in Palestine? Judith Hayes
  • Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be religious people. Doris Egan
  • Being unable to reason is not a positive character trait outside religion. Dewey Henize
  • It is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail. Sam Harris
  • ReasonLogic
.

… while others disagree

  • Every formula of every religion has in this age of reason, to submit to the acid test of reason and universal assent. Mohandas K. Gandhi
  • I do not feel obligated to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reasons, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use. Galileo Galilei
  • Faith is a continuation of reason. William Adams
  • Faith is a higher faculty than reason. Henry Christopher Bailey
  • Faith begins where Reason sinks exhausted. Albert Pike
  • Faith is a function of the heart. It must be enforced by reason. The two are not antagonistic as some think. The more intense one’s faith is, the more it whet’s one’s reason. When faith becomes blind it dies. Mohandas Gandhi
  • Faith must be enforced by reason. When faith becomes blind it dies.  Mahatma Gandhi
  • Reason is our soul’s left hand, Faith her right; by these we reach divinity. John Donne
.

Some argue that religion deals with mysteries are diminished by the intellect

  • A religion without the element of mystery would not be a religion at all. Edwin Lewis
  • Science tells me God must exist. My mind tells me I will never understand God. And my heart tells me I am not meant to. Dan Brown
  • I believe God is a name we give to the mystery of the world that is beyond our capacity to understand. I believe that the energy of the universe is ordered by forces I cannot comprehend. Robert Jensen
  • It is easy to understand God as long as you don’t try to explain him. Joseph Joubert
  • I believe in God, but I’m not too clear on the other details. Bill Veeck
  • If you understood him, it would not be God. Saint Augustine of Hippo
  • We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations. Albert Einstein
  • God is not what you imagine or what you think you understand. If you understand you have failed.  Saint Augustine
  • It’s a mystery. That’s the first thing that interests me about the idea of God. If there is one, it’s mysterious and powerful and awesome to even consider the concept, and you have to take it seriously. Stephen King
  • Mystery
.

Religion and Science

.

Some feel that religion and science are at odds…

  • The essence of science is that it is always willing to abandon a given idea for a better one; the essence of theology is that it holds its truths to be eternal and immutable. L. Mencken
  • It is this mythical, or rather symbolic, content of the religious traditions which is likely to come into conflict with science. This occurs whenever this religious stock of ideas contains dogmatically fixed statements on subjects which belong in the domain of science. Albert Einstein
  • Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines. Bertrand Russell
  • The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Science
.

… while others feel they are deeply complimentary

  • Bad science and bad religion simply swap roles, the former proclaiming Truth, the latter worshiping Doubt. Jeffrey Satinover
  • Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind. Albert Einstein
  • Science and religion are not at odds. Science is simply too young to understand. Dan Brown
  • 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. Martin Luther King
  • It’s so hard to believe in anything anymore. I mean, it’s like, religion, you really can’t take it seriously, because it seems so mythological, it seems so arbitrary…but, on the other hand, science is just pure empiricism, and by virtue of its method, it excludes metaphysics. I guess I wouldn’t believe in anything anymore if it weren’t for my lucky astrology mood watch. Steve Martin
  • The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you. Werner Heisenberg
  • Science cannot answer the deepest questions. As soon as you ask why there is something instead of nothing, you have gone beyond science.  I find it quite improbable that such order came out of chaos.  There has to be some organizing principle. God to me is the explanation for the miracle of existence –why there is something instead of nothing.  Allan R. Sandage (Cosmologist)
  • Science and religion, religion and science, put it as I may, they are two sides of the same glass, through which we see darkly until these two, focusing together, reveal the truth. Pearl Buck
  • Science can only determine what is, but not what shall be, and beyond its realm, value judgements remain indispensable. Religion, on the other hand, is concerned only with evaluating human thought and actions; it is not qualified to speak of real facts and the relationships between them. Albert Einstein
  • How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant?” Instead they say, “No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.” A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Carl Sagan
  • A little science estranges a man from God. A lot of science brings him back. Francis Bacon
  • The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge. Albert Einstein
  • Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. Albert Einstein
.

Religion and politics

.

Most seem to agree that politics and religion don’t mix well

  • The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • I’m completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. These two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death. George Carlin
  • Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the ‘wall of separation between church and state,’ therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society. Thomas Jefferson
  • Almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so. Robert A. Heinlein
  • The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries. James Madison
  • Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is. Mahatma Gandhi
  • Once you attempt legislation upon religious grounds, you open the way for every kind of intolerance and religious persecution. William Butler Yeats
  • Religion flourishes in greater purity, without than with the aid of Government. James Madison
  • The introduction of religious passion into politics is the end of honest politics, and the introduction of politics into religion is the prostitution of true religion. Lord Hailsham
  • It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so… Robert Heinlein
  • Among politicians the esteem of religion is profitable; the principles of it are troublesome. Benjamin Whichcote
  • A cult is a religion with no political power. Tom Wolfe
  • Politics
.

… although some say, in practice, it’s very hard to separate them

  • Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is. Mahatma Gandhi
  • I claim that human mind or human society is not divided into watertight compartments called social, political and religious. All act and react upon one another. Mohandas K. Gandhi
  • In the founding era of our country, it was not organized religion but personal faith that brought focus and unified the early leadership–maybe an unspoken faith in God, and certain values that came with that faith. So in that sense, we cannot discount, in my judgment, religious faith in politics. Billy Graham
  • Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. George Washington
  • Religious ideas, supposedly private matters between man and god, are in practice always political ideas. Christopher Hitchens
.

Religion and spirituality

.

Many feel that organised religion has become impersonal, ritualised and devoid of spirituality and real joy …

  • Religion has become an impersonal affair, an institutional loyalty. It survives on the level of activities rather than in the stillness of commitment. Abraham Joshua Heschel
  • Any religion…is for ever in danger of petrifaction into mere ritual and habit, though ritual and habit be essential to religion. S. Eliot
  • I also see the world of religion. I see some of my brothers and sisters trying to be religious without being fully human. They seem a little rigid and narrow at times, wanting to be holy, but not human. They seem to be winning a place in heaven, without realizing or enjoying the beauty of earth. They keep the ten commandments, but their observances look so joyless.  Such a world seems small and the air in that world is stale.  John Powell, S.J.
  • JoySpirituality
.

… and that is has lost touch with true humanity and love

  • We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. Jonathan Swift
  • Religion without humanity is very poor human stuff. Sojourner Truth
  • When you’re too religious, you tend to point your finger to judge instead of extending your hand to help. Steve Maraboli
  • A great deal of what passes for current Christianity consists in denouncing other people’s vices and faults. Henry H. Williams
  • Love
.

Many are abandoning organised religion for a less prescriptive, more spiritual approach…

  • The spiritual path is not about religions or dogma. It is not about finding the one true way. It is simply the wonder of our own beauty being revealed to ourselves. Of discovering inner sources of power and guidance and following the path our hearts show us. It is about opening ourselves up to the amazing possibilities that life affords us. For there is more here than we can possibly imagine, and all will be greatly rewarded who venture within. John Kehoe
  • The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God and avoid dogmas and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things, natural and spiritual, as a meaningful unity. Albert Einstein
  • Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God. Lenny Bruce
.

… often creating their own philosophies and spiritual paths by piecing together truths from several different sources

  • A man has no religion who has not slowly and painfully gathered one together, adding to it, shaping it; and one’s religion is never complete and final, it seems, but must always be undergoing modification. H. Lawrence
  • Perhaps not one religion contains all of the truth of the world. Perhaps every religion contains fragments of the truth, and it is our responsibility to identify those fragments and piece them together. Christopher Paolini
  • Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in your reading have been like the blast of triumph out of Shakespeare, Seneca, Moses, John and Paul. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • In the matter of religion, people eagerly fasten their eyes on the difference between their own creed and yours; whilst the charm of the study is in finding the agreements and identities in all the religions of humanity. Ralph Waldo Emerson
.

Religion and humour

  • Nowhere is there an account or portrait of Christ laughing… he is always stern, serious and as gloomy as a prison guard. Never does one see him laughing until tears appear in his eyes like the roly-poly squint- eyed Buddha guffawing with arms upraised.
  • I have always noticed that deeply and truly religious persons are fond of a joke, and I am suspicious of those who aren’t. Alfred North Whitehead
  • It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it. G.K. Chesterton
  • God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh. Voltaire
  • The total absence of humour from the Bible is one of the most singular things in all literature. Alfred North Whitehead
  • One man’s religion is another man’s belly laugh. Robert A. Heinlein
  • To listen to some devout people, one would imagine that God never laughs. Ghose Aurobindo
  • Progress is nothing but the victory of laughter over dogma. Benjamin De Cassere
  • Sex is God’s joke on human beings. Bette Davis
  • One man’s theology is another man’s belly laugh. Robert A. Heinlein
  • The pug is living proof that God has a sense of humor. Margo Kaufman
  • I have never understood why it should be considered derogatory to the Creator to suppose that he has a sense of humour. William Ralph Inge
  • Humour
.

Religion and sex

  • To hear many religious people talk, one would think God created the torso, head, legs and arms, but the devil slapped on the genitals.  Don Schrader
  • I thank God I was raised Catholic, so sex will always be dirty. John Waters
  • Of the delights of this world man cares most for sexual intercourse, yet he has left it out of his heaven. Mark Twain
  • Religion is probably, after sex, the second oldest resource which human beings have available to them for blowing their minds. Susan Sonrag
  • Sex is the substitute religion of the 20th Century. Malcolm Muggeridge
  • Sex is the mysticism of materialism and the only possible religion in a materialistic society. Malcolm Muggeridge
  • Sex is not sinful, but sin has perverted it. Walter Lang
  • If every time you engage in a sex act, you go into a confession box, you will never accept your own sexuality. George Weinberg
  • Why should we take advice on sex from the pope? If he knows anything about it, he shouldn’t!  George Bernard Shaw
  • Christian fundamentalism is the doctrine that there is an absolutely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable, universe spanning entity that is deeply and personally concerned about my sex life. Andrew Lias
  • Take the Kama Sutra. How many people died from the Kama Sutra as opposed to the Bible? Who wins? Frank Zappa
  • The church should just stay out of people’s pants. Alex Sanchez
  • Sexuality
.

Religion and death

.

Religion and death are strongly intertwined

  • We do not know what to do with this short life, yet we yearn for another that will be eternal. Anatole France
  • Is there life before birth? Graffiti
  • There was a time when we were not: this gives us no concern – why then should it trouble us that a time will come when we shall cease to be? William Hazlitt
  • Whether we like it or not, the one justification for the existence of all religions is death, they need death as much as we need bread to eat. José Saramago
  • Our hope of immortality does not come from any religions, but nearly all religions come from that hope. Robert Green Ingersoll
  • I do not believe in revealed religion – I will have nothing to do with your immortality; we are miserable enough in this life, without speculating on another. Lord Byron
  • Death
.

Live for your religion, don’t die for it

  • To die for a religion is easier than to live it absolutely. Jorge Luis Borges
  • Men will wrangle for religion; write for it; fight for it; die for it; anything but live for it. C. Colton
  • Martyrdom has always been a proof of intensity, never of the correctness of a belief. Arthur Schnitzler
.

When religions die

  • When men destroy their old gods they will find new ones to take their place. Pearl S. Buck
  • Gods die when they are forgotten. Neil Gaiman
  • All religions die of one disease – that of being found out. John Morley
  • Religion is one of the phases of thought through which the world is passing. Robert Green Ingersoll
  • Any religion…is for ever in danger of petrifaction into mere ritual and habit, though ritual and habit be essential to religion. S. Eliot
  • Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines. Bertrand Russell
  • The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief. Sigmund Freud
.

Final thoughts

.

Religion and atheism

  • Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all of which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, even if religion vanished; but religious superstition dismounts all these and erects an absolute monarchy in the minds of men. Francis Bacon
  • Calling atheism a religion is like calling bald a hair color. Don Hirschberg
  • I am a deeply religious nonbeliever — this is a somewhat new kind of religion. Albert Einstein
  • I’m an atheist and I thank God for it. George Bernard Shaw
  • If there is a God, atheism must seem to Him as less of an insult than religion. Edmond De Goncourt
  • A thorough reading and understanding of the Bible is the surest path to atheism. Donald Morgan
  • Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived. Isaac Asimov
  • Atheism
.

Heaven and hell

  • Man has imagined a heaven, and has left entirely out of it the supremest of all his delights…sexual intercourse!…His heaven is like himself: strange, interesting, astonishing, grotesque. I give you my word, it has not a single feature in it that he actually values. Mark Twain
  • I don’t believe in an afterlife, so I don’t have to spend my whole life fearing hell, or fearing heaven even more. For whatever the tortures of hell, I think the boredom of heaven would be even worse. Isaac Asimov
  • Go to heaven for the climate and hell for the company. Mark Twain
  • In heaven, all the interesting people are missing. Friedrich Nietzsche
  • The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven. John Milto
  • HeavenHell
.

Religion and truth

  • The difficulty with pragmatic arguments for a religion is that truths do not always ‘work’, and beliefs that ‘work’ are by no means always true. John Warwick Montgomery
  • Truth, in matters of religion, is simply the opinion that has survived. Oscar Wilde
  • Most men would kill the truth if truth would kill their religion. Lemuel K. Washburn
  • Truth
.

Religious challenges today

  • 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. LeGuin
  • The problem to be faced is: how to combine loyalty to one’s own tradition with reverence for different traditions. Abraham Joshua Heschel
.

Religion is everywhere

  • We have been looking for the burning bush, the parting of the sea, the bellowing voice from heaven. Instead we should be looking at the ordinary day-by day events in our lives for evidence of the miraculous.  M. Scott Peck
  • Religion is not any particular teaching. Religion is everywhere. Suzuki Roshi
.

On a lighter note 

  • A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism. Carl Sagan
  • A cult is a religion with no political power. Thomas Wolfe
  • A man will do more for his stubbornness than for his religion or his country. Edgar Watson Howe
  • A religion can no more afford to degrade its Devil than to degrade its God. Havelock Ellis
  • Atheism is a fervid belief in disbelief. Dr Laurence Peter
  • Basically, the Catholic religion is ‘If it feels good – stop.’ Adam Ferrara
  • Be sure to lie to your kids about the benevolent, all-seeing Santa Claus. It will prepare them for an adulthood of believing in God. Scott Dikkers
  • Calendar: An attempt underwritten by the principal religions to make the heavenly bodies keep regular hours.
  • Catholicism is the most adhesive religion in the world; if you joined the Taliban you’d merely be regarded as a bad Catholic. Dara’– Briain
  • Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.
  • God – the John Doe of philosophy and religion. Elbert Hubbard
  • God save us from religion. David Eddings
  • Going to war over religion is basically just killing people in an argument over who has the better imaginary friend. Richard Jeni
  • Humanity without religion is like a serial killer without a chainsaw.
  • I am determined that my children shall be brought up in their father’s religion if they can find out what it is. Charles Lamb
  • I believe in God; I just don’t trust anyone who works for him.
  • I did not marry the first girl that I fell in love with, because there was a tremendous religious conflict, at the time. She was an atheist, and I was an agnostic. Woody Allen
  • I do benefits for all religions – I’d hate to blow the hereafter on a technicality. Bob Hope
  • I read the bible – every goddam day. George Patton
  • I think of the church often; not because religion was closing in on me but because for a long time my ass was sore from that hard unupholstered pew. C. Fields
  • I was just thinking, if it is really religion with these nudist colonies, they sure must turn atheists in the wintertime. Will Rogers
  • I was thinking about how people seem to read the bible a lot more as they get older, and then it dawned on me—they’re cramming for their final exam. George Carlin
  • I’ve begun worshipping the sun for a number of reasons. First of all, unlike some other gods I could mention, I can see the sun. It’s there for me every day. And the things it brings me are quite apparent all the time: heat, light, food, and a lovely day. There’s no mystery, no one asks for money, I don’t have to dress up, and there’s no boring pageantry. And interestingly enough, I have found that the prayers I offer to the sun and the prayers I formerly offered to “God” are all answered at about the same 50% rate. George Carlin
  • I’ve never understood how God could expect his creatures to pick the one true religion by faith — it strikes me as a sloppy way to run a universe. Robert A. Heinlein
  • I’m an atheist and I thank God for it. George Bernard Shaw
  • If fishing is a religion fly, fishing is high church. Tom Brokaw
  • If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank.   Woody Allen
  • In England there are sixty different religions and only one sauce. Francis Caracciolo
  • Most people have some sort of religion, at least they know which church they’re staying away from. John Erskine
  • My wife converted me to religion; I never believed in hell until I married her. Harold Eugene ‘Hal’ Roach Sr.
  • Photons have mass? I didn’t even know they were Catholic. Woody Allen
  • Reason has been a part of organized religion ever since two nudists took dietary advice from a talking snake. Jon Stewart
  • Religion: A broad concept trapped in narrow minds   Bowles
  • Religion: A great perhaps.   Francois Rabelais
  • Religion has convinced people that there’s an invisible man … living in the sky. Who watches everything you do every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a list of ten specific things he doesn’t want you to do. And if you do any of these things, he will send you to a special place, of burning and fire and smoke and torture and anguish for you to live forever, and suffer, and suffer, and burn, and scream, until the end of time. But he loves you. He loves you. He loves you and he needs money. George Carlin
  • Religion is basically guilt with different holidays. Cathy Ladman
  • Religion is probably, after sex, the second oldest resource which human beings have available to them for blowing their minds. Susan Sonrag
  • Religion often gets credit for curing rascals when old age is the real medicine. Austin O’Malley
  • A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce
  • It’s given people hope in a world torn apart by religion.
  • Scriptures: The sacred books of our holy religion as distinguished from the false and profane writings on which all other faiths are based. Ambrose Bierce
  • Sex is the substitute religion of the 20th Century.
  • Sunday school is a prison in which children do penance for the evil conscience of their parents. L. Mencken
  • The difference between a saint and a hypocrite is that one lies for his religion the other by it. Minna Antrim
  • The easy confidence with which I know another man’s religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. Mark Twain
  • The first time I sang in the church choir; two hundred people changed their religion. Fred Allen
  • The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion or ethnic background, is that we all believe we are above-average drivers. Dave Barry
  • The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have the two as close together as possible. George Burns
  • To you I’m an atheist; to God, I’m the Loyal Opposition. Woody Allen
  • Tracy: So what’s your religion Liz Lemon? Liz: I pretty much do whatever Oprah tells me to do. Tina Fey
  • We have a whole religion based on a woman who really stuck to her story. Greg Giraldo
  • 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. L. Mencken
  • What a pity it is that we have no amusements in England but vice and religion. Reverend Sydney Smith
  • When one guy sees an invisible man he’s a nut case; ten people see him it’s a cult; ten million people see him it’s a respected religion. Richard Jeni
.
.