Which of These Notions about God Seem to You
Most Appealing or Least Harmful?
God is a spirit, and those who worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. [28:35 minutes into The Gospel of John, John 4:24]
Jesus of Nazareth
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.
God is greater than that which we can conceive.
God is not a thing; He’s a process fulfilling itself.
If by “God” one means the set of physical laws that govern the universe, then clearly there is such a God.
If God wants us to do a thing, He should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till He has done this before paying much attention to Him.
The Irresistible and the Indisputable are the two weapons which the very nature of God’s scheme forbids Him to use. Merely to over-ride human will (as His felt presence in any but the faintest degree would certainly do) would be for Him useless.
C. S. Lewis
My comprehension of God comes from the deeply felt conviction of a superior intelligence that reveals itself in the knowable world.
The importance of the God-belief would be that it allowed us to adjust and survive as a species.
We have to begin to think of God not as an external, supernatural power living in the sky, but as the divine quality of this world.
The root phrase for all Christian theism was this, that God was a creator, as an artist is a creator. All creation and procreation is a breaking off... A woman loses a child even in having a child.
G. K. Chesterton
An “impersonal God”—well and good. A subjective God of beauty, truth and goodness, inside our own heads—better still. A formless life-force surging through us, a vast power which we can tap—best of all. But God Himself, alive, pulling at the other end of the cord, perhaps approaching at an infinite speed, the hunter, king, husband—that is quite another matter.
C. S. Lewis
How Far are You Prepared to Stretch the
Meaning of the Words ‘Religion’ and ‘Religious’?
[A religious assertion is] the assertion of an intention to carry out a certain behaviour policy, subsumable under a sufficiently general principle to be a moral one, together with the implicit or explicit statement, but not necessarily the assertion of certain [scriptural] stories.
What I mean by a religious person is one who conceives himself or herself to be the instrument of some purpose in the universe which is a high purpose, and is the motive power of evolution.
George Bernard Shaw
Marxism supplies its own refutation, for while its philosophy is materialistic, the driving force in its historical development has been essentially religious.
In his essay A Short View of Russia, John Maynard Keynes had analyzed Leninism as a combination of two factors usually kept separate, business economics and religious conviction. The economics, he argued, were destined to fail; only the religious power could survive.
Although [Bertrand] Russell was hostile to religion, he was nevertheless a religious man. This is only a seeming paradox. It is possible to have a religious attitude to life without belief in supernatural beings and occurrences. Such an attitude is one in which appreciation of art, love, and knowledge brings nourishment to the human spirit, and carries with it a sense of awe before the world and those one loves, and a concomitant sense of the immensity of which one is part.
A. C. Grayling
What we have to do, and what privately we do do, is to treat the religious instinct with profound respect, but to insist that there is no shred or particle of truth in any of the metaphysics it has suggested: to palliate this by trying to bring out the beauty of the world and of life, so far as it exists, and above all to insist upon preserving the seriousness of the religious attitude and its habits of asking ultimate questions.
Bertrand Russell (letter, July 16, 1903)
Evolution is a religion. It was true in the beginning and it is still true today.
In a single stroke, the idea of evolution by natural selection unifies the realm of life, meaning, and purpose with the realm of space and time, cause and effect, mechanism and physical law.
Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.
[George Bernard] Shaw was to speak of socialism as having given him a ‘religion.’ From the hour of his conversion, he wrote, ‘I became a man with some business in the world.’
Michael Holroyd (biographer)
I find the Left absolutely saturated with religiosity. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I’ve run out of patience with it.
In its extreme form the passion for work, naturally blind to every form of divine worship and often inimical to it, turns abruptly into its contrary, and work becomes a religion.
The business man’s religion and glory demand that he should make much money; therefore, like the Hindu widow, he suffers the torment gladly.
Life is activity and experience; constructive activity and intelligent experience is without exception religious... as soon as you start to worry about your soul, you’re getting away from religion, and as soon as you get to work, you’re being religious.
True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.
Rationalism holds that religion is just self-interested priest-craft.
It is the hard-headed stockbroker, who knows no history and believes no religion, who is, nevertheless, perfectly convinced that all these priests are knaves.
G. K. Chesterton
Religion and art are the two most important phenomena in the world; or rather the most important phenomenon, for they are basically the same thing.
Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy and religion—all in one.
Religion...has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, ‘Here is an idea or a notion that you’re not allowed to say anything bad about; you’re just not. Why not?—because you’re not!’
In so far as religion is gone, reason is going. For they are both of the same primary and authoritative kind. They are both methods of proof which cannot themselves be proved.
G. K. Chesterton
The key to culture is religion.
Daniel Dennett (TED Talks 13:05 minutes in)
I believe, after so many years in the classroom, that teaching religion as culture really gives perspective, gives people the long view, gives them a sense of eternity... I think religious thinking is crucial to understanding the universe.
[Northrop] Frye fiercely emphasized the Bible as a central element of education. A grade eight student who didn’t know the story of the prodigal son, he pronounced, “has been deprived of one of the keys to the whole imagination and thought of western culture, no less than if he had been deprived of the multiplication table.”
The problem of the modern world is that it has continued to be religious when it has ceased to be rational.
G. K. Chesterton
Without religion we just worship something worse.
The true meaning of religion is not simply morality, but morality touched by emotion.
Nothing is worse than a bogus religion, and nothing is more bogus than a vague emotionalism divorced from thought and philosophy.
To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I am a devoutly religious man.
In this sense I too am religious, with the reservation that ‘cannot grasp’ does not have to mean ‘forever ungraspable.’ But I prefer not to call myself religious because it is misleading. It is destructively misleading because, for the vast majority of people, ‘religion’ implies ‘supernatural.’
When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called Religion.
Robert M. Pirsig
Religion consists of believing that everything that happens is extraordinarily important.
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