The only mark of God in us is that we feel that we are not God. ~ Simone Weil
When we consider what is our thought of God we find that it is our own soul stripped of all inferiority and carried out to perfection. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Only the idea of God gives me the confidence that morality will become reality on earth. And because I cannot live without this confidence, I cannot live without God. ~ Hermann Cohen
He best honors God who makes his intellect as like God as possible. ~ Quintus Sextius
If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him. ~ Voltaire
The love of gain, which is a large, incalculably large, element in every soul, when once applied to the desire for God, will bless the one who has it. ~ Gregory of Nyssa
If we find great difficulty from its admirable arrangement in conceiving that the Universe has existed from all eternity, and to resolve this difficulty suppose a Creator, how much more clearly must we perceive the necessity of this very Creator’s creation. ~ Percy Bysshe Shelley
Even we knowers of today, we godless anti-metaphysicians, still take our fire, too, from the flame lit by the thousand-year-old faith, the Christian faith which was also Plato's faith, that God is truth; that truth is divine. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
God is for man the commonplace book where he registers his highest feelings and thoughts, the genealogical album into which he enters the names of the things most dear and sacred to him. ~ Ludwig Feuerbach
You see what it was that really triumphed over the Christian God: Christian morality itself, the concept of truthfulness that was understood more rigorously, the father confessor’s refinement of the Christian conscience, translated and sublimated into a scientific conscience, into intellectual cleanliness at any price. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche
If I said decisively, “I have seen God,” that which I see would change. Instead of the inconceivable unknown—wildly free before me, leaving me wild and free before it—there would be a dead object and the thing of the theologian, to which the unknown would be subjugated. ~ Georges Bataille
How wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know. ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Quotations listed alphabetically by author or work.
I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires. ~ Susan B. Anthony
"I refuse to prove that I exist," says God, "for proof denies faith, and without faith, I am nothing."
"Oh," says man, "but the Babel fish is a dead give-away, isn't it? It proves You exist, and so therefore You don't."
"Oh, I hadn't thought of that," says God, who promptly vanishes in a puff of logic.
When we say God is a spirit, we know what we mean, as well as we do when we say that the pyramids of Egypt are matter. Let us be content, therefore, to believe him to be a spirit, that is, an essence that we know nothing of, in which originally and necessarily reside all energy, all power, all capacity, all activity, all wisdom, all goodness.
Nearer, my God, to Thee—
Nearer to Thee—
E'en though it be a cross
That raiseth me;
Still all my song shall be
Nearer, my God, to Thee,
Nearer to Thee!
Sarah Flower Adams, Nearer, my God, to Thee! (c. 1841); an article in Notes and Queries states that the words were written by her sister, Mrs. Byrdes Flower Adams, and the music only by Sarah Flower Adams.
Nec audiendi qui solent dicere, vox populi, vox Dei, quum tumultuositas vulgi semper insaniae proxima sit.
And those people should not be listened to who keep saying the voice of the people is the voice of God, since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.
Variant translation: We should not listen to those who like to affirm that the voice of the people is the voice of God, for the tumult of the masses is truly close to madness.
Alcuin Works, Epistle 127 (to Charlemagne, AD 800)
Never place a period where God has placed a comma.
Gracie Allen, in her last letter to George Burns, as quoted in Two Minutes for God : Quick Fixes for the Spirit (2007) by Peter B. Panagore, p. 73; this was later used in a slogan for the United Church of Christ: Never place a period where God has placed a comma. God Is Still Speaking.
Not only is there no God, but try getting a plumber on weekends.
The important thing, I think, is not to be bitter... if it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he is evil. I think that the worst thing you could say is that he is, basically, an under-achiever. If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse.
Woody Allen, Love and Death (1975); also quoted in What Do Jews Believe? : The Customs and Culture of Modern Judaism (2007) by Edward Kessler, p. 66
To you I'm an atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition.
How can I believe in God when just last week I got my tongue caught in the roller of an electric typewriter?
Woody Allen, as quoted in Love, Sex, Death & The Meaning of Life : The Films of Woody Allen (2001) by Foster Hirsch, p. 50
I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.
Susan B. Anthony, in an address to the National American Woman Suffrage Association (1896)
God is the most noble of beings. Now it is impossible for a body to be the most noble of beings; for a body must be either animate or inanimate; and an animate body is manifestly nobler than any inanimate body. But an animate body is not animate precisely as body; otherwise all bodies would be animate. Therefore its animation depends upon some other thing, as our body depends for its animation on the soul. Hence that by which a body becomes animated must be nobler than the body. Therefore it is impossible that God should be a body.
If I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul.
God, in order to speak to Abraham, must come from somewhere, must enter the earthly realm from some unknown heights or depths. Whence does he come, whence does he call to Abraham? We are not told. He does not come, like Zeus or Poseidon, from the Aethiopians, where he has been enjoying a sacrificial feast. Nor are we told anything of his reasons for tempting Abraham so terribly. He has not, like Zeus, discussed them in set speeches with other gods gathered in council; nor have the deliberations in his own heart been presented to us; unexpected and mysterious, he enters the scene from some unknown height or depth and calls: Abraham! It will at once be said that this is to be explained by the particular concept of God which the Jews held and which was wholly different from that of the Greeks. True enough—but this constitutes no objection. For how is the Jewish concept of God to be explained? Even their earlier God of the desert was not fixed in form and content, and was alone; his lack of form, his lack of local habitation, his singleness, was in the end not only maintained but developed even further in competition with the comparatively far more manifest gods of the surrounding Near Eastern world. The concept of God held by the Jews is less a cause than a symptom of their manner of comprehending and representing things.
Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature, Willard R. Trask, trans. (Princeton: 1953), chapter 1
For He is called omnipotent on account of His doing what He wills, not on account of His suffering what He wills not; for if that should befall Him, He would by no means be omnipotent. Wherefore, He cannot do some things for the very reason that He is omnipotent.
God, the supreme being, is neither circumscribed by space, nor touched by time; he cannot be found in a particular direction, and his essence cannot change. The secret conversation is thus entirely spiritual; it is a direct encounter between God and the soul, abstracted from all material constraints.
Avicenna, as quoted in 366 Readings From Islam (2000), edited by Robert Van der Weyer
Allnames of God remain hallowed because they have been used not only to speak of God but also to speak to him. ~ Martin Buber
A jealous lover of human liberty, and deeming it the absolute condition of all that we admire and respect in humanity, I reverse the phrase of Voltaire, and say that if God really existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.
The glory of God is not contingent on man's good will, but all existence subserves his purposes. The system of the universe is as a celestial poem, whose beauty is from all eternity, and must not be marred by human interpolations. Things proceed as they were ordered, in their nice, and well-adjusted, and perfect harmony; so that as the hand of the skilful artist gathers music from the harp-strings, history calls it forth from the well-tuned chords of time. Not that this harmony can be heard during the tumult of action. Philosophy comes after events, and gives the reason of them, and describes the nature of their results. The great mind of collective man may, one day, so improve in self-consciousness as to interpret the present and foretell the future; but as yet, the end of what is now happening, though we ourselves partake in it, seems to fall out by chance. All is nevertheless one whole; individuals, families, peoples, the race, march in accord with the Divine will; and when any part of the destiny of humanity is fulfilled, we see the ways of Providence vindicated. The antagonisms of imperfect matter and the perfect idea, of liberty and necessary law, become reconciled. What seemed irrational confusion, appears as the web woven by light, liberty and love. But this is not perceived till a great act in the drama of life is finished. The prayer of the patriarch, when he desired to behold the Divinity face to face, was denied; but he was able to catch a glimpse of Jehovah, after He had passed by; and so it fares with our search for Him in the wrestlings of the world. It is when the hour of conflict is over, that history comes to a right understanding of the strife, and is ready to exclaim: "Lo! God is here, and we knew it not."
If I said decisively, “I have seen God,” that which I see would change. Instead of the inconceivable unknown—wildly free before me, leaving me wild and free before it—there would be a dead object and the thing of the theologian, to which the unknown would be subjugated.
If by Godot I had meant God I would have said God, and not Godot.
Samuel Beckett, on the title of one of his most famous plays, Waiting for Godot, as quoted in The Essential Samuel Beckett : An Illustrated Biography, by Enoch Brater (revised edition, 2003), p. 75
How many questions arise in this place! Constantly the question comes up: Where was God in those days? Why was he silent? How could he permit this endless slaughter, this triumph of evil? . . . We must continue to cry out humbly yet insistently to God: Rouse yourself! Do not forget mankind, your creature!
Zeus, n. The chief of Grecian gods, adored by the Romans as Jupiter and by the modern Americans as God, Gold, Mob and Dog. Some explorers who have touched upon the shores of America, and one who professes to have penetrated a considerable distance to the interior, have thought that these four names stand for as many distinct deities, but in his monumental work on Surviving Faiths, Frumpp insists that the natives are monotheists, each having no other god than himself, whom he worships under many sacred names.
How wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know.
Only what is fated to die is capable of living. Only what dies lives. Why do you think Christ was killed? They killed him to prove that he wasn’t a god. But in killing him, they immortalized the perishable and transformed man into a god.
Some would deny any legitimate use of the word God because it has been misused so much. Certainly it is the most burdened of all human words. Precisely for that reason it is the most imperishable and unavoidable. And how much weight has all erroneous talk about God's nature and works (although there never has been nor can be any such talk that is not erroneous) compared with the one truth that all men who have addressed God really meant him? For whoever pronounces the word God and really means Thou, addresses, no matter what his delusion, the true Thou of his life that cannot be restricted by any other and to whom he stands in a relationship that includes all others.
When we rise out of [the night] into the new life and there begin to receive the signs, what can we know of that which—of him who gives them to us? Only what we experience from time to time from the signs themselves. If we name the speaker of this speech God, then it is always the God of a moment, a moment God.
According to mythological thinking, God has his domicile in heaven. What is the meaning of this statement? The meaning is quite clear. In a crude manner it expresses the idea that God is beyond the world, that He is transcendent. The thinking which is not yet capable of forming the abstract idea of transcendence expresses its intention in the category of space.
Rudolf Bultmann, “Jesus Christ and Mythology,” Interpreting Faith for the Modern Era, p. 294
God's merits are so transcendent that it is not surprising his faults should be in reasonable proportion.
Except during my childhood, when I was probably influenced by Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel depiction of God with a flowing white beard, I have never tried to project the Creator in any kind of human likeness. The vociferous debates about whether God is male or female seem ridiculous to me. I think of God as an omnipotent and omniscient presence, a spirit that permeates the universe, the essence of truth, nature, being, and life. To me, these are profound and indescribable concepts that seem to be trivialized when expressed in words.
Although every believing Christian understands that God guides our steps, fewer and fewer emphasize the point. A God working actively in the world makes us uneasy. We tend to like our God distant and a bit malleable, ready to bend to every new human idea. A God with a will of his own is too scary, and, besides, he might get in the way of our satisfaction of immediate desire.
Promises made to others in God's name engage the divine honor, fidelity, truthfulness, and authority. They must be respected in justice. To be unfaithful to them is to misuse God's name and in some way to make God out to be a liar. (1 John 1:10)
Catechism of the Catholic Church 2147
True religion consists in proposing, as our great end, a growing likeness to the Supreme Being. Its noblest influence consists in making us more and more partakers of the Divinity.
If [people] wish to love God, they [must] be prepared to do so no matter what His intentions. God is not just, God is not kind, God is not merciful, and understanding that is essential to true devotion.
First of all you – you fucking fake Christians – don’t fucking question my Christianity. I grew up in the church. My grandfather was a minister, who is with God now and talks to me in my dreams from God’s corner office. I am a former Sunday school teacher. I taught the Bible to children and showed them how to love God and invite him into their hearts. I believe in God – but I don’t fear him. God is my best friend. God is my ally. God is my boyfriend. God is my best fag. I am God’s fag hag cuz didn’t you know, God is a big fag. Serious bottom too. Butch in the streets, femme in the sheets. That is my God. God is my biggest fan. God gets me, dude.
God wants us all to just get along. He doesn’t give a shit about the profanity. The bitch fucking invented profanity. He thinks it is hilarious. He just wants you to talk to him, and he doesn’t care what you have to say. He just wants to keep the conversation going. Like Jay-Z, he just wants to love you. He just wants you to be able to make your own decisions. God is all about you and what you need. God is happy that you are gay. God made you fucking gay cuz he thinks it is awesome. God understands if you need to have an abortion. That is why he created abortion, on the 8th day. God accepts. God forgives. God loves all of us, even though some of us might have a problem with each other.
The rash assertion that ‘God made man in His own image’ is ticking like a time bomb at the foundations of many faiths, and as the hierarchy of the universe is disclosed to us, we may have to recognize this chilling truth: if there are any gods whose chief concern is man, they cannot be very important gods.
I don't believe in God but I'm very interested in her.
Arthur C. Clarke, as quoted in Multiple Intelligences in Practice : Enhancing Self-esteem and Learning in the Classroom (2006) by Mike Fleetham, Section 2 : Using MI
Haven’t you ever watched ants struggling with a load too big for them? How much did you care? Even if, like God, you marked the fall of every sparrow, you might simply be conducting a survey or expressing colossal boredom, like the people who delight in measuring things.
The God who appears to me is the comforter of the poor and their avenger in world history. This avenger of the poor is the God I love.
Hermann Cohen, The Concept of Religion in the System of Philosophy (1915), p. 81
Only the idea of God gives me the confidence that morality will become reality on earth. And because I cannot live without this confidence, I cannot live without God.
Hermann Cohen, Reason and Hope: Selections from the Jewish Writings of Hermann Cohen (1971), p. 5
Reason alone cannot prove the existence of God. Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind. You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page.
But who with filial confidence inspired,
Can lift to Heaven an unpresumptuous eye,
And smiling say, My Father made them all.
William Cowper, The Task (1785), Book V. The Winter Morning Walk, line 745
Acquaint thyself with God, if thou would'st taste
His works. Admitted once to his embrace,
Thou shalt perceive that thou wast blind before:
Thine eye shall be instructed; and thine heart
Made pure shall relish with divine delight
Till then unfelt, what hands divine have wrought.
I am an Agnostic because I am not afraid to think. I am not afraid of any god in the universe who would send me or any other man or woman to hell. If there were such a being, he would not be a god; he would be a devil.
Clarence Darrow as quoted in a eulogy for Darrow by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius (1938)
I am an agnostic as to the question of God. I think that it is impossible for the human mind to believe in an object or thing unless it can form a mental picture of such object or thing. Since man ceased to worship openly an anthropomorphic God and talked vaguely and not intelligently about some force in the universe, higher than man, that is responsible for the existence of man and the universe, he cannot be said to believe in God. One cannot believe in a force excepting as a force that pervades matter and is not an individual entity. To believe in a thing, an image of the thing must be stamped on the mind. If one is asked if he believes in such an animal as a camel, there immediately arises in his mind an image of the camel. This image has come from experience or knowledge of the animal gathered in some way or other. No such image comes, or can come, with the idea of a God who is described as a force.
To say that God made the universe gives us no explanation of the beginnings of things. If we are told that God made the universe, the question immediately arises: Who made God? Did he always exist, or was there some power back of that? Did he create matter out of nothing, or is his existence coextensive with matter? The problem is still there. What is the origin of it all? If, on the other hand, one says that the universe was not made by God, that it always existed, he has the same difficulty to confront. To say that the universe was here last year, or millions of years ago, does not explain its origin. This is still a mystery. As to the question of the origin of things, man can only wonder and doubt and guess.
Many Christians base the belief of a soul and God upon the Bible. Strictly speaking, there is no such book. To make the Bible, sixty-six books are bound into one volume. These books are written by many people at different times, and no one knows the time or the identity of any author. Some of the books were written by several authors at various times. These books contain all sorts of contradictory concepts of life and morals and the origin of things. Between the first and the last nearly a thousand years intervened, a longer time than has passed since the discovery of America by Columbus.
If you see yourself as God and then you come back from this state and somebody says, “Hey, Sam, empty the garbage!” it catches you back into the model of “I'm Sam who empties the garbage.” You can't maintain these new kinds of structures. It takes a while to realize that God can empty garbage.
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.
The trouble is that God in this sophisticated, physicist's sense bears no resemblance to the God of the Bible or any other religion. If a physicist says God is another name for Planck's constant, or God is a superstring, we should take it as a picturesque metaphorical way of saying that the nature of superstrings or the value of Planck's constant is a profound mystery. It has obviously not the smallest connection with a being capable of forgiving sins, a being who might listen to prayers, who cares about whether or not the Sabbath begins at 5pm or 6pm, whether you wear a veil or have a bit of arm showing; and no connection whatever with a being capable of imposing a death penalty on His son to expiate the sins of the world before and after he was born.
Richard Dawkins, from a lecture, extracted from The Nullifidian (December 1994)
It is solemn to remember that Vastness —
Is but the Shadow of the Brain which casts it — ~ Emily Dickinson
If man is created by an external source, then he must belong to that source and not to himself. According to Buddhism, man is responsible for everything he does. Thus Buddhists have no reason to believe that man came into existence in the human form through any external sources. They believe that man is here today because of his own action. He is neither punished nor rewarded by anyone but himself according to his own good and bad action. In the process of evolution, the human being came into existence. However, there are no Buddha-words to support the belief that the world was created by anybody. The scientific discovery of gradual development of the world-system conforms with the Buddha's Teachings.
Paul Dirac, as quoted in The Cosmic Code : Quantum Physics As The Language Of Nature (1982) by Heinz R. Pagels, p. 295; also in Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac : Reminiscences about a Great Physicist (1990) edited by Behram N. Kursunoglu and Eugene Paul Wigner, p. xv
One could perhaps describe the situation by saying that God is a mathematician of a very high order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the universe.
Clearly, the Scripture tells us that we lack the capacity to grasp God's infinite mind or the way He intervenes in our lives. How arrogant of us to think otherwise! Trying to analyze His omnipotence is like an amoeba attempting to comprehend the behavior of man.
Charles Hartshorne... informed me that my theological standpoint is Socinian. ...The main tenet of the Socinian heresy is that God is neither omniscient nor omnipotent. He learns and grows as the universe unfolds. ...I ...find it congenial, and consistent with scientific common sense. I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. ...We are the chief inlets of God on this planet at the present stage... We may later grow with him as he grows, or we may be left behind. ...If we are left behind, it is an end. If we keep on growing, it is a beginning.
I do not make any clear distinction between mind and God. God is what mind becomes when it has passed beyond the scale of our comprehension. God may be either a world-soul or a collection of world-souls. So I am thinking that atoms and humans and God may have minds that differ in degree but not in kind. We stand, in a manner of speaking, midway between the unpredictability of atoms and the unpredictability of God. Atoms are small pieces of our mental apparatus, and we are small pieces of God's mental apparatus. Our minds may receive inputs equally from atoms and from God. This view of our place in the cosmos may not be true, but it is compatible with the active nature of atoms as revealed in the experiments of modern physics. I don't say that this personal theology is supported or proved by scientific evidence. I only say that it is consistent with scientific evidence.
I do not claim any ability to read God's mind. I am sure of only one thing. When we look at the glory of stars and galaxies in the sky and the glory of forests and flowers in the living world around us, it is evident that God loves diversity. Perhaps the universe is constructed according to a principle of maximum diversity.
Freeman Dyson, in "Progress In Religion : A Talk By Freeman Dyson" (9 May 2000)
Where the human being in obedience goes out from his “I” and dismisses what is his own, God must necessarily enter in precisely there; for when someone does not will anything for himself, God must will for that person in the same ay as He wills for himself.
If God is as real as the shadow of the Great War on Armistice Day, need we seek further reason for making a place for God in our thoughts and lives? We shall not be concerned if the scientific explorer reports that he is perfectly satisfied that he has got to the bottom of things without having come across either.
God created men to enjoy, not destroy, the fruits of the earth and of their own toil. ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
If we pray to God as a corporeal person, this will prevent us from relinquishing the human doubts and fears which attend such a belief, and so we cannot grasp the wonders wrought by infinite, incorporeal Love, to whom all things are possible.
Nature is what we know. We do not know the gods of religions. And nature is not kind, or merciful, or loving. If God made me — the fabled God of the three qualities of which I spoke: mercy, kindness, love — He also made the fish I catch and eat. And where do His mercy, kindness, and love for that fish come in? No; nature made us — nature did it all — not the gods of the religions
Thomas Edison, ""No Immortality of the Soul" says Thomas A. Edison. In Fact, He Doesn't Believe There Is a Soul — Human Beings Only an Aggregate of Cells and the Brain Only a Wonderful Machine, Says Wizard of Electricity". New York Times. October 2, 1910
I do not believe in the God of the theologians; but that there is a Supreme Intelligence I do not doubt.
Thomas Edison, The Freethinker (1970), G.W. Foote & Company, Volume 90, p. 147
I see only with deep regret that God punishes so many of His children for their numerous stupidities, for which only He Himself can be held responsible; in my opinion, only His nonexistence could excuse Him.
The God Spinoza revered is my God, too: I meet Him everyday in the harmonious laws which govern the universe. My religion is cosmic, and my God is too universal to concern himself with the intentions of every human being. I do not accept a religion of fear; My God will not hold me responsible for the actions that necessity imposes. My God speaks to me through laws.
Albert Einstein, in an interview (1948), quoted in Einstein and the Poet : In Search of the Cosmic Man (1983) by William Hermanns, p. 59
About God, I cannot accept any concept based on the authority of the Church. As long as I can remember, I have resented mass indoctrination. I do not believe in the fear of life, in the fear of death, in blind faith. I cannot prove to you that there is no personal God, but if I were to speak of him, I would be a liar. I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil. My God created laws that take care of that. His universe is not ruled by wishful thinking, but by immutable laws.
Albert Einstein, in an interview (1948), quoted in Einstein and the Poet : In Search of the Cosmic Man (1983) by William Hermanns, p. 132
It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious, then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
Albert Einstein, in a letter to an atheist, written in English (24 March 1954), included in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas and Banesh Hoffman.
My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.
What I see in nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of ‘humility.’ This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism. . . . My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. . . . I want to know how God created this world. I want to know his thoughts, the rest are details.
These proposals spring, without ulterior purpose or political passion, from our calm conviction that the hunger for peace is in the hearts of all peoples--those of Russia and of China no less than of our own country. They conform to our firm faith that God created men to enjoy, not destroy, the fruits of the earth and of their own toil.
It is not by accident that the enormous popularity of the “death of God” was born in our world of images: the impossibility of representing God visually leads inevitably in our day to the impossibility of his existence. God is dead—but beyond all the explicit reasons generally offered, he is dead because he is not visible. We can have confidence only in a visible God who is clearly manifested, exclusively in the visual dimension.
Jacques Ellul, The Humiliation of the Word (1981), J. Hanks, trans. (1985), p. 198
Throughout the Old Testament we see God choosing what is weak and humble to represent him (the stammering Moses, the infant Samuel, Saul from an insignificant family, David confronting Goliath, etc.). Paul tells us that God chooses the weak things of the world to confound the mighty. Here, however, we have a striking contradiction. In Constantine God is supposedly choosing an Augustus, a triumphant military leader. This vision and this miracle are totally impossible. But they are not impossible in the context of Christianity that is already off the rails, that thinks of God as the one who directs history and is the motive power in politics.
Jacques Ellul, The Subversion of Christianity (1982), G. Bromiley, trans. (1986), p. 123
When we consider what is our thought of God we find that it is our own soul stripped of all inferiority and carried out to perfection.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Sermon 86 (1830), The Complete Sermons of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Volume 2 (1990), p. 243
By going much alone a man will get more of a noble courage in thought and word than from all the wisdom that is in books. He will come to hear God speak as audibly through his own lips as ever He did by the mouth of Moses or Isaiah or Milton.
Man thinking must not be subdued by his instruments. Books are for the scholar’s idle times. When he can read God directly, the hour is too precious to be wasted in other men’s transcripts of their readings.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, “The American Scholar,” Addresses and Lectures, Complete Works (1883), vol. 1, p. 92
In calling his two sons by the names of Gershom and Eliezer, Moses, like Joseph and other righteous men, intended to have the fact of God's help constantly before him. Since his sons would be with him, and he would often address them or call them by name, he would remember his gratitude to God.
Moses wanted to know God's name, and God tells him, 'I am that I am'; that is to say, 'I am called--or to be called-in accordance with my work in this world.' When I judge mankind I am אלהים Elohim, that being the title or designation for judgment. When I war with the wicked I am known as צבאות Zevooth. When I execute judgment for the sins of man I am known as אלשדי El Shadai, and when I am visiting the world with mercy I am אבני or יהוה Adonoi, the Eternal.
The matron whom we find so often arguing with Rabbi José observed one day to that sage, 'My god is surely greater than yours. When your God appeared to Moses in the bush, Moses merely covered his face, whilst when my god (the serpent) made its appearance he could not stand his ground at all, but had to run away out of fear.' 'Not so, 'returned the Rabbi, 'for in order to be out of the power of your god it sufficed for Moses to step a few paces back, but whither could he have fled from the presence of Him who filleth the earth?'
When God first called Moses, not being then an expert prophet, he was addressed in a voice similar to that of his own father, and he thought that his father had come to him from Egypt. God then told him that it was not his earthly father who called him, but the God of his father. Then, we find, Moses hid his face, which he did not do when first called by his name; not in fact until he heard the words, 'I am the God of thy fathers.'
By positing God as unknowable, man excuses himself to what is still left of his religious conscience for his oblivion of God, his surrender to the world. He negates God in practice – his mind and his senses have been absorbed by the world – but he does not negate him in theory. He does not attack his existence; he leaves it intact. But this existence neither affects nor incommodes him, for it is only a negative existence, an existence without existence; it is an existence that contradicts itself – a being that, in view of its effects, is indistinguishable from non-being.
Ludwig Feuerbach, The Essence of Christianity (1843), Z. Hanfi, trans., in The Fiery Brook (1972), p. 112
I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God and I believe in JesusChrist, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator. This is my Being.
Pope Francis, interviewed in "How the Church will change" by Eugenio Scalfari in La Repubblica (1 October 2013), as translated from Italian to English by Kathryn Wallace
I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid?
Benjamin Franklin, debates in the Constitutional Convention, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (June 28, 1787); reported in James Madison, Journal of the Federal Convention, ed. E. H. Scott (1893), p. 259–60. Franklin suggests that the Convention begin its sessions with prayers "imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations".
It is beyond my power to induce in you a belief in God. There are certain things which are self proved and certain which are not proved at all. ~ Mahatma Gandhi
I cannot think we are useless or Usen would not have created us. He created all tribes of men and certainly had a righteous purpose in creating each. ~ Geronimo
I looked and looked but I didn't see God.
Attributed to Yuri Gagarin after becoming the first person to orbit the Earth, as quoted in To Rise from Earth (1996) by Wayne Lee; the authenticity of this remark is disputed; Colonel Valentin Petrov stated in 2006 that the cosmonaut never said such words, and that the quote originated from Nikita Khrushchev's speech at the plenum of the Central Committee of the CPSU about the state's anti-religion campaign, saying "Gagarin flew into space, but didn't see any god there."
Sometimes misquoted as "I see no God up here" as if he said this in space, but there are no transcripts or recordings indicating that he ever did.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them.
Variant translation: I do not think it is necessary to believe that the same God who has given us our senses, reason, and intelligence wished us to abandon their use, giving us by some other means the information that we could gain through them.
Mathematics is the language in which God wrote the universe.
Attributed to Galileo Galilei in Statistics: Concepts and Applications (1994) by Harry Frank and Steven C. Althoen, p. xxi
It is beyond my power to induce in you a belief in God. There are certain things which are self proved and certain which are not proved at all. The existence of God is like a geometrical axiom. It may be beyond our heart grasp. I shall not talk of an intellectual grasp. Intellectual attempts are more or less failures, as a rational explanation cannot give you the faith in a living God. For it is a thing beyond the grasp of reason. It transcends reason. There are numerous phenomena from which you can reason out the existence of God, but I shall not insult your intelligence by offering you a rational explanation of that type. I would have you brush aside all rational explanations and begin with a simple childlike faith in God. If I exist, God exists. With me it is a necessity of my being as it is with millions. They may not be able to talk about it, but from their life you can see that it is a part of their life. I am only asking you to restore the belief that has been undermined. In order to do so, you have to unlearn a lot of literature that dazzles your intelligence and throws you off your feet. Start with the faith which is also a token of humility and an admission that we know nothing, that we are less than atoms in this universe. We are less than atoms, I say, because the atom obeys the law of its being, whereas we in the insolence of our ignorance deny the law of nature. But I have no argument to address to those who have no faith.
I cannot think we are useless or Usen would not have created us. He created all tribes of men and certainly had a righteous purpose in creating each.
Geronimo, as quoted in Geronimo's Story of His Life (1907) as told to S.M. Barrett in 1905 and 1906, "Usen" is the Apache word for God.
If we desire to hold on to solidarity with everyone else in the communicative fellowship, even the dead ... then we must claim a reality that can reach beyond the here and now, or that can connect our selves beyond our own death with those who innocently went to their destruction before us. And it is this reality that the Christian tradition calls God.
Jens Glebe-Möller, A Political Dogmatic (1987), p. 102
We all of us try to make God in our image. It is one of the worst of our temptations.
Maybe God isn't the sex police, Richard. Sometimes I think Christians get all hung up on the sex thing because it's easier to worry about sex than to ask yourself, am I a good person?[…] It makes it easy to be cruel, because as long as you're not fucking around, nothing you do can be that bad. Is that really all you think of God?
To the extent that we are free we are like God, who has no need of an idea of a God over Godself or of an incentive other than the moral law itself. But to the extent that we are also natural beings, we desire our own happiness in everything else that we desire, and we need the practical postulate of God to bring that happiness together with morality.
John E. Hare, “Ethics and Religion: Two Kantian Arguments,” Philosophical Investigations, vol. 34, no. 2 (April 2011), p. 165
You either have a God who sends child rapists to rape children or you have a God who simply watches it and says, ‘When you’re done, I’m going to punish you.’ If I could stop a person from raping a child, I would. That’s the difference between me and your God.
Futurist Aldo Palazzeschi... exhorts us in L'antidolore (1913) to laugh heartily at the mortality built into the plan of creation not out of spite, as has traditionally been the case, but because suffering and death are nothing but pranks of the prime trickster, God. If anything it is the devil who is the spirit of gravity, and it is in taking him seriously that we plummet from grace.
God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent — it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these divine attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills.
The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history.
The second most preposterous notion is that copulation is inherently sinful.
Religious ideas, supposedly private matters between man and god, are in practice always political ideas.
Christopher Hitchens, The Monarchy: A Critique of Britain's Favourite Fetish (1990), Chatto Counterblasts
Only a humorless tyrant could want a perpetual chanting of praises that, one has no choice but to assume, would be the innate virtues and splendors furnished him by his creator, infinite regression, drowned in praise!
The concept of God was for a long time the place where the idea was kept alive that there are other norms besides those to which nature and society give expression in their operation.
Max Horkheimer, "Thoughts on Religion," Critical Theory: Selected Essays (1995), p. 129
The significance of God, cause, number, substance or soul consists, as James asserts, in nothing but the tendency of the given concept to make us act or think. If the world should reach a point at which it ceases to care not only about such metaphysical entities but also about murders perpetrated behind closed frontiers or simply in the dark, one would have to conclude that the concepts of such murders have no meaning, that they represent no ‘distinct ideas’ or truths, since they do not make any ‘sensible difference to anybody.’
The Savage interrupted him. "But isn't it natural to feel there's a God?"
"You might as well ask if it's natural to do up one's trousers with zippers," said the Controller sarcastically. "You remind me of another of those old fellows called Bradley. He defined philosophy as the finding of bad reason for what one believes by instinct. As if one believed anything by instinct! One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them. Finding bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasons–that's philosophy. People believe in God because they've been conditioned to.
"But all the same," insisted the Savage, "it is natural to believe in God when you're alone–quite alone, in the night, thinking about death …"
"But people never are alone now," said Mustapha Mond. "We make them hate solitude; and we arrange their lives so that it's almost impossible for them ever to have it."
Why did it occur to anyone to believe in only one God? And conversely why did it ever occur to anyone to believe in many gods? To both these questions we must return the same answer: Because that is how the human mind happens to work. For the human mind is both diverse and simple, simultaneously many and one. We have an immediate perception of our own diversity and of that of the outside world. And at the same time we have immediate perceptions of our own oneness.
Would God give a bird wings and make it a crime to fly? Would he give me brains and make it a crime to think? Any God that would damn one of his children for the expression of his honest thought wouldn't make a decent thief. When I read a book and don't believe it, I ought to say so. I will do so and take the consequences like a man.
Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are a gift of God? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever.
Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.
Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to his nephew Peter Carr from Paris, France, (10 August 1787)
No historical fact is better established, than that the doctrine of one God, pure and uncompounded, was that of the early ages of Christianity … Nor was the unity of the Supreme Being ousted from the Christian creed by the force of reason, but by the sword of civil government, wielded at the will of the fanatic Athanasius.
Some foolish men declare that creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was created is ill advised and should be rejected. If God created the world, where was he before the creation? If you say he was transcendent then and needed no support, where is he now? How could God have made this world without any raw material? If you say that he made this first, and then the world, you are faced with an endless regression. If you declare that this raw material arose naturally you fall into another fallacy, For the whole universe might thus have been its own creator, and have arisen quite naturally. If God created the world by an act of his own will, without any raw material, then it is just his will and nothing else — and who will believe this silly nonsense? If he is ever perfect and complete, how could the will to create have arisen in him? If, on the other hand, he is not perfect, he could no more create the universe than a potter could. If he is form-less, action-less and all-embracing, how could he have created the world? Such a soul, devoid of all morality, would have no desire to create anything. If he is perfect, he does not strive for the three aims of man, so what advantage would he gain by creating the universe? If you say that he created to no purpose because it was his nature to do so, then God is pointless. If he created in some kind of sport, it was the sport of a foolish child, leading to trouble. If he created because of the karma of embodied beings [acquired in a previous creation] He is not the Almighty Lord, but subordinate to something else. If out of love for living beings and need of them he made the world, why did he not take creation wholly blissful free from misfortune? If he were transcendent he would not create, for he would be free: Nor if involved in transmigration, for then he would not be almighty. Thus the doctrine that the world was created by God makes no sense at all, And God commits great sin in slaying the children whom he himself created. If you say that he slays only to destroy evil beings, why did he create such beings in the first place? Good men should combat the believer in divine creation, maddened by an evil doctrine. Know that the world is uncreated, as time itself is, without beginning or end, and is based on the principles, life and rest. Uncreated and indestructible, it endures under the compulsion of its own nature.
Jinasena (9th Century) in the Mahāpurāna, as translated in Primal Myths (1979) by Barbara Sproul
The very pure spirit does not bother about the regard of others or human respect, but communes inwardly with God, alone and in solitude as to all forms, and with delightful tranquility, for the knowledge of God is received in divine silence.
St. John of the Cross in The Sayings of Light and Love as translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez (1991)
Truth seeth God, and Wisdom beholdeth God, and of these two cometh the third: that is, a holy marvellous delight in God; which is Love. Where Truth and Wisdom are verily, there is Love verily, coming of them both. And all of God’s making: for He is endless sovereign Truth, endless sovereign Wisdom, endless sovereign Love, unmade; and man’s Soul is a creature in God which hath the same properties made, and evermore it doeth that it was made for: it seeth God, it beholdeth God, and it loveth God. Whereof God enjoyeth in the creature; and the creature in God, endlessly marvelling.
In which marvelling he seeth his God, his Lord, his Maker so high, so great, and so good, in comparison with him that is made, that scarcely the creature seemeth ought to the self. But the clarity and the clearness of Truth and Wisdom maketh him to see and to bear witness that he is made for Love, in which God endlessly keepeth him.
Highly ought we to rejoice that God dwelleth in our soul, and much more highly ought we to rejoice that our soul dwelleth in God. Our soul is made to be God’s dwelling-place; and the dwelling-place of the soul is God, Which is unmade. And high understanding it is, inwardly to see and know that God, which is our Maker, dwelleth in our soul; and an higher understanding it is, inwardly to see and to know that our soul, that is made, dwelleth in God’s Substance: of which Substance, God, we are that we are.
And I saw no difference between God and our Substance: but as it were all God; and yet mine understanding took that our Substance is in God: that is to say, that God is God, and our Substance is a creature in God.
I beheld with reverent dread, and highly marvelling in the sight and in the feeling of the sweet accord, that our Reason is in God; understanding that it is the highest gift that we have received; and it is grounded in nature.
I saw full surely that ere God made us He loved us; which love was never slacked, nor ever shall be. And in this love He hath done all His works; and in this love He hath made all things profitable to us; and in this love our life is everlasting. In our making we had beginning; but the love wherein He made us was in Him from without beginning: in which love we have our beginning. And all this shall we see in God, without end.
A god is usually characteristic of a certain system of thought or morality. For instance, take the Christian God, the summum bonum: God is love, love being the highest moral principle; and God is spirit, the spirit being the supreme idea of meaning. All our Christian moral concepts derive from such assumptions, and the supreme essence of all of them is what we call God.
The Christian God is spirit and Christianity is spirit, and there is discord between the flesh and the spirit but the flesh is not the sensuous-it is the selfish. In this sense, even the spiritual can become sensuous-for example, if a person took his spiritual gifts in vain, he would then be carnal. And of course I know that it is not necessary for the Christian that Christ must have been physically beautiful; and it would be grievous-for a reason different from the one you give-because if beauty were some essential, how the believer would long to see him; but from all this it by no means follows that the sensuous is annihilated in Christianity.
If everything is assumed to be in order with regard to the Holy Scriptures-what then? Has the person who did not believe come a single step closer to faith? No, not a single step. Faith does not result from straightforward scholarly deliberation, nor does it come directly; on the contrary, in this objectivity one loses that infinite, personal, impassioned interestedness, which is the condition of faith, the everywhere and nowhere in which faith can come into existence. Has the person who did believe gained anything with regard to the power and strength of faith? No, not in the least; in this prolix knowledge, in this certainty that lurks at faith’s door and craves for it, he is rather in such a precarious position that much effort, much fear and trembling will be needed lest he fall into temptation and confuse knowledge with faith. Whereas up to now faith has been a beneficial taskmaster in uncertainty, but it would be its worst enemy in this certainty. If passion is taken away, faith no longer exists, and certainty and passion do not hitch up as a team.
Soren Kierkegaard, Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Fragments (1846) as translated by Hong, p. 29
Stephen King, Desperation, said by the character "Johnny Marinville"
Alex: You needn't take it any further, sir. You've proved to me that all this ultraviolence and killing is wrong, wrong, and terribly wrong. I've learned me lesson, sir. I've seen now what I've never seen before. I'm cured! Praise god!
The important point is that all the standard attributes assigned to God in our history could equally well be the characteristics of biological entities who billions of years ago were at a stage of development similar to man's own and evolved into something as remote from man as man is remote from the primordial ooze from which he first emerged.
One boy would not get it through his head that for all adults God is not an old man in a white beard sitting on a cloud. ~ Madeleine L'Engle
The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. ~ Abraham Lincoln
It isn't always the middle-aged who refuse to listen, who will not even try to understand another point of view. One boy would not get it through his head that for all adults God is not an old man in a white beard sitting on a cloud. As far as this boy was concerned, this old gentleman was the adult's god, and therefore he did not believe in God.
I don't believe in God, but I have this idea that if there were a God, or destiny of some kind looking down on us, that if he saw you taking anything for granted he’d take it away. So he'll be like: 'You think this is going pretty well?' Then he'll go and send down some big disaster.
Hugh Laurie Stargazing: Heather's Angry, Jane is Ill, Hugh is Anxious Kansas City Star, Wed, Oct. 31, 2007
God is only a great imaginative experience.
D.H. Lawrence, Phoenix: The Posthumous Papers of D. H. Lawrence (1936) pt. 4, edited by E. McDonald
The more we get to know about our universe ... the more the hypothesis that there is a Creator God, who designed the universe for a purpose, gains in credibility as the best explanation of why we are here.
John Lennox, cited in Awake! magazine, 2010, 11/10, article: Has Science Done Away With God?
Secondly, getting rid of God does not get rid of the suffering. In fact, it can make the pain worse since it gets rid of all ultimate hope and justice. Horgan denies this in his last sentence, but I still maintain he has no ultimate personal hope to offer for anyone, including himself. The vast majority of people who have ever lived have suffered and not received justice in this life. Since, according to atheism, death is the end, then these people will never receive justice since there is no life to come. I applaud Horgan’s positive reaction to what we have achieved in overcoming disease, poverty, oppression and war, but that does not affect my point in the slightest.
Whether God could have made a world in which fire warmed but didn’t burn and there were no destructive earthquakes is difficult. After all, earthquakes are paradoxically essential for the maintenance of life. Certainly, God could have made a world in which there was no moral evil. But there would have been no humans in it--it would be a robotic world. The greatest God-given capacity we humans have is the capacity to love. It inevitably carries with it the capacity to hate. Hence the world presents us all with a mixed picture – beauty and barbed wire.
Is it not better to place a question mark upon a problem while seeking an answer than to put the label "God" there and consider the matter solved? Does not the word "God" only confuse and make more difficult the solution by assuming a conclusion that is utterly groundless and palpably absurd?
His Omnipotence means power to do all that is intrinsically possible, not to do the intrinsically impossible. You may attribute miracles to him, but not nonsense. This is no limit to his power. If you choose to say 'God can give a creature free will and at the same time withhold free will from it,' you have not succeeded in saying anything about God: meaningless combinations of words do not suddenly acquire meaning simply because we prefix to them the two other words 'God can.'... It is no more possible for God than for the weakest of his creatures to carry out both of two mutually exclusive alternatives; not because his power meets an obstacle, but because nonsense remains nonsense even when we talk it about God.
I am much indebted to the good christian people of the country for their constant prayers and consolations; and to no one of them, more than to yourself. The purposes of the Almighty are perfect, and must prevail, though we erring mortals may fail to accurately perceive them in advance. We hoped for a happy termination of this terrible war long before this; but God knows best, and has ruled otherwise. We shall yet acknowledge His wisdom and our own error therein. Meanwhile we must work earnestly in the best light He gives us, trusting that so working still conduces to the great ends He ordains. Surely He intends some great good to follow this mighty convulsion, which no mortal could make, and no mortal could stay.
Abraham Lincoln's Letter to Eliza Gurney (4 September 1864); quoted in Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln, vol. 7 (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 1953), p. 535
I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.
Abraham Lincoln, Recollection by Gilbert J. Greene, quoted in The Speaking Oak (1902) by Ferdinand C. Iglehart and Latest Light on Abraham Lincoln (1917) by Ervin S. Chapman
I know there is a God, and that He hates injustice and slavery. I see the storm coming, and I know that His hand is in it. If He has a place and work for me–and I think He has–I believe I am ready. I am nothing, but truth is everything. I know I am right because I know that liberty is right, for Christ teaches it, and Christ is God. I have told them that a house divided against itself cannot stand, and Christ and reason say the same; and they will find it so. Douglas doesn't care whether slavery is voted up or voted down, but God cares, and humanity cares, and I care; and with God’s help I shall not fail. I may not see the end; but it will come and I shall be vindicated; and these men will find that they have not read their Bibles aright.
Faith in a distant, ephemeral God, solver of problems by house call, has also been left behind. Increasingly I come to understand my religion and priesthood as a committment to the society in which I live. A committment to men and women who struggle for a new social order where slavery has no place, that prepares people to fully realize themselves, in which injustice and exploitation cease to be our daily bread. I understand Jesus Christ as very related to this matter. I understand Jesus Christ as each one of my brothers and sisters. I understand that in uniting with them in this struggle, perhaps I will be capable of overcoming the small and large personal needs that are only relevant because they impede me from fully giving myself to this task.
Antonio Llidó letter to a friend on March 9, 1971 (from the book Antonio Llidó: Epistolario de un compromiso,Tàndem Edicons,España (1999) ISBN 84-8131-227-4.
An' you've gut to git up airly
Ef you want to take in God.
To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that Love is the reason for my existence, for God is love.
Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name. ~ Thomas Merton
But the thing that's really disturbing about Noah isn't the silly, it's that it's immoral. It's about a psychotic mass murderer who gets away with it, and his name is God. Genesis says God was so angry with himself for screwing up when he made mankind so flawed (grr!), that he sent the flood to kill everyone. Everyone. Men, women, children, babies.
What kind of tyrant punishes everyone just to get back at the few he's mad at? I mean, besidesChris Christie. Hey God, you know you're kind of a dick when you are in a movie with Russell Crowe, and you're the one with anger issues. You know, conservatives are always going on about how Americans are losing their values and their morality. Well, maybe it's because you worship a guy who drowns babies.
The Eternal turned his attention to the three shades who stood humbly and yet hopefully before him. The quick, with so short a time to live, when they talk of themselves, talk too much; but the dead, with eternity before them, are so verbose that only angels could listen to them with civility.
God is living in people's hearts, and in God there is no distinction or rank. Therefore God lives in everyone. That's why traditionally it is said that all deities are the same. They say God comes to a person who is very humble and honest.
God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in his arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos; He will set them above their betters.
To say that I am made in the image of God is to say that Love is the reason for my existence, for God is love.
Love is my true identity. Selflessness is my true self. Love is my true character. Love is my name.
Persons are not known by intellect alone, not by principles alone, but only by love. It is when we love the other, the enemy, that we obtain from God the key to an understanding of who he is, and who we are. It is only this realization that can open to us the real nature of our duty, and of right action.
O God, we are one with You. You have made us one with You. You have taught us that if we are open to one another, You dwell in us. Help us to preserve this openness and to fight for it with all our hearts. Help us to realize that there can be no understanding where there is mutual rejection. O God, in accepting one another wholeheartedly, fully, completely, we accept You, and we thank You, and we adore You, and we love You with our whole being, because our being is Your being, our spirit is rooted in Your spirit. Fill us then with love, and let us be bound together with love as we go our diverse ways, united in this one spirit which makes You present in the world, and which makes You witness to the ultimate reality that is love. Love has overcome. Love is victorious. Amen.
Thomas Merton, in his closing prayer to an informal address delivered in Calcutta, India (October 1968), from The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton (1975); quoted in Thomas Merton, Spiritual Master : The Essential Writings (1992), p. 237
There is a very good saying that if triangles invented a god, they would make him three-sided.
If there is anything so precious that without it history and the world will be destroyed, where will you keep it? You will naturally want to keep it in the deepest part of your mind. If you desire to place it in the depths of your mind, it needs to be invisible. It is for this very reason that God exists as an invisible being. It is fortunate that He is invisible, for if He were visible how could a great contest to gain Him be avoided? It would be difficult for God to endure the pain of seeing it.
A Buddhist meditator, while benefiting from the refinement of consciousness he has achieved, will be able to see these meditative experiences for what they are; and he will further know that they are without any abiding substance that could be attributed to a deity manifesting itself to his mind. ~ Nyanaponika Thera
The appeal to a religious meaning to life is a bit different. If you believe that the meaning of your life comes from fulfilling the purpose of God, who loves you, and seeing Him in eternity, then it doesn't seem appropriate to ask, "And what is the point of that?"It's supposed to be something which is its own point, and can't have a purpose outside itself. But for this very reason it has its own problems.
The idea of God seems to be the idea of something that can explain everything else, without having to be explained itself. But it's very hard to understand how there could be such a thing. If we ask the question, "Why is the world like this?" and are offered a religious answer, how can we be prevented from asking again, "And why is that true?" What kind of answer would bring all of our "Why?" questions to a stop, once and for all? And if they can stop there, why couldn't they have stopped earlier?
The same problem seems to arise if God and His purposes are offered as the ultimate explanation of the value and meaning of our lives. The idea that our lives fulfil God's purpose is supposed to give them their point, in a way that doesn't require or admit of any further point. One isn't supposed to ask "What is the point of God?" any more than one is supposed to ask, "What is the explanation of God?"
But my problem here, as with the role of God as ultimate explanation, is that I'm not sure I understand the idea. Can there really be something which gives point to everything else by encompassing it, but which couldn't have, or need, any point itself? Something whose point can't be questioned from outside because there is no outside?
If God is supposed to give our lives a meaning that we can't understand, it's not much of a consolation. God as ultimate justification, like God as ultimate explanation, may be an incomprehensible answer to a question that we can't get rid of. On the other hand, maybe that's the whole point, and I am just failing to understand religious ideas. Perhaps the belief in God is the belief that the universe is intelligible, but not to US.
Thomas Nagel, What Does It All Mean?: A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (1987), Ch. 10. The Meaning of Life
The Ultimate Truth is called God. This one can realize in the state of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. A circle can have only one centre but it can have numerous radii. The centre can be compared to God and the radii to religions. So, no one sect, no one religion or book can make an absolute claim of It. He who works for It gets It.
This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all, and on account of His dominion He is wont to be called Lord God, Universal Ruler.
All these things being considered, it seems probable to me, that God in the beginning formed matter in solid, massy, hard, impenetrable, moveable particles, of such sizes and figures, and with such other properties, and in such proportion to space, as most conduced to the end for which he formed them; and that these primitive particles, being solids, are incomparably harder than any porous bodies compounded of them; even so very hard, as never to wear or break in pieces; no ordinary power being able to divide what God himself made one in the first creation.
A Heavenly Master governs all the world as Sovereign of the universe. We are astonished at Him by reason of His perfection, we honor Him and fall down before Him because of His unlimited power. From blind physical necessity, which is always and everywhere the same, no variety adhering to time and place could evolve, and all variety of created objects which represent order and life in the universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, Whom I call the Lord God.
Isaac Newton, as quoted in Our Humanist Heritage (2010) by George Frater, p. 75
You see what it was that really triumphed over the Christian God: Christian morality itself, the concept of truthfulness that was understood more rigorously, the father confessor’s refinement of the Christian conscience, translated and sublimated into a scientific conscience, into intellectual cleanliness at any price.
The reduction of Nietzsche's thought to … the first-liner of a graffito sometimes found in certain modern tiled cells and catacombs:
God is dead — Nietzsche
Nietzsche is dead — God
This reduction could appear to be the creative interpretation of masterful will to power — if Nietzsche's thought and style are as uncontrolled as the critics suggest. … Nietzsche himself anticipates the strife of revengeful graffiti at the conclusion of his text: "Wherever there are walls I shall inscribe this eternal accusation against Christianity upon them — I can write in letters which make even the blind see." …Nietzsche says in his preface that his readers must have a "predestination for the labyrinth" and "new ears for new music" if they are to understand this difficult writing.
Gary Shapiro in Nietzschean Narratives (1989), p. 126
I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time.
"Will to truth" does not mean "I do not want to let myself be deceived" but—there is no alternative—"I will not deceive, not even myself"; and with that we stand on moral ground. ... You will have gathered what I am getting at, namely, that it is still a metaphysical faith upon which our faith in science rests—that even we knowers of today, we godless anti-metaphysicians, still take our fire, too, from the flame lit by the thousand-year-old faith, the Christian faith which was also Plato's faith, that God is truth; that truth is divine.
There probably is a God. Many things are easier to explain if there is than if there isn't.
John von Neumann, as quoted in John Von Neumann : The Scientific Genius Who Pioneered the Modern Computer , Game Theory, Nuclear Deterrence and Much More (1992) by Norman Macrae, p. 379
After rising from deep meditative absorption (jhāna), the Buddhist meditator is advised to view the physical and mental factors constituting his experience in the light of the three characteristics of all conditioned existence: impermanence, liability to suffering, and absence of an abiding ego or eternal substance. This is done primarily in order to utilize the meditative purity and strength of consciousness for the highest purpose: liberating insight. But this procedure also has a very important side effect which concerns us here: the meditator will not be overwhelmed by any uncontrolled emotions and thoughts evoked by his singular experience, and will thus be able to avoid interpretations of that experience not warranted by the facts.
Hence a Buddhist meditator, while benefiting from the refinement of consciousness he has achieved, will be able to see these meditative experiences for what they are; and he will further know that they are without any abiding substance that could be attributed to a deity manifesting itself to his mind.
Near: Nobody can say what is right and what is wrong, what is righteous and what is evil. Even if there is a God, and I had his teachings before me, I would think it through and decide if that was right or wrong myself.
Having refuted, then, as well as we could, every notion which might suggest that we were to think of God as in any degree corporeal, we go on to say that, according to strict truth, God is incomprehensible, and incapable of being measured. For whatever be the knowledge which we are able to obtain of God, either by perception or reflection, we must of necessity believe that He is by many degrees far better than what we perceive Him to be.
Those of us who are Gnostics believe that allpeople are ultimately saved and that God always loves us, no matter what we do. These beliefs are true, but they can very easily be simplified and misunderstood. God is never angry with us in the way in which a vengeful human would reject us, but God’s love for us has a dark side and one which we should rightfully fear. God loves us not in a sentimental way which aims at our ease and pleasure but, rather in a way which aims at our highest good and with an intensity which no one, even the highest angels, can understand. God is absolutely determined, with an infinite determination, to rid us of all that does not reflect His Goodness. As one of our hymns puts it,
“But unto wrong what is His Name?
Our God is a consuming flame
To every wrong beneath the sun!”
And, because of that, God’s punishments are terrible, and it is wise to fear them.
FEU. Dieu d'Abraham, Dieu d'Isaac, Dieu de Jacob, non des philosophes et savants. Certitude. Certitude. Sentiment. Joie. Paix.
FIRE. God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob, not of the philosophers and scholars. Certainty. Certainty. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
Blaise Pascal, Note on a parchment stitched to the lining of Pascal's coat, found by a servant shortly after his death, as quoted in BurkittSpeculum religionis (1929), p. 150
Compare not thyself with others, but with Me. If thou dost not find Me in those with whom thou comparest thyself, thou comparest thyself to one who is abominable. If thou findest Me in them, compare thyself to Me. But whom wilt thou compare? Thyself, or Me in thee? If it is thyself, it is one who is abominable. If it is I, thou comparest Me to Myself. Now I am God in all.
Posterity will one day laugh at the foolishness of modern materialistic philosophers. The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator. I pray while I am engaged at my work in the laboratory.
Louis Pasteur, as quoted in The Literary Digest (18 October 1902)
The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator.
Louis Pasteur, as quoted in The Literary Digest (18 October 1902)
Science, which brings man nearer to God
Louis Pasteur, quoted in René Vallery-Radot, The Life of Pasteur (1902), vol. 1, p. 194
It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived..
General George S. Patton, Jr., in a speech at the Copley Plaza Hotel, Boston Massachusetts (7 June 1945), quoted in Patton : Ordeal and Triumph (1970) by Ladislas Farago
The word "God," so "capitalised" (as we Americans say), is the definable proper name, signifying Ens necessarium; in my belief Really creator of all three Universes of Experience.
The hypothesis of God is a peculiar one, in that it supposes an infinitely incomprehensible object, although every hypothesis, as such, supposes its object to be truly conceived in the hypothesis. This leaves the hypothesis but one way of understanding itself; namely, as vague yet as true so far as it is definite, and as continually tending to define itself more and more, and without limit. The hypothesis, being thus itself inevitably subject to the law of growth, appears in its vagueness to represent God as so, albeit this is directly contradicted in the hypothesis from its very first phase. But this apparent attribution of growth to God, since it is ineradicable from the hypothesis, cannot, according to the hypothesis, be flatly false. Its implications concerning the Universes will be maintained in the hypothesis, while its implications concerning God will be partly disavowed, and yet held to be less false than their denial would be. Thus the hypothesis will lead to our thinking of features of each Universe as purposed; and this will stand or fall with the hypothesis. Yet a purpose essentially involves growth, and so cannot be attributed to God. Still it will, according to the hypothesis, be less false to speak so than to represent God as purposeless.
All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.
I don't have much truck with the "religion is the cause of most of our wars" school of thought because that is manifestly done by mad, manipulative and power-hungry men who cloak their ambition in God.
I number believers of all sorts among my friends. Some of them are praying for me. I'm happy they wish to do this, I really am, but I think science may be a better bet.
Indeed the inscrutable One is out of the reach of every rational process.
Nor can any words come up to the inexpressible Good, this One, this Source of all unity, this super-existent Being. Mind beyond mind, word beyond speech, it is gathered up by no discourse, by no intuition, by no name.
It is and it is as no other being is.
He who is called Brahman by the jnanis is known as Atman by the yogis and as Bhagavan by the bhaktas. The same brahmin is called priest, when worshipping in the temple, and cook, when preparing a meal in the kitchen. The jnani, following the path of knowledge, always reason about the Reality saying, "not this, not this." Brahman is neither "this" nor "that"; It is neither the universe nor its living beings. Reasoning in this way, the mind becomes steady. Finally it disappears and the aspirant goes into samadhi. This is the Knowledge of Brahman. It is the unwavering conviction of the jnani that Brahman alone is real and the world is illusory. All these names and forms are illusory, like a dream. What Brahman is cannot be described. One cannot even say that Brahman is a Person. This is the opinion of the jnanis, the followers of Vedanta. But the bhaktas accept all the states of consciousness. They take the waking state to be real also. They don't think the world to be illusory, like a dream. They say that the universe is a manifestation of the God's power and glory. God has created all these — sky, stars, moon, sun, mountains, ocean, men, animals. They constitute His glory. He is within us, in our hearts. Again, He is outside. The most advanced devotees say that He Himself has become all this — the 24 cosmic principles, the universe, and all living beings. The devotee of God wants to eat sugar, and not become sugar. (All laugh.) Do you know how a lover of God feels? His attitude is: "O God, Thou art the Master, and I am Thy servant. Thou art the Mother, and I Thy child." Or again: "Thou art my Father and Mother. Thou art the Whole, and I am a part." He does not like to say, "I am Brahman." They yogi seeks to realize the Paramatman, the Supreme Soul. His ideal is the union of the embodied soul and the Supreme Soul. He withdraws his mind from sense objects and tries to concentrate on the Paramatman. Therefore, during the first stage of his spiritual discipline, he retires into solitude and with undivided attention practices meditation in a fixed posture.
But the reality is one and the same; the difference is only in name. He who is Brahman is verily Atman, and again, He is the Bhagavan. He is Brahman to the followers of the path of knowledge, Paramatman to the yogis, and Bhagavan to the lovers of God.
Ramakrishna, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna (1942), p. 132
When I speak of All That Is, you must understand my position within it. All That Is knows no other. This does not mean that there may not be more to know. It does not mean, and here words quite fail us, it does not mean that All That Is, in any terms we can conceive of, may not be limited. It knows of no other.
Another Variant: When the usual hopes and the common aids of man are all gone, nothing remains under God but those passions which have often proved the best ministers of His purpose and the surest protectors of the world.
Quoted by Theodore Roosevelt in his "Brotherhood and the Heroic Virtues" Address at the Veterans' Reunion, Burlington, Vermont, September 5, 1901 and published in Theodore Roosevelt's "The Strenuous Life: Essays and Addresses" by Dover Publications (April 23, 2009) in its Dover Thrift Editions (ISBN: 978-0486472294), p. 127
Kill one man and you are a murderer. Kill millions and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone and you are a God.
Pragmatists explained that Truth is what it pays to believe. Historians of morals reduced the Good to a matter of tribal custom. Beauty was abolished by artists in a revolt against the sugary insipidities of a philistine epoch and in a mood of fury in which satisfaction is to be derived only from what hurts. And so the world was swept clear not only of God as a person but of God's essence as an ideal to which man owed an ideal allegiance.
Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner. ~ Baruch Spinoza
I think that if there were a God, there would be less evil on this earth. I believe that if evil exists here below, then either it was willed by God or it was beyond His powers to prevent it. Now I cannot bring myself to fear a God who is either spiteful or weak. I defy Him without fear and care not a fig for his thunderbolts.
Marquis de Sade, Justine or The Misfortunes of Virtue (1787) [This quote is strikingly similar to Epicurus' above.]
The existence of the world without God seems to me less absurd than the presence of a God, existing in all his perfection, creating an imperfect man in order to make him run the risk of Hell.
Gott werden, Mensch sein, sich bilden, sind Ausdrücke, die einerlei bedeuten.
To become God, to be human, to cultivate oneself are all expressions that mean the same thing.
Friedrich Schlegel, Lucinde and the Fragments, P. Firchow, trans. (1991), “Athenaeum Fragments” § 262
There are as many gods as there are ideals. And further, the relation of the true artist and the true human being to his ideals is absolutely religious. The man for whom this inner divine service is the end and occupation of all his life is a priest, and this is how everyone can and should become a priest.
In saying we are in immediate relation with God, the latter term is used only to designate the Whence of our spontaneous and receptive life, of which we become aware in our feeling of absolute dependence.
I think the destiny of all men is not to sit in the rubble of their own making but to reach out for an ultimate perfection which is to be had. At the moment, it is a dream. But as of the moment we clasp hands with our neighbor, we build the first span to bridge the gap between the young and the old. At this hour, it’s a wish. But we have it within our power to make it a reality. If you want to prove that God is not dead, first prove that man is alive.
Rod Serling seech at Moorpark College, Moorpark, California (3 December 1968)
You have in yourself some thing similar to God, and therefore use yourself as the temple of God, on account of that which in you resembles God.
The greatest honor which can be paid to God is to know and imitate him.
Consider lost all the time in which you do not think of divinity.
A good intellect is the choir of divinity.
You should not dare to speak of God to the multitude.
He who is worthy of God is also a god among men.
He best honors God who makes his intellect as like God as possible.
Had I but serv'd my God with half the zeal
I serv'd my king, He would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.
William Shakespeare, Henry VIII (c. 1613), Act III, scene 2, lines 455–57. Cardinal Wolsey is speaking to his servant, Cromwell. During the Watergate hearings on June 12, 1973, Senator Sam Ervin quoted these words to Herbert Porter.
If he is infinitely good, what reason should we have to fear him?
If he is infinitely wise, why should we have doubts concerning our future?
If he knows all, why warn him of our needs and fatigue him with our prayers?
If he is everywhere, why erect temples to him?
If he is just, why fear that he will punish the creatures that he has filled with weaknesses?
Tacitus says, that the Jews held God to be something eternal and supreme, neither subject to change nor to decay; therefore, they permit no statues in their cities or their temples. The universal Being can only be described or defined by negatives which deny his subjection to the laws of all inferior existences. Where indefiniteness ends, idolatry and anthropomorphism begin.
If we find great difficulty from its admirable arrangement in conceiving that the Universe has existed from all eternity, and to resolve this difficulty suppose a Creator, how much more clearly must we perceive the necessity of this very Creator’s creation whose perfections comprehend an arrangement far more accurate and just.
The value of a mind is measured by the nature of the objects it habitually contemplates. They whose thoughts are of trifles are trifling: they who dwell with what is eternally true, good and fair, are like unto God.
By God, I mean a being absolutely infinite — that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality.
Explanation — I say absolutely infinite, not infinite after its kind: for, of a thing infinite only after its kind, infinite attributes may be denied; but that which is absolutely infinite, contains in its essence whatever expresses reality, and involves no negation.
Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived.
Baruch Spinoza, in Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata (1677), Prop. 15
God and all attributes of God are eternal.
Baruch Spinoza, in Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata (1677), Prop. 19
Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner.
Baruch Spinoza, in Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata (1677), Prop. 25
God is the indwelling and not the transient cause of all things.
Baruch Spinoza, in Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata (1677)
Things could not have been brought into being by God in any manner or in any order different from that which has in fact obtained.
Baruch Spinoza, in Ethica Ordine Geometrico Demonstrata (1677)
"We are willing to worship a God only if God makes us safe. Thus you get the silly question, How does a good God let bad things happen to good people? Of course, it was a rabbi who raised that question, but Christians took it up as their own. Have you read the Psalms lately? We're seeing a much more complex God than that question gives credit for."
Stanley Hauerwas from the Chronicle for Higher Education, The Chronicle Review, "A Complex God" September 28, 2001 The Chronicle Review Page: B6
Man’s basic anxiety … drives the anxious subject to establish objects of fear. Anxiety strives to become fear, because fear can be met by courage. … Horror is ordinarily avoided by the transformation of anxiety into fear of something, no matter what. The human mind is not only, as Calvin has said, a permanent factory of idols, it is also a permanent factory of fears—the first in order to escape God, the second in order to escape anxiety. … But ultimately the attempts to transform anxiety into fear are vain. The basic anxiety, the anxiety of a finite being about the threat of nonbeing, cannot be eliminated. It belongs to existence itself.
Love is life. All, everything that I understand, I understand only because I love. Everything is, everything exists, only because I love. Everything is united by it alone. Love is God, and to die means that I, a particle of love, shall return to the general and eternal source.
God is that infinite All of which man knows himself to be a finite part.
God alone exists truly. Man manifests Him in time, space and matter. The more God's manifestation in man (life) unites with the manifestations (lives) of other beings, the more man exists. This union with the lives of other beings is accomplished through love.
God is not love, but the more there is of love, the more man manifests God, and the more he truly exists... We acknowledge God only when we are conscious of His manifestation in us.
God, from a beautiful necessity, is Love in all he doeth,
Love, a brilliant fire, to gladden or consume:
The wicked work their woe by looking upon love, and hating it: The righteous find their joys in yearning on its loveliness for ever.
Satan: There is no God, no universe, no human race, no earthly life, no heaven, no hell. It is all a Dream, a grotesque and foolish dream. Nothing exists but you. And You are but a Thought — a vagrant Thought, a useless Thought, a homeless Thought, wandering forlorn among the empty eternities.
I looked to find a man who walked with God,
Like the translated patriarch of old;—
Though gladdened millions on His footstool trod,
Yet none with him did such sweet converse hold;
I heard the wind in low complaint go by
That none his melodies like him could hear;
Day unto day spoke wisdom from on high,
Yet none like David turned a willing ear;
God walked alone unhonored through the earth;
For Him no heart-built temple open stood,
The soul forgetful of her nobler birth
Had hewn him lofty shrines of stone and wood,
And left unfinished and in ruins still
The only temple he delights to fill.
I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: "O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous." And God granted it.
Voltaire, in a letter to Étienne Noël Damilaville (16 May 1767)
"If God did not exist, He would have to be invented." But all nature cries aloud that he does exist: that there is a supreme intelligence, an immense power, an admirable order, and everything teaches us our own dependence on it.
"Elohim," the name for the creative power in Genesis, is a female plural, a fact that generations of learned rabbis and Christian theologians have all explained as merely grammatical convention. The King James and most other Bibles translate it as "God," but if you take the grammar literally, it seems to mean "goddesses." Al Shaddai, god of battles, appears later, and YHWH, mispronounced Jehovah, later still. ~ Robert Anton Wilson
I prefer to say that nature is the only body of God that we shall ever see. If we wish to know the truth concerning anything, we'll find it in the nature of that thing. ~ Frank Lloyd Wright
Don't you know there ain't no devil? There's only God when He's drunk.
God's greatness and goodness are measured by the fact that he gives us choices. He doesn't require us to thank him for our food. (In case you hadn't noticed.) God is not a Modernist. He doesn't view us as nails. God expects us to behave like carpenters. Indeed, he gave us a carpenter as an example.
So I think God is postmodern. He has his own ideas of what rules, and what sucks, and he doesn't expect everyone else to agree with him.
For modern man, … pride reveals itself in impatience, which is an unwillingness to bear the pain of discipline. … In effect his becomes a deification of his own will; man is not making himself like a god but is taking himself as he is and putting himself in the place of God.
In order to obey God, one must receive his commands. How did it happen that I received them in adolescence, while I was professing atheism? To believe that the desire for good is always fulfilled — that is faith, and whoever has it is not an atheist.
No human being escapes the necessity of conceiving some good outside himself towards which his thought turns in a movement of desire, supplication, and hope. consequently, the only choice is between worshipping the true God or an idol. Every atheist is an idolater — unless he is worshipping the true God in his impersonal aspect. The majority of the pious are idolaters.
There are two atheisms of which one is a purification of the notion of God.
Simone Weil, as quoted in The New Christianity (1967) edited by William Robert Miller
No man — prince, peasant, pope, — has all the light, who says else is a mountebank. I claim no private lien on truth, only a liberty to seek it, prove it in debate, and to be wrong a thousand times to reach a single rightness. It is that liberty they fear. They want us to be driven to God like sheep, not running to him like lovers, shouting joy!"
Once you accept the existence of God — however you define him, however you explain your relationship to him — then you are caught forever with his presence in the center of all things. You are also caught with the fact that man is a creature who walks in two worlds and traces upon the walls of his cave the wonders and the nightmare experiences of his spiritual pilgrimage.
To assume that one’s existential task is completed when the individual is brought into right relation with society, that is, when the individual has been socialized, is to absolutize society and confuse society with God.
"Elohim," the name for the creative power in Genesis, is a female plural, a fact that generations of learned rabbis and Christian theologians have all explained as merely grammatical convention. The King James and most other Bibles translate it as "God," but if you take the grammar literally, it seems to mean "goddesses." Al Shaddai, god of battles, appears later, and YHWH, mispronounced Jehovah, later still.
Robert Anton Wilson, Everything Is Under Control : Conspiracies, Cults, and Cover-Ups (1998), p. 197
To believe in a God means to understand the question about the meaning of life.
To believe in a God means to see that the facts of the world are not the end of the matter.
To believe in God means to see that life has a meaning.
God is the great mysterious motivator of what we call nature and it has been said often by philosophers, that nature is the will of God. And, I prefer to say that nature is the only body of God that we shall ever see. If we wish to know the truth concerning anything, we'll find it in the nature of that thing.
Frank Lloyd Wright, quoted in Truth Against the World : Frank Lloyd Wright speaks for an organic architecture (1987) edited by Patrick J. Meehan
Maybe the growth of "God" signifies the existence of God. That is: if history naturally pushes people toward moral improvement, toward moral growth, and their God, as they conceive their God, grows accordingly, becoming morally richer, then maybe this growth is evidence of some higher purpose, and maybe — conceivably — the source of that purpose is worthy of the name divinity.[… I]f it is a natural outgrowth of history — then it is more likely that this "growth of God" signifies the existence of God, or at least the existence of something you might call divine, however unlike ancient conceptions of God.
Is God love? Like all characterizations of God, this one presumes more insight than I feel in possession of. But there's certainly something to the idea that love is connected to, indeed emanates from, the kind of God whose existence is being surmised here.
The connection comes via love's connection to the moral order of which that God is the source. The moral order has revealed itself through ever-widening circles of non-zero-sumness that draw people toward the moral truth that mutual respect is warranted. As we saw […], it is the moral imagination whose growth often paves the way for that truth, and it does so through the extension of a kind of sympathy, a subjective identification with the situation of the other. And as sympathy intensifies it approaches love. Love, you might say, is the apotheosis of the moral imagination; it can foster the most intimate identification with the other, the most intense appreciation of the moral worth of the other.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night IV, line 234
By night an atheist half believes in God.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night V, line 177
A Deity believed, is joy begun;
A Deity adored, is joy advanced;
A Deity beloved, is joy matured.
Each branch of piety delight inspires.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night VIII, line 720
A God alone can comprehend a God.
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night LX, line 835
Thou, my all!
My theme! my inspiration! and my crown!
My strength in age—my rise in low estate!
My souls ambition, pleasure, wealth!—my world!
My light in darkness! and my life in death!
My boast through time! bliss through eternity!
Eternity, too short to speak thy praise!
Or fathom thy profound of love to man!
Edward Young, Night Thoughts (1742-1745), Night IV, line 586
Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
Thine, O Lord is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all. Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all. Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.
The hair of his head was like clean wool. His throne was flames of fire; its wheels were a burning fire. There was a stream of fire flowing and going out from before him. There were a thousand thousands that kept ministering to him, and ten thousand times ten thousand that kept standing right before him. The Court took its seat, and there were books that were opened.
I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create calamity: I the LORD do all these things.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse.
What if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.
But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.
We conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.
O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments are and beyond tracing out his ways are! For “who has come to know Jehovah’s mind, or who has become his adviser?” Or, “who has first given to him, so that it must be repaid to him?” Because from him and by him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.
There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.
The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.
The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Variant: "For I would rather be a servant in the House of the Lord than to sit in the seats of the mighty."
By Alben W. Barkley, addressed to a mock Democratic convention, Washington and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia (April 30, 1956), reported in Memorial Services Held in the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States, Together with Remarks Presented in Eulogy of Alben William Barkley, Late a Senator from Kentucky (1956), p. 106.
God! There is no god but He, — the Living, the Self-subsisting, Eternal. No slumber can seize Him nor sleep. His are all things in the heavens and on earth. Who is there that can intercede in His presence except as He permitteth? he knoweth what before or after or behind them. Nor shall they compass aught of His knowledge except as He willeth. His Throne doth extend over the heavens and the earth, and He feeleth no fatigue in guarding and preserving them for He is the Most High, the Supreme.
And again, the Lord God hath commanded that men should not murder; that they should not lie; that they should not steal; that they should not take the name of the Lord their God in vain; that they should not envy; that they should not have malice; that they should not contend one with another; that they should not commit whoredoms; and that they should do none of these things; for whoso doeth them shall perish.
God's Wisdom and God's Goodness!—Ah, but fools
Mis-define thee, till God knows them no more.
Wisdom and goodness they are God!—what schools
Have yet so much as heard this simpler lore.
This no Saint preaches, and this no Church rules:
'Tis in the desert, now and heretofore.
O Rock of Israel, Rock of Salvation, Rock struck and cleft for me, let those two streams of blood and water which once gushed out of thy side … bring down with them salvation and holiness into my soul.
It never frightened a Puritan when you bade him stand still and listen to the speech of God. His closet and his church were full of the reverberations of the awful, gracious, beautiful voice for which he listened.
A picket frozen on duty—
A mother starved for her brood—
Socrates drinking the hemlock,
And Jesus on the rood;
And millions who, humble and nameless,
The straight, hard pathway trod—
Some call it Consecration,
And others call it God.
Some men treat the God of their fathers as they treat their father's friend. They do not deny him; by no means: they only deny themselves to him, when he is good enough to call upon them.
J. C. and A. W. Hare, Guesses at Truth
I askt the seas and all the deeps below
My God to know,
I askt the reptiles, and whatever is
In the abyss;
Even from the shrimps to the leviathan
But in those deserts that no line can sound
The God I sought for was not to be found.
Forgetful youth! but know, the Power above
With ease can save each object of his love;
Wide as his will, extends his boundless grace.
Homer, The Odyssey, Book III, line 285. Pope's translation
O thou, whose certain eye foresees
The fix'd event of fate's remote decrees.
Homer, The Odyssey, Book IV, line 627. Pope's translation
Dangerous it were for the feeble brain of man to wade far into the doings of the Most High; whom although to know be life, and joy to make mention of his name, yet our soundest knowledge is to know that we know him not as indeed he is, neither can know him; and our safest eloquence concerning him is our silence, when we confess without confession that his glory is inexplicable, his greatness above our capacity and reach.
Hooker, Ecclesiastical Polity, Book I, Chapter II. 3
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the heavens of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretch'd from sky to sky.
Rabbi Mayir ben Isaac. Translation of Chaldee Ode, sung in Jewish Synagogues during the service of the first day of the Feast of the Pentecost. Given in the original Chaldee in Notes and Queries, Dec. 31, 1853, p. 648. In Grose's Olio, p. 292, and in Book of Jewish Thoughts, p. 155. Same idea in Chaucer—Balade Warnynge Men to Beware of Deceitful Women. Also in Remedie of Love. See Modern Universal History, p. 430. Note. Miss C. Sinclair—Hill and Valley, p. 35. (Same idea.) Smart given as English translator by one authority. See also Des Knaben Wunderhorn
But if the sky were paper and a scribe each star above,
And every scribe had seven hands, they could not write all my love.
Dürsli und Bäbeli; old public house ditty of the Canton de Soleure or Solothurn. Original in Swiss dialect. Given in Notes and Queries (Feb. 10, 1872), p. 114
From thee, great God, we spring, to thee we tend,—
Path, motive, guide, original, and end.
Deum non immolationibus et sanguine multo colendum: quæ enim ex trucidatione immerentium voluptas est? sed mente pura, bono honestoque proposito. Non templa illi, congestis in altitudinem saxis, struenda sunt; in suo cuique consecrandus est pectore.
God is not to be worshipped with sacrifices and blood; for what pleasure can He have in the slaughter of the innocent? but with a pure mind, a good and honest purpose. Temples are not to be built for Him with stones piled on high; God is to be consecrated in the breast of each.
At last I heard a voice upon the slope
Cry to the summit, "Is there any hope?"
To which an answer pealed from that high land,
But in a tongue no man could understand;
And on the glimmering limit far withdrawn,
God made himself an awful rose of dawn.
I fled Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the midst of tears
I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
The being of God is so comfortable, so convenient, so necessary to the felicity of Mankind, that, (as Tully admirably says) Dii immortales ad usum hominum fabricati pene videantur, if God were not a necessary being of himself, he might almost seem to be made on purpose for the use and benefit of men.
If there were no God, it would be necessary to invent him.
Voltaire, Epitre à l'Auteur du Livre des Trois Imposteurs, CXI. See Œuvres Complètes de Voltaire, Volume I, p. 1076. Ed. Didot, 1827. Also in letter to Frederick, Prince Royal of Prussia
cf. Cicero, Dii immortales ad usum hominum fabricati pene videantur.
Je voudrais que vous écrasassiez l'infâme.
I wish that you would crush this infamy.
Voltaire to D'Alembert June 23, 1760. Attributed to Voltaire by Abbé Barruch—Memoirs Illustrating the History of Jacobinism. Generally quoted "Écrasez l'infâme." A. De Morgan contends that the popular idea that it refers to God is incorrect. It refers probably to the Roman Catholic Church, or the traditions in the church.
God on His throne is eldest of poets:
Unto His measures moveth the Whole.
The God I know of, I shall ne'er
Know, though he dwells exceeding nigh.
Raise thou the stone and find me there,
Cleave thou the wood and there am I.
Yea, in my flesh his spirit doth flow,
Too near, too far, for me to know.
William Watson, The Unknown God. Third and fourth lines are from "newly discovered sayings of Jesus." Probably an ancient Oriental proverb.
The Somewhat which we name but cannot know.
Ev'n as we name a star and only see
Its quenchless flashings forth, which ever show
And ever hide him, and which are not he.