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Religion-2

"Beware you are not a fiery, persecuting enthusiast. Do not imagine that God has called you (just contrary to the spirit of Him you style your Master) to destroy men’s lives, and not to save them. Never dream of forcing men into the ways of God. Think yourself, and let think. Use no constraint in matters of religion. Even those who are farthest out of the way never compel to come in by any other means than reason, truth, and love."    - John Wesley ; The Sermons of John Wesley; Sermon 37


"...there are certain things in our nation and in the world which I am proud to be maladjusted and which I hope all men of good-will will be maladjusted until the good societies realize. I say very honestly that I never intend to become adjusted to segregation and discrimination. I never intend to become adjusted to religious bigotry. I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few. I never intend to adjust myself to the madness of militarism, to self-defeating effects of physical violence."

   - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. ; 18 December 1963; Western Michigan University


"For years it has been a part of my own quest so to understand the religion of Jesus that interest in his way of life could be developed and sustained by intelligent men and women who were at the same time deeply victimized by the Christian Church’s betrayal of his faith."
   - Howard Thurman ; Jesus and the Disinherited


"When piety is used to go against creatureliness, religion becomes an oppressive mechanism. 'The creator who comes in to conflict with the creatures is a false God and false gods make even the pious inhuman.'"    - Jon Sobrino ; Jesus the Liberator


"The name of God is used as religious justification for oppressing others, and this is what must be unmasked."    - Jon Sobrino ; Jesus the Liberator


"It is not difficult, then, to understand Jesus' anger at the way religious people manipulate his God. (And maybe here is the place to think about the manipulation of theology, its ideologizing role, in tolerating—not to say encouraging—oppression of others in the name of God."    - Jon Sobrino ; Jesus the Liberator


"I want my spirituality to rid me of hate, not give me reason for it."    - Donald Miller ; Blue Like Jazz


"If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained by the world."    - James the brother of Jesus ; James 1:26,27


"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel."    - Jesus ; Matthew 23.23-24


"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean."    - Jesus ; Matthew 23.25-26


"Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.’ You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? You also say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.’ You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God’s throne and by the one who sits on it."    - Jesus ; Matthew 23.16-22


"A religion that takes no account of practical affairs and does not help to solve them is no religion."    - Mahatma Gandhi ; Unsourced Quotations


"Centuries of institutional, political, and intellectual development have tended to obscure the importance of compassion in religion. All too often the religion that dominates the public discourse seems to express an institutional egotism: my faith is better than yours! As Zhuangzi noted, once people interject themselves into their beliefs, they can become quarrelsome, officious, or even unkind. Compassion is not a popular virtue, because it demands the laying aside of the ego that we identify with our deepest self; so people often prefer being right to being compassionate. Fundamentalist religion has absorbed the violence of our time and developed a polarized vision, so that, like the early Zoroastrians, fundamentalists sometimes divide humanity into two hostile camps, with the embattled faithful engaged in a deadly war against 'evildoers.' As we have seen to our cost, this attitude can easily segue into atrocity. It is also counterproductive. As the Daodejing pointed out, violence usually recoils upon the perpetrator, no matter how well intentioned he might be. You cannot force people to behave as you want; in fact, coercive measures are more likely to drive them in the opposite direction."    - Armstrong, Karen ; The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions


"Genuine religion is not about speculating about God or the soul or about what happened in the past or will happen in the future; it cares only about one thing—finding out exactly what should or should not be done in this lifetime."    - Leo Tolstoy ; Path of Life


"Maybe dividing ourselves into righteous pockets of spiritual belief is not the best way to bring about love."    - Steven Greenebaum ; The Interfaith Alternative: Embracing Spiritual Diversity


"What mattered was not what you believed but how you behaved. Religion was about doing things that changed you at a profound level."    - Karen Armstrong ; The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions


"First you must commit yourself to the ethical life; then disciplined and habitual benevolence, not metaphysical conviction, would give you intimations of the transcendence you sought."    - Karen Armstrong ; The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions


"The Axial sages changed this; they still valued ritual, but gave it a new ethical significance and put morality at the heart of the spiritual life. The only way you could encounter what they called 'God,' 'Nirvana,' 'Brahman,' or the 'Way' was to live a compassionate life. Indeed, religion was compassion."    - Karen Armstrong ; The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions


"My country is the world, and my religion is to do good."    - Thomas Paine ; Ways and means of improving the condition of Europe, interspersed with miscellaneous observations


"Genuine religion is not about speculating about God or the soul or about what happened in the past or will happen in the future; it cares only about one thing—finding out exactly what should or should not be done in this lifetime."    - Leo Tolstoy ; Path of Life


"It takes religion to put a steel edge on social intolerance. Just because it is so high and its command of social loyalty so great, it is pitiless when it goes wrong. Religious bigotry has been one of the permanent evils of humankind, the cause of untold social division, bitterness, persecution, and religious wars."    - Walter Rauschenbusch ; A Theology for the Social Gospel, p. 249


"If religion is to bring light to our broken world, we need, as Mencius suggested, to go in search of the lost heart, the spirit of compassion that lies at the core of all our traditions."    - Armstrong, Karen ; The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions


"The test is simple: if people’s beliefs—secular or religious—make them belligerent, intolerant, and unkind about other people’s faith, they are not “skillful.” If, however, their convictions impel them to act compassionately and to honor the stranger, then they are good, helpful, and sound. This is the test of true religiosity in every single one of the major traditions."      - Armstrong, Karen ; The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions


"Their objective was to create an entirely different kind of human being. All the sages preached a spirituality of empathy and compassion; they insisted that people must abandon their egotism and greed, their violence and unkindness. Not only was it wrong to kill another human being; you must not even speak a hostile word or make an irritable gesture. Further, nearly all the Axial sages realized that you could not confine your benevolence to your own people: your concern must somehow extend to the entire world."      - Karen Armstrong ; The Great Transformation: The Beginning of Our Religious Traditions


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