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Quips and quotes  -  3

Legalism:  Hardening of the oughteries.


Real religion
With most people religion is a sort of intellectual assent and goes no further than a document.   I would not call it religion.   It is better to be an atheist than to have that sort of religion.


If I have very little because that is all I have chosen to have,  I am rich:  for I have everything I want.

quoted from  'New Internationalist'  235

Extraterrestrial intelligence
The greatest sign of intelligent life in the universe is the fact that they have not yet tried to contact us.


Say not,  'I have found  the  truth'  but rather,  'I have found  a  truth'.

Kahlil Gibran


Sin is  . . .
There is something servile in the interpretation of sin as crime which infringes the will of God and calls for legal proceedings on the part of God.   Sin is dividedness,  a state of deficiency,  incompleteness,  dissociation,  enslavement,  hatred,  but it is not disobedience and not formal violation of the will of God.

Nicolas Berdyaev

Profound truth
The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement.   But the opposite of a profound truth may be another profound truth.

Niels Bohr

Once a man came to me  -  it was not too long ago  -  and said that he had given away much landed property and many goods for his own sake so that he might save his soul.   Then I thought:  'How little and how insignificant is what you have let go of!   It is blindness and foolishness for you to continue looking at all you've let go of.   If,  however,  you've let go of yourself,  then you've really let go.'

Meister Eckhart

Nakedness invented
[The Eden story]  had a unique significance in the history of our ever-expanding culture.   This text,  much favoured by Christian missionaries,  created 'nakedness' and clothed the known world.

"A Walk in the Garden"

Rights of the child
Signatories to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child  [which includes Aotearoa NZ]  recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child's physical,  mental,  spiritual,  moral,  amd social development.

(Article 27)


One does not begin by learning
Everything is dependent on remembering.   One does not begin by learning.   One starts by remembering.

'The Way of the Sufi'

Publicity or marketing?
There's a difference between publicity and marketing.   Marketing is conning people.

Peter Donohue,  in a radio discussion

The journey
For my part,  I travel not to go anywhere,  but to go.   I travel for travel's sake.   The great affair is to move.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Asked why he had given up his psychoanalyst,  Tennessee Williams seriously replied,  "He was meddling too much in my private life."
If what is commanded be not in the power of everyone,  all the numberless exhortations in the Scriptures,  and also all the promises,  threatenings,  expostulations,  reproofs,  asseverations,  benedictions and maledictions,  together with all the forms of precepts,  must of necessity stand coldly useless.



Salvation is attained not by subscription to metaphysical dogmas,  but solely by love of God that fulfils itself in action.   This is a cardinal truth in Judaism.

Chasdai Crescas

No man,  for any considerable period,  can wear one face to himself,  and another to the multitude,  without getting bewildered as to which may be the true.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The love of truth
He who begins by loving Christianity better than truth,  will proceed by loving his own sect or church better than Christianity,  and end in loving himself better than all.


You don't get to choose how you're going to die  -  or when.   You can only decide how you're going to live  -  now.

Joan Baez

Among economists the real world is often a special case.

Horngren's observation


Justice is truth in action.

Benjamin Disraeli

Perspective on humanity
To a newspaperman a human being is an item with the skin wrapped around it.

Fred Allen

Today it is not nearly enough merely to be a saint,  but we must have the saintliness demanded by the present moment,  a new saintliness,  itself also without precedent.

Simone Weil

Religion and art
Religion and art spring from the same root and are close kin.   Economics and art are strangers.

Willa Cather,  U.S. poet

Creation possibility
I would have advised God to continue the generation of the species by fashioning them out of clay.

Martin Luther


Walk beside me
Don't walk in front of me
I may not follow
Don't walk behind me
I may not lead
Walk beside me
And just be my friend

Albert Camus

More feet
We were longing for the pitter-patter of little feet,  so we bought a dog.   It's cheaper,  and you get more feet.

Rita Rudner

Why persecution?
The actual point in question,  throughout the centuries of Christian persecution,  has never been faith in God,  but faith in the Bible as the word of God,  and in the Church  (this Church or that)  as the interpreter of that word.

Joseph Campbell

It used to irritate a friend of mine that when he went to confession he never got the chance to tell the priest the good things he had done.

Monica Furlong

It may be
It may be that we cease;  we cannot tell.
Even if we cease,  life is a miracle.

John Masefield


In all countries,  but especially in those where hunger is a serious problem,  the national priority should be food self-sufficiency  -  not only nationally but also in smaller regions within the nation and even quite locally.   Such self-sufficiency will make possible truly free trade,  namely,  a situation in which a country is free either to trade or not.   Its people can survive without it.

J.B. Cobb   ('Sustainability')

There's a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker.

Charles M.Schulz

Tie two birds together.   They will not be able to fly,  even though they now have four wings.

Jalaludin Rumi

The world is a bridge
The world is merely a bridge;  you are to pass over it and not build your dwellings on it.

Moslems attribute this saying to Isa  -  their name for Jesus

A fanatic is a person who does what he thinks the Lord would do if he knew the facts of the case.

Peter Finley Dunne


Real morality
In the moral teaching of the churches,  the emphasis was on individual morality rather than the social responsibilities of Christians.   The rape of continents was overlooked,  even justified,  imperialist wars were not condemned.  . . .  Though international economic relationships were then developing,  moral theology ignored questions of pricing,  wages,  use of resources,  and human exploitation.   Strangely,  these issues were much in the Christian conscience during the Middle Ages with reference to feudalism.   And some of the fathers of the early church  -  to say nothing of the Old Testament prophets  -  had an acute sense of social justice.

Tissa Balasuriya:  "Planetary Theology"

Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention,  largely because they regard such departure as criticism of themselves.

Bertrand Russell

Science  -  a definition
Science may be described as the art of systematic over-simplification.

Karl Popper

We owe thanks
Sometimes our light goes out but is blown into flame by an encounter with another human being.   Each of us owes the deepest thanks to those who have rekindled this inner light.

Albert Einstein

A good leader sets the right goals,  gets things moving,  and helps us to discover that we already know what to do.

Donella Meadows


Weed management
A man who took great pride in his lawn found himself with large and recurring crops of dandelions.   Although he tried every method he knew to get rid of them,  they continued to plague him.   Finally,  in desperation,  he wrote to the Extension Service of the Agriculture Department of the State University,  enumerating all the things he had tried and concluding with the question:  "What shall I do now?"

After a somewhat prolonged time even for such correspondence,  the reply finally came:  "We suggest you learn to love them."


Do it
Put an end once and for all to this discussion of what a good man should be,  and be one.

Marcus Aurelius,  Roman Emperor,  (Stoic)

You cannot propel yourself forward by patting yourself on the back.


Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off the goal.

Hannah More

The Puritan hated bear-baiting,  not because it gave pain to the bear,  but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.

Lord Macaulay


Get it right
Talk nonsense,  but talk your own nonsense.   To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's.


It does make a difference
There was once a philosopher who used to walk by the ocean to do his thinking.   One early morning he looked along the beach and noticed a human figure moving like a dancer.   As he got close he saw that it was a young man,  but the young man wasn't dancing.   He was reaching down,  picking up starfish,  and gently throwing them into the sea.   "What are you doing?"   asked the wise man.   The young man looked up,  and replied,  "Throwing starfish into the sea.   The sun is rising and the tide is out.   If I don't throw them in they'll die."   "But young man,  don't you realise that there are miles of beach and thousands of starfish all along it?   You can't possible make a difference!"   The young man,  listenimg politely,  bent down and picked up another starfish,  and threw it into the sea beyond the breaking waves.   Turning to the philosopher he said,  "It made a difference to that one."


The acid test of any truth is found in whether it aids victims in their struggle to overcome victimisation.

James Cone

Experience declares that man is the only animal which devours his own kind;  for I can apply no milder term to the governments of Europe,  and to the general prey of the rich on the poor.

Thomas Jefferson

Some are righteous
People are divided into two groups  -  the righteous and the unrighteous   -  and the righteous do the dividing.

Cohen's second law


Absolute seriousness is never without a dash of humour.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

True or false?
One might lay down as a postulate:  All conceptions of God which are incompatible with a movement of pure charity are false.   All other conceptions of him,  in varying degree,  are true.

Simone Weil

The best way of serving God is the one to which your heart is drawn.   Labour in it with your whole strength.

The Seer of Lublin   (Hasidic)

Living venturously
If we didn't live venturously,  plucking the wild goat by the beard,  and trembling over precipices,  we should never be depressed,  I've no doubt;  but already be faded,  fatalistic and aged.

Virginia Woolf

Dietary wisdom
When you see the Golden Arches,  you are probably on the road to the Pearly Gates.

William Castelli, M.D.  quoted John Robbins


Never listen to accounts of the frailty of others;  and if anyone should complain to you of another,  humbly ask him not to speak about him at all.

St John of the Cross

To please God
The Sufi is pleased with all that God does in order that God may be pleased with all that he does.

Abu Sa'id

The archer
When an archer is shooting for nothing,  he has all his skill.   If he shoots for a brass buckle,  he is already nervous.   If he shoots for a prize of gold,  he goes blind or sees two targets  -  he is out of his mind.   His skill has not changed but the prize divides him.   He cares.   He thinks more of winning than of shooting  -  and the need to win drains him of power.

Chuang Tzu,  Taoist

Disbelief in Christianity is not so much to be dreaded as its acceptance with a complete denial of it in society and politics.

Mark Rutherford

Looking at the earth from afar you realize it is too small for conflict and just big enough for co-operation.

Yuri Gagarin,  the first man in space



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