Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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Shoshin: "Beginner's Mind"

Belief

Opinions and beliefs can be helpful... as long as we don't believe them!
Do integrity and virtue form the basis of our beliefs or do our beliefs create our definitions of integrity and virtue? Did slavery in the world end because of people’s belief in a sense of injustice or only because it stopped being economically profitable? The conflicts between belief and reason color the whole of human history. Times of stronger belief tend to exhibit more stability but less creativity. Times of widespread belief like the Middle Ages almost always create periods with very little progress while times like the Renaissance tend to overflow with creative inspiration. An inner psychological/spiritual parallel to this defines progress on the path of realization and—from this point of view—belief is a prison enslaving consciousness. Healthy religions discourage belief. The gap between thinking about something and experiencing it is often so great that it’s impossible to see any connection. And yet, we believe so much in what we think. Why and how we believe something is much more important than what we believe. What’s important isn’t which opinions and beliefs someone has but how they hold them: as a rigid dogma or tentatively, realizing that new evidence at any moment could change the conclusions.

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Quotes (118)

“Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.”

Vyasa व्यास c. 3000 BCE
Hindu immortals, Vishnu avatar, 5th incarnation of Brahma
from Mahābhārata महाभारतम्

Themes: Belief

“When we recognize belief as sickness, healing begins.”

Lao Tzu 老子 604 BCE - via Shan Dao, chapter #71
(Lǎozǐ)
from Tao Te Ching 道德经 Dàodéjīng

Themes: Belief

“The more harmful the religion, the more dogmatic extremists.”

Lao Tzu 老子 604 BCE - via Shan Dao, chapter #18
(Lǎozǐ)
from Tao Te Ching 道德经 Dàodéjīng

Themes: Religion Belief

“For men who have no faith, it is impossible to have pure dharma, like planting a burned seed in a field and expecting a green shoot to come.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE via Thinley Norbu Rinpoche
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth

Themes: Belief Confidence

“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth

Themes: Belief

38. Fruit Over Flowers

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

Buddha गौतम बुद्ध 563 – 483 BCE
(Siddhartha Shakyamuni Gautama)
Awakened Truth

Themes: Books Belief

71. Sick of Sickness

“Learn the unshaken heart of persuasive truth. Don’t believe status quo opinions in which there is no truth at all.”

Parmenides 540 – 450 BCE via Shan Dao
Grandfather of Western philosophy
from On Nature

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“Concerning the gods, I have no means of knowing whether they exist or not, nor of what sort they may be, because of the obscurity of the subject, and the brevity of human life.”

Protagoras 490 – 420 BCE
“The wisest man alive”—Socrates

Themes: God Belief

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“He who believes needs no explanation.”

Euripides 480 – 406 BCE
Ancient humanitarian influence continuing today

Themes: Belief

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true.”

Demosthenes Δημοσθένης 384 – 322 BCE

Themes: Deception Belief

“Water is for fish and air for men. Natures differ, and needs with them. Hence the wise men of old did not lay down one measure for all.”

Chuang Tzu 莊周 369 – 286 BCE
(Zhuangzi)

Themes: Water Belief

61. Lying Low

“Clarity is the enemy of self-deception and of the larger deception know as ideology.”

Anonymous -800 to present
Freedom from the narrow boxes defined by personal history

Themes: Deception Belief

“Any belief in a God who takes an interest in punishing or rewarding humans can’t rise above a virulent form of superstition.”

Lucretius 99 – 55 BCE via Shan Dao
(Titus Carus)
from De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things)

Themes: Belief Religion God

“They who believe not shall have garments of fire fitted unto them; boiling water shall be poured on their heads; their bowels shall be dissolved thereby, and also their skins, and they shall be beaten with maces of iron”

Muhammad محمد‎; محمد‎; 570 – 632 CE via George Seldes
from Koran

Themes: Belief

“When questioned with disbelief in his realization by a Zen master, Touzi said 'What point would there be in waiting until you believed it?'”

Touzi Yiqing 投子義青 1032 – 1083 CE
(Tōsu Gisei, “Zen Master of Complete Compassion”)

“The holy truths are empty”

Yuanwu Keqin 圜悟克勤 1063 – 1135 CE via J.C. and Thomas Cleary
(Yuánwù Kèqín)
from Blue Cliff Record, Biyan lu 碧巖錄

“Nothing can be believed unless it is first understood; and that for any one to preach to others that which either he has not understood nor they have understood is absurd.”

Peter Abelard Pierre Abélard 1079 – 1142 CE
from Dialogue Between a Philosopher, a Jew, and a Christian

“Only in the mathematical sciences are things known to us identified with those known absolutely.”

Averroes, Ibn Rushd ابن رشد‎‎ 1126 – 1198 CE via William of Baskerville

Themes: Belief Doubt

“To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.”

Thomas Aquinas 1225 – 1274 CE

Themes: Belief

“In a discussion, when someone cites an authority, they are using memory, not reason.”

Leonardo da Vinci 1452 – 1519 CE via Shan Dao

Themes: Memory Belief

“It is only certain that there is nothing certain.”

Montaigne 1533 – 1592 CE

Themes: Belief

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”

Giordano Bruno 1548 – 1600 CE
from Cause, Principle, and Unity: And Essays on Magic

Themes: Truth Belief

“If there was no faith, there would be no ignorance.”

Giordano Bruno 1548 – 1600 CE

Themes: Belief Ignorance

“Superstition discounts reason and builds an absolute monarchy in our minds making wise men follow fools.”

Francis Bacon 1561 – 1626 CE via Shan Dao
from Of Goodness and the Goodness of Nature

Themes: Belief

“When you hear something positive about yourself, keep a tight rein on your belief. When you hear something negative, give your belief the spur.”

Balthasar Gracian 1601 – 1658 CE via Shan Dao
from Art of Worldly Wisdom

Themes: Belief Humility

“People almost invariably arrive at their beliefs not on the basis of proof but on the basis of what they find attractive.”

Blaise Pascal 1623 – 1662 CE
One of the greatest French writers of all time

Themes: Belief Deception

“I want my lawyer, my tailor, my servants, even my wife to believe in God, because it means that I shall be cheated and robbed and cuckolded less often. ... If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet 1694 – 1778 CE

Themes: Belief God

“In the affairs of this world, men are saved not by Faith,but by the lack of it.”

Benjamin Franklin 1706 – 1790 CE
from Poor Richard's Almanack

“the truths of feeling are more unshakable than the truths of logical demonstration”

Diderot 1713 – 1784 CE
from Encyclopédie

Themes: Belief

“I had to deny knowledge in order to make room for faith.”

Immanuel Kant 1724 – 1804 CE
from Critique Of Pure Reason

Themes: Belief

“Getting out of danger requires that one believe it is dangerous – belief rules the mind… If there is truthfulness, then the mind develops.”

Liu Yiming 刘一明 1734 – 1821 CE via Thomas Cleary
(Liu I-ming)
from Taoist I Ching, , Zhouyi chanzhen 周易闡真

Themes: Truth Belief

80. A Golden Age

“With most people, disbelief in a thing is founded on a blind belief in some other thing.”

Georg Christoph Lichtenberg 1742 – 1799 CE
One of history’s best aphorists

Themes: Belief

“Have you not observed that faith is generally strongest in those whose character may be called the weakest?”

Madame de Staël 1766 – 1817 CE
(Anne Louise Germaine de Staël-Holstein)
"The greatest woman of her time"

Themes: Belief

“Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear.”

Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allen Poe 1809 – 1849 CE

Themes: Belief Doubt

18. The Sick Society

“The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic.”

Charles Darwin 1809 – 1882 CE

Themes: Belief

“Credulity is always greatest in times of calamity. Prophecies of all sorts are rife on such occasions, and are readily believed.”

Charles Mackay 1814 – 1889 CE
from Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Themes: Belief Fanaticism

38. Fruit Over Flowers

“How rarely I meet with a man who an be free, even in thought! We all live according to rule. Some men are bed-ridden; all world-ridden.”

Henry David Thoreau 1817 – 1862 CE via Odell Shepard
Father of environmentalism and America's first yogi
from Journal, 1857

“Believe but what the heart doth say
No signs from Heaven come today.”

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky Фёдор Миха́йлович Достое́вский 1821 – 1881 CE via Constance Garnett
from Brothers Karamatzov

Themes: Belief

“If I were to start as a God or a prophet I think I should take the line: 'Thou shalt not believe in me. Thou shalt not have me for a God. Thou shalt worship any damned thing thou likest except me.”

Samuel Butler 1835 – 1902 CE
Iconoclastic philosopher, artist, composer, author, and evolutionary theorist
from Note-Books (1912)

Themes: Belief God

“In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

Themes: Religion Belief

38. Fruit Over Flowers

“It is a distinguishing peculiarity of the Erewhonians that when they profess themselves to be quite certain about any matter, and avow it as a base on which they are to build a system of practice, they seldom quite believe in it.”

Samuel Butler 1835 – 1902 CE
Iconoclastic philosopher, artist, composer, author, and evolutionary theorist
from Erewhon

Themes: Belief

“You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, burning bushes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

67. Three Treasures

“A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows.”

Mark Twain 1835 – 1910 CE
(Samuel Langhorne Clemens)

Themes: Religion Belief

71. Sick of Sickness

“As a rule, we disbelieve all facts and theories for which we have no use.”

William James 1842 – 1910 CE
"Father of American psychology”
from The Will to Believe, 1897

Themes: Belief

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does… Be not afraid of life. Believe that life is worth living, and your belief will help create the fact.”

William James 1842 – 1910 CE
"Father of American psychology”

“Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.”

Friedrich Nietzsche 1844 – 1900 CE
from The Portable Nietzsche, 1954

Themes: Belief Fanaticism

“Refusal to believe until proof is given is a rational position; denial of all outside of our own limited experience is absurd.”

Annie Besant 1847 – 1933 CE

Themes: Belief

“All good men are Anarchists… all just men are Anarchists. Jesus was an Anarchist.”

Elbert Hubbard 1856 – 1915 CE
from A Message to Garcia and Thirteen Other Things

57. Wu Wei

“It is not disbelief that is dangerous in our society: it is belief.”

George Bernard Shaw 1856 – 1950 CE
UK playwright second only to Shakespeare

Themes: Belief Fanaticism

“The path of least resistance and least trouble is a mental rut already made. It requires troublesome work to undertake the alteration of old beliefs.”

John Dewey 1859 – 1952 CE
The "Second Confucius"

Themes: Belief Progress

“He that is slow to believe anything and everything is of great understanding, for belief in one false principle, is the beginning of all unwisdom.”

Arthur Desmond 1859 – 1929 CE
from Might Is Right

Themes: Belief Fanaticism

2. The Wordless Teachings

“The brute necessity of believing something so long as life lasts does not justify any belief in particular.”

Santayana, George 1863 – 1952 CE
(Jorge Agustín Nicolás Ruiz de Santayana y Borrás)
Powerfully influential, true-to-himself philosopher/poet

Themes: Belief

“You cannot believe in God until you believe in yourself.”

Swami Vivekananda ʃami bibekanɔnd̪o 1863 – 1902 CE
"The maker of modern India"

Themes: Belief

“All empty souls tend toward extreme opinions.”

W.B. (William Butler) Yeats 1865 – 1939 CE

Themes: Belief Opinion

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“There is no creed, no way of living left in the world at all, that really meets the needs of the time.”

H. G. Wells 1866 – 1946 CE
A father of science fiction and One World Government apostle

Themes: Belief

“Conscious faith is freedom. Emotional faith is slavery. Mechanical faith is foolishness.”

G. I. Gurdjieff 1866 – 1949 CE

38. Fruit Over Flowers

“When the mind withdraws into itself and dispenses with facts it makes only chaos.”

Edith Hamilton 1867 – 1963 CE

“Faith is not belief. Belief is passive. Faith is active.”

Edith Hamilton 1867 – 1963 CE

“James’ doctrine is an attempt to build a superstructure of belief upon a foundation of skepticism, and like all such attempts, it is dependent on fallacies… a form of the subjectivistic madness which is characteristic of most modern philosophy.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”

Themes: Philosophy Belief

“Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”
from Unpopular Essays

Themes: Belief

“Neither a man nor a crowd nor a nation can be trusted to act humanely or to think sanely under the influence of a great fear.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”
from Unpopular Essays

Themes: Belief

“It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground for supporting it to be true.”

Bertrand Russell 1872 – 1970 CE
“20th century Voltaire”
from Unpopular Essays

Themes: Belief

“Our blight is ideologies — they are the long-expected Antichrist!”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist

Themes: Belief

71. Sick of Sickness

“I have been and still am a seeker, but I have ceased to question stars and books; I have begun to listen to the teaching my blood whispers to me.”

Hermann Hesse 1877 – 1962 CE

2. The Wordless Teachings

“This system teaches people to believe in absolutely nothing. You must verify everything that you see, hear and feel. Only in that way can you come to something.”

Ouspensky Пётр Демья́нович Успе́нский 1878 – 1947 CE
(Pyotr Demianovich Ouspenskii)

Themes: Belief Doubt

“It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.”

Will Rogers 1879 – 1935 CE

Themes: Lies Belief

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“Man does not realize that throughout his entire life he does things he believes. Precisely what to believe and how to believe comprises the solution of the problems of being. Man's free will or free choice molds his destiny.”

Helena Roerich Елéна Ивáновна Рéрих 1879 – 1955 CE

“the majestic monotheism of the founder [Zarathustra] became - as in the case of Christianity - the polytheism of the people”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Our Oriental Heritage

“This is the tragedy of almost every civilization—that its soul is in its faith, and seldom survives philosophy.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Our Oriental Heritage

“In a society where government, law, and morality are bound up with a religious creed, any attack upon that creed is viewed as menacing the foundation of social order itself.”

Will Durant 1885 – 1981 CE
Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons
from Age of Faith

Themes: Religion Belief

“Tolerance grows only when faith loses certainty; certainty is murderous.”

Will (and Ariel) Durant 1885 – 1981 CE

Themes: Belief

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“He had a mind so fine that no idea could violate it.”

T. S. Eliot 1888 – 1965 CE

Themes: Doubt Belief

18. The Sick Society

“One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them, finding bad reasons for what one believes for other bad reasons.”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE

Themes: Karma Belief

2. The Wordless Teachings

“Give us this day our daily Faith, but deliver us, dear God, from Belief.”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE
from Island

Themes: Belief

71. Sick of Sickness

“The constant assertion of belief is an indication of fear.”

Krishnamurti 1895 – 1986 CE
(Jiddu Krishnamurti)

Themes: Belief

2. The Wordless Teachings

“Once upon a time all the men of mind and genius in the world became of one belief—that is to say, of no belief. But it wearied them to think that within a few years after their death many cults and systems and prognostications would be ascribed to them which they had never meditated nor intended”

F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896 – 1940 CE
Prototype of "Jazz Age" exuberance
from The Beautiful and Damned (1922):

Themes: Belief

“Question everything, don’t believe anything.”

Nisargadatta Maharaj 1897 – 1981 CE via Maurice Frydman
Householder guru of non-duality
from I Am That

Themes: Belief

“People make mistakes in life through believing too much, but they have a damned dull time if they believe too little.”

James Hilton 1900 – 1954 CE
from Lost Horizon

Themes: Mistakes Belief

71. Sick of Sickness
58. Goals Without Means

“Because emptiness has no limit and no beginning, we can believe in it… If you really understand this, tears will flow.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 1904 – 1971 CE via Trudy Dixon
from Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

Themes: Belief Emptiness

“We have to believe in something that has no form and no color – something that exists before all forms and colors appear… By enlightenment I mean believing in nothing.”

Shunryu Suzuki Roshi 1904 – 1971 CE

14. Finding and Following the Formless Form
11. Appreciating Emptiness

“The idea of the supernatural as being something over and above the natural is a killing idea. In the Middle Ages this was the idea that finally turned that world into something like a wasteland, a land where people were living inauthentic lives, never doing a thing they truly wanted to because the supernatural laws required them to live as directed by their clergy.”

Joseph Campbell 1904 – 1987 CE
Great translator of ancient myth into modern symbols
from Power of Myth

Themes: Creativity Belief

“To force oneself to believe and to accept a thing without understanding is political, and not spiritual or intellectual.”

Walpola Rahula Thero 1907 – 1997 CE
“Supreme Master of Buddhist Scriptures”

from What the Buddha Taught, 1959

Themes: Belief

“It is a sad fact of life that power and fear are the fountainheads of faith.”

Saul Alinsky 1909 – 1972 CE
from Rules for Radicals

Themes: Fear Belief

“Some say it’s no coincidence that the question mark is an inverted plow, breaking up the hard soil of old beliefs and preparing for the new growth.”

Saul Alinsky 1909 – 1972 CE
from Rules for Radicals

Themes: Belief

“A point of view can be a dangerous luxury when substituted for insight and understanding.”

Marshall McLuhan 1911 – 1980 CE

Themes: Belief Reality

71. Sick of Sickness

“Jesus… invited people to see differently instead of telling them what to do or believe… he located the authority of his teaching in his hearer’s hearts, not in himself or God-as-removed.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE
from World's Religions

“One reason education undoes belief is its teaching of evolution… more loss of religious faith can be traced to the theory of evolution than to anything else.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE

“Where faith is weak, there is an abundance of beliefs.”

Reb Zalman 1924 – 2014 CE
from Paradigm Shift

Themes: Doubt Belief

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“People suffer because they are caught in their views. As soon as we release those views, we are free and we don't suffer anymore.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh tʰǐk ɲɜ̌t hɐ̂ʔɲ 1926 CE –

Themes: Belief

“When I believe, I am crazy. When I don’t believe, I suffer psychotic depression.”

Philip K. Dick 1928 – 1982 CE
Legendary consciousness provocateur

Themes: Belief

“As a young man I was scornful about the supernatural but as I have got older, the sharp line that divided the credible from the incredible has tended to blur; I am aware that the whole world is slightly incredible”

Colin Wilson 1931 – 2013 CE

Themes: Belief

“We believe nothing if not that history is moving us toward some preordained paradise and that technology is the force behind that movement.”

Neil Postman 1931 – 2003 CE
from Amusing Ourselves to Death

Themes: History Belief

“If one can only see things according to one's own belief system, one is destined to become virtually deaf, dumb, and blind.

Robert Anton Wilson 1932 – 2007 CE

Themes: Belief

67. Three Treasures
38. Fruit Over Flowers

“Why we believe something is much more important than what we believe.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

Themes: Belief

“The gap between thinking about something and experiencing it is often so great that it’s impossible to see any connection. And yet, we believe so much in what we think.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

Themes: Belief

“Opinions and beliefs can be helpful... as long as we don't believe them”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –
from Tao Te Ching — The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“Fake news isn’t the problem. There has always been and probably always will be fake news. The problem is only people believing it which seems to be an increasing trend in our digital age.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

Themes: Deception Belief

“Did slavery in the world end because of people’s sense of injustice or only because it stopped being economically profitable? As technology evolves, unskilled labor becomes both less necessary and less valuable. As physical slavery organically ended in the world, mental slavery, true-believership, and wage slavery are rapidly ending now.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

“What’s important isn’t which opinions and beliefs someone has but how they hold them: as a rigid dogma or tentatively, realizing that new evidence at any moment could change them.”

Shan Dao 山道 1933 CE –

Themes: Opinion Belief

“fundamentalists have taken the fun out of the mental”

Ken Kesey 1935 – 2001 CE

Themes: Belief

“We have two alternatives: either we question our beliefs - or we don't. Either we accept our fixed versions of reality- or we begin to challenge them. In Buddha's opinion, to train in staying open and curious - to train in dissolving our assumptions and beliefs - is the best use of our human lives.”

Pema Chödrön 1936 CE –
(Deirdre Blomfield-Brown)
First American Vajrayana nun

17. True Leaders

“Tell people there's an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority will believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure.”

George Carlin 1937 – 2008 CE
One of the most influential social commentators of his time

Themes: Belief

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“There are enormous problems with thinking that we can only trust in what we were told rather than in how we feel… we are trying to become perfect actors rather than real people.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Journey Without Goal

14. Finding and Following the Formless Form

“Look into every situation and examine it, so that you won’t be fooling yourself by relying on belief alone. Instead, you want to make a personal discovery of reality through your own intelligence and ability.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE
from Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior

Themes: Belief Fanaticism

71. Sick of Sickness

“Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me.”

John Lennon 1940 – 1980 CE

41. Distilled Life

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

Bob Dylan 1941 CE –

Themes: Belief

38. Fruit Over Flowers

“The message of the Koran is an uncompromising one of absolute monotheism, focused on the ideal of God as truth, mercy, and power; demanding complete submission and ethical conduct; and rewarding the faithful and punishing those who reject his revelation.”

J. Rufus Fears 1945 – 2012 CE

Themes: God Belief

“Religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today.”

Salman Rushdie 1947 CE –
Fearless antagonist of Islamic fundamentalism

“My point of view is that of a secular human being. I do not believe in supernatural entities, whether Christian, Jewish, Muslim or Hindu.”

Salman Rushdie 1947 CE –
Fearless antagonist of Islamic fundamentalism

Themes: Belief

“Nobody’s easier to fool, than the person who is convinced that he is right.”

Haruki Murakami 1949 CE – via Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel
from 1Q84

Themes: Belief

38. Fruit Over Flowers

“I have no need to challenge my life in such a troublesome or unnatural way because I am endowed with the capacity to ‘believe.’ I believe in all honesty that something will appear to guide me through the darkest and narrowest tunnel, or across the most desolate plain.”

Haruki Murakami 1949 CE – via Shan Dao
from Killing Commendatore

Themes: Belief

“Fights over ideas are the most vicious of all. If it were merely food, or water, or shelter, we would work something out But in the realm of ideas, one can become idealistic.”

Kim Stanley Robinson 1952 CE –

“The future course for Islamic societies [is] in a synthesis between adherence to the faith and adjustment to the modern age.”

Benazir Bhutto بينظير ڀُٽو‎; 1953 – 2007 CE

“Our ancestors replaced dogma, tradition and authority with reason, debate and institutions of truth-seeking. They replaced superstition and magic with science.”

Steven Pinker 1954 CE –
Humanistic scientist, insightful cultural commentaror
from Enlightenment Now

Themes: Belief Science Magic

“Natural selection didn’t design your mind to see the world clearly; it designed your mind to have perceptions and beliefs that would help take care of your genes.”

Robert Wright 1957 CE –
from Why Buddhism is True

Themes: Belief Mind

“People believe… It's what people do. They believe, and then they do not take responsibility for their beliefs; they conjure things, and do not trust the conjuration”

Neil Gaiman 1960 CE –
Myth-transmitting creative maelstrom
from American Gods

Themes: Belief

“Belief grows ever ‘truer.’ The actual past is brittle, ever-dimming… The present presses the virtual past into its own service, to lend credence to its mythologies.”

David Mitchell 1969 CE –

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“How do you cause people to believe in an imagined ordered such as Christianity, democracy, or capitalism? First, you never admit that the order is imagined. You always insist that the order sustaining society is an objective reality created by the great gods or by the laws of nature.”

Yuval Harari יובל נח הררי‎ 1976 CE –
Israeli historian, professor, and philosopher

from Sapiens

Sources

Age of Faith

by Will Durant

Philosophy apostle and popularizer of history's lessons

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