Tao Te Ching

The Power of Goodness, the Wisdom Beyond Words
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God

The meaning of the word “God” probably has as many different nuances and meanings as people who try to define it. In a conversation between Alyosha and Kolya in The Brothers Karamazov, Kolya philosophizes, “I’ve nothing against God. Of course, God is only a hypothesis, but… I admit that He is needed.. for order, universal order and all that… and that if there were no God, He would have to be invented.” One of the biggest distinctions is probably between a theistic and a non-theistic definition, a dualistic and a non-dualistic understanding. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam represent the former; Taoism, Buddhism, and the mystic traditions within all religions the latter.

Most often, “God” seems to be a projection in human terms and this brings about searing contradictions. The pre-Socratic philosophers debated this. They questioned the discrepancy between the idea of a benevolent God coexisting with evil in the world. If God is omnipotent and benevolent, why doesn’t he prevent pain and suffering? Epicurus reconciled this by proposing that the universe is so large, He doesn’t have time, humans aren’t the priority. But beyond that, doesn’t the reality of evil imply an incompetent “Creator?” The theistic interpretations of “God” all seem to fall apart because of the reality of evil.

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Quotes (119)

“Ethiopians make their gods black and snub-nosed; the Thracians say theirs have blue eyes and red hair... if oxen and horses had hands and could paint, they would paint the forms of gods like horses and oxen.”

Xenophanes Ξενοφάνης ὁ Κολοφώνιος 570 – 475 BCE
(Xenophanes of Colophon)

Themes: God Projection

“Existence arises from nonexistence, and the Full emerges from the Empty. . . . The Way is the oneness from which all beings arise.”

Wenzi 文子 (fl. 5th century BCE)
(Wénzǐ)
"Authentic Presence of Pervading Mystery.”
from The Wenzi, Wénzǐ 文子

“God is day and night, winter and summer, war and peace, surfeit and hunger; but he takes various shapes, just as fire, when it is mingled with spices, is named according to the savor of each.”

Heraclitus Ἡράκλειτος 535 – 475 BCE
(of Ephesus, the "Weeping Philosopher")
A Greek Buddha

“About the gods I have no means of knowing either that they exist or that they do not exist or what they might look like. Many things prevent my knowing like the fact that they are never seen.”

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

Themes: God

“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

“The nature of God is a circle of which the center is everywhere and the circumference is nowhere.”

Empedocles 490 – 430 BCE
"The father of rhetoric"—Aristotle
from On Nature

“Gods manifest themselves in many forms,
Bring many matters to surprising ends;
The things we thought would happen do not;
The unexpected occurs.”

Euripides 480 – 406 BCE via Philip Vellacott, Shan Dao
Ancient humanitarian influence continuing today
from Bacchae Βάκχαι

Themes: God Illusion

“He was a wise man who invented God.”

Plato Πλάτων 428 – 348 BCE

Themes: God

39. Oneness

“What we have in us of the image of God is the love of truth and justice.”

Demosthenes Δημοσθένης 384 – 322 BCE

Themes: God Truth Justice

“The gods are not to be feared; death cannot be felt; the good can be won; all that we dread can be conquered.”

Epicurus ɛpɪˈkjɔːrəs 341 – 270 BCE
Western Buddha
from On Nature

Themes: God Fear

15. Inscrutability

“The gods can either take away evil from the world and will not, or, being willing to do so cannot, or they neither can nor will, or lastly, they are both able and willing. I they have the will to remove evil and cannot, then they are not omnipotent. If they can, but will not, then they are not benevolent If they are neither able nor willing, then they are neither omnipotent nor benevolent Lastly, if they are both able and willing to annihilate evil, how does it exist?”

Epicurus ɛpɪˈkjɔːrəs 341 – 270 BCE
Western Buddha
from Maxims

Themes: Evil God

“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: God Belief

“Do the gods light this fire in our hearts or does each man's mad desire become his god?”

Virgil 70 – 19 BCE
(Publius Vergilius Maro)
from Aeneid

Themes: Desire God

“It is expedient that there be gods, and—since it is expedient—let us believe that they exist.”

Ovid oʊvɪd 43 BCE – 18 CE
(Publius Ovidius Naso)
Great poet and major influence on the Renaissance, Humanism, and world literature

from Art of Love, 2 CE

Themes: God

“Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but leave room for God's wrath. For it is written: "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay, says the Lord."”

Jesus 3 BCE – 30 CE

Themes: God Anger

74. The Great Executioner

“Looking outward we see many faces; look inward and all is one head. If a man could but be turned about, he would see at once God and himself and the All.”

Plotinus 204 – 249 CE
from Enneads Ἐννεάδες Plotinus / Porphyry

39. Oneness

“Everything is overflowing with Gods.”

Proclus Lycaeus Πρόκλος ὁ Διάδοχος 412 – 485 CE
"The most influential Ancient Greek philosopher you've never heard of"

Themes: God

“What was one more god? Gods were like the flotsam that washed up with the waves, always coming and going, and those big enough to remain gradually were worn away by wind and water and time. The Christ and his priests were different. They would change everything.”

Hilda of Whitby 614 – 680 CE via Nicola Griffith

Themes: God Christianity

“Since no one really knows anything about God, those who think they do are really just troublemakers.”

Rabia Basri رابعة العدوية القيسية‎‎ 714 – 801 CE
(Rābi‘a al-‘Adawīyya)

Themes: God

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“God considers not the action, but the spirit of the action.”

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

Themes: God Justice

“All of creation God gives to humankind to use. If this privilege is misused, God’s justice permits creation to punish humanity.”

Hildegard of Bingen 1098 – 1179 CE

57. Wu Wei

“God would never give us reason, then give us divine laws that contradict such reason.”

Averroes, Ibn Rushd ابن رشد‎‎ 1126 – 1198 CE

“If the believer understood the meaning of the saying 'the color of the water is the color of the receptacle', he would admit the validity of all beliefs and he would recognize God in every form and every object of faith.”

Ibn' Arabi Ibn 'Arabi 1165 – 1240 CE
“the foremost spiritual leader in Muslim history”

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“Wherever complex design exists, there must have been a designer; nature is complex; therefore nature must have had an intelligent designer.”

Thomas Aquinas 1225 – 1274 CE

Themes: God

“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.”

Meister Eckhart 1260 – 1328 CE
(Eckhart von Hochheim)

14. Finding and Following the Formless Form

“As the Godhead is nameless, and all naming is alien to Him so also the soul is nameless; for it is here the same as God.”

Meister Eckhart 1260 – 1328 CE
(Eckhart von Hochheim)

Themes: God Anonymity

2. The Wordless Teachings

“Bidden or Unbidden, God is Present.”

Erasmus 1466 – 1536 CE
(Desiderius Roterodamus)
"Greatest scholar of the northern Renaissance"

Themes: God

47. Effortless Success

“We have the knowledge not to search for divinity removed from us if we have it near; it is within us more than we ourselves are.”

Giordano Bruno 1548 – 1600 CE via Gosselin and Lerner

Themes: God Travel

47. Effortless Success

“I rather live as if God exists to find out that He doesn't than live as if he doesn't exist to find out He does.”

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

Themes: God Belief

“There is a God-shaped vacuum in every heart.”

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

“The more we know of particular things, the more we know of God.”

Baruch Spinoza 1632 – 1677 CE

Themes: God Paradox

“This most beautiful system of the sun, planets and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.”

Isaac Newton 1642 – 1726 CE

Themes: God

“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

“God is a comedian playing to an audience that is too afraid to laugh, a circle whose center is everywhere and circumference nowhere.”

Voltaire, François-Marie Arouet 1694 – 1778 CE

Themes: God

“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blind-folded fear.”

Thomas Jefferson 1743 – 1826 CE
from Notes on the State of Virginia

Themes: God Fear

65. Simplicity: the Hidden Power of Goodness

“That sect [Jews] had presented for the object of their worship, a being of terrific character, cruel, vindictive, capricious and unjust... cruel and remorseless as the being whom they represented as the family God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob, and the local God of Israel.”

Thomas Jefferson 1743 – 1826 CE via Letter to William Short

Themes: Judaism God

“God wants there to be gods.”

Novalis 1772 – 1831 CE

Themes: God

39. Oneness

“God manifests himself to us in the first degree through the life of the universe, and in the second degree through the thought of man. The second manifestation is not less holy than the first. The first is named Nature, the second is named Art.”

Victor Hugo 1802 – 1885 CE
Literary pioneer, poet, and social justice provocateur
from William Shakespeare, 1864

Themes: Art God Reason

“To love another person is to see the face of God.”

Victor Hugo 1802 – 1885 CE
Literary pioneer, poet, and social justice provocateur

Themes: Compassion God

“The idea of God stands for the possible attempt at an impossible conception. We know nothing about the nature of God.”

Edgar Allan Poe Edgar Allen Poe 1809 – 1849 CE
from Notes, The Raven and Other Poems, 1845

Themes: God

“The whole subject of God and morality is beyond the scope of man's intellect.”

Charles Darwin 1809 – 1882 CE

Themes: God

“If God existed, it would be necessary to abolish him.”

Mikhail Bakunin 1814 – 1876 CE
Romantic rebel, revolutionary anarchist, founding father of modern socialism

Themes: God

“How then can this one small heart beat; this one small brain think thoughts; unless God does that beating, does that thinking, does that living, and not I.”

Herman Melville 1819 – 1891 CE
from Moby Dick or The Whale

Themes: God Egolessness

“The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.”

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

Themes: Beauty God

“And what's strange, what would be marvelous, is not that God should really exist; the marvel is that such an idea, the idea of the necessity of God, could enter the head of such a savage, vicious beast as man.”

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

Themes: God

“An honest God's the noblest work of man.”

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

Themes: God

“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

“The prince of darkness may be a gentleman, as we are told he is, but whatever the God of earth and heaven is, he can surely be no gentleman.”

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

Themes: God

“Which is it? Is man only a blunder of God? Or is God only a blunder of man?”

Friedrich Nietzsche 1844 – 1900 CE
from Twilight of the Idols

Themes: God

“I would only believe in a god who could dance.”

Friedrich Nietzsche 1844 – 1900 CE

Themes: God

56. One with the Dust

“What you call God I call Nature, the Supreme intelligence that rules matter… 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, He also made the fish I catch and eat. And where do His mercy, kindness, and love for that fish come in?”

Thomas Edison 1847 – 1931 CE
America's greatest inventor

“According to a notion of the early Christians, the devil would like to ‘play the part of God’. According to Lao-Tzu’s theory, the nature of the devil consists exactly in the attempt of acting the part of God.”

Paul Carus 1852 – 1919 CE
The Teachings of Lao Tzu

Themes: God Christianity

2. The Wordless Teachings

“The same thing which in Lao-Tzu…is the Tao… is Spinoza’s cosmotheism is God as the eternal substance.”

Paul Carus 1852 – 1919 CE
The Teachings of Lao Tzu

Themes: God

1. The Unnamed

“I think God, in creating man, somewhat overestimated his ability.”

Oscar Wilde 1854 – 1900 CE

“At bottom, God is nothing more than an exalted father.”

Sigmund Freud 1856 – 1939 CE
from The Future of an Illusion

Themes: God

“The apparent multiplication of gods is bewildering at the first glance, but you soon discover that they are the same GOD. There is always one uttermost God who defies personification. This makes Hinduism the most tolerant religion in the world, because its one transcendent God includes all possible gods. In fact Hinduism is so elastic and so subtle that the most profound Methodist, and crudest idolater, are equally at home with it.”

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

“Jesus was talking the most most penetrating good sense when he preached Communism; when he declared that the reality behind the popular belief in God was a creative spirit in ourselves called by him the Heavenly Father and by us Evolution, Life Force, and other names.”

George Bernard Shaw 1856 – 1950 CE
UK playwright second only to Shakespeare
from Androcles and the Lion, 1912

Themes: God Socialism

“God reveals himself in history; history is the judgment of the world”

Dean Inge 1860 – 1954 CE via Things That Remain
Christian mystic and philosopher

Themes: God History

“It is pathetic to observe how lowly are the motives that religion, even the highest, attributes to the deity... That fear first created the gods is perhaps as true as anything so brief could be on so great a subject.”

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

Themes: God Fear

“Where can we go to find God if we cannot see Him in our own hearts and in every living being.”

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

Themes: God

“At the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit. And that center is really everywhere. It is within each of us.”

Black Elk 1863 – 1950 CE
(Heȟáka Sápa)

25. The Mother of All Things
6. The Source

“The greatest untold story is the evolution of God.”

G. I. Gurdjieff 1866 – 1949 CE

Themes: God Evolution

54. Planting Well

“If I were asked to define the Hindu creed, I should simply say: Search after truth through non-violent means. A man may not believe in God and still call himself a Hindu. Hinduism is a relentless pursuit after truth... Hinduism is the religion of truth. Truth is God. Denial of God we have known. Denial of truth we have not known.”

Mahatma Gandhi 1869 – 1948 CE

Themes: Hinduism God

“It has been said that the higher praise of God consists in the denial of Him by the atheist, who finds creation s perfect that he can dispense with a creator.”

Marcel Proust 1871 – 1922 CE
Apostle of Ordinary Mind

Themes: God

“And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence.”

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

Themes: God

“The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.”

G. K. Chesterton 1874 – 1936 CE

Themes: God Religion

“he did not know the immediate, living God who stands—omnipotent and free—above His Bible and His Church... In his trial of human courage God refuses to abide by traditions, no matter how sacred”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE
Insightful shamanistic scientist
from Memories, Dreams, Reflections

Themes: Golden Chains God

“You say the Christian God is unequivocal, he is love. But what is more ambiguous than love?”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE via Sonu Shamdasani
Insightful shamanistic scientist
from Red Book, Liber Novus

Themes: God Paradox

“If you are a boy, your God is a woman. If you are a woman, your God is a boy. If you are a man, your God is a maiden. The God is where you are not. A maiden is the pregnant future. A boy is the engendering future. A woman is having given birth. A man is having engendered.”

Carl Jung 1875 – 1961 CE via Sonu Shamdasani
Insightful shamanistic scientist
from Red Book, Liber Novus

“Once there was God, now there is no God, some day there will be a God again.”

Rainer Maria Rilke 1875 – 1926 CE
Profound singer of universal music
from Time Magazine, 1969

Themes: God

“Let yourself be carried away, like the clouds in the sky. You shouldn’t resist. God exists in your destiny just as much as he does in these mountains and in that lake.”

Hermann Hesse 1877 – 1962 CE

“God is the Eternal Thou”

Martin Buber מרטין בובר‎‎ 1878 – 1965 CE

Themes: God Sacred World

“The atheist staring from his attic window is often nearer to God than the believer caught up in his own false image of God.”

Martin Buber מרטין בובר‎‎ 1878 – 1965 CE

Themes: God

49. No Set Mind

“Like the goal of art is the search for beauty, the goal of religion is the search for God and truth.”

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

Themes: Religion Truth God Art

“The word 'God' is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.”

Albert Einstein 1879 – 1955 CE

Themes: God

“She thought there were no Gods; no one was to blame; and so she evolved this atheist's religion of doing good for the sake of goodness.”

Virginia Woolf 1882 – 1941 CE
from Mrs. Dalloway

“God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises.”

Nikos Kazantzakis 1883 – 1957 CE

Themes: God Sacred World

67. Three Treasures

“The truth is that we all are one, that all of us together create god, that god is not man's ancestor, but his descendant.”

Nikos Kazantzakis 1883 – 1957 CE
from Last Temptation of Christ

Themes: God Oneness

39. Oneness
54. Planting Well

“'God'—the Power that always gives us more than we are able to receive and always asks for more than we are able to give.”

Nikos Kazantzakis 1883 – 1957 CE
from Report to Greco

Themes: God

“The mythopoetic, theopoetic proess is natural, and goes on today as always; there is a birth rate as well as a death rate of the gods; deity is like energy, and its quantiy remains, through all vicissitudes of form, approximately unchanged from generation to generation.”

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

Themes: God

“When men make gods, there is no god.”

Eugene O'Neill 1888 – 1953 CE

Themes: God

“Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything Godlike about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything.”

Henry Miller 1891 – 1980 CE
from Tropic of Capricorn (1939)

Themes: Imagination God

“In religion all words are dirty words. Anybody who gets eloquent about Buddha, or God, or Christ, ought to have his mouth washed out with carbolic soap.”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE
from Island

56. One with the Dust

“But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin. — John the Savage”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE
from Brave New World

Themes: God Poetry

24. Unnecessary Baggage

“All gods are homemade, and it is we who pull their strings, and so, give them the power to pull ours.”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE
from Island

Themes: God

“God isn't compatible with machinery and scientific medicine and universal happiness. You must make a choice. Our civilization has chosen machinery and medicine and happiness.”

Aldous Huxley 1894 – 1963 CE
from Brave New World

Themes: God Materialism

“God is a verb.”

Buckminster Fuller 1895 – 1983 CE

Themes: God

54. Planting Well

“You can take your choice between God and Sex. If you choose both, you're a hypocrite; if neither, you get nothing.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald 1896 – 1940 CE
Prototype of "Jazz Age" exuberance
from The Crack-Up (1936)

Themes: God Sex

“The will of God or the lunacy of man - it seemed to him that you could take your choice, if you wanted a good enough reason for most things. Or, alternatively, the will of man and the lunacy of God.”

James Hilton 1900 – 1954 CE
from Lost Horizon

Themes: God

19. All Methods Become Obstacles

“I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins. My soul has grown deep like the rivers.”

Langston Hughes 1901 – 1967 CE
Pioneering elevator of Black culture

Themes: God Water

“Taoist philosophy is naturalistic, if not atheistic, and any idea of a god is alien to it.”

Wing-tsit Chan 陳榮捷 1901 – 1994 CE
from Way of Lao Tzu

Themes: God

“What is a god? A god is a personification of a motivating power or a value system that functions in human life and in the universe… The word ‘God’ properly refers to what transcends all thinking, but the word ‘God’ itself is something thought about.”

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

Themes: God

“the false serpent persuaded Adam that he must still do something to become like God… to make himself what God had already made him. That was the Fall of man.”

Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906 – 1945 CE

10. The Power of Goodness

“Two ideas are psychologically deep-rooted in man: self-protection and self-preservation. For self-protection man has created God, on whom he depends for his own protection, safety and security, just as a child depends on its parent. For self-preservation man has conceived the idea of an immortal Soul or Atman, which will live eternally. In his ignorance, weakness, fear, and desire, man needs these two things to console himself. Hence he clings to them deeply and fanatically.”

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

Themes: God Fanaticism

“Jews, Christians, Muslims believed that the true answers had been revealed by God to his chosen prophets and saints, and accepted the interpretation of these revealed truths by qualified teachers and the traditions to which they belonged.”

Isaiah Berlin 1909 – 1997 CE
"the world's greatest talker"
from The Proper Study of Mankind

“I do not believe in God and I am not an atheist.”

Albert Camus 1913 – 1960 CE

Themes: God Religion

“Western religions begin with a notion that One—One God, One Book, One Son, One Church, One Nation under God—is better than many. The Hindu, dazzled by the wondrous variety of the creation, could not see it that way... the awestruck Hindus never came up with a single grand Creator-God... For so multiplex a world, the more gods the better!”

Daniel J. Boorstin 1914 – 2004 CE
American intellectual Paul Revere
from Creators: Heroes of the Imagination

Themes: God Hinduism

“Hinduism advises people to think of God as the archetype of the noblest reality they encounter in the natural world.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE
from World's Religions

Themes: God Hinduism

“I think that God imploded, like a spiritual big bang, to launch the eight civilizations that make up recorded history and the religions in those civilizations.”

Huston Smith 1919 – 2016 CE
from World's Religions

“‘God’ is a Faustian, false concept”

Jack Kerouac 1922 – 1969 CE
from Some of the Dharma

Themes: God

“It's worse than death not to know that 'God' is the same thing as yourself”

Jack Kerouac 1922 – 1969 CE
from Some of the Dharma

Themes: God

“God is always present. The question is, how present are we?”

Reb Zalman 1924 – 2014 CE
from Paradigm Shift

Themes: God

25. The Mother of All Things

“There are many levels of Christianity. There are many notions about God. To believe that God is a person is just one of the notions of God that you can find in Christianity. So, we should not say that there is one Christianity. There are many Christianities.”

Thích Nhất Hạnh tʰǐk ɲɜ̌t hɐ̂ʔɲ 1926 CE –

Themes: God Christianity

“The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does at the top of the mountain, or in the petals of a flower. To think otherwise is to demean the Buddha - which is to demean oneself.”

Robert M. Pirsig 1928 – 2017 CE
from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

“Man is the most insane species. He worships an invisible God and slaughters a visible Nature without realizing that this Nature he slaughters is the invisible God he worships.”

Hubert Reeves 1932 CE –

“If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank.”

Woody Allen 1935 CE –

Themes: God

“More people have been killed in the name of god than for any other reason.”

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

Themes: God

“The idea of a deity as an external being has deceived us, led us astray.”

Chögyam Trungpa 1939 – 1987 CE via Nalanda Translation Committee
from Sadhana of Mahamudra

Themes: God

“'God' is merely a symbol that points beyond itself to an indescribable transcendence.”

Karen Armstrong 1944 CE –
Champion of the Golden Rule and perennial philosophy

“Bonhoeffer believed that God had been driven from the world and had abandoned it. This belief allowed him to come to grips with the concept of evil. He explored the question of why evil flourishes and whether evil exists. He believed that the individual must take action and in that action find his own God. His Christianity, therefore, became a Christianity without formulas of religion.”

J. Rufus Fears 1945 – 2012 CE
from Books That Made History

Themes: God

“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

“From the beginning, men used God to justify the unjustifiable.”

Salman Rushdie 1947 CE –
Fearless antagonist of Islamic fundamentalism

Themes: God Justice
“In the end, all gods fall victim to their thirst for worship.

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

“God is a dream, a hope… someone who loves you—even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all opposition.”

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

“You are not made in the gods' image, we are made in yours.”

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

Themes: God

“Real gods aren't what most of you Christians think of as gods. Gods are people. Sometimes dead people, sometimes still alive. Sometimes never lived... They fall in love. Have babies. Fight. Die. It's duty. It's normal. Get over it.”

N. K. Jemisin 1972 CE –
from The City We Became (2020)

Themes: Ordinary Mind God

“From an ethical perspective, monotheism was arguably one of the worst ideas in human history... What monotheism undoubtedly did was to make many people far more intolerant than before, thereby contributing to the spread of religious persecutions and holy wars... as Christianity and Islam spread around the world, so did the incidence of crusades, jihads, inquisitions, and religious discrimination.”

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

from 21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Themes: God Fanaticism

“So, monotheism explains order, but is mystified by evil. Dualism explains evil, but is puzzled by order. There is one logical way of solving the riddle: to argue that there is a single omnipotent God who created the entire universe – and He’s evil. But nobody in history has had the stomach for such a belief.”

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

from Sapiens

Themes: God

“I had asked God for one or two extra inches in height, but instead he made me as tall as the sky, so high that I could not measure myself.”

Malala Yousafzai ملالہ یوسفزئی 1997 CE –
from I Am Malala: The Story of the Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban

Themes: God

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