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date: 24 September 2023


  1. If you really want to make a million…the quickest way is to start your own religion.
    Anonymous: previously attributed to L. Ron Hubbard (1911–86) in B. Corydon and L. Ron Hubbard Jr. L. Ron Hubbard (1987), but attribution subsequently rejected by L. Ron Hubbard Jr., who also dissociated himself from this book
  2. The true meaning of religion is thus not simply morality, but morality touched by emotion.
    Matthew Arnold 1822–88 English poet and essayist: Literature and Dogma (1873) ch. 1
  3. Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
    The Bible (Authorized Version, 1611): St Matthew ch. 22, v. 21
  4. One religion is as true as another.
    Robert Burton 1577–1640 English clergyman and scholar: The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621–51) pt. 3, sect. 4, member 2, subsect. 1
  5. It is the test of a good religion whether you can joke about it.
    G. K. Chesterton 1874–1936 English essayist, novelist, and poet: All Things Considered (1908)
  6. ‘Sensible men are all of the same religion.’ ‘And pray what is that?’…‘Sensible men never tell.’
    Benjamin Disraeli 1804–81 British Tory statesman and novelist; Prime Minister 1868, 1874–80: Endymion (1880) ch. 81; see Shaftesbury
  7. So long as man remains free he strives for nothing so incessantly and so painfully as to find someone to worship.
    Fedor Dostoevsky 1821–81 Russian novelist: The Brothers Karamazov (1879–80) bk. 5, ch. 5
  8. All religions must be tolerated and the sole concern of officials is to ensure that one denomination does not interfere with another, for here everyone can seek salvation in the manner that seems best to him.
    Frederick the Great 1712–86 Prussian monarch, King from 1740: scribbled in the margin of an official reply to an enquiry from the General Directory on the civic rights of Roman Catholics, June 1740; T. C. W. Blanning Culture of Power (2002) ch. 6
  9. The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful.
    Edward Gibbon 1737–94 English historian: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776–88) ch. 2
  10. What though the spicy breezes
    Blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle;
    Though every prospect pleases,
    And only man is vile:
    In vain with lavish kindness
    The gifts of God are strown;
    The heathen in his blindness
    Bows down to wood and stone.
    Reginald Heber 1783–1826 English clergyman: ‘From Greenland's icy mountains’ (1821 hymn); Heber later altered ‘Ceylon's isle’ to ‘Java's isle’
  11. To become a popular religion, it is only necessary for a superstition to enslave a philosophy.
    William Ralph Inge 1860–1954 English writer; Dean of St. Paul's, 1911–34: Idea of Progress (1920)
  12. I go into the Muslim mosque and the Jewish synagogue and the Christian church and I see one altar.
    Jalal ad-Din ar-Rumi 1207–73 Persian poet and Sufi mystic: Coleman Barks and John Moyne (eds.) The Essential Rumi (1999)
  13. Religion's in the heart, not in the knee.
    Douglas Jerrold 1803–57 English dramatist and journalist: The Devil's Ducat (1830)
  14. You are free; you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or to any other place of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed—that has nothing to do with the fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one state.
    Muhammad Ali Jinnah 1876–1948 Indian statesman and founder of Pakistan: Presidential Address to the Constituent Assembley, 11 August 1947
  15. It is our first duty to serve society, and, after we have done that, we may attend wholly to the salvation of our own souls. A youthful passion for abstracted devotion should not be encouraged.
    Samuel Johnson 1709–84 English poet, critic, and lexicographer: James Boswell Life of Samuel Johnson (1791) February 1766
  16. No compulsion is there in religion.
    The Koran: sura 2, tr. A. J. Arberry
  17. The true religion with God is Islam.
    The Koran: sura 3, tr. A. J. Arberry
  18. Religion is the frozen thought of men out of which they build temples.
    Jiddu Krishnamurti 1895–1986 Indian spiritual philosopher: in Observer 22 April 1928
  19. Tantum religio potuit suadere malorum.
    So much wrong could religion induce.
    Lucretius c.94–55 bc Roman poet: De Rerum Natura bk. 1, l. 101
  20. I count religion but a childish toy,
    And hold there is no sin but ignorance.
    Christopher Marlowe 1564–93 English dramatist and poet: The Jew of Malta (c.1592) prologue
  21. Religion is …the opium of the people.
    Karl Marx 1818–83 German political philosopher: A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (1843–4) introduction; see Kingsley
  22. Things have come to a pretty pass when religion is allowed to invade the sphere of private life.
    on hearing an evangelical sermon
    William Lamb, Lord Melbourne 1779–1848 British Whig statesman; Prime Minister 1834, 1835–41: G. W. E. Russell Collections and Recollections (1898) ch. 6
  23. There's no reason to bring religion into it. I think we ought to have as great a regard for religion as we can, so as to keep it out of as many things as possible.
    Sean O'Casey 1880–1964 Irish dramatist: The Plough and the Stars (1926)
  24. Any system of religion that has any thing in it that shocks the mind of a child cannot be a true system.
    Thomas Paine 1737–1809 English political theorist: The Age of Reason pt. 1 (1794)
  25. As to religion, I hold it to be the indispensable duty of government to protect all conscientious professors thereof, and I know of no other business which government hath to do therewith.
    Thomas Paine 1737–1809 English political theorist: Common Sense (1776) ch. 4
  26. My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.
    Thomas Paine 1737–1809 English political theorist: The Rights of Man pt. 2 (1792)
  27. To be furious in religion, is to be irreligiously religious.
    William Penn 1644–1718 English Quaker; founder of Pennsylvania: Some Fruits of Solitude (1693) pt. 1, no. 533
  28. Is that which is holy loved by the gods because it is holy, or is it holy because it is loved by the gods?
    Plato 429–347 bc Greek philosopher: Euthyphro 10
  29. Religion to me has always been the wound, not the bandage.
    Dennis Potter 1935–94 English television dramatist: interview with Melvyn Bragg on Channel 4, March 1994
  30. The world is not a ‘prison house’, but a kind of kindergarten, where millions of bewildered infants are trying to spell God with the wrong blocks.
    Edwin Arlington Robinson 1869–1935 American poet: Literature in the Making (1917)
  31. Religion, which may in most of its forms be defined as the belief that the gods are on the side of the Government.
    Bertrand Russell 1872–1970 British philosopher and mathematician: Marriage and Morals (1929) ch. 3
  32. Had I but served my God with half the zeal
    I served my king, he would not in mine age
    Have left me naked to mine enemies.
    William Shakespeare 1564–1616 English dramatist: Henry VIII (1613, with John Fletcher) act 3, sc. 2, l. 456 (Oxford Standard Authors ed.); see Wolsey
  33. We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.
    Jonathan Swift 1667–1745 Irish poet and satirist: Thoughts on Various Subjects (1711)
  34. India has 2,000,000 gods, and worships them all. In religion all other countries are paupers; India is the only millionaire.
    Mark Twain 1835–1910 American writer: Following the Equator (1897) ch. 43
  35. Orthodoxy is my doxy; heterodoxy is another man's doxy.
    William Warburton 1698–1779 English theologian and bishop: to Lord Sandwich, in Joseph Priestley Memoirs (1807) vol. 1
  36. Zen…does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.
    Alan Watts 1915–73 American teacher and writer: The Way of Zen (1957)
  37. I went to America to convert the Indians; but oh, who shall convert me?
    John Wesley 1703–91 English preacher; founder of Methodism: Journal (ed. N. Curnock) 24 January 1738
  38. So many gods, so many creeds,
    So many paths that wind and wind,
    While just the art of being kind
    Is all the sad world needs.
    Ella Wheeler Wilcox 1855–1919 American poet: ‘The World's Need’