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Thread: Quotes for the non-religious

  1. #1
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    relational theophysis and bioregional witchery
    coastal Georgia
    *a little bad taste is like a nice dash of paprika*

    Quotes for the non-religious

    So, my kids do "homework" in the the homeschooling community, there's a type of work known as "copywork and recitation"--they copy quotes from speeches, literature, etc and memorize them to the point where they can quote them. Most homeschooling families (being Christian, and usually of the more strict sort of Christian) use the Bible, not leaving much guidance for non-Christians. I generally use more science, nature, etc stuff, quotes on morality or life philosophy without a religious bent. The kids get a different quote every few days to practice writing, they look up unknown words, we talk about the meaning and context of the quote, we learn about the source and author of the quote, and they practice diction and expression while reading/reciting, etc.

    Anyway...some pertinent quotes I've come across for this section of the forum (some of which are in their summer list)...

    I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say one was an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow, it was better to say one was a humanist or an agnostic. I finally decided that I'm a creature of emotion as well as of reason. Emotionally, I am an atheist. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.”
    ― Isaac Asimov

    A book is made from a tree. It is anassemblage of flat, flexible parts (still called "leaves") imprintedwith dark pigmented squiggles. One glance at it and you hear the voice ofanother person, perhaps someone dead for thousands of years. Across themillennia, the author is speaking, clearly and silently, inside your head,directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, bindingtogether people, citizens of distant epochs, who never knew one another. Booksbreak the shackles of time ― proof that humans can work magic. ~Carl Sagan

    I have a friendwho's an artist and has sometimes taken a view which I don't agree with verywell. He'll hold up a flower and say "look how beautiful it is," andI'll agree. Then he says "I as an artist can see how beautiful this is butyou as a scientist take this all apart and it becomes a dull thing," and Ithink that he's kind of nutty. First of all, the beauty that he sees isavailable to other people and to me too, I believe. Although I may not be quiteas refined aesthetically as he is ... I can appreciate the beauty of a flower.At the same time, I see much more about the flower than he sees. I couldimagine the cells in there, the complicated actions inside, which also have abeauty. I mean it's not just beauty at this dimension, at one centimeter;there's also beauty at smaller dimensions, the inner structure, also theprocesses. The fact that the colors in the flower evolved in order to attractinsects to pollinate it is interesting; it means that insects can see thecolor. It adds a question: does this aesthetic sense also exist in the lowerforms? Why is it aesthetic? All kinds of interesting questions which thescience knowledge only adds to the excitement, the mystery and the awe of aflower. It only adds. I don't understand how it subtracts. ~Richard P. Feynman

    (I have more to add, but I have to do some stuff)
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  2. #2
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Alchemist and Neo-American Redneck Buddhist
    Frozen Northern Michigan, near Thunder Bay
    Where are the tweezers?

    Re: Quotes for the non-religious

    I love the Feynman quote. Knowledge never diminishes aesthetic appreciation, it only increases.

    You see that same "fear" in people who don't want to know about genes and hormones, and their connection to love and/or hate. But the emotion is still there, it doesn't evaporate, and it is fully experienced by the one who is affected. A certain depth is added, though, via knowledge, which I can describe as "splendid," or "awesome."
    Every moment of a life is a horrible tragedy, a slapstick comedy, dark nihilism, golden illumination, or nothing at all; depending on how we write the story we tell ourselves.

  3. #3
    Bronze Member magusphredde's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    olde pharte
    Pacific North Wet

    Re: Quotes for the non-religious

    Sorry ... Had to bump this because of Feynman quote ... We each see beauty (as we as everything else) in our own ways ...
    I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them ... John Bernard Books

    Indian Chief 'Two Eagles' was asked by a white government official; "You have observed the white man for 90 years. You've seen his wars and his technological advances. You've seen his progress, and the damage he's done."

    The Chief nodded in agreement.

    The official continued; "Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?"

    The Chief stared at the government official for over a minute and then calmly replied.. "When white man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water. Women did all the work, Medicine Man free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing; all night having sex."

    Then the chief leaned back and smiled; "Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."

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