Posts in Religion
Wish I'd said that - September 23, 2018

"if there is any permanent element in him [man generally], his conscience in all probability cannot be destroyed, although it can be covered up and disregarded. To tamper with it, therefore, to try to destroy it, is of all conceivable courses of conduct the most dangerous, and may prepare the way to a wakening, a self-assurance, of conscience fearful to think of. But suppose that the fungus theory is the true one. Suppose that man is a mere passing shadow, and nothing else. What is he to say of his conscience? Surely a rational man holding such a theory of his own nature will be bound in consistency to try and to determine the question whether he ought not to prune his conscience just as he cuts his hair and nails. A man who regarded a cold heart and a good digestion as the best possible provision for life would have a great deal to say for his view.”

James Fitzjames Stephen, Liberty Equality Fraternity

Wish I'd said that - September 6, 2018

In lecturing to R.A.F. members during World War II “It seemed to me that they did not really believe that we have any reliable knowledge of historic man. But this was often curiously combined with a conviction that we knew a great deal about prehistoric man: doubtless because prehistoric man is labeled ‘science’ (which is reliable) whereas Napoleon or Julius Caesar is labeled as ‘history’ (which is not). Thus a pseudoscientific picture of the ‘caveman’ and a picture of ‘the present’ filled almost the whole of their imaginations; between these, there lay only a shadowy and unimportant region in which the phantasmal shapes of Roman soldiers, stagecoaches, pirates, knights-in-armor, highwaymen, etc., moved in a mist. I had supposed that if my hearers disbelieved the Gospels, they would do so because the Gospels recorded miracles. But my impression is that they disbelieved them simply because they dealt with events that happened a long time ago: that they would be almost as incredulous of the battle of Actium as of the Resurrection – and for the same reason.”

C.S. Lewis, The Grand Miracle 

Wish I'd said that - September 2, 2018

“The question which moral system was the best depends principally on the question whether the heathen philosophers or the Christian preachers were right in their estimate of the facts. To suppose that Christian morals can ever survive the downfall of the great Christian doctrine is as absurd as to suppose that a yearly tenant will feel towards his property like a tenant in fee simple.”

James Fitzjames Stephen, “Note on Utilitarianism” postscript to Stephen's book Liberty Equality Fraternity