If I advance new views in Philosophy or Theology, I cannot expect to have many adherents among minds altogether unprepared for such views; yet it is certain that even those who most fiercely oppose me will recognize the power of my voice if it is not a mere echo; and the very novelty will challenge attention, and at last gain adherents if my views have any real insight.
George Henry Lewes
Because we are unqualifiedly and without reservation against any system of denominational schools, maintained by the adherents of any creed with the help of state aid, therefore, we as strenuously insist that the public schools shall be free from sectarian influences, and above all, free from any attitude of hostility to the adherents of any particular creed.
Now, it is of course well known that Christ continually uses the expression 'imitators.' He never says that he asks for admirers, adoring admirers, adherents; and when he uses the expression 'follower' he always explains it in such a way that one perceives that 'imitators' is meant by it, that is not adherents of a teaching but imitators of a life...
The theory of Reincarnation, which originated in India, has been welcomed in other countries. Without doubt, it is one of the most sensible and satisfying of all religions that mankind has conceived. This, like the others, comes from the best qualities of human nature, even if in this, as in the others, its adherents sometimes fail to carry out the principles in their lives.
When you question this war on poverty, you get all the criticisms from adherents to the status quo who just don't want to see anything change. We got to have the courage to face that down, just as we did in the welfare reform of the late 1990s, and if we succeeded, we can help resuscitate this culture and get people back to work.
Religion provides the only story that is fundamentally consoling in the face of the worst possible experiences - the death of a parent, for instance. In fact, many religions take away the problem entirely, because their adherents ostensibly believe that they're going to be reunited with everyone they love, and death is an illusion.
Revolution is not 'showing' life to people, but making them live. A revolutionary organization must always remember that its objective is not getting its adherents to listen to convincing talks by expert leaders, but getting them to speak for themselves, in order to achieve, or at least strive toward, an equal degree of participation.
We should all oppose - as Darwin did - views manifestly in conflict with the evidence, such as creationism... But we shouldn't set up this debate as 'religion v science'; instead we should strive for peaceful coexistence with at least the less dogmatic strands of mainstream religions, which number many excellent scientists among their adherents.
But perhaps the greatest attraction of Mormonism was the promise that each follower would be granted an extraordinarily intimate relationship with God. Joseph taught and encouraged his adherents to receive personal communiques straight from the Lord. Divine revelation formed the bedrock of the religion.
On the Day when He gathers them all together: "O assembly of jinn, you have exploited multitudes of humans." Their adherents among mankind will say, "Our Lord, we have profited from one another, but we have reached the term that you have assigned for us." He will say, "The Fire is your dwelling, wherein you will remain, except as Allah wills. Your Lord is Wise and Informed.
Whatever sympathy I feel towards religions, whatever admiration for some of their adherents, whatever historical or biological necessity I see in them, whatever metaphorical truth, I cannot accept them as credible explanations of reality; and they are incredible to me in proportion to the degree that they require my belief in positive human attributes and intervenient powers in their divinities.
Islam in its origins is just as shady and approximate as those from which it took its borrowings. It makes immense claims for itself, invokes prostrate submission or "surrender" as a maxim to its adherents, and demands deference and respect from nonbelievers into the bargain. There is nothing-absolutely nothing-in its teachings that can even begin to justify such arrogance and presumption.
But Lao Tzu's teaching suffers from the major problem endemic to such visionaries. In the intervening two and a half millennia, his words have been misinterpreted and distorted by generations of adherents until his message is riddled with meaningless ritual and dogma. Taoism contracted the conceptual plague: it became a religion.
Thomas Daniel Nehrer
When they can't win a debate (can they ever?), leftists deploy what the late novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand called the argument from intimidation. Instead of trying to refute the other side, they label their opponents' position evil, attribute sinister motives to its adherents, and charge that its proponents are encouraging violence.
The mind is the enemy of intuition, according to many New Age adherents, but I don't buy that. I look at everything in terms of polarities - two ends of the same continuum. Young/old, male/female, individuality/conformity, work/play, freedom/constraint, right/left, day/night, life/death, rational/emotional, and so on.
One of the most important things liberals don't understand about conservatism, obscured by too much lazy talk about conservatism's various 'wings,' is that its tenets form a relatively organic base for its adherents, where 'traditional morality' serves the interests of laissez-faire economics and vice-versa.
Those who live as though God sets the rules are not going by their own rules. That is the self-sacrifice, or selflessness, that peace more often than not requires. Those who insist on going by their own rules cannot make that sacrifice. They are the steady adherents of (global) conflict because they are forever fighting both themselves and others to do whatever they think that they want to do.
In Jerusalem, the various modes of worship essentially stood for the same cause but were equally hateful to one another. They never served as a unifying factor. Their adherents were equally manipulated by the clergies to regard the others as wicked infidels or idolaters. The centuries passed in constant pious agitation and in frequent religious wars.
As for the various religions, there's no doubt that they are very meaningful to adherents, and allow them to delude themselves into thinking there is some meaning to their lives beyond what we agree is the case. I'd never try to talk them out of the delusions, which are necessary for them to live a life that makes some sense to them. These beliefs can provide a framework for deeds that are noble or savage, and anywhere in between, and there's every reason to focus attention on the deeds and the background for them, to the extent that we can grasp it.
The international Jew adherents of this sinister confederacy are mostly men reared up among the unhappy populations of countries where Jews are persecuted on account of their race. . . . This world-wide conspiracy for the overthrow of civilization, this band from the underworld . . . have gripped the Russian people by the hair of their heads and have become practically the undisputed masters of that enormous empire.
In the face of the idea that truth might afford the opposite of satisfaction and turn out to be completely shocking to humanity at any given historical moment, ... the fathers of pragmatism made the satisfaction of the subject the criterion of truth. For such a doctrine there is no possibility of rejecting or even criticizing any species of belief that is enjoyed by its adherents.
I mean by intellectual integrity the habit of deciding vexed questions in accordance with the evidence, or of leaving them undecided where the evidence is inconclusive. This virtue, though it is underestimated by almost all adherents of any system of dogma, is to my mind of the very greatest social importance and far more likely to benefit the world than Christianity or any other system of organized beliefs.
Before the Christian Church goes into eclipse anywhere there must first be a corrupting of her simple basic theology. She simply gets a wrong answer to the question, 'What is God like?' and goes on from there. Though she may continue to cling to a sound nominal creed, her practical working creed has become false. The masses of her adherents come to believe that God is different from what He actually is; and that is heresy of the most insidious and deadly kind
Aiden Wilson Tozer
The level of vitriol against Jews and Christianity within contemporary Islam, unfortunately, is something that we are not totally cognizant of, or that we don't want to accept. We don't want to accept it because to do so would be to acknowledge that one of the world's great religions -- which has more than 1.4 billion adherents -- somehow sanctions genocide, planned genocide, as part of its religious doctrine.
Starting out from the fact that the frustrated predominate among the early adherents of all mass movements and that they usually join of their own accord, it is assumed: 1) that frustration of itself, without any proselytizing prompting from the outside, can generate most of the peculiar characteristics of the true believer; 2) that an effective technique of conversion consists basically in the inculcation and fixation of proclivities and responses indigenous to the frustrated mind.
All mass movements generate in their adherents a readiness to die and a proclivity for united action; all of them, irrespective of the doctrine they preach and the program they project, breed fanaticism, enthusiasm, fervent hope, hatred and intolerance; all of them are capable of releasing a powerful flow of activity in certain departments of life; all of them demand blind faith and singlehearted allegiance.
The retirement of Athanasius, which ended only with the life of Constantius, was spent, for the most part, in the society of the monks, who faithfully served him as guards, as secretaries, and as messengers; but the importance of maintaining a more intimate connection with the catholic party tempted him, whenever the diligence of the pursuit was abated, to emerge from the desert, to introduce himself into Alexandria, and to trust his person to the discretion of his friends and adherents.
The idea that each of us can be directly spiritual is radical. Most religions are based not on teaching adherents to be directly spiritual, but in persuading them to trust in the intercession of ministers or priests. The problem with this approach is that we cannot gain access to spirituality except through the medium of a fallible human being. If we want to see Tao, we need only open our eyes and trust what we see.
While both denominations maintain missions in Asia and Africa in order to win new followers for their doctrine- an activity which can boast but very modest success compared to the advance of the Mohammedan faith in particular- right here in Europe they lose millions and millions of inward adherents who either are alien to all religious life or simply go their own ways. The consequences, particularly from a moral point of view, are not favorable.
Old Lights include the resurgent fundamentalists in every religion who put a freeze on history and fortify their adherents against the "new dark age" in which they are forced to live. "Back to the Bible," Old Lights shout; "back to the Koran," Old Lights thunder. But not everything Old Lights say is wrong. Much is right. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, the old adage reminds us.
The war against Russia is an important chapter in the German nation's struggle for existence. [...] The objective of this battle must be the demolition of present-day Russia and must therefore be conducted with unprecedented severity. Every military action must be guided in planning and execution by an iron resolution to exterminate the enemy remorselessly and totally. In particular, no adherents of the contemporary Russian Bolshevik system are to be spared.
But here again it must be observed that this is a matter of a variation brought about through dynamic agencies. The static state, for which the contention attributed to the adherents of the mechanical version of the Quantity Theory would be valid, is disturbed by the fact that the exchange-ratios between individual commodities are necessarily modified. Under certain conditions, the technique of the market may have the effect of extending this modification to the exchange-ratio between money and other economic goods also.
Ludwig von Mises
One key and defining attribute of God that does not appear in any other world religion or system is the biblical use of the term "Father." Over 70 times in the New Testament alone, God is described as "Father" to His children. No major world religion describes the relationship between its creator and its adherents in terms of a father.
The supernatural worldview is causing a great number of otherwise intelligent people to cling to a collection of atavistic concepts that have not, and never will serve humanity in any ultimately beneficial way. Any benefits that spirituality ostensibly provides to its adherents, can be found equally in the worldview of philosophy and ethics, communities of other kinds, and so on. It's a myth that the only morality, hope, purpose and comfort to be found, resides only in the supernatural.
Kelli Jae Baeli
Religions and states and classes and tribes and nations do not have to work or argue for their adherents and subjects. They more or less inherit them. Against this unearned patrimony there have always been speakers and writers who embody Einstein's injunction to 'remember your humanity and forget the rest.' It would be immodest to claim membership in this fraternity/sorority, but I hope not to have done anything to outrage it. Despite the idiotic sneer that such principles are 'fashionable, ' it is always the ideas of secularism, libertarianism, internationalism, and solidarity that stand in need of reaffirmation.
Tainting the tea party movement with the charge of racism is proving to be an effective strategy for Democrats. There is no evidence that tea party adherents are any more racist than other Republicans, and indeed many other Americans. But getting them to spend their time purging their ranks and having candidates distance themselves should help Democrats win in November. Having one's opponent rebut charges of racism is far better than discussing joblessness.
Mary Frances Berry
Religion can only be a means to a set of values cherished by its living adherents. If those values relate only to a past or a presumed afterlife, it is a sign that religion has become a goal serving the ends of a priest or a demagogue and rest of the living are merely tools to serve that end. If it is not to become a fossil, it has to be a living faith serving the cherished values of the living.
R. N. Prasher
Anarchism is a definite intellectual current in the life of our times, whose adherents advocate the abolition of economic monopolies and of all political and social coercive institutions within society. In place of the present capitalistic economic order Anarchists would have a free association of all productive forces based upon co-operative labour, which would have as its sole purpose the satisfying of the necessary requirements of every member of society, and would no longer have in view the special interest of privileged minorities within the social union.
I wanted to cast doubt on the step he was about to take, to help him see there are other ways to live, other ways to seek knowledge, love... even self-transformation. I wanted to convince him his dignity depended on maintaining a free, skeptical attitude towards doctrine. I wanted... to save him... Doubt, like faith, has to be learned. It is a skill. But the curious thing about skepticism is that its adherents, ancient and modern, have so often been proselytizers. In reading them, I've often wanted to ask: "Why do you care?" Their skepticism offers no good answer to that question.
For deep adherents, the Koran would seem to echo great truths given directly to a vaunted and hallowed prophet by a deity of overwhelming power and grandeur. If you don't hold any such archaic notions, however, the words attributed to Allah come across as harshly self-defensive, crude in reemphasizing old cultural standards, shaky in trying to establish new standards, brutal in places, mostly repetitious and monotonous - and thoroughly unbelievable. When you have outgrown all such unfounded religious notions, the Koran doesn't offer much by way of piercing perspective.
Thomas Daniel Nehrer
First, however, I must deal with the matter of Jesus, the so-called savior, who not long ago taught new doctrines and was thought to be a son of God. This savior, I shall attempt to show, deceived many and caused them to accept a form of belief harmful to the well-being of mankind. Taking its root in the lower classes, the religion continues to spread among the vulgar: nay, one can even say it spreads because of its vulgarity and the illiteracy of its adherents. And while there are a few moderate, reasonable, and intelligent people who interpret its beliefs allegorically, yet it thrives in its purer form among the ignorant.
This Christian claim [of universal validity] is naturally offensive to the adherents of every other religious system. It is almost as offensive to modern man, brought up in the atmosphere of relativism, in which tolerance is regarded almost as the highest of the virtues. But we must not suppose that this claim to universal validity is something that can quietly be removed from the Gospel without changing it into something entirely different from what it is... Jesus' life, his method, and his message do not make sense, unless they are interpreted in the light of his own conviction that he was in fact the final and decisive word of God to men... For the human sickness there is one specific remedy, and this is it. There is no other.
No Zionist element, right or left, understood the Fascist phenomenon. From the first, they were indifferent to the struggle of the Italian people, including progressive Jews, against the blackshirts and Fascism's larger implications for European democracy. Italy's Zionists never resisted Fascism; they ended up praising it and undertook diplomatic negotiations on its behalf. The bulk of the Revisionists and a few other right-wingers became its enthusiastic adherents. The moderate bourgeois Zionist leaders -Weizmann, Sokolow and Goldmann- were uninterested in Fascism itself. As Jewish separatists they only asked one question, the cynical classic: 'So? Is it good for the Jews?' which implies that something can be evil for the general world and yet be good for the Jews.
Supposing an emperor was persuaded to wear a new suit of clothes whose material was so fine that, to the common eye, the clothes weren't there. And suppose a little boy pointed out this fact in a loud, clear voice... Then you have The Story of the Emperor Who Had No Clothes. But if you knew a bit more, it would be The Story of the Boy Who Got a Well-Deserved Thrashing from His Dad for Being Rude to Royalty, and Was Locked Up. Or The Story of the Whole Crowd Who Were Rounded Up by the Guards and Told 'This Didn't Happen, OK? Does Anyone Want to Argue?' Or it could be a story of how a whole kingdom suddenly saw the benefit of the 'new clothes', and developed an enthusiasm for healthy sports in a lively and refreshing atmosphere which got many new adherents every year, and led to a recession caused by the collapse of the conventional clothing industry. It could even be a story about The Great Pneumonia Epidemic of '09. It all depends on how much you know.
At least two important conservative thinkers, Ayn Rand and Leo Strauss, were unbelievers or nonbelievers and in any case contemptuous of Christianity. I have my own differences with both of these savants, but is the Republican Party really prepared to disown such modern intellectuals as it can claim, in favor of a shallow, demagogic and above all sectarian religiosity? Perhaps one could phrase the same question in two further ways. At the last election, the GOP succeeded in increasing its vote among American Jews by an estimated five percentage points. Does it propose to welcome these new adherents or sympathizers by yelling in the tones of that great Democrat bigmouth William Jennings Bryan? By insisting that evolution is 'only a theory'? By demanding biblical literalism and by proclaiming that the Messiah has already shown himself? If so, it will deserve the punishment for hubris that is already coming its way. (The punishment, in other words, that Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson believed had struck America on Sept. 11, 2001. How can it be that such grotesque characters, calling down divine revenge on the workers in the World Trade Center, are allowed a respectful hearing, or a hearing at all, among patriotic Republicans?)
As a convinced atheist, I ought to agree with Voltaire that Judaism is not just one more religion, but in its way the root of religious evil. Without the stern, joyless rabbis and their 613 dour prohibitions, we might have avoided the whole nightmare of the Old Testament, and the brutal, crude wrenching of that into prophecy-derived Christianity, and the later plagiarism and mutation of Judaism and Christianity into the various rival forms of Islam. Much of the time, I do concur with Voltaire, but not without acknowledging that Judaism is dialectical. There is, after all, a specifically Jewish version of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment, with a specifically Jewish name-the Haskalah-for itself. The term derives from the word for 'mind' or 'intellect,' and it is naturally associated with ethics rather than rituals, life rather than prohibitions, and assimilation over 'exile' or 'return.' It's everlastingly linked to the name of the great German teacher Moses Mendelssohn, one of those conspicuous Jewish hunchbacks who so upset and embarrassed Isaiah Berlin. (The other way to upset or embarrass Berlin, I found, was to mention that he himself was a cousin of Menachem Schneerson, the 'messianic' Lubavitcher rebbe.) However, even pre-enlightenment Judaism forces its adherents to study and think, it reluctantly teaches them what others think, and it may even teach them how to think also.
Christianity has been the means of reducing more languages to writing than have all other factors combined. It has created more schools, more theories of education, and more systems than has any other one force. More than any other power in history it has impelled men to fight suffering, whether that suffering has come from disease, war or natural disasters. It has built thousands of hospitals, inspired the emergence of the nursing and medical professions, and furthered movement for public health and the relief and prevention of famine. Although explorations and conquests which were in part its outgrowth led to the enslavement of Africans for the plantations of the Americas, men and women whose consciences were awakened by Christianity and whose wills it nerved brought about the abolition of slavery (in England and America). Men and women similarly moved and sustained wrote into the laws of Spain and Portugal provisions to alleviate the ruthless exploitation of the Indians of the New World. Wars have often been waged in the name of Christianity. They have attained their most colossal dimensions through weapons and large-scale organization initiated in (nominal) Christendom. Yet from no other source have there come as many and as strong movements to eliminate or regulate war and to ease the suffering brought by war. From its first centuries, the Christian faith has caused many of its adherents to be uneasy about war. It has led minorities to refuse to have any part in it. It has impelled others to seek to limit war by defining what, in their judgment, from the Christian standpoint is a "just war." In the turbulent Middle Ages of Europe it gave rise to the Truce of God and the Peace of God. In a later era it was the main impulse in the formulation of international law. But for it, the League of Nations and the United Nations would not have been. By its name and symbol, the most extensive organization ever created for the relief of the suffering caused by war, the Red Cross, bears witness to its Christian origin. The list might go on indefinitely. It includes many another humanitarian projects and movements, ideals in government, the reform of prisons and the emergence of criminology, great art and architecture, and outstanding literature.
Kenneth Scott Latourette