I have observed that the world has suffered far less from ignorance than from pretensions to knowledge. It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, a heretic, or an unbeliever.
Daniel J. Boorstin
Toasted Heretic should have been cherished and helped, rather than ignored or sneered at, or put down as "quirky band with an arrogant singer". So I certainly didn't help the band, but the virtues I had meant that we recorded albums when everyone else just listened to them. But, yes, if you could suffer from high self-esteem, then I certainly suffered.
Anyone who is outside this Church ... is walking a path not to Heaven but to Hell. He is not getting closer to the home of eternal. life; on the contrary, he is hurrying to the torment of eternal death. And this is the case not only if he remains a pagan without Baptism, but even if he continue as a heretic after having been baptized.
Fulgentius of Cartagena
Why is it you trust my daughter so much when others almost universally revile her?" "I consider their disdain for her to be a recommendation, " he said. "She is a heretic." "She refused to join any of the devotaries because she did not believe in their teachings. Rather than compromise for the sake of appearances, she has been honest and has refused to make professions she does not believe. I find that a sign of honor.
But the worst enemy you can meet will always be yourself; you lie in wait for yourself in caverns and forests. Lonely one, you are going the way to yourself! And your way goes past yourself, and past your seven devils! You will be a heretic to yourself and witch and soothsayer and fool and doubter and unholy one and villain. You must be ready to burn yourself in your own flame: how could you become new, if you had not first become ashes?
People knew less of each other, and so were more individual. The entire world was not for them only a push or switch away. Strangers were strange, and sometimes with an exciting, beautiful strangeness. It may be better for humanity that we should communicate more and more. But I am a heretic, I think our ancestors' isolation was like the greater space they enjoyed: it can only be envied. The world is only too literally too much with us now.
And so, lastly, does the very name of "Catholic", which, not without reason, amid so many heresies, the Church has thus retained; so that, though all heretics wish to be called Catholics, yet when a stranger asks where the Catholic Church meets, no heretic will venture to point to his own chapel or house.
The real heretic is not the atheist or agnostic (who are often decent people) but those who murmur "it doesn't matter what you believe, as long as it makes you feel good." This turns religion into a subjective matter, like taste in furnishings, and robs theology of its claim to ultimate truth.
Sydney J. Harris
This is the deadening consensus that crosses party lines, that dominates our major media, and that is strangling the liberty and prosperity that were once the birthright of Americans. Dissenters who tell their fellow citizens what is really going on are subject to smear campaigns that, like clockwork, are aimed at the political heretic. Truth is treason in the empire of lies.
At the time of Caliph Omar's invasion of Egypt, the Arab officer on duty in the destruction of the library of Alexandria used two stamps with which he marked the books. One said: 'Does not agree with the Koran - heretic, must be burned'. The other said: 'Agrees with the Koran - superfluous, must be burned'.
Christianity...made, for nearly 1,500 years, persecution, religious wars, massacres, theological feuds and bloodshed, heresy huntings and heretic burnings, prisons, dungeons, anathemas, curses, opposition to science, hatred of liberty, spiritual bondage, the life without love or laughter...
M. M. Mangasarian
But whether the risks to which liberty exposes us are moral or physical our right to liberty involves the right to run them. A man who is not free to risk his neck as an aviator or his soul as a heretic is not free at all; and the right to liberty begins, not at the age of 21 years but 21 seconds.
George Bernard Shaw
He has inhibited discussion by designating admonition as the method of dealing with a heretic- and the first method, too, because he is not a Christian. This is so that he would not seem to require correction again and again and before two or three witnesses as though he were a Christian. He ought to be corrected for the very reason that he is not to be disputed with. In addition, this is said because a controversy over the Scriptures can, clearly, produce no other effect than help to upset either the stomach or the brain.
I became very aware of what I was used to relying on, almost tricks. It's funny because I could feel myself creating a formula and sticking with it and I just told myself, 'That's not me, that's not really how I am, god forbid I have developed a formula - it's music; songwriting.' It's heretic, honestly, in the church of music, so I had to unwind a few tricks in order to get past it.
We stand hand-clasped, our faces quite blank, as if this were not a nightmare that tells me, as clearly as if it were written in letters of fire, what ending a girl may expect if she defies the rules of men and thinks she can make her own destiny. I am here not only to witness what happens to a heretic. I am here to witness what happens to a woman who thinks she knows more than men.
If we move in the direction of biblial absolutism how can we escape turning the New Testament into a Christian Torah and the gospel into a new law? Once we do that, religious fascism with all its sectarian ugliness cannot be far away. Far better a mistaken Christian (a heretic) who has somehow caught the Spirit of Christ, than an orthodox Protestant who thinks that the Spirit is mediated to him through the letter of correct theology.
Robert D. Brinsmead
Neither logic nor scientific evidence supports such a belief. Although spinal manipulation can relieve certain types of back pain, neck pain, and other musculoskeletal symptoms, there is no scientific evidence that it can restore or maintain health. As a result of expressing my opinion on this subject, I have been called a chiropractic heretic.
God once spoke through the mouth of an ass. I will tell you straight what I think. I am a Christian theologian and I am bound not only to assert, but to defend the truth with my blood and death. I want to believe freely and be a slave to the authority of no one, of a council, a university, or pope. I will confidently confess what appears to me to be true whether it has been asserted by a Catholic or a heretic, whether it has been approved or reproved by a council." - Martin Luther (book: "Here I Stand")
Those who loved with all their heart and mind and might have always thought of death, and those who knew the endless nights of harrowing concern for others have longed for it. The life I want is a life I could not endure in eternity. It is a life of love and intensity, suffering and creation, that makes life worthwhile and death welcome. There is no other life I should prefer. Neither should I like not to die." (The Faith of a Heretic)
If anyone dared to assert that the Pontiff had erred in this or that canonisation, we shall say that he is, if not a heretic, at least temerarious, a giver of scandal to the whole Church, an insulter of the saints, a favourer of those heretics who deny the Church's authority in canonizing saints, savouring of heresy by giving unbelievers an occasion to mock the faithful, the assertor of an erroneous opinion and liable to very grave penalties.
Pope Benedict XIV
Even if you are on the brink of damnation, even if you have one foot in hell, even if you have sold your soul to the devil as sorcerers do who practice black magic, and even if you are a heretic as obstinate as a devil, sooner or later you will be converted and will amend your life and will save your soul, if-and mark well what I say-if you say the Holy Rosary devoutly every day until death for the purpose of knowing the truth and obtaining contrition and pardon for your sins.
Louis de Montfort
Every artist of importance creates his own world, with its own laws - creates and shapes it in his own shape and image, and no one else's. This is why it is difficult to fit the artist into a world that has already been created, a seven-day, fixed and solidified world: he will inevitably slip out of the set of laws and paragraphs, he will be a heretic.
Seeing clearly within himself and always able to dodge around the ends of any position, including his own, Shaw assumed from the start the dual role of prophet and gadfly. To his contemporaries it appeared frivolous and contradictory to perform as both superman and socialist, sceptic and believer, legalist and heretic, high-brow and mob-orator. But feeling the duty to teach as well as to mirror mankind, Shaw did not accept himself as a contradictory being.
It was morality that burned the books of the ancient sages, and morality that halted the free inquiry of the Golden Age and substituted for it the credulous imbecility of the Age of Faith. It was a fixed moral code and a fixed theology which robbed the human race of a thousand years by wasting them upon alchemy, heretic-burning , witchcraft and sacerdotalism.
H. L. Mencken
Better to be always in a minority of one with God - branded as madman, incendiary, fanatic, heretic, infidel - frowned upon by "the powers that be," and mobbed by the populace - or consigned ignominiously to the gallows, like him whose "soul is marching on," though his "body lies mouldering in the grave," or burnt to ashes at the stake like Wickliffe, or nailed to the cross like him who "gave himself for the world," - in defence of the RIGHT, than like Herod, having the shouts of a multitude crying, "It is the voice of a god, and not of a man!
William Lloyd Garrison
The bishop was aghast. "You would threaten me?" Christian didn't hesitate with his answer."For her life, aye." "You would jeopardize your soul for her? She is a heretic and a witch." "She is a woman. My woman." His words only succeeded in angering the bishop more. "I will have you excommunicated for this." Christian pulled the black monk's robe from over his head and balled it up. "Then excommunicate me. If I am in the wrong for protecting an innocent woman, then God can judge me as He will.
Here's what I love: when a great writer turns me into a Jew from Chicago, a lesbian out of South Carolina, or a black woman moving into a subway entrance in Harlem. Turn me into something else, writers of the world. Make me Muslim, heretic, hermaphrodite. Put me into a crusader's armor, a cardinal's vestments. Let me feel the pygmy's heartbeat, the queen's breast, the torturer's pleasure, the Nile's taste, or the nomad's thirst. Tell me everything that I must know. Hold nothing back.
Must be frustrating being a scientist. There you are, incrementally discovering how the universe works via a series of complex tests and experiments, for the benefit of all mankind - and what thanks do you get? People call you "egghead" or "boffin" or "heretic", and they cave your face in with a rock and bury you out in the wilderness. Not literally - not in this day and age - but you get the idea. Scientists are mistrusted by huge swathes of the general public, who see them as emotionless lab-coated meddlers-with-nature rather than, say, fellow human beings who've actually bothered getting off their arses to work this shit out.
The priest therefore saw what the anchorite could not. That God needs no witness. Neither to himself nor against. The truth is rather that if there were no God then there could be no witness for there could be no identity to the world but only each man's opinion of it. The priest saw that there is no man who is elect because there is no man who is not. To God every man is a heretic.
Some religions actually go so far as to label anyone who belongs to a religious sect other than their own a heretic, even though the overall doctrines and impressions of godliness are nearly the same. For example: The Catholics believe the Protestants are doomed to Hell simply because they do not belong to the Catholic Church. In the same way, many splinter groups of the Christian faith, such as the evangelical or revivalist churches, believe the Catholics worship graven images. (Christ is depicted in the image that is most physiologically akin to the individual worshipping him, and yet the Christians criticize "heathens" for the worship of graven images.) And the Jews have always been given the Devil's name.
Anton Szandor LaVey
Through all the ages the mind has been regarded as evil, and every form of insult: from heretic to materialist to exploiter-every form of iniquity: from exile to disfranchisement to expropriation-every form of torture: from sneers to rack to firing squad-have been brought down upon those who assumed the responsibility of looking at the world through the eyes of a living consciousness and performing the crucial act of a rational connection. Yet only to the extent to which-in chains, in dungeons, in hidden corners, in the cells of philosophers, in the shops of traders-some men continued to think, only to that extent was humanity able to survive.
In that face, deformed by hatred of philosophy, I saw for the first time the portrait of the Antichrist, who does not come from the tribe of Judas, as his heralds have it, or from a far country. The Antichrist can be born from piety itself, from excessive love of God or of the truth, as the heretic is born from the saint and the possessed from the seer. Fear prophets, Adso, and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them. Jorge did a diabolical thing because he loved his truth so lewdly that he dared anything in order to destroy falsehood.
If the Pentateuch be true, religious persecution is a duty. The dungeons of the Inquisition were temples, and the clank of every chain upon the limbs of heresy was music in the ear of God. If the Pentateuch was inspired, every heretic should be destroyed; and every man who advocates a fact inconsistent with the sacred book, should be consumed by sword and flame. In the Old Testament no one is told to reason with a heretic, and not one word is said about relying upon argument, upon education, nor upon intellectual development-nothing except simple brute force. Is there to-day a christian who will say that four thousand years ago, it was the duty of a husband to kill his wife if she differed with him upon the subject of religion? Is there one who will now say that, under such circumstances, the wife ought to have been killed? Why should God be so jealous of the wooden idols of the heathen? Could he not compete with Baal? Was he envious of the success of the Egyptian magicians? Was it not possible for him to make such a convincing display of his power as to silence forever the voice of unbelief? Did this God have to resort to force to make converts? Was he so ignorant of the structure of the human mind as to believe all honest doubt a crime? If he wished to do away with the idolatry of the Canaanites, why did he not appear to them? Why did he not give them the tables of the law? Why did he only make known his will to a few wandering savages in the desert of Sinai? Will some theologian have the kindness to answer these questions? Will some minister, who now believes in religious liberty, and eloquently denounces the intolerance of Catholicism, explain these things; will he tell us why he worships an intolerant God? Is a god who will burn a soul forever in another world, better than a christian who burns the body for a few hours in this? Is there no intellectual liberty in heaven? Do the angels all discuss questions on the same side? Are all the investigators in perdition? Will the penitent thief, winged and crowned, laugh at the honest folks in hell? Will the agony of the damned increase or decrease the happiness of God? Will there be, in the universe, an eternal auto da fe?
Robert G. Ingersoll
In 1231, Pope Gregory ordered the Dominicans to take charge of papal courts and decisions and so prevent mob rule and guarantee that the accused received a fair trial and the right of defence. This was the foundation of the Inquisition, and it was a move to organize, control, and limit violence, disruption, and division. Of course, it often failed and even achieved the opposite of its stated and original purpose, but it's surprising how often in an age of casual and brutal violence a relative moderation and legality was achieved. Civil law was far harsher than canon law, demanding confiscation of a heretic's property and usually death, something the Church had tried to prevent for generations.
My head is in another dimension. My feet are talking to their soles. My nose is detecting a hint of sweaty, overpumped poon. There's a spider corpse perpetually hanging on the wall next to my pillow that I don't have any desire to correct. My breath smells like Kuwait. My arms are doing the Crazy Granny Dance, and my hips are just plain jealous. I was born across the pond from a heretic's womb, and fathered by an equally atrocious Sinatra-obsessed lion tamer. If these are all the symptoms of a world-famous record producer whose lover has just ditched him for a career in straight porn, then becometh I the sum of all homoerotic fears. Now fetch me more scotch and someone to make use of my erection, preferably with their mouth." -Wolfgang Stephanopolis
John Milton has, since his own lifetime, always been one of the major figures in English literature, but his reputation has changed constantly. He has been seen as a political opportunist, an advocate of 'immorality' (he wrote in favour of divorce and married three times), an over-serious classicist, and an arrogant believer in his own greatness as a poet. He was all these things. But, above all, Milton's was the last great liberal intelligence of the English Renaissance. The values expressed in all his works are the values of tolerance, freedom and self-determination, expressed by Shakespeare, Hooker and Donne. The basis of his aesthetic studies was classical, but the modernity of his intellectual interests can be seen in the fact that he went to Italy (in the late 1630s) where he met the astronomer Galileo, who had been condemned as a heretic by the Catholic church for saying the earth moved around the sun.
Pick a man, any man. That man there. See him. That man hatless. You know his opinion of the world. You can read it in his face, in his stance. Yet his complaint that a man's life is no bargain masks the actual case with him. Which is that men will not do as he wishes them to. Have never done, never will do. That's the way of things with him and his life is so balked about by difficulty and become so altered of its intended architecture that he is little more than a walking hovel hardly fit to house the human spirit at all. Can he say, such a man, that there is no malign thing set against him? That there is no power and no force and no cause? What manner of heretic could doubt agency and claimant alike? Can he believe that the wreckage of his existence is unentailed? No liens, no creditors? That gods of vengeance and of compassion alike lie sleeping in their crypt and whether our cries are for an accounting or for the destruction of the ledgers altogether they must evoke only the same silence and that it is this silence which will prevail?
Is the nature of men such, that they can reject miracle, and at the great moments of their life, the moments of their deepest, most agonising spiritual difficulties, cling only to the free verdict of the heart? Oh, Thou didst know that Thy deed would be recorded in books, would be handed down to remote times and the utmost ends of the earth, and Thou didst hope that man, following Thee, would cling to God and not ask for a miracle. But Thou didst not know that when man rejects miracle he rejects God too; for man seeks not so much God as the miraculous. And as man cannot bear to be without the miraculous, he will create new miracles of his own for himself, and will worship deeds of sorcery and witchcraft, though he might be a hundred times over a rebel, heretic and infidel.
A Great Rabbi stands, teaching in the marketplace. It happens that a husband finds proof that morning of his wife's adultery, and a mob carries her to the marketplace to stone her to death. There is a familiar version of this story, but a friend of mine - a Speaker for the Dead - has told me of two other Rabbis that faced the same situation. Those are the ones I'm going to tell you. The Rabbi walks forward and stands beside the woman. Out of respect for him the mob forbears and waits with the stones heavy in their hands. 'Is there any man here,' he says to them, 'who has not desired another man's wife, another woman's husband?' They murmur and say, 'We all know the desire, but Rabbi none of us has acted on it.' The Rabbi says, 'Then kneel down and give thanks that God has made you strong.' He takes the woman by the hand and leads her out of the market. Just before he lets her go, he whispers to her, 'Tell the Lord Magistrate who saved his mistress, then he'll know I am his loyal servant.' So the woman lives because the community is too corrupt to protect itself from disorder. Another Rabbi. Another city. He goes to her and stops the mob as in the other story and says, 'Which of you is without sin? Let him cast the first stone.' The people are abashed, and they forget their unity of purpose in the memory of their own individual sins. 'Someday,' they think, 'I may be like this woman. And I'll hope for forgiveness and another chance. I should treat her as I wish to be treated.' As they opened their hands and let their stones fall to the ground, the Rabbi picks up one of the fallen stones, lifts it high over the woman's head and throws it straight down with all his might it crushes her skull and dashes her brain among the cobblestones. 'Nor am I without sins,' he says to the people, 'but if we allow only perfect people to enforce the law, the law will soon be dead - and our city with it.' So the woman died because her community was too rigid to endure her deviance. The famous version of this story is noteworthy because it is so startlingly rare in our experience. Most communities lurch between decay and rigor mortis and when they veer too far they die. Only one Rabbi dared to expect of us such a perfect balance that we could preserve the law and still forgive the deviation. So of course, we killed him. -San Angelo Letters to an Incipient Heretic
Orson Scott Card