Religion is, in reality, living. Our religion is not what we profess, or what we say, or what we proclaim; our religion is what we do, what we desire, what we seek, what we dream about, what we fantasize, what we think - all these things - twenty-four hours a day. One's religion, then, is ones life, not merely the ideal life but the life as it is actually lived. Religion is not prayer, it is not a church, it is not theistic, it is not atheistic, it has little to do with what white people call "religion." It is our every act. If we tromp on a bug, that is our religion; if we experiment on living animals, that is our religion; if we cheat at cards, that is our religion; if we dream of being famous, that is our religion; if we gossip maliciously, that is our religion; if we are rude and aggressive, that is our religion. All that we do, and are, is our religion.
Jack D. Forbes
What our view of the effectiveness of religion in history does at once make evident as to its nature is--first, its necessary distinction; second, its necessary supremacy. These characters though external have been so essential to its fruitfulness, as to justify the statement that without them religion is not religion. A merged religion and a negligible or subordinate religion are no religion.
William Ernest Hocking
The one eternal religion is applied to the opinions of various minds and various races. There never was my religion or yours, my national religion or your national religion; there never existed many religions, there is only the one. One infinite religion existed all through eternity and will ever exist, and this religion is expressing itself in various countries in various ways.
Government in our democracy, state and national, must be neutral in matters of religious theory, doctrine, and practice. It may not be hostile to any religion or to the advocacy of no-religion; and it may not aid, foster, or promote one religion or religious theory against another or even against the militant opposite. The First Amendment mandates governmental neutrality between religion and religion, and between religion and nonreligion. [Epperson v. Arkansas, 393 U.S. 97, 1968.]
Religion! Is what you hear at church religion? Is that which can bend and turn, and descend and ascend, to fit every crooked phase of selfish, worldly society, religion? Is that religion which is less scrupulous, less generous, less just, less considerate for man, than even my own ungodly, worldly, blinded nature? No! When I look for religion, I must look for something above me, and not something beneath.
Harriet Beecher Stowe
We are nearly always longing for an easy religion, easy to understand and easy to follow; a religion with no mystery, no insoluble problems,no snags; a religion that would allow us to escape from our miserable human condition; a religion in which contact with God spares us all strife, all uncertainty,all suffering and all doubt; in short, a religion without a cross
The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also. I would not interfere with any one's religion, either to strengthen it or to weaken it. I am not able to believe one's religion can affect his hereafter one way or the other, no matter what that religion may be. But it may easily be a great comfort to him in this life-hence it is a valuable possession to him.
Religion should unite all hearts and cause wars and disputes to vanish from the face of the earth; it should give birth to spirituality, and bring light and life to every soul. If religion becomes a cause of dislike, hatred and division, it would be better to be without it... Any religion which is not a cause of love and unity is no religion.
We [Americans] have secularized the public life of our country in such a way to say something is religious is something negative. Religion has now turned into a way to discredit people. It is futile and dishonest to argue about religion. Religion is a phenomenological umbrella; there are all kinds of religions. It makes a difference when your religion is telling you something true or something false.
It is said that peace is the basic tenet of all religion. Yet it is in the name of religion that there has been so much disturbance, bloodshed and persecution. It is indeed a pity that even at the close of the twentieth century we've had to witness such atrocities because of religion. Flying the flag of religion has always proved the easiest way to crush to nothingness human beings as well as the spirit of humanity.
I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development. I think that religion may be some random by-product of mammalian reproduction. If that's true, would non-mammalian aliens have a religion?
Arthur C. Clarke
Art is not a substitute religion: it is a religion (in the true sense of the word: 'binding back', 'binding' to the unknowable, transcending reason, transcendent being). But the church is no longer adequate as a means of affording experience of the transcendental, and of making religion real - and so art has been transformed from a means into the sole provider of religion: which means religion itself.
The First Amendment...does not say that in every respect there shall be a separation of Church and State....Otherwise the state and religion would be aliens to each other - hostile, suspicious, and even unfriendly....The state may not establish a 'religion of secularism' in the sense of affirmatively opposing or showing hostility to religion, thus preferring those who believe in no religion over those who do believe.
William O. Douglas
I think there in a great deal to be said for religious education in the sense of teaching about religion and biblical literacy. Both those things, by the way, I suspect will prepare a child to give up religion. If you are taught comparative religion, you are more likely to realise that there are other religions than the one you have been brought up in. And if you are if you are taught to read the bible, I can think of almost nothing more calculated to turn you off religion.
A man who is convinced of the truth of his religion is indeed never tolerant. At the least, he is to feel pity for the adherent of another religion but usually it does not stop there. The faithful adherent of a religion will try first of all to convince those that believe in another religion and usually he goes on to hatred if he is not successful. However, hatred then leads to persecution when the might of the majority is behind it.
In India, as elsewhere in our darkening world, religion is the poison in the blood. Where religion intervenes, mere innocence is no excuse. Yet we go on skating around this issue, speaking of religion in the fashionable language of 'respect.' What is there to respect in any of this, or in any of the crimes now being committed almost daily around the world in religion's dreaded name?
Yet Buddhism is four hundred years older than Christianity, and if it's not a universal religion I don't know what a universal religion is. There's also a strong focus on selectionism and the notion that religion plays a functional role in the evolutionary process. But religion is dysfunctional all the time, as well as functional. It's not so simple.
Robert Neelly Bellah
How can you have the religion of the sovereign be the religion of the state if the sovereign belongs to many religions? And it's at that point, I think, historically, that you start to see people saying maybe the state should not associate itself with any religion. Maybe there shouldn't be any official religion.
I think enormous harm is done by religion - not just in the name of religion, but actually by religion. ... Many people do simply awful things out of sincere religious belief, not using religion as a cover the way that Saddam Hussein may have done, but really because they believe that this is what God wants them to do, going all the way back to Abraham being willing to sacrifice Isaac because God told him to do that. Putting God ahead of humanity is a terrible thing.