Hmph," said Sharon . "Did you know that the numbers three and seven are sacred to vampires? There are seven vampire sects." "Seven sacred sects," I repeated. "Say that three times fast." "How about I spank you instead?" asked Patrick in a benign tone that belied the flare of irritation in his gaze. "Only if you tie me to a bed and use a paddle." His silver eyes went molten. Uh-oh. Me and my big smart-aleck mouth. "I... uh, sorry. I didn't mean that. I saw Secretary a few too many times. I'm impressionable.
The older Puritans had trampled down all fleshly impulses; these newer Puritans trampled no less self-righteously upon the spiritual cravings. But in the increasingly spiritistic inclination of physics itself, Behaviorism and Fundamentalism had found a meeting place. Since the ultimate stuff of the physical universe was now said to be multitudinous and arbitrary 'quanta' of the activity 'spirits', how easy was it for the materialistic and the spiritistic to agree? At heart, indeed, they were never very far apart in mood, though opposed in doctrine. The real cleavage was between the truly spiritual view on the one hand, and the spiritistic and materialistic on the other. Thus the most materialistic of Christian sects and the most doctrinaire of scientific sects were not long in finding a formula to express their unity, their denial of all those finer capacities which had emerged to be the spirit of man.
Difference of opinion is advantageous in religion. The several sects perform the office of a Censor morum over each other. Is uniformity attainable? Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth. Let us reflect that it is inhabited by a thousand millions of people. That these profess probably a thousand different systems of religion. That ours is but one of that thousand. That if there be but one right, and ours that one, we should wish to see the 999 wandering sects gathered into the fold of truth. But against such a majority we cannot effect this by force. Reason and persuasion are the only practicable instruments. To make way for these, free enquiry must be indulged; and how can we wish others to indulge it while we refuse it ourselves?
Of publishing a book on religion, my dear sir, I never had an idea. I should as soon think of writing for the reformation of Bedlam, as of the world of religious sects. Of these there must be, at least, ten thousand, every individual of every one of which believes all wrong but his own.
The multiplication of individual sects should not fool us: the important point is that the whole of America is preoccupied with the sect as a moral institution, with its immediate demand for beatification, its material efficacity, its compulsion for justification, and doubtless also with its madness and frenzy.
And what doe they tell us vainly of new opinions, when this very opinion of theirs, that none must be heard but whom they like, is the worst and newest opinion of all others, and is the chief cause why sects and schisms doe so much abound and true knowledge is kept at distance from us ; besides yet a greater danger which is in it.
Religious doctrines would do well to withdraw their pretension to be dealing with matters of fact. That pretension is not only the source of the conflicts of religion with science and the vain and bitter controversies of sects; it is also the cause of the impurity and incoherence of religion in the soul.
Every one of the numberless religions and religious sects views the Deity after its own fashion; and, fathering on the unknown its own speculations, it enforces these purely human outgrowths of overheated imagination on the ignorant masses, and calls them "revelation." As the dogmas of every religion and sect often differ radically, they cannot be true. And if untrue, what are they?
H. P. Blavatsky
After their return from Babylon, the practice of human sacrifice died out among the Jews, but survived as an ideal in one of its break-away sects, which believed that God accepted the torture-sacrifice of an innocent man in exchange for not visiting a worse fate on the rest of humanity. The sect is called Christianity.
[On Jason Mashak's book SALTY AS A LIP, as reviewed in The Prague Post:] Mashak amalgamates various national, historical and religious traditions into a myth-mash that illuminates many sects' fanatical compartmentalizing, and the fact that so many religions and philosophies share similar goals, if not roots.
There are a score of great religions in the world, each with scores or hundreds of sects, each with its priestly orders, its complicated creed and ritual, its heavens and hells. Each has its thousands or millions or hundreds of millions of true believers each damns all the others with more or less heartiness - and each is a mighty fortress of graft.
We should seek to free the moral life from the embarrassments and entanglements in which it has been involved by the quibbles of the schools and the mutual antagonisms of the sects; to introduce into it an element of downrightness and practical earnestness; above all, to secure to the modern world, in its struggle with manifold evil, the boon of moral unity, despite intellectual diversity.
Nostalgia is also a trait of the organizations that I call lodges - everything from corporate cultures to religious sects. Their bonding power often exceeds loyalty to family or country because they create intimacy through shared ideals and beliefs, ceremonies, stories, and legends, and depend on it for their survival. The message is clear: Don't question what we're doing. Just appreciate how long we've been doing it.
Of all persecuted sects, the Baptists stand forth as most prominent, simply and only because they aim at a more complete and thorough reform than any others ever attempted. They teach that Christ's kingdom is not of this world; that the church is not a national, political, or provincial establishment; but a congregation of holy men, separated from the world by the receiving of the Holy Spirit.
John Quincy Adams
The Doxology ... that testimonial to the Platonic Trinity, which divided the Roman Empire into at least eighteen quarreling sects, none of whom knew what they were fighting about, and which schisms contributed to the decline and fall of this greatest of states. Rome had thrived for one thousand years with pagan gods at the helm and expired after only one hundred and fifty years under the Christian banner.
Ruth Hurmence Green
One wonders why there are so many women who follow Robespierre to his home, to the Jacobins, to the Cordeliers and to the Convention. It is because the French Revolution is a religion and Robespierre is one of its sects. He is a priest with his flock... Robespierre preaches, Robespierre censures, he is furious, serious, melancholic and exalted with passion. He thunders against the rich and the great. He lives on little and has no physical needs. He has only one mission: to talk. And he talks all the time.
Nicolas de Caritat
The doctrine which, from the very first origin of religious dissensions, has been held by bigots of all sects, when condensed into a few words and stripped of rhetorical disguise, is simply this: I am in the right, and you are in the wrong. When you are the stronger, you ought to tolerate me; for it is your duty to tolerate truth. But when I am the stronger I shall persecute you; for it is my duty to persecute error.
Thomas B. Macaulay
Iraq at one time was actually a functioning government. It's a real state. Afghanistan is not Iraq. It's tribal. It's got a different - a number of different sects, never really had a solid government there running the country on any kind of a continuing basis. Well, to rebuild the nation of Afghanistan is going to be more difficult than rebuilding the nation of Iraq.
Chabrias, ever preoccupied to offer the gods the worship due them, was disturbed by the progress of sects of this kind among the populace of large cities; he feared for the welfare of our ancient religions, which yoke men to no dogma whatsoever, but lend themselves, on the contrary, to interpretations as varied as nature itself; they allow austere spirits who desire to do so to invent for themselves a higher morality, but they do not bind the masses to precepts so strict as to engender immediate constraint and hypocrisy.
But this inestimable privilege was soon violated: with the knowledge of truth the emperor imbibed the maxims of persecution; and the sects which dissented from the catholic church were afflicted and oppressed by the triumph of Christianity. Constantine easily believed that the heretics, who presumed to dispute his opinions or to oppose his commands, were guilty of the most absurd and criminal obstinacy; and that a seasonable application of moderate severities might save those unhappy men from the danger of an everlasting condemnation.
Religion shows a pattern of heredity which I think is similar to genetic heredity. ... There are hundreds of different religious sects, and every religious person is loyal to just one of these. ... The overwhelming majority just happen to choose the one their parents belonged to. Not the sect that has the best evidence in its favour, the best miracles, the best moral code, the best cathedral, the best stained-glass, the best music when it comes to choosing from the smorgasbord of available religions, their potential virtues seem to count for nothing compared to the matter of heredity.
Give heed to the cause of the holy Roman Church, mother of all churches and teacher of the faith, whom you by the order of God, have consecrated by your blood. Against the Roman Church, you warned, lying teachers are rising, introducing ruinous sects, and drawing upon themselves speedy doom. Their tongues are fire, a restless evil, full of deadly poison. They have bitter zeal, contention in their hearts, and boast and lie against the truth.
Pope Leo X
Arabia was idolatrous when, six centuries after Jesus, Muhammad introduced the worship of the God of Abraham, of Ishmael, of Moses, and Jesus. The Ariyans and some other sects had disturbed the tranquility of the east by agitating the question of the nature of the Father, the son, and the Holy Ghost. Muhammad declared that there was none but one God who had no father, no son and that the trinity imported the idea of idolatry...
The nations, and the sects, of the Roman world, admitted with equal credulity, and similar abhorrence, the reality of that infernal art [witchcraft], which was able to control the eternal order of the planets, and the voluntary operations of the human mind. . . . They believed, with the wildest inconsistency, that this preternatural dominion of the air, of earth, and of hell, was exercised, from the vilest motives of malice or gain, by some wrinkled hags and itinerant sorcerers, who passed their obscure lives in penury and contempt.
No, no, no, no! Come, let's away to prison: We two alone will sing like birds i' the cage: When thou dost ask me blessing, I'll kneel down, And ask of thee forgiveness: so we'll live, And pray, and sing, and tell old tales, and laugh At gilded butterflies, and hear poor rogues Talk of court news; and we'll talk with them too, Who loses and who wins; who's in, who's out; And take upon's the mystery of things, As if we were God's spies: and we'll wear out, In a wall'd prison, packs and sects of great ones, That ebb and flow by the moon.
You all know that certain things are necessary to make a religion. First of all, there is the book. The power of the book is simply marvellous! Whatever it be, the book is the centre round which human allegiance gathers. Not one religion is living today but has a book. With all its rationalism and tall talk, humanity still clings to the books. In your country every attempt to start a religion without a book has failed. In India sects rise with great success, but within a few years they die down, because there is no book behind them. So in every other country.
A ground frequently taken by Christian theologians is that the progress and civilization of the world are due to Christianity; and the discussion is complicated by the fact that many eminent servants of humanity have been nominal Christians, of one or other of the sects. My allegation will be that the special services rendered to human progress by these exceptional men have not been in consequence of their adhesion to Christianity, but in spite of it, and that the specific points of advantage to human kind have been in ratio of their direct opposition to precise Biblical enactments.
As thinkers, mankind has ever divided into two sects, Materialists and Idealists; the first class founding on experience, the second on consciousness; the first class beginning to think from the data of the senses, the second class perceive that the senses are not final and say, The senses give us representations of things, but what are the things themselves, they cannot tell. The materialist insists on facts, on history, on the force of circumstances and the animal wants of man; the idealists on the power of Thought and Will, on inspiration, on miracle, on individual culture.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
If we look back in history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find a few that have not in their turns been persecutors and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practised it upon the Puritans. They found it wrong in Bishops, but fell into the practice themselves both there (England) and New England.
We find sects and parties in most branches of science; and disputes which are carried on from age to age, without being brought to an issue. Sophistry has been more effectually excluded from mathematics and natural philosophy than from other sciences. In mathematics it had no place from the beginning; mathematicians having had the wisdom to define accurately the terms they use, and to lay down, as axioms, the first principles on which their reasoning is grounded. Accordingly, we find no parties among mathematicians, and hardly any disputes.
Methinks some creeds in vestries and churches do forget the hunter wrapped in furs by the Great Slave Lake, and that the Esquimauxsledges are drawn by dogs, and in the twilight of the northern night the hunter does not give over to follow the seal and walrus on the ice. They are of sick and diseased imaginations who would toll the world's knell so soon. Cannot these sedentary sects do better than prepare the shrouds and write the epitaphs of those other busy living men? The practical faith of all men belies the preacher's consolation.
Henry David Thoreau
If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England. [Letter to the London Packet, 3 June 1772]
The majority of pacifists either belong to obscure religious sects or are simply humanitarians who object to taking life and prefer not to follow their thoughts beyond that point. But there is a minority of intellectual pacifists, whose real though unacknowledged motive appears to be hatred of western democracy and admiration for totalitarianism. Pacifist propaganda usually boils down to saying that one side is as bad as the other, but if one looks closely at the writing of the younger intellectual pacifists, one finds that they do not by any means express impartial disapproval but are directed almost entirely against Britain and the United States ...
A person who goes in search of God is wasting his time. He can walk a thousand roads and join many religions and sects-but he'll never find God that way. God is here, right now, at our side. We can see Him in this mist, in the ground we're walking on, even in my shoes. His angels keep watch while we sleep and help us in our work. In order to find God, you have only to look around. But meeting Him is not easy. The more God asks us to participate in His mysteries, the more disoriented we become, because He asks us constantly to follow our dreams and our hearts. And that's difficult to do when we're used to living in a different way. Finally we discover, to our surprise, that God wants us to be happy, because He is the father.
The gravest error a thinking person can make is to believe that one particular version of history is absolute fact. History is recorded by a series of observers, none of whom is impartial. The facts are distorted by sheer passage of time and thousands of years of humanity's dark ages, deliberate misrepresentations by religious sects, and the inevitable corruption that comes from an accumulation of careless mistakes. The wise person, then, views history as a set of lessons to be learned, choices and ramifications to be considered and discussed, and mistakes that should never again be made.
According to your holy book, every single Buddhist, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, follower of various minor traditions or sects, those who do not affiliate themselves with a religious tradition and the approximately 2.74 billion humans who have never had the 'privilege' of hearing the word of your Messiah will be sentenced to eternal damnation in a lake of fire-regardless of moral standings or positive worldly accomplishments. If this sounds like a fair proposition to you, then I bite my tongue-but I honestly believe that the majority of Christians do not agree with these doctrinal assertions, and instead categorize themselves as 'Christians' out of cultural familiarity or perhaps out of complete ignorance in regards to the topic.
David G. McAfee
Julian recognized that the strength of the orthodox Church rested to a great extent on the imperial discrimination in its favour. According to Ammianus, he tried to atomize the Church by ending the system: 'He ordered the priests of the different Christian sects, and their supporters to be admitted to the palace, and politely expressed his wish that, their quarrels being over, each might follow his own beliefs without hindrance or fear. He thought that freedom to argue their beliefs would simply deepen their differences, so that he would never be faced by a united common people. He found from experience that no wild beasts are as hostile to men, as Christians are to each other.'
There exists indeed an opposition to it [building of UVA, Jefferson's secular college] by the friends of William and Mary, which is not strong. The most restive is that of the priests of the different religious sects, who dread the advance of science as witches do the approach of day-light; and scowl on it the fatal harbinger announcing the subversion of the duperies on which they live. In this the Presbyterian clergy take the lead. The tocsin is sounded in all their pulpits, and the first alarm denounced is against the particular creed of Doctr. Cooper; and as impudently denounced as if they really knew what it is. [Letter to Jose Francesco Correª a Da Serra - Monticello, April 11, 1820]
As everyone who has read the Marxists critically has not failed to see... the gospel of St. Marx is just the old Judaeo-Christian mythology with the supernatural sanctions left out, thus making the cult the most implausible and unreasonable of all the Christian heresies. It is true that there is reciprocal hostility between Marxists and the other Christian cults, but that is merely normal. Christian sects began persecuting each other even before one of them attained political power in the decaying Roman Empire, and everyone remembers the fearful Wars of Religion that convulsed and almost ruined Europe. The Gospel of Love invariably incites the most savage and blood-thirsty hatreds.
Revilo P. Oliver
Man has to create marriage because man is afraid of the unknown. On all levels of life and existence, man has created substitutes: for love there is marriage; for real religion there are sects - they are like marriages. Hinduism, Mohammedanism, Christianity, Jainism - they are not real religion. Real religion has no name; it is like love. But because love is dangerous and you are so afraid of the future, you would like to have some security. You believe more in insurance companies than in life. That's why you have created marriage.
Religion carries two sorts of people in two entirely opposite directions: the mild and gentle people it carries towards mercy and justice; the persecuting people it carries into fiendish sadistic cruelty. Mind you, though this may seem to justify the eighteenth-century Age of Reason in its contention that religion is nothing but an organized, gigantic fraud and a curse to the human race, nothing could be farther from the truth. It possesses these two aspects, the evil one of the two appealing to people capable of naive hatred; but what is actually happening is that when you get natures stirred to their depths over questions which they feel to be overwhelmingly vital, you get the bad stirred up in them as well as the good; the mud as well as the water. It doesn't seem to matter much which sect you have, for both types occur in all sects...
Alfred North Whitehead
For centuries after obtaining power during the reign of Constantine, Christians went on a censorship rampage that led to the virtual illiteracy of the ancient Western world and ensured that their secret would be hidden from the masses. The scholars of other schools/sects evidently did not easily give up their arguments against the historicizing of a very ancient mythological creature. We have lost the exact arguments of these learned dissenters because Christians destroyed any traces of their works. Nonetheless, the Christians preserved the contentions of their detractors through their own refutations. For example, early Church Father Tertullian (c. 160-220 CE), an 'ex-Pagan' and a presbyter at Carthage, ironically admitted the true origins of the Christ story and other such myths by stating in refutation of his critics, 'You say we worship the sun; so do you. Interestingly, a previously strident believer and defender of the faith, Tertullian later renounced orthodox Christianity after becoming a Montanist.