True it is, as society is instituted, marriage becomes somewhat of a lottery, for all its votaries are either the victims of Cupid or cupidity; in either instance, they are under the blinding influence of passion, and consequently but little subject to the control of reason.
Arthur Frederick Saunders
I dwell mostly upon the religious aspects, because I believe it is the religious people who are to be relied upon in this Anti-Slavery movement. Do not misunderstand my railing-do not class me with those who despise religion-do not identify me with the infidel. I love the religion of Christianity-which cometh from above-which is a pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of good fruits, and without hypocrisy. I love that religion which sends its votaries to bind up the wounds of those who have fallen among thieves. By all the love I bear such a Christianity as this, I hate that of the Priest and the Levite, that with long-faced Phariseeism goes up to Jerusalem to worship and leaves the bruised and wounded to die. I despise that religion which can carry Bibles to the heathen on the other side of the globe and withhold them from the heathen on this side-which can talk about human rights yonder and traffic in human flesh here... I love that which makes its votaries do to others as they would that others should do to them. I hope to see a revival of it-thank God it is revived. I see revivals of it in the absence of the other sort of revivals. I believe it to be confessed now, that there has not been a sensible man converted after the old sort of way, in the last five years.
Gaming is a vice the more dangerous as it is deceitful; and, contrary to every other species of luxury, flatters its votaries with the hopes of increasing their wealth; so that avarice itself is so far from securing us against its temptations that it often betrays the more thoughtless and giddy part of mankind into them.
Sensible Catholics have for generations been ignoring the views on contraception held by reactionary old men in the Vatican, but alas, since it is the business of all religious doctrines to keep their votaries in a state of intellectual infancy (how else do they keep absurdities seeming credible?), insufficient numbers of Catholics have been able to be sensible.
I do not wonder that, where the monastick life is permitted, every order finds votaries, and every monastery inhabitants. Men will submit to any rule, by which they may be exempted from the tyranny of caprice and of chance. They are glad to supply by external authority their own want of constancy and resolution, and court the government of others, when long experience has convinced them of their own inability to govern themselves.
It is evident, from their method of propagation, that a couple of cats, in fifty years, would stock a whole kingdom; and if that religious veneration were still paid them, it would, in twenty more, not only be easier in Egypt to find a god than a man, which Petronius says was the case in some parts of Italy; but the gods must at last entirely starve the men, and leave themselves neither priests nor votaries remaining.
I could not but smile to think in what out-of-the-way corners genius produces her bantlings! And the Muses, those capricious dames, who, forsooth, so often refuse to visit palaces, and deny a single smile to votaries in splendid studies, and gilded drawing-rooms--what holes and burrows will they frequent to lavish their favors on some ragged disciple!
And why does England thus persecute the votaries of her science? Why does she depress them to the level of her hewers of wood and her drawers of water? Is it because science flatters no courtier, mingles in no political strife? ... Can we behold unmoved the science of England, the vital principle of her arts, struggling for existence, the meek and unarmed victim of political strife?
From the dawn of exact knowledge to the present day, observation, experiment, and speculation have gone hand in hand; and, whenever science has halted or strayed from the right path, it has been, either because its votaries have been content with mere unverified or unverifiable speculation (and this is the commonest case, because observation and experiment are hard work, while speculation is amusing); or it has been, because the accumulation of details of observation has for a time excluded speculation.
Thomas Henry Huxley
The fact is that liberty, in any true sense, is a concept that lies quite beyond the reach of the inferior man's mind. And no wonder, for genuine liberty demands of its votaries a quality he lacks completely, and that is courage. The man who loves it must be willing to fight for it; blood, said Jefferson, is its natural manure. Liberty means self-reliance, it means resolution, it means the capacity for doing without . . . the average man doesn't want to be free. He wants to be safe.
H. L. Mencken
I am well aware that there is such a great craving in man for heroism and the heroic, and that hero worship forms not a small motif in his complex. I am also aware that, unless man believes in his own heroism and the heroism of others, he cannot achieve much or great things. We must, however, take proper care that we do not make a fetish of this cult of hero-worship, for then we will turn ourselves into votaries of false gods and prophets.
And why does England thus persecute the votaries of her science? Why does she depress them to the level of her hewers of wood and her drawers of water? Is it because science flatters no courtier, mingles in no political strife?... Can we behold unmoved the science of England, the vital principle of her arts, struggling for existence, the meek and unarmed victim of political strife? [Reviewing Charles Babbage's Book, Reflections on the Decline of Science in England (1830)]
Does trying to understand the universe at all betray a lack of humility? I believe it is true that humility is the only just response in a confrontation with the universe, but not a humility that prevents us from seeking the nature of the universe we are admiring. If we seek that nature, then love can be informed by truth instead of being based on ignorance or self-deception. If a Creator God exists, would He or She or It or whatever the appropriate pronoun is, prefer a kind of sodden blockhead who worships while understanding nothing? Or would He prefer His votaries to admire the real universe in all its intricacy? I would suggest that science is, at least in part, informed worship.
If there is a deity of the kind imagined by votaries of the big mail-order religions such as Christianity and Islam, and if this deity is the creator of all things, then it is responsible for cancer, meningitis, millions of spontaneous abortions everyday, mass killings of people in floods and earthquakes-and too great mountain of other natural evils to list besides. It would also, as the putative designer of human nature, ultimately be responsible or the ubiquitous and unbeatable human propensities for hatred, malice, greed, and all other sources of the cruelty and murder people inflict on each other hourly.
But the Mahommedan religion increases, instead of lessening, the fury of intolerance. It was originally propagated by the sword, and ever since, its votaries have been subject, above the people of all other creeds, to this form of madness. In a moment the fruits of patient toil, the prospects of material prosperity, the fear of death itself, are flung aside. The more emotional Pathans are powerless to resist. All rational considerations are forgotten. Seizing their weapons, they become Ghazis-as dangerous and as sensible as mad dogs: fit only to be treated as such. While the more generous spirits among the tribesmen become convulsed in an ecstasy of religious bloodthirstiness, poorer and more material souls derive additional impulses from the influence of others, the hopes of plunder and the joy of fighting. Thus whole nations are roused to arms. Thus the Turks repel their enemies, the Arabs of the Soudan break the British squares, and the rising on the Indian frontier spreads far and wide. In each case civilisation is confronted with militant Mahommedanism. The forces of progress clash with those of reaction. The religion of blood and war is face to face with that of peace.
Winston S. Churchill
Ten good lines out of four hundred, Emily-comparatively good, that is-and all the rest balderdash-balderdash, Emily." "I-suppose so, " said Emily faintly. Her eyes brimmed with tears-her lips quivered. She could not help it. Pride was hopelessly submerged in the bitterness of her disappointment. She felt exactly like a candle that somebody had blown out. "What are you crying for? demanded Mr. Carpenter. Emily blinked away tears and tried to laugh. "I-I'm sorry-you think it's no good-" she said. Mr. Carpenter gave the desk a mighty thump. "No good! Didn't I tell you there were ten good lines? Jade, for ten righteous men Sodom had been spared." "Do you mean-that-after all-" The candle was being relighted again. "Of course, I mean. If at thirteen you can write ten good lines, at twenty you'll write ten times ten-if the gods are kind. Stop messing over months, though-and don't imagine you're a genius, either, if you have written ten decent lines. I think there's something trying to speak through you-but you'll have to make yourself a fit instrument for it. You've got to work hard and sacrifice-by gad, girl, you've chosen a jealous goddess. And she never lets her votaries go-not even when she shuts her ears forever to their plea.
How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property - either as a child, a wife, or a concubine - must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the faith: all know how to die but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.
Winston S. Churchill