Topics from Death to Education
(No pun intended; it just turned out that way)
Included are quotes on: death, death penalty, doubt and education.
- Anon: "Everyone dies, but no one is dead." Ancient Tibetan
- Anon: "Progress happens, one funeral at a time." Allegedly stated by a politician in Toronto, ON.
- Sir Winston Churchill: "Broadly speaking, human beings may be divided into
three classes: those who are billed to death, those who are worried to death, and those who
are bored to death."
- Richard Dawkins: "After sleeping through a hundred million
centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling
with color, bountiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes
again. Isn't it a noble, an enlightened way of spending our brief time in
the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake
up in it? This is how I answer when I am asked why I bother to get up in the
- Bill Ferris: "When an old man dies, a library burns to the
- Dr. Jack Kevorkian: physician and euthanasia activist; USA Today on 1996-JUL-30: "Had Christ died in my van, with people around him who loved him, [his
death] would have been far more dignified."
- Albert Pike: "What we have done for ourselves alone dies
with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal."
- Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1869): "Martyrdom is the only way a man
can become famous without ability."
- Joseph Stalin: "One death is a tragedy, but a million
deaths are merely a statistic."
- Anon: "If Christ was executed today, I bet
Christians would wear little electric chairs around their necks." This has variously been credited to Dick Gregory, Bill Hicks, Lenny Bruce, and probably others.
- John J. Curtin, Jr.: "A system that will take life must first
- Justice Thurgood Marshall: "When ... the Supreme Court gave its
seal of approval to capital punishment, this endorsement was premised on the
promise that capital punishment would be administered with fairness and
justice. Instead, the promise has become a cruel and empty mockery. If not
remedied, the scandalous state of our present system of capital punishment
will cast a pall of shame over our society for years to come. We cannot let
- Theodore L. Sendak, Attorney General of Indiana: "We should
weigh the death of the convicted murders against the loss of life of his
victims and the possibility of potential victims to murder."
- Potter Stewart: "We may
nevertheless assume safely there are murders, such as those who act in
passion, for whom the threat of death has little or no deterrent effect. But for many others, the death penalty undoubtedly, is
a significant deterrent." From his ruling as a U.S. Supreme Court justice in
Gregg v. Georgia.
- Mary Sue Terry: "Evidence of innocence is irrelevant!" She
was the Attorney General of Virginia at the time, and was responding to an appeal to
introduce new evidence from a prisoner on death row.
- Maya Angelou: "It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength."
- Jimmy Carter: "“We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams."
- Ernest Istook: "America's strength is not our diversity; our strength is our ability to unite people of different backgrounds around common principles. A common language is necessary to reach that goal."
- Ola Joseph: "Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another's uniqueness.
- John F. Kennedy: The wave of the future is not the conquest of the world by a single dogmatic creed but the liberation of the diverse energies of free nations and free men." [sic]
- Joe Klein: "Diversity has been written into the DNA of American life; any institution that lacks a rainbow array has come to seem diminished, if not diseased."
- Thomas Stephen Szasz: "The plague of mankind is the fear and rejection of diversity: monotheism, monarchy, monogamy and, in our age, monomedicine. The belief that there is only one right way to live, only one right way to regulate religious, political, sexual, medical affairs is the root cause of the greatest threat to man." [sic]
- Anon: "How many of the 15 Saudi Arabians, and four other radical, fundamentalist, extremist, violent Muslims who were the perpetrators in 9/11 would have attacked New York and the Pentagon if they posessed even a tiny bit of doubt about God's will?"
- Gordon Allport: "The mature religious sentiment is ordinarily
fashioned in the workshop of doubt."
- About religious doubt in the military:
- Anon: "There are no Atheists in foxholes."
- Bill Cooke: "... enforced Christianity was the surest breeding ground
for unbelief. Many men either became unbelievers or met unbelievers during their
military service." 1
- From the Dhammapada, often called the Buddha's Path of Wisdom. It is a collection of 423 early Buddhist verses: "Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."
- Editors of the Catholic Encyclopedia: "The faith demanded by the
Christian Revelation stands on a different footing from the belief claimed
by any other religion. Since it rests on divine authority, ... its refusal
involves not merely intellectual error, but also some degree of moral
perversity. It follows that doubt in regard to the Christian religion is
equivalent to its total rejection." 2
- Richard Feynman: "There is no harm in doubt and skepticism,
for it is through these that new discoveries are made."
- Darrell J. Fasching: "I have found a fullness in the doubts and questions of my life that
I once thought could only be found in the answers. Mercifully, doubts
and questions have come to be so fulfilling that I find myself
suspicious of answers, not because they are necessarily false or
irrelevant, but because even when relevant and true they are, and can
only be partial. It is doubt and questioning that always lure me on to
broader horizons and deeper insights through an openness to the infinite
that leave me contentedly discontent." 3
- Timothy Keller: "A faith without some doubts is like a human body without any antibodies in it. People who blithely go through life too busy or indifferent to ask hard questions about why they believe as they do will find themselves defenseless against either the experience of tragedy or the probing questions of a smart skeptic." From: "The Reason for God"
- Paul Manata: "Believers should not be afraid to wrestle with
their doubts. ... Struggling with your doubts will make your faith 'your
own,' rather than something you inherit." From a book review. 4
- Mark Taylor: "Religious conflict will be less a matter of
struggles between belief and unbelief than of clashes between believers who
make room for doubt and those who do not." 5
- Paul Tillich: "Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is an
element of faith."
- Michael White: "God isn't afraid of
our doubts, but He doesn't want to leave them with us either."
- Additional quotes on "religious doubt."
- Gary Bauer, former head of the Family Research Council -- a
Fundamentalist Christian advocacy group:
"We are engaged in a social, political, and cultural war.
There's a lot of talk in America about pluralism. 5 But the
bottom line is somebody's values will prevail. And the winner gets the right
to teach our children what to believe."
- Baba Dioum, Senegal: "In the end, we will conserve only
what we love, we will love only what we understand, we will understand only
what we are taught."
- Ronald Heifetz: "...conflict is the primary engine of creativity and innovation. People don't learn by staring into a mirror; people learn by encountering difference."
- Arthur Lipkin: "[Children's] cognitive restraints imposed at
home may be jostled loose by inquiry, discussion, and student disputation.
The dissonance they experience can lead students to question their home,
community, and church values. Liberals see that process as growth; the Right
see it as heresy." 6
- William Butler Yeats: "Education is not the filling of a
pail, but the lighting of a fire."
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- Bill Cooke, "The Gathering of Infidels: A Hundred Years of the Rationalist
Press Association," Prometheus Books (2004).
- "Doubt," Catholic Encyclopedia, at: http://www.newadvent.org/
- Darrell J. Fasching, "Narrative Theology
After Auschwitz: From Alienation To Ethics," Fortress Press, (1992), Page
- Timothy Keller, "The Reason for God: Belief in an age of skepticism," Dutton
Adult, (2008). Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online
book store. Paul Manata's review is at: http://triablogue.blogspot.com/
- The term "pluralism" is ambiguous. It is sometimes used to refer to religious diversity. Other
times, it refers to the belief that all religions are true. It is not clear which meaning is being used here.
- Excerpt from the preface of a book by Ian K. Macgillivray: "Gay-Straight
Alliances: A Handbook for Students, Educators, and Parents." at:
Posted 1996 to 2013 by Ontario
Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Copyrights for the individual quotations held by their creators
Last updated: 2013-JUN-15
Compiled by: B.A. Robinson