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Interesting quotes

On topics: Tolerance, Tradition, & Truth

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bullet C. Everett Koop:,a former US surgeon general: "The American ideal is not that we all agree with each other, or even like each other, every minute of the day. It is rather that we will respect each other's rights, especially the right to be different, and that, at the end of the day, we will understand that we are one people, one country, and one community, and that our well-being is inextricably bound up with the well-being of each and every one of our fellow citizens."

bullet Anon: (taken from the Native American Indian Traditional Code of Ethics): 8. All the races and tribes in the world are like the different colored flowers of one meadow. All are beautiful. As children of the Creator they must all be respected. (Inter-Tribal Times, 1994-OCT)
bullet Bob Jones III, president of Bob Jones University: "The Bible itself is intolerant, and true followers of God's word should be as well."
bullet Martin Luther King Jr. "Racial understanding is not something we find, but something that we must create. Through education we can create change."
bullet Sandy Jo MacArthur, speaking at a 2013 LGBTQ Forum for Youth, Families and Community Services at Boyle Heights in Los Angeles: "I was tolerated. It didn’t feel very good. I think everyone out there has been tolerated at some time. Tolerance stinks. It was really a bad concept from the start but people thought it was [at least] a start. I’m here to tell you that what we need to look forward [to] and strive for is respect. Tolerance is just not cutting it, and respect is where we need to be." 7
bullet Bill Maher, from his one-person show "Victory Begins At Home:" "Don't get so tolerant that you tolerate intolerance."
bullet Richard Nixon: "If you want to make beautiful music, you must play the black and the white notes together."
bullet Charles de Secondat: "Religious wars are not caused by the fact that there is more than one religion, but by the spirit of intolerance... the spread of which can only be regarded as the total eclipse of human reason."

bullet Many other quotes on tolerance.


bullet 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."
bullet Jean Jaures: "Tradition does not mean to look after the ash, but to keep the flame alive."
bullet Mark Twain: "Loyalty to petrified opinion never yet broke a chain or freed a human soul." 


bullet Anon: "Heresy in one faith group is truth within another. Heresy in one era becomes truth in another."
bullet Anon: "Seek out the company of those who are searching for the truth. But avoid at all cost those who claim to have found it!"
bullet Anon: "Believe those who seek the truth. Doubt those who find it." 1
bullet Anon: Definition of a liberal: "someone so open-minded that he can't take his own side in an argument."
bullet Anon: "Sometimes you have to be able to see the invisible in order to see the truth."
bullet Isaac Asimov: "When people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together." [Editor's note: The shape of the Earth is close to an oblate spheroid -- a slightly pear shaped sphere.]
bullet Josh Billings: "As scarce as truth is, the supply has always been in excess of the demand."
bullet Giordano Bruno: (1548-1600): "It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people." (The church burned him alive because he believed in the heresy at the time that the earth circled the sun.)
bullet Albert Einstein:
bullet "The search for truth implies a duty. One must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true."
bullet "Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of truth and knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods."
bullet Ralph Waldo Emerson: "God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please; you can never have both."

Mohandas Gandhi:

  • "When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, always."

  • "There is no God higher than truth."  
bullet Aldous Huxley: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you mad."
bullet Susan Jacoby: "Americans are in serious intellectual trouble -- in danger of losing our hard-won cultural capital to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations."
bulletMartin Luther King, Jr's "Nonviolence Pledge:"
  1. As you prepare to march, meditate on the life and teachings of Jesus.
  2. Remember the nonviolent movement seeks justice and reconciliation -- not victory.
  3. Walk and talk in the manner of love; for God is love.
  4. Pray daily to be used by God that all men and women might be free.
  5. Sacrifice personal wishes that all might be free.
  6. Observe with friends and foes the ordinary rules of courtesy.
  7. Perform regular service for others and the world.
  8. Refrain from violence of fist, tongue, and heart.
  9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
  10. Follow the directions of the movement leaders and of the captains on demonstrations.
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bullet Krishnamurti, a Buddhist mystic:  "Truth is a pathless land. Man cannot come to it through any organization, through any creed, through any dogma, priest or ritual, not through any philosophic knowledge or psychological technique. He has to find it through the mirror of relationshp, through the understanding of the contents of his own mind, through observation and not through intellectual analysis or introspective dissection." 2
bullet Hugh Mann: "Our pursuit of truth seems endless, because a clear endpoint is never reached. No matter how much we discover, we never uncover an ultimate basis of reality."
bullet Gerald Massey: "They must find it difficult ... those who have taken authority as the truth, rather than truth as the authority."
bullet Marilyn Monroe: "I believe in everything -- a little bit."
bullet Richard John Neuhaus, former editor-in-chief of First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life: "In the absence of truth, power is the only game in town."
bullet Isaac Newton: "I do not know what I may appear to the world; but myself, I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
bullet Michael Novak: "The most critical threat to our freedom is a failure to appreciate the power of truth."
bullet George Orwell: "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act."
bullet Thomas Paine: ""It is never to be expected in a revolution that every man is to change his opinion at the same moment. There never yet was any truth or any principle so irresistibly obvious that all men believed it at once. Time and reason must cooperate with each other to the final establishment of any principle; and therefore those who may happen to be first convinced have not a right to persecute others, on whom conviction operates more slowly. The moral principle of revolutions is to instruct, not to destroy." 6
bullet Blaise Pascal:
bullet "It is man's natural sickness to believe that he possesses the Truth."
bullet "What is truth on one side of the Pyrenees [mountains] is error on the other."
bullet Henri Poincaire: "We also know how cruel the truth often is, and we wonder whether delusion is not more consoling."
bullet Bertrand Russell: "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."
bullet David Self: " vigorously those priests and imams who teach that not every verse of the Bible or the Qur'an is relevant today and that scripture is wondrously ambiguous. Then comes the process of educating the rest of the world (including its leaders) that faith is only faith, not certainty; that religion is but a long search for truth and that we are all engaged in the completion of God's creation." 3
bullet George Bernard Shaw: "All great truths begin as blasphemies."
bullet Michael Shermer: "I care what is actually true, even more than what I hope is true."
bullet Gloria Steinem: "The truth will set you free; but first it will piss you off."
bullet Schopenhauer (1788-1860): "All truth passes through three stages: firstly it is ridiculed, secondly, it is violently opposed, and thirdly, it is accepted as self-evident."
bullet Lucy Stone: "To make the public sentiment on the side of all that is just and true and noble is the highest use of life." (1852).
bullet Tolstoy: "I know that most men...can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives."
bullet Steve Turner: An excerpt from his statement "Creed," which he intended as a satire on modernism:" "We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him. Reality will adapt accordingly. The universe will readjust. History will alter. We believe that there is no absolute truth excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth." 4
bullet Urantia Book: "The argumentative defense of any proposition is inversely proportional to the truth contained."
bullet Steven Weinberg:
bullet  "I don't believe it is actually possible to prove anything about most of the things (apart from mathematical logic) that they [philosophers] argue about." 5
bullet "The task of science is to bring us closer and closer to objective truth." 5
bullet Lois Wilson: "Only with great difficulty does a shaft of light pierce the armor of self-righteousness."
bullet Voltaire: "Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

A group of university students at are are conducting a "truth contest." They have listed the following quotes about truth on their home page:

  • All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them. - Galileo

  • There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way, and not starting. - Buddha

  • The truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. - Winston Churchill

  • Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear. - Gandhi

  • The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic. - JFK

  • People can't change the truth, but the truth can change people. - Unknown

  • The Way of Truth is the Pathway to the Eternal Godhead. - Jesus Christ

  • You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free. - Jesus Christ

  • It takes two to speak truth -- one to speak, and another to hear. - Henry David Thoreau


  1. Buttons with this slogan are available at:
  2. "J. Krishnamurti's Teachings," at:
  3. David Self, "Christians and Muslims share a journey," The Guardian newspaper, 2005-SEP-03.
  4. From Ravi Zacharias' book "Can Man Live Without God?"
  5. Steven Weinberg, "Facing Up : Science and Its Cultural Adversaries," Harvard University Press, (2001) Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  6. Thomas Paine, "First Principles of Government," (1795)
  7. Gloria Angelina Castillo, "Eastside LGBT Forum Calls for ‘Respect’, Instead of ‘Tolerance’," EGP News, 2013-APR, at:

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Copyright 1996 to 2014 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Copyrights for the individual quotations are held by their creator
Last updated: 2014-JAN-12
Compiled by: B.A. Robinson

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