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Interesting quotations

On topics: Christ & Christianity,
Church & State,
and Civil Rights

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See also other topics: Caring & Compassion, and Change and from Communication to Cynicism

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Christ & Christianity:

bullet John Adams: "As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?" Letter to F. A. Van der Kamp.
bullet Bumper stickers available from CarryaBigSticker: "What would Jesus bomb?"  "Who would Jesus torture?"
bulletG.K. Chesterton:
bullet "The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried." From Chapter 5 of "What's Wrong With The World."
bullet "These are the days when the Christian is expected to praise every creed except his own."
bullet T.S. Eliot: "...the Church must be forever building, and always decaying, and always being restored." (From The Rock [1934])
bullet Ghandi: "I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ."
bullet Adolph Hitler: "The national government will maintain and defend the foundations on which the power of our nation rests. It will offer strong protection to Christianity as the very basis of our collective morality. Today Christians stand at the head of our country. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit. We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theatre, and in the press -- in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past years." 1
bulletThomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States:
bullet "I have examined all the known superstitions of the word, and I do not find in our particular superstition of Christianity one redeeming feature. They are all alike founded on fables and mythology. Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined and imprisoned. What has been the effect of this coercion? To make one half the world fools and the other half hypocrites; to support roguery and error all over the earth."
bullet "Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man."
bullet Jeremy Konopka on alt.atheism: "In the brain of every religious person there is a god shaped vacuum."
bullet Hans Konzelmann: "The church lives on the fact that modern research about Jesus is not known amongst the public."
bullet Jan LaRue: "The kindest, most-loving man who ever lived was crucified because He is intolerant of sin."
bulletJames Madison:
bullet "Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
bullet "During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
bullet Peter Meiderlin: (1626 CE): "In essentials: unity; in non-essentials: liberty; in all things: charity."
bulletMark Batterson:
bullet "Christianity has a perception problem. At the heart of the problem is the simple fact that Christians are more known for what we're against than what we're for."
bullet "If sin is the way we waste energy, then pursuing God-ordained passions and going after God-sized dreams is the way to produce energy."
bullet "God ideas aren't the by-product of genius, they are the by-product of love. The more you love God, the more God reveals. If you love Him enough, not for what He can do but for who He is, then God will give up His Secrets. Why? Because that is the essence of love. The more you love, the more you reveal And there are so many secrets waiting to be revealed." 2
bullet Rosie O'Donnell: "Radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like the United States."
bulletJohn S. Spong:
bullet "I am not sure Christianity would have survived for 2000 years had it not been institutionalized. I am not sure if it will survive the next 100 years because it is institutionalized."
bullet "... there never was a single consistent set of Christian beliefs. There were many Christianities from the dawn of Christianity itself. Various groups have tried to define true Christianity, but when they do they almost always define their own institutional, authoritarian system."
bullet Re: Biblical inerrancy: "I do admit that for Christians to enter this subject honestly is to invite great anxiety. It is to walk the razor's edge, to run the risk of cutting the final cord still binding many to the faith of their mothers and fathers. But the price for refusing to enter this consideration is for me even higher. The inability to question reveals that one has no confidence that one's belief system will survive such an inquiry. That is a tacit recognition that on unconscious levels, one's faith has already died. If one seeks to protect God from truth or new insights, then God has surely already died."
bullet Sir Michael Tipett, composer and philosopher: "When my God is less compassionate than I am, out he goes." This was a response to a person asking why he had left Christianity.
bullet Elton Trueblood: "The world is equally shocked at hearing Christianity criticized and seeing it practiced."
bullet Brian Walsh & Sylvia Keesmaat: "Of the friends of mine who have abandoned the Christian faith, very few of them stopped believing in Christ because of intellectual problems with the Bible of because they were seduced by some other world view or belief system. Rather, they tend to abandon Christian faith because of the irrelevance, judgmentalism, internal dissension and lack of compassion they experience within the Christian community. Rather than finding the church to be the community that most deeply encouraged them in their struggles, they lost heart in their discouragement and lost their faith in the process. Rather than experiencing the church as the site of the most profound hospitality, love and acceptance, they felt excluded because of their doubts and struggles." 3

Church and State:

bullet Dr. James Dobson, in a letter to "Focus on the Family" supporters, 1996-JUL on the need to restrict freedom of religion: "Tragically, the words written by Supreme Court Justices .... said, 'At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life'."
bulletThomas Jefferson:
bullet "I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just."
bullet "Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law." 1814-FEB-10.
bullet Senator John McCain: "The Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation."
bullet Rev. Rod Parsley: "Are we a Christian nation? I say yes" Parsley is senior pastor of World Harvest Church in Columbus, OH.
bullet Pope Pius IX (1792-1878): "The church ought to be separated from the state, and the state from the church."
bullet US Treaty of Tripoli, 1797-JUN-10. Ratified unanimously in the Senate and signed by John Adams into law. Often incorrectly attributed to George Washington: "...the government of the United States of America is in no sense founded on the Christian Religion...."

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Civil Rights:

bullet Anon: Slogan at the United Nations World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, 1993: "Human Rights: Know Them, Demand Them, Defend Them'"
bullet Heinrich Heine, German poet: "That was only the beginning - where one burns books, one will finally also burn people."
bulletRev. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
bullet "In the current struggle, there is one positive course of action. There is no alternative, for the alternative would connote a rear march..."
bullet "In this Revolution, no plans have been written for retreat. Those who will not get into step will find that the parade has passed them by...."
bullet Pastor Martin Niemoller, writing in 1945 on his release from a World War II Nazi concentration camp: "First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out-- because I was not a communist; Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out-- because I was not a socialist; Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out-- because I was not a trade unionist; Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out-- because I was not a Jew; Then they came for me-- and there was no one left to speak out for me." 4,5
bullet Barbara & Christopher Purdom, Coordinators, Interfaith Working Group; written in a letter to the Indianapolis Star on the topic of same-sex marriages: "Moral offense to a simple majority is not constitutionally adequate for the restriction of rights to some of the people."
bullet Rep. Pat Schroeder (D): "The Pledge of Allegiance says '..with liberty and justice for all'. What part of 'all' don't you understand?"
bullet Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) as governor of California: "People need somebody to watch over them. Ninety-five percent of the people in the world need to be told what to do and how to behave."


Voltaire: "To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize."

See also other topics from Caring to Change and from Communication to Cynicism

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Michael Hakeem, "The Speeches of Adolph Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1," Oxford University Press, (1942), Pages 871-872.
  2. Mark Batterson, "Primal: A quest for the lost soul of Christianity," Multnomah Books, (2009), Page 6. Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  3. Brian Walsh & Sylvia Keesmaat, "Colossians Remixed: Subverting the Empire," (2004), Page 130.
  4. The above wording appears to be correct. However, a very popular distortion of his saying cites, in order: labor unions, Communists, Jews, and Catholics.
  5. Franklin H. Littell, "First They Came for the Jews," Christian Ethics Today, 2001-MAY-27, at:

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Copyright 1996 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Copyrights for the individual quotations held by their creators
Last updated and reviewed: 2012-DEC-20
Compiled by: B.A. Robinson

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