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Religious Tolerance logo

Interesting quotations

On topics from Communication to Cynicism

Included below are quotes on: communication, constitution, courage, creeds, cults and cynicism.

See also other topics from Caring & Compassion and Change and from Christ & Christianity. Church & States, and Civil Rights.

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bullet Peter Drucker: "The most important thing in communication is to hear what is not being said."
bullet C.G. Jung: "It is high time we realized that it is pointless to praise the light and preach it if nobody can see it. It is much more needful to teach people the art of seeing."

bullet John Courtney Murray:"Disagreement is a rare achievement, and most of what is called disagreement is simply confusion."

bullet George Bernard Shaw: "The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."

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bullet Noam Chomsky: "The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum."
bullet Justice Robert Jackson (1943): "The very purpose of a bill of rights is to withdraw certain subjects from...political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities."
bullet James Madison: "The purpose of the Constitution is to restrict the majority's ability to harm a minority." Federalist #10
bullet Cal Thomas, conservative commentator; Washington Times, 1996-OCT-23 : "We are approaching a time when Christians, especially, may have to declare the social contract between Enlightenment rationalists and Biblical believers - which formed the basis of the constitution written at our nation's founding - null and void."

courage tattoo Courage:

bullet William Sloane Coffin: senior minister, Riverside Church, NYC: "In life you can either follow your fears or be led by your values, by your passions." 1
bullet Clarence Darrow: "Common experience shows how much rarer is moral courage than physical bravery. A thousand men will march to the mouth of the cannon where one man will dare espouse an unpopular cause."
bullet Harvey Fierstein, 1992 Bennington Commencement: "Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one's definition of your life; but define yourself."
bullet Thomas Merton: "You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope."
bullet Patrick Overton: "When you come to the edge of all the light you have, and must take a step into the darkness of the unknown, believe that one of two things will happen to you: either there will be something solid for you to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly."
bullet Charles Peguy, French poet: "We shall never know how many acts of cowardice have been motivated by the fear of appearing not sufficiently progressive."
bullet W. Clement Stone: "Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity."


bullet Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899): "Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so. This creed is somewhat short, but is long enough for this life; long enough for this world. If there is another world, when we get there we can make another creed. But this creed certainly will do for this life."
bullet Anon (One version of the Wiccan Rede; a traditional creed of the Wiccan Neopagan faith): "Do what you wish, as long as it harms none, including yourself."
bullet Yeshua of Nazareth (Jesus Christ; reported in the Christian Scriptures, Mark 12:30-31): "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."


The term "cult" is a snarl word; it contains a lot of negative baggage. We recommend using the term "new religious movement."

bullet Ben Alexander of ESP Ministries: "A cult is a religious perversion.... A cult distorts the [biblical] word of God by perverting the truth into a lie."  2
bullet Ron Barrier: "I have often thought that the difference between a cult and a religion is an IRS ruling."  3
bullet "BC" Cartoon:"Religious Cult: The church down the street from yours." Humorous quotation seen in a B.C. cartoon, 1994-APR-30
bullet Anthony Campbell: " person's cult is another's religion; all religions begin life as cults. An alternative definition is that a cult is a religion which you happen to dislike." 4
bullet Jim Heldberg: "It's easy to tell the difference - a cult is someone else's religion. Corollary: "A fanatic is someone who believes something more strongly than you do."  3
bullet Philip Kennicott: "Cult is a word without much use outside the realm of religious mudslinging."  5
bullet J. Gordon Melton, founder and director of The Institute for the Study of American Religion: "When someone uses the word 'cult,' it usually says more about them than the group," 6
bullet Jan Shipps, a Methodist scholar: "When a cult grows up, it becomes a culture." 6


bullet Anon: "Cynics regarded everybody as equally corrupt... Idealists regarded everybody as equally corrupt, except themselves."
bullet Lillian Hellman: "Cynicism is an unpleasant way of saying the truth."
bullet Esa Saarinen: "The opposite of creativity is cynicism"
bullet Lily Tomlin: "No matter how cynical I get, I can't keep up."
bullet David Wolf: "Idealism is what precedes experience, cynicism is what follows."

See also other topics from Caring to Change and from Christ & Christianity to Civil Rights.

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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. "Profile: William Sloane Coffin," 2004-AUG-27, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, at:
  2. Ben Alexander, "The challenge of the cults," ESP Ministries, at:
  3. Quotes extracted from "Heaven's Sake!," at:
  4. Anthony Campbell, "David V. Barrett: THE NEW BELIEVERS, A survey of sects, cults and alternative religions," Book review, 2001, at:
  5. Philip Kennicott, in a Washington Post article that is no longer available online.
  6. Rhonda Parks Manville, "UCSB research of 'new religions' returns surprises," Santa Barbara News-Press, 2004-JUL-30, at:

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Copyright © 1996 to 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Copyrights for the individual quotations held by their creators
Last updated and reviewed: 2016-MAR-10
Compiled by: B.A. Robinson

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