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Interesting quotations:

On topics from Environment to Forgiveness

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Included are quotes on: environment, evil, evolution, fear, feminism, and forgiveness.


  • Anon, a Cree prophecy: "After the last tree has been cut down; after the last river has been poisoned; after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."

  • Jack Handey: "Many people never stop to realize that a tree is a living thing, not that different from a tall, leafy dog that has roots and is very quiet."

  • Attributed to a 1854 speech by Chief Seattle. It was actually written by a screenwriter in 1972 for a film about ecology called "Home:" "Whatever befalls the Earth - befalls the sons of the Earth. Man did not weave the web of life - he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself."


  • Anon: "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." This quotation comes in various forms and is traditionally attributed to Edmund Burke (1729 -1797), an Irish philosopher and statesman. However, it does not appear in his writings. 3

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer: "There is nothing quite so terrible as evil masquerading as virtue."

  • Mohandas Gandhi: "Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as is cooperation with good. "

  • Martin Luther: "Do not suppose that abuses are eliminated by destroying the object which is abused. Man can go wrong with wine and women. Shall we then prohibit and abolish women?"

  • Freidrich Neitzche: "What is strong wins; that is the universal law. If only that were not so often what is precisely stupid and evil."

  • Blaise Pascal: "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction." This quote is often attributed to Sam J. Ervin, Jr. from his book: "Protecting the Constitution." (1984). But it was originally said many years before by Pascal.

  • Jonathan Sacks: Each individual has responsibility "to heal where others harm, mend where others destroy, [and] to redeem evil by turning its negative energies to good." From his book "To heal a fractured world: The ethics of responsibility." Rabbi Sacks is the chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of Great Britain and the Commonwealth.

  • Socrates: "The only good is knowledge. The only evil, ignorance."

  • Henry Thoreau: "There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root."

  • Steven Weinberg: "I think that on the balance the moral influence of religion has been awful. With or without religion, good people can behave well and bad people can do evil. But for good people to do evil -- that takes religion."

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  • Francis Collins (head of the Human Genome Project): "God decided to create a species with whom he could have fellowship. Who are we to say that evolution was a dumb way to do it? It was an incredibly elegant way to do it." 4

  • Charles Darwin: "It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change."

  • Theodosius Dobzhansky: "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."

  • Jane Goodall: "You may not believe in evolution, and that is all right. How we humans came to be the way we are is far less important than how we should act now to get out of the mess we have made for ourselves."

  • Institute for Creation Research:

    • "The physical universe of space, time, matter, and energy has not always existed, but was supernaturally created by a transcendent personal Creator who alone has existed from eternity."

    • "The phenomenon of biological life did not develop by natural processes from inanimate systems but was specially and supernaturally created by the Creator." 5

  • Sir Arthur Keith: "Evolution is unproved and unprovable. We believe it only because the only alternative is special creation, and that is unthinkable."

  • Steven Weinberg:

    • "Any possible universe could be explained as the work of some sort of designer. Even a universe that is completely chaotic...could be supposed to have been designed by an idiot." 6

    • "Journalists generally have no bias toward one cosmological theory or another, but many have a natural preference for excitement." 6

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  • Anon: "There is no anger, jealousy, hatred, suspicion. There is only fear and its various derivatives."

  • H. Jackson Brown Jr. "Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something..."

  • Heinrich Heine, from his 1821 play Almansor: "Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings."

  • Eric Hoffer, from his book The True Believer: "The acrid secretion of the frustrated mind, though composed chiefly of fear and ill will, acts yet as a marvelous slime to cement the embittered and disaffected into one compact whole."

  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt: "There is nothing to fear but fear itself"

  • Carol Tavris: "During McCarthyism, teachers feared for their jobs if they belonged to a left-wing group. Today teachers fear for their jobs if they hug a crying child. As in all moral panics, an accusation is enough to destroy a person's life. Hysteria trumps evidence."

  • 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" 7

Feminism & gender equality:

  • Jerry Falwell: "Most of these feminists are radical, frustrated lesbians, many of them, and man-haters, and failures in their relationships with men, and who have declared war on the male gender. The Biblical condemnation of feminism has to do with its radical philosophy and goals. That's the bottom line."

  • Randall Terry, head of Operation Rescue; from a speech to a group of anti-abortion Roman Catholic priests, quoted in Front Lines Research: "...make dads the godly leaders [of the family] with the women in submission, raising kids for the glory of God."

  • Jimmy Carter, in a speech to the Parliament of the World's Religions in 2009: "The truth is that male religious leaders have had – and still have – an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views and set a new course that demands equal rights for women and men, girls and boys." 14


  • Dag Hammarskjold: "Forgiving is forgetting, in spite of remembering."

  • Julie Clawson" "Forgiving those like us is easy; extending mercy to those who are other is where our fear often strangles our compassion." 13

References used:

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

  1. 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.
  2. Excerpt from the preface of a book by Ian K. Macgillivray: "Gay-Straight Alliances: A Handbook for Students, Educators, and Parents." at:
  3. The Columbia World of Quotations (1996), at:
  4. Roger Highfield, "DNA pioneers lash out at religion," London Daily Telegraph, 2003-MAR-24, at:
  5. "Tenets of Scientific Creationism," Institute for Creation Research, at:
  6. Steven Weinberg, "Facing Up : Science and Its Cultural Adversaries," Harvard University Press, (2001) Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store
  7. "Profile: William Sloane Coffin," 2004-AUG-27, Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, at:
  8. Darrell J. Fasching, "Narrative Theology After Auschwitz: From Alienation To Ethics," Fortress Press, (1992), Page 4.
  9. "Doubt," Catholic Encyclopedia, at:
  10. Mark C. Taylor, "The Devoted Student," New York Times, 2006-DEC-21. See reldoubt1.htm
  11. Bill Cooke, "The Gathering of Infidels: A Hundred Years of the Rationalist Press Association," Prometheus Books (2004).
  12. Timothy Keller, "The Reason for God: Belief in an age of skepticism," Dutton Adult, (2008). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book store. Paul Manata's review is at:
  13. Julie Clawson, "Forgiveness, fear and the mosque at ground zero," Sojourners magazine, 2010-JUN-08, at:
  14. From a speech by Jimmy Carter to the Parliament  of the World's Religions in Melbourne, Australia, Carter Center, 2009-DEC-03, at"

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Last updated: 2014-SEP-02
Compiled by: B.A. Robinson

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