FYODOR.HTM (updated and expanded 11/20/2003
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So long as there should exist, by reason of law and custom,
a social condemnation which, in the face of civilization,
artificially creates hells on earth, and complicates a destiny
which is divine, with human fatality; so long as the three
problems of the age -- the degredation of man by poverty,
the ruin of women by starvation, and the dwarfing of childhood
by physical and spiritual night -- are not solved; so long as,
in certain regions, social asphyxia shall be possible; in other words, and from
a yet more extended point of view, so long as ignorance and misery
remain on earth, books like this cannot be useless.
-- Preface to Victor Hugo's Les Miserables, 1862
Patriotism means being loyal to your country all the time, and to
the government when it deserves it. -- Mark Twain
We should be careful not to make the intellect our god. It has, of course,
powerful muscles, but no personality. -- Einstein
I found in the book EVERY EYE BEHOLDS YOU (ed by Craughwell (1998)
these words from Karen Armstrong (in the book's introduction):
"We tend to equate faith with believing certain things about God or the
sacred. A religious person is often called a "believer' and seen as one
who has adopted the correct ideas about the divine. Belief is thus seen
as the first and essential step of the spiritual journey. Before we
embark ... we think that we must first satisfy ourselves intellectually
that there IS a God or that the truths of our particular tradition --
Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or whatever -- are valid. It
seems pointless to make a commitment unless we are convinced about the
essentials. In our modern, scientific world, this makes good sense. First
-- you establish a principle and then you apply it.
But the history of religion makes it clear this is not how it works. To
expect to have faith before embarking on the disciplines of the spiritual
life is like putting the cart before the horse. In all the great
traditions, prophets, sages and mystics spend very little time telling
their disciples about what they ought to BELIEVE. Indeed, it is only
since the Enlightenment that faith has been defined as intellectual
submission to a creed. Hitherto, faith ... meant trust and was used in
rather the same way as when we say we have faith IN a person or an ideal.
Faith was thus a ... conviction that ... our lives did have some meaning
and value. You could not possibly arrive at faith in this sense before
you had lived a religious life. Faith was thus the fruit ... not
something you had to have at the start ... ."
We remember not only our son, but also his murderers.
Not because they killed him in the prime of his youth
and made our hearts bleed and our tears flow
but because through their crime we now follow you more closely.
The terrible fire of the calamity burns away all selfishness and possessiveness in us.
Its flame reveals the measure of human sinfulness in our human nature.
It makes obvious our need to trust in God's love as never before.
Love which frees us from hate.
Love which brings patience, loyalty, greatness of heart.
Love which defines our trust in God's final victory.
Love which teaches us how to face our own death.
Oh God -- Our son's blood has multiplied the fruit of the spirit in us.
So -- when his murderers stand before thee on the day of judgement,
Remember the fruit of the spirit by which they have enriched our lives.
-- bishop of Iran (data not known)
This scientist's verse: Psalm 27:4 -- "One thing have I desired of the Lord,
that I will seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all
the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and
to enquire in his Temple."
The inscription over the Great
Door of the Cavendish Laboratory at Cambridge reads (in Latin) Ps.111:2: "The works of the
Lord are great, sought out of all them that have pleasure therein."
John 1:3. All things were made by Him and without Him there was not anything made that was made.
I do not place my faith in writings, nor in creeds,
nor in the statements of scholars and philosophers,
but in the living and present Christ, infinitely beyond any human expression. Soli
Deo Gloria. (author unknown)
"Many people fear nothing more terrible than to take a position
which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The
tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will
include everything and so popular it will include everybody. Not a few people
who cherish lofty and noble ideals hide them under a bushel
for fear of being called different." -- MLK Jr.
"I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or
that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His
thoughts; the rest are details." ---Albert Einstein --- (From Clarck's book)
Words for "God" include "wind," "breath," "spirit," etc. God is NOT an object,
but the ultimate mystery. -- author unknown
"[As a Jew} I feel anything but indifferent to the orthodoxy of fundementalist
Christians. I confess to fearing those who know they have the Truth and are convinced
that everyone else would do well to hold this same Truth." -- Alan Peskin, GOD'S CHOICE (1988)
Orthodoxy -- the strong disinclination to take seriously the notion
that you might be wrong. Rauch (1993)
He drew a circle that shut me out,
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had t he wit to win.
We drew a circle that took him in.
------Edwin Markham, "The man with the Hoe," 1899
There exists no serious liklihood that a person who lives and dies
in a non-Christian culture -- say -- Pakistan -- will end up being a Christian.
If that is a reason for God to damn him --- ?
But there is a difference between saying salvation is THROUGH Jesus Christ
and saying that it requires conscious explicit belief IN Christ.
Moral conversation ought to be a barn raising, not a boxing match. The word "conversation"
comes from the Latin "Conversari" which means to keep
company with.. we are all travelers. -- J. Robert Nash in
RELIGIOUS PLURALISM IN THE ACADEMY, 2001.
Nash argues six
principles of moral conversations which are meant to help them take
place in a meaningful, civil and constructive way:
1. Belief declarations are not the same as conversations about beliefs.
A speaker should always strive to state the grounds for his or her beliefs,
and be ready to acknowledge when they may be less than overwhelmingly persuasive.
2. All views deserve initial respect. An attitude of humility must always be assumed.
Oliver Cromwell's observation, "I beseech you, brothers, by the bowels of Christ,
consider that you may be mistaken," and similar quotations
are appropriate for consideration.
3. Find the truth in what you oppose,
always focusing on achieving agreements on word meanings.
4. "All or nothing" thinking is destructive.
It separates the world into "us" and "others."
Look for similarities first, before differences. Empathize before judging.
5. Reality exists. But all we know are stories about it.
It is in these stories that we explain ourselves to others. Listen to them.
6. Moral conversation in itself "leans to the left, therefore allow for this.
Do not squelch the overconfident speaker, but listen to the story.
A heretic is not one who denies the truth,
but one who knows part of the truth,
and preaches that it is the whole truth. -- Chesterton. Note that the
word "heretic" comes from the Greek word "herein," which simply means
"choices." The history of Christianity (as well as other religions) is one of
the "detection of heresy" in a brother and the consequent splitting
into sects over non-essentials of the faith. But we do not have to
think alike to love alike!
On sacred subjects, it would be rather sacriligious than
fitting to be ready with an answer to every
question. -- Schleiermacher (4th speech)
The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is
right; it is the spirit which seeks to understand the minds of other
men and women; which weighs their interests alongside its own,
without bias . . . ." -- Judge Learned Hand, 5/21/1944
It is wrong to think that the
task of physics is to find
out how nature is. Physics concerns only
what we can SAY about nature. -- Neils Bohr
The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness
and the world's deep hunger meet." -- Frederick Buechner
Joan of Arc, when asked by the bishops "Do you not believe that what you
call your voice from God is really nothing more
than your imagination?" To this she replied, "Of
course it is my imagination. How else does God speak to us?"
There are but two explanations for the universe, design (purpose) and chance (accident).
Every person must decide which of these two concepts will form his life.
There is no way to not choose. -- me (I'm pretty sure I learned this from Pascal).
Never ascribe to malice that which may simply be incompetence or ignorance.
Never ascribe to incompetence that which may simply be a contrary assumption. -- me
(based on 35 years at the IBM Corporation).
"The genuine realist, if he is an unbeliever, will always find
the strength and ability to disbelieve in the miraculous,
and if he is confronted with a miracle as an irrefutable
fact, he would rather disbelieve his own senses
than admit the fact. Faith does not
spring from miracle, but miracle from fact." -- Fyodor Dostoevsky
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