there is a “widespread assumption that ever since the rise of the modern Western world we are acting out a story of ‘progress.’ This is the so-called Whig view of history writ large: history is the story of movements of progressive freedom, and we must go forward and make the next one happen, and the next one after that. Despite all the tyrannies of the last century, people today still believe this myth of progress . . . “
N.T. Wright, from “Simply Jesus: A New Vision of Who He Was, What He Did, and Why He Matters,” (HarperCollins, 2011)
Category Archives: Quotations
Most Americans, I fear, do not know or appreciate the fact that citizenship is the primary political office under a constitutional government. In a republic, the citizens are the ruling class. . .
I am sorry to say that most Americans think of themselves as the subjects of government and regard the administrators in public office as their rulers, instead of thinking of themselves as the ruling class and public officials as their servants – the instrumentalities for carrying out their will.
- Mortimer J. Adler, from “We Hold These Truths,” (Collier Books, 1987)
Organized welfare work is, of course, necessary; but the gaps in it must be filled by personal service, performed with loving kindness.
We cannot abdicate our conscience to an organization, nor to a government. “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Most certainly I am! I cannot escape my responsibility by saying the State will do all that is necessary. It is a tragedy that nowadays so many think and feel otherwise.
Albert Schweitzer, as quoted in “The Moral Compass” edited by William J. Bennett
I read an interesting article this weekend in The Wall Street Journal by Frans de Waal, primatologist at Emory
University in Atlanta. Titled “The Brains of the Animal Kingdom,” it offered many interesting examples of the intelligence of such animals as chimps, elephants and octopuses, some of them pretty amazing. The point? Nothing new really. As de Waal puts it, “science keeps chipping away at the wall that separates us from the other animals.” The implication being that humans are nothing special, just another animal.
This just gets so tiring, but it offers an example of why it is good to read books and not just the newspapers. I take you back to 1967 and a book written by the late, great Mortimer J. Adler. “The Difference of Man and the Difference it Makes” (Holt, Rinehart & Winston) explores the many areas in which humans are not “just another animal.” Adler even quotes evolutionists such as George Gaylord Simpson, Theodosius Dobzhansky and Julian Huxley as referring to man’s uniqueness. As Dobzhansky put it, ” Human intellectual abilities seem to be not only quantitatively but also qualitatively different from those of animals other than men.”
In one of his Frankenstein novels, author Dean Koontz has a character state that “to fight bad ideas is a life’s work.” Well, the idea that humans are nothing but animals needs a good butt-kicking.
. . . we sometimes ascribe . . . intolerant behavior to religious prejudice – as though
there had been a clean break, with scientists all arrayed under the white banner of truth while the forces of obscurantism parade under the black flag of prejudice.
The truth is better, if less appealing. Like other members of the human race, scientists are capable of prejudice. They have occasionally persecuted other scientists, and they have not always been able to see that an old theory, given a hairsbreadth twist, might open an entirely new vista to the human reason.
Loren Eiseley, from “The Firmament of Time” (Atheneum Publishers, 1962)
There is not such a great gap between mysticism and rationalism as we tend to imagine . . . we have all urged friends to “sleep on” a problem in the hope of finding a solution that has eluded them in their waking hours. When our minds are receptive and relaxed, ideas come from the deeper region of the mind. This has also been the experience of such scientists as Archimedes, who discovered his famous Principle in the bath. A truly creative philosopher or scientist has, like the mystic, to confront the dark world of uncreated reality and the cloud of unknowing in the hope of piercing it. As long as they wrestle with logic and concepts, they are, necessarily, imprisoned in ideas or forms of thought that have already been established.
- Karen Armstrong, from “A History of God” (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1993)
It is possible to read the Bible from a number of different angles and for various purposes without dealing with God as God has revealed himself . . .
To put it bluntly, not everyone who gets interested in the Bible and even gets excited about the Bible wants to get involved with God.
Eugene H. Peterson, “Eat This Book,” Wm. B. Eerdman’s Publishing Co., 2006
Take a look at Mark 4: 3 – 9.