Quotes: Index by Author
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Why, when no honest man will deny in private that every ultimate problem is wrapped in the profoundest mystery, do honest men proclaim in pulpits that unhesitating certainty is the duty of the most foolish and ignorant? Is it not a spectacle to make the angels laugh? We are a company of ignorant beings, feeling our way through mists and darkness, learning only by incessantly repeated blunders, obtaining a glimmering of truth by falling into every conceivable error, dimly discerning light enough for our daily needs, but hopelessly differing whenever we attempt to describe the ultimate origin or end of our paths; and yet, when one of us ventures to declare that we don't know the map of the universe as well as the map of our infintesimal parish, he is hooted, reviled, and perhaps told that he will be damned to all eternity for his faithlessness.
If atheism is to be used to express the state of mind in which God is identified with the unknowable, and theology is pronounced to be a collection of meaningless words about unintelligible chimeras, then I have no doubt, and I think few people doubt, that atheists are as plentiful as blackberries.
Till then we shall be content to admit openly, what you (religionists) whisper under your breath or hide in technical jargon, that the ancient secret is a secret still; that man knows nothing of the Infinite and Absolute; and that, knowing nothing, he had better not be dogmatic about his ignorance. And, meanwhile, we will endeavour to be as charitable as possible, and whilst you trumpet forth officially your contempt for our skepticism, we will at least try to believe that you are imposed upon by your own bluster.
Leslie Stephen Quotes 1-3 out of 3