Quick Quotes

Christianity is a world religion just like Hinduism, and Islam, and Buddhism, and it’s more dangerous than those because it’s more subtle, and it’s so close to the truth that it leads people in a lie.

-Erwin McManus

From The Value of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell:

It cannot be maintained that philosophy has had any very great measure of success in its attempts to provide definite answers to its questions… It is true that this is partly accounted for by the fact that, as soon as definite knowledge concerning any subject becomes possible, this subject ceases to be called philosophy, and becomes a separate science. The whole study of the heavens, which now belongs to astronomy, was once included in philosophy; Newton’s great work was called ‘the mathematical principles of natural philosophy’. Similarly, the study of the human mind, which was a part of philosophy, has now been separated from philosophy and has become the science of psychology. Thus, to a great extent, the uncertainty of philosophy is more apparent than real: those questions which are already capable of definite answers are placed in the sciences, while those only to which, at present, no definite answer can be given, remain to form the residue which is called philosophy.

This is, however, only a part of the truth concerning the uncertainty of philosophy. There are many questions — and among them those that are of the profoundest interest to our spiritual life — which, so far as we can see, must remain insoluble to the human intellect unless its powers become of quite a different order from what they are now. Has the universe any unity of plan or purpose, or is it a fortuitous concourse of atoms? Is consciousness a permanent part of the universe, giving hope of indefinite growth in wisdom, or is it a transitory accident on a small planet on which life must ultimately become impossible? Are good and evil of importance to the universe or only to man? Such questions are asked by philosophy, and variously answered by various philosophers. But it would seem that, whether answers be otherwise discoverable or not, the answers suggested by philosophy are none of them demonstrably true.

By stoic philosopher Epictetus, from his Golden Sayings:

Are these the only works of Providence within us? Nay! What language is adequate to praise them all or to bring them home to our minds as they deserve? Why, if we had sense, ought we be doing anything else publicly and privately than hymning and praising the Deity and rehearsing his benefits? Ought we not, as we dig and plow and eat, to sing the hymn of praise to God:

Great is God that he has furnished us these instruments werewith we shall till the earth! Great is God that he has given us hands, the power to swallow, and a belly, and the power to grow unconsciously, and to breathe while asleep! This is what we ought to sing on every occasion.

And above all, to sing the greatest and divinest hymn that God has given us: the faculty to comprehend these things, and to follow the path of reason.

What then? Since many of you have become blind, ought there not to be someone to fulfill this office for you, and on behalf of all sing the hymn of praise to God? Why, what else can I, a lame old man, do but sing hymns to God? If indeed I were a nightingale, I should sing as a nightingale; if a swan, I should sing as a swan. But as it is, I am a rational being. Therefore, I must be singing hymns of praise to God.

This is my task. I do it, and I will not desert this post as long as it may be given to me to fill it. And I exhort you to join me in singing the same song.

Knowledge is my song.