I remember that sermons often begin with a quote, often from scripture, and then the sermonizer proceeds to unpack that quote, to rummage around in the ideas suggested therein, and to offer an interpretation of the material to make a point. Churches also like to have billboards outside with pithy quotes posted on them. In fact, there is a minor industry, akin to the Hallmark card industry, which offers quotes of the week appropriate to the denomination. Here are my suggestions for pithy quotes:
Morality is logically prior to religion. – Bob Lane, uninvited lecturer in religious philosophy class at VIU.
Whenever morality is based on theology, whenever right is made
dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, unjust, infamous things can be justified and established. Ludwig Feuerbach –The Essence of Christianity
Unfortunately, the hope that religion might provide a bedrock, from which our otherwise sand-based morals can be derived, is a forlorn one. In practice, no civilized person uses Scripture as ultimate authority for moral reasoning. Instead, we pick and choose the nice bits of Scripture (like the Sermon on the Mount) and blithely ignore the nasty bits (like the obligation to stone adulteresses, execute apostates, and punish the grandchildren of offenders)…Yes, of course it is unfair to judge the customs of an earlier era by the enlightened standards of our own. But that is precisely my point! Evidently, we have some alternative source of ultimate moral conviction that overrides Scripture when it suits us. – Richard Dawkins: Free Inquiry Spring 1998
I am all in favor of a dialogue between science and religion, but not a constructive dialogue. One of the great achievements of science has been, if not to make it impossible for intelligent people to be religious, then at least to make it possible for them not to be religious. We should not retreat from this accomplishment.
Steven Weinberg: A Designer Universe?
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.
– Steven Weinberg
What is boasted of at the present time as the revival of religion, is always, . . . at least as much the revival of bigotry. . .
John Stuart Mill: On Liberty
A woman with a 7-month-old baby knelt on a prayer rug. She said her 20-year-old son, Ali, was killed in April during Mr. Sadr’s first uprising against the Americans. “I’m happy,” she said, her face expressionless. “This is for religion.”
Religion is an illusion of childhood, outgrown under proper education. –Auguste Comte