It is the fixed law of the universe, that little things are but parts of the great. The grass does not spring up full grown, by eruptions: it rises by an increase so noiseless and gentle, as not to disturb an angel's ear - perhaps to be invisible to an angel's eye. The rain does not fall in masses, but in drops, or even in the breath-like moisture of the fine mist. The planets do not leap from end to end of their orbits, but inch by inch, and line by line, it is that they circle the heavens. Intellect, feeling, habit, character, all become what they are through the influence of little things. And in morals and religion, it is by little things - by little influences acting on us, or seemingly little decisions made by us, that everyone of us is going, not by leaps, yet surely by inches, either to life or death eternal.
Piety and morality are but the same spirit differently manifested. Piety is religion with its face toward God; morality is religion with its face toward the world.
What is the meaning of human life, or of organic life altogether? To answer this question at all implies a religion. Is there any sense then, you ask, in putting it? I answer, the man who regards his own life and that of his fellow creatures as meaningless is not merely unfortunate but almost disqualified for life.
Now besides life, knowledge, play, aesthetic experience, friendship, practical reasonableness, and religion, there are countless objectives and forms of good. But I suggest that these other objectives and forms of good will be found, on analysis, to be way or combinations of ways of pursuing (not always sensibly) and realizing (not always successfully) one of the seven basic forms of good, or some combination of them.
It seems not to be true that there is a power in the universe, which watches over the well-being of every individual with parental care and brings all his concerns to a happy ending. On the contrary, the destinies of man are incompatible with a universal principle of benevolence or with - what is to some degree contradictory - a universal principle of justice... Dark, unfeeling, and unloving powers determine human destiny; the system of rewards and punishments, which according to religion, governs the world, seems to have no existence.
Our best hope for the future is that the intellect - the scientific spirit, reason - should in time establish a dictatorship over the human mind. The very nature of reason is a guarantee that it would not fail to concede to human emotions, and to all that is determined by them, the position to which they are entitled. But the common pressure exercised by such a domination of reason would prove to be the strongest unifying force among men, and would prepare the way for further unifications. Whatever, like the ban laid upon thought by religion, opposes such a development is a danger for the future of mankind.
Reverence the highest, have patience with the lowest. Let this day’s performance of the meanest duty be thy religion. Are the stars too distant, pick up the pebble that lies at thy feet and from it learn the all.
A life without religion is a life without principles, and a life without principles is like a ship without a rudder.
I do not share the belief that there can or will be on earth one religion. I am striving, therefore, to find a common factor and to induce mutual tolerance
Longing after the Highest and Noblest, attachment to the Whole, soaring up to the Infinite, despite our finiteness and limitedness - this is religion.
The best religion is the most tolerant.
True religion teaches us to reverence what is under us, to recognize humility, poverty, wretchedness, suffering, and death, as things divine.
Religion presents few difficulties to the humble; many to the proud; insuperable ones to the vain.
They who boast of their tolerance merely give others leave to be as careless about religion as they are themselves. A walrus might as well pride itself on its endurance of cold.
Religion implies revelation.
A man who feels that his religion is a slavery has not begun to comprehend the real nature of religion.
Set about doing good to somebody. Put on your hat, and go and visit the sick and poor of your neighborhood; inquire into their circumstances, and minister to their wants. Seek out the desolate, and afflicted, and oppressed, and tell them of the consolations of religion. I have often tried this method, and have always found it the best medicine for a heavy heart.
Religion is not an intelligence test, but a faith.
A man will do more for his stubbornness than for his religion or his country.
Primitive societies without religion have never been found.