Three Essays on Religion

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H. Holt, 1874 - Berkeley, George, 1685-1753 - 302 pages
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Personally, "Utility of Religion" is one of the most important essays I have ever read. It's a true classic that I return to, from time to time, to reread and refresh myself. I continue to learn from it, each time. Highly recommended, not as much for its criticism of supernatural religions, as for its vision of a morality-based religion, the "Religion of Humanity," which is independent of supernatural beliefs. Here's a favorite passage (from page 109):
"To call these sentiments by the name morality, exclusively of any other title, is claiming too little for them. They are a real religion; of which, as of other religions, outward good works (the utmost meaning usually suggested by the word morality) are only a part, and are indeed rather the fruits of the religion than the religion itself. The essence of religion is the strong and earnest direction of the emotions and desires towards an ideal object, recognized as of the highest excellence, and as rightfully paramount over all selfish objects of desire. This condition is fulfilled by the Religion of Humanity in as eminent a degree, and in as high a sense, as by the supernatural religions even in their best manifestations, and far more so than in any of their others."
 

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Page 28 - In sober truth, nearly all the things which men are hanged or imprisoned for doing to one another are Nature's everyday performances.
Page 281 - The table I write on I say exists, that is I see and feel it, and if I were out of my study I should say it existed, meaning thereby that if I was in my study I might perceive it, or that some other spirit actually does perceive it.
Page 290 - If the term same be taken in the vulgar acceptation, it is certain (and not at all repugnant to the principles I maintain) that different persons may perceive the same thing ; or the same thing or idea exist in different minds.
Page 29 - Nature impales men, breaks them as if on the wheel, casts them to be devoured by wild beasts, burns them to death, crushes them with stones like the first Christian martyr, starves them with hunger, freezes them with cold, poisons them by the quick or slow venom of her exhalations, and has hundreds of other hideous deaths in reserve such as the ingenious cruelty of a Nabis or a Domitian never surpassed.
Page 35 - Nature's general rules and part of her habitual injustice that "to him that hath shall be given, but from him that hath not shall be taken even that which he hath.
Page 303 - This book is a preservation photocopy. It was produced on Hammermill Laser Print natural white, a 60 # book weight acid-free archival paper which meets the requirements of ANSI/NISO Z39.48-1992 (permanence of paper) Preservation photocopying and binding by Acme Bookbinding Charlestown, Massachusetts CD 1995 The borrower must return this item on or before the last date stamped below.
Page 174 - I think it must be allowed that, in the present state of our knowledge, the adaptations in Nature afford a large balance of probability in favour of creation by intelligence.
Page 116 - One only form of belief in the supernatural — one only theory respecting the origin and government of the universe — stands wholly clear both of intellectual contradiction and of moral obliquity. It is that which, resigning irrevocably the idea of an omnipotent creator, regards Nature and Life not as the expression throughout of the moral character and purpose of the Deity, but as the product of a struggle between contriving goodness and an intractable material, as was believed by Plato, or a...
Page 253 - And whatever else may be taken away from us by ' rational criticism, Christ is still left ; a unique figure, not more unlike all His precursors than all His followers, even those who had the direct benefit of His personal teaching.

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