A Short History of Freethought Ancient and Modern, Volume 1

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Watts, 1906 - Free thought
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Page 82 - To those whose talents are above mediocrity, the highest subjects may be announced. To those who are below mediocrity, the highest subjects may not be announced.' CHAP. XX. Fan Ch'ih asked what constituted wisdom. The Master said, To give one's self earnestly to the duties due to men, and, while respecting spiritual beings, to keep aloof from them, may be called wisdom.
Page 85 - They are only men of education, who, without a certain livelihood, are able to maintain a fixed heart. As to the people, if they have not a certain livelihood, it follows that they will not have a fixed heart. And if they have not a fixed heart, there is nothing which they will not do, in the way of self-abandonment, of moral deflection, of depravity and of wild license. When they thus have been involved in crime, to follow them up and punish them; — this is to entrap the people.
Page 7 - A Discourse of Freethinking, occasioned by the rise and growth of a Sect called Freethinkers...
Page 19 - Now in the Middle Ages this perpetual opposition of theory and practice was peculiarly abrupt. Men's impulses were more violent and their conduct more reckless than is often witnessed in modern society ; while the absence of a criticising and measuring spirit made them surrender their minds more unreservedly than they would now do to a complete and imposing theory.
Page 51 - Brahmans have established here All these ceremonies for the dead — there is no other fruit anywhere. The three authors of the Vedas were buffoons, knaves, and demons. All the well-known formulae of the pandits, jarphari, turphari, etc.
Page 5 - There is a new sect sprung up among them, [the Presbyterians and Independents,] and these are the Rationalists, and what their reason dictates them in Church or State stands for good, until they be convinced with better;" with more to the same effect.
Page 461 - Reformer is not to be sought in the doctrine which now bears his name, or in any doctrinal peculiarity. His great merit lies in his comparative neglect of dogma. He seized the idea of reformation as a real renovation of human character.
Page 57 - In no religion are we so constantly reminded of our own as in Buddhism, and yet in no religion has man been drawn away so far from the truth as in the religion of Buddha. Buddhism and Christianity are indeed the two opposite poles with regard to the most essential points of religion : Buddhism ignoring all feeling of dependence on a higher power, and therefore denying the very existence of a supreme Deity...
Page 127 - We must take care not to understand him as if these poems had created or even commenced this transformation. It is plain enough that Homer and Hesiod represent, both theologically and socially, the close of a long epoch, and not the youth of the Greek world, as some have supposed. The real signification of many myths is lost to them, and so is the import of most of the names and titles of the elder gods, which are archaic and strange, while the subordinate personages generally have purely Greek names....
Page 40 - ... of man. They are true because they have been developed in accordance with the laws governing the evolution of truth in human history, and because in poem, chronicle, code, legend, myth, apologue, or parable they reflect this development of what is best in the onward march of humanity. To say that they are not true is as if one should say that a flower or a tree or a. planet is not true ; to scoff at them is to scoff at the law of the universe. In welding together into noble form, whether in the...

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