An Agnostic's Apology, and Other Essays

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Smith, Elder, 1903 - Agnosticism - 367 pages
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Page 89 - For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward ; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished ; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
Page 171 - I now had opinions; a creed, a doctrine, a philosophy; in one among the best senses of the word, a religion; the inculcation and diffusion of which could be made the principal outward purpose of a life.
Page 209 - It is the cumulation of probabilities, independent of each other, arising out of the nature and circumstances of the particular case which is under review; probabilities too fine to avail separately, too subtle and circuitous to be convertible into syllogisms...
Page 223 - Life is not long enough for a religion of inferences; we shall never have done beginning, if we determine to begin with proof. We shall ever be laying our foundations; we shall turn theology into evidences, and divines into textuaries. We shall never get at our first principles. Resolve to believe nothing, and you must prove your proofs and...
Page 341 - ... grovelling errors ; and a dogged adherence of formalists and conservatives to ancient ways, and much empty profession of barren orthodoxy ; and, beneath all, a vague disquiet, a breaking up of ancient social and natural bonds, and a blind groping toward some more cosmopolitan creed and some deeper satisfaction for the emotional needs of mankind.
Page 7 - ... mortuum of old theology, nobody need be afraid of the name. Argument against such adversaries would be itself a foolish waste of time. Let the dead bury their dead, and Old Catholics decide whether the Holy Ghost proceeds from the Father and the Son or from the Father alone. Gentlemen indeed who still read the Athanasian Creed, and profess to attach some meaning to its statements, have no right to sneer at their brethren who persist in taking things seriously. But for men who long for facts instead...
Page 15 - State any one proposition in which all philosophers agree, and I will admit it to be true ; or any one which has a manifest balance of authority, and I will agree that it is probable. But so long as every philosopher flatly contradicts the first principles of his predecessors, why affect certainty ? The only agreement I can discover is, that there is no philosopher of whom his opponents have not said that his opinions lead logically either to Pantheism or to Atheism. When all the witnesses thus contradict...
Page 11 - He not walk with us one by one, as He is said to have walked with his chosen men of old time? We both see and know each other; why, if we cannot have the sight of Him, have we not at least the knowledge? On the contrary, He is specially "a Hidden God...
Page 174 - Its sacrifices, its bodily tortures, its fierce delight in self-tormenting, testify to its sense of guilt and corruption. These "dark and desperate struggles" are superstition when set beside Christianity; but such superstition "is man's purest and best religion before the Gospel shines on him." To be gloomy, to see ourselves with horror, "to wait naked and shivering among the trees of the garden "... "in a word, to be superstitious is Nature's best offering, her most acceptable service, her most...
Page 10 - I came to the conclusion that there was no medium, in true philosophy, between Atheism and Catholicity, and that a perfectly consistent mind, under those circumstances in which it finds itself here below, must embrace either the one or the other.

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