Geniuses are not always pleasant people.
If it is not tempered by compassion, and empathy, reason can lead men and women into a moral void. (95)
Far from being the father of jihad, [Prophet] Mohammad was a peacemaker, who risked his life and nearly lost the loyalty of his closest companions because he was determined to effect a reconciliation with Mecca
Look into your own heart, discover what it is that gives you pain and then refuse, under any circumstance whatsoever, to inflict that pain on anybody else.
Respect only has meaning as respect for those with whom I do not agree.
The only way to show a true respect for God is to act morally while ignoring God’s existence.
[T]he family is a school of compassion because it is here that we learn to live with other people. (68)
Surely it's better to love others, however messy and imperfect the involvement, than to allow one's capacity for love to harden.
Fundamentalists are not friends of democracy. And that includes your fundamentalists in the United States.
There is no ascent to the heights without prior descent into darkness, no new life without some form of death.
Some people simply bury their heads in the sand and refuse to think about the sorrow of the world, but this is an unwise course, because, if we are entirely unprepared, the tragedy of life can be devastating.
Religion isn’t about believing things. It's ethical alchemy. It’s about behaving in a way that changes you, that gives you intimations of holiness and sacredness.
I no longer think that any principle or opinion is worth anything if it makes you unkind or intolerant.
I had failed to make a gift of myself to God.
Deeds that seemed unimportant at the time would prove to have been momentous; a tiny act of selfishness and unkindness or, conversely, an unconsidered act of generosity would become the measure of a human life
If professional religious leaders cannot instruct us in mythological lore, our artists and creative writers can perhaps step into this priestly role and bring fresh insight to our lost and damaged role.
People worship different things; there must be 'no coercion in matters of faith!
Like science and technology, mythology, as we shall see, is not about opting out of this world, but about enabling us to live more intensely within it.
By increasing the amount of Torah (obligatory religious laws) in the world, they were extending His presence in the world and making it more effective.
Oedipus had to abandon his certainty, his clarity, and supposed insight in order to become aware of the dark ambiguity of the human condition.
Religious people often prefer to be right rather than compassionate. Often, they don't want to give up their egotism. They want their religion to endorse their ego, their identity.
We have developed a more logical and discursive mode of thought. Instead of looking at a physical phenomena imaginatively, we strip an object of all its emotive associations and concentrate on the thing itself.
A myth, therefore, is true because it is effective, not because it gives us factual information. If, however, it does not give us new insight into the deeper meaning of life, it has failed.
Mythology is usually inseparable from ritual.
We are meaning-seeking creatures.
Skeletal remains show that plant-fed humans were a head shorter than meat-eating hunters, prone to anemia, infectious diseases, rotten teeth, and bone disorders.
Myths are universal and timeless stories that reflect and shape our lives – they explore our desires, our fears, our longings, and provide narratives that remind us what it means to be human.
A gentleman is not born but crafted. He had to work on himself in the same way as a sculptor shaped a rough stone and made it a thing of beauty.
The only way to show a true respect for God is to act morally while ignoring God’s existence.” ― A History of God: The 4,000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Compassion asks us to look into our hearts, discover what gives us pain, and then refuse to inflict that pain on anybody else.
Some Palaeolithic heroes survived in later mythical literature. The Greek hero Herakles, for example, is almost certainly a relic of the hunting period.
The Deuteronomists had made violence an option in the Judeo-Christian religion. It would always be possible to make these scriptures endorse intolerant policies.
When Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, they probably did not fall into a state of original sin, as Saint Augustine believed, but into an agrarian economy.
My ideas about God were formed in childhood and did not keep abreast of my growing knowledge in other disciplines. I
The new Sufi tariqahs founded at this time stressed the unlimited potential of human life. Sufis could experience on the spiritual plane what the Mongols had so nearly achieved in terrestrial politics
Then, as now, there would always be people who preferred the option of devoting their religious energies to sacred space over the more difficult duty of compassion.
The Taliban travesty, a noxious combination of Deobandi rigidity, tribal chauvinism, and the aggression of the traumatized war orphan.
Each generation has to create the image of God that works for it.
People derived their faith in Jesus from the experience of living together in a close-knit, minority community that challenged the unequal distribution of wealth and power