"Christianity, on the other hand, is humane, practical, and, in a large sense, radical. So many years and ages of the gods those Eastern sages sat contemplating Brahm, uttering in silence the mystic "Om," being absorbed into the essence of the Supreme Being, never going out of themselves, but subsiding farther and deeper within; so infinitely wise, yet infinitely stagnant; until, at last, in that same Asia, but in the western part of it, appeared a youth, wholly unforetold by them,--not being absorbed into Brahm, but bringing Brahm down to earth and to mankind; in whom Brahm had awakened from his long sleep, and exerted himself, and the day began,--a new avatar. The Brahman had never thought to be a brother of mankind as well as a child of God."
"It would be worthy of the age to print together the collected Scriptures or Sacred Writings of the several nations, the Chinese, the Hindoos, the Persians, the Hebrews, and others, as the Scripture of mankind. The New Testament is still, perhaps, too much on the lips and in the hearts of men to be called a Scripture in this sense. Such a juxtaposition and comparison might help to liberalize the faith of men.... This would be the Bible, or Book of Books, which let the missionaries carry to the uttermost parts of the earth."
"In the latter part of the seventeenth century, according to the historian of Dunstable, "Towns were directed to erect 'a cage' near the meeting-house, and in this all offenders against the sanctity of the Sabbath were confined." Society has relaxed a little from its strictness, one would say, but I presume that there is not less religion than formerly. If the ligature is found to be loosened in one part, it is only drawn the tighter in another."
"Priests and physicians should never look one another in the face. They have no common ground, nor is there any to mediate between them. When the one comes, the other goes. They could not come together without laughter, or a significant silence, for the one's profession is a satire on the other's, and either's success would be the other's failure."
"A man's real faith is never contained in his creed, nor is his creed an article of his faith. The last is never adopted. This it is that permits him to smile ever, and to live even as bravely as he does. And yet he clings anxiously to his creed, as to a straw, thinking that that does him good service because his sheet anchor does not drag."
"Have you learned the alphabet of heaven and can count three? Do you know the number of God's family? Can you put mysteries into words? Do you presume to fable of the ineffable? Pray, what geographer are you, that speak of heaven's topography? Whose friend are you, that speak of God's personality?... Yet we have a sort of family history of our God,--so have the Tahitians of theirs,--and some old poet's grand imagination is imposed on us as adamantine everlasting truth, and God's own word. Pythagoras says, truly enough, "A true assertion respecting God is an assertion of God"; but we may well doubt if there is any example of this in literature."
"If I meet the Christian Deity, I am lost: He is a tyrant and as such, is full of ideas of vengeance; His Bible speaks of nothing but fearful punishments. I never loved Him! I could never even believe that anyone did love Him sincerely. He is devoid of pity.... He will punish me in some abominable manner."
"It was not till the middle of the second dance, when, from some pauses in the movement wherein they all seemed to look up, I fancied I could distinguish an elevation of spirit different from that which is the cause or the effect of simple jollity.--In a word, I thought I beheld Religion mixing in the dance."
"... all the cares and anxieties, the trials and disappointments of my whole life, are light, when balanced with my sufferings in childhood and youth from the theological dogmas which I sincerely believed, and the gloom connected with everything associated with the name of religion, the church, the parsonage, the graveyard, and the solemn, tolling bell."
"In her present ignorance, woman's religion, instead of making her noble and free, by the wrong application of great principles of right and justice, has made her bondage but more certain and lasting, her degradation more hopeless and complete."