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Quotations about Belief & Doubt

Never believe anything that requires you to hate people who do not believe it. ~Robert Brault,

It is easy to mistake our prejudice for patriotism, our rationalization for reason, our littleness for logic, our theories for truth, and our fervor for fact. ~William Arthur Ward, Thoughts of a Christian Optimist, 1968

What matters is not the idea a man holds, but the depth at which he holds it. ~Ezra Pound

This is how humans are: We question all our beliefs, except for the ones we really believe, and those we never think to question. ~Orson Scott Card, Ender's War

In the end you regret less the things you believed that weren't true than the things that never came true because you didn't believe. ~Robert Brault,

I'm definitely a believer. There's so much that you couldn't explain, and we waste our time in this lifetime trying to figure it out from a scientific standpoint — sometimes you need to just enjoy the magic of something. ~Jaleel White, on Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry, 2017

Not believing has a sickness which is believing a little. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

I said to myself, "I cannot possibly believe that;" and as I did so I perceived that I had already believed it a second time. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

He does not believe who does not live according to his belief. ~Proverb

A skeptic doubts the best authority; an enthusiast is likely to accept the poorest. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

You're sure that you are Right? How fine and strong!
But were you never just as Sure — and Wrong?
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Wrath," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

We are all tattooed in our cradles with the beliefs of our tribe; the record may seem superficial, but it is indelible. You cannot educate a man wholly out of the superstitious fears which were early implanted in his imagination; no matter how utterly his reason may reject them, he will still feel as the famous woman did about ghosts, Je n'y crois pas, mais je les crains, — "I don't believe in them, but I am afraid of them, nevertheless." ~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

ABSURDITY, n.  A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one's own opinion. ~Ambrose Bierce

The eloquent man is he who is no beautiful speaker, but who is inwardly & desperately drunk with a certain belief; it agitates & tears him, & almost bereaves him of the power of articulation. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

An old belief is like an old shoe. We so value its comfort that we fail to notice the hole in it. ~Robert Brault,

Convictions are more dangerous enemies to truth than lies. ~Friedrich Nietzsche (1844–1900), "IX. Man by Himself," Human, All-Too-Human, translated by M.A. Mügge, 1908

Believe what you have Proved. They most deceive
Themselves who try to Prove what they Believe.
~Arthur Guiterman, "Of Truth," A Poet's Proverbs, 1924

The partisan is so convinced that his own opinion and his own side are right, and all that goes contrary to them is wrong, that he cannot think there is any good in the other opinion and the other side. He lives in a continual fever of attack and defence, and has no knowledge of the quiet peace of an equal mind. ~James Allen (1864–1912), "Equal-Mindedness," Foundation Stones to Happiness and Success, 1913

When a man is under the sway of passion and prejudice he is spiritually blind. Seeing nothing but good in his own side, and nothing but evil in the other, he cannot see anything as it really is, not even his own side; and not understanding himself, he cannot understand the hearts of others, and thinks it is right that he should condemn them. Thus there grows up in his heart a dark hatred for those who refuse to see with him and who condemn him in return, he becomes separated from his fellow-men, and confines himself to a narrow torture-chamber of his own making. ~James Allen (1864–1912), "Equal-Mindedness," Foundation Stones to Happiness and Success, 1913

Belief stains darker, imprints deeper than truth. ~Terri Guillemets

He who does not know how to believe, should not know. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

The doubt, like the mosquito, buzzes round my faith. ~Emily Dickinson, 1861

It is the easiest thing in the world to deny a fact. People do it all the time. Yet it remains a fact just the same. ~Isaac Asimov, "Fact," Isaac Asimov's Book of Science and Nature Quotations, 1988

Today's sad fact: You aren't going to change someone's mind who believes it in their headbone. ~Robert Brault,

Life will magnify what you choose to believe. ~Dodinsky

To spread your belief, you must exude your belief. It is not enough that people hear it from you, they must catch it from you. ~Robert Brault,

...and as for believing things, I can believe anything, provided that it is quite incredible. ~Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1890

Stand aloof from your own opinions; they seek to lure you with an illusive certainty. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Human Judgment," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

It is not what a man hears but what he believes that makes him wise or foolish. ~"Poor Richard Junior's Philosophy," The Saturday Evening Post, 1903, George Horace Lorimer, editor

People believe the truth more readily if something difficult of belief or incredible is mixed with it. ~Mark Rutherford (William Hale White)

Zeal in proselytising is often due to an uneasy suspicion that we only half-believe. ~Mark Rutherford (William Hale White)

Nothing is more vital than error. Controversies rarely if ever die. They merely sink beneath the surface of literate attention and continue a submerged existence in the dark, unfathomed caves of the popular mind. ~Bergen Evans, "Adam's Navel," The Natural History of Nonsense, 1946

If the sun and moon should doubt,
They'd immediately go out.
~William Blake (1757-1827), "Auguries of Innocence"

Belief, like any other moving body, follows the path of least resistance... ~Samuel Butler, Erewhon Revisited, 1901

Doubts are infantine realities. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Sparks from the Philosopher's Stone, 1882

Man is liberated from his illusions to make room for a fresh set. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, "Wisdom and Knowledge," Meditations in Wall Street, 1940

I have never considered it my business to disabuse someone of a belief that makes life tolerable for them. ~Robert Brault,

If you can get a man nervous enough you can make him believe anything. ~"Taking Stock of the Year," The Saturday Evening Post, 1908, George Horace Lorimer, editor

When I believe in nothing I do not want to meet you when you believe in nothing. ~Antonio Porchia, Voces, 1943, translated from Spanish by W.S. Merwin

The hardest thing about reshaping minds is getting to them before the cement dries. ~Robert Brault,

With most people unbelief in one thing is founded upon blind belief in another. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg (1742–1799), translated by Norman Alliston, 1908

If you want to make a man hate you fiercely and forever, prove to him something he does not wish to believe. ~Olin Miller (1893–1981)

I respect more the person who struggles with his faith than the person who is confident in his skepticism. ~Robert Brault,

One's hope for any day is that the good done by people of faith will outweigh the harm done by people of certainty. ~Robert Brault,

Nobody wants his cause near as bad as he wants to talk about his cause. ~Will Rogers (1879–1935)

Fond faith thrives best in rich deceptive soil —
Where knaves sow dreams that witless fools embroil.
~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

I have no faith in the sense of comforting beliefs which persuade me that all my troubles are blessings in disguise. ~Rebecca West, "Pleasure Be Your Guide," 1939

Skepticism is a religion very rich in evangelists but very short on saviors. ~Robert Brault,

Just because something is unbelievable does not mean you shouldn't believe it. Put another way, some things are worth believing in whether they're true or not. ~Jeb Dickerson, @JebDickerson

In dogma men often worship error and call it Deity. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897

Certainty is most passionate in the absence of evidence. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer, can't fact check crazy... ~Emma Wolf, 2015,

There are people who never say, "In my opinion..." They say, "The reality is..." when the reality is, it's their opinion. ~Robert Brault,, 2018

I believe that there is an explanation for everything, so, yes, I believe in miracles. ~Robert Brault,

Invariable certitude is always suggestive of mania. ~Austin O'Malley, Keystones of Thought, 1914

But probably 2,000 years hence many beliefs of the wise of our day will have come to seem equally foolish. Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones. ~Bertrand Russell, c.1943

There is no belief so preposterous that something more preposterous cannot be cited as further evidence. ~Robert Brault,

FRIENDSHIP.  A mutual belief in the same fallacies, mountebanks, hobgoblins and imbecilities. ~H. L. Mencken

Sometimes you believe a thing that isn't true because in the world you wish to live in, it would be true. ~Robert Brault,

If a tribe becomes too rational — perhaps it will always succumb to the tribe that has the determination that only blind belief can confer. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

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