Study, along the lines which the theologies have mapped, will never lead us to discovery of the fundamental facts of our existence. That goal must be attained by means of exact science and can only be achieved by such means. The fact that man, for ages, has superstitiously believed in what he calls a God does not prove at all that his theory has been right. There have been many gods – all makeshifts, born of inability to fathom the deep fundamental truth. There must be something at the bottom of existence and man, in ignorance, being unable to discover what it is through reason, because his reason has been so imperfect, undeveloped, has used, instead, imagination and created figments, of one kind or another, which, according to the country he was born in, the suggestions of his environment, satisfied him for the time being. Not one of all the gods of all the various theologies has ever really been proved. We accept no ordinary scientific fact without the final proof; why should we, then, be satisfied in this most mighty of all matters, with a mere theory?Destruction of false theories will not decrease the sum of human happiness in future, any more than it has in the past... The days of miracles have passed. I do not believe, of course, that there was ever any day of actual miracles. I cannot understand that there were ever any miracles at all. My guide must be my reason and at thought of miracles my reason is rebellious. Personally, I do not believe that Christ laid claim to doing miracles, or asserted that he had miraculous power...Our intelligence is the aggregate intelligence of the cells which make us up. There is no soul, distinct from mind and what we speak of as the mind is just the aggregate intelligence of cells. It is fallacious to declare that we have souls apart from animal intelligence, apart from brains. It is the brain that keeps us going. There is nothing beyond that.Life goes on endlessly, but no more in human beings than in other animals, or, for that matter, than in vegetables. Life, collectively, must be immortal, human beings, individually, cannot be, as I see it, for they are not the individuals – they are mere aggregates of cells.There is no supernatural. We are continually learning new things. There are powers within us which have not yet been developed and they will develop. We shall learn things of ourselves, which will be full of wonders, but none of them will be beyond the natural.[Columbian Magazine interview]
Thomas A. Edison
You would more probably have gone to the guillotine,' replied Sir Tristram, depressingly matter of fact.,' agreed Eustacie. 'We used to talk of it, my cousin Henriette and I. We made up our minds we should be entirely brave, not crying, of course, but perhaps a little pale, in a proud way. Henriette wished to go to the guillotine en grande tenue, but that was only because she had a court dress of yellow satin which she thought became her much better than it did really. For me, I think one should wear white to the guillotine if one is quite young and not carry anything except perhaps a handkerchief. Do you not agree?''I don't think it signifies what you wear if you are on your way to the scaffold,' replied Sir Tristram, quite unappreciative of the picture his cousin was dwelling on with such evident admiration.She looked at him in surprise. 'Don't you? But consider! You would be very sorry for a young girl in a tumbril, dressed all in white, pale, but quite unafraid and not attending to the canaille at all, but--''I should be very sorry for anyone in a tumbril, whatever their age or sex or apparel,' interrupted Sir Tristram.'You would be more sorry for a young girl--all alone and perhaps bound,' said Eustacie positively.'You wouldn't be all alone. There would be a great many other people in the tumbril with you,' said Sir Tristram.Eustacie eyed him with considerable displeasure. 'In my tumbril there would not have been a great many other people,' she said.
Georgette Heyer
Magnus threw the monkey a fig. The monkey took the fig.There, said Magnus. Let us consider the matter settled.The monkey advanced, chewing in a menacing fashion.I rather wonder what I am doing here. I enjoy city life, you know, Magnus observed. The glittering lights, the constant companionship, the liquid entertainment. The lack of sudden monkeys.He ignored Giuliana's advice and took a smart step back and also threw another piece of fruit. The monkey did not take the bait this time. He coiled and rattled out a growl and Magnus took several more steps back and into a tree.Magnus flailed on impact, was briefly grateful that nobody was watching him and expecting him to be a sophisticated warlock and had a monkey assault launched directly to his face.He shouted, spun and sprinted through the rain forest. He did not even think to drop the fruit. It fell one by one in a bright cascade as he ran for his life from the simian menace. He heard it in hot pursuit and fled faster, until all his fruit was gone and he ran right into Ragnor.Have a care! Ragnor snapped.He detailed his terrible monkey adventure twice.But of course you should have retreated at once from the dominant male, Giuliana said. Are you an idiot? You are extremely lucky he was distracted from ripping out your throat by the fruit. He thought you were trying to steal his females.Pardon me, but we did not have the time to exchange that kind of personal information, Magnus said. I could not have known! Moreover, I wish to assure both of you that I did not make any amorous advances on female monkeys. He paused and winked. I didn't actually see any, so I never got the chance.Ragnor looked very regretful about all the choices that had led to his being in this place and especially in this company. Later he stooped and hissed, low enough so Giuliana could not hear and in a way that reminded Magnus horribly of his monkey nemesis: Did you forget that you can do magic?Magnus spared a moment to toss a disdainful look over his shoulder.I am not going to ensorcel a monkey! Honestly, Ragnor. What do you take me for?
Cassandra Clare
I hear another man cry, Oh, sir my want of strength lies mainly in this, that I cannot repent sufficiently! A curious idea men have of what repentance is! Many fancy that so many tears are to be shed and so many groans are to be heaved and so much despair is to be endured. Whence comes this unreasonable notion? Unbelief and despair are sins and therefore I do not see how they can be constituent elements of acceptable repentance; yet there are many who regard them as necessary parts of true Christian experience. They are in great error. Still, I know what they mean, for in the days of my darkness I used to feel in the same way. I desired to repent, but I thought that I could not do it and yet all the while I was repenting. Odd as it may sound, I felt that I could not feel. I used to get into a corner and weep, because I could not weep; and I fell into bitter sorrow because I could not sorrow for sin. What a jumble it all is when in our unbelieving state we begin to judge our own condition! It is like a blind man looking at his own eyes. My heart was melted within me for fear, because I thought that my heart was as hard as an adamant stone. My heart was broken to think that it would not break. Now I can see that I was exhibiting the very thing which I thought I did not possess; but then I knew not where I was. Remember that the man who truly repents is never satisfied with his own repentance. We can no more repent perfectly than we can live perfectly. However pure our tears, there will always be some dirt in them: there will be something to be repented of even in our best repentance. But listen! To repent is to change your mind about sin and Christ and all the great things of God. There is sorrow implied in this; but the main point is the turning of the heart from sin to Christ. If there be this turning, you have the essence of true repentance, even though no alarm and no despair should ever have cast their shadow upon your mind.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon