„Religion amplifies the good and evil tendencies of individual souls.“

—  Freeman Dyson, Context: I am neither a saint nor a theologian. To me, good works are more important than theology. We all know that religion has been historically, and still is today, a cause of great evil as well as great good in human affairs. We have seen terrible wars and terrible persecutions conducted in the name of religion. We have also seen large numbers of people inspired by religion to lives of heroic virtue, bringing education and medical care to the poor, helping to abolish slavery and spread peace among nations. Religion amplifies the good and evil tendencies of individual souls.
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„Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.“

—  Steven Weinberg American theoretical physicist 1933
Address at the Conference on Cosmic Design, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Washington, D.C. (April 1999) This comment is modified in a later article derived from these talks:

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„The most momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or to evil.“

—  Pythagoras ancient Greek mathematician and philosopher -585 - -500 př. n. l.
As quoted in Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers, as translated by Robert Drew Hicks (1925) Variant translation: The most momentous thing in human life is the art of winning the soul to good or evil. As quoted in Ionia, a Quest (1954) by Freya Stark, p. 94

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„A good person will resist an evil system with his whole soul. Disobedience of the laws of an evil state is therefore a duty.“

—  Махатма Ганди pre-eminent leader of Indian nationalism during British-ruled India 1869 - 1948
Context: You assist an unjust administration most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil administration never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his whole soul. Disobedience of the laws of an evil state is therefore a duty. Non-Violent Resistance - Often misquoted as "You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance."

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„We too often forget that not only is there "a soul of goodness in things evil," but very generally also, a soul of truth in things erroneous.“

—  Herbert Spencer English philosopher, biologist, sociologist, and prominent classical liberal political theorist 1820 - 1903
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„Religions grow out of the deepest needs of individuals sharing a common awakening, and are not created by "engineers of the soul."“

—  Daniel Bell American sociologist, writer, editor, and professor emeritus at Harvard University 1919 - 2011
Foreword: 1978, p. xxix

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„Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts — between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war.“

—  Will Durant American historian, philosopher and writer 1885 - 1981
Context: Perhaps the cause of our contemporary pessimism is our tendency to view history as a turbulent stream of conflicts — between individuals in economic life, between groups in politics, between creeds in religion, between states in war. This is the more dramatic side of history; it captures the eye of the historian and the interest of the reader. But if we turn from that Mississippi of strife, hot with hate and dark with blood, to look upon the banks of the stream, we find quieter but more inspiring scenes: women rearing children, men building homes, peasants drawing food from the soil, artisans making the conveniences of life, statesmen sometimes organizing peace instead of war, teachers forming savages into citizens, musicians taming our hearts with harmony and rhythm, scientists patiently accumulating knowledge, philosophers groping for truth, saints suggesting the wisdom of love. History has been too often a picture of the bloody stream. The history of civilization is a record of what happened on the banks. As quoted in "The Gentle Philosopher" (2006) by John Little at Will Durant Foundation

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„In regard to the terrors as well as the superstitions and immoralities of religion, it will not do to urge that they are due only to the imperfections of the men who professed the various religions. If religion cannot restrain evil, it cannot claim effective power for good.“

—  Morris Raphael Cohen American philosopher 1880 - 1947
" The dark side of religion http://thenewschoolhistory.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/cohen_darksidereligion1.pdf." in: Walter Kaufmann (ed). Religion from Tolstoy to Camus. (1964), p. 294