quotations about belief
As a man believes, so he will act.
SAM HARRIS, The End of Faith
If enough of us believe, a new thing can be made to exist. Belief structure creates a filter through which chaos is sifted into order.
FRANK HERBERT, Heretics of Dune
A belief which leaves no place for doubt is not a belief; it is a superstition.
JOSÉ BERGAMÍN, El cohete y la estrella
As belief shrinks from the world, it is more necessary than ever that someone believe. Wild-eyed men in caves. Nuns in black. Monks who do not speak. We are left to believe. Fools, children. Those who have abandoned belief must still believe in us. They are sure they are right not to believe but they know belief must not fade completely. Hell is when no one believes.
Whatever you do, you must remain nimble in your thinking. Do not become so attached to any one belief that you cannot see past it to another possibility.
CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI, Brisingr
I do not believe in Belief.
E.M. FORSTER, What I Believe
Belief like any other moving body follows the path of least resistance.
Belief in the truth commences with the doubting of all those “truths” we once believed.
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE, "Truth Will Have No Other Gods Alongside It"
To doubt everything or to believe everything are two equally convenient solutions; both dispense with the necessity of reflection.
HENRI POINCARÉ, Of Science and Hypotheses
A belief is like a guillotine, just as heavy, just as light.
FRANZ KAFKA, as quoted in Carol Dingle's Memorable Quotations
It is time we recognized that belief is not a private matter; it has never been merely private. In fact, beliefs are scarcely more private than actions are, for every belief is a fount of action in potentia.
SAM HARRIS, The End of Faith
If we can once believe that success is possible, success becomes possible.
FRANK CHAPMAN SHARP, Success: A Course in Moral Instruction
Belief consists in accepting the affirmations of the soul; unbelief, in denying them. Some minds are incapable of skepticism.
RALPH WALDO EMERSON, "Montaigne; or, the Skeptic," Representative Men
If I let myself believe anything on insufficient evidence, there may be no great harm done by the mere belief; it may be true after all, or I may never have occasion to exhibit it in outward acts. But I cannot help doing this great wrong towards Man, that I make myself credulous. The danger to society is not merely that it should believe wrong things, though that is great enough; but that it should become credulous, and lose the habit of testing things and inquiring into them; for then it must sink back into savagery.
WILLIAM KINGDON CLIFFORD, The Ethics of Belief
He does not believe that does not live according to his belief.
THOMAS FULLER, Gnomologia
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good ground for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
BERTRAND RUSSELL, "An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish," Unpopular Essays
The belief that there is only one truth and that oneself is in possession of it seems to me the deepest root of all evil that is in the world.
MAX BORN, as quoted in Judith Sherven's The New Intimacy
A wise man ... proportions his belief to the evidence.
DAVID HUME, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding
- If what we worship fail us, still the fire
- Burns on, and it is much to have believed.
AMY LOWELL, "Hero-Worship"
A belief is not true because it is useful.
HENRI FRÉDÉRIC AMIEL, as quoted in Bob Kelly's Worth Repeating
Many people have died for their beliefs. The real courage is living and suffering for what you believe.
CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI, Eragon
The less depth a belief system has, the greater the fervency with which its adherents embrace it. The most vociferous, the most fanatical are those whose cobbled faith is founded on the shakiest grounds.
Belief was immune to logic; it operated by its own laws.
JAMES SIEGEL, Detour
The man who is unhappy will, as a rule, adopt an unhappy creed, while the man who is happy will adopt a happy creed; each may attribute his happiness or unhappiness to his beliefs, while the real causation is the other way round.
BERTRAND RUSSELL, The Conquest of Happiness
All religious beliefs seem weird to those not brought up in them.
RICHARD DAWKINS, The God Delusion
The most violent revolutions in an individual’s beliefs leave most of his old order standing. Time and space, cause and effect, nature and history, and one’s own biography remain untouched. New truth is always a go-between, a smoother-over of transitions. It marries old opinion to new fact so as ever to show a minimum of jolt, a maximum of continuity.
WILLIAM JAMES, "What Pragmatism Means," Pragmatism
If you only believe when it's easy, you don't really believe.
LAURELL K. HAMILTON, Obsidian Butterfly
If you can conceive it and believe it, you can achieve it.
JESSE JACKSON, Straight from the Heart
It is easier to argue that something nobody believes in actually exists than it is to argue that something everybody believes in is unreal.
SAMUEL R. DELANY, Neverÿon
Though my sight be lost, I do not yet lose my faith: when I can no longer see, I can still believe.
Our belief at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that ensures the successful outcome of the venture.
WILLIAM JAMES, The Varieties of Religious Experience
Human beliefs, like all other natural growths, elude the barriers of system.
GEORGE ELIOT, Silas Marner
I've caught belief like a disease. I've fallen into belief like I fell in love.
GRAHAM GREENE, The End of the Affair
The child learns to believe a host of things. I.e. it learns to act according to these beliefs. Bit by bit there forms a system of what is believed, and in that system some things stand unshakeably fast and some are more or less liable to shift. What stands fast does so, not because it is intrinsically obvious or convincing; it is rather held fast by what lies around it.
LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN, On Certainty
The facts of life do not penetrate to the sphere in which our beliefs are cherished; they did not engender those beliefs, and they are powerless to destroy them.
MARCEL PROUST, Swann's Way
What the whole community comes to believe in grasps the individual as in a vise.
WILLIAM JAMES, The Moral Equivalent of War
Your beliefs will be the light by which you see, but they will not be what you see and they will not be a substitute for seeing.
FLANNERY O'CONNOR, Mystery and Manners
One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.
ALDOUS HUXLEY, Brave New World
Believe in one thing too much and you have no room for new ideas.
RAY BRADBURY, The October Country
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