“Without power, knowledge is useless. without knowledge, faith is tyranny. Without understanding, humanity is blind, and without all four, it is doomed.”
“The only absolute truth is change, and death is the only way to stop change. Life is a series of judgments on changing situations, and no ideal, no belief fits every solution. Yet humans need to believe in something beyond themselves. Perhaps all intelligences do. If we do not act on higher motivations, then we can justify any action, no matter how horrible, as necessary for our survival. We are endlessly caught between the need for high moral absolutes—which will fail enough that any absolute can be demonstrated as false—and our tendency for individual judgments to degenerate into self-gratifying and unethical narcissism. Trying to force absolutes on others results in death and destruction, yet failing to act beyond one's self also leads to death and destruction, generally a lot sooner.”
“...there being a god, that god must be worshiped. Worship means raising the god above the individual, and liturgies often make the point that the individual is less than nothing compared to the deity. If this be done, then, when the god is invoked, the individual has so little worth that he or she may be sacrificed for the needs of the god....
And who speaks for the god? If all people do, then no one does, and there is no god. If the people accept a priesthood, or the equivalent, then those priests exercise whatever power that god's believers grant that god over them, and that elite may cause an individual to be worth less, to be exiled, or even to die or to be killed. Yet such powers do not come from a deity.
In modern history and science, never has there been a verified occasion of a god appearing or demonstrating the powers ascribed throughout history to deities. Always, there is a prophet who speaks for the god. Why cannot the god speak? If a god is omnipotent, then the god can speak. If he cannot, then that god is not omnipotent. Often the prophets say that a god will only speak to the chosen, the worthy.
Should a people accept a god who is either too powerless to speak, or too devious and skeptical to appear? Or a god who will only accept those who swallow a faith laid out by a prophet who merely claims that deity exists—without proof? Yet people have done so, and have granted enormous powers to those who speak for god.”
“Can violence and the use of force to effect change upon the universe be left to the young? Do they see what was, what is, and what might yet be? Have they suffered, watched evil fall upon the good, or good upon the evil?
Or should the burden of violence be left to those who can bear it most lightly—upon those who have closed their minds or their feelings? How can they understand the suffering that they must inflict?
Should the burden of force be laid upon the short-lived, who will not see the consequences of their actions? How can they dispense force with compassion if they can escape the knowledge of what they do?...
The greater the force brought to bear, the older and wiser must be the entity who wields it. Wisdom allows sorrow. Age allows experience, and knowledge reinforces wisdom and experience....
Those who would bear the burden of force must be those who are strong and do not seek it, for those who seek force would misuse it, and those who are weak would shy from what they must do....
Findings of the Colloquy
[Translated from the Farhkan]
“I was trying to foment a little dissension.' He paused. 'No, that's too flippant. How about trying to make the system less warlike—injecting a little love?' He snorted. 'Through violence, of course, like all religious reformers.”
“That is the greatest danger in theology and deities—that they create the impression that goodness cannot be created or maintained by mere humans without divine help. This allows all measure of excuses … and strange contortions to explain perfectly logical occurrences … .”
“Clearly, his subconscious was telling him that trying to walk into the Temple was suicidal, not to mention foolish, ill-considered, and just plain stupid.”
“It’s much easier to hide something on a well-inhabited planet than in the middle of nowhere.”
“Do not presume to know me, or the ways of the Lord,”
“Minds, like ancient parachutes, function better when open, but, like fists, they strike harder when closed”
“The greater the force brought to bear, the older and wiser must be the entity who wields it. Wisdom allows sorrow. Age allows experience, and knowledge reinforces wisdom and experience … . “Those who would bear the burden of force must be those who are strong and do not seek it, for those who seek force would misuse it, and those who are weak would shy from what they must do … .”
“The pasta had a consistency somewhere between soggy paper and rubber eggs, with a taste combining the best of each. The sauce tasted like glue flavored with lemonade.”
“Was attraction and repulsion all a matter of appearances? Or preconceptions?”
“But what about being unfortunate? That’s like a curse.” “Wisdom is a curse, Trystin, and it’s usually bought with pain and suffering. Your alien seems rather perceptive.”
“Without a deity the universe is uncertain. But, once the deistic faiths have been analyzed, they provide no greater certainty, nor is there any verified evidence that deities per se have improved humanity or its institutions. Certainly, improvements have occurred, but those improvements have been accomplished in purely human fashion. These accomplishments have proved that people can bring greater certainty, greater goodness, greater understanding into the universe, and, while they may have been inspired by faith, those good people have done so without the physical help of a deity.”
“Ye shall consume all the people which the Lord thy God shall deliver unto thee; thine eyes shall have no pity upon them; neither shall ye serve their gods, nor the gods of the land, nor the gods of the forge nor the gods of the coin, for those will be a snare unto ye.”
“Did religion allow a greater inconsistency between internal and external actions?”
“Hindsight is a lousy gardener, as my father always said.”
“Albertini stared at a dented samovar. “Ser, what do you have against the samovar?” “Nothing.” Trystin grinned. “I like tea. But the revs don’t, I guess.” “They’re crazy, all of them.”
“It really is amazing how some young people feel that short stature and small minds are a sign of superiority. I wonder what ever happened to decency and courtesy?”
“Didn’t need to fear the Lord on Josephat either, just the idiots who thought they knew His will.”
“That’s the problem with all of us. We’ve never time to think about the past, and we’re always planning for the future. And since the future’s always the future, we never live in the present.”
“Did the Service design it so no one had time to think, really think? He still hadn’t found time to finish reading the handouts on Revenant theology, perhaps because he kept getting hung up on the whole question of why anyone would believe a prophet without any real physical evidence of a god.”
“People are looking for someone to blame. Our heritage comes from two groups who always denied that they were part of the problem. The early ecologists blamed industrialization for environmental degradation even while they continued to purchase all the goods and services produced by industry. And the forerunners of the parashintos always looked down on and isolated strangers.”
“The strange thing about magic is how easily one can feel familiar with it. Much like a dream, its message can infill the senses of the soul and persuade the consciousness in a way that is undeniable. As intoxicating as the musk of romance and as enlightening as the whispers of hidden wisdom, magic can take you back into the very realm of your childhood … and leave you there.”
“You have this thing called a life. Its only you that gets to live it and you only get to do it one time”
“Life isn't just about darkness or light, rather it's about finding light within the darkness.”
“There just isn’t enough cock in this world to be caught suckin’ and be called anything but a slut for life. The cynic in me would call it a bad habit, but that’d make me a whore in denial and if there’s one thing I am, it’s an honest bitch. Then again, you don’t get famous for being daddy’s little angel, but you can easily fall into the Infamy Bracket by preaching a made-up Bible quote now and again. They say I’m shallow, but I’ve made a living out off diving off the deep end.”
“Your medicine men have repeatedly told you, ‘Life is a dream.’ You must decide whether you are the dream or the dreamer.”
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