Quotes on Christianity, God, and Atheism by Nobel Lauretes in Literature
Christianity is a religion of redemption, not a religion of law; that is to say, it makes the critical turning-point, the winning of the new world, depend not on man’s resolve or exertions, but on divine grace meeting him and lifting him upwards, grace that does not merely second his own effort, but implants within him fresh springs of action and makes his relationship to God the source of a new life, a new creature.
For man as we find him has wandered too far from goodness and become too weak in spiritual capacity to be capable of bringing about his own conversion; all his hope of salvation depends on God and from Him must he receive everything. Thus deep humility and joyous gratitude become, as it were, pillars of the new life; but they are genuine only when they are the result of a great upheaval and an in ward transformation.”
(Eucken 1914, 7)
The material world is a combination of seeing and blindness. The blindness we call Satan. If we would become all seeing, we would not have free choice anymore. Because, if we would see God, if we would see His greatness, there would be no temptation or sin. And since God wanted us to have free will this means that Satan, in other words the principle of evil, must exist. Because what does free choice mean? It means the freedom to choose between good and evil. If there is no evil, there is no freedom.”
(Singer, as cited in Farrell 1976, 157).
In his autobiography Out of My Life and Thought Dr. Schweitzer wrote: “The essential element in Christianity as it was preached by Jesus and as it is comprehended by thought, is this, that it is only through love that we can attain to communion with God. All living knowledge of God rests upon this foundation: that we experience Him in our lives as Will-to-Love.” (Schweitzer 1933, 277).
“God’s love speaks to us in our hearts and tries to work through us in the world. We must listen to that voice; we must listen to it as a pure and distant melody that comes to us across the noise of the world’s doings…”
(Schweitzer, as cited in Albert Schweitzer: The Man and His Mind by George Seaver, Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1947, 133)
“Being born again is a new life, not of perfection but of striving, stretching, and searching – a life of intimacy with God through Holy Spirit. There must first be an emptying, and then a refilling. To the extent that we want to know, understand, and
experience God, we can find all this in Jesus. It is a highly personal and subjective experience, possible only if we are searching for greater truths about ourselves and God.”
(Carter 1998, 20-21)
“One of the tenets of my faith is that all of us are equal in the eyes of God. As the Bible said, there’s no distinction between male and female; there’s no distinction between master and slave; there’s no distinction between gentile and Jew; there’
s no distinction between say white and African-American in the eyes of God. And those guiding lights prove adequate to me as a foundation for faith.”
Our civilization cannot survive materially unless it is redeemed spiritually. It can be saved only by becoming permeated with the Spirit of Christ and being made free and happy by the practices which spring out of that Spirit. Only thus can discontent be
driven out and all the shadows lifted from the road ahead.”
(Wilson, as cited in Collins 1988).
“The Bible is not something to turn aside to; the Bible is not something to which to resort for religious instruction and comfort; the Bible is not something to associate merely with churches and sermons. It stands right in the center, in the market place, of our life, and there bubbles with the water of life. It is, itself, the fountain; it is, itself, the inexhaustible fountain. Only those
who have learned from it, and only those who have drunk of those waters, can be refreshed for the longer journey.”
(Woodrow Wilson, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, 1977, Vol. 23, p 499, Arthur S. Link – editor).