Fanaticism Quotes

Quotes tagged as "fanaticism" (showing 1-30 of 93)
Winston S. Churchill
“A fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.”
Winston S. Churchill

Salman Rushdie
“From the beginning men used God to justify the unjustifiable.”
Salman Rushdie, The Satanic Verses

Umberto Eco
“People are never so completely and enthusiastically evil as when they act out of religious conviction.”
Umberto Eco, The Prague Cemetery

Margaret Atwood
“There were a lot of gods. Gods always come in handy, they justify almost anything.”
Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

Salman Rushdie
“The fundamentalist seeks to bring down a great deal more than buildings. Such people are against, to offer just a brief list, freedom of speech, a multi-party political system, universal adult suffrage, accountable government, Jews, homosexuals, women's rights, pluralism, secularism, short skirts, dancing, beardlessness, evolution theory, sex. There are tyrants, not Muslims.

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has said that we should now define ourselves not only by what we are for but by what we are against. I would reverse that proposition, because in the present instance what we are against is a no brainer. Suicidist assassins ram wide-bodied aircraft into the World Trade Center and Pentagon and kill thousands of people: um, I'm against that. But what are we for? What will we risk our lives to defend? Can we unanimously concur that all the items in the preceding list -- yes, even the short skirts and the dancing -- are worth dying for?

The fundamentalist believes that we believe in nothing. In his world-view, he has his absolute certainties, while we are sunk in sybaritic indulgences. To prove him wrong, we must first know that he is wrong. We must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world's resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love. These will be our weapons. Not by making war but by the unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them.

How to defeat terrorism? Don't be terrorized. Don't let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared.”
Salman Rushdie, Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002

Umberto Eco
“Fear prophets, Adso, and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them.”
Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

Voltaire
“What can you say to a man who tells you he prefers obeying God rather than men, and that as a result he's certain he'll go to heaven if he cuts your throat?”
Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary

Bart D. Ehrman
“There are few things more dangerous than inbred religious certainty.”
Bart D. Ehrman, God's Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question - Why We Suffer

Denis Diderot
“From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step.”
Denis Diderot, Essai sur le mérite et la vertu

Flannery O'Connor
“You have to quit confusing a madness with a mission.”
Flannery O'Connor, The Violent Bear It Away

Zakir Naik
“If he is terrorising the terrorists, if he is terrorising America the terrorist [...] I am with him. Every Muslim should be a terrorist.”
Zakir Naik

Mercedes Lackey
“Fanatics can justify practically any atrocity to themselves. The more untenable their position becomes, the harder they hold to it, and the worse the things they are willing to do to support it.”
Mercedes Lackey, Changes

Zakir Naik
“People who change their religion should face the death penalty.”
Zakir Naik

Daniel C. Dennett
“In the long run I certainly hope information is the cure for fanaticism, but I am afraid information is more the cause than the cure.”
Daniel C. Dennett

Paul Tillich
“...history has shown that the most terrible crimes against love have been committed in the name of fanatically defended doctrines.”
Paul Tillich, Dynamics of Faith

Christopher Hitchens
“Long before it was known to me as a place where my ancestry was even remotely involved, the idea of a state for Jews (or a Jewish state; not quite the same thing, as I failed at first to see) had been 'sold' to me as an essentially secular and democratic one. The idea was a haven for the persecuted and the survivors, a democracy in a region where the idea was poorly understood, and a place where—as Philip Roth had put it in a one-handed novel that I read when I was about nineteen—even the traffic cops and soldiers were Jews. This, like the other emphases of that novel, I could grasp. Indeed, my first visit was sponsored by a group in London called the Friends of Israel. They offered to pay my expenses, that is, if on my return I would come and speak to one of their meetings.

I still haven't submitted that expenses claim. The misgivings I had were of two types, both of them ineradicable. The first and the simplest was the encounter with everyday injustice: by all means the traffic cops were Jews but so, it turned out, were the colonists and ethnic cleansers and even the torturers. It was Jewish leftist friends who insisted that I go and see towns and villages under occupation, and sit down with Palestinian Arabs who were living under house arrest—if they were lucky—or who were squatting in the ruins of their demolished homes if they were less fortunate. In Ramallah I spent the day with the beguiling Raimonda Tawil, confined to her home for committing no known crime save that of expressing her opinions. (For some reason, what I most remember is a sudden exclamation from her very restrained and respectable husband, a manager of the local bank: 'I would prefer living under a Bedouin muktar to another day of Israeli rule!' He had obviously spent some time thinking about the most revolting possible Arab alternative.) In Jerusalem I visited the Tutungi family, who could produce title deeds going back generations but who were being evicted from their apartment in the old city to make way for an expansion of the Jewish quarter. Jerusalem: that place of blood since remote antiquity. Jerusalem, over which the British and French and Russians had fought a foul war in the Crimea, and in the mid-nineteenth century, on the matter of which Christian Church could command the keys to some 'holy sepulcher.' Jerusalem, where the anti-Semite Balfour had tried to bribe the Jews with the territory of another people in order to seduce them from Bolshevism and continue the diplomacy of the Great War. Jerusalem: that pest-house in whose environs all zealots hope that an even greater and final war can be provoked. It certainly made a warped appeal to my sense of history.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Guy de Maupassant
“Patriotism is a kind of religion; it is the egg from which wars are hatched."

[My Uncle Sosthenes]”
Guy de Maupassant, The Complete Short Stories Vol. 2 of 3

Bahá'u'lláh
“Religious fanaticism and hatred are a world-devouring fire, whose violence none can quench.”
Bahá'u'lláh

Jared Diamond
“[W]hat makes patriotic and religious fanatics such dangerous opponents is not the deaths of the fanatics themselves, but their willingness to accept the deaths of a fraction of their number in order to annihilate or crush their infidel enemy.”
Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

Christopher Hitchens
“Every November of my boyhood, we put on red poppies and attended highly patriotic services in remembrance of those who had 'given' their lives. But on what assurance did we know that these gifts had really been made? Only the survivors—the living—could attest to it. In order to know that a person had truly laid down his life for his friends, or comrades, one would have to hear it from his own lips, or at least have heard it promised in advance. And that presented another difficulty. Many brave and now dead soldiers had nonetheless been conscripts. The known martyrs—those who actually, voluntarily sought death and rejoiced in the fact—had been the kamikaze pilots, immolating themselves to propitiate a 'divine' emperor who looked (as Orwell once phrased it) like a monkey on a stick. Their Christian predecessors had endured torture and death (as well as inflicted it) in order to set up a theocracy. Their modern equivalents would be the suicide murderers, who mostly have the same aim in mind. About people who set out to lose their lives, then, there seems to hang an air of fanaticism: a gigantic sense of self-importance unattractively fused with a masochistic tendency to self-abnegation. Not wholesome.

The better and more realistic test would therefore seem to be: In what cause, or on what principle, would you risk your life?”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Christopher Hitchens
“Hitherto, the Palestinians had been relatively immune to this Allahu Akhbar style. I thought this was a hugely retrograde development. I said as much to Edward. To reprint Nazi propaganda and to make a theocratic claim to Spanish soil was to be a protofascist and a supporter of 'Caliphate' imperialism: it had nothing at all to do with the mistreatment of the Palestinians. Once again, he did not exactly disagree. But he was anxious to emphasize that the Israelis had often encouraged Hamas as a foil against Fatah and the PLO. This I had known since seeing the burning out of leftist Palestinians by Muslim mobs in Gaza as early as 1981. Yet once again, it seemed Edward could only condemn Islamism if it could somehow be blamed on either Israel or the United States or the West, and not as a thing in itself. He sometimes employed the same sort of knight's move when discussing other Arabist movements, excoriating Saddam Hussein's Ba'ath Party, for example, mainly because it had once enjoyed the support of the CIA. But when Saddam was really being attacked, as in the case of his use of chemical weapons on noncombatants at Halabja, Edward gave second-hand currency to the falsified story that it had 'really' been the Iranians who had done it. If that didn't work, well, hadn't the United States sold Saddam the weaponry in the first place? Finally, and always—and this question wasn't automatically discredited by being a change of subject—what about Israel's unwanted and ugly rule over more and more millions of non-Jews?

I evolved a test for this mentality, which I applied to more people than Edward. What would, or did, the relevant person say when the United States intervened to stop the massacres and dispossessions in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo? Here were two majority-Muslim territories and populations being vilely mistreated by Orthodox and Catholic Christians. There was no oil in the region. The state interests of Israel were not involved (indeed, Ariel Sharon publicly opposed the return of the Kosovar refugees to their homes on the grounds that it set an alarming—I want to say 'unsettling'—precedent). The usual national-security 'hawks,' like Henry Kissinger, were also strongly opposed to the mission. One evening at Edward's apartment, with the other guest being the mercurial, courageous Azmi Bishara, then one of the more distinguished Arab members of the Israeli parliament, I was finally able to leave the arguing to someone else. Bishara [...] was quite shocked that Edward would not lend public support to Clinton for finally doing the right thing in the Balkans. Why was he being so stubborn? I had begun by then—belatedly you may say—to guess. Rather like our then-friend Noam Chomsky, Edward in the final instance believed that if the United States was doing something, then that thing could not by definition be a moral or ethical action.”
Christopher Hitchens, Hitch 22: A Memoir

Salman Rushdie
“If I were asked for a one-sentence sound
bite on religion, I would say I was against it.”
Salman Rushdie

Gregory David Roberts
“Fanatics have the look of people who do not masturbate but who think about it almost all time.”
Gregory David Roberts, Shantaram

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“It is precisely that requirement of shared worship that has been the principal source of suffering for individual man and the human race since the beginning of history. In their efforts to impose universal worship, men have unsheathed their swords and killed one another. They have invented gods and challenged each other: "Discard your gods and worship mine or I will destroy both your gods and you!”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Umberto Eco
“In that face, deformed by hatred of philosophy, I saw for the first time the portrait of the Antichrist, who does not come from the tribe of Judas, as his heralds have it, or from a far country. The Antichrist can be born from piety itself, from excessive love of God or of the truth, as the heretic is born from the saint and the possessed from the seer. Fear prophets, Adso, and those prepared to die for the truth, for as a rule they make many others die with them, often before them, at times instead of them. Jorge did a diabolical thing because he loved his truth so lewdly that he dared anything in order to destroy falsehood.”
Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

Ali Shariati
“في الحياة ليس العدو الحاقد المسلح بأخطر وأشد ضررا للـ" شيخ " من مريد متعصب متفان لكن لاعقل له.”
Ali Shariati, العودة إلى الذات

Paulo Coelho
“fanaticism is the only way to put an end to the doubts that constantly trouble the human soul.”
Paulo Coelho, The Zahir

Jeremy Bentham
“If a man happen to take it into his head to assassinate with his own hands, or with the sword of justice, those whom he calls heretics, that is, people who think, or perhaps only speak, differently upon a subject which neither party understands, he will be as much inclined to do this at one time as at another. Fanaticism never sleeps: it is never glutted: it is never stopped by philanthropy; for it makes a merit of trampling on philanthropy: it is never stopped by conscience; for it has pressed conscience into its service. Avarice, lust, and vengeance, have piety, benevolence, honour; fanaticism has nothing to oppose it.”
Jeremy Bentham, Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation

“All extreme opinions consume themselves.”
Marty Rubin

William Hazlitt
“Modern fanaticism thrives in proportion to the quanitity of contradictions and nonsense it poures down the throats of the gaping multitude, and the jargon and mysticism it offers to their wonder and credulity.”
William Hazlitt

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