Inquiry Quotes

Quotes tagged as "inquiry" Showing 1-30 of 63
Thomas Jefferson
“4. Religion. Your reason is now mature enough to examine this object. In the first place, divest yourself of all bias in favor of novelty & singularity of opinion... shake off all the fears & servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. You will naturally examine first, the religion of your own country. Read the Bible, then as you would read Livy or Tacitus. The facts which are within the ordinary course of nature, you will believe on the authority of the writer, as you do those of the same kind in Livy and Tacitus. The testimony of the writer weighs in their favor, in one scale, and their not being against the laws of nature, does not weigh against them. But those facts in the Bible which contradict the laws of nature, must be examined with more care, and under a variety of faces. Here you must recur to the pretensions of the writer to inspiration from God. Examine upon what evidence his pretensions are founded, and whether that evidence is so strong, as that its falsehood would be more improbable than a change in the laws of nature, in the case he relates. For example in the book of Joshua we are told the sun stood still several hours. Were we to read that fact in Livy or Tacitus we should class it with their showers of blood, speaking of statues, beasts, &c. But it is said that the writer of that book was inspired. Examine therefore candidly what evidence there is of his having been inspired. The pretension is entitled to your inquiry, because millions believe it. On the other hand you are astronomer enough to know how contrary it is to the law of nature that a body revolving on its axis as the earth does, should have stopped, should not by that sudden stoppage have prostrated animals, trees, buildings, and should after a certain time have resumed its revolution, & that without a second general prostration. Is this arrest of the earth's motion, or the evidence which affirms it, most within the law of probabilities? You will next read the New Testament. It is the history of a personage called Jesus. Keep in your eye the opposite pretensions: 1, of those who say he was begotten by God, born of a virgin, suspended & reversed the laws of nature at will, & ascended bodily into heaven; and 2, of those who say he was a man of illegitimate birth, of a benevolent heart, enthusiastic mind, who set out without pretensions to divinity, ended in believing them, and was punished capitally for sedition, by being gibbeted, according to the Roman law, which punished the first commission of that offence by whipping, & the second by exile, or death in fureâ.

...Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you... In fine, I repeat, you must lay aside all prejudice on both sides, and neither believe nor reject anything, because any other persons, or description of persons, have rejected or believed it... I forgot to observe, when speaking of the New Testament, that you should read all the histories of Christ, as well of those whom a council of ecclesiastics have decided for us, to be Pseudo-evangelists, as those they named Evangelists. Because these Pseudo-evangelists pretended to inspiration, as much as the others, and you are to judge their pretensions by your own reason, and not by the reason of those ecclesiastics. Most of these are lost...

[Letter to his nephew, Peter Carr, advising him in matters of religion, 1787]”
Thomas Jefferson, Letters of Thomas Jefferson

“Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.”
Edwin Hubble

Robert G. Ingersoll
“Progress is born of doubt and inquiry. The Church never doubts, never inquires. To doubt is heresy, to inquire is to admit that you do not know—the Church does neither.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, Thomas Paine From 'The Gods and Other Lectures'

Richard Dawkins
“The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry.”
Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

Criss Jami
“Beyond all sciences, philosophies, theologies, and histories, a child's relentless inquiry is truly all it takes to remind us that we don't know as much as we think we know.”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

“If the whole universe can be found in our own body and mind, this is where we need to make our inquires. We all have the answers within ourselves, we just have not got in touch with them yet. The potential of finding the truth within requires faith in ourselves.”
Ayya Khema

Louisa May Alcott
“Jo's face was a study next day, for the secret rather weighed upon her, and she found it hard not to look mysterious and important. Meg observed it, but did not troubled herself to make inquiries, for she had learned that the best way to manage Jo was by the law of contraries, so she felt sure of being told everything if she did not ask.”
Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

William Kingdon Clifford
“In like manner, 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 and Other Essays

Criss Jami
“As a writer of philosophy, it's good to ask oneself, 'Will I still believe this a week from now, or months, or even years?”
Criss Jami, Killosophy

Carl Sagan
“All inquiries carry with them some element of risk.”
Carl Sagan, Broca's Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science

Richard Wright
“You asked me questions nobody ever asked me before. You knew that I was a murderer two times over, but you treated me like a man...”
Richard Wright, Native Son

Elspeth Huxley
“The best way to find out things, if you come to think of it, is not to ask questions at all. If you fire off a question, it is like firing off a gun; bang it goes, and everything takes flight and runs for shelter. But if you sit quite still and pretend not to be looking, all the little facts will come and peck round your feet, situations will venture forth from thickets and intentions will creep out and sun themselves on a stone; and if you are very patient, you will see and understand a great deal more than a man with a gun.”
Elspeth Huxley, The Flame Trees of Thika: Memories of an African Childhood

Thomas Jefferson
“Reason and free inquiry are the only effectual agents against error.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters

Ozzie Zehner
“Truths are as much a matter of questions as answers.”
Ozzie Zehner, Green Illusions

“Just as we may, through an appalled realization that we were unaware of what was going on in the mind of one we thought we knew, come to wonder how we ever know what another person is thinking or feeling, so too we may, having on some occasion wanted badly to understand and having clearly failed, come to wonder how we ever manage to understand, and how we know that we have succeeded.”
Patrick Wilson

Thomas Jefferson
“Speaking one day to Monsieur de Buffon, on the present ardor of chemical inquiry, he affected to consider chemistry but as cookery, and to place the toils of the laboratory on the footing with those of the kitchen. I think it, on the contrary, among the most useful of sciences, and big with future discoveries for the utility and safety of the human race.”
Thomas Jefferson, Writings: Autobiography / Notes on the State of Virginia / Public and Private Papers / Addresses / Letters

Milan Kundera
“But the people who struggle against what we call totalitarian regimes cannot function with queries and doubts. They, too, need certainties and simple truths to make the multitudes understand, to provoke collective tears.”
Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Paramahansa Yogananda
“Who am I? The great inquiry indeed.”
Yogananda Paramhansa, Autobiography of a Yogi

Socrates
“...[T]hese people... are my dangerous accusers; because those who hear them suppose that anyone who inquires into such matters... theories about the heavens... and everything below the earth... must be an atheist.”
Socrates, Apology, Crito and Phaedo of Socrates.

Confucius
“Tsze-kung wished to dispense with the sacrifice of a sheep for the New Moon ceremony. The Master said, "You love the sheep; I love the ceremony.”
Confucius, The Analects

Abhijit Naskar
“Birth of a question is the beginning of education.”
Abhijit Naskar, Build Bridges not Walls: In the name of Americana

Jo Nesbø
“[...] you soon become lonely if you want to use your own brain to find answers.”
Jo Nesbø, Frelseren

L.J.D. Millar
“A lock is almost pointless without a key to go with it. We might as well be useless if we don’t have the desire to put any effort into our actions. A key may be a very small part, but that small part plays a large role. Aren’t we the same way?”
L.J.D. Millar

Geoffrey Hill
“Who now would thrust enquiry on / Beyond necessity of desire?”
Geoffrey Hill, Oraclau/Oracles

Deyth Banger
“Life is an inquiry!”
Deyth Banger

“All knowledge initiates with inquiry. A living philosophy and a profound appreciation for our mortal lives arise from awe. We must each discover what fosters the flowering of our humanity and single-mindedly dedicate ourselves to achieving our purpose.”
Kilroy J. Oldster, Dead Toad Scrolls

Abhijit Naskar
“Differences are healthy, there lies the scope for inquiry, and in inquiry lies the scope for learning. Differences turn unhealthy only when we make them the cause for hatred.”
Abhijit Naskar, All For Acceptance

Abhijit Naskar
“Cynicism breeds hate, whereas inquiry breeds understanding.”
Abhijit Naskar, All For Acceptance

Rivers Solomon
“The point is what you do when you don't have the details. Do you interrogate? Do you examine? Or do you settle for the obvious answer?”
Rivers Solomon, An Unkindness of Ghosts

“We were holding this together, and our joined windows of tolerance seemed able to contain the physical and emotional intensity. Witnessing and empathizing at the same time, it seemed we were able to bring some ventral presence to this world.”
Bonnie Badenoch, The Heart of Trauma: Healing the Embodied Brain in the Context of Relationships

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