for it is no secret that the falling away of all nations from religion, which only a few blind-worms are fatuous enough to deny, is due to the fact that the fire no longer burns in the sacred lamp.
Aleister Crowley, Concerning “Blasphemy” in General & the Rites of Eleusis in Particular.
Religion, like nations and individuals, passes through the regular gradation, first of infancy, when religious ideas and thoughts are crude in the extreme; the age of Puritanism, when innocent women and children are burned at the stake for witchcraft, when with gloomy faces and in unsightly dress the poor fanatics sacrificed every pleasure on the altar of duty; the time when Sunday was a day of horror to children from its gloom, a day when every innocent amusement was forbidden. After religion’s infancy comes youth. At that stage, the absurd dress and gloomy faces were not considered essential adjuncts to religion, but free discussion was not allowed upon religious subjects. Everything must be taken for granted, without any investigation on the part of the people. After youth comes manhood, the time when reason has full sway, when superstition and credulities form no part of religious teaching and thought. People are able to think, to reason for themselves. After the age of manhood, comes old age and that is the stage of agnosticism. Questions are being asked, and ideas propounded which must not be overlooked nor treated with contempt. All questions asked in a fair spirit, must be answered in a fair manner. It is not sufficient to say, “it is so”, but good and tangible reasons must be given to prove the truth of an assertion. We are now in the stage of “old age.” Agnosticism and Infidelity are wide spread. After old age comes decay and the decline of the absolutely orthodox. From time immemorial, every religion has passed through the same gradation, of infancy, youth, old age and decay finally comes philosophy.
Lydia Leavitt, Bohemian Society [Amazon, Amazon (Dodo Press), Bookshop (Dodo Press, Gutenberg, Local Library]
These misconceptions may be summed up as follows:—Firstly, that Buddhism is a ‘heathen’ doctrine, whose adherents worship idols and pray to stone and wood; Secondly, that it is a mysterious sort of affair, connected with miracle-mongering and ‘esotericism’; and, Thirdly, that it is a backboneless, apathetic, pessimistic manner of philosophy, with annihilation as its goal and aim, tending to the subversion of all useful activities, well enough for ‘the dreamy peoples of the Orient,’—as those who know them least delight in calling them,—but totally unsuited to the more active and energetic nations of the West.
Allan Bennett, The Faith of the Future, The Value of Buddhism
it is no longer individuals only, or cities, that enrich themselves by distant commerce and export; but whole nations grow rich at the cost of those nations which lag behind in their industrial development.
Petr Kropotkin, The Conquest of Bread
There was a war going on beyond that of nations, a war that had yet to be won, if there was such a thing as winning. At least the inevitable could perhaps be delayed. Some things are too big fight; too horrible to even consider challenging.
Nikolai Bird, Cthulhu – Something in the Mud