„I think if I had met him [Lenin] without knowing who he was, I should not have guessed that he was a great man; he struck me as too opinionated and narrowly orthodox. His strength comes, I imagine, from his honesty, courage, and unwavering faith—religious faith in the Marxian gospel, which takes the place of the Christian martyr's hopes of Paradise, except that it is less egotistical… I went to Russia a Communist; but contact with those who have no doubts has intensified a thousandfold my own doubts, not as to Communism in itself, but as to the wisdom of holding a creed so firmly that for its sake men are willing to inflict widespread misery.“

—  Bertrand Russell, 1920s, The Practice and Theory of Bolshevism (1920), Part I, Ch. 3: Lenin, Trotsky and Gorky
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filosofo, logico e matematico gallese 1872 - 1970
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„I think opinions should be judged of by their influences and effects; and if a man holds none that tend to make him less virtuous or more vicious, it may be concluded that he holds none that are dangerous, which I hope is the case with me.“

—  Benjamin Franklin American author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, a… 1706 - 1790
Epistles, Letter to his father, 13 April 1738, printed in Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin (Philadelphia, 1834), volume 1, p. 233. Also quoted in Benjamin Franklin: An American Life (2003) by Walter Isaacson

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„A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not of building bridges, is not Christian. This is not the gospel. … I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that. We must see if he said things in that way and I will give him the benefit of the doubt.“

—  Papa Francesco 266th Pope of the Catholic Church 1936
2010s, 2016, Visit to Mexico (February 2016), As quoted in "Pope Francis: Donald Trump 'is not Christian'", by Rebecca Kaplan, CBS News (18 February 2016) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/pope-francis-trump-is-not-christian/

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„And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that He would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt His existence“

—  Bertrand Russell logician, one of the first analytic philosophers and political activist 1872 - 1970
1950s, Context: I observe that a very large portion of the human race does not believe in God and suffers no visible punishment in consequence. And if there were a God, I think it very unlikely that he would have such an uneasy vanity as to be offended by those who doubt his existence. Bertrand Russell's Best: Silhouettes in Satire (1958), "On Religion".<!--originally taken from What is an Agnostic? (1953).-->

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„An agnostic is a doubter. The word is generally applied to those who doubt the verity of accepted religious creeds of faiths. Everyone is an agnostic as to the beliefs or creeds they do not accept.“

—  Clarence Darrow American lawyer and leading member of the American Civil Liberties Union 1857 - 1938
Why I Am An Agnostic (1929), Context: An agnostic is a doubter. The word is generally applied to those who doubt the verity of accepted religious creeds of faiths. Everyone is an agnostic as to the beliefs or creeds they do not accept. Catholics are agnostic to the Protestant creeds, and the Protestants are agnostic to the Catholic creed. Any one who thinks is an agnostic about something, otherwise he must believe that he is possessed of all knowledge. And the proper place for such a person is in the madhouse or the home for the feeble-minded. In a popular way, in the western world, an agnostic is one who doubts or disbelieves the main tenets of the Christian faith.

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„It is now one of my greatest blessings (for which I would thank Heaven from the heart) that he lived to see me, through various obstructions, attain some look of doing well. He had "educated" me against much advice, I believe, and chiefly, if not solely, from his own noble faith. James Bell, one of our wise men, had told him, "Educate a boy, and he grows up to despise his ignorant parents." My father once told me this, and added, "Thou hast not done so; God be thanked for it." I have reason to think my father was proud of me (not vain, for he never, except when provoked, openly bragged of us); that here too he lived to see the pleasure of the Lord prosper in his hands. Oh, was it not a happiness for me! The fame of all this planet were not henceforth so precious.“

—  Thomas Carlyle Scottish philosopher, satirical writer, essayist, historian and teacher 1795 - 1881
1880s, Reminiscences (1881), Context: Clearness, emphatic clearness, was his highest category of man's thinking power. He delighted always to hear good argument. He would often say, I would like to hear thee argue with him." He said this of Jeffrey and me, with an air of such simple earnestness, not two years ago (1830), and it was his true feeling. I have often pleased him much by arguing with men (as many years ago I was prone to do) in his presence. He rejoiced greatly in my success, at all events in my dexterity and manifested force. Others of us he admired for our "activity," our practical valor and skill, all of us (generally speaking) for our decent demeanor in the world. It is now one of my greatest blessings (for which I would thank Heaven from the heart) that he lived to see me, through various obstructions, attain some look of doing well. He had "educated" me against much advice, I believe, and chiefly, if not solely, from his own noble faith. James Bell, one of our wise men, had told him, "Educate a boy, and he grows up to despise his ignorant parents." My father once told me this, and added, "Thou hast not done so; God be thanked for it." I have reason to think my father was proud of me (not vain, for he never, except when provoked, openly bragged of us); that here too he lived to see the pleasure of the Lord prosper in his hands. Oh, was it not a happiness for me! The fame of all this planet were not henceforth so precious.

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