There exists, I believe, throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny or doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is punished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel... Now, what free inquiry, when a writer must surely encounter the risk of fine or imprisonment for adducing any argument for investigating the divine authority of those books?
Athirst for personal salvation, the West forgets that many religions had but a vague notion of the life beyond the grave; true, all great religions stake a claim on eternity, but not necessarily on man's eternal life.
We cannot become the world's policeman, but where our values and our interests are at stake, and where we can make a difference, we must act and we must lead. That is our job and we are better, stronger and safer because we are doing it.
To keep a man a slave you do much the same as the cruel circus masters did to the elephant around the turn of last century. Clamp heavy chains around their legs and stake them to the ground. Then beat and terrorize them. After a while you no longer even have to stake the chain; the elephant gives up and just the mere rattle of the chain convinces the elephant there is no hope, so they give up and do whatever it is the circus requires.
My cheek stung and throbbed. I remained on the floor of the cave. Belen stood between me and Kerrick. "...temper in check. She's a sweet girl," Belen said. "She's a healer, Belen. And no longer a girl. Healing Ryne is all I care about. All you should care about, as well. You know-" "Yes, I know what's at stake." Belen spat the words. "But if you raise your hand to her again, I'll rip your arm from its socket.
Torture is an impermissible evil. Except under two circumstances. The first is the ticking time bomb. An innocent's life is at stake. The bad guy you have captured possesses information that could save this life. He refuses to divulge. In such a case, the choice is easy.
Willow: (on her Halloween costume): I'm Joan of Arc. I figured we had a lot in common, seeing as how I was almost burned at the stake. And plus she had that close relationship with God. " Xander: [to Oz] And you are...? [Oz shows a name tag that says 'GOD'] Xander: Of course. Wish I'd thought of that before I put down my deposit. I could've been God. Oz: Blasphemer.
A time will come when a politician who has willfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men's lives should not stake their own.
...belief has a second edge. If there are ten thousand medieval peasants who create vampires by believing them real, there may be one - probably a child - who will imagine the stake necessary to kill it. But a stake is only stupid wood; the mind is the mallet which drives it home.