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Proverbs, aphorisms, quotations (English) by Linux fortune

Why, when no honest man will deny in private that every ultimate problem is
wrapped in the profoundest mystery, do honest men proclaim in pulpits
that unhesitating certainty is the duty of the most foolish and ignorant?
Is it not a spectacle to make the angels laugh?  We are a company of
ignorant beings, feeling our way through mists and darkness, learning only
be incessantly repeated blunders, obtaining a glimmering of truth by
falling into every conceivable error, dimly discerning light enough for
our daily needs, but hopelessly differing whenever we attempt to describe
the ultimate origin or end of our paths; and yet, when one of us ventures
to declare that we don't know the map of the universe as well as the map
of our infintesimal parish, he is hooted, reviled, and perhaps told that
he will be damned to all eternity for his faithlessness...
- Leslie Stephen, "An agnostic's Apology", Fortnightly Review, 1876
Till then we shall be content to admit openly, what you (religionists)
whisper under your breath or hide in technical jargon, that the ancient
secret is a secret still; that man knows nothing of the Infinite and
Absolute; and that, knowing nothing, he had better not be dogmatic about
his ignorance.  And, meanwhile, we will endeavour to be as charitable as
possible, and whilst you trumpet forth officially your contempt for our
skepticism, we will at least try to believe that you are imposed upon
by your own bluster.
- Leslie Stephen, "An agnostic's Apology", Fortnightly Review, 1876
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