"There is a taint on any contact between two people which does not affirm as an axiom the personal inviolability of both."
"A free public library is a revolutionary notion, and when people don’t have free access to books, then communities are like radios without batteries. You cut people off from essential sources of information — mythical, practical, linguistic, political — and you break them. You render them helpless in the face of political oppression."
"We either add to the darkness of indifference and out-and-out evil which surrounds us or we light a candle to see by."
"All humans dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible."
"Strangely I have found in my own life that it is only through a wintry spirituality that I am able to affirm summer and sunshine. A friend wrote me recently, “Winter reveals structure.” Only as the structure is firmly there are we able to dress it with the lovely trappings of spring, budding leaves, rosy blossoms. Winter is the quiet, fallow time when earth prepares for the rebirth of spring."
"Let none turn over books, or roam the stars in quest of God, who sees him not in man."
"All I tried to do in my stories was show that there's some innate goodness in the human condition. And there's always going to be evil; we should always be fighting evil."
"The world has been abnormal for so long that we've forgotten what it's like to live in a peaceful and reasonable climate. If there is to be any peace or reason, we have to create it in our own hearts and homes."
“I didn't need to understand the hypostatic unity of the Trinity; I just needed to turn my life over to whoever came up with redwood trees.”
"In character, in manner, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity."
"Don't shine so others can see you. Shine so that through you, others can see Him."
“Until we are all free, we are none of us free.”
"Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one."
"People everywhere confuse what they read in newspapers with news."
"Morality exists to be transcended. We act from duty in the hope that someday we shall do the same acts freely and delightfully."
"When all the suns and nebulae have passed away, each one of you will still be alive."
"What can you ever really know of other people's souls—of their temptations, their opportunities, their struggles? One soul in the whole creation you do know and this is the only one whose fate is placed in your hands. If there is a God, you are, in a sense, alone with Him. You cannot put Him off with speculations about your next door neighbours or memories of what you have read in books."
"Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."
"I think Christians should argue more, because it's healthy. They don't do it as well as the Jews do. If we look at the New Testament, Jesus is frequently arguing with fellow Jews, and what that means is it puts him right in the heart of Judaism rather than takes him out of Judaism. If you look at rabbinic literature, post-Biblical Jewish literature, it's "Rabbi This says this, rabbi That says that, some third rabbi says some third thing, the people do what they want, and they've been arguing over this stuff for two thousand years. The reason we can do it so well is because at the end of the day, we're all still Jews.
Jews never settle down just to be a religion and just to be a belief system. Jews have always kept an ethnic component or a people-hood component to who we are. So our arguments take place in the family, and just as a relatively healthy family will have certain disagreements, at the end of the day, you're all still brothers and sisters and parents and children.
What happens in Christian communities is if you argue too much, if you disagree too much, you put yourself out of the community, because if you get into a tradition by belief you get out by belief. I think if Christians took baptism more seriously, they'd be able to argue better. Because baptism means you're in the system, and it's not something that washes off."
"We, the most powerful democracy in the world, have developed a strong norm against talking about politics. It's fine to talk about politics with people you agree with. But it is rude to argue about politics with people you disagree with. Political discourse becomes isolated, and isolated discourse becomes more extreme. We say what our friends want to hear, and hear very little beyond what our friends say."