„People don't get their morality from their reading matter: they bring their morality to it.“

—  Clive James, Ibid.
Clive James149
Australian author, critic, broadcaster, poet, translator ... 1939
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„The central function of imaginative literature is to make you realize that other people act on moral convictions different from your own.“

—  William Empson English literary critic and poet 1906 - 1984
Milton's God (1961; repr. London: Chatto & Windus, 1965) p. 261.

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„It's a moral problem that the government is making into criminals people, who may be doing something you and I don't approve of, but who are doing something that hurts nobody else.“

—  Milton Friedman American economist, statistician, and writer 1912 - 2006
Context: It's a moral problem that the government is making into criminals people, who may be doing something you and I don't approve of, but who are doing something that hurts nobody else. Most of the arrests for drugs are for possession by casual users. Now here's somebody who wants to smoke a marijuana cigarette. If he's caught, he goes to jail. Now is that moral? Is that proper? I think it's absolutely disgraceful that our government, supposed to be our government, should be in the position of converting people who are not harming others into criminals, of destroying their lives, putting them in jail. That's the issue to me. The economic issue comes in only for explaining why it has those effects. But the economic reasons are not the reasons.

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„I agree that it's very difficult to come to an absolute definition of what's moral and what is not. We are on our own, without a god, and we have to get together, sit down together and decide what kind of society do we want to live in. Do we want to live in a society where people steal, where people kill, where people don't pull their weight paying their taxes, doing that kind of thing? Do we want to live in a kind of society where everybody is out for themselves in a dog-eat-dog world? And we decide in conclave together that that's not the kind of world in which we want to live. It's difficult. There is no absolute reason why we should believe that that's true - it's a moral decision which we take as individuals - and we take it collectively as a collection of individuals. If you want to get that sort of value system from religion I want you to ask yourself - whereabouts in religion do you get it? Which religion do you get it from? They're all different. If you get it from the Judeo-Christian-Islamic tradition then I beg you - don't get it from your holy book! Because the morality you will get from reading your holy book is hideous. Don't get it from your holy book. Don't get it from sucking up to your god. Don't get it from saying “oh, I'm terrified of going to hell so I'd better be good” - that's a very ignoble reason to be good. Instead - be good for good reasons. Be good for the reason that's you've decided together with other people the society we want to live in: a decent humane society. Not one based on absolutism, not one based on holy books and not one based on sucking up to.. looking over your shoulder to the divine spy camera in the sky.“

—  Richard Dawkins English ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author 1941
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roFdPHdhgKQ&t=59m29s

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„An important advance in the life of a people is the transformation of the religion of fear into the moral religion. But one must avoid the prejudice that regards the religions of primitive peoples as pure fear religions and those of the civilized races as pure moral religions. All are mixed forms, though the moral element predominates in the higher levels of social life.“

—  Albert Einstein German-born physicist and founder of the theory of relativity 1879 - 1955
Context: It is easy to follow in the sacred writings of the Jewish people the development of the religion of fear into the moral religion, which is carried further in the New Testament. The religions of all civilized peoples, especially those of the Orient, are principally moral religions. An important advance in the life of a people is the transformation of the religion of fear into the moral religion. But one must avoid the prejudice that regards the religions of primitive peoples as pure fear religions and those of the civilized races as pure moral religions. All are mixed forms, though the moral element predominates in the higher levels of social life. Wording in Ideas and Opinions: The Jewish scriptures admirably illustrate the development from the religion of fear to moral religion, a development continued in the New Testament. The religions of all civilized peoples, especially the peoples of the Orient, are primarily moral religions. The development from a religion of fear to moral religion is a great step in peoples' lives. And yet, that primitive religions are based entirely on fear and the religions of civilized peoples purely on morality is a prejudice against which we must be on our guard. The truth is that all religions are a varying blend of both types, with this differentiation: that on the higher levels of social life the religion of morality predominates.

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„The final purpose of art is to intensify, even, if necessary, to exacerbate, the moral consciousness of people.“

—  Norman Mailer American novelist, journalist, essayist, playwright, film maker, actor and political candidate 1923 - 2007
"Hip, Hell, and the Navigator" in Western Review No. 23 (Winter 1959); republished in Conversations with Norman Mailer (1988) edited by J. Michael Lennon.

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„I think religion for many people is some sort of moral viagra.“

—  Daniel Dennett American philosopher 1942
"Atheism Tapes, part 6", BBC TV documentation of Jonathan Miller, produced by Richard Denton, recorded 2003, broadcast 2004

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