In our time all it takes for evil to flourish is for a few good men to be a little wrong and have a great deal of power, and for the vast majority of their fellow citizens to remain indifferent.

— William Sloane Coffin

The most lavish William Sloane Coffin quotes to get the best of your day

Diversity may be the hardest thing for a society to live with, and perhaps the most dangerous thing for a society to be without.

71

I love the recklessness of faith. First you leap, and then you grow wings.

63

Of God's love we can say two things: it is poured out universally for everyone from the Pope to the loneliest wino on the planet; and secondly, God's love doesn't seek value, it creates value. It is not because we have value that we are loved, but because we are loved that we have value. Our value is a gift, not an achievement.

62

Hope is a state of mind independent of the state of the world.

If your heart's full of hope, you can be persistent when you can't be optimistic. You can keep the faith despite the evidence, knowing that only in so doing has the evidence any chance of changing. So while I'm not optimistic, I'm always very hopeful.

61

The cause of violence is not ignorance.

It is self-interest. Only reverance can restrain violence - reverance for human life and the environment.

57

Love measures our stature: the more we love, the bigger we are.

There is no smaller package in all the world than that of a man all wrapped up in himself.

50

There is nothing anti-intellectual in the leap of faith, for faith is not believing without proof but trusting without reservation.

42

The world is too dangerous for anything but truth and too small for anything but love. We can never really love anybody with whom we never laugh. Love is in the giver, not the gift.

31

The temptation to moralize is strong;

it is emotionally satisfying to have enemies rather than problems, to seek out culprits rather than the flaws in the system.

30

It is one thing to say with the prophet Amos, "Let justice roll down like mighty waters," and quite another to work out the irrigation system.

30

Human beings who blind themselves to human need make themselves less human.

25

Socrates had it wrong; it is not the unexamined but finally the uncommitted life that is not worth living.

21

About William Sloane Coffin

Quotes 64 sayings
Profession Activist
Birthday June 1, 1924

It is terribly important to realize that the leap of faith is not so much a leap of thought as of action. For while in many matters it is first we must see then we will act; in matters of faith it is first we must do then we will know, first we will be and then we will see. One must, in short, dare to act wholeheartedly without absolute certainty.

20

Christ came to take away our sins, not our minds.

20

The one true freedom in life is to come to terms with death, and as early as possible, for death is an event that embraces all our lives. And the only way to have a good death is to lead a good life. The more we do God's will, the less unfinished business we leave behind when we die.

19

It is a mistake to look to the Bible to close a discussion; the Bible seeks to open one.

13

To be avoided at all costs is the solace of opinion without the pain of thought.

11

We must be governed by the force of law, not by the law of force.

10

When a man is drowning, it may be better for him to try to swim than to thrash around waiting for divine intervention.

6

Jesus is both a mirror to our humanity and a window to divinity, a window revealing as much of God as is given mortal eyes to see. When Christians see Christ empowering the weak, scorning the powerful, healing the wounded, and judging their tormentors, we are seeing transparently the power of God at work.

5

Love measures our stature: the more we love, the bigger we are.

5

We have sold our birthright of freedom and justice for a mess of national security.

5

Compassion and justice are companions, not choices.

4

Faith handles the ultimate incongruities of life, humor handles the more immediate ones.

4

Only reverence can restrain violence - reverence for human life and the environment.

4

I asked an 85 year old professor, 'What makes you cry?' He said, 'Whenever I see or hear the truth.'

4

We call on all members of America's religious communities, as a testament of our common faith, to join Faithful Security, and to take action immediately to break faith with nuclear weapons.

3

In reality, there are no biblical literalists, only selective literalists.

By abolishing slavery and ordaining women, millions of Protestants have gone far beyond biblical literalism. It's time we did the same for homophobia.

3

God knows it is emotionally satisfying to be righteous with that righteousness that nourishes itself on the blood of sinners. But God also knows that what is emotionally satisfying can be spiritually devastating.

3

It's too bad that one has to conceive of sports as being the only arena where risks are, [for] all of life is risk exercise. That's the only way to live more freely, and more interestingly.

3

Nuclear Weapons merit unequivocal and unhesitating condemnation

2

I'm delighted that the future is unsure. That's the way it should be.

2

I'm not OK, you're not OK-and that's OK.

2

Fear destroys intimacy. It distances us from each other; or makes us cling to each other, which is the death of freedom.... Only love can create intimacy, and freedom too, for when all hearts are one, nothing else has to be one--neither clothes nor age; neither sex nor sexual preference; race nor mind-set.

2

It is often said that the Church is a crutch.

Of course it's a crutch. What makes you think you don't limp?

2

If your heart is full of fear, you won't seek truth;

you'll seek security. If a heart is full of love, it will have a limbering effect on the mind.

0

Charity is only a waystation on the road to justice.

0

Christians have no business thinking that the good life consists mainly in not doing bad things. We have no business thinking that to do evil in this world you have to be a Bengal tiger, when, in fact, it is enough to be a tame tabby—a nice person but not a good one. In short, Pentecost makes it clear that nothing is so fatal to Christianity as indifference.

0

Christians have to listen to the world as well as to the Word - to science, to history, to what reason and our own experience tell us. We do not honor the higher truth we find in Christ by ignoring truths found elsewhere.

0

Without love, violence will change the world; it will change it into a more violent one.

0

What is faith? Faith is being grasped by the power of love.

0

We put our best foot forward, but it's the other one that needs the attention.

0

To show compassion for an individual without showing concern for the structures of society that make him an object of compassion is to be sentimental rather than loving.

0

Human unity is not something we are called on to create — only something we are called on to recognize.

0

Love is in the giver, not the gift.

0

In life you can either follow your fears or be led by your values, by your passions.

0

For finally, we are as we love. It is love that measures our stature.

0

Truth is always in danger of being sacrificed on the altars of good taste and social stability.

0

There are three kinds of patriots, two bad, one good.

The bad ones are the uncritical lovers and the loveless critics. Good patriots carry on a lover's quarrel with their country, a reflection of God's lover's quarrel with all the world.

0
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