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Androcles and the Lion Quotes from the play by George Bernard Shaw



Why not give Christianity a trial? The question seems a hopeless one after 2,000 years of resolute adherence to the old cry of 'Not this man, but Barabbas.' Yet it is beginning to look as if Barabbas was a failure, in spite of his strong right hand, his victories, his empires, his millions of money, and his moralities and churches and political constitutions. 'This man' has not been a failure yet; for nobody has ever been sane enough to try his way.
Androcles and the Lion
Preface

Women, for the sake of their children and parents, submit to slaveries and prostitutions that no unattached woman would endure.
Androcles and the Lion
Preface

The great danger of conversion in all ages has been that when the religion of the high mind is offered to the lower mind, the lower mind, feeling its fascination without understanding it, and being incapable of rising to it, drags it down to its level by degrading it.
Androcles and the Lion
Preface

The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality, and by no means a necessity of life.
Androcles and the Lion
Preface

Christianity as a specific doctrine was slain with Jesus, suddenly and utterly. He was hardly cold in his grave, or high in his heaven (as you please), before the apostles dragged the tradition of him down to the level of the thing it has remained ever since.
Androcles and the Lion
Preface

Every man to whom salvation is offered has an inalienable natural right to say 'No, thank you: I prefer to retain my full moral responsibility: it is not good for me to be able to load a scapegoat with my sins: I should be less careful how I committed them if I knew they would cost me nothing.'
Androcles and the Lion
Preface

I must remind you that our credulity is not to be measured by the truth of the things we believe. When men believed that the earth was flat, they were not credulous: they were using their common sense, and, if asked to prove that the earth was flat, would have said simply, 'Look at it.' Those who refuse to believe that it is round are exercising a wholesome skepticism.
Androcles and the Lion
Preface

If it could be proved today that not one of the miracles of Jesus actually occurred, that proof would not invalidate a single one of his didactic utterances; and conversely, if it could be proved that not only did the miracles actually occur, but that he had wrought a thousand other miracles a thousand times more wonderful, not a jot of weight would be added to his doctrine.
Androcles and the Lion
Preface

The primitive idea of justice is partly legalized revenge and partly expiation by sacrifice. It works out from both sides in the notion that two blacks make a white, and that when a wrong has been done, it should be paid for by an equivalent suffering. It seems to the Philistine majority a matter of course that this compensating suffering should be inflicted on the wrongdoer for the sake of its deterrent effect on other would-be wrongdoers; but a moment's reflection will shew that this utilitarian application corrupts the whole transaction. For example, the shedding of blood cannot be balanced by the shedding of guilty blood. Sacrificing a criminal to propitiate God for the murder of one of his righteous servants is like sacrificing a mangy sheep or an ox with the rinderpest: it calls down divine wrath instead of appeasing it. In doing it we offer God as a sacrifice the gratification of our own revenge and the protection of our own lives without cost to ourselves; and cost to ourselves is the essence of sacrifice and expiation.
Androcles and the Lion
Preface

The seriousness of throwing over hell whilst still clinging to the Atonement is obvious. If there is no punishment for sin there can be no self-forgiveness for it. If Christ paid our score, and if there is no hell and therefore no chance of our getting into trouble by forgetting the obligation, then we can be as wicked as we like with impunity inside the secular law, even from self-reproach, which becomes mere ingratitude to the Savior. On the other hand, if Christ did not pay our score, it still stands against us; and such debts make us extremely uncomfortable. The drive of evolution, which we call conscience and honor, seizes on such slips, and shames us to the dust for being so low in the scale as to be capable of them. The 'saved' thief experiences an ecstatic happiness which can never come to the honest atheist: he is tempted to steal again to repeat the glorious sensation. But if the atheist steals he has no such happiness. He is a thief and knows that he is a thief. Nothing can rub that off him. He may try to sooth his shame by some sort of restitution or equivalent act of benevolence; but that does not alter the fact that he did steal; and his conscience will not be easy until he has conquered his will to steal and changed himself into an honest man.
Androcles and the Lion
Preface

THE CAPTAIN: A martyr, Lavinia, is a fool. Your death will prove nothing.
LAVINIA: Then why kill me?
Androcles and the Lion
Act 1

I'm glad he's hungry. Not that I want him to suffer, poor chap! But then he'll enjoy eating me much more. There's a cheerful side to everything.
Androcles and the Lion
Act 2

No, really: I can't fight, I never could. I can't bring myself to dislike anyone enough.
Androcles and the Lion
Act 2



Androcles and the Lion - a 1912 play written by George Bernard Shaw. The play is Shaw's retelling of the tale of Androcles, a slave who is saved by the requited mercy of a lion. Shaw was born July 26, 1856, and died on November 2, 1950.




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