Sermon quotes on morality

Alfred Adler 

It is always easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.


Dante Alighieri 

The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.

Karl Barth

The devil may also make use of morality.

Bertolt Brecht 

Food comes first, then morals.

Cleanth Brooks 

One looks for an image of man, attempting in a world increasingly dehumanized to realize himself as a man—to act like a responsible moral being, not to drift like a mere thing.

The Hidden God, Yale University Press 

Oswald Chambers 

Prayer is often a temptation to bank on a miracle of God instead of on a moral issue, i.e., it is much easier to ask God to do my work than it is to do it myself. Until we are disciplined properly, we will always be inclined to bank on God’s miracles and refuse to do the moral thing ourselves. It is our job, and it will never be done unless we do it.

G.K. Chesterton

It is shorter to state the things forbidden than the things permitted; precisely because most things are permitted and only a few things forbidden.

T.S. Eliot 

Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.

T.S. Eliot 

The last temptation is the greatest treason:

To do the right deed for the wrong reason.

Murder in the Cathedral

Thomas Jefferson 

State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor. The former will decide it as well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules. 

Martyn Lloyd-Jones 

Human will-power alone is not enough. Will-power is excellent and we should always be using it; but it is not enough. A desire to live a good life is not enough. Obviously we should all have that desire, but it will not guarantee success. So let me put it thus: Hold on to your principles of morality and ethics, use your willpower to the limit, pay great heed to every noble, uplifting desire that is in you; but realize that these things alone are not enough, that they will never bring you to the desired place. We have to realize that all our best is totally inadequate, that a spiritual battle must be fought in a spiritual manner.

Timothy Keller

Moralistic behavior change done for one’s self simply manipulates and leverages radical selfishness without challenging it.

Timothy Keller

Community service has become a patch for morality. You can devote your life to community service and be a total schmuck.


C.S. Lewis

You cannot make men good by law.

C.S. Lewis

These, then, are the two points I wanted to make. First, that human beings, all over the earth, have this curious idea that they ought to behave in a certain way, and cannot really get rid of it. Secondly, that they do not in fact behave in that way. They know the Law of Nature; they break it. These two facts are the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in.

C.S. Lewis

The moment you say that one set of moral ideas can be better than another, you are, in fact, measuring them both by a standard, saying that one of them conforms to that standard more nearly than the other. But the standard that measures two things is something different from either. You are, in fact, comparing them both with some Real Morality, admitting that there is such a thing as a real Right, independent of what people think, and that some people’s ideas get nearer to that real Right than others.

C.S. Lewis 

All men alike stand condemned, not by alien codes of ethics, but by their own, and all men therefore are conscious of guilt.

Martin Luther King Jr.

I am not interested in power for power’s sake, but I’m interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.

W. Somerset Maugham 

You can’t learn too soon that the most useful thing about a principle is that it can always be sacrificed to expediency.

Thomas More 

Man cannot be separated from God, nor can the affairs of state be separated from morality.

Theodore Roosevelt

To educate a person in the mind but not in morals is to educate a menace to society.

J.K. Rowling (Voldemort)

There is no good or evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.

Christian Smith

“Moral”…is an orientation toward understandings about what is right and wrong, just and unjust, that are not established by our own actual desires or preferences but instead are believed to exist apart from them, providing standards by which our desires and preferences can themselves be judged.

Moral Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture, Oxford University Press.

Robert Louis Stevenson

If your morals make you dreary, depend upon it they are wrong.

A Christmas Sermon

David Foster Wallace

Am I a good person? Deep down, do I even really want to be a good person, or do I only want to seem like a good person so that people (including myself) will approve of me? Is there a difference? How do I ever actually know whether I’m bullshitting myself, morally speaking?” 

Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

H.G. Wells 

Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.

The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman

Oscar Wilde

Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.

An Ideal Husband

Philip Yancey 

Critics of Christianity correctly point out that the church has proved an unreliable carrier of moral values. The church has indeed made mistakes, launching Crusades, censuring scientists, burning witches, trading in slaves, supporting tyrannical regimes. Yet the church also has an inbuilt potential for self-correction because it rests on a platform of transcendent moral authority. When human beings take upon themselves the Luciferian chore of redefining morality, untethered to any transcendent source, all hell breaks loose.


Stanley Hauerwas

The most determinative moral formation

most people have in our society is when they learn

to play baseball, basketball, quilt, cook or learn to lay bricks.

Discipleship as a Craft

C.S. Lewis

What was the sense in saying that the enemy were in

the wrong unless Right is a real thing which the Nazis at

bottom knew as well as we did and ought to be have practiced?

If they had no notion of what we mean by right, then,

though we may still have had to fight them, we

could no more have blamed them for that

than for the colour of their hair.,

Right and Wrong as a Clue to the Meaning of the Universe

Elisabeth Elliot Gren

The current popular notion that judging others is in itself a sin leads to such inappropriate maxims as ‘I’m okay and you’re okay.’ It encourages a conspiracy of moral indifference which says, “If you never tell me that anything I’m doing is wrong, I’ll never tell you that anything you’re doing is wrong.”

Leadership, Vol. 3, no. 1.

G.K. Chesterton

Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.

A.W. Tozer

The man of pseudo-faith will fight for his verbal creed but refuse flatly to allow himself to get in a predicament where his future must depend upon that creed being true. He always provides himself with secondary ways of escape; so that he will have a way out if the roof caves in. What we need very badly these days is a company of Christians who are prepared to trust God as completely now as they know that they must do at that last day.

Mark Twain

It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare.

Ernest Hemingway

Few men are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality of those who seek to change a world which yields most painfully to change.

N.T. Wright

When you pass beyond good and evil, you pass into the realm where might is right, and where anything that reminds you of the old moral values—for instance, a large Jewish community—stands in your way and must be obliterated.

Taken from Evil and the Justice of God by N.T. Wright Copyright (c) 2006, p.43 by N.T. Wright. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

R.V.G. Tasker

The disciples are to be a moral disinfectant in a world where moral standards are low, constantly changing, or non-existent.

The Gospel According to St Matthew, (Tyndale New Testament Commentary; InterVarsity Press, 1961.

Dallas Willard

The disappearance of moral knowledge, in the manner reviewed, is not an expression of truth rationally secured, but is the outcome of an historical drift, with no rational justification at all or only the thinnest show of one.

The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge (New York: Routledge, 2018), p.44

Jonathan K. Dodson

If we’re unable or unwilling to discern a norm to judge what is good and evil, the whole moral order will tumble into confusion. If we don’t get the moral facts straight, a variety of “crises” will compound, and we’ll sail into a very dark night. We are in an age that desperately needs to know how to determine good from evil. Without this moral discernment, we’re unable to move toward human flourishing.

Taken from Our Good Crisis: Overcoming Moral Chaos with the Beatitudes by Jonathan K. Dodson Copyright (c) 2020 by Jonathan K. Dodson. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com

C.S. Lewis

Morality or duty . . . never yet made a man happy in himself or dear to others.

English Literature in the 16th Century (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1973), 187–88.

J.C. Ryle

Will it increase a man’s happiness to be converted? . . . [People] have a secret, lurking fear, that if they are converted they must become melancholy, miserable, and low-spirited. Conversion and a sour face, conversion and a gloomy brow, conversion and an ill-natured readiness to snub young people, and put down all mirth . . . conversion and sighing and groaning—all these are things which they seem to think must go together! No wonder that such people shrink from the idea of conversion!

 “Conversion,” Old Paths: Being Plain Statements on Some of the Weightier Matters of Christianity.

Mark Twain (for contrast)

There is a Moral sense, and there is an Immoral Sense. History shows us that the Moral Sense enables us to perceive morality and how to avoid it, and that the Immoral Sense enables us to perceive immorality and how to enjoy it.

Following the Equator (1897)

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