1823-1892, French Writer, Critic, Scholar
As a rule, all heroism is due to a lack of reflection, and thus it is necessary to maintain a mass of imbeciles. If they once understand themselves the ruling men will be lost.
Ernest Renan – [Heroes and Heroism]

As soon as sacrifice becomes a duty and necessity to mankind. I see no limit to the horizon which opens before him.
Ernest Renan – [Sacrifice]

Communism is in conflict with human nature.
Ernest Renan – [Communism and Socialism]

He whom God has touched will always be a being apart: he is, whatever he may do, a stranger among men; he is marked by a sign.
Ernest Renan – [Spirit and Spirituality]

I can die when I wish to: that is my elixir of life.
Ernest Renan – [Death and Dying]

Let us pardon him his hope of a vain apocalypse, and of a second coming in great triumph upon the clouds of heaven. Perhaps these were the errors of others rather than his own; and if it be true that he himself shared the general illusion, what matters it, since his dream rendered him strong against death, and sustained him in a struggle to which he might otherwise have been unequal?
Ernest Renan – [Jesus Christ]

Man makes holy what he believes.
Ernest Renan – [Belief]

Never has any one been less a priest than Jesus, never a greater enemy of forms, which stifle religion under the pretext of protecting it. By this we are all his disciples and his successors; by this he has laid the eternal foundation-stone of true religion; and if religion is essential to humanity, he has by this deserved the Divine rank the world has accorded him.
Ernest Renan – [Jesus Christ]

No idea can succeed except at the expense of sacrifice; no one ever escapes without enduring strain from the struggle of life.
Ernest Renan – [Sacrifice]

Our opinions become fixed at the point where we stop thinking.
Ernest Renan – [Opinions]

The greatest men of a nation are those it puts to death.
Ernest Renan – [Greatness]

The simplest school boy is now familiar with truths for which Archimedes would have sacrificed his life.
Ernest Renan – [Progress]

To be free in an age like ours, one must be in a position of authority. That in itself would be enough to make me ambitious.
Ernest Renan – [Authority]

To conceive the good, in fact, is not sufficient; it must be made to succeed among men. To accomplish this less pure paths must be followed.
Ernest Renan – [Goodness]

When people complain of life, it is almost always because they have asked impossible things of it.
Ernest Renan – [Complaints and Complaining]