Random Quote #32 topic: voltaire-dict, Philosophical Dictionary by Voltaire, 1694-1778


The word "devout" signifies "devoted"; and in the strict sense of the
term this qualification should belong only to monks and nuns who make
vows. But as in the Gospel there is no more mention of vows than of
devout persons, this title does not in fact belong to anyone. Everyone
should be equally righteous. A man who styles himself devout resembles a
commoner who styles himself a marquis; he arrogates to himself a quality
he does not possess. He thinks himself more worthy than his neighbour.
One can forgive such foolishness in women; their frailty and their
frivolity render them excusable; the poor creatures pass from a lover to
a director in good faith: but one cannot pardon the rogues who direct
them, who abuse their ignorance, who establish the throne of their pride
on the credulity of the sex. They resolve themselves into a little
mystic seraglio composed of seven or eight aged beauties, subdued by the
weight of their lack of occupation, and almost always do these persons
pay tribute to their new masters. No young woman without a lover, no
aged devout woman without a director. Oh! the Orientals are wiser than
we are! Never does a pasha say: "We supped yesterday with the Aga of the
Janissaries who is my sister's lover, and the vicar of the mosque who is
my wife's director."


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