“There is no record of his ever attending church service or observing the orthodoxy of his religion. He never went to confession. . . . Generally he viewed priests with mistrust.”
“There is no harm in musical sounds. It matters not whether it is fast ragtime or a slow melody like 'The Rosary'.”
“[On "inspiration"] To explain the creative musician's basic objective in elementary terms, I would say that a composer writes music to express and communicate and put down in permanent form certain thoughts, emotions and states of being. These thoughts and emotions are gradually formed by the contact of the composer's personality with the world in which he lives. He expresses these thoughts . . . in the musical language of his own time.”
“Religion is a means of exploitation employed by the strong against the weak; religion is a cloak of ambition, injustice and vice . . . . Truth breaks free, science is popularized, and religion totters; soon it will fall, in the course of centuries--that is, tomorrow. . . . In good time we shall only have to deal with reason.”
" . . . if ever I'm asked if I'm religious I always reply, 'Yes, I'm a devout musician.' Music puts me in touch with something beyond the intellect, something otherworldly, something sacred."
It Ain't Necessarily So
It ain't necessarily so, (repeat)
De t'ings dat yo' li'ble
To read in de Bible,
It ain't necessarily so.
Li'l David was small, but oh my! (rpt)
He fought big Goliath
Who lay down an' dieth!
Li'l David was small, but oh my!
Oh, Jonah, he lived in de whale, (rpt)
Fo' he made his home in
Dat fish's abdomen.
Oh, Jonah, he lived in de whale.
Li'l Moses was found in a stream, (rpt)
He floated on water
Till Ole Pharaoh's daughter
She fished him, she says, from that stream.
It ain't necessarily so, (rpt)
Dey tell all you chillun
De debble's a villun,
But 'tain't necessarily so.
To get into Hebben don' snap for a sebben!
Live clean! Don' have no fault.
Oh, I takes dat gospel
Whenever it's poss'ble,
But wid a grain of salt.
Methus'lah lived nine hundred years,
But who calls dat livin'
When no gal'll give in
To no man what's nine hundred years?
I'm preachin' dis sermon to show,
It ain't nessa, ain't nessa,
ain't nessa, ain't nessa,
Ain't necessarily so.
"I had some pretty dark and desperate moments all those years ago . . . . I didn't ever smash up a hotel room or throw a TV out a window. That was Led Zeppelin. Thank god. If there was a god, you know, which there isn't."
"I do not practise religion in accordance with the sacred rites. I have made mysterious Nature my religion. I do not believe that a man is any nearer to God for being clad in priestly garments, nor that one place in a town is better adapted to meditation than another. When I gaze at a sunset sky and spend hours contemplating its marvelous ever-changing beauty, an extraordinary emotion overwhelms me. Nature in all its vastness is truthfully reflected in my sincere though feeble soul. Around me are the trees stretching up their branches to the skies, the perfumed flowers gladdening the meadow, the gentle grass-carpetted earth, . . . and my hands unconsciously assume an attitude of adoration. . . . To feel the supreme and moving beauty of the spectacle to which Nature invites her ephemeral guests! . . . that is what I call prayer."
“What a blessing to know there’s a devil, and that I’m but a pawn in his game / that my impulse to sin doesn’t come from within, and so I’m not exactly to blame.”
“Whoever dares to say: 'Outside the Church is no salvation,' ought to be driven from the State.
But I am mistaken in speaking of a Christian republic; the terms are mutually exclusive. Christianity preaches only servitude and dependence. Its spirit is so favorable to tyranny that it always profits by such a regime. True Christians are made to be slaves, and they know it and do not much mind: this short life counts for too little in their eyes.”
"My sister died in ’41 of breast cancer, and I remember a rabbi saying that ‘God in his infinite wisdom has chosen to take this young girl.’ That was a point in my life that I said there couldn’t be any God."
“At home we didn't talk about religion. So, gradually the question faded away by itself and disappeared from the agenda. When I was nineteen, my father died; my response to his death was atheistic.”
“I was brought up a Catholic, became an agnostic, flirted with Islam and now hold a position which may be termed Manichee. I believe the wrong God is temporarily ruling the world and that the true God has gone under. Thus I am a pessimist but believe the world has much solace to offer: love, food, music, the immense variety of race and language, literature and the pleasure of artistic creation.”
“The sooner you get rid of all this Christian humbug the better. The whole traditional concept of life is false. Throw those great Christian blinkers away, and look around you and stand on your own feet . . . Don't believe all the tommyrot priests tell you; learn and prove everything by your own experience . . . One thing is certain — that English music will never be any good till they get rid of Jesus. Humanity is incredible. It will believe anything, anything to escape reality.”