An atheist post online used the following as a signature:
“Fables should be taught as fables, myths as myths, and miracles as poetic fancies. To teach superstitions as truths is a most terrible thing. The child-mind accepts and believes them, and only through great pain and perhaps tragedy can he be in after-years relieved of them. In fact, men will fight for a superstition quite as quickly as for a living truth – often more so, since a superstition is so intangible you can not get at it to refute it, but truth is a point of view, and so is changeable.”
No reference was given, but the passage can be found attributed to a letter by Synesius. Unfortunately it seems clear that this is not part of the standard English translation by Fitzgerald, which is online at Livius.org:
So… does anyone know where Synesius says anything like this?
I am suspicious. Much of this doesn’t sound right.
UPDATE: No sign of this anywhere in Fitzgerald’s translation. Looking in Google books, I find the saying in Elbert Hubbard, Little Journeys to the homes of great teachers, 1908, p.84-5 (without reference, of course). I can’t find anything earlier than that.