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Skepticism   /skˈɛptɪsˌɪzəm/   Listen
Skepticism

noun
(Written also scepticism)
1.
Doubt about the truth of something.  Synonyms: disbelief, incredulity, mental rejection.
2.
The disbelief in any claims of ultimate knowledge.  Synonyms: agnosticism, scepticism.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Skepticism" Quotes from Famous Books



... some skepticism. "It was not the Hurons, but their rivals, the Ottawas, who would have sent you to the stake," I explained curtly. "The Hurons—those of the Baron's band—would have held you as ...
— Montlivet • Alice Prescott Smith

... are great feeder-dams to infidelity and skepticism is demonstrated by the infidel productions of the day. The dogma of ecclesiastic authority set up in opposition to reason and scientific discovery is the infidel's devil, and a very poor devil at that. For, when the Pope has interfered to settle ...
— The Christian Foundation, June, 1880

... of a footprint, with a hue very like that of blood. It was a twilight sort of a place, beneath a porch, which was much overshadowed by trees and shrubbery. It might have been blood; but he rather thought, in his wicked skepticism, that it was a natural, reddish stain in the stone. He measured his own foot, however, ...
— Sketches and Studies • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... diurnal interests. At last I felt myself once more a human being; and though the riddle of what is meant by life remained unsolved I was thankful for this return from the abyss—this deliverance from so awful an initiation into the mysteries of skepticism. ...
— The Varieties of Religious Experience • William James

... If I have been sent by God to make men believe, He will give me power to make them believe. Jesus Christ didn't have that power; it is the work of the Holy Ghost; we cannot persuade men and overcome skepticism and infidelity unless we are baptised with the Holy ...
— Men of the Bible • Dwight Moody

... hour to pass, the city reads. Crimes, scandals, horrors, holocausts, burglaries, arsons, murders, deceptions. The city reads with a vague, dull skepticism. Who are these people of the newspaper columns? Lusting scoundrels, bandits, heroes, wild lovers, madmen? Not in the streets or the houses that tick-tock through the night.... Somewhere else. A troupe of mummers wandering unseen behind the great clock face of the city—an always unknown troupe ...
— Erik Dorn • Ben Hecht

... she had set about being independent. They fully approved of her decision to spend her time in a way worth the while, but when it came to planning for a lifetime—there were plenty of reasons for skepticism as to her needing to look far ahead. Indeed, it was well known that Roberta might have abandoned all effort long ago, and have given any one of several extremely eligible young men the greatly desired opportunity of taking care of her in ...
— The Twenty-Fourth of June • Grace S. Richmond

... in a letter to his master Abib. Karshish meets Lazarus (him who was raised from the dead) and, regarding him as a patient, describes his symptoms,—such symptoms as a man might have who must live on earth after having looked on heaven. The physician's half-scoffing words show how his habitual skepticism is shaken by a glimpse of the unseen world. He concludes, but his doubt is stronger than his conclusion, that ...
— Outlines of English and American Literature • William J. Long

... continuous performance with silent skepticism. He did not abuse horses himself, neither did he put up with too much nonsense from them. To him they were like children, needing a lot of tolerant kindness, but, also, at times, to be greatly improved by a sound whipping. Once ...
— Thoroughbreds • W. A. Fraser

... an American from Boston), having less faith in Madre Moreno's power than the rest of her neighbours had tried that never-failing test for witchcraft, and placed a piece of steel under the chair where the Madre was sitting, but she, too, was at once converted from her skepticism, for when the Madre wanted to leave she was unable to move until the bit of steel ...
— The Beautiful Eyes of Ysidria • Charles A. Gunnison

... her skepticism unworthy in one so young, and told her so; on which she relapsed into a ...
— Tish, The Chronicle of Her Escapades and Excursions • Mary Roberts Rinehart

... collapse. The smaller nations had lost faith in their deities, because they had not been able to defend them from the victorious Greeks and Romans. But the conquerors had for other reasons equally lost faith in their own gods. It was an age of skepticism, religious decay and moral corruption. But there are always natures which must possess a faith in which they can trust. These were in search of a religion, and many of them found refuge from the coarse and ...
— The Life of St. Paul • James Stalker

... result of an unnatural predisposition, and an inflamed and diseased imagination. None the less is there an up-welling, genuine affection, that for the time, commands and absorbs woman's entire being. It is possible, that what is treated here as a jest, and there, as a matter of skepticism, may exist in some true hearts, suddenly conceived, yet persevered in, ...
— The Young Maiden • A. B. (Artemas Bowers) Muzzey

... with his elbows on the table he tried to tell her all that he was going to do. She listened with kindly skepticism and gently pointed out that his soup was going cold. He knew that she did not hear what he was saying: but he did not care: he was talking ...
— Jean-Christophe, Vol. I • Romain Rolland

... variance of science, no quibble of the intellect, can ever disturb this faith on which my soul rests. It is more than a conviction; it is a perfect satisfaction! I KNOW! I may not be able to explain all mysteries, but I can never doubt again, because I know. The more I meet with modern skepticism, the more I am convinced that that is the only answer to it all: "He that doeth His will shall know of the doctrine," and that promise is fulfilled to all who have ...
— The Witness • Grace Livingston Hill Lutz

... the established religion carried her into the field of German skepticism. She translated Strauss' Life of Jesus. For three years her studies were interrupted by the serious illness of her father. When he died she went to Geneva and remained on the Continent a year. Then she came home ...
— Modern English Books of Power • George Hamlin Fitch

... assertion," responded her teacher in a somewhat doubtful tone. "I'll have to ruminate on that. However, this little glimpse of a better way than I have hitherto known, seems like an olive leaf of hope and promise to me, for I have been tossing on a restless sea of doubt and skepticism for years, reaching out and groping after some substantial plank that would float me into a haven of peace and rest. But how is it that you, so young, argue so clearly and logically about these things that have puzzled older ...
— Katherine's Sheaves • Mrs. Georgie Sheldon

... there were those among his friends who felt that there were moments when George lived up to things too brightly and too beautifully. His Uncle Jaffry, for instance, had his openly skeptical moments. But George even lived up to his uncle's skepticism. He accepted his remarks with charming good humor. It was his pride that he could ...
— The Sturdy Oak - A Composite Novel of American Politics by Fourteen American Authors • Samuel Merwin, et al.

... to prevent arrangements on the part of another power, of which we were doubtful whether they might not be even to our advantage, and render our neighbor less than before the object of our jealousy and alarm. In this doubt there is much decision. No nation would consent to carry on a war of skepticism. But the fact is, this expression of doubt is only a mode of putting an opinion, when it is not the drift of the author to overturn the doubt. Otherwise, the doubt is never stated as the author's own, nor left, as here it is, unanswered. Indeed, the mode of stating the ...
— The Works of the Right Honourable Edmund Burke, Vol. VI. (of 12) • Edmund Burke

... that all the editions which we possess "must be attributed to the enterprise of the book dealers," and that one cannot speak of a direct influence of Luther on any of these editions. In opposition to this extreme skepticism, Albrecht points out that, for instance, the insertion of the explanation of the Introduction to the Lord's Prayer and the new form of confession, as well as its insertion between Baptism and the Lord's Supper, could not have taken place ...
— Historical Introductions to the Symbolical Books of the Evangelical Lutheran Church • Friedrich Bente

... door to my secretary's office, I could see her looking up from her desk at the Swami's face with an expression of fascinated skepticism. The Swami's back was toward me, and on it hung flowing folds of a black cloak. His turban was white, except where it had rubbed against the back ...
— Sense from Thought Divide • Mark Irvin Clifton

... whereabouts I might possibly make the attempt," I answered, with intentional vagueness; for though I no more believed in the objective existence of the Golden Volcano than in Aladdin's lamp, I did not wish to hurt the old man's feelings by an avowal of my skepticism. ...
— Mr. Fortescue • William Westall

... call at the school-rooms, go over a part of the house, and leave with the impression that the convent is a nice place, will never believe my statements about this room. Nor can we wonder at their skepticism. It is exceedingly difficult for pure minds to conceive how any human being can be so fearfully depraved. Knowing the purity of their own intentions, and judging others by themselves, it is not strange that they regard ...
— Life in the Grey Nunnery at Montreal • Sarah J Richardson

... day as six men could cut with scythes. I ordered two of these machines for the next year, for I was farming more and more on a big scale. But what seemed most wonderful to me was an instrument now being talked about which sent messages by electricity. It was not perfected yet. It was treated with skepticism. But if it could be! If I could get a message from St. Louis, a distance of more than a hundred miles, in a few ...
— Children of the Market Place • Edgar Lee Masters

... Elkan's turn to nod, and he did so with just the right degree of skepticism as at last he broached the ...
— Elkan Lubliner, American • Montague Glass

... details of which are kept profoundly hidden from public scrutiny, and when the evidences of success are presented in the doubtful form of specimens which the public has no means of tracing directly to the process, the public is apt to be skeptical, and to express skepticism often ...
— Scientific American, Volume XXIV., No. 12, March 18, 1871 • Various

... us end so! How is a man to end?" answered Bertie philosophically, while his thoughts still ran off in a speculative skepticism. "Is there a heart ...
— Under Two Flags • Ouida [Louise de la Ramee]

... referring to a kingbird; "and we have a bird that is called the French mocking-bird; he catches other birds." The last remark was of interest for its bearing upon a point about which I had felt some curiosity, and, I may say, some skepticism, as I had seen many loggerhead shrikes, but had observed no indication that other birds feared them or held any grudge against them. As he rode off he called my attention to a great blue heron just then flying over the ...
— A Florida Sketch-Book • Bradford Torrey

... Christians. Teachers whose reputation for scholarship gives them wide influence, give it as their opinion that the Bible is not inspired at all, except as other great books are inspired. This poison has penetrated all our churches. The virus of skepticism has entered the pulpits in ...
— The Gospel Day • Charles Ebert Orr

... don't mean any harm, and you must not think anything of my brusque speeches. As you know, there is a tinge of skepticism in me which I can not help, and my ideals are so much higher than the realities of life, that I am always painfully conscious ...
— The Right Knock - A Story • Helen Van-Anderson

... light keeper was heard to cough. Primmie seemed to discern a hint of skepticism even in ...
— Galusha the Magnificent • Joseph C. Lincoln

... secularities, the nimble intellectualities, the specious animalism, the derisive skepticism, the snapping personalities, the witty worldliness, that interlace and constitute the successive cantos of "Don Juan," the passages just quoted and similar ones (they are not many) rise, as above the desires and the discontents, the plots ...
— Essays AEsthetical • George Calvert

... failures. In the absence of records it is always possible to calmly assume that the facts are not so bad as for other schools which do report their recorded facts. The prevailing unfamiliarity with statistical methods may also favor a skepticism as to their proper application to education, since it is not an exact science. But the fact remains established that it is always possible to measure qualitative differences if stated in terms of their ...
— The High School Failures - A Study of the School Records of Pupils Failing in Academic or - Commercial High School Subjects • Francis P. Obrien

... in proportion to their differing intellectual faculties. The child is annoyed, and knows not the cause of annoyance; the man is annoyed, and endeavours to lose the sense of discomfort in a universal skepticism as to human virtue, and a resolving of all actions into one principle, self-interest. He thus seeks to create a principle possessing the stability which he desires, but seeks in vain to find; for, be it remembered, our love of moral stability is precisely as great as our love of physical change;—another ...
— The Young Lady's Mentor - A Guide to the Formation of Character. In a Series of Letters to Her Unknown Friends • A Lady

... Raeburn was the very last man to understand or sympathize with any phase of life through which he had not himself passed. He had never been troubled with religious doubts; skepticism seemed to him monstrous and unnatural. He met the confession, which his son had made in pain and diffidence, with a most deplorable want of tact. In answer to the perplexing questions which were put to him, he merely replied testily ...
— We Two • Edna Lyall

... warning from the general skepticism we met with at Toyama, when we proposed the pass. But with the fatal faith of a man in his guidebook, we ignored the native forebodings. Besides, there were just people enough who knew nothing about it, ...
— Noto, An Unexplored Corner of Japan • Percival Lowell

... a very general tendency to deny that ideal forces have any practical power. But there have been several thinkers whose skepticism has an opposite direction. "We can not," they say, "attribute external reality to the sensations we feel." We need not wonder that this theory has failed to convince the unmetaphysical common-sense of people that a stone post is merely a stubborn thought, and that the bite of ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 7 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Eminent Orators • Elbert Hubbard

... to affect the public mind, and as he looked back he dated his decline from the appearance of her first article. It had done all the mischief he had feared. Not only were his old stock-holders dissatisfied, but wherever he went for aid he found a disconcerting lack of response, a half-veiled skepticism that was maddening. ...
— The Iron Trail • Rex Beach

... in morals, he loves as he hates, without NUANCE, to the very depths, to the point of pain, to the point of sickness—his many HIDDEN sufferings make him revolt against the noble taste which seems to DENY suffering. The skepticism with regard to suffering, fundamentally only an attitude of aristocratic morality, was not the least of the causes, also, of the last great slave-insurrection which ...
— Beyond Good and Evil • Friedrich Nietzsche

... interpreted by the creed of Unbelief. It would be very absurd then, because Christianity does not instantly abolish, or fully explain, all these strange and darker realities, to fall back upon the opposite ground of skepticism. This is only receding from the best solution to the worst—or, rather, to no solution at all. For I maintain that Christianity gives us not merely the best, but the only solution of these problems. It will be my purpose in this discourse, at least, to show what ...
— Humanity in the City • E. H. Chapin

... is not to be discarded. It is doubtless impossible to estimate with entire correctness the relative value of the different forces that advance or retard civilization, but we believe the weight of historic evidence goes to prove that religious skepticism was the actual cause, as it has always been the inevitable precursor, of national decay. Coleridge in The Friend quotes the historian Polybius as attributing the strength of the Roman republic to the general reverence of the invisible powers, and the consequent ...
— Lippincott's Magazine of Popular Literature and Science, Vol. 15, - No. 90, June, 1875 • Various

... thought it derogatory to the "Majesty of heaven and earth" to conceive of him as occupied with our mean affairs, numbering the hairs of our heads, and guiding the sparrow's fall. But the blow which crushed her heart, destroyed its skepticism. She saw so clearly in this dispensation, the hand of a Father chastening his erring child; she felt so keenly that she deserved the rod, for having in a measure worshipped the gift more than the giver, that she believed, ...
— Lives of the Three Mrs. Judsons • Arabella W. Stuart

... lepidoptera rose in shoals to the printed offer of luna moths measuring ten and eleven inches across the wings. Letters came in by, every mail, responding variously with fervor, suspicion, yearning eagerness, and bitter skepticism to Average Jones' advertisement. All of these he put aside, except such as bore a New York postmark. And each day he compared the new names signed to the New York letters with the directory of occupants ...
— Average Jones • Samuel Hopkins Adams

... people,—who thought, that, after the proof which the people had given of their readiness to sacrifice the interests of the present moment to the interests of a day and a posterity that they might not live to see, it would be worse than skepticism to call it in question. But even these men might hesitate about the form of the sacrifice they called for, for they knew how often men are governed by names, and that their minds might revolt at the idea of a formal tax, although they would ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 85, November, 1864 • Various

... of skepticism. "All those doctors send you to each other," she proclaimed. "Like as not he'll get ...
— The Happy End • Joseph Hergesheimer

... agree that a lurking sense of hostile criticism is back of the poet's self-absorption, another ground for skepticism may lie in our assumption that Plato is the central figure in the opposition. It is usually with purpose to excite the envy of contemporary enemies that poets call attention to their graces, the student may discover. Frequently the quarrels leading them ...
— The Poet's Poet • Elizabeth Atkins

... idea of causality, of necessary sequence, on which the whole fabric of our reasoning rests, is an assumption; inevitable, it may be, yet an assumption. Thus English philosophy, which seemed to be so settled and positive in Bacon, ended in the most unsettled and negative skepticism in Hume; and it was only through Kant that, according to the Germans, the great problem was solved at last, and men again knew ...
— Chips From A German Workshop. Vol. III. • F. Max Mueller

... table—which surely seriously contradicts the Holy Trinity—was printed on the last page of the catechism, as it at once occurred to me that by this means the minds of the children might, even in their earliest years, be led to the most sinful skepticism. We Prussians are more intelligent, and, in our zeal for converting those heathen who are familiar with arithmetic, take good care not to print the multiplication table in the back ...
— The German Classics of The Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries, Vol. VI. • Editor-in-Chief: Kuno Francke

... have been set forth sufficiently in this volume and offer no basis for an attitude of skepticism. A few considerations may be recalled as correctives for a partial or mistaken reading of the evidence. (1) Though the records of Shakespeare's life are meager, they are fuller than for any other Elizabethan dramatist. Indeed we know little of the biography of ...
— The Facts About Shakespeare • William Allan Nielson

... education, and as each and all came trooping back like so many little hands tugging at his heart-strings and moistening his eyes, he realized that there was needed in this hurrying, selfish life of ours something deeper, and something beyond the skepticism of Voltaire and the materialism of Ingersoll. And there in that dim little room, with two dozen poorly clad and simple fisher-folk singing gospel hymns to the accompaniment of a wheezy cottage organ, he realized that while atheism and doubt might appeal to his intellect, it did not satisfy ...
— Uncle Terry - A Story of the Maine Coast • Charles Clark Munn

... Father Roland had disposed of the gloves, and introduced David to the rest of his equipment when he came from the cabin. It was very business-like, this accoutrement that was to be the final physical touch to his transition; it did not allow of skepticism; about it there was also a quiet and cold touch of romance. The rifle chilled David's bare fingers when he touched it. It was short-barrelled, but heavy in the breech, with an appearance of indubitable ...
— The Courage of Marge O'Doone • James Oliver Curwood

... G. Rossetti, Morris, and Swinburne—as representative of the minor poets of the age; but there are many others who are worthy of study,—Arthur Hugh Clough and Matthew Arnold,[239] who are often called the poets of skepticism, but who in reality represent a reverent seeking for truth through reason and human experience; Frederick William Faber, the Catholic mystic, author of some exquisite hymns; and the scholarly John Keble, author ...
— English Literature - Its History and Its Significance for the Life of the English Speaking World • William J. Long

... Mr. Czenki looked up, and the living flame of wonder within his eyes flickered and died. In silence, for a minute or more, he studied the unconcealed skepticism in his employer's face, and then ...
— The Diamond Master • Jacques Futrelle

... magnificent wisdom and goodness. He lived for the good of his country and the world. I love him for the tall angel of light that he now is, and the celestial richness of the glory that streams from his brow. I know I love him, and no philosophy or skepticism can cheat me out ...
— Aims and Aids for Girls and Young Women • George Sumner Weaver

... there. There was no warrant for any belief in the special divining power of the unknown Lacy Bassett, except Captain Jim's extravagant faith in his general superiority, and even that had always been a source of amused skepticism to the camp. We were already impatiently familiar with the opinions of this unseen oracle; he was always impending in Captain Jim's speech as a fragrant memory or an unquestioned authority. When Captain Jim began, "Ez Lacy was one day tellin' me," ...
— The Heritage of Dedlow Marsh and Other Tales • Bret Harte

... principally by absorbing into your thinking a lively doubt about all classifications and general terms, for they are the basis of statistical measurement. That done you are fairly proof against seduction. No better popular statement of this is to be found than H. G. Wells' little essay: "Skepticism of the Instrument." Wells has, of course, made no new discovery. The history of philosophy is crowded with quarrels as to how seriously we ought to take our classifications: a large part of the battle about Nominalism ...
— A Preface to Politics • Walter Lippmann

... the impression here that logic, not faith, is the supreme religious virtue. And get this, Monty, because it's something practically unheard of: skepticism is a religious obligation, ...
— The Return • H. Beam Piper and John J. McGuire

... worked up into a state of fear bordering on panic, but wise old Mbonga affected to feel considerable skepticism regarding the tale, and attributed the whole fabrication to their fright in the face of ...
— Tarzan of the Apes • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... Egyptian immigration into Attica was long implicitly received. Recently the bold skepticism of German scholars —always erudite—if sometimes rash—has sufficed to convince us of the danger we incur in drawing historical conclusions from times to which no historical researches can ascend. The proofs upon which rest the reputed arrival of Egyptian ...
— Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... donor describes himself as "simply astounded at the blessed results of prayer and faith," and many others have found this brief narrative "the most wonderful and complete refutation of skepticism it had ever been their lot to meet with"—an array of facts constituting the most undeniable "evidences of Christianity." There are abundant instances of the power exerted by Mr. Muller's testimony, as when ...
— George Muller of Bristol - His Witness to a Prayer-Hearing God • Arthur T. Pierson

... by Nicholas II. Reasons why the Netherlands were preferred to Switzerland as its place of meeting. General misunderstanding as to the Emperor's proposal. My own skepticism. Resultant feeling regarding the Conference. My acceptance of the nomination to it. Condition of things on our arrival at The Hague. First meeting of the American Delegation. Am chosen its president. General ...
— Autobiography of Andrew Dickson White Volume II • Andrew Dickson White

... picture to be uncovered during a drought, without the desired result immediately following. In cases of long continued rains, its intervention has been equally happy. I have heard several persons, rather inclined to skepticism as to the miraculous qualities of the picture, hint that the barometer was consulted on these occasions; else, say they, why was not the picture uncovered before the mischief had gone so far? What an idea is ...
— Anecdotes of Painters, Engravers, Sculptors and Architects and Curiosities of Art (Vol. 3 of 3) • S. Spooner

... anything—only, not the Deep Place—prease! He was a pitiable object, could Martin have found pity for him in his heart. He was no longer the suave, dapper Japanese gentleman. His boasted gentility was gone with his courage; and superstitious terror had quite overcome his Western skepticism. He was just a yellow coolie, terror-stricken, cringing before and begging of ...
— Fire Mountain - A Thrilling Sea Story • Norman Springer

... breast of my misgivings and reservations on the subject of lovers and landscape, I will now confess that the whole of my doubts do not weigh much against my unreasoned faith in romantic love. At heart I am no infidel, but a most obstinate believer and devotee. My seasons of skepticism are transient. They are connected with a torpid liver and aggravated by confinement to a sedentary life and enforced abstinence from angling. Out-of-doors, I return to a saner and ...
— Fisherman's Luck • Henry van Dyke

... fallen upon our people. Why is our age so sad? Has Schopenhauer carried the judgment of mankind by his favorite motto, "It is safer to trust fear than faith?" Is it because our age has lost faith in God? Have doubt and skepticism burned the divine dew off the grass, and left it sere and brown? Nay, a ...
— A Man's Value to Society - Studies in Self Culture and Character • Newell Dwight Hillis

... have, also, never lost faith in the legend myself, and in so doing have profited much from the examples of divers grant-claimants, who have often jostled me in their more practical researches, and who have my sincere sympathy at the skepticism of a modern hard-headed ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 12, No. 72, October, 1863 • Various

... upon her knees at last beside her bed. No Madigan of this generation had been taught to pray, an aggressive skepticism—the tangent of excessive youthful religiosity—having made the girls' father an outspoken foe to religious exercise. But to Sissy's emotional, self-conscious soul the necessity for worded prayer came ...
— The Madigans • Miriam Michelson

... "what" without the "how" in speech. The same written sentence becomes two diametrically opposite ideas, given opposing inflection and accompanying voice-effect. "He stood in the front rank of the battle" can be made praiseful affirmation, scornful skepticism, or simple question, by a simple varying of voice and inflection. This is the more unmistakable way in which the "how" affects the "what." Just as true is the less obvious fact. The same written sentiment, ...
— Stories to Tell to Children • Sara Cone Bryant

... to-day. There is much in evidence a body of doubt which clouds the outlook of multitudes upon religion generally. Beyond debate a kind of eclipse of faith began to draw across the Western world so early as the middle of the last century. The militant skepticism of the brilliant group of younger poets who sang their defiances in the first two decades of the nineteenth century to a world which professed itself duly shocked, is wholly different from the sadness with which the more mature singers of two generations later announce their questioning and their ...
— Modern Religious Cults and Movements • Gaius Glenn Atkins

... no declaration was signed in Philadelphia on July 4, 1776, except by the clerk and presiding officer of the Continental Congress. Consequently, the Pine Creek story arouses justifiable skepticism. However, there does seem to be some evidence ...
— The Fair Play Settlers of the West Branch Valley, 1769-1784 - A Study of Frontier Ethnography • George D. Wolf

... announced to her room-mate that he had landed. He had given his word to her father not to write; but she knew that in some way she should hear. And sure enough! The following morning brought a nameless bunch of violets. There had been doubters before—but at this tangible proof of devotion, skepticism crumbled. ...
— Just Patty • Jean Webster

... atheism. One night, in the inquiry-room, I met the wife of an atheist, who had been brought to God at one of our meetings. She was converted at the same time. She had brought two of her daughters to the meeting, desiring that they too should know Christ. I said to the mother: "How is it with your skepticism now?" "Oh," said she, "it is all gone." When Christ gets into the heart, atheism must go out; if a man will only come and take one trustful, loving look at the Saviour, there will be no desire to leave ...
— Sovereign Grace - Its Source, Its Nature and Its Effects • Dwight Moody

... incident, sketched with such vividness, such abundance of colour, and such verisimilitude to a drunkard's life as a drunkard's life should be, that had Miss Spence possessed the rather chilling attributes of William J. Burns himself, the last trace of skepticism must have vanished from her mind. Besides, there are two things that will be believed of any man whatsoever, and one of them is that he has taken to drink. And in every sense it was a moving picture which, with simple ...
— Penrod • Booth Tarkington

... war broke up, a feeling of skepticism prevailed. Mat Bailey saw more possibilities in his own suggestion than in the $10,000 reward. Dr. Mason saw more possibilities, however slight, in the reward than in the proposed detective. And Henry Francis, though he had known Cummins from boyhood, and was ...
— Forty-one Thieves - A Tale of California • Angelo Hall

... herself as with others, and with as little vanity as was compatible with being human, which is to say that, though she was not without it, it was of the sort which could be gratified but not flattered—in fact, the sort which flattery wounds rather than pleases. But despite her apparent skepticism she had not been displeased by John's assertion that she had influenced him in his course. She had expressed herself truly, believing that he would have done as he had without her intervention; but she thought that he was sincere, and it was pleasant ...
— David Harum - A Story of American Life • Edward Noyes Westcott

... in certain provinces of France, old religious customs which are full of charming simplicity. May they endure and ever hold out against the icy breath of skepticism, the cold rules of the beautiful, and the wearisome level ...
— Donahoe's Magazine, Volume 15, No. 1, January 1886 • Various

... delusion, to which hope of escape can attach. Human sacrifices are based on an inference or deduction. There is behind them an assumption as to the character and logic of the superior powers who rule the aleatory interest. It is not until skepticism arises as to this assumption that the usage ...
— Folkways - A Study of the Sociological Importance of Usages, Manners, Customs, Mores, and Morals • William Graham Sumner

... Skepticism would follow any attempt to proclaim the prince guilty because his voice sounded like that of the chief conspirator. In a matter where whole nations were concerned the gravest importance would be attached to the accusation ...
— Graustark • George Barr McCutcheon

... skepticism on the part of biologists as to the extreme fierceness of the struggle for existence and of the consequent rigor of selection." Overproduction and shortage of space and food might sometime be a factor of importance, but has it been so in the ...
— The Evolution Of Man Scientifically Disproved • William A. Williams

... comprehensiveness and power, and became standard works in France and Germany, but in all of them we can trace a lack of true philosophy, due to the blighting influence of the eighteenth century skepticism; for, as the greatest minds, in which Christianity and science are blended, have agreed—"without some reasonable and due idea of the destiny and end of man, it is impossible to form just and consistent opinions on the progress of events, and the development and fortunes of nations. History ...
— The Interdependence of Literature • Georgina Pell Curtis

... another name for imminent bankruptcy, or that the new millennium of Washington morals will be organized by Mr. John Harrington—these things we deny in toto, from beginning to end. So wide and deep is our skepticism, that we even doubt whether 'war, famine, revolution, or all three together' would have instantly ensued if Mr. John Harrington had not delivered his speech on ...
— An American Politician • F. Marion Crawford

... masturbated, and had become such a slave to the habit that she severely suffered from its ill effects. At that time I had never heard of self-abuse by women. I listened to her story with much sympathy and interest, but some skepticism, and determined to try experiments upon myself, with the idea of getting to understand the matter in order to assist my friend. After some manipulation, I succeeded in awakening what had before been unconscious and unknown. I ...
— Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Volume 1 (of 6) • Havelock Ellis

... began the inquiry with doubts whether a positive result would be attained. But the further we went and the more evidence we examined so much the more was our skepticism reduced. There might be some exaggeration in one witness, possible delusion in another, inaccuracies in a third. When, however, we found that things which had at first seemed improbable were testified to by many witnesses coming from different places, having had no communication ...
— New York Times Current History; The European War, Vol 2, No. 3, June, 1915 - April-September, 1915 • Various

... conventional Christian standard which is more cruel and unforgiving than society's standard. But it is really definitely unchristian. Further, society is radically insincere, forgiving what can be kept secret, condoning on account of moral skepticism much general laxity, and yet breaking out into a mock ...
— Men, Women, and God • A. Herbert Gray

... first place we can only accept her words with a certain skepticism. Her story may be nothing but a fabrication. However, it is interesting because she claims to be the unwilling servant of a dreaded master. She lays stress upon the fact that she is an Oriental and does not enjoy the ...
— The Golden Scorpion • Sax Rohmer

... did on that night. I wish my whole congregation had been there to hear it. I regret that there are not more men like Ingersoll interested in the affairs of the nation. I do not wish to be understood as indorsing skepticism in any form. ...
— The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Volume VIII. - Interviews • Robert Green Ingersoll

... incredulity, he passed to anxious skepticism and then to agonized conviction. It was the first time he had ever faced any disagreeable fact in life from which there was no appeal, and he cried out in passionate protest. If he was a "lunger" he wanted to ...
— Calvary Alley • Alice Hegan Rice

... faith; conviction, assurance, confidence; tenet, dogma, creed, opinion, doctrine, cult, view, principle; intuition; superstition, fanaticism. Antonyms: doubt, disbelief, skepticism, misgiving, incredulity. Associated Words: credulous, incredulous, credulity, credibility, ...
— Putnam's Word Book • Louis A. Flemming

... Richard Cecil was a skeptic. He called himself an infidel, but he was honest in his infidelity. He could face facts; and the man who can look facts fairly in the face is not far from the kingdom of God. Richard Cecil was not, his skepticism notwithstanding. 'I see,' he says, in telling us of the line of thought that he pursued as he lay in bed one night, 'I see two unquestionable facts.' And what were they? They both ...
— A Handful of Stars - Texts That Have Moved Great Minds • Frank W. Boreham

... of the true relations of skepticism to affirmative and negative belief, the philosophical reader must be referred to ...
— Ralph Waldo Emerson • Oliver Wendell Holmes

... able to do so until the session of Congress of 1842-43, when he presented a second petition to that body, asking its aid in the construction of an experimental line between Baltimore and Washington. He had to encounter a great degree of skepticism and ridicule, with many other obstacles, not the least of which was the difficulty of meeting the expense of remaining in Washington and urging his invention upon the Government. Still he persevered, although it seemed to be hoping against hope, as the session drew near its close, and ...
— Great Fortunes, and How They Were Made • James D. McCabe, Jr.

... read, I talk, I teach, I write, but to no effect; it is as though I were walking in my sleep. The Buddhist tendency in me blunts the faculty of free self-government and weakens the power of action; self-distrust kills all desire, and reduces me again and again to a fundamental skepticism. I care for nothing but the serious and the real, and I can take neither myself nor my circumstances seriously. I hold my own personality, my own aptitudes, my own aspirations, too cheap. I am forever making light of myself in the name of all that is beautiful and admirable. ...
— Amiel's Journal • Mrs. Humphry Ward

... which the boat of a luckless party of English travellers struck and was shattered a hundred years ago. Indeed, so dangerous was this passage held to be of old—when faith was stronger and boats were weaker than in our day of skepticism and compound-engines—that it was customary to tie-up at the head of the Defile and pray for grace to come through it safely; and sincerely faithful travellers tied-up again when the passage was ended to offer a service of grateful praise. But nowadays they clap five men on the tiller ...
— The Christmas Kalends of Provence - And Some Other Provencal Festivals • Thomas A. Janvier

... This illogical ground of skepticism Phillida set herself to combat. She read from Wilhelmina's sheepskin-bound Testament, printed in parallel columns in English and German, the story of the miracle at the Pool of Bethesda, the story of the woman that touched the hem of the garment ...
— The Faith Doctor - A Story of New York • Edward Eggleston

... Terror, surprise, sympathy, hope, skepticism, doubt—come all ye trooping emotions to threaten or console; but an end has come to fairy stories and wonder tales—Master Studious is in the awful ...
— The Delicious Vice • Young E. Allison

... lips on that subject forever. I have never since ventured to ask anybody any questions on that subject, but have studied it out for myself as well as I could. Soon after that the doctor preached a sermon in which he denounced skepticism in his own vigorous terms, and consigned to perdition all the great teachers of heresy, of whom he mentioned the names—before unheard, I am sure, by the great majority of cadets, thought their works were to be found in the West Point and all other public ...
— Forty-Six Years in the Army • John M. Schofield

... three-fourths of the season's games, on the "'Varsity"; to gain the white track letter, one had to win a first place in some event, in a regularly scheduled track meet with another team. And now, Butch's skepticism seemed confirmed, for at the start of his last year at college, Hicks had not annexed a single B, though he bade fair to corral one in ...
— T. Haviland Hicks Senior • J. Raymond Elderdice

... it is intrenched in constitutional law and because it represents a more radical revolution than all the others combined. The softening of the bitter opposition of the early days through the general spirit of progress has been somewhat counteracted by a modern skepticism as to the supreme merit of a democratic government and a general disgust with the prevalent political corruption. This will continue to react strongly against any further extension of the suffrage until ...
— The History of Woman Suffrage, Volume IV • Various

... man, who unselfishly bestowed the credit for the success of his newspaper on the men who worked under him, listened to John's story with interest. It was John's first meeting with the "chief," for whom even Brennan, with all his skepticism, had a profound respect and the rapidity with which the publisher gave his decision ...
— Spring Street - A Story of Los Angeles • James H. Richardson

... Beginning is the Word, and the Word in logic formulated Speech, the spoken Reason; the Word is in God, and is God Himself, manifested to the Intelligence. Here is what is above all the philosophies. This we must believe, under the penalty of never truly knowing anything, and relapsing into the absurd skepticism of Pyrrho. The Priesthood, custodian of Faith, wholly rests upon this basis of knowledge, and it is in its teachings we must recognize the Divine Principle of ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... snorted, with a skepticism amply justified by the past. "And if you did, I shouldn't answer; I hate letters, always did. But you cable me once a fortnight to let me know you're living—and send an extra cable if you ...
— The Firefly Of France • Marion Polk Angellotti

... said. There was interest in his mind, overlaid with skepticism, of course, but interest all the same. That, Jonas thought, was a better sign than he had dared ...
— Wizard • Laurence Mark Janifer (AKA Larry M. Harris)

... Bible in this narrow and uncandid way, he will soon plunge himself into the mire of unbelief. Difficulties and objections should be candidly considered, and allowed their due weight; but they must not be suffered to override irrefragable proof, else we shall soon land in universal skepticism: for difficulties, and some of them too insoluble, can be urged against the great facts of nature and natural religion, as well as of revelation. To reject a series of events supported by an overwhelming weight of evidence, on the ground of unexplained difficulties ...
— Companion to the Bible • E. P. Barrows

... one doubts the fact that evaporation tends to produce cold, let him countenance his skepticism, by wetting his face with warm water, and going into the air in a Winter's day, and his ...
— Farm drainage • Henry Flagg French

... elaborate cosmos; his house waits for him waist deep in slow Norfolk rivers or sunning itself upon Sussex downs. Man has always been looking for that home which is the subject matter of this book. But in the bleak and blinding hail of skepticism to which he has been now so long subjected, he has begun for the first time to be chilled, not merely in his hopes, but in his desires. For the first time in history he begins really to doubt the object of his wanderings on the earth. He has ...
— What's Wrong With The World • G.K. Chesterton

... we grow to look upon them in a detached sort of way. In fact, the prime result of the growth of intelligence and of experience is to make one, as it were, objective toward oneself, to view one's own thoughts, beliefs and emotions with some humor and skepticism. But the uncultured, the narrow, the inexperienced, the young and the strongly egotistic never detach themselves from their opinions, and their opinions are themselves. Attack an opinion, contradict or amend it,—and a sort of fighting spirit is aroused. Argument differs from discussion ...
— The Foundations of Personality • Abraham Myerson

... consecrated by tradition, all legitimately forming the system of public rights. From now on the charm is broken. Ancient institutions lose their divine prestige; they are simply human works, the fruits of the place and of the moment, and born out of convenience and a covenant. Skepticism enters through all the breaches. With regard to Christianity it at once enters into open hostility, into a bitter and prolonged polemical warfare; for, under the title of a state religion this occupies the ground, censuring free thought, burning writings, exiling, imprisoning ...
— The Origins of Contemporary France, Volume 1 (of 6) - The Ancient Regime • Hippolyte A. Taine

... of reasoning, must be utterly ineffectual. Whatever attacks every principle of belief, can destroy none. As long as the foundations of knowledge are allowed to remain on the same level with the maxims of life, the whole system of human conviction must continue undisturbed.... Skepticism has practical consequences of a very mischievous nature. This is because its universality is not steadily kept in view and constantly borne in mind. If it were, the above short and plain remark would be an ...
— Modern Atheism under its forms of Pantheism, Materialism, Secularism, Development, and Natural Laws • James Buchanan

... recognize the hand of God in this, and to believe that He exercises a special care over his children; that not a hair falls from the head of one of his believing children without the Father's notice. It is so much better to simply trust and believe. Nothing is so detestable as the spirit of skepticism abroad in the land to-day. The ministry itself is more or less permeated and honeycombed with the abominations called 'Higher Criticism,' 'Evolution,' etc. They would have us believe that the Bible is filled with ...
— Doctor Jones' Picnic • S. E. Chapman

... Skepticism is much less sinful than credulity. The sloth of the man who will not examine things, will not prove them, who prefers to buy his garments of truth ready made, results in what is worse than unbelief, and that is blind belief in the ...
— Levels of Living - Essays on Everyday Ideals • Henry Frederick Cope

... did look on the event with very considerable skepticism. Doctor Azol's death, in that particular form, seemed too much of a coincidence. For, beside himself, only Azol knew that another person already had suddenly and mysteriously lost consciousness on Harvest Moon. Only Azol therefore might expect that the Commissioner would quietly inform the ...
— Legacy • James H Schmitz

... I have been making an experiment—one of those experiments which men frequently attempt, believing all the time that it is worse than child's play, and half hoping that it will prove so and sanction the wisdom of their skepticism concerning the result. When I left home I placed in your charge the key of my private desk or cabinet, exacting the promise that only upon certain conditions would you venture to open it. Those contingencies ...
— St. Elmo • Augusta J. Evans

... identity of that fugitive in the night, he seemed to find it hard to say exactly. How could a man of no education define for them his own but half-denied misgivings about the Law, his sense of oppression, constraint and awe, of being on the defensive, even, in an abject way, his skepticism? About his wanting, come what might, to ...
— O. Henry Memorial Award Prize Stories of 1920 • Various

... with no thought of penetrating the inland forests behind the range, or of even entering the nobler bay beyond? Or was the location of the spot a mere tradition as wild and unsupported as the "marvells" of the other volume? Pomfrey had the skepticism of the ...
— Under the Redwoods • Bret Harte

... of the blind and seeing is a step in the right direction—a very forward step, since it will ultimately bridge the gulf of misconception and skepticism now separating these two classes—a gulf which must be bridged if we hope to arrive at a sane and satisfactory solution of the problem of finding employment, not only for the returned blind soldiers, but for the thousands of ...
— Five Lectures on Blindness • Kate M. Foley

... This question is simply a revival of the old superstition concerning the Negro that manifested itself in the inquiry as to whether the Negro had a soul. Civilization and fraternity have so far developed that it would be hard in these days to find a person whose skepticism concerning the Negro would find a doubtful expression as to the Negro's humanity. The light has become too strong for the existence of that kind of mist; hence the unsympathetic critic has been forced to find a new way of putting his wish ...
— Twentieth Century Negro Literature - Or, A Cyclopedia of Thought on the Vital Topics Relating - to the American Negro • Various

... folly? ... and do you acknowledge that a fair Dream is as much of a lie and a cheat as all the other fair- seeming things that puzzle and torture poor human nature? Return to your former condition of reasoning and reasonable skepticism,— aye, even atheism if you will, for the materialists are right, ... you cannot prove a God or the possibility of any purely spiritual life. Why thus hanker after a phantom loveliness? Fame—fame! Win fame! ... that ...
— Ardath - The Story of a Dead Self • Marie Corelli

... have had an arm or a leg amputated, he reflected, say they can still feel pains in the absent member. Well, there's an analogy in that. Modern skepticism has amputated God from the heart; but there is still a twinge where the arteries were ...
— Where the Blue Begins • Christopher Morley

... corresponding religious interest. The truth is viewed by many as a beautiful theory, the heart remaining a flint. We have to regret the fact, that some of the best minds in the place are tinged with skepticism. Happily the most influential are, notwithstanding, our firm friends, and are in favor of good education and ...
— History Of The Missions Of The American Board Of Commissioners For Foreign Missions To The Oriental Churches, Volume II. • Rufus Anderson

... cry out? Mr. Stirling, am I not right?" Madame appealed to the one face on which no amusement or skepticism was shown. ...
— The Honorable Peter Stirling and What People Thought of Him • Paul Leicester Ford

... the night of barbarism or walled in by the skepticism of an advanced civilization, has felt at one time or another, an irrestrainable longing to draw aside the veil which shuts out the great hereafter, and solve the mystery of the life that is to come. Many a time is the heart stirred to its uttermost depths by the chastening hand of affliction, or ...
— Camp-fire and Wigwam • Edward Sylvester Ellis

... portentous had fallen to their lot. But for the most part he was a great hope—a sort of visible atonement for their sufferings. He at least was an achievement; he was something they had done. And he could not be undone, nor doubted—he put all skepticism to flight. In his vicinity there was no room for pessimistic philosophies, ...
— Love's Pilgrimage • Upton Sinclair

... tryin' to tell you I wouldn't. Only this time, I ain't. If I was, don't you suppose I've got sense enough not to go to you to help me with it?" The girl waited with all outward appearance of skepticism for him to proceed. "This girl went ridin' with Jack Purdy—he ...
— The Texan - A Story of the Cattle Country • James B. Hendryx

... the back of my brain, all the while, was some shadow of doubt, of skepticism, of reiterated self-warning that it was all too good to be true. It wasn't until I looked over the well-gnawed top rail of Slip-Along's broken manger and saw that blessed boy there, by the light of Whinnie's lantern, saw that blessed boy of mine half buried in that soft and cushioning prairie-grass, ...
— The Prairie Mother • Arthur Stringer

... in which the elderly woman spoke was trying. Hope was flushed, and warm, and disconcerted. There was so much skepticism and contempt in the single word "indeed!" as Mrs. Simcoe pronounced it, that Hope was really angry ...
— Trumps • George William Curtis

... dark-skinned, reticent boy into a moody and cynical skeptic who, at the age of thirty, had put the muzzle of his own revolver against his temple and pulled the trigger, because as he phrased it, "he was tired of the game." The skepticism was already there in Garry Devereau's slow smile. And Caleb often felt that the boy's black eyes were looking through and beyond, rather than at him. The bond of mutual understanding which seemed to exist between ...
— Then I'll Come Back to You • Larry Evans



Words linked to "Skepticism" :   incertitude, doubtfulness, skeptical, dubiousness, unbelief, uncertainty, incredulity, dubiety, doubt



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