The opinion of a revered writer or thinker can have a deep influence on society; it can also be a big obstacle to understanding real truth.
Divine truth may be revealed in the speech of children, or in the ravings and nightmares of madmen; or in the ordinary conversions of simple people. And weak and false thoughts may be found in books which have come to be considered great, or even sacred.
Many statements which are accepted as truth because they have been passed down to us by tradition look like truth only because we have never tested them, never thought about in a more precise way.
For the majority of mankind, religion is a habit, or, more precisely, tradition is their religion. Though it seems strange, I think that the first step to moral perfection is your liberation from the religion in which you were raised. Not a single person has come to perfection except by following this way.
—Henry David Thoreau
A thought which is expressed in the Old Testament, or in the New Testament, or in the Koran or in the Indian divine book the Upanishads, does not become a truth because it is expressed in a book which is considered to be holy. If we think that every word in every holy book is true, then we have created an idol.
Any important thought, no matter where it comes from, should be discussed; and every thought, no matter who said it, should be given attention.