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Who first said that "It's better to light a candle than to curse the darkness"?

Question #91388. Asked by star_gazer.
Last updated May 13 2021.

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AyatollahK
Answer has 6 votes
AyatollahK
15 year member
723 replies avatar

Answer has 6 votes.
Although the modern use of the quote is attributed to Adlai Stevenson, who used it in a UN address about Eleanor Roosevelt in 1962, it appears to be an old Chinese proverb.

link http://everything2.com/index.pl?node=It's%20better%20to%20light%20a%20candle%20than%20curse%20the%20darkness

Jan 21 2008, 11:41 AM
queproblema
Answer has 5 votes
queproblema
17 year member
2344 replies

Answer has 5 votes.
This is the closest the Bible comes to saying those words:

"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." (KJV)

Well, I'm not going to paste in the whole page; it's a repeat of the Stevenson-Roosevelt story with Rom. 13:12 tacked on.
link http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/207500.html

Perhaps the sentiment is better expressed by Rom. 12:14--
"Bless them that persecute you; bless, and curse not." (ASV)

Some sites attribute it to Confucius. Look about two thirds of the way down this page.
link http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/kft1.htm

Response last updated by Terry on May 13 2021.
Jan 21 2008, 10:21 PM
JimmieDancer
Answer has 3 votes
JimmieDancer
19 year member
23 replies

Answer has 3 votes.
The tribute paid by Adlai Stevenson to Eleanor Roosevelt when the former First Lady died in November 1962 was: "She would rather light a candle than curse the darkness, and her glow has warmed the world." I have also heard that this quote is a Chinese proverb that was quoted by Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International, at a Human Rights Day ceremony on 10 December 1961 and provided Amnesty International with its symbol of a burning candle encircled by barbed wire.

link http://www.schlatter.org/quotes.htm

Jan 21 2008, 11:08 PM
ohiomom85
Answer has 13 votes
ohiomom85

Answer has 13 votes.
This quote is actually the mission statement of The Christophers, a men's mission group. This group began in 1945, prior to any of the events mentioned previously. They do tribute it to a rendition of an ancient proverb.

Response last updated by Terry on May 13 2021.
Nov 10 2012, 8:57 PM
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rstone_123
Answer has 24 votes
Currently Best Answer
rstone_123 avatar

Answer has 24 votes.

Currently voted the best answer.
The quote here is taken from a book I purchased by William L. Watkinson titled "The Supreme Conquest and Other Sermons Preached in America." New York, F. H. Revell company [1907]. To gain a better understanding of the meaning of the quote, here is the preceding sentence; "But denunciatory rhetoric is so much easier and cheaper than good works, and proves a popular temptation. "Yet is it far better to light the candle than to curse the darkness."

May 10 2017, 1:45 PM
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