Languages and Religions
The Yiddish linguist Max Weinreich once famously said, "A shprakh iz a
dialekt mit an armey un a flot" (or "a language is a dialect with an
army and a navy"). I have always thought that a good complement would be "A religion is a superstition with an army and a navy" which is why it was interesting to see Weinrich's quote appear in this NYTimes article on Ethnologue a compendium of the world's languages that oddly enough began life as a guide for missionaries.
Since nothing in the English language is simple, there is some dispute over the quote's origins. It may have been coined by Joshua Fishman or Hubert Lyautey.