My Favorite Quotes

This is a collection of some of my favorite quotes, I will be adding to it as I find more of them.


Quotes from:
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VOLTAIRE

"What can we say to a man who tells you that he would rather obey God than men, and that therefore he is sure to go to heaven for butchering you? Even the law is impotent against these attacks of rage; it is like reading a court decree to a raving maniac. These fellows are certain that the holy spirit with which they are filled is above the law, that their enthusiasm is the only law that they must obey."

[Voltaire, 1764]

"There are no sects in geometry."

[Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary, 1764]

"Inspiration: A peculiar effect of divine flatulence emitted by the Holy Spirit which hisses into the ears of a few chosen of God...."

[Voltaire]

"Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd."

[Voltaire]

"It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue."

[Voltaire]

"You will notice that in all disputes between Christians since the birth of the Church, Rome has always favored the doctrine which most completely subjugated the human mind and annihilated reason."

[Voltaire]

"It is clear that the individual who persecutes a man, his brother, because he is not of the same opinion, is a monster."

[Voltaire]

"A clergyman is one who feels himself called upon to live without working at the expense of the rascals who work to live."

[Voltaire]


NIETZSCHE

"Is man one of God's blunders, or is God one of man's blunders?"

[Nietzsche]

"I cannot believe in a God who wants to be praised all the time."

[Friedrich Nietzsche]

"The Christian faith from the beginning, is sacrifice: the sacrifice of all freedom, all price, all self-confidence of spirit; it is at the same time subjection, self-derision, and self-mutilation..."

[Nietzsche]

"Man is the cruelest animal. At tragedies, bullfights, and crucifixions he has so far felt best on earth; and when he invented hell for himself, behold, that was his very heaven."

[Friedrich Nietzsche]

"A certain sense of cruelty towards oneself and others is Christian; hatred of those who think differently; the will to persecute. Mortal hostility against the masters of the earth, against the 'noble', that is also Christian. Hatred of mind, of pride, courage, freedom, libertinage of mind, is Christian; hatred of the sense, of the joy of the senses, of joy in general is Christian."

[Nietzsche]

"The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad."

[Nietzsche]

"The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently."

[Nietzsche "The Dawn" (1881)]

"I call Christianity the *one* great curse, the *one* great intrinsic depravity, the *one* great instinct for revenge for which no expedient is sufficiently poisonous, secret, subterranean, *petty* -- I call it the *one* mortal blemish of mankind."

[Friedrich Nietzsche]

"Belief means not wanting to know what is true."

[Nietzsche, The Anti-Christ, 1889]

"In Christianity neither morality nor religion come into contact with reality at any point."

[Friedrich Nietzsche]

"Here the ways of men part: if you wish to strive for peace of soul and pleasure, then believe; if you wish to be a devotee of truth, then inquire."

[Friedrich Nietzsche]

"God is a gross answer, an indelicacy against us thinkers--
at bottom merely a gross prohibition for us: you shall not think!"

[Nietzsche, Ecce Homo]


INGERSOLL

"The doctrine that future happiness depends upon belief is monstrous. It is the infamy of infamies. The notion that faith in Christ is to be rewarded by an eternity of bliss, while a dependence upon reason, observation and experience merits everlasting pain, is too absurd for refutation, and can be relieved only by that unhappy mixture of insanity and ignorance, called "faith." What man, who ever thinks, can believe that blood can appease God? And yet, our entire system of religion is based upon that believe. The Jews pacified Jehovah with the blood of animals, and according to the Christian system, the blood of Jesus softened the heart of God a little, and rendered possible the salvation of a fortunate few. It is hard to conceive how the human mind can give assent to such terrible ideas, or how any sane man can read the Bible and still believe in the doctrine of inspiration."

[Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Gods", 1872]

"In nature there are neither rewards nor punishments; there are consequences."

[Robert Ingersoll]

"If Christ, in fact, said "I came not to bring peace but a sword," it is the only prophecy in the New Testament that has been literally fulfilled."

[Robert G. Ingersoll]

"The book, called the Bible, is filled with passages equally horrible, unjust and atrocious. This is the book to be read in schools in order to make our children loving, kind and gentle! This is the book they wish to be recognized in our Constitution as the source of all authority and justice!"

[Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Gods", 1872]

"The civilization of man has increased just to the same extent that religious power has decreased. The intellectual advancement of man depends upon how often he can exchange an old superstition for a new truth. The church never enabled a human being to make even one of these exchanges; on the contrary, all her power has been used to prevent them. In spite, however, of the church, man found that some of his religious conceptions were wrong. By reading his Bible, he found that the ideas of his God were more cruel and brutal than those of the most depraved savage. He also discovered that this holy book was filled with ignorance, and that it must have been written by persons wholly unacquainted with the nature of the phenomena by which we are surrounded; and now and then, some man had the goodness and courage to speak his honest thoughts. In every age some thinker, some doubter, some investigator, some hater of hypocrisy, some despiser of sham, some brave lover of the right, has gladly, proudly and heroically braved the ignorant fury of superstition for the sake of man and truth. These divine men were generally torn in pieces by the worshipers of the gods. Socrates was poisoned because he lacked reverence for some of the deities. Christ was crucified by a religious rabble for the crime of blasphemy. Nothing is more gratifying to a religionist than to destroy his enemies at the command of God. Religious persecution springs from a due admixture of love towards God and hatred towards man."

[Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Gods", 1872]

"The terrible religious wars that inundated the world with blood tended at least to bring all religion into disgrace and hatred. Thoughtful people began to question the divine origin of a religion that made its believers hold the rights of others in absolute contempt. A few began to compare Christianity with the religions of heathen people, and were forced to admit that the difference was hardly worth dying for. They also found that other nations were even happier and more prosperous than their own. They began to suspect that their religion, after all, was not of much real value."

[Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Gods", 1872]

"A very pious friend of mine, having heard that I had said the world was full of imperfections, asked me if the report was true. Upon being informed that it was, he expressed great surprise that any one could be guilty of such presumption. He said that, in his judgement, it was impossible to point out an imperfection "Be kind enough," said he, "to name even one improvement that you could make, if you had the power." "Well," said I, "I would make good health catching, instead of disease." The truth is, it is impossible to harmonize all the ills, and pains, and agonies of this world with the idea that we were created by, and are watched over and protected by an infinitely wise, powerful and beneficent God, who is superior to and independent of nature."

[Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Gods", 1872]

"When the people failed to worship one of these gods, or failed to feed and clothe his priests, (which was much the same thing,) he generally visited them with pestilence and famine. Sometimes he allowed some other nation to drag them into slavery -- to sell their wives and children; but generally he glutted his vengeance by murdering their firstborn. The priests always did their whole duty, not only in predicting these calamities, but in proving, when they did happen, that they were brought upon the people because they had not given quite enough to them."

[Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Gods", 1872]

"Infidelity is liberty; all religion is slavery."

[Robert G. Ingersoll]

"As long as woman regards the Bible as the charter of her rights, she will be the slave of man. The bible was not written by a woman. Within its leaves there is nothing but humiliation and shame for her."

[Robert G. Ingersoll]

"That church [Catholic] teaches us that we can make God happy by being miserable ourselves..."

[Ingersoll's Works, Vol. 1, p. 492]

"It is a blessed thing that in every age some one has had individuality enough and courage enough to stand by his own convictions. I believe it was Magellan who said, "The church says the earth is flat; but I have seen its shadow on the moon, and I have more confidence even in a shadow than in the Church." On the prow of his ship were disobedience, defiance, scorn, and success."
,center>[Robert G. Ingersoll, quoted in _The Great Quotations_]

"Reason, Observation and Experience -- the Holy Trinity of Science -- have taught us that happiness is the only good; that the time to be happy is now, and the way to be happy is to make others so. This is enough for us. In this belief we are content to live and die. If by any possibility the existence of a power superior to, and independent of, nature shall be demonstrated, there will then be time enough to kneel. Until then, let us stand erect."

[Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Gods", 1872]

"Our ignorance is God; what we know is science."

[Robert G. Ingersoll]

"A crime against god is a demonstrated impossibility.",br>

[Robert G. Ingersoll]

"If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow strictly the teachings of the New, he would be insane."

[Robert G. Ingersoll]

"The intellectual advancement of man depends on how often he can exchange an old superstition for a new truth."

[Robert G. Ingersoll]

"For many centuries the sword and cross were allies. Together they attacked the rights of man. They defended each other."

[Robert G. Ingersoll]

"These gods did not even know the shape of the worlds they had created, but supposed them perfectly flat. Some thought the day could be lengthened by stopping the sun, that the blowing of horns could throw down the walls of a city, and all knew so little of the real nature of the people they had created, that they commanded the people to love them. Some were so ignorant as to suppose that man could believe just as he might desire, or as they might command, and that to be governed by observation, reason, and experience was a most foul and damning sin. None of these gods could give a true account of the creation of this little earth. All were woefully deficient in geology and astronomy. As a rule, they were most miserable legislators, and as executives, they were far inferior to the average of American presidents."

[Robert G. Ingersoll, "The Gods", 1872]

"Religion supports nobody. It has to be supported. It produces no wheat, no corn; it ploughs no land; it fells no forests. It is a perpetual mendicant. It lives on the labors of others, and then has the arrogance to pretend that it supports the giver."

[Robert G. Ingersoll]

"We have heard talk enough. We have listened to all the drowsy, idealess, vapid sermons that we wish to hear. We have read your Bible and the works of your best minds. We have heard your prayers, your solemn groans and your reverential amens. All these amount to less than nothing. We want one fact. We beg at the doors of your churches for just one little fact. We pass our hats along your pews and under your pulpits and implore you for just one fact. We know all about your mouldy wonders and your stale miracles. We want a 'this year's fact'. We ask only one. Give us one fact for charity. Your miracles are too ancient. The witnesses have been dead for nearly two thousand years. Their reputation for 'truth and veracity' in the neighborhood where they resided is wholly unknown to us. Give us a new miracle, and substantiate it by witnesses who still have the cheerful habit of living this world. Do not send us to Jericho to hear the winding horns, nor put us in the fire with Shadrach, Meshech and Abednego. Do not compel us to navigate the sea with Captain Jonah, nor dine with Mr. Ezekiel. There is no sort of use in sending us fox-hunting with Samson. We have positively lost all interest in that little speech so eloquently delivered by Balaam's inspired donkey. It is worse than useless to show us fishes with money in their mouths, and call our attention to vast multitudes stuffing themselves with five crackers and two sardines. We demand a new miracle, and we demand it now. Let the church furnish at least one, or forever hold her peace."

[Robert G. Ingersoll]


OTHER PHILOSOPHERS

"I think that in philosophical strictness at the level where one doubts the existence of material objects and holds that the world may have existed for only five minutes, I ought to call myself an agnostic; but, for all practical purposes, I am an atheist. I do not think the existence of the Christian God any more probable than the existence of the Gods of Olympus or Valhalla. To take another illustration: nobody can prove that there is not between Earth and Mars a china teapot revolving in an elliptic orbit, but nobody thinks this sufficiently likely to be taken into account in practice. I think the Christian God just as unlikely."

[Bertrand Russell]

"I am myself a dissenter from all known religions, and I hope that every kind of religious belief will die out."

[Bertrand Russell, British philosopher, educator,
mathematician, and social critic (1872-1970)]

"The universe may have a purpose, but nothing we know suggests that, if so, this purpose has any similarity to ours."

[Bertrand Russell]

"Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown, and partly the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing - fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand-in-hand"

[Bertrand Russell, 6/3/27]

"The most savage controversies are those about matters as to which there is no good evidence either way. Persecution is used in theology, not in arithmetic."

[Bertrand Russell, "Unpopular Essays"]

"The foolish and cruel notion that a wife is to obey her husband has sent more women to the grave than to the courts for a divorce."

[Lemuel K. Washburn, _Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays_, 1911]

"To build one house for man is better than to build a dozen houses to God."

[Lemuel K. Washburn, _Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays_]

"What a queer thing is Christian salvation! Believing in firemen will not save a burning house; believing in doctors will not make one well, but believing in a savior saves men. Fudge!"

[Lemuel K. Washburn, _Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays_]

"The character of God would stand vastly higher in human estimation if he had visited the garden in which he had placed the first human pair and picked up the serpent and cast him over the garden wall before he had a chance to tempt Eve, instead of waiting until the mischief was done, and then cursing the whole lot for what he might so easily have prevented."

[Lemuel K. Washburn, _Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays_]

"A dogma is the hand of the dead on the throat of the living."

[Lemuel K. Washburn, _Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays_]

"Civilization has come about by going to school more than to church."

[Lemuel K. Washburn, _Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays_]

"A great many people who worship Jesus would not let him come at the back door."

[Lemuel K. Washburn, _Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays_]

"When men are hungry roast mutton is better than the lamb that taketh away wrath."

[Lemuel K. Washburn, _Is The Bible Worth Reading And Other Essays_, 1911]

"Men think epilepsy divine, merely because they do not understand it. But if they called everything divine which they do not understand, why, there would be no end of divine things."

[Hippocrates]

"A myth is a religion in which no one any longer believes."

[James Feibleman, "Understanding Philosophy", 1973]

"A one sentence definition of mythology?
"Mythology" is what we call someone else's religion."

[Joseph Campbell]

"The night of December 25, to which date the Nativity of Christ was ultimately assigned, was exactly that of the birth of the Persian savior Mithra, who, as an incarnation of eternal light, was born the night of the winter solstice (then dated December 25) at midnight, the instant of the turn of the year from increasing darkness to light."

[Joseph Campbell, _The Mythic Image_, Bollingen
Series C, Princeton University Press, 1981, p. 33]

"Everything has a natural explanation. The moon is not a god but a great rock and the sun a hot rock."

[Anaxagorus, ca. 475 BC]

"I don't believe in God. My god is patriotism. Teach a man to be a good citizen and you have solved the problem of life."

[Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919]

"Faith is a euphemism for prejudice and religion is a euphemism for superstition."

[Paul Keller, American rationalist]

"Each religion, so dear to those whose life it sanctifies, and fulfilling so necessary a function in the society that has adopted it, necessarily contradicts every other religion, and probably contradicts itself."

[George Santayana, Reason in Religion]

"A careful study of religious beliefs and practices, as well as of scholars' definitions of religion, forces us to conclude that the beliefs and practices labeled "religious" have only one thing in common: the beliefs lack any empirical or statistical evidence, and the practices are "regular, habitual, and predictable ways of meeting the unpredictable, the impossible, or the uncontrollable ..., if [these] are momentous."

[G.B. Vetter]

"There are ten church members by inheritance for every one by conviction."

[Anonymous]


MAGAZINES AND NERSPAPERS

"It is interesting that every time God gives direct orders to anyone, it is always "Thou shalt kill."

[Newsweek magazine]

"By one count there are some 700 scientists with respectable academic credentials (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists, less than 0.2%) who give credence to creation-science, the general theory that complex life forms did not evolve but appeared "abruptly."

[Newsweek, June 29, 1987, pg. 23]

"George Washington thought he belonged to the Episcopal church, never mentioned Christ in any of his writings and he was a deist."

[Richard Shenkman "I love Paul Revere, whether
He Rode or Not." New York: Harper, Collins, 1991.]

"It remains one of the most baffling yet affecting phenomena in modern religious life: A beam of light or a spot of dirt in an otherwise ordinary place is perceived as the image of the Virgin Mary, and suddenly thousands of pilgrims descend on the site, turning it into a makeshift shrine. ...In previous years, it has been a vision in the sky, a glint off a car bumper, a face in a tortilla, a tear on an icon. ...But while church leaders are often loath to debunk a visionary experience, not wanting to damage the faith of thousands, they are also leery of letting such events get out of hand. If someone who claims to have communicated with the divine begins spreading teachings that are contrary to church dogma, bishops have not hesitated to step in."

[David Firestone, Newsday, Press Democrat, 23 December 1990]

"Colfax, Placer County. A mysterious light on a church wall that many believed was a divinely inspired image of the Virgin Mary did not appear yesterday amid heavy clouds, seeming to confirm the theory it was merely sunlight shining through stained-glass window. ... When the image failed to appear at its customary time, however, the worshipers trooped out, some in dismay. ... Church officials had been considering an investigation to determine whether the appearance of the image, which looked like the outline of the top half of a figure, was a miracle."

[San Francisco Chronicle, 11 December 1990 (Chronicle Wire Services)]

"He [Don Novello as Father Guido Sarducci] talked about Father Junipero Serra's qualifications for sainthood: 'They say he cured a nun's lupus. A miracle. Now I'm not a doctor, but I know lupus goes into remission. It's not always fatal. Have Ray Charles and Stevie Wonder play ping-pong together. That's a miracle.'"

[Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 February 1989]


AUTHORS

"The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief -- call it what you will -- than any book ever written."

[A.A. Milne, Author of Winnie_the_Pooh]

"There may be Gods, but they care not what men do."

[Henry David Thoreau]

"I count religion but a childish toy, And hold there is no sin but ignorance."

[Christopher Marlowe, British playwright
(1564-1593), The Jew of Malta"]

"Truth in matters of religion, is simply opinion that has survived."

[Oscar Wilde]

"When I think of all the harm the Bible has done, I despair of ever writing anything to equal it."

[Oscar Wilde]

"I believe the spreading of Catholicism to be the most horrible means of political and social degredation left in the world."

[Charles Dickens]

"I think that it stands for everything most hostile to the mental emancipation and stimulation of mankind. It is the completest, most highly organized system of prejudices and antagonism in existence. Everywhere in the world there are ignorance and prejudice, but the greatest complex of these, with the most extensive prestige and the most intimate entanglement with traditional institutions, is the Roman Catholic Church. It presents many faces to the world, but everywhere it is systematic in its fight against freedom."

[H.G. Wells]

"I do not believe I have any immortality. The greatest evil in the world today is the Christian religion."

[H.G. Wells]

"There is in every village a torch - the teacher; and an extinguisher- the clergyman."

[Victor Hugo]

"The merest accident of microgeography meant that the first man to hear the voice of (the God) Om, and who gave Om his view of humans, was a shepherd and not a goatherd. They have quite different ways of looking at the world, and the whole of history might have been different. For sheep are stupid and have to be driven. But goats are intelligent and need to be led."

[Terry Pratchett, "Small Gods"]

"To put it as simply as possible: *I am not a Muslim*.[...] I do not accept the charge of apostacy, because I have never in my adult life affirmed any belief, and what one has not affirmed one can not be said to have apostasized from. The Islam I know states clearly that 'there can be no coercion in matters of religion'. The many Muslims I respect would be horrified by the idea that they belong to their faith *purely by virtue of birth*, and that a person who freely chose not to be a Muslim could therefore be put to death."

[Salman Rushdie, "In Good Faith", 1990]

"The idea of the sacred is quite simply one of the most conservative notions in any culture, because it seeks to turn other ideas --uncertainty, progress, change -- into crimes."

[Salman Rushdie]

"Fundamentalism isn't about religion. It's about power."

[Salman Rushdie]

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".

[Philip K. Dick]

"Imagine the people who believe such things and who are not ashamed to ignore, totally, all the patient findings of thinking minds through all the centuries since the Bible was written. And it is these ignorant people, the most uneducated, the most unimaginative, the most unthinking among us, who would make themselves the guides and leaders of us all; who would force their feeble and childish beliefs on us; who would invade our schools and libraries and homes. I personally resent it bitterly and warn the people of Canada..."

[Isaac Asimov, Canadian Atheists Newsletter, 1994]

"We owe it to ourselves as respectable human beings, as thinking human beings, to do what we can to make humanity more rational...Humanists recognize that it is only when people feel free to think for themselves, using reason as their guide, that they are best capable of developing values that succeed in satisfying human needs and serving human interests."
[Isaac Asimov]

"To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today."

[Isaac Asimov]

"As it happens, Josephus, who mentions John the Baptist, does not mention Jesus. There is, to be sure, a paragraph in his history of the Jews which is devoted to Jesus, but it interrupts the flow of the discourse and seems suspiciously like an afterthought. Scholars generally believe this to have been an insertion by some early Christian editor who, scandalized that Joesphus should talk of the period without mentioning the Messiah, felt the insertion to be a pious act."

[Isaac Asimov, _Asimov's Guide To The Bible_ ISBN 0-517-34582-X]

"I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say that one is an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or agnostic. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect that he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time."

[Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)]

"You will find men like him in all of the world's religions. They know that we represent reason and science, and, however confident they may be in their beliefs, they fear that we will overthrow their gods. Not necessarily through any deliberate act, but in a subtler fashion. Science can destroy a religion by ignoring it as well as by disproving its tenets. No one ever demonstrated, so far as I am aware, the nonexistance of Zeus or Thor, but they have few followers now."

[Arthur C. Clarke, "Childhood's End"]

"Anyone who can worship a trinity and insist that his religion is a monotheism can believe anything... just give him time to rationalize it."

[Robert A. Heinlein, "JOB: A Comedy of Justice"]

"Men rarely (if ever) manage to dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child."

[Robert Heinlein, "Notebooks of Lazarus Long"]

"Sin lies only in hurting other people unnecessarily. All other "sins" are invented nonsense.

(Hurting yourself is not sinful--just stupid.)
[Robert A. Heinlein]

"A religion is sometime a source of happiness, and I would not deprive anyone of happiness. But it is a comfort appropriate for the weak, not for the strong. The great trouble with religion - any religion - is that a religionist, having accepted certain propositions by faith, cannot hereafter judge those propositions by evidence. One may bask at the warm fire of faith or choose to live in the bleak certainty of reason- but one cannot have both."

[Robert A. Heinlein, from "Friday"]

"In an early class, one of the students asked me if I believed in God. I replied, 'I don't think so.' And then proceeded to wail on the theme, using material from this column of some weeks ago, in which I observed the perpetuation of insanity on this planet through the mediums of Arabs-vs-Jews, Catholics-vs-Protestants, Southern Baptists-vs-Everyone. I said I felt if 'God created man in his *own* image, in the image of God created he them,' (Genesis 2:27, King James's italics, not mine) then *we* were God. And when Man (*my* cap, not King James's) in his most creative, his most loving, his most gentle and most human, then he is most God-like. The student said he would pray for my immortal soul. He also asked for my address, so he could send me some literature on the subject of God. I thanked him politely and told him I'd gotten all the literature I could handle on the subject from a certain Thomas Aquinas."

[Harlan Ellison, from "The Glass Teat", Article #29]

"The god of the cannibals will be a cannibal, of the crusaders, a crusader, and of the merchants a merchant."

[Ralph Waldo Emerson]

"The religion that is afraid of science dishonors God and commits suicide. It acknowledges that it is not equal to the whole of truth, that it legislates, tyrannizes over a village of God's empire but it is not the immutable universal law. Every influx of atheism, of skepticism is thus made useful as a mercury pill assaulting and removing a diseased religion and making way for truth."

[Ralph Waldo Emerson]

"Kill one man and you are a murderer. Kill millions and you are a conqueror. Kill all and you are God."

[Jean Rostand (1894-1977) French biologist, writer]

"The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness."

[Joseph Conrad]

Infidel: In New York, one who does not believe in the Christian religion; in Constantinople, one who does.

[Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914), American author]

"Ocean: A body of water occupying 2/3 of a world made for man -- who has no gills."

[Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary, 1911]

Pray: To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy.

[Ambrose Bierce]

"Whatever a man prays for, he prays for a miracle. Every prayer reduces itself to this: 'Great God, grant that twice two be not four.'"

[Ivan Turgenev (1818-1883) Russian novelist, writer]

"No man ever believes that the Bible means what it says: He is always convinced that it says what he means."

[George Bernard Shaw]

"If I were to speak your kind of language, I would say that man's only moral commandment is: Thou shalt think. But a 'moral commandment' is a contradiction in terms. The moral is the chosen, not the forced; the understood, not the obeyed. The moral is the rational, and reason accepts no commandments."

[Ayn Rand]


FICTIONAL CHARACTERS

"That's the problem with believing in a supernatural being. Trying to determine what he wants."

[Councellor Troi, ST:TNG]

"The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by H.Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the sacharrine adoration of his creations, that he can be persuaded by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not recieve this flattery. Yet this ridiculous notion, without one real shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest and least productive industries in history."

[Lazarus Long, from "Time Enough For Love" by R. Heinlein]

"Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster at your side."

[Han Solo]

"Nothing happens in contradiction to nature; only in contradiction to what we know of it."

[Agent Sculley, "X-Files"]

Calvin: Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?
Hobbes: I'm not sure that man needs the help.

"It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning."

[Calvin, "Calvin and Hobes" strip by Bill Waterson]

"Prayer has no place in the public schools, just like facts have no place in organized religion."

[School Superintendent on "The Simpsons" episode #100, 1994]


ENTERTAINERS

"Imagine there's no heaven.
It's easy if you try.
No hell below us,
Above us, only sky..."

[John Lennon, "Imagine"]

"I condemn false prophets, I condemn the effort to take away the power of rational decision, to drain people of their free will--and a hell of a lot of money in the bargain. Religions vary in their degree of idiocy, but I reject them all. For most people, religion is nothing more than a substitute for a malfunctioning brain."

[Gene Roddenberry (1921-1991) creator of Star Trek]

"I've always thought that, if we did not have supernatural explanations for all the things we might not understand right away, this is the way we would be, like the people on that planet. [ST:TNG "Who Watches the Watchers"] I was born into a supernatural world in which all my people -my family- usually said "That is because God willed it," or gave other supernatural explanations for whatever happened. When you confront those statements on their own, they just don't make sense. They are clearly wrong. You need a certain amount of proof to accept anything, and that proof was not forthcoming to support those statements."

[Gene Roddenberry]

"We must question the story logic of having an all-knowing all-powerful God, who creates faulty Humans, and then blames them for his own mistakes."

[Gene Roddenberry]

"How could the Pat Robertsons and the Pat Buchanans, presuming to be the spokespeople for God, spew such doctrines of divisiveness, intolerance and inhumanity? Who is that God?"

[Barbara Streisand]

"I'm an atheist, and that's *it*. I belive there's nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for other people."

[Katherine Hepburn]

"By simple common sense I don't believe in God, in none."

[Charlie Chaplin, in "Manual of a Perfect Atheist" by Rius]

"Why is it when we talk to God, we're said to be praying - but when God talks to us, we're schizophrenic?"

[Lily Tomlin (b. 1939)
American comedy actress]

"We created god in our own image and likeness!"

[George Carlin]

"If churches want to play the game of politics, let them pay admission like everyone else"

[George Carlin]

"I'm completely in favor of the separation of Church and State. My idea is that these two institutions screw us up enough on their own, so both of them together is certain death."

[George Carlin]

"The Bible has been interpreted to justify such evil practices as, for example, slavery, the slaughter of prisoners of war, the sadistic murders of women believed to be witches, capital punishment for hundreds of offenses, polygamy, and cruelty to animals. It has been used to encourage belief in the grossest superstition and to discourage the free teaching of scientific truths. We must never forget that both good and evil flow from the Bible. It is therefore not above criticism."

[Steve Allen, "Steve Allen, on the Bible Religion & Morality"]

"There are hundreds of millions who believe the Messiah has come. If he did, then it is unfortunately the case that his heroic sacrifice and death have had no effect whatsoever on the very problem his coming might have been expected to address, for history demonstrates, beyond question, that we Christians have been just as dangerous, singly and en masse, as non-Christians."

[Steve Allen, "Steve Allen, on the Bible Religion & Morality"]

"My ancestors were Puritans from England. They arrived here in 1648 in the hope of finding greater restrictions than were permissible under English law at that time."

[Garrison Keillor]

"Prayers never bring anything... They may bring solace to the sap, the bigot, the ignorant, the aboriginal, and the lazy - but to the enlightened it is the same as asking Santa Claus to bring you something for Xmas"

[W. C. Fields]

"It seems to be an intrusive nature to religion now in this country that I don't quite understand- there isn't an hour in the day where a television preacher doesn't bully his way into your living room. I see through these guys like used Neutrogena. You know, they say they don't favor any particular denomination, but I think we've all seen their eyes light up at 10s and 20s."

[Dennis Miller, from the "Black & White" show]

"To recognize that nature has neither a preference for our species nor a bias against it takes only a little courage"

[James Randi, "The Faith Healers"]
[Debunker of the paranormal, and Professional Magician.]

"To make sure that my blasphemy is thoroughly expressed, I hereby state my opinion that the notion of a god is a basic superstition, that there is no evidence for the existence of any god(s), that devils, demons, angels and saints are myths, that there is no life after death, heaven nor hell, that the Pope is a dangerous, bigoted, medieval dinosaur, and that the Holy Ghost is a comic-book character worthy of laughter and derision. I accuse the Christian god of murder by allowing the Holocaust to take place -- not to mention the "ethnic cleansing" presently being performed by Christians in our world -- and I condemn and vilify this mythical deity for encouraging racial prejudice and commanding the degradation of women."

[James Randi, challenging blasphemy laws in several US states]

"I'm sickened by all religions. Religion has divided people. I don't think there's any difference between the pope wearing a large hat and parading around with a smoking purse and an African painting his face white and praying to a rock."

[Howard Stern]


MISCELLANEOUS QUOTES

"I pledge allegiance to my flag
and to the republic for which it stands,
one nation, indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all."

[Original Pledge of Allegiance (1892)]

"Surprisingly, recent research suggests that a religious person is more likely to commit a crime than a non-religious person. One can even argue that the more religious the society, the more likely it is to have high crime rates."

["Religion and Crime: Do They Go Together?", by Lisa Conyers
and Philip D. Harvey, Summer 1996 issue of _Free Inquiry_]

"An atheist doesn't have to be someone who thinks he has a proof that there can't be a god. He only has to be someone who believes that the evidence on the God question is at a similar level to the evidence on the werewolf question."

[John McCarthy]

"Since the early days, [the church] has thrown itself violently against every effort to liberate the body and mind of man. It has been, at all times and everywhere, the habitual and incorrigible defender of bad governments, bad laws, bad social theories, bad institutions. It was, for centuries, an apologist for slavery, as it was an apologist for the divine right of kings."

[Henry Louis "H.L." Mencken, American editor and critic (1880-1956)]

"We must respect the other fellow's religion, but only in the sense and to the extent that we respect his theory that his wife is beautiful and his children smart."

[H.L. Mencken, Minority Report, 1956]

"What is the function that a clergyman performs in the world? Answer: he gets his living by assuring idiots that he can save them from an imaginary hell. It's a business almost indistinguishable from that of a seller of snake-oil for rheumatism."

[H.L. Mencken (Minority Report , 1956)]

"The trouble with Communism is the Communists, just as the trouble with Christianity is the Christians."

[H.L. Mencken]

"There is, in fact, nothing about religious opinions that entitles them to any more respect than other opinions get. On the contrary, they tend to be noticeably silly."

[H.L. Mencken]

"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration- courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."

[H.L. Mencken, "Autobiographical Notes" (1925)]

"It is now quite lawful for a Catholic woman to avoid pregnancy by a resort to mathematics, though she is still forbidden to resort to physics or chemistry."

[H.L. Mencken]

"I believe that religion, generally speaking, has been a curse to mankind--that its modest and greatly overestimated services on the ethical side have been more than overcome by the damage it has done to clear and honest thinking."

[H.L. Mencken, New York Times Magazine, 11 September 1955]

"I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs."

[Frederick Douglass, escaped slave]

"Once, in a heated controversy over the wisdom of giving the Bible to slaves, he asserted that it would be 'infinitely better to send them a pocket compass and a pistol.'"

[Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass]

"The churches can well afford to pay fair taxation. But supposing they couldn't. Would not that be a very significant evidence that the churches were not really wanted?"

[E. Haldeman-Julius, "The Church Is a Burden, Not a Benefit, In Social Life"]

"Qumran lies directly within the orbit of Jesus' early activity. His first public appearance occurred in this region. It is a striking fact that the place where Jesus received the ritual baptismal bath in the Jordan at the hands of John, was only 5 km from the monastic settlement of Qumran. There is of course a reason for this. John the Baptist was a *schaliach*, an apostle of the sect of Qumran...John led a community of Essene moderates. After his baptism one should similarly count Jesus as a member of one of these communities, and refer to him as a Nazarene. This later led to the falsely translated and irrational description of him as 'Jesus of Nazareth', a place which was not even in existence at the time of Jesus. Later a sign was said to have been fixed to the Cross, giving charge against him as membership of this sect: "Jesus, Nazarenus, Rex Iudaeorum--Jesus, Nazarene, King of the Jews."

["The Jesus Conspiracy: The Turin Shroud and the Truth About
the Resurrection" by Holger Kersten & Elmer R. Gruber p. 239]

"I do understand what love is, and that is one of the reasons I can never again be a Christian. Love is not self denial. Love is not blood and suffering. Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity. Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission. It is a counterfeit love that iscontingent upon authority, punishment, or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being."

[Dan Barker, "Losing Faith in Faith"]

"If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the clergy."

[General Marquis De Lafayette (1789)]

"Faith - the ability to believe the ridiculous for the sublime."

[Rich Bennett]

"In spite of all the yearnings of men, no one can produce a single fact or reason to support the belief in God and in personal immortality."

[Clarence Darrow, The Sign, May 1938]

"They were allowed to stay there on one condition, and that is that they didn't eat of the tree of knowledge. That has been the condition of the Christian church from then until now. They haven't eaten as yet, as a rule they do not."

[Clarence Seward Darrow, American lawyer (1857-1938)]

The Religious Right aren't, and Scientific Creationism isn't.

"If God is love, and if God is also omnipresent, then the Devil cannot exist. If the Devil exists, God cannot be love and also be omnipresent. Yet, an omnipresent God of love and the Devil are both said to exist. It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure that there is something wrong here!"

[Rev. Donald Morgan, Atheologian]

"At the time of its Founding, the United States seemed to be an infertile ground for religion. Many of the nation's leaders - include George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin - were not Christians, did not accept the authority of the Bible, and were hostile to organized religion. The attitude of the general public was one of apathy: in 1776, only 5 percent of the population were participating members of churches."

[Ian Robertson, _Sociology_, 3rd editions, Worth Publishing Inc.: New York, 1987, page 410]

The scientist yearns to find and eventually know the truth;
The religious man wants the truth to fit his preconceived mold.
So, as a result...
The scientist alters his perception to conform to the facts;
The religious man tries to change the facts to conform to his beliefs.

"It is a curious thing that every creed promises a paradise which will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste."

[Evelyn Waugh]

"Faith," said St. Paul, "is the evidence of things not seen." We should elaborate this definition by adding that faith is the assertion of things for which there is not a particle of evidence and of things which are incredible."

[E. Haldeman-Julius, "The Meaning Of Atheism"]

"The very concept of sin comes from the bible. Christianity offers to solve a problem of its own making! Would you be thankful to a person who cut you with a knife in order to sell you a bandage?"

[Dan Barker, "Losing Faith in Faith"]

"The Jews are a frightened people. Nineteen centuries of Christian love have broken down their nerves."

[Israel Zangwill]

"I can very well do without God both in my life and in my painting, but I cannot, suffering as I am, do without something which is greater than I, which is my life -- the power to create."

[Vincent van Gogh, letter to Theo. Art News Annual, 1950]

"Go ahead and hate your neighbor, go ahead and cheat a friend Do it in the name of heaven - you can justify it in the end."

[From One Tin Soldier]

"Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic."

[Thomas Szasz]

"[W]e shall continue to have a worsening ecologic crisis until we reject the Christian axiom that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man."

[Lynn White, Jr., "The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis", Science V. 155 No. 3767 (10 March 1967), pp. 1203-1207.]

"I do not consider it a sign of divine love to consign to hell people who live good lives but make an honest mistake in belief"

[Moshe Shulman]

"Where knowledge ends, religion begins."

[Benjamin Disraeli]

"Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That unalterable rule applies both to God and man."

[John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton (Lord Acton) in a letter to Bishop Mandell Creighton, April 5,1887]

God wanted to have a holiday, so He asked St. Peter for suggestions on where to go.
"Why not go to Jupiter?" asked St. Peter.
"No, too much gravity, too much stomping around," said God.
"Well, how about Mercury?"
"No, it's too hot there."
"Okay," said St. Peter, "What about Earth?"
"No," said God, "They're such horrible gossips. When I was there 2000 years ago, I had an affair with a Jewish woman, and they're still talking about it."

"Religious persons often consider gambling to be a bad thing. It certainly causes a great deal of misery. But much of the badness of gambling consists in its refusal to face the odds and be guided by them; and in the matter of refusing to face the odds religion is a worse offender than gambling, and does more harm to the habits of reason. Religious belief is, in fact, a form of gambling, as Pascal saw. It does more harm to reason than ordinary gambling does, however, because it is more in earnest."

[Richard Robinson (1902-1996), Professor at Cornell and Oxford wrote in 'An Atheist's Values']

"If there is a God, atheism must strike Him as less of an insult than religion."

[Edmond and Jules de Goncourt]

"The central problem of Christianity is: if the Messiah has come, why is the world so evil? For Judaism, the problem is: if the world is so evil, why does the Messiah not come?"

[Seymour Siegel]

"The prime necessity of a human being is freedom. It is the state which has forbidden women from enjoying that liberty. Religion is now the first obstacle to women's advancement. Religion pulls human beings backwards, it goes against science and progressiveness. Religion engulfs people with a fear of the supernatural, It bars people from laughing and never allows people to exercise their choice."

[Taslima Nasrin]

"Faith is believing in things when common sense tells you not to."

[George Seaton]

"Superstition is the poison of the mind."

[Joseph Lewis]

"You can cite a hundred references to show that the biblical God is a bloodthirsty tyrant, but if they can dig up two or three verses that say "God is love," they will claim that *you* are taking things out of context!"

[Dan Barker, "Losing Faith in Faith"]

"What good is a beautiful church that serves the spiritual needs to someone sleeping on a steam grate?"

[James Felder]

Waco, Pensacola, The World Trade Center, Hebron, The Spanish Inquisition, "Eat my flesh, and drink my blood" . . . Don't the Religiously-Correct just wanna' kill ya'?

"The way to make money is to start your own religion."

[L. Ron Hubbard, The Founder of Scientology, 1954]


THE BIBLE

"(19)Yet she increased her whorings, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the whore in the land of Egypt (20) and lusted after her paramours whose members were like those of donkeys and whose emissions was like that of stallions"

[Ezekiel 23]

"Kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known man by lying with him. But all the young girls who have not known man ... , keep alive for yourselves."

[Moses, relaying God's orders to his people, Numbers 31:17-18]