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Quotes About Religion or Atheism

"Reason should be destroyed in all Christians."
— Martin Luther

"Whoever wants to be a Christian should tear the eyes out of his reason."
— Martin Luther

"Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but more frequently than not struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God."
— Martin Luther

"Reason is the Devil's greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil's appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom ... Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism... She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets."
— Martin Luther, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148

"Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Faith must trample underfoot all reason, sense, and understanding, and whatever it sees must be put out of sight and ... know nothing but the word of God."
— Martin Luther

"We know that reason is the Devil’s harlot, and can do nothing but slander and harm all that God says and does… Therefore keep to revelation and do not try to understand."
— Martin Luther

"What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian church? [...] a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would accept them."
— Martin Luther

"... we must drive them [Jews] out like mad dogs, so that we do not become partakers of their abominable blasphemy and all their other vices and thus merit God's wrath and be damned with them."
— Martin Luther, "On the Jews and Their Lies", 1543

"There is another form of temptation, even more fraught with danger. This is the disease of curiosity. It is this which drives us to try and discover the secrets of nature, those secrets which are beyond our understanding, which can avail us nothing and which man should not wish to learn."
— St. Augustine (354 — 430), one of the "great" church fathers, Confessions

"I believe because it is absurd."
— Tertullian (c. 155 – c. 240), notable early Christian apologist

"We have no need of curiosity after we have Christianity, nor of inquisitiveness after we have the Gospel."
— Tertullian

"The gravest of the ecclesiastical historians, Eusebius himself, indirectly confesses that he has related whatever might redound to the glory, and that he has suppressed all that could tend to the disgrace, of religion."
— Edward Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Eusebius was a 4th century Bishop of Caesarea and Church Historian, considered "the Father of Ecclesiastical History"

"Theology is the most certain of all sciences since its source is divine knowledge (which cannot be deceived) and because of the greater worth of its subject matter, the sublimity of which transcends human reason."
— Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae (1265–1274)

"Unbelief is the greatest of sins."
— Thomas Aquinas, ibid.

"Now it seems that everything in the world stems from sources other than God, since the products of nature have their source in nature; deliberate effects can be traced back to human reason or will as their source. There is no need then to assume that God exists."
— Thomas Aquinas, ibid., I, Question 2, Article 3

"With regard to heretics there are two points to be observed, one on their side, the other on the side of the Church. As for heretics their sin deserves banishment, not only from the Church by excommunication, but also from this world by death. To corrupt the faith, whereby the soul lives, is much graver than to counterfeit money, which supports temporal life. Since forgers and other malefactors are summarily condemned to death by the civil authorities, with much more reason may heretics as soon as they are convicted of heresy be not only excommunicated, but also justly be put to death."
— Thomas Aquinas, ibid., Question 11, Article 3

"The opinion formulated by the Church has more value in my eyes than human reasons, whatever they may be."
— Desiderius Erasmus, 1466 – 1536, Response to the Censure of the Theology Faculty at Paris, 9.864; M 241

"We should always be disposed to believe that which appears to us to be white is really black, if the hierarchy of the church so decides."
— St. Ignatius Loyola, 1491 – 1556

"For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?"
— The Apostle Paul, Romans 3:7 (KJV)

"A person is to be punished with a just penalty, who ... utters blasphemy, or gravely harms public morals, or rails at or excites hatred of or contempt for religion or the Church."
— The Catholic Church's Canon Law 1369

"The mysteries of the faith are not to [be] explained rashly to anyone. Usually in fact, they cannot be understood by everyone but only by those who are qualified to understand them with informed intelligence. The depth of the divine Scriptures is such that not only the illiterate and uninitiated have difficulty understanding them, but also the educated and the gifted."
— Pope Innocent III in 1199

"Kill them all, for God knows His own."
— Pope Innocent III, to his troops in the Albigensian Crusade of 1209

"Kill them all. God will select those who should go to heaven and those who should go to hell."
— Abbot Arnold de Citeaux, 1205 (during the Fourth Crusade)

"We prohibit also that the laity should be permitted to have the books of the Old or New Testament; unless anyone from motive of devotion should wish to have the Psalter or the Breviary for divine offices or the hours of the blessed Virgin; but we most strictly forbid their having any translation of these books."
— Council of Toulouse: Canon 14, 1229

"…the right of holding slaves is clearly established in the Holy Scriptures, both by precept and example… Had the holding of slaves been a moral evil, it cannot be supposed that the inspired Apostles … would have tolerated it for a moment in the Christian Church. In proving this subject justifiable by Scriptural authority [Luke 12:47], its morality is also proved; for the Divine Law never sanctions immoral actions."
— Richard Furman, Baptist State Convention, letter to South Carolina Governor, 1822

"God is introduced to give dignity and emphasis ... and then He is banished. It was this very atheistic Declaration [of Independence] which had inspired the 'higher law' doctrine of the radical antislavery men. If the mischievous abolitionists had only followed the Bible instead of the godless Declaration, they would have been bound to acknowledge that human bondage was divinely ordained. The mission of southerners was therefore clear; they must defend the word of God against abolitionist infidels."
— Thomas Smyth, minister of 2nd Presbyterian Church of Charleston, S.C. 11/21/1861

"Slavery itself ... is not at all contrary to the natural and divine law... The purchaser [of the slave] should carefully examine whether the slave who is put up for sale has been justly or unjustly deprived of his liberty, and that the vendor should do nothing which might endanger the life, virtue, or Catholic faith of the slave."
— Vatican statement, 1866

"I was at this time living, like so many Atheists or Antitheists, in a whirl of contradictions. I maintained that God did not exist. I was also very angry with God for not existing. I was equally angry with Him for creating a world."
— C.S. Lewis, famous Christian apologist and former atheist

"The Myth of the Inquisition is just that: phony, made up, bogus."
— Gerard Bradley, Notre Dame Law School Professor, in "One Cheer for the Inquisitions" on Catholic.net

"Without God there would be no freedom to believe what you want."
— Judge Roy Moore, Alabama

"It is hard to think of anything more vile than to intentionally desecrate the Body of Christ."
— Bill Donohue, Catholic League President, about a smuggled communion wafer

"What happened to California will release a spirit that is more demonic than Islam, a spirit of lawlessness and anarchy. And a sexual insanity will be unleashed into the Earth."
— Lou Engle, Christian visionary, in response to legalization of same-sex marriage in California in 2008

"Quantum healing is healing the bodymind from a quantum level. That means from a level which is not manifest at a sensory level. Our bodies ultimately are fields of information, intelligence and energy. Quantum healing involves a shift in the fields of energy information, so as to bring about a correction in an idea that has gone wrong. So quantum healing involves healing one mode of consciousness, mind, to bring about changes in another mode of consciousness, body."
— Dr Deepak Chopra

"Consciousness may exist in photons, which seem to be the carrier of all information in the universe."
— Dr Deepak Chopra

"The moon exists in consciousness — no consciousness, no moon — just a sluggishly expanding wave function in a superposition of possibilities. All happens within consciousness and nowhere else."
— Dr Deepak Chopra

"We don't have to protect the environment — the Second Coming is at hand."
— James Watt, Interior Secretary under Ronald Reagan

"The facts may tell you one thing. But, God is not limited by the facts. Choose faith in spite of the facts."
— Joel Osteen, evangelical pastor

"I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
— President George H.W. Bush

"The Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation."
— Senator John McCain, on beliefnet.com

"I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so."
— Adolf Hitler, to Gen. Gerhard Engel, 1941

"I believe today that my conduct is in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator."
— Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, p. 46

"I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Almighty Creator. By fighting the Jews, I am doing the Lord's work."
— Adolf Hitler, ibid. p. 65

"This human world of ours would be inconceivable without the practical existence of a religious belief."
— Adolf Hitler, ibid. p 152

"Thus inwardly armed with confidence in God and the unshakable stupidity of the voting citizenry, the politicians can begin the fight for the 'remaking' of the Reich as they call it."
— Adolf Hitler, ibid. Vol. 2 Chapter 1

"The National Government will preserve and defend those basic principles on which our nation has been built. It regards Christianity as the foundation of our national morality, and the family as the basis of national life."
— Adolf Hitler, Berlin, 1933, first radio address after coming to power.

"The national Government sees in both Christian denominations the most important factor for the maintenance of our society."
— Adolf Hitler, speech at the Reichstag, March 1933

"The National Socialist State professes its allegiance to positive Christianity. It will be its honest endeavor to protect both the great Christian Confessions in their rights, to secure them from interference with their doctrines, and in their duties to constitute a harmony with the views and the exigencies of the State of today."
— Adolf Hitler, June 26 1934, to Catholic bishops

"Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith ... We need believing people."
— Adolf Hitler, April 1933, from a speech made during negotiations leading to the Nazi-Vatican Concordat of 1933

"The fact that the Catholic Church has come to an agreement with Fascist Italy ... proves beyond doubt that the Fascist world of ideas is closer to Christianity than those of Jewish liberalism or even atheistic Marxism..."
— Adolf Hitler in an article in the Vφlkischer Beobachter, 1929

"I am personally convinced of the great power and deep significance of Christianity, and I won't allow any other religion to be promoted."
— Adolf Hitler

"Today Christians ... stand at the head of [this country]... I pledge that I never will tie myself to parties who want to destroy Christianity .. We want to fill our culture again with the Christian spirit ... We want to burn out all the recent immoral developments in literature, in the theater, and in the press — in short, we want to burn out the poison of immorality which has entered into our whole life and culture as a result of liberal excess during the past ... (few) years."
— Adolf Hitler, quoted in: The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, 1922-1939, Vol. 1

"We were convinced that the people need and require this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations; we have stamped it out."
— Adolf Hitler, speech, October 24, 1933

Here's a list of banned books in Germany, 1932-1939

"As for the Jews, I am just carrying on with the same policy which the Catholic Church has adopted for fifteen hundred years, when it has regarded the Jews as dangerous and pushed them into ghettos etc., because it knew what the Jews were like. I don't put race above religion, but I do see the danger in the representatives of this race for Church and State, and perhaps I am doing Christianity a great service."
— Adolf Hitler, 1936, to Bishop Berning and Msg. Steinman, representatives of Pope Pius XI

"The work that Christ started but could not finish, I — Adolf Hitler — will conclude."
— Adolf Hitler, December 1926. Here, here, and here are more of his quotes on religion, God, and Christianity. Here are Nazi photos showing their alliance with Christianity.

Note that Adolf Hitler was never excommunicated or in any other way officially censured by the Catholic Church. The only high-ranking Catholic Nazi to be excommunicated was Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels — because he married a divorced Protestant woman.

"The party, as such, stands for positive Christianity, without, however, allying itself to any particular denomination."
Article 24, Program of the National Socialist German Workers’ (Nazi) Party

"I swear by God this sacred oath that I shall render unconditional obedience to Adolf Hitler, the Leader of the German empire, supreme commander of the armed forces, and that I shall at all times be prepared, as a brave soldier, to give my life for this oath."
German WWII Military Oath

"Our religion is Christ, our politics Fatherland!"
— slogan of Hans Schemm, Bavarian Minister of Education and Culture during the Third Reich

Guidelines for banned books in Nazi Germany:
* Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Hδckel).
* All writings that ridicule, belittle or besmirch the Christian religion and its institution, faith in God, or other things that are holy to the healthy sentiments of the Volk.

"Ein Folk, ein Reich, ein Fόhrer." ("One People, one Reign, one Leader.")
— Hitler

"We have one country, one Constitution and one future that binds us."
— President George W. Bush, in his 2004 acceptance speech

"Grant that we may be one flock and one shepherd!"
— Pope Benedict XVI

"When we get through with the Jews in America, they’ll think the treatment they received in Germany was nothing."
— Catholic priest and US radio host Charles Edward Coughlin, 1938

"Those who control what young people are taught, and what they experience — what they see, hear, think, and believe — will determine the future course for the nation."
— James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family

"Give me a child for the first 5 years of his life and he will be mine forever."
— Vladimir Lenin

"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."
— Proverbs 22:6

"Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man."
— Jesuit motto

"We're in a religious war and we need to aggressively oppose secular humanism; these people are as religiously motivated as we are and they are filled with the devil."
— Timothy LaHaye, co-author of the Left Behind series

"You don't get rich writing science fiction. If you want to get rich, you start a religion."
L. Ron Hubbard, creator of Scientology

"It is a war of light vs. darkness, of Christ vs. antichrist, the Word of God vs. secular humanism. There will be a winner and a loser!.. There is no compromise with the enemy. There is no neutrality in this war!"
— Rev. John Hagee, televangelist

"All hurricanes are acts of God because God controls the heavens. I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God and they were recipients of the judgment of God for that."
— Rev. John Hagee

"How did [the Holocaust] happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said, 'My top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.' "
— Rev. John Hagee

"We believe democracy is an atheist call that idolizes human beings."
— manifesto of Ansar al-Sunnah (Iraqi terrorist group)

"The spread of Islam was military. There is a tendency to apologize for this and we should not. It is one of the injunctions of the Qur'an that you must fight to spread Islam."
— Dr. Ali Issa Othman, Islamic Scholar

"With all due respect to those dear people, my friend, God almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew."
— Rev. Bailey Smith, Christian Coalition

"On the issue of evolution, the verdict is still out on how God created the Earth."
— President George W. Bush, a born-again Christian

"Faith-based organizations also need a guarantee they will not be forced to give up their right to hire people of their own faith as the price of competing for federal money. If we want this program to be effective and to save lives, people have got to say interfacing with government will not cause me to lose my mission."
— President George W. Bush, February 2005

"Gog and Magog are at work in the Middle East…. The biblical prophecies are being fulfilled…. This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins."
— President George W. Bush, to French President Jacques Chirac in early 2003

"He [God] is using me, all the time, everywhere, to stand up for a biblical worldview in everything that I do and everywhere I am. He is training me."
— Tom DeLay (R-TX), former majority leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2010 he was convicted of money laundering.

"There are a lot of very brilliant scholars who believe the reason we have incomplete science on evolution is that there is a higher power involved in this."
— Bill O'Reilly, conservative TV and radio host

"The earth is flat, and anyone who disputes this claim is an atheist who deserves to be punished."
— Sheik Abdel-Aziz ibn Baaz, Saudi Arabia’s supreme religious authority, 1993-1999

"The doctrine of the double motion of the earth about its axis and about the sun is false, and entirely contrary to Holy Scripture."
— Congregation of the Index (of Prohibited Books), 1616, under Pope Paul V

"Communistic evolution, according to the Senate committee that examined it, is responsible for 135 million deaths in peacetime. There's no religion that has a tiny fraction of that many deaths on its conscience. There are scientists who will admit that there's not one iota of scientific evidence to support it."
— D. James Kennedy, of Coral Ridge Ministries, "the most listened-to Presbyterian minister in the world today"

"To put it simply, no Darwin, no Hitler. Hitler tried to speed up evolution, to help it along, and millions suffered and died in unspeakable ways because of it."
— D. James Kennedy

"Among German historians, there's really not much debate about whether or not Hitler was a social Darwinist. He clearly was drawing on Darwinian ideas."
— Richard Weikart, From Darwin to Hitler

"The objective is to convince people that Darwinism is inherently atheistic, thus shifting the debate from creationism vs. evolution to the existence of God vs. the non-existence of God. From there people are introduced to the truth of the Bible and then the question of sin and finally introduced to Jesus."
— Phillip Johnson, creator of the idea of 'Intelligent' Design

"There is no way you can harmonize neo-Darwinism and Christianity."
— Lee Strobel

"If life can emerge just from naturalistic circumstances, then God is out of a job."
— Lee Strobel

"If [scientific] conclusions contradict the Word of God, the conclusions are wrong, no matter how many scientific facts may appear to back them,"
— Biology for Christian Schools, p. 1

"Christians must disregard [scientific hypotheses or theories] that contradict the Bible."
— ibid.

"We do not know how God created, what processes He used, for God used processes which are not now operating anywhere in the natural universe. This is why we refer to divine creation as special creation. We cannot discover by scientific investigations anything about the creative processes used by God."
— Duane Gish, Evolution, The Fossils Say No! p. 42

"The body of scientific evidence supporting creation science is as strong as that supporting evolution. In fact, it may be stronger… The evidence for evolution is far less compelling than we have been led to believe. Evolution is not a scientific “fact,” since it cannot actually be observed in a laboratory. Rather, evolution is merely a scientific theory or “guess.”… It is a very bad guess at that. The scientific problems with evolution are so serious that it could accurately be termed a “myth.”"
— Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, dissenting opinion on Edwards v. Aguillard

"With respect to public acknowledgment of religious belief, it is entirely clear from our nation's historical practices that the Establishment Clause permits this disregard of polytheists and believers in unconcerned deities, just as it permits the disregard of devout atheists."
— Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, in a 2005 dissenting opinion on McCreary County vs. ACLU of Kentucky

"I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God."
— William Dembski, Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute

"Christ is indispensable to any scientific theory, even if its practitioners do not have a clue about him."
— William Dembski, Intelligent design: The bridge between science and theology

"If you can't trust the Bible's history, how can you trust its morality?"
— Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis

"I did not know from a scientific perspective why I did not believe in evolution – but I knew from a Biblical perspective it had to be wrong or my faith was in trouble."
— Ken Ham, The Lie – Evolution

"If there was not one man Adam and one woman Eve, and a literal event of the one man Adam taking the fruit in rebellion and thus bringing sin and death into world, then one may as well throw the rest of the Bible away."
— Ken Ham

"Leftist organizations are aggressively attempting to redefine America in their own Godless image."
— Rev. Jerry Falwell

"We're fighting against humanism, we're fighting against liberalism...we are fighting against all the systems of Satan that are destroying our nation today... our battle is with Satan himself."
— Rev. Jerry Falwell

"AIDS is not just God's punishment for homosexuals; it is God's punishment for the society that tolerates homosexuals."
— Rev. Jerry Falwell

"If we are going to save America and evangelize the world, we cannot accommodate secular philosophies that are diametrically opposed to Christian truth."
— Jerry Falwell, "Moral Majority Report" for September, 1984

"Good Christians, like slaves and soldiers, ask no questions."
— Jerry Falwell, December 1999

"I really believe that the pagans and the abortionists and the feminists and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way, all of them who try to secularize America... I point the finger in their face and say you helped this happen."
— Rev. Jerry Falwell, on 9/13/01

"If we ever opened a meeting with a prayer, silent or otherwise, we would disintegrate."
— Rev. Jerry Falwell, Founder of Moral Majority, Address to the Religious Newswriters Association in New Orleans, explaining why their meetings do not open with prayer.

"People for the American Way says it has yet to find anyone who has made a stronger case against the proposed school prayer Constitutional amendment... What kind of prayer would we use?"
— Cal Thomas, director of communications for Moral Majority, said his group did not open meetings with prayer because it is a political organization that includes Jews, Catholics, Mormons, Protestants, and some "non-religious" members. Quoted from "Falwell Arms the Opposition," San Francisco Chronicle, 11/19/1982

"Evolution is a bankrupt speculative philosophy, not a scientific fact. Only a spiritually bankrupt society could ever believe it... Only atheists could accept this Satanic theory."
— Rev. Jimmy Swaggart

"The Bible is the ALL_SLP4_SELL law that all governments must obey."
— Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue

"I want you to just let a wave of intolerance wash over you. I want you to let a wave of hatred wash over you. Yes, hate is good — Our goal is a Christian nation. We have a Biblical duty. We are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want pluralism."
— Randall Terry, 8/16/1993

"Our goal must be simple. We must have a Christian nation built on God's law, on the ten Commandments. No apologies."
— Randall Terry (whose son is gay)

"I don't think Christians should use birth control. You consummate your marriage as often as you like – and if you have babies, you have babies."
— Randall Terry

"When I, or people like me, are running the country, you'd better flee, because we will find you, we will try you, and we'll execute you. I mean every word of it. I will make it part of my mission to see to it that they are tried and executed."
— Randall Terry, on abortion providers and women who had abortions

"Our goal is a Christian Nation.... We have a Biblical duty; we are called by God to conquer this country. We don't want equal time. We don't want Pluralism. We want theocracy. Theocracy means God rules. I've got a hot flash. God rules."
— Randall Terry, 4/15/1993

"If Christian people work together, they can succeed during this decade in winning back control of the institutions that have been taken from them over the past 70 years. Expect confrontations that will be not only unpleasant but at times physically bloody. When it is over, I am convinced God’s people will emerge victorious."
— Rev. Pat Robertson

"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different... More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history."
— Rev. Pat Robertson

"They have kept us in submission because they have talked about separation of church and state. There is no such thing in the Constitution. It's a lie of the left, and we're not going to take it anymore."
— Rev. Pat Robertson, addressing the ACLJ, 1993

"The evolutionists worship atheism. I mean, that's their religion."
— Rev. Pat Robertson

"You want to know who the biggest hypocrite in the world is? The biggest hypocrite in the world is the person who believes in the death penalty for murderers and not for homosexuals."
— Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church, Tempe, AZ

"You cannot coherently affirm the Christian-truth claim and the dominant model of evolutionary theory at the same time."
— Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism, and become lesbians."
— Rev. Pat Robertson, fundraising letter, 1992

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity."
— Ann Coulter, conservative author

"[Since 9/11] I am often asked if I still think we should invade their countries, kill their leaders, and convert them to Christianity. The answer is: Now more than ever!"
— Ann Coulter

"God gave us the earth. We have dominion over the plants, the animals, the trees. God said, 'Earth is yours. Take it. Rape it. It's yours.'"
— Ann Coulter, on Hannity & Colmes, 6/20/2001

"But perhaps God’s purpose in the world (I am only thinking aloud here) is to draw his creatures to him. And you have to admit that tragedies like this one at Virginia Tech help to do that!"
— Dinesh D’Souza

"There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ's Passion. The world gains much from their suffering."
— Mother Teresa (future saint), to Christopher Hitchens

"Patients experiencing suffering that cannot be alleviated should be helped to appreciate the Christian understanding of redemptive suffering."
— Catholic healthcare directive

"The Church does not dictate the policies of the nation. The Church proclaims the truth of God to which all these policies must conform."
— Father Frank Provone of Priests for Life, at a prayer breakfast during the 2000 Republican convention

"Any Catholic in public office, his first commitment must be to his faith."
— Bishop Thomas Tobin, 11/23/2009, on "Hardball"

"If we lose Genesis as a legitimate scientific and historical explanation for man, then we lose the validity of Christianity. Period."
— G. Thomas Sharp, chairman of the Creation Truth Foundation

» More Quotes from The American Taliban

"From this day forward, the millions of our school children will daily proclaim in every city and town, every village and rural schoolhouse, the dedication of our Nation and our people to the Almighty."
— President Eisenhower, signing bill for "under God" in Pledge of Allegiance

"The church at the time was much more faithful to reason than Galileo himself, and also took into consideration the ethical and social consequences of Galileo’s doctrine. Its verdict against Galileo was rational and just."
— Paul Feyerabend, quoted in 1990 by Cardinal Ratzinger, who would become pope in 2005

"In a world wounded by conflicts, where violence is justified in God's name, it's important to repeat that religion can never become a vehicle of hatred, it can never be used in God's name to justify violence."
— Pope Benedict XVI, 10/22/2007

"Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
— Pope Benedict XVI, quoting a 14th century Byzantine emperor, 2006

"To say that you can kill in the name of God is blasphemy."
— Pope Francis, 2014

"Freedom requires religion just as religion requires freedom."
— Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate, 12/06/2007

"I believe it’s a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God, and that’s what we need to do is to amend the Constitution so it’s in God’s standards rather than try to change God’s standards."
— Mike Huckabee, Republican presidential candidate, 1/14/2008

"The recognition of God as the ruling and leading power in the universe and the grateful acknowledgment of His favors and blessings are necessary to the best type of citizenship..."
— Boy Scouts of America policy, 1970

"Liberalism and Western-style democracy have not been able to help realize the ideals of humanity. Today, these two concepts have failed. Those with insight can already hear the sounds of the shattering and fall of the ideology and thoughts of the liberal democratic systems... Whether we like it or not, the world is gravitating towards faith in the Almighty and justice and the will of God will prevail over all things."
— President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, in a 2007 open letter to President George W. Bush

"Whereas dangers and threats to our Nation persist and this time of peril, it is appropriate that the people of the United States, leaders and citizens alike, seek guidance, strength, and resolve through prayer and fasting: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the President should issue a proclamation:

(1) designating a day for humility, prayer, and fasting for all people of the United States; and
(2) calling on all people of the United States —
(A) to observe the day as a time of prayer and fasting;
(B) to seek guidance from God to achieve a greater understanding of our own failings and to learn how we can do better in our everyday activities; and
(C) to gain resolve in meeting the challenges that confront our Nation."
— H. Res. 153, 108th Congress, 3/27/2003, passed by an overwhelming vote. A similar bill in the Senate passed unanimously

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;..."
— from the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

"... no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States."
— from Article VI of the U.S. Constitution

"The Government of the United States is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."
— from The Treaty of Tripoli, Article 11, written during the administration of President George Washington, signed by President John Adams, and unanimously approved by the Senate in 1797

"E Pluribus Unum" (Out of many, one)
— The original national motto

"I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic, for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
— Francis Bellamy, The original Pledge of Allegiance, as it appeared in 'The Youth's Companion' (11/08/1892)

"If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein. If there are any circumstances which permit an exception, they do not now occur to us."
W. Va. Bd. of Educ. v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624 (1943)

For the religious beliefs of the U.S. Founding Fathers, see The Founding Fathers Were Not Christians by Steven Morris

"There is no reason for believing that any sort of gods exist, and quite good reasons for believing that they do not exist and never have. It has all been a gigantic waste of time and a waste of life. It would be a joke of cosmic proportions if it weren't so tragic."
— Richard Dawkins

"Science shares with religion the claim that it answers deep questions about origins, the nature of life, and the cosmos. But there the resemblance ends. Scientific beliefs are supported by evidence, and they get results. Myths and faiths are not and do not."
— Richard Dawkins, River out of Eden

"The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference."
— Richard Dawkins, ibid.

"Since all organisms inherit all their genes from their ancestors, rather than from their ancestors' unsuccessful contemporaries, all organisms tend to possess successful genes. They have what it takes to become ancestors — and that means to survive and reproduce. This is why organisms tend to inherit genes with a propensity to build a well-designed machine — a body that actively works as if it is striving to become an ancestor. That is why birds are so good at flying, fish so good at swimming, monkeys so good at climbing, viruses so good at spreading. That is why we love life and love sex and love children. It is because we all, without a single exception, inherit all of our genes from an unbroken line of successful ancestors. The world becomes full of organisms that have what it takes to become ancestors. That, in a sentence, is Darwinism."
— Richard Dawkins, ibid. p. 2

"I am very hostile to religion because it is enormously dominant, especially in American life. And I don't buy the argument that, well, it's harmless. I think it is harmful, partly because I care passionately about what's true."
— Richard Dawkins

"My last vestige of 'hands off religion' respect disappeared in the smoke and choking dust of September 11th 2001, followed by the 'National Day of Prayer,' when prelates and pastors did their tremulous Martin Luther King impersonations and urged people of mutually incompatible faiths to hold hands, united in homage to the very force that caused the problem in the first place."
— Richard Dawkins, The Devil's Chaplain

"To an honest judge, the alleged convergence between religion and science is a shallow, empty, hollow, spin-doctored sham."
— Richard Dawkins, ibid.

"We who are atheists are also a-fairyists, a-teapotists, and a-unicornists, but we don't have to bother saying so."
— Richard Dawkins, "Free Inquiry" Summer, 2002

"The alternative which I favor is to renounce all euphemisms and grasp the nettle of the word atheism itself, precisely because it is a taboo word carrying frissons of hysterical phobia. Critical mass may be harder to achieve than with some non-confrontational euphemism, but if we did achieve it with the dread word atheist, the political impact would be all the greater."
— Richard Dawkins, ibid.

"Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."
— Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker p. 6

"Natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. Yet the living results of natural selection overwhelmingly impress us with the appearance of design as if by a master watchmaker, impress us with the illusion of design and planning."
— Richard Dawkins, ibid.

"Another meme of the religious meme complex is called faith. It means blind trust the absence of evidence, even in the teeth of evidence. The story of Doubting Thomas is told, not so that we shall admire Thomas, but so that we can admire the other apostles in comparison. Thomas demanded evidence. Nothing is more lethal for certain kinds of meme than a tendency to look for evidence. The other apostles, whose faith was so strong that they did not need evidence, are held up to us as worthy of imitation. The meme for blind faith secures its own perpetuation by the simple unconscious expedient of discouraging rational inquiry."
— Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

"[It] is capable of driving people to such dangerous folly that faith seems to me to qualify as a kind of mental illness."
— Richard Dawkins, ibid.

"We should learn to understand natural selection, so that we can oppose any tendency to apply it to human politics."
— Richard Dawkins, ibid.

"I am not advocating a morality based on evolution."
— Richard Dawkins, ibid. p. 2

"It is a remarkable coincidence that almost everyone has the same religion as their parents and it always just so happens they’re the right religion."
— Richard Dawkins

"You cannot be both sane and well educated and disbelieve in evolution. The evidence is so strong that any sane, educated person has got to believe in evolution."
— Richard Dawkins, "My Short Interview with Richard Dawkins" by Lanny Swerdlow

"Evolution is a fact, as securely established as any in science, and he who denies it betrays woeful ignorance and lack of education, which likely extends to other fields as well. Evolution is not some recondite backwater of science, ignorance of which would be pardonable. It is the stunningly simple but elegant explanation of our very existence and the existence of every living creature on the planet."
— Richard Dawkins

"The distribution of species on islands and continents throughout the world is exactly what you'd expect if evolution was a fact. The distribution of fossils in space and in time are exactly what you would expect if evolution were a fact. There are millions of facts all pointing in the same direction and no facts pointing in the wrong direction."
— Richard Dawkins, Interview on Salon.com

"In childhood our credulity serves us well. It helps us to pack, with extraordinary rapidity, our skulls full of the wisdom of our parents and our ancestors. But if we don't grow out of it in the fullness of time, our ... nature makes us a sitting target for astrologers, mediums, gurus, evangelists, and quacks. We need to replace the automatic credulity of childhood with the constructive skepticism of adult science."
— Richard Dawkins

"Creationism: God's gift to the ignorant."
— Richard Dawkins

"All religious beliefs seem weird to people not brought up in them."
— Richard Dawkins

"I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world."
— Richard Dawkins

"Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think..."
— Richard Dawkins

"Faith is one of the world's great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder to eradicate."
— Richard Dawkins

"Science has eradicated smallpox, can immunise against most previously deadly viruses, can kill most previously deadly bacteria. Theology has done nothing but talk of pestilence as the wages of sin."
— Richard Dawkins, "The Independent"

"Faith is an evil precisely because it requires no justification and brooks no argument."
— Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, p. 308

"Those who wish to base their morality literally on the Bible have either not read it or not understood it..."
— Richard Dawkins, ibid. p. 237

"A designer God cannot be used to explain organized complexity because any God capable of designing anything would have to be complex enough to demand the same kind of explanation in his own right."
— Richard Dawkins, ibid. p. 136

"The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully."
— Richard Dawkins, ibid.

"We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further."
— Richard Dawkins, ibid.

"Many of us saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where's the harm? September 11th changed all that."
— Richard Dawkins

"The time has come for people of reason to say: Enough is Enough! Religious faith discourages independent thought, it's divisive and it's dangerous."
— Richard Dawkins

"Not only is science corrosive to religion, but religion is corrosive to science. It teaches people to be satisfied with trivial non-explanations and blinds them to the wonderful real explanations that we have within our grasp."
— Richard Dawkins

"Let's get up off our knees, stop cringing before bogeymen and virtual fathers, face reality, and help science to do something constructive about human suffering."
— Richard Dawkins

"[Creationists have] lost in the courts of law; they've long ago lost in the halls of science; and they continue to lose with every new piece of evidence in support of evolution. Taking offense is all they've got left."
— Richard Dawkins, U. of Oklahoma, 3/6/2009

"I believe that an orderly universe, one indifferent to human preoccupations which everything has an explanation even if we still have a long way to go before we find it, is a more beautiful, more wonderful place than a universe tricked out with capricious ad hoc magic."
— Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow

"We are all going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. ... The only reason we die is that we were born. Would you rather have never been born at all?"
— Richard Dawkins, ibid.

"My respect for the Abrahamic religions went up in the smoke and choking dust of September 11th. The last vestige of respect for the taboo disappeared as I watched the 'Day of Prayer' in Washington Cathedral, where people of mutually incompatible faiths united in homage to the very force that caused the problem in the first place: religion. It is time for people of intellect, as opposed to people of faith, to stand up and say 'Enough!' Let our tribute to the dead be a new resolve: to respect people for what they individually think, rather than respect groups for what they were collectively brought up to believe."
— Richard Dawkins, written for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Sept. 2001

"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark."
— Stephen Hawking

"The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge."
— Stephen Hawking

"What could define God, as the embodiment of the laws of nature. However, this is not what most people would think of that God. They made a human-like being with whom one can have a personal relationship. When you look at the vast size of the universe and how insignificant and accidental human life is in it, that seems most impossible."
— Stephen Hawking

"The universe itself, in all its mind-boggling vastness and complexity, could simply have popped into existence without violating the known laws of nature."
— Stephen Hawking, Brief Answers to Big Questions, 2018

"What I meant when I said we would know 'the mind of God' was that we would know everything God would know if there were a God, which there isn't."
— Stephen Hawking, in an interview in El Mundo

"There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."
— Stephen Hawking

"We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special."
— Stephen Hawking, Der Spiegel (10/17/1988)

"The intelligent beings in these regions should therefore not be surprised if they observe that their locality in the universe satisfies the conditions that are necessary for their existence. It is a bit like a rich person living in a wealthy neighborhood not seeing any poverty."
— Stephen Hawking.

"We are each free to believe what we want, and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is; there is no God. No one created our universe, and no one directs our fate. This leads me to a profound realization that there probably is no heaven and no afterlife either. We have this one life to appreciate the grand design of the universe and for that, I am extremely grateful."
— Stephen Hawking; for more of his quotes, see Physics and Cosmology

"It is sometimes said that science has nothing to do with morality. This is wrong. Science is the search for truth, the effort to understand the world; it involves the rejection of bias, of dogma, of revelation, but not the rejection of morality."
— Linus Pauling, the only person to receive two unshared Nobel Prizes

"Religion has ever been anti-human, anti-woman, anti-life, anti-peace, anti-reason and anti-science. The god idea has been detrimental not only to humankind but to the earth. It is time now for reason, education and science to take over."
— Madalyn Murray O'Hair — Speech, 1990

"Atheism is based upon a materialist philosophy, which holds that nothing exists but natural phenomena. There are no supernatural forces or entities, nor can there be any. Nature simply exists."
— Madalyn Murray O'Hair

"You hate me because I am the embodiment of all your doubts."
— Madalyn Murray O'Hair, to Christian audiences

"An Atheist loves himself and his fellow man instead of a god. An Atheist knows that heaven is something for which we should work now, here on earth, for all men together to enjoy."
— Madalyn Murray O'Hair, 1963 statement to the U.S. Supreme Court, Murray v. Curlett

"I'll tell you what you [Christians] did with Atheists for about 1500 years. You outlawed them from the universities or any teaching careers, besmirched their reputations, banned or burned their books or their writings of any kind, drove them into exile, humiliated them, seized their properties, arrested them for blasphemy. You dehumanised them with beatings and exquisite torture, gouged out their eyes, slit their tongues, stretched, crushed, or broke their limbs, tore off their breasts if they were women, crushed their scrotums if they were men, imprisoned them, stabbed them, disembowelled them, hanged them, burnt them alive.

"And you have nerve enough to complain to me that I laugh at you."
— Dr Madalyn Murray O'Hair

"Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him. Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything — anything — be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in."
— Sam Harris, author of The End of Faith and Letter to a Christian Nation

"It is time we acknowledged a basic feature of human discourse: when considering the truth of a proposition, one is either engaged in an honest appraisal of the evidence and logical arguments, or one isn't. Religion is the one area of our lives where people imagine that some other standard of intellectual integrity applies."
— Sam Harris

"There's an all-purpose corrective here, which is just intellectual honesty. If you cease to pretend to be certain about things that you are not certain about, see where that gets you."
— Sam Harris

"The problem with religion, because it's been sheltered from criticism, is that it allows people to believe en mass what only idiots or lunatics could believe in isolation."
— Sam Harris

"I think that religion is the most dangerous and divisive ideology that we have ever produced. It is also the only ideology that is systematically protected from criticism, both from within and without."
— Sam Harris

"Our ability to cause ourselves harm is now spreading with 21st century efficiency, and yet we are still, to a remarkable degree, drawing our vision of how to live in this world from ancient literature. This marriage of modern technology — destructive technology — and iron-age philosophy is a bad one."
— Sam Harris

"The evidence for our religious doctrines is either terrible or non-existent."
— Sam Harris

"There is a profound difference between having good reasons for believing something, and simply wanting to believe it."
— Sam Harris

"Religion gives people bad reasons to be good, where good reasons are actually available."
— Sam Harris

"The danger of religious faith is that it allows otherwise normal human beings to reap the fruits of madness and consider them holy. Because each new generation of children is taught that religious propositions need not be justified in the way that all others must, civilization is still besieged by the armies of the preposterous. We are, even now, killing ourselves over ancient literature. Who could have thought something so tragically absurd could be possible?"
— Sam Harris, The End of Faith, p. 73

"The greatest problem confronting civilization is not merely religious extremism: rather, it is the larger set of cultural and intellectual accommodations we have made to faith itself."
— Sam Harris, ibid.

"Theology is nothing more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed it is ignorance with wings!"
— Sam Harris, ibid. p. 173

"It is difficult to imagine a set of beliefs more suggestive of mental illness than those that lie at the heart of many of our religious traditions."
— Sam Harris, ibid. p. 182

"We experience happiness and suffering ourselves; we encounter others in the world and recognize that they experience happiness and suffering as well; we soon discover that 'love' is largely a matter of wishing that others experience happiness rather than suffering; and most of us come to feel that love is more conducive to happiness, both our own and that of others, than hate. There is a circle here that links us to one another: we each want to be happy; the social feeling of love is one of our greatest sources of happiness; and love entails that we be concerned for the happiness of others. We discover that we can be selfish together."
— Sam Harris, ibid. pp. 186-187 See The End of Faith quotes for more.

"'Atheism' is really a term we do not need the same way that we don't have a word for someone who is not an astrologer. All religious people are atheists with respect to everyone else's religion. We are all atheists with respect to the thousands of dead gods that lie in that mass grave we call mythology."
— Sam Harris

"Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious."
— Sam Harris

"There is nothing that an atheist needs to believe on insufficient evidence in order to reject the biblical god."
— Sam Harris

"If ever there were an antidote to dogmatism, [atheism] is it."
— Sam Harris

"Pretending to know things that you do not know is the lifeblood of religion."
— Sam Harris

"Faith is nothing more than the license religious people give themselves to keep believing when reasons fail."
— Sam Harris

"The problem with fascism and communism was not that they are too critical of religion. The problem is that they are too much like religions. These are utterly dogmatic systems of thought."
— Sam Harris

"There is no society in history that has ever suffered because its population became too reasonable — too reluctant to embrace dogma, too demanding of evidence."
— Sam Harris

"It is an article of faith in many religious communities that things will go spectacularly wrong, and that this is a good thing."
— Sam Harris

"Much of the Bible or the Quran is just life-destroying gibberish, and we just have to acknowledge this and cease to take these books seriously."
— Sam Harris

"The bible was written at a time when people thought the Earth was flat, when the wheelbarrow was high tech. Are its teachings applicable to the challenges we now face as a civilization?. . ."
— Sam Harris

"If you believe that the Koran is the wisest book ever written, civilized society has a problem with you, because when you read this book, it's a manifesto for religious intolerance. There are a few lines in there that talk about the virtues of patience and charity, that is true, but in general this book is just stocked stem to stern with a genuinely theocratic, genuinely intolerant hate of unbelievers."
— Sam Harris

"The Catholic Church is more concerned about preventing contraception than preventing child rape; it’s more concerned about preventing gay marriage than genocide. This is a real inversion of priorities that completely falsifies any discussion of morality in the church."
— Sam Harris, Salon.com interview

"We notice causal patterns in the word, and we tell ourselves stories about these patterns. We do this in science and in religion. Religion just amounts to bad science, in the end. It’s our most primitive effort to describe our origins and the reasons for why things happen."
— Sam Harris, ibid.

"One of the monumental ironies of religious discourse that can be appreciated is the frequency with which people of faith praise themselves for their humility while condemning scientists and other non-believers for their intellectual arrogance. There is in fact, no worldview more reprehensible in its arrogance than that of a religious believer: 'the creator of the universe takes an interest in me, loves me, and will reward me after death; my current beliefs, drawn from scripture, will remain as the best statement of the truth until the end of the world; everyone who disagrees with me will spend an eternity in hell....' An average Christian in an average church, listening to an average Sunday sermon has achieved a level of arrogance simply unimaginable in scientific discourse — and there have been some extremely arrogant scientists."
— Sam Harris, Letter to a Christian Nation, pp. 74-75

"While believing strongly, without evidence, is considered a mark of madness or stupidity in any other area of our lives, faith in God still holds immense prestige in our society. Religion is the one area of our discourse where it is considered noble to pretend to be certain about things no human being could possibly be certain about. It is telling that this aura of nobility extends only to those faiths that still have many subscribers. Anyone caught worshipping Poseidon, even at sea, will be thought insane."
— Sam Harris, ibid.

"It is time that we admitted that faith is nothing more than the license religious people give one another to keep believing when reasons fail."
— Sam Harris, ibid.

"Morality and values depend on the existence of conscious minds — and specifically on the fact that such minds can experience various forms of well-being and suffering in this universe. Conscious minds and their states are natural phenomena, of course, fully constrained by the laws of Nature (whatever these turn out to be in the end). Therefore, there must be right and wrong answers to questions of morality and values that potentially fall within the purview of science. On this view, some people and cultures will be right (to a greater or lesser degree), and some will be wrong, with respect to what they deem important in life."
— Sam Harris, synopsis of The Moral Landscape

For many more insightful quotes by Sam Harris, see Goodreads.

"Religion is poison because it asks us to give up our most precious faculty, which is that of reason, and to believe things without evidence. It then asks us to respect this, which it calls faith."
— Christopher Hitchens, god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything

"I am absolutely convinced that religion is the main source of hatred in this world."
— Christopher Hitchens

"The teachings of Christianity — from vicarious redemption to the love of enemies, no thought for the morrow need be taken, that no thrift or care or family or society or solidarity is necessary — these are immoral teachings that have done and continue to inflict untold moral and physical harm on our species. And until we outgrow this nonsense, we have no chance of emancipating ourselves."
— Christopher Hitchens, debating Dinesh D'Souza

"Thanks to the telescope and the microscope, religion no longer offers an explanation for anything important."
— Christopher Hitchens, ibid.

"Religion fosters servility and solipsism."
— Christopher Hitchens

"Religion should be treated with ridicule, hatred, and contempt. And I claim that right."
— Christopher Hitchens

"We keep being told that religion, whatever its imperfections, at least instills morality. On every side, there is conclusive evidence that the contrary is the case and that faith causes people to be more mean, more selfish, and perhaps above all, more stupid."
— Christopher Hitchens

"Once you assume a creator and a plan, it makes us objects in a cruel experiment whereby we are created sick and commanded to be well."
— Christopher Hitchens

"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." (a.k.a. Hitchens' razor)
— Christopher Hitchens

"[Religion] attacks us in our deepest integrity — the core of our self-respect. Religion says that we would not know right from wrong, we would not know an evil, wicked act from a decent human act without divine permission, without divine authority or without, even worse, either the fear of a divine punishment or the hope of a divine reward. It strips us of the right to make our own determination, as all humans always have, about what is and what is not a right human action."
— Christopher Hitchens

"Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life — except religion."
— Christopher Hitchens

"Why are we praised by godly men for surrendering our 'godly gift' of reason when we cross their mental thresholds?"
— Christopher Hitchens

"Atheism strikes me as morally superior, as well as intellectually superior, to religion. Since it is obviously inconceivable that all religions can be right, the most reasonable conclusion is that they are all wrong."
— Christopher Hitchens

"Intellectual honesty is better served by asking yourself how you know something, as opposed to defending what you think you know."
— Peter Boghossian, author of A Manual for Creating Atheists

"The only way to figure out which claims about the world are likely true, and which are likely false, is through reason and evidence. There is no other way."
— Peter Boghossian

"Doubt is your intellectual conscience pleading with you to be honest with yourself."
— Peter Boghossian

"Realizing that people of other faiths are unshakably confident in the truth of their faith should make you doubt the truth of your faith."
— Peter Boghossian

"If God allows proof that he exists he robs people of faith, and without faith what is God? Nothing."
— Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

"If somebody votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like. … But on the other hand, if somebody says, 'I mustn't move a light switch on a Saturday,' you say, 'Fine, I respect that.'"
— Douglas Adams

"I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day."
— Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt, p. 99

"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?"
— Douglas Adams

"God is no longer an explanation of anything, but has instead become something that would itself need an insurmountable amount of explaining."
— Douglas Adams

"If one has belief, knowledge is lacking. If one has knowledge, belief is unnecessary."
— David Eller, Atheism Advanced

"Religion is not so bad, unless you believe it."
— David Eller, ibid.

"In the absence of evidence, the scientist says, 'I don't know,' but the religionist says, 'I believe.'"
— David Eller, ibid.

"One does not have to prove a negative. One should assume a negative."
— David Eller, ibid.

"Science is only truly consistent with an atheistic worldview with regards to the claimed miracles of the gods of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Moreover, the true believers in each of these faiths are atheists regarding the specific sacred tenets of all other faiths. Christianity rejects the proposition that the Quran contains the infallible words of the creator of the universe. Muslims and Jews reject the divinity of Jesus."
— Lawrence Krauss, Prof. of Physics, AZ State U.

"The lack of understanding of something is not evidence for God. It's evidence of a lack of understanding."
— Lawrence Krauss

"There are a lot of legislators who are afraid that kids will learn science and lose their faith."
— Lawrence Krauss

"Forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today."
— Lawrence Krauss

"The universe is the way it is, whether we like it or not."
— Lawrence Krauss

"The fact that a believer is happier than a skeptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality."
— George Bernard Shaw

"At present there is not a single credible established religion in the world."
— George Bernard Shaw, from "Major Barbara"

"Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.
Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.
Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?"
— Epicurus (c. 341-270 BCE), Greek philosopher

"Either God wants to abolish evil, and cannot; or he can and does not want to.
If he wants to, but cannot, he is impotent.
If he can, but does not want to, he is wicked.
If, as they say, God can abolish evil, and God really wants to do it, why is there evil in the world?"
— Epicurus

"Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not. Why should I fear that which can only exist when I do not?"
— Epicurus

"Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish."
— Euripides (c. 480-406 BCE), Greek poet, playwright and philosopher

"If the gods do evil then they are not gods."
— Euripides

"There is but one evil, ignorance."
— Socrates, (c. 469–399 BCE) Greek philosopher

"Is what is moral commanded by God because it is moral, or is it moral because it is commanded by God?"
— Plato (c. 424–348 BCE) Greek philosopher, in the Euthyphro dilemma

"A certain portion of mankind do not believe at all in the existence of the gods."
— Plato, student and biographer of Socrates

"For though a man should be a complete unbeliever in the being of gods; if he also has a native uprightness of temper, such persons will detest evil in men; their repugnance to wrong disinclines them to commit wrongful acts; they shun the unrighteous and are drawn to the upright."
— Plato, acknowledging that atheists can lead an honest life, in Against the Faith, by Jim Herrick

"The penalty that good men pay for not being interested in politics is to be governed by men worse than themselves."
— Plato

"Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
— Plato

"A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side."
— Aristotle (c. 384-322 BCE) Greek philosopher, in 2000 Years of Disbelief, James Haught, ed.

"Man is the measure of all things."
— Aristotle, student of Plato, and considered the "father of logic."

"Men create the gods after their own images."
— Aristotle

"If cows and horses had hands and could draw, cows would draw gods that look like cows and horses would draw gods that look like horses."
— Xenophanes, Greek philosopher, c. 570 BCE

"Mortals suppose that gods are born, wear their own clothes and have a voice and body. Ethiopians say that their gods are snub-nosed and black; Thracians that theirs are are blue-eyed and red-haired."
— Xenophanes

"A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true."
— Demosthenes, Greek philosopher, 349 BCE

"Ignorance is bold and knowledge reserved."
— Thucydides, 460 — 400? BCE

"Fear is the mother of all gods."
— Lucretius, 95-55 BCE

"All religions are equally sublime to the ignorant, useful to the politician, and ridiculous to the philosopher."
— Lucretius (c. 99 BCE – c. 55 BCE), On the Nature of Things

"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful."
— attributed to Seneca the Younger (c. 3 BCE—65 CE)

"The various modes of worship, which prevailed in the Roman world, were all considered by the people, as equally true; by the philosopher, as equally false; and by the magistrate, as equally useful."
— Edward Gibbon (1737-1794), The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

"Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones."
— Marcus Aurelius

"For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring."
— Carl Sagan (1934-1996)

"The significance of our lives and our fragile planet is then determined only by our own wisdom and courage. We are the custodians of life's meaning. We long for a Parent to care for us, to forgive us our errors, to save us from our childish mistakes. But knowledge is preferable to ignorance. Better by far to embrace the hard truth than a reassuring fable. If we crave some cosmic purpose, then let us find ourselves a worthy goal."
— Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space

"If some good evidence for life after death were announced, I'd be eager to examine it; but it would have to be real scientific data, not mere anecdote. As with the face on Mars and alien abductions, better the hard truth, I say, than the comforting fantasy. And in the final tolling it often turns out that the facts are more comforting than the fantasy."
— Carl Sagan

"Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature."
— Carl Sagan

"Science is not only compatible with spirituality; it is a profound source of spirituality."
— Carl Sagan

"A celibate clergy is an especially good idea, because it tends to suppress any hereditary propensity toward fanaticism."
— Carl Sagan, Here are more Carl Sagan quotes on religion.

"You can't convince a believer of anything; their belief is not based on evidence but a deep-seated need to believe."
— Carl Sagan

"I would love to believe that when I die I will live again, that some thinking, feeling, remembering part of me will continue. But much as I want to believe that, and despite the ancient and worldwide cultural traditions that assert an afterlife, I know of nothing to suggest that it is more than wishful thinking...there is no reason to deceive ourselves with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence."
— Carl Sagan, "Parade Magazine," March 1996

"Positive claims require positive evidence. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
— Carl Sagan

"If faith is a valid tool of knowledge, then anything can be true 'by faith,' and therefore nothing is true. If the only reason you can accept a claim is by faith, then you are admitting that the claim does not stand on its own merits."
— Dan Barker, of Freedom From Religion Foundation

"I have something to say to the religionist who feels atheists never say anything positive: You are an intelligent human being. Your life is valuable for its own sake. You are not second-class in the universe, deriving meaning and purpose from some other mind. You are not inherently evil — you are inherently human, possessing the positive rational potential to help make this a world of morality, peace and joy. Trust yourself."
— Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist, 1992

"You believe in a book that has talking animals, wizards, witches, demons, sticks turning into snakes, food falling from the sky, people walking on water, and all sorts of magical, absurd and primitive stories, and you say that we are the ones that need help?"
— Dan Barker, ibid.

"There is not a single contemporary historical mention of Jesus, not by Romans or by Jews, not by believers or by unbelievers, during his entire lifetime. This does not disprove his existence, but it certainly casts great doubt on the historicity of a man who was supposedly widely known to have made a great impact on the world. Someone should have noticed."
— Dan Barker, ibid. p. 360

"There is no evidence for a god, no coherent definition of a god, no good argument for a god, good positive arguments against a god, no agreement among believers about the nature or moral principles of a god, and no need for a god. We can live happy, moral, productive lives without such belief, and we can do it better."
— Dan Barker

"It is a fact of history and of current events that human beings exaggerate, misinterpret, or wrongly remember events. They have also fabricated pious fraud. Most believers in a religion understand this when examining the claims of other religions."
— Dan Barker, "Did Jesus Really Rise From The Dead?"

"We must never retreat in the face of threats or punishments dispensed by theocratic terrorists more interested in protecting their power and indulging their vanity, than in advancing the human condition."
— Steve Benson, grandson of Ezra Taft Benson, president of the Mormons (1985-1994)

"If, as the true believers claim, the word 'gospel' means good news, then the good news for me is that there is no gospel, other than what I can define for myself, by observation and conscience. As a freethinking human being, I have come not to favor or fear religion, but to face and fight it as an impediment to civilized advancement."
— Steve Benson

"Science is a set of methods designed to describe and interpret observed or inferred phenomenon, past or present, and aimed at building a testable body of knowledge open to rejection or confirmation."
— Michael Shermer, "How to Debate a Creationist"

"Remember always that we are pattern-seeking primates who are especially adept at finding patterns with emotional meaning."
— Michael Shermer, founder of Skeptics Society & Skeptic Magazine

"The concept of God is generated by a brain designed by evolution to find design in nature (a very recursive idea)."
— Michael Shermer

"We have fought long and hard to escape from medieval superstition. I, for one, do not wish to go back."
— Amazing James Randi

"There is no room in science for the arbitrary meddling of an unknown force or being that intervenes who-knows-when to do who-knows-what for who-knows-why and who-knows-how. That’s not science; that’s just magic."
— Austin Cline

"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms."
— Albert Einstein (1879-1955), quoted in The New York Times obituary, 4/19/1955

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."
— Albert Einstein, 1954, Albert Einstein: The Human Side

"I see only with deep regret that God punishes so many of His children for their numerous stupidities, for which only He Himself can be held responsible; in my opinion, only His nonexistence could excuse Him."
— Albert Einstein, letter to Edgar Meyer, 1915

"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a god who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."
— Albert Einstein, responding to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein's question, "Do you believe in God?"

"The more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the side of this ordered regularity for causes of a different nature. For him neither the rule of human nor the rule of divine will exist as an independent cause of natural events."
— Albert Einstein, Science and Religion, 1941

"From the viewpoint of a Jesuit priest I am, of course, and have always been an atheist."
— Albert Einstein, letter to Guy Raner Jr, 1945

"I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one."
— Albert Einstein, letter to Guy Raner Jr, 1949

"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."
— Albert Einstein, letter to Eric Gutkind, 1/3/1954

"For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions."
— Albert Einstein, ibid.

"It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. … Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."
— Albert Einstein, "Religion and Science", 1930

"The more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the side of this ordered regularity for causes of a different nature. For him neither the rule of human nor the rule of divine will exists as an independent cause of natural events."
— Albert Einstein, "Science and Religion", 1941

"If this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him?"
— Albert Einstein, Out Of My Later Years

"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed."
— Albert Einstein

"During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution, human fantasy created gods in man's own image who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate influence, the phenomenal world... The idea of God in the religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old conception of the gods."
— Albert Einstein

"The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge."
— Albert Einstein

"The minority, the ruling class at present, has the schools and press, usually the Church as well, under its thumb. This enables it to organize and sway the emotions of the masses, and make its tool of them."
— Albert Einstein

"Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth."
— Albert Einstein

"Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions, and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seems to me to be empty and devoid of meaning."
— Albert Einstein

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough."
— Albert Einstein

"True religion is real living; living with all one's soul, with all one's goodness and righteousness."
— Albert Einstein. Here and here are more of his quotes on science, God, and religion.

"Intellectual honesty is a skill that has to be learned and a virtue that has to be practiced; it often requires you to accept unpleasant conclusions."
— John B. Hodges

"If faith is 'believing what you are told', religious ethics is 'doing what you are told'."
— John B. Hodges

"Religion is for people who have never matured in their understanding of ethics. Religion teaches a child's view of ethics, that 'being good' means 'obeying your parent.' It gives a moral blank check to those bold enough, dishonest enough, to claim to speak for God. Atheism means looking at ethical questions as an adult among other adults, considering ethics as a means of maintaining peace and cooperation among equals, so that all may pursue happiness within the limits that ethics defines."
— John B. Hodges

"[Religion is] nothing more than a type of submission to authority."
— Paul Broca

"Christianity preaches only servitude and dependence. Its spirit is so favorable to tyranny that it always profits by such a regime. True Christians are made to be slaves, and they know it and do not much mind: this short life counts for too little in their eyes."
— Jean Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract, 1762

"Faith is the determination to remain ignorant in the face of all evidence that you are ignorant."
— Shaun Mason

"The invisible and the non-existent look very much alike."
— John Stuart Mill

"A large proportion of the noblest and most valuable teaching has been the work, not only of men who did not know, but of men who knew and rejected the Christian faith."
— John Stuart Mill, On Liberty, 1859

"On the available evidence we have about how the world works, we have to say that we’re alone, there is no God."
— John Searle, interviewed in "Free Inquiry" 1998

"Public prayer is not intended to promote religious values, but to enhance the authority of some churches and some political views over others. Similarly with the posting of the Ten Commandments. It is about power, not about religion. Government by Christian or Islamic or any other faith has rarely been progressive. And the Constitution clearly intends that there should be freedom from religion."
— Ellery Schempp

"Most true believers, when faced with evidence that contradicts their beliefs, will hold on to those beliefs even more strongly."
— Mark Thomas, president and co-founder of Atheists of Silicon Valley

"True believers are continually shown by reality that their god doesn't exist, but have developed extensive coping mechanisms to deal with this cognitive dissonance."
— Mark Thomas

"Fundamentalists of different religions have more in common with each other than they do with the moderates of their own religions."
— Mark Thomas

"Christians and Jews don't believe in Allah or Brahma. Hindus don't believe in Yahweh or Allah. Muslims don't believe in Brahma or Yahweh. Atheists agree with all of them."
— Mark Thomas

"The world looks like it was designed. Of course, the Sun also looks like it goes around the Earth. It is only thru science that we know that both of these perceptions are wrong."
— Mark Thomas

"There is little difference in the knowledge held by those who can't learn and those who won't."
— Mark Thomas

"We all behave as though what we think is true, is actually true."
— Mark Thomas

"Believing is easier than thinking; that's why there will always be more believers than thinkers. However, the results of god-belief are often far more mental trials than those of nonbelief. It is quite difficult to ascertain the wishes of an invisible being."
— Mark Thomas

"Christians often threaten atheists with eternal torture. But if we say that they're delusional, they will tell us that we're being rude."
— Mark Thomas

"The essence of Christianity, as I see it, is love. The essence of Humanism (and I'm also a Humanist) is love. At that level, we're not far apart."
— Mark Thomas

"Atheism is nothing more than a conclusion. There are plenty of people in this world who are Atheists, but this doesn't mean we share values. Communism is a perfect example. Communism is for all practical purposes, a political religion: It is totalitarian, it venerates its sainted founders, it has sacred dogma that cannot be challenged; it persecutes its heretics, it does not brook disobedience, it feels no compunction against twisting science for its own means. Even its touted "Atheism" is simply a defensive reaction against its rival religions. It has nothing in common with the free thought of Paine or Jefferson, or the humanism of Dawkins or Einstein."
— David Fitzgerald

"I'm a strong atheist. I believe that gods are by definition supernatural beings, that the supernatural by definition violates natural law, violating natural law is by definition impossible, and impossible things by definition can't exist."
— James Huber

"Morality is doing what is right no matter what you are told. Religion is doing what you are told no matter what is right."
— Larry Mundinger, 1999

"Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
— Charles Darwin

"The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us, and I for one must be content to remain an agnostic."
— Charles Darwin, Life & Letters

"Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work, worthy the interposition of a great deity. More humble and I believe true to consider him created from animals."
— Charles Darwin, Notebooks, 1837

"I can indeed hardly see how anyone ought to wish Christianity to be true; for if so the plain language of the text seems to show that the men who do not believe, and this would include my Father, Brother and almost all my best friends, will be everlastingly punished. And that is a damnable doctrine."
— Charles Darwin, Autobiography

"That there is much suffering in the world no one disputes. Which is more likely, that pain and evil are the result of an all-powerful and good God, or the product of uncaring natural forces? The presence of much suffering agrees well with the view that all organic beings have been developed through variation and natural selection."
— Charles Darwin

"The assumed instinctive belief in God has been used by many persons as an argument for his existence. But this is a rash argument, as we should thus be compelled to believe in the existence of many cruel and malignant spirits, only a little more powerful than man; for the belief in them is far more general than in a beneficent deity."
— Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, 1871

"There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved."
— Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, Chapter 14

"It appears to me (whether rightly or wrongly) that direct arguments against Christianity and theism produce hardly any effect on the public; It appears to me freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds which follow[s] from the advance of science."
— Charles Darwin, 1880

"Science is advanced by proposing and testing hypothesis, not by declaring questions unsolvable."
— N. J. Matzke

"Science is different to all other systems of thought.. because you don’t need faith in it, you can check that it works."
— Brian Cox

"Who knows most, doubts most."
— Robert Browning

"If you think that your afterlife will be better than your current life, then you're not really living. You're just waiting to die."
— Waleed Al-Husseini

"It's accepted as normal to have an imaginary friend called God, until that god asks you to drown all your kids."
— unknown

"We shouldn't even need the word 'atheism'. If people didn't invent ridiculous imaginary gods, rational people wouldn't have to deny them."
— Ricky Gervais

"It's always better to tell the truth. The truth doesn't hurt, and saying that, my mother only ever lied to me about one thing. She said there was a God. But that's because when you're a working-class mum, Jesus is like an unpaid babysitter. She thought if I was God-fearing, then I'd be good."
— Ricky Gervais

"There are things that are so serious that you can only joke about them."
— Werner Heisenberg (1901-1976)

"If there is a supreme being, he's crazy."
— Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992)

"The most serious demand for unquestioned belief is, of course, the atonement. First the believer is to suspend familiar notions of justice, such as punishment for the guilty as opposed to an innocent party. You are then expected to accept the necessity of blood sacrifice for sin; that wrongdoing must be paid for, and not necessarily in proportion to the crime. A father's sacrifice of his innocent son is supposed to be not only just but generous and wonderful. Then the temporary three-day death of this one person is supposed to wipe out all the wrongdoing and ineptitude of a species. And finally, you should believe that all you need do to erase responsibility for your actions and enter a haven of eternal reward is to believe. It's no wonder that once a convert has wrapped his or her mind around this story, anything can be accepted as truth. The rest of fundamentalist doctrine can be easily swallowed, including Jonah."
— Marlene Winell, Leaving the Fold, p. 75

"When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself."
— Peter O’Toole

"The idea of God is the sole wrong for which I cannot forgive mankind."
— Marquis de Sade

"Because life is there ahead of you and either one tests oneself in its challenges or huddles in the valleys in a dreamless day-to-day existence whose only purpose is the preservation of an illusory security and safety."
— Saul Arinsky

"For if there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life."
— Albert Camus (1913–1960)

"This world is the will to power and nothing besides! ...And you, yourselves, are also the will to power, and nothing besides!"
— Friedrich Nietzche

"I believe that when I am dead, I am dead. I believe that with my death I am just as much obliterated as the last mosquito you and I squashed."
— Jack London, who called himself "a hopeless materialist"

"With reasonable men, I will reason; with humane men I will plead; but to tyrants I will give no quarter, nor waste arguments where they will certainly be lost."
— William Lloyd Garrison (1805 — 1879) Life Vol. i. p. 188

"When an honest but mistaken man learns of his error, he either [forthrightly] ceases to be mistaken, or ceases to be honest."
— Peter E. Hendrickson

"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."
— Napoleon Bonaparte

"Religion is a bandage that man has invented to protect a soul made bloody by circumstance."
— Theodore Herman Albert Dreiser

"Finding that no religion is based on facts and cannot therefore be true, I began to reflect what must be the condition of mankind trained from infancy to believe in errors."
— Robert Owen, reformer and philanthropist

"One of the embarrassing problems for the early nineteenth-century champions of the Christian faith was that not one of the first six Presidents of the United States was an orthodox Christian."
— The Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968, p. 420

"The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others."
— Thomas Jefferson, Statute for Religious Freedom, saying government has no authority over one's religious opinions, thus defining "crime" as the injury of a person or his property

"Certainly, no power to prescribe any religious exercise, or to assume authority in religious discipline, has been delegated to the General Government."
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Samuel Miller, 1/23/1808

"It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself."
— Thomas Jefferson

"Religions are all alike — founded upon fables and mythologies."
— Thomas Jefferson

"But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no God. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg."
— Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

"Christianity is the most perverted system that ever shone on man."
— Thomas Jefferson

"The Christian god is a three headed monster; cruel vengeful and capricious... One only needs to look at the caliber of people who say they serve him. They are always of two classes: fools and hypocrites."
— Thomas Jefferson

"In every country and every age, the priest had been hostile to Liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot, abetting his abuses in return for protection to his own."
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Horatio Spafford, 1814

"Christianity neither is, nor ever was a part of the common law."
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, 1814

"Civil officials have no business meddling in private religious affairs."
— Thomas Jefferson, when asked to issue an official prayer proclamation

"Ignorance is preferable to error, and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing than he who believes what is wrong."
— Thomas Jefferson, Notes on Virginia, 1782

"I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever in religion, in philosophy, in politics, or in anything else where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent."
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Hopkinson, 3/13/1789

"Man once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind. With such persons, gullibility, which they call faith, takes the helm from the hand of reason and the mind becomes a wreck."
— Thomas Jefferson to James Smith, 1822

"It is between fifty and sixty years since I read the Apocalypse, and I then considered it merely the ravings of a maniac."
— Thomas Jefferson

"The Christian God is a being of terrific character — cruel, vindictive, capricious, and unjust."
— Thomas Jefferson

"Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear. ...

"Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences. If it ends in a belief that there is no God, you will find inducements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise, and the love of others which it will procure you."
— Thomas Jefferson, letter (written from Paris) to nephew Peter Carr, 1787

"The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter."
— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams, 1823

"The whole history of these books [the Gospels] is so defective and doubtful that it seems vain to attempt minute enquiry into it; and such tricks have been played with their text, and with the texts of other books relating to them, that we have a right, from that cause, to entertain much doubt what parts of them are genuine. In the New Testament there is internal evidence that parts of it have proceeded from an extraordinary man; and that other parts are of the fabric of very inferior minds. It is as easy to separate those parts, as to pick out diamonds from dunghills."
— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to John Adams (1/24/1814)

"I have ever judged of the religion of others by their lives… But this does not satisfy the priesthood. They must have a positive, a declared assent to all of their interested absurdities. My opinion is that there would never have been an infidel, if there had never been a priest."
— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Mrs. M. Harrison Smith, 1816

"History, I believe, furnishes no example of a priest-ridden people maintaining a free civil government. This marks the lowest grade of ignorance, of which their political as well as religious leaders will always avail themselves for their own purposes."
— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Alexander Humboldt, 1813

"Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half of the world fools and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the world."
— Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, 1787

"I have recently been examining all the known superstitions of the world, and do not find in our particular superstition (Christianity) one redeeming feature. They are all alike, founded on fables and mythology."
— Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Dr. Woods

"I do not find in orthodox Christianity one redeeming feature."
— Thomas Jefferson

"On the dogmas of religion, as distinguished from moral principles, all mankind, from the beginning of the world to this day, have been quarreling, fighting, burning and torturing one another, for abstractions unintelligible to themselves and to all others, and absolutely beyond the comprehension of the human mind."
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Archibald Carey, 1816

"Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. Ideas must be distinct before reason can act upon them; and no man ever had a distinct idea of the trinity. It is the mere Abracadabra of the mountebanks calling themselves the priests of Jesus."
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Francis Adrian Van der Kemp, 7/30/1816

You say you are a Calvinist. I am not. I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know."
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to Ezra Stiles Ely, 6/25/1819

"As you say of yourself, I too am an Epicurian. I consider the genuine (not the imputed) doctrines of Epicurus as containing everything rational in moral philosophy which Greece and Rome have left us."
— Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Short, 10/31/1819

"Let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question."
— Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address

"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth."
— Thomas Jefferson, 1804

"To talk of immaterial existences, is to talk of nothings. To say that the human soul, angels, God are immaterial is to say, they are nothings, or that there is no God, no angels, no soul. I cannot reason otherwise: ... I believe I am supported in my creed of materialism by [John] Locke."
— Thomas Jefferson, 8/15/1820

"Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church and State."
— Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. President (1801-1809), letter to Danbury Baptists, 1802

"Religious institutions that use government power in support of themselves and force their views on persons of other faiths, or of no faith, undermine all our civil rights. Moreover, state support of an established religion tends to make the clergy unresponsive to their own people, and leads to corruption within religion itself. Erecting the 'wall of separation between church and state,' therefore, is absolutely essential in a free society."
— Thomas Jefferson

"Every one must act according to the dictates of his own reason, and mine tells me that civil powers alone have been given to the President of the United States, and no authority to direct the religious exercises of his constituents."
— Thomas Jefferson

Note: Here are more Thomas Jefferson quotes on religion.

"The United States of America should have a foundation free from the influence of clergy."
— George Washington, 1st U.S. President

"Religious controversies are always productive of more acrimony and irreconcilable hatreds than those which spring from any other cause. I had hoped that liberal and enlightened thought would have reconciled the Christians so that their [NOT our!] religious fights would not endanger the peace of Society."
— George Washington, letter to Sir Edward Newenham, 6/22/1792

"(The) government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistances, requires only that they who live under its protection, should demean themselves as good citizens."
— President George Washington, in a 1790 letter to the Hebrew Congregation of Newport, R.I.

"We have abundant reason to rejoice that in this Land the light of truth and reason has triumphed over the power of bigotry and superstition ... In this enlightened Age and in this Land of equal liberty it is our boast, that a man's religious tenets will not forfeit the protection of the Laws, nor deprive him of the right of attaining and holding the highest Offices that are known in the United States."
— George Washington (1732-1799) 1st U.S. President, quoted from The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

"There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness."
— George Washington

"If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution."
— George Washington, (Letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia, May 1789)

"As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality."
— George Washington

Ashbel Green, a Presbyterian minister who had known George Washington personally, is recorded as having sorrowfully said that "Washington was very deferential to religion and its ceremonies, but like nearly all of the founders of the Republic, he was not a Christian, but a Deist."

George Washington made no mention of God in his will or in his dying words recorded by his personal secretary.

"Gouverneur Morris had often told me that General Washington believed no more of that system (Christianity) than did he himself."
— Thomas Jefferson, in his private journal, Feb. 1800

"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
— Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), from the Historical Review of Pennsylvania, which warns, among other things, that if we don't use the Liberty to hold and express our own religious opinions, even if out of the fear of reprisal, then we rightly forfeit that Liberty

"The [United States Constitutional] Convention, except for three or four persons, thought prayers unnecessary."
— Benjamin Franklin

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."
— Benjamin Franklin

"I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies."
— Benjamin Franklin, Toward The Mystery

"Scarcely was I arrived at fifteen years of age, when, after having doubted in turn of different tenets, according as I found them combated in the different books that I read, I began to doubt of Revelation itself."
— Benjamin Franklin, (Franklin's Autobiography, 1817–18)

"Some volumes against Deism fell into my hands … they produced an effect precisely the reverse to what was intended by the writers; for the arguments of the Deists, which were cited in order to be refuted, appeared to me much more forcibly than the refutation itself; in a word, I soon became a thorough Deist."
— Benjamin Franklin, (ibid.)

"The way to see by Faith is to shut the eye of Reason."
— Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard, 1758

"Revealed religion has no weight with me."
— Benjamin Franklin

"Indeed, when religious people quarrel about religion, or hungry people quarrel about victuals, it looks as if they had not much of either among them."
— Benjamin Franklin, in Benjamin Franklin — Freethinker

"When a religion is good, I conceive it will support itself; and when it does not support itself, and God does not take care to support it so that its professors are obliged to call for help of the civil power, 'tis a sign, I apprehend, of its being a bad one."
— Benjamin Franklin, letter to Richard Price, October 9, 1790

"Do not, however, mistake me. It is not to my good friend's heresy that I impute his honesty. On the contrary, 'tis his honesty that brought upon him the character of a heretic."
— Benjamin Franklin, letter to Benjamin Vaughan, in Works, Vol. X, p.365

"The things of this world take up too much of my time, of which indeed I have too little left, to undertake anything like a reformation in religion."
— Benjamin Franklin, Works, Vol. X', p. 323

"Religion I found to be without any tendency to inspire, promote, or confirm morality, serves principally to divide us and make us unfriendly to one another."
— Benjamin Franklin

"It is much to be lamented that a man of Franklin's general good character and great influence should have been an unbeliever in Christianity, and also have done as much as he did to make others unbelievers."
— Priestley's Benjamin Franklin Biography, p. 60

"The divinity of Jesus is made a convenient cover for absurdity. Nowhere in the Gospels do we find a precept for Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Doctrines, and whole carloads of other foolish trumpery that we find in Christianity."
— John Adams

"The question before the human race is, whether the God of nature shall govern the world by his own laws, or whether priests and kings shall rule it by fictitious miracles?"
— John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson

"I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved — the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced!"
— John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson

[In regard to the Trinity] "Tom, had you and I been 40 days with Moses, and beheld the great God, and even if God himself had tried to tell us that three was one ... and one equals three, you and I would never have believed it. We would never fall victims to such lies."
— John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson

"Indeed, Mr. Jefferson, what could be invented to debase the ancient Christianism, which Greeks, Romans, Hebrews and Christian factions, above all the Catholics, have not fraudulently imposed upon the public? Miracles after miracles have rolled down in torrents, wave succeeding wave in the Catholic church, from the Council of Nicea, and long before, to this day."
— John Adams, to Jefferson, 12/3/1813

"As I understand the Christian religion, it was, and is, a revelation. But how has it happened that millions of fables, tales, legends, have been blended with both Jewish and Christian revelation that have made them the most bloody religion that ever existed?"
— John Adams, letter to F.A. Van der Kamp, 12/27/1816

"What havoc has been made of books through every century of the Christian era? Where are fifty gospels, condemned as spurious by the bull of Pope Gelasius? Where are the forty wagon-loads of Hebrew manuscripts burned in France, by order of another pope, because suspected of heresy? Remember the 'index expurgatorius', the inquisition, the stake, the axe, the halter and the guillotine."
— John Adams, letter to John Taylor

"The priesthood have, in all ancient nations, nearly monopolized learning. And ever since the Reformation, when or where has existed a Protestant or dissenting sect who would tolerate A Earth? The blackest billingsgate, the most ungentlemanly insolence, the most yahooish brutality, is patiently endured, countenanced, propagated, and applauded. But touch a solemn truth in collision with a dogma of a sect, though capable of the clearest proof, and you will find you have disturbed a nest, and the hornets will swarm about your eyes and hand, and fly into your face and eyes."
— John Adams, ibid.

"This is my religion ... joy and exaltation in my own existence ... so go ahead and snarl ... bite ... howl, you Calvinistic divines and all you who say I am no Christian. I say you are not Christian."
— John Adams, Toward the Mystery

"Mystery is a convenient excuse for absurdity."
— John Adams

"The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses...."
— John Adams, A Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America

"Nothing is more dreaded than the national government meddling with religion."
— John Adams, letter to Benjamin Rush, 6/12/1812

"There is not a shadow of right in the general government to intermingle with religion. Its least interference with it would be a most flagrant usurpation."
— James Madison, Founding Father and author of the First Amendment, 1788

"During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
— James Madison — chief architect of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights

"Who does not see that the same authority, which can establish Christianity, in exclusion of all other Religions, may establish with the same ease any particular sect of Christians, in exclusion of all other Sects?"
— James Madison (1751-1836) 4th U.S. President, "A Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments"

"It degrades from the equal rank of Citizens all those whose opinions in Religion do not bend to those of the Legislative authority. Distant as it may be in its present form from the Inquisition, it differs from it only in degree."
— James Madison

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
— James Madison, letter to William Bradford, 1771

"Strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated by precedents already furnished in their short history."
— James Madison, Detached Memoranda

"The establishment of the chaplainship to Congress is a palpable violation of ... constitutional principles."
— James Madison, ibid.

"When indeed Religion is kindled into enthusiasm, its force like that of other passions is increased by the sympathy of a multitude. But enthusiasm is only a temporary state of Religion, and whilst it lasts will hardly be seen with pleasure at the helm. Even in its coolest state, it has been much oftener a motive to oppression than a restraint from it."
— James Madison

"A zeal for different opinions concerning religion...[has] divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good."
— James Madison, The Federalist Papers, Paper No. 10

"The settled opinion here is that religion is essentially distinct from Civil Govt. and exempt from its cognizance; that a connection between them is injurious to both…."
— James Madison, 1823

"When tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign foe."
— James Madison

"The civil government … functions with complete success … by the total separation of the Church from the State."
— James Madison, (Writings, 8:432, 1819)

"The world is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion."
— Thomas Paine

"The study of theology, as it stands in Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authorities; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion."
— Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (1794)

"I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church."
— Thomas Paine, ibid.

"It is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what one does not believe. It is impossible to calculate the moral mischief, if I may so express it, that mental lying has produced in society. When man has so far corrupted and prostituted the chastity of his mind, as to subscribe his professional belief to things he does not believe, he has prepared himself for the commission of every other crime."
— Thomas Paine, ibid.

"The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason. I have never used any other, and I trust I never shall."
— Thomas Paine, ibid.

"Is it more probable that nature should go out of her course, or that a man should tell a lie? We have never seen, in our time, nature go out of her course; but we have good reason to believe that millions of lies have been told in the same time; it is, therefore, at least millions to one, that the reporter of a miracle tells a lie."
— Thomas Paine, ibid.

"Reasoning with one who has abandoned reason is like giving medicine to a dead man."
— Thomas Paine

"The age of ignorance commenced with the Christian system."
— Thomas Paine

"Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst; every other species of tyranny is limited to the world we live in; but this attempts to stride beyond the grave, and seeks to pursue us into eternity."
— Thomas Paine

"I put the following work under your protection. It contains my opinion upon religion. You will do me the justice to remember, that I have always strenuously supported the right of every man to his opinion, however different that opinion might be to mine. He who denies to another this right, makes a slave of himself to his present opinion, because he precludes himself the right of changing it."
— Thomas Paine

"I detest the Bible as I detest everything that is cruel."
— Thomas Paine

"Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and tortuous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness with which more than half the Bible is filled, it would be more consistent that we call it the word of a demon than the word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind."
— Thomas Paine

"What is it the Bible teaches us? — raping, cruelty, and murder. What is it the New Testament teaches us? — to believe that the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married, and the belief of this debauchery is called faith."
— Thomas Paine

"And to read the Bible without horror, we must undo everything that is tender, sympathizing and benevolent in the heart of man."
— Thomas Paine

"The prejudice of unfounded belief often degenerates into the prejudice of custom, and becomes at last rank hypocrisy. When men, from custom or fashion or any worldly motive, profess or pretend to believe what they do not believe, nor can give any reason for believing, they unship the helm of their morality, and being no longer honest to their own minds they feel no moral difficulty in being unjust to others."
— Thomas Paine

"All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit."
— Thomas Paine

"The Age of Reason was responsible for making more people into infidels than any other book except the Bible."
— Gordon Stein

"I could not do otherwise without transcending the limits prescribed by the Constitution for the President and without feeling that I might in some degree disturb the security which religion nowadays enjoys in this country in its complete separation from the political concerns of the General Government."
— Andrew Jackson, 7th U.S. President (1829-1837), 1832 statement refusing to proclaim a national day of fasting and prayer, "Correspondence" 4:447

"In those parts of the world where learning and science have prevailed, miracles have ceased; but in those parts of it as are barbarous and ignorant, miracles are still in vogue."
— Ethan Allen, American Revolutionary (1738-1789), Reason: the Only Oracle of Man (1784)

"Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition."
— Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

"To remain silent when one should protest makes cowards out of men."
— Abraham Lincoln

"The Bible is not my Book and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long complicated statements of Christian dogma."
— Abraham Lincoln, in a letter to a friend

"I am for liberty of conscience in its noblest, broadest, and highest sense. But I cannot give liberty of conscience to the pope and his followers, the papists, so long as they tell me, through all their councils, theologians, and canon laws that their conscience orders them to burn my wife, strangle my children, and cut my throat when they find their opportunity."
— Abraham Lincoln

"I see a very dark cloud on America's horizon, and that cloud is coming from Rome."
— Abraham Lincoln

"Men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the Almighty and them."
— Abraham Lincoln, Letters to Thurlow Weed, 3/14/1865

"My earlier views on the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation have become clearer and stronger with advancing years, and I see no reason for thinking I shall ever change them."
— Abraham Lincoln

"You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."
— Abraham Lincoln

"It will not do to investigate the subject of religion too closely, as it is apt to lead to infidelity."
— Abraham Lincoln, from What Great Men Think Of Religion by Ira Cardiff

"My husband is not a Christian but is a religious man, I think."
— Mary Todd Lincoln, Lincoln's wife, Toward The Mystery

"Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principal behind lotteries, dating and religion."
— Scott Adams, creator of "Dilbert"

"If Atheism is a religion, then health is a disease!"
— Clark Adams, of Internet Infidels

"It is not a coincidence that the two fields most commonly accused of being liberal — journalism and academia — are two fields whose central purpose is the pursuit of truth."
— Kenneth Quinnell

"After all, there are crucial distinctions between wanting something to be true, having strong faith in something being true, experiencing it as being true, and it actually being true. Why should anyone suppose that, absent some external independent validation, the experience of being grasped by god is evidence for god?"
— Tom Clark, of Center for Naturalism

"Naturalists’ commitment to science ... isn’t a matter of faith, it’s based on experience – the widely shared experience that beliefs about the world based in science are generally more reliable than those that aren’t. If we want reliable beliefs, then it’s rational to stick with science, not a matter of faith."
— Tom Clark

"Have courage to use your own reason! That is the motto of enlightenment."
— Emmanuel Kant

"Rational arguments don’t usually work on religious people. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be religious people."
— Hugh Laurie’s character Dr. House, on the TV show "House"

"Religion is a system of irrational belief and groundless hope."
— Dr. House

"If you talk to God you're religious. If God talks to you, you're psychotic."
— Dr. House

"Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst."
— C.S. Lewis, noted Christian author

"Which is it, is man one of God's blunders or is God one of man's?"
— Friedrich Nietzsche, (1844-1900)

"Faith means not wanting to know what is true."
— Friedrich Nietzsche

"Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies."
— Friedrich Nietzsche

"After coming into contact with a religious man I always feel I must wash my hands."
— Friedrich Nietzsche

"So long as the priest, that professional negator, slanderer and poisoner of life, is regarded as a superior type of human being, there cannot be any answer to the question: What is Truth?"
— Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist

"Mystical explanations are considered deep. The truth is that they are not even superficial."
— Friedrich Nietzsche

"The Christian resolve to find the world evil and ugly, has made the world evil and ugly."
— Friedrich Nietzsche

"All religions bear traces of the fact that they arose during the intellectual immaturity of the human race — before it had learned the obligations to speak the truth. Not one of them makes it the duty of its god to be truthful and understandable in his communications."
— Friedrich Nietzsche

"Gods are fragile things; they may be killed by a whiff of science or a dose of common sense."
— Chapman Cohen

"All my life I have made it a rule never to permit a religious man or woman take for granted that his or her religious beliefs deserved more consideration than non-religious beliefs or anti-religious ones. I never agree with that foolish statement that I ought to respect the views of others when I believe them to be wrong."
— Chapman Cohen, The Creedo of Empowerment

"ATHEIST is really a thoroughly honest, unambiguous term; it admits of no paltering and of no evasion, and the need of the world, now as ever, is for clear-cut issues and unambiguous speech."
— Chapman Cohen

"There is no god higher than truth."
— Mahatma Ghandi

"Free thought means fearless thought. It is not deterred by legal penalties, nor by spiritual consequences. Dissent from the Bible does not alarm the true investigator, who takes truth for authority not authority for truth. The thinker who is really free, is independent; he is under no dread; he yields to no menace; he is not dismayed by law, nor custom, nor pulpits, nor society—whose opinion appals so many. He who has the manly passion of free thought, has no fear of anything, save the fear of error."
— George Jacob Holyoake, The Origin and Nature of Secularism, Ch. 3 (1896)

"Nothing is so firmly believed as what we know least."
— Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)

"Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a worm, yet he will make gods by the dozen."
— Michel de Montaigne

"Men of simple understanding, little inquisitiveness and little instructed, make good Christians."
— Michel de Montaigne

"Religion is all bunk."
— Thomas Edison

"I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal god."
— Thomas Edison

"I cannot believe in the immortality of the soul. No, all this talk of an existence for us, as individuals, beyond the grave is wrong. It is born of our tenacity of life — our desire to go on living — our dread of coming to an end."
— Thomas Edison, in the "New York Times," 1910

"Ethical people will do what is right, no matter what they are told. Religious people will do what they are told, no matter what is right."
— unknown

"The world holds two classes of men – intelligent men without religion, and religious men without intelligence."
— Abu'l-Ala-Al-Ma'arri, 973-1057 CE, Syrian poet

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
— Galileo Galilei, astronomer, martyr

"To command their professors of astronomy to refute their own observations is to command them not to see what they do see and not to understand what they do understand."
— Galileo Galilei

"It is wrong always, everywhere and for everyone to believe anything upon insufficient evidence."
— W.K. Clifford, The Ethics of Belief, An Anthology of Atheism and Rationalism

"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
— Jonathan Swift, author/theologian

"A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against its government."
— Edward Abbey (1927-1989)

"In contradiction to the Bible, the First Amendment to our Constitution gives us the right to worship gods (or not), work on Sunday (or not), and say what we wish about the various gods. The Constitution, conceived by what may be the most brilliant and visionary group of men ever assembled, must take precedence over a book compiled by self-serving peoples of ancient cultures."
— David Miles, Orange Beach, AL

"I have the honesty to say I’m an Atheist. There is nothing that supports the idea of a personal God."
— Ernst Mayr, Harvard University, one of the most influential biologists in history

"On the other hand, famous evolutionists such as Dobzhansky were firm believers in a personal God. He would work as a scientist all week and then on Sunday get down on his knees and pray to God. Frankly I’ve never been able to understand it because you would need two totally different compartments in your brain, one that deals with religion and the other with everything else."
— Ernst Mayr

"Evolution ... is opportunistic, hence unpredictable."
— Ernst Mayr

"What the mind doesn't understand, it worships or fears."
— Alice Walker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author

"The very fears and guilts imposed by religious training are responsible for some of history's most brutal wars, crusades, pogroms, and persecutions, including five centuries of almost unimaginable terrorism under Europe's Inquisition and the unthinkably sadistic legal murder of nearly nine million women. History doesn't say much very good about God."
— Barbara G. Walker, The Skeptical Feminist

"Most men would kill the truth if truth would kill their religion."
— Lemuel Washburn

"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 Washburn

"When religion comes in at the door, common sense goes out at the window."
— Lemuel Washburn

"One of the greatest gifts science has brought to the world is continuing elimination of the supernatural."
— James Watson, Nobel laureate, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA

"The biggest advantage to believing in God is you don't have to understand anything, no physics, no biology. I wanted to understand."
— James Watson

"In the fullness of time, educated people will believe there is no soul independent of the body, and hence no life after death."
— Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the structure of DNA

"What could be more foolish than to base one's entire view of life on ideas that, however plausible at the time, now appear to be quite erroneous? And what would be more important than to find our true place in the universe by removing one by one these unfortunate vestiges of earlier beliefs?"
— Francis Crick

"I find that people seem to think religion brings morals and appreciation of nature. I actually think it detracts from both ... I think we can have morals without getting religion into it, and a lot of bad things have come from organized religion in particular. I actually fear organized religion because it usually leads to misuses of power."
— Linus Torvalds, Linux Journal, 11/1/1999

"It is my supposition that the Universe is not only queerer than we imagine, it is queerer than we CAN imagine."
— J.B.S. Haldane, evolutionary biologist, founder of population genetics

"My practice as a scientist is atheistic. That is to say, when I set up an experiment I assume that no god, angel or devil is going to interfere with its course; and this assumption has been justified by such success as I have achieved in my professional career. I should therefore be intellectually dishonest if I were not also atheistic in the affairs of the world."
— J.B.S. Haldane, Fact and Faith (1934)

"Religion makes good people better and bad people worse."
— H. Richard Niebuhr, Christian theologian

"One of the great achievements of science has been, if not to make it impossible for intelligent people to be religious, then at least to make it possible for them not to be religious. We should not retreat from this accomplishment."
— Steven Weinberg, Nobel laureate physicist, A Designer Universe?

"On balance the moral influence of religion has been awful."
— Steven Weinberg, ibid.

"If language is to be of any use to us, then we ought to try and preserve the meaning of words, and 'god' historically has not meant the laws of nature."
— Steven Weinberg

"The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless."
— Steven Weinberg

"The more we learn about the universe, the more we realize how pointless it is."
— Steven Weinberg

"The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce and gives it some of the grace of tragedy."
— Steven Weinberg

"Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion."
— Steven Weinberg, in "Freethought Today", April, 2000

"I think enormous harm is done by religion — not just in the name of religion, but actually by religion. ... Many people do simply awful things out of sincere religious belief, not using religion as a cover the way that Saddam Hussein may have done, but really because they believe that this is what God wants them to do, going all the way back to Abraham being willing to sacrifice Isaac because God told him to do that. Putting God ahead of humanity is a terrible thing."
— Steven Weinberg, on The Atheism Tapes

"[Science] is corrosive of religious belief, and it's a good thing too."
— Steven Weinberg, ibid.

Steven Weinberg also points to the self-righteous true believers who killed Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin and Mahatma Gandhi, as well as to those Christians and Muslims who have used religion to defend slavery.

"There are no forces on this planet more dangerous to all of us than the fanaticisms of fundamentalism."
— Daniel Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meanings of Life

"True, you don't have to be religious to be crazy, but it helps. Indeed, if you are religious, you don't have to be crazy in the medically certifiable sense in order to do massively crazy things."
— Daniel Dennett, Is religion a threat to rationality and science?

"The idea that God is a worthy recipient of our gratitude for the blessings of life but should not be held accountable for the disasters is a transparently disingenuous innovation of the theologians."
— Daniel Dennett, "Problem of evil and religion's double standard"

"You don't get to advertise all the good that your religion does without first scrupulously subtracting all the harm it does and considering seriously the question of whether some other religion, or no religion at all, does better."
— Daniel Dennett (more quotes from Daniel Dennett)

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed – and hence clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
— H.L. Mencken

"All great religions, in order to escape absurdity, have to admit a dilution of agnosticism. It is only the savage, whether of the African bush or the American gospel tent, who pretends to know the will and intent of God exactly and completely."
— H.L. Mencken

"The most curious social convention of the great age in which we live is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected."
— H.L. Mencken, American Mercury, 1930

"Faith may be defined briefly as an illogical belief in the occurrence of the improbable."
— H.L. Mencken, The New York Times Magazine, 9/11/1955

"The chief contribution of Protestantism to human thought is its massive proof that God is a bore."
— H.L. Mencken, Minority Report, 1956

"God is the immemorial refuge of the incompetent, the helpless, the miserable. They find not only sanctuary in His arms, but also a kind of superiority, soothing to their macerated egos; He will set them above their betters."
— H.L. Mencken

"A Puritan is someone who is desperately afraid that, somewhere, someone might be having a good time."
— H.L. Mencken

"Sunday — A day given over by Americans to wishing that they themselves were dead and in Heaven, and that their neighbors were dead and in Hell."
— H.L. Mencken, A Book of Burlesques, 1916

"Theology: An effort to explain the unknowable by putting it into terms of the not worth knowing."
— H.L. Mencken, A Mencken Chrestomathy, 1949

"The most curious social convention of the great age in which we live is the one to the effect that religious opinions should be respected."
— H.L. Mencken, American Mercury, 1930

Mencken's Creed:

  • 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.
  • I believe that no discovery of fact, however trivial, can be wholly useless to the race, and that no trumpeting of falsehood, however virtuous in intent, can be anything but vicious.
  • I believe that all government is evil, in that all government must necessarily make war upon liberty...
  • I believe that the evidence for immortality is no better than the evidence of witches, and deserves no more respect.
  • I believe in the complete freedom of thought and speech...
  • I believe in the capacity of man to conquer his world, and to find out what it is made of, and how it is run.
  • I believe in the reality of progress.
  • But the whole thing, after all, may be put very simply. I believe that it is better to tell the truth than to lie.
  • I believe that it is better to be free than to be a slave. And I believe that it is better to know than be ignorant.

    "Wherever science has not yet cast its illuminating light, the supernatural or metaphysical can and will always be unwrapped by some of us, to provide an explanation."
    — Ronald Jenner, Postdoctoral Researcher, Marie Curie Fellow

    "Evolution is the cornerstone of modern biology. Intelligent design is not a scientific concept."
    — John H. Marburger III, Director of the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy, in The NY Times, 8/03/2005

    "We believe that intelligent design is neither sound science nor good theology."
    — The International Society for Science and Religion

    "There is absolutely no scientific basis or evidence for 'intelligent design.' It is simply a religious assertion, and it has no place in a science course."
    — biologist David Hillis, University of Texas

    "The theory of natural selection is the centerpiece of The Origin of Species and of evolutionary theory. It is this theory that accounts for the adaptations of organisms, those innumerable features that so wonderfully equip them for survival and reproduction; it is this theory that accounts for the divergence of species from common ancestors and thus for the endless diversity of life. Natural selection is a simple concept, but it is perhaps the most important idea in biology."
    — Douglas Futuyma, in his textbook Evolution. Read Chapter 11 online.

    "People who oppose evolution, and seek to have creationism or intelligent design included in science curricula, seek to dismiss and change the most successful way of knowing ever discovered. They wish to substitute opinion and belief for evidence and testing. The proponents of creationism/intelligent design promote scientific ignorance in the guise of learning. As professional scientists and educators, we strongly assert that such efforts are both misguided and flawed, presenting an incorrect view of science, its understandings, and its processes."
    — Botanical Society of America

    "Evolution and cosmology represent two of the unifying concepts of modern science. There are few scientific theories more firmly supported by observations than these ... We do our children a grave disservice if we remove from their education an exposure to firm scientific evidence supporting principles that significantly shape our understanding of the world in which we live."
    — American Association of Physics Teachers

    "Evolution is one of the most robust and widely accepted principles of modern science."
    — The American Association for the Advancement of Science

    "Odd arrangements and funny solutions are the proof of evolution — paths that a sensible God would never tread but that a natural process, constrained by history, follows perforce."
    — Stephen J. Gould

    "[Evolution is] one of the best documented, most compelling and exciting concepts in all of science."
    — Stephen J. Gould

    "The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos."
    — Stephen J. Gould, Dinosaur in a Haystack

    "We are here because one odd group of fishes had a peculiar fin anatomy that could transform into legs for terrestrial creatures; because the earth never froze entirely during an ice age; because a small and tenuous species, arising in Africa a quarter of a million years ago, has managed, so far, to survive by hook and by crook. We may yearn for a 'higher answer' — but none exists."
    — Stephen J. Gould, interview, Life (December 1988)

    "Human life is the result of a glorious evolutionary accident."
    — Stephen J. Gould

    "This record of change pretty clearly demonstrates that evolution has occurred if we define evolution simply as change; but it does not tell us how this change took place, and that is really the question."
    — paleontologist David M. Raup, "Conflicts between Darwin and Paleontology" (1979)

    "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."
    — Theodosius Dobzhansky, a Christian who was one of the founders of the modern synthesis of evolutionary theory

    "To teach kids that creationism explains something about the world is no different than teaching them that the earth is flat."
    — Alan Wolfe, director of the Boisi Center for Religion and Public Life at Boston College

    "The breathtaking inanity of the [school] Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial."
    — Judge John Jones III, G.W. Bush appointed US District Court Judge, in his final conclusion in the Dover Trial, 2005

    "The writings of leading ID proponents reveal that the designer postulated by their argument is the God of Christianity."
    — Judge John Jones III, ibid.

    "Creationists who want religious ideas taught as scientific fact in public schools continue to adapt to courtroom defeats by hiding their true aims under ever changing guises."
    — Eugenie Scott, former Executive Director of National Center for Science Education

    "You can't really be scientifically literate if you don't understand evolution. And you can't be an educated member of society if you don't understand science."
    — Eugenie Scott

    "There is no other door to knowledge than the door Nature opens. And there is no truth but the truth we discover in Nature."
    — Luther Burbank, (1849-1926) Horticulturist

    "The idea that a good God would send people to a burning hell is utterly damnable to me. I don't want to have anything to do with such a God. I am an infidel today."
    — Luther Burbank, interview in San Francisco Bulletin, Jan. 22, 1926

    "Those who would legislate against the teaching of evolution should also legislate against gravity, electricity and the unreasonable velocity of light, and also, should introduce a clause to prevent the use of the telescope, the microscope and the spectroscope or any other instrument of precision which may in the future be invented, constructed or used for the discovery of truth."
    — Luther Burbank

    "Several thousand years ago, a small tribe of ignorant near-savages wrote various collections of myths, wild tales, lies and gibberish. Over the centuries, these stories were embroidered, garbled, mutilated, and torn into small pieces that were then repeatedly shuffled. Finally, this material was badly translated into several languages sucessfully. The resultant text, creationists feel, is the best guide to this complex and technical subject."
    — Tom Weller, on Creation vs. Evolution

    "Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon; it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory."
    — Scott D. Weitzenhoffer

    "Start out understanding religion by saying everything is possibly wrong... As soon as you do that, you start sliding down an edge which is hard to recover from..."
    — Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out (1981)

    "During the Middle Ages there were all kinds of crazy ideas, such as that a piece of rhinoceros horn would increase potency. Then a method was discovered for separating the ideas — which was to try one to see if it worked, and if it didn't work, to eliminate it. This method became organized, of course, into science."
    — Richard Feynman

    "Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
    — Richard Feynman

    "God was invented to explain mystery. God is always invented to explain those things that you do not understand."
    — Richard Feynman

    "Evolution lies at the heart of biology. It is seamlessly and continuously linked to health research to better understand such conditions as AIDS or bird flu or Parkinson's or cancer or heart disease. Every biomedical experiment, every tiny advance, every major breakthrough ultimately connects to the principles first postulated by Darwin."
    — Huntington F. Willard of Duke University, author of the textbook Genetics in Medicine, Director of the Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy

    "Evolutionary biology is no more an atheistic theory than is nuclear physics, relativity theory, or astronomy."
    — Peter Olofsson, PhD.

    "There is nothing wrong with challenging conventional wisdom — continuing challenge is a core feature of science. But challengers should at least be aware of, read, cite, and specifically rebut the actual data that supports conventional wisdom, not merely construct a rhetorical edifice out of omission of relevant facts, selective quoting, bad analogies, knocking down strawmen, and tendentious interpretations. Unless and until the 'intelligent design' movement does this, they are not seriously in the game. They're not even playing the same sport."
    — The Panda's Thumb

    "The Bible identifies 15 crimes against the family worthy of the death penalty. ABORTION is treason against the family and deserves the DEATH PENALTY. ADULTERY is treason to the family; adulterers should be put to DEATH. HOMOSEXUALITY is treason to the family, and it too, is worthy of DEATH."
    — R.J. Rushdoony, to Bill Moyers. In a PBS video: God and Politics: On Earth as it is in Heaven, 1988

    R.J. Rushdoony hasn't read his bible much. God doesn't oppose abortion and he doesn't seem to mind child abuse. Concerning adultery, many of the Bible's heroes committed it with God's blessing — such as King David. David was punished for this one but not with the death penalty as Rushdoony suggested.

    Concerning the death penalty, there's the following problem: Genesis 9:6 — "Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for in the image of God has God made man." Sounds like a bit of a contradiction with all those OT laws.

    "God himself shows little respect for what is best in the Bible. He commands 'Thou shalt not kill', and then promptly orders the killing of many thousands. Moses condemns human sacrifice but God demands the sacrifice of Isaac and accepts that of Jephthah's daughter. Jesus preaches 'whoever shall say 'you fool!', shall be in danger of hell fire', but shortly after this rages at the Pharisees saying 'you fools!'."
    — Prof Carl Lofmark, What is the Bible?

    "The theist must present an intelligible description of god. Until he does so, god makes no more sense than unie; both are cognitively empty, and any attempt at proof is logically absurd."
    — George H. Smith, Atheism: The Case Against God

    "The belief in eternal torment, still subscribed to by fundamentalist Christian denominations, undoubtedly ranks as the most vicious and reprehensible doctrine of classical Christianity. It has resulted in an incalculable amount of psychological torture, especially among children where it is employed as a terror tactic to prompt obedience."
    — George H. Smith, ibid.

    "It cannot be emphasized too strongly that Christianity has a vested interest in human misery. Christianity, perhaps more than any religion before or since, capitalized on human suffering; and it was enormously successful in insuring its own existence through the perpetuation of human suffering."
    — George H. Smith, ibid.

    "Christianity cannot erase man's need for pleasure, nor can it eradicate the various sources of pleasure. What it can do, however, and what it has been extremely effective in accomplishing, is to inculcate guilt in connection with pleasure. The pursuit of pleasure, when accompanied by guilt, becomes a means of perpetuating chronic guilt, and this serves to reinforce one's dependence on God."
    — George H. Smith, ibid.

    "Just as Christianity must destroy reason before it can introduce faith, so it must destroy happiness before it can introduce salvation."
    — George H. Smith, ibid.

    "Reason is not one tool of thought among many, it is the entire toolbox. To advocate that reason be discarded in some circumstances is to advocate that thinking be discarded — which leaves one in the position of attempting to do a job after throwing away the required instrument."
    — George H. Smith, ibid.

    "I am arguing that faith as such, faith as an alleged method of acquiring knowledge, is totally invalid and as a consequence, all propositions of faith, because they lack rational demonstration, must conflict with reason."
    — George H. Smith, ibid.

    "All religions are sick men's dreams, false — demonstrably false — and pernicious."
    — Ibn Warraq, Why I Am Not a Muslim

    "Far from being an aberration that is not representative of Christianity, the persecution of heretics follows logically from the connection of faith and salvation as presented by Jesus in the Gospels."
    — Shadia B. Drury, Why Biblical Religions Are an Obstacle to Freedom

    "And so the violence continued century after century, fired by a Spirit which gloated with vindictive piety over the suffering of burning heretics on earth with superhuman malice upon their imagined suffering beyond the grave."
    — Mark Mason, The Christian Holocaust

    "The great conflict of the 21st century will not be between the West and terrorism. Terrorism is a tactic, not a belief. The true battle will be between modern civilization and anti-modernists; between those who believe in the primacy of the individual and those who believe that human beings owe their allegiance and identity to a higher authority; between those who give priority to life in this world and those who believe that human life is mere preparation for an existence beyond life; between those who believe in science, reason, and logic and those who believe that truth is revealed through Scripture and religious dogma. Terrorism will disrupt and destroy lives. But terrorism itself is not the greatest danger we face."
    — Robert Reich

    "I doubt any god who inflicts pain for his own pleasure."
    — Dr. McCoy, "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier"

    "The idea of God implies the abdication of human reason and justice; it is the most decisive negation of human liberty, and necessarily ends in the enslavement of mankind, both in theory and in practice."
    — Mikhail Bakunin, "God and the State", 1883

    "If God is, man is a slave; now, man can and must be free; then, God does not exist."
    — Mikhail Bakunin, ibid.

    "All religions, with their gods, their demigods, and their prophets, their messiahs and their saints, were created by the credulous fancy of men who had not attained the full development and full possession of their faculties."
    — Mikhail Bakunin, ibid.

    "[Jehovah is] certainly the most jealous, the most vain, the most ferocious, the most unjust, the most bloodthirsty, the most despotic, and the most hostile to human dignity and liberty."
    — Mikhail Bakunin, ibid.

    "People go to church for the same reasons they go to a tavern: to stupefy themselves, to forget their misery, to imagine themselves, for a few minutes anyway, free and happy."
    — Mikhail Bakunin

    "If 'god' is a metaphysical term, then it cannot be even probable that a god exists. For to say that 'God exists' is to make a metaphysical utterance which cannot be either true or false. And by the same criterion, no sentence which purports to describe the nature of a transcendent god can possess any literal significance."
    — A.J. Ayer

    "I do not believe in God. It seems to me that theists of all kinds have very largely failed to make their concept of a deity intelligible; and to the extent that they have made it intelligible, they have given us no reason to think that anything answers to it."
    — A.J. Ayer, "What I Believe," The Humanist, 08/1966, p. 226

    "One might be asked 'How can you prove that a god does not exist?' One can only reply that it is scarcely necessary to disprove what has never been proved."
    — David A. Spitz (1916-1975)

    "If we are honest — and scientists have to be — we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. If religion is still being taught, it is by no means because its ideas still convince us, but simply because some of us want to keep the lower classes quiet."
    — Paul Dirac, English theoretical physicist, 1902–1984

    "Skepticism is the highest duty and blind faith the one unpardonable sin."
    — Thomas Henry Huxley, M.D. Essays on Controversial Questions, 1889

    "You never see animals going through the absurd and often horrible fooleries of magic and religion. Only man behaves with such gratuitous folly. It is the price he has to pay for being intelligent but not, as yet, quite intelligent enough."
    — Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

    "Democracy can hardly be expected to flourish in societies where political and economic power is being progressively concentrated and centralized. But the progress of technology has led and is still leading to just such a concentration and centralization of power."
    — Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

    "Never have so many been manipulated so much by so few."
    — Aldous Huxley, ibid.

    "The effectiveness of political and religious propaganda depends upon the methods employed, not upon the doctrines taught. These doctrines may be true or false, wholesome or pernicious — it makes little or no difference."
    — Aldous Huxley, ibid.

    "An unexciting truth may be eclipsed by a thrilling falsehood."
    — Aldous Huxley, ibid.

    "Children are nowhere taught, in any systematic way, to distinguish true from false, or meaningful from meaningless, statements. Why is this so? Because their elders, even in the democratic countries, do not want them to be given this kind of education."
    — Aldous Huxley, ibid.

    "I call him free who is led solely by reason."
    — Baruch Spinoza

    "Those who wish to seek out the cause of miracles, and to understand the things of nature as philosophers, and not to stare at them in astonishment like fools, are soon considered heretical and impious, and proclaimed as such by those whom the mob adores as the interpreters of nature and the gods. For these men know that, once ignorance is put aside, that wonderment would be taken away, which is the only means by which their authority is preserved."
    — Baruch Spinoza, Ethics (1677)

    "Philosophy has no end in view save truth; faith looks for nothing but obedience and piety."
    — Baruch Spinoza, Tractatus Theologico-Politicus, 1670

    "It is among men of genius and science that atheism alone is found."
    — Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Refutation of Deism, 1814

    "Christianity indeed has equaled Judaism in the atrocities, and exceeded it in the extent of its desolation. Eleven millions of men, women, and children have been killed in battle, butchered in their sleep, burned to death at public festivals of sacrifice, poisoned, tortured, assassinated, and pillaged in the spirit of the Religion of Peace, and for the glory of the most merciful God."
    — Percy Bysshe Shelley, ibid.

    "If ignorance of nature gave birth to gods, knowledge of nature is made for their destruction."
    — Percy Bysshe Shelley, The Necessity of Atheism, 1811

    "Religion! but for thee, prolific fiend, Who peoplest earth with demons, hell with men, And heaven with slaves!"
    — Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab, 1813

    "The division between faith and reason is a half-measure, till it is frankly admitted that faith has to do with fiction, and reason with fact."
    — Sir Leslie Stephen, Essays on Freethinking and Plainspeaking

    "Freethinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, privileges, or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but it is essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse than useless."
    — Leo Tolstoy

    "Autocracy cannot do without its twin agents: a hangman and a priest, the first to suppress popular resistance by force, the second to sweeten and embellish the lot of the oppressed with empty promises of a heavenly kingdom."
    — Vladimir Lenin

    "If there is no higher reason — and there is none — then my own reason must be the supreme judge of my life."
    — Leo Tolstoy, My Confession (banned by the Orthodox Church of Russia)

    "A lie told often enough becomes truth."
    — Vladimir Lenin

    "The radical novelty of modern science lies precisely in the rejection of the belief, which is at the heart of all popular religion, that the forces which move the stars and atoms are contingent upon the preferences of the human heart."
    — Walter Lippman

    "What I conclude is that religion has nothing to do with experience or reason but with deep and irrational needs."
    — Richard Taylor, "Will Secularism Survive?" in "Free Inquiry"

    "He who will not reason is a bigot; he who cannot is a fool; and he who dares not, is a slave."
    — William Drummond

    "This hideous doctrine of eternal torment after death has probably caused more terror and misery, more cruelty and more violation of natural human sympathy, than any belief in the history of mankind. Yet this doctrine was taught unambiguously by Jesus."
    — Margaret Knight

    "There is no justification for the common claim that Christianity was responsible for the abolition of slavery. The Negro slave trade – a far more infamous practice than slavery in the ancient world – was initiated, carried on and defended by Christian men in Christian countries."
    — Margaret Knight

    "The Christian religion is so manifestly contrary to the facts, belief in it can only be held with the most delusional gerrymandering imaginable."
    — Richard Carrier, commenting on The Christian Delusion

    "The dominant Catholic Church jumped through legalistic hoops to make slavery not only acceptable but justifiable as a way of spreading the faith. Indeed, slave owners were obliged by law to baptize their slaves."
    — Phil Grabsky, author – An Inconvenient History, BBC

    "It is a terrible commentary on Christian civilization that the longest period of slave-raiding known to history was initiated by the action of Spain, Portugal, France, Holland and Britain, after the Christian faith had for more than a thousand years been the established religion of Europe."
    — H.A.L. Fisher, History of Europe

    "Let's not forget that the first holocaust took place not in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, or Poland, but on the cotton fields of Christian America, the gold mines of Catholic Brazil, and the sugar plantations of the Caribbean. One and a half million negroes died in transit from their homeland. We don't know how many were worked, whipped, tortured, hanged or beaten to death but the ultimate toll was considerably greater than the combined toll in Auswitz, Belsen and the like. We're talking about the Christian holocaust."
    — OzHeretic Prepare Slaughter

    "These attempts to turn courthouses into pulpits will continue to be challenged with facts and defeated with reason."
    — David Condo, Maryland State Director for American Atheists

    "The test of a good religion is whether you can joke about it."
    — G. K. Chesterson

    "If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him; let us worship God through Jesus if we must — if ignorance has so far prevailed that this name can still be spoken in all seriousness without being taken as a synonym for rapine and carnage. Every sensible man, every honourable man, must hold the Christian sect in horror..."
    — Voltaire (1694-1778)

    "Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool."
    — 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

    "He who is involved in ecstasies and visions, who takes dreams for reality, and his own imagination for prophesy, is a fanatical novice of great hope and promise, and will soon advance to the higher stage and kill men for the love of God."
    — Voltaire

    "The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning."
    — Voltaire

    "The Bible. That is what fools have written, what imbeciles commend, what rogues teach and young children are made to learn by heart."
    — Voltaire

    "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it."
    — Voltaire

    "Atheism is the vice of a few intelligent people."
    — Voltaire

    "There are no sects in geometry."
    — Voltaire

    "The interest I have in believing a thing is not a proof of the existence of that thing."
    — Voltaire

    "The truths of religion are never so well understood as by those who have lost the power of reasoning."
    — Voltaire

    "Sect and error are synonymous."
    — Voltaire

    "Common sense is not so common."
    — Voltaire

    "Christianity is the most ridiculous, the most absurd, and bloody religion that has ever infected the world."
    — Voltaire, in a letter to Frederick the Great

    "A great error is more easily propagated than a great truth, because it is easier to believe, than to reason, and because people prefer the marvels of romances to the simplicity of history."
    — Charles Franηois Dupuis, 1794

    "If God wants us to do a thing, he should make his wishes sufficiently clear. Sensible people will wait till he has done this before paying much attention to him."
    — Samuel Butler, (1835-1902)

    "Prayers are to men as dolls are to children. They are not without use and comfort, but it is not easy to take them very seriously."
    — Samuel Butler, "Unprofessional Sermons"

    "As men's prayers are a disease of the will, so are their creeds a disease of the intellect."
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance, 1841

    "The first and last lesson of religion is, 'The things that are seen are temporal; the things that are not seen are eternal.' It puts an affront upon nature."
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson, English Traits, 1856

    "The god of the cannibals will be a cannibal, of the crusaders a crusader, and of the merchants a merchant."
    — Ralph Waldo Emerson, Civilization, 1862

    "The quest for God is like a blind man in a dark room looking for a black cat that isn't there."
    — Anon.

    Philosophy is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat.
    Metaphysics is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn't there.
    Theology is like being in a dark room and looking for a black cat that isn't there and shouting "I found it!"
    — Anon.

    "Philosophy is questions that may never be answered. Religion is answers that may never be questioned."
    — Anon.

    "If you are comfortable with a lie, you will never look for the truth."
    — Anon.

    "You can fool some of the people some of the time — and that's enough to make a decent living."
    — W.C. Fields

    "Most people are bothered by those passages of Scripture they do not understand, but the passages that bother me are those I do understand."
    — Mark Twain

    "Man is a marvelous curiosity... he thinks he is the Creator's pet... he even believes the Creator loves him; has a passion for him; sits up nights to admire him; yes and watch over him and keep him out of trouble. He prays to Him and thinks He listens. Isn't it a quaint idea."
    — Mark Twain

    "I cannot see how a man of any large degree of humorous perception can ever be religious — unless he purposely shut the eyes of his mind & keep them shut by force."
    — Mark Twain

    "Man is the Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion — several of them. He is the only animal that loves his neighbor as himself, and cuts his throat if his theology isn’t straight."
    — Mark Twain

    "When one reads Bibles, one is less surprised at what the Deity knows than at what He doesn't know."
    — Mark Twain

    "Blasphemy? No, it is not blasphemy. If God is as vast as that, he is above blasphemy; if He is as little as that, He is beneath it."
    — Mark Twain

    "If the man doesn't believe as we do, we say he is a crank, and that settles it. I mean, it does nowadays, because now we can't burn him."
    — Mark Twain

    "Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect."
    — Mark Twain

    "To trust the God of the Bible is to trust an irascible, vindictive, fierce and ever fickle and changeful master."
    — Mark Twain

    "In God We Trust. It is the choicest compliment that has ever been paid us, and the most gratifying to our feelings. It is simple, direct, gracefully phrased; it always sounds well — In God We Trust. I don't believe it would sound any better if it were true."
    — Mark Twain

    "If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be — a Christian."
    — Mark Twain

    "The so-called Christian nations are the most enlightened and progressive ... but in spite of their religion, not because of it. The Church has opposed every innovation and discovery from the day of Galileo down to our own time, when the use of anesthetic in childbirth was regarded as a sin because it avoided the biblical curse pronounced against Eve. And every step in astronomy and geology ever taken has been opposed by bigotry and superstition. The Greeks surpassed us in artistic culture and in architecture five hundred years before Christian religion was born."
    — Mark Twain

    "There is one notable thing about our Christianity: bad, bloody, merciless, money-grabbing and predatory as it is — in our country particularly, and in all other Christian countries in a somewhat modified degree — it is still a hundred times better than the Christianity of the Bible, with its prodigious crime — the invention of Hell. Measured by our Christianity of to-day, bad as it is, hypocritical as it is, empty and hollow as it is, neither the Deity nor His Son is a Christian, nor qualified for that moderately high place. Ours is a terrible religion. The fleets of the world could swim in spacious comfort in the innocent blood it has spilt."
    — Mark Twain

    "Nothing agrees with me. If I drink coffee, it gives me dyspepsia; if I drink wine, it gives me the gout; if I go to church, it gives me dysentery."
    — Mark Twain

    "The church is always trying to get other people to reform; it might not be a bad idea to reform itself a little, by way of example."
    — Mark Twain

    "The bible has noble poetry in it; and some clever fables; and some blood-drenched history; and a wealth of obscenity; and upwards of a thousand lies."
    — Mark Twain

    "I have never let schooling interfere with my education."
    — Mark Twain

    "Religion consists in a set of things which the average man thinks he believes and wishes he was certain of."
    — Mark Twain

    "The gods offer no rewards for intellect. There was never one yet that showed any interest in it."
    — Mark Twain

    "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."
    — Mark Twain

    "Ignorance is not not knowin' — Ignorance is knowin' what ain't so."
    — Mark Twain

    "I cannot call to mind a single instance where I have ever been irreverent, except toward the things which were sacred to other people"
    — Mark Twain

    "We despise all reverences and all the objects of reverence which are outside the pale of our own list of sacred things. And yet, with strange inconsistency, we are shocked when other people despise and defile the things which are holy to us."
    — Mark Twain, Following the Equator

    "Strange a God who mouths Golden Rules and forgiveness, then invented hell; who mouths morals to other people and has none Himself; who frowns upon crimes yet commits them all; who created man without invitation, then tries to shuffle the responsibility for man's acts upon man, instead of honorably placing it where it belongs, upon Himself; and finally with altogether divine obtuseness, invites this poor, abused slave to worship Him!"
    — Mark Twain

    "Stripping away the irrational, the illogical, and the impossible, I am left with atheism. I can live with that."
    — Mark Twain

    "I was dead for millions of years before I was born and it never inconvenienced me a bit."
    — Mark Twain

    "A cult is a religion with no political power."
    — Tom Wolfe

    "It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so."
    — Robert Heinlein

    "Men rarely (if ever) dream up a god superior to themselves. Most gods have the manners and morals of a spoiled child."
    — Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

    "History does not record anywhere a religion that has any rational basis. Religion is a crutch for people not strong enough to stand up to the unknown without help."
    — Robert Heinlein, ibid.

    "The most preposterous notion that H. sapiens has ever dreamed up is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of all the Universes, wants the saccharine adoration of His creatures, can be swayed by their prayers, and becomes petulant if He does not receive this flattery. Yet this absurd fantasy, without a shred of evidence to bolster it, pays all the expenses of the oldest, largest, and least productive industry in all history."
    — Robert Heinlein, ibid.

    "God is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnibenevolent — it says so right here on the label. If you have a mind capable of believing all three of these attributes simultaneously, I have a wonderful bargain for you. No checks, please. Cash and in small bills."
    — Robert Heinlein, Notebooks of Lazarus Long, Here are more Heinlein quotes.

    "We may define "faith" as the firm belief in something for which there is no evidence. Where there is evidence, no one speaks of "faith." We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence. The substitution of emotion for evidence is apt to lead to strife, since different groups, substitute different emotions."
    — Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

    "When two men of science disagree, they do not invoke the secular arm; they wait for further evidence to decide the issue, because, as men of science, they know that neither is infallible. But when two theologians differ, since there is no criteria to which either can appeal, there is nothing for it but mutual hatred and an open or covert appeal to force."
    — Bertrand Russell

    "My conclusion is that there is no reason to believe any of the dogmas of traditional theology and, further, that there is no reason to wish that they were true. Man, in so far as he is not subject to natural forces, is free to work out his own destiny. The responsibility is his, and so is the opportunity."
    — Bertrand Russell, in an unpublished essay, "Is There a God?" (1952)

    "The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge."
    — Bertrand Russell

    "So far as I can remember, there is not one word in the Gospels in praise of intelligence."
    — Bertrand Russell

    "I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive. I am not young, and I love life. But I should scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation. Happiness is nonetheless true happiness because it must come to an end, nor do thought and love lose their value because they are not everlasting."
    — Bertrand Russell, "What I Believe", 1925

    "You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world."
    — Bertrand Russell, Why I am Not a Christian, 1927

    "Historically, it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him."
    — Bertrand Russell, ibid.

    "I am as firmly convinced that religions do harm as I am that they are untrue."
    — Bertrand Russell, Religious Reminiscences, 1938

    "[There has been] every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion."
    — Bertrand Russell

    "Cruel men believe in a cruel god and use their belief to excuse their cruelty. Only kindly men believe in a kindly god, and they would be kindly in any case."
    — Bertrand Russell

    "The infliction of cruelty with a good conscience is a delight to moralists — that is why they invented hell."
    — Bertrand Russell

    "Religion is based ... mainly upon fear ... 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. My own view on religion is that of Lucretius. I regard it as a disease born of fear and as a source of untold misery to the human race."
    — Bertrand Russell, "Has Religion Made Useful Contributions to Civilization?", 1930

    "Never try to discourage thinking, for you are sure to succeed."
    — Bertrand Russell

    "There is something feeble and a little contemptible about a man who cannot face the perils of life without the help of comfortable myths. Almost inevitably some part of him is aware that they are myths and that he believes them only because they are comforting. But he dare not face this thought! Moreover, since he is aware, however dimly, that his opinions are not rational, he becomes furious when they are disputed."
    — Bertrand Russell

    "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so."
    — Bertrand Russell, more quotes

    "People everywhere enjoy believing things that they know are not true. It spares them the ordeal of thinking for themselves and taking responsibility for what they know."
    — Brooks Atkinson, Once Around The Sun, 1951

    "The term 'skeptic' does not mean one who doubts, but one who investigates or researches, as opposed to one who asserts and thinks that he has found."
    — Miguel De Unamuno, distinguished Spanish poet, essayist, novelist, playwright (1864-1936)

    "My religion is to seek for truth in life and for life in truth, even knowing that I shall not find them while I live."
    — Miguel De Unamuno

    "It is not skeptics or explorers but fanatics and ideologues who menace decency and progress. No agnostic ever burned anyone at the stake or tortured a pagan, heretic, or an unbeliever."
    — Daniel Boorstin

    "Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest."
    — Denis Diderot (1713-1784)

    "An immoral god – a hangover from stone age minds – still corrupts human mentality with its scapegoat justice and the threat of eternal damnation."
    — Rev. Reginald Howard Bass, The History of Natural Religion

    "Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. God is all-powerful. Draw your own conclusions."
    — Internet Infidels

    "The dignity of man lies in his ability to face reality in all its meaninglessness."
    — Martin Esslin

    "Who burnt heretics? Who roasted or drowned millions of 'witches'? Who built dungeons and filled them? Who brought forth cries of agony from honest men and women that rang to the tingling stars? Who burnt Bruno? Who spat filth over the graves of Paine and Voltaire? The answer is one word — CHRISTIANS."
    — G.W. Foote, Flowers of Freethought (1894)

    "Christianity persecuted, tortured, and burned. Like a hound it tracked the very scent of heresy. It kindled wars, and nursed furious hatreds and ambitions. It sanctified, quite like Mohammedanism, extermination and tyranny..."
    — George Santayana, philosopher (1863-1952), Little Essays, No. 107, "Christian Morality"

    "Fear first created the gods."
    — George Santayana

    "Gods always behave like the people who invented them."
    — Zora Neale Hurston

    "A theory is just a mathematical model to describe the observations."
    — Karl Popper

    "[E]very major religion today is a winner in the Darwinian struggle waged among cultures, and none ever flourished by tolerating its rivals."
    — Edward O. Wilson, Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge, p. 144

    "In fact, nothing in science as a whole has been more firmly established by interwoven factual information, or more illuminating than the universal occurrence of biological evolution. Further, few natural processes have been more convincingly explained than evolution by the theory of natural selection, or as it has been popularly called, Darwinism."
    — Edward O. Wilson

    "If someone could actually prove scientifically that there is such a thing as a supernatural force, it would be one of the greatest discoveries in the history of science. So the notion that somehow scientists are resisting it is ludicrous."
    — Edward O. Wilson, Esquire magazine, 1/5/2009

    "The human mind evolved to believe in the gods. It did not evolve to believe in biology."
    — Edward O. Wilson

    "If you understand the psychology of the Big Mac Meal, you understand the psychology of religion."
    — Professor Andy Thomson, in his talk "Why We Believe in Gods"

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

    "I do not consider it an insult, but rather a compliment to be called an agnostic. I do not pretend to know where many ignorant men are sure — that is all that agnosticism means."
    — Clarence Darrow, Scopes trial, 1925

    "I don't believe in God because I don't believe in Mother Goose."
    — Clarence Darrow, speech, Toronto, 1930

    "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, 1938

    "Some of you say religion makes people happy. So does laughing gas."
    — Clarence Darrow

    "We would be 1,500 years ahead if it hadn't been for the church dragging science back by its coattails and burning our best minds at the stake."
    — Catherine Fahringer

    "Faith in God necessarily implies a lack of faith in humanity."
    — Barbara G. Walker

    "It was while I was studying philosophy that I came to understand ... that it is no sign of moral or spiritual strength to believe that for which one has no evidence, neither a priori evidence as in math, nor a posteriori evidence as in science. ... It's a violation almost immoral in its transgressiveness to shirk the responsibilities of rationality."
    — Rebecca Newberger Goldstein

    "I contend that we are both Atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
    — Stephen Roberts

    "The Bible tells us to be like God, and then on page after page it describes God as a mass murderer. This may be the single most important key to the political behavior of Western Civilization."
    — Robert A. Wilson (1932— )

    "What gods are there, what gods have there ever been, that were not from man's imagination?"
    — Joseph Campbell

    Mosaic Law orders us to kill anyone who worships a different god, kill anyone who worships idols, kill anyone who blasphemes, kill anyone who works on Saturday, kill anyone who dishonors their parents, kill anyone who commits adultery, kill any woman who has sex before marriage, kill anyone who steals a slave, kill anyone who has homosexual sex, and wage genocidal war against any city that allows religious liberty (see Deuteronomy 13).

    "Religions are like glow-worms. They need darkness in order to shine."
    — Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher

    "If we go back to the beginning we shall find that ignorance and fear created the gods; that fancy, enthusiasm, or deceit adorned or disfigured them; that weakness worships them; that credulity preserves them, and that custom, respect and tyranny support them in order to make the blindness of men serve its own interests. If ignorance of Nature gave birth to gods, then knowledge of Nature is calculated to destroy them."
    — Baron d'Holbach (1723-1789), System of Nature

    "What has been said of [God] is either unintelligible or perfectly contradictory; and for this reason must appear impossible to every man of common sense."
    — Baron d'Holbach, ibid.

    "All religions are ancient monuments to superstition, ignorance, ferocity; and modern religions are only ancient follies."
    — Baron D'Holbach

    "Never yet has a God been defined in terms which were not palpably self-contradictory and absurd; never yet has a God been described so that a concept of Him was made possible to human thought."
    — Annie Besant, Why I Do Not Believe in God

    "Prejudice, not being founded on reason, cannot be removed by argument."
    — Samuel Johnson

    "It is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in argument."
    — William G. McAdoo

    "Most religious people would rather be certain than right."
    — Leonard Tramiel

    "The clergy, no less than the capitalist class, lives on the backs of the people, profits from the degradation, the ignorance and the oppression of the people."
    — Rosa Luxemburg, "Socialism and the Churches," 1905

    "Humanity is in the highest degree irrational, so that there is no prospect of influencing it by reasonable arguments. Against prejudice one can do nothing."
    — Sigmund Freud

    "Religion is the process of unconscious wish fulfillment, where, for certain people, if the process did not take place it would put them in self-danger of coming to mental harm, being unable to cope with the idea of a godless, purposeless life."
    — Sigmund Freud

    "The more the fruits of knowledge become accessible to men, the more widespread is the decline of religious belief."
    — Sigmund Freud

    "Religion is comparable to a childhood neurosis."
    — Sigmund Freud, The Future of an Illusion (1927)

    "Religion is an illusion and it derives its strength from the fact that it falls in with our instinctual desires."
    — Sigmund Freud, New Introductory Lectures on Psychoanalysis

    "The whole thing is so patently infantile, so foreign to reality, that to anyone with a friendly attitude to humanity it is painful to think that the great majority of mortals will never be able to rise above this view of life."
    — Sigmund Freud, Civilization and its Discontents (1931)

    "For a man to be a true believer and to be strong and independent is impossible; religion and self-sufficiency are contradictory terms."
    — Dr. Albert Ellis, Case Against Religion: A Psychotherapist’s View and the Case Against Religiosity (1980)

    "[Religion’s] absolutistic, perfectionistic thinking is the prime creator of the two most corroding of human emotions: anxiety and hostility."
    — Dr. Albert Ellis, ibid.

    "The world is divided into armed camps, ready to commit genocide just because we can not agree on which fairy tales to believe. In the end, religion will kill us all."
    — Ed Kerbs

    "[T]he Court has unambiguously concluded that the individual freedom of conscience protected by the First Amendment embraces the right to select any religious faith or none at all. This conclusion derives support ... from recognition of the fact that the political interest in forestalling intolerance extends beyond intolerance among Christian sects — or even intolerance among 'religions' — to encompass intolerance of the disbeliever and the uncertain."
    — Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38 (6/04/1985), taken from Newdow vs. Congress (9th Circuit #00-16423)

    "The day that this country ceases to be free for irreligion it will cease to be free for religion — except for the sect that can win political power."
    — Robert H. Jackson, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (1941-1954), dissenting opinion in Zorach v. Clauson, 1952

    "The mixing of government and religion can be a threat to free government, even if no one is forced to participate.... When the government puts its imprimatur on a particular religion, it conveys a message of exclusion to all those who do not adhere to the favored beliefs. A government cannot be premised on the belief that all persons are created equal when it asserts that God prefers some."
    — Harry Andrew Blackmun, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, majority opinion in Lee v. Weisman, 1992

    "We repeat and again reaffirm that neither a State nor the Federal Government can constitutionally force a person 'to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion.' Neither can constitutionally pass laws or impose requirements which aid all religions as against nonbelievers, and neither can aid those religions based on a belief in the existence of God as against those religions founded on different beliefs."
    — Hugo Black, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, unanimous decision, Torcaso v. Watkins, 1961

    "In the relationship between man and religion, the state is firmly committed to the position of neutrality."
    — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Tom C. Clark, Schempp v. Board of Education (1963)

    "No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion."
    — Hugo Black, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, majority opinion in Everson v. Board of Education, 1947

    "Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect 'a wall of separation between church and state.'"
    — Hugo Black, ibid.

    "When the power, prestige and financial support of government is placed behind a particular religious belief, the indirect coercive pressure upon religious minorities to conform to the prevailing officially approved religion is plain."
    — Hugo Black, majority opinion in Engel v. Vitale, 1962

    "If this separation [of church and state] means anything, it means that the government cannot tax its citizens and turn that money over to houses of worship."
    — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

    "Religious beliefs worthy of respect are the product of free and voluntary choice by the faithful. Government must pursue a course of complete neutrality toward religion."
    — Paul Stevens, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1985

    "The lessons of the First Amendment are as urgent in the modern world as the 18th Century when it was written. One timeless lesson is that if citizens are subjected to state-sponsored religious exercises, the State disavows its own duty to guard and respect that sphere of inviolable conscience and belief which is the mark of a free people."
    — Anthony Kennedy, Supreme Court Justice, quoted from "The Case Against School Prayer," a Freedom From Religion Foundation pamphlet

    "The Ten Commandments are undeniably a sacred text in the Jewish and Christian faiths, and no legislative recitation of a supposed secular purpose can blind us to that fact ... the first part of the Commandments concerns the religious duties of believers: worshipping the Lord God alone, avoiding idolatry, not using the Lord's name in vain, and observing the Sabbath day."
    — The U.S. Supreme Court, Stone v. Graham, 1980

    "The government may acknowledge Christmas as a cultural phenomenon, but under the First Amendment it may not observe it as a Christian holy day by suggesting that people praise God for the birth of Jesus."
    — The U.S. Supreme Court, Cnty. of Allegheny v. Am. Civil Liberties Union Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, 492 U.S. 573, 601 (1989)

    "... religious beliefs need not be acceptable, logical, consistent, or comprehensible to others in order to merit First Amendment protection."
    — The U.S. Supreme Court, Thomas v. Review Board, 1981

    "(W)e do not count heads before enforcing the First Amendment."
    — Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

    "For the genius of the Constitution rests not in any static meaning it might have had in a world that is dead and gone, but in the adaptibility of its great principles to cope with current problems and current needs. If we are to be as a shining city upon a hill, it will be because of our ceaseless pursuit of the constitutional ideal of human dignity."
    — William Brennan, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1985

    "... from the standpoint of freedom of speech and the press, it is enough to point out that the state has no legitimate interest in protecting any or all religions from views distasteful to them which is sufficient to justify prior restraints upon the expression of those views. It is not the business of government in our nation to suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine ..."
    — The U.S. Supreme Court, Joseph Burstyn, Inc. v. Wilson, 1952

    "I do not believe in the divinity of Christ, and there are many other of the postulates of the orthodox creed to which I cannot subscribe."
    — William H. Taft, 27th U.S. President (1909-1913), 10th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court (1921-1930), letter to Yale University, Breaking the Last Taboo, 1996

    "Americans practice different faiths in churches, synagogues, mosques and temples. And many good people practice no faith at all."
    — George W. Bush, 43rd U.S. President, Easter Address of 2002

    "We have the most religious freedom of any country in the world, including the freedom not to believe."
    — Bill Clinton, 42nd U.S. President

    "We cannot permit any inquisition either within or without the law or apply any religious test to the holding of office. The mind of America must be forever free."
    — Calvin Coolidge, 30th U.S. President, Inaugural Address, 3/4/1925

    "I am tolerant of all creeds. Yet if any sect suffered itself to be used for political objects I would meet it by political opposition. In my view church and state should be separate, not only in form, but fact. Religion and politics should not be mingled."
    — Millard Fillmore (1800-1874) 13th U.S. President (1850-1853)

    "In 1850, I believe, the church property in the United States, which paid no tax, amounted to $87 million. In 1900, without a check, it is safe to say, this property will reach a sum exceeding $3 billion. I would suggest the taxation of all property equally."
    — Ulysses S. Grant, 18th U.S. President, from 2000 Years of Disbelief, James A. Haught, ed.

    "Encourage free schools and resolve that not one dollar appropriated for their support shall be appropriated to the support of any sectarian schools. Resolve that neither the state nor nation, nor both combined, shall support institutions of learning other than those sufficient to afford every child growing up in the land of opportunity of a good common school education, unmixed with sectarian, pagan, or Atheistical dogmas. Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church and the private school supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and state forever separate."
    — Ulysses S. Grant, from The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

    "Leave the matter of religion to the family altar, the church, and the private schools, supported entirely by private contributions. Keep the church and the state forever separate."
    — Ulysses S. Grant, in Des Moines, Iowa, 1875

    "The United States is no more a Christian nation because most of its citizens are Christians than it is a 'white' nation because most of its citizens are white. We are Americans because we practice democracy and believe in republican government, not because we practice revealed religion and believe in Bible-based government."
    — John Mill

    "I learned how valuable our Constitution is and how valuable the separation of church and state is."
    — Cynthia Dwyer, American hostage held in Iran 444 days (1979-1981) 1981, The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

    "Not only is the universe stranger than we imagine, it is stranger than we can imagine."
    — Sir Arthur Eddington, English astronomer, 1882-1944

    "There's no way to put God to the test, and that's exactly what you're doing when you design a study to see if God answers your prayers."
    — Rev. Raymond Lawrence, director of pastoral care at a New York hospital

    "I don't want to see religious bigotry in any form. It would disturb me if there was a wedding between the religious fundamentalists and the political right. The hard right has no interest in religion except to manipulate it."
    — Rev. Billy Graham, Parade, 1981, in The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

    "Being a conservative in America traditionally has meant that one holds a deep, abiding respect for the Constitution. We conservatives believe sincerely in the integrity of the Constitution. We treasure the freedom that document protects.... By maintaining the separation of church and state, the United States has avoided the intolerance, which has so divided the rest of the world with religious wars. Throughout our two hundred plus years, public policy debate has focused on political and economic issues, on which there can be compromise.... The great decisions of government cannot be dictated by the concerns of religious factions. This was true in the days of Madison, and it is just as true today. We have succeeded for 205 years in keeping the affairs of state separate from the uncompromising idealism of religious groups and we mustn't stop now. To retreat from that separation would violate the principles of conservatism and the values upon which the framers built this democratic republic."
    — Barry Goldwater (1909-1998) Rep. Senator from Arizona. 1981 U.S. Senate Address, in The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

    "Now those who seek absolute power, even though they seek it to do what they regard as good, are simply demanding the right to enforce their own version of heaven on earth, and let me remind you they are the very ones who always create the most hellish tyranny."
    — Barry Goldwater

    "There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me ... that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in A, B, C, and D. Just who do they think they are?"
    — Senator Barry Goldwater, Congressional Record, 1981

    "I am a conservative Republican, but I believe in democracy and the separation of church and state. The conservative movement is founded on the simple tenet that people have the right to live life as they please as long as they don't hurt anyone else in the process."
    — Senator Barry Goldwater, (Interview, Washington Post, July 28, 1994)

    "A woman has a right to an abortion. That's a decision that's up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right."
    — Senator Barry Goldwater, (Interview, Los Angeles Times, 1994)

    "The big thing is to make this country… quit discriminating against people just because they're gay. You don't have to agree with it, but they have a constitutional right to be gay. ... They're American citizens."
    — Senator Barry Goldwater, (Interview, Washington Post, July 28, 1994)

    "Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can't and won't compromise. I know; I've tried to deal with them. Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of ‘conservatism.’"
    — Senator Barry Goldwater, (Congressional Record, September 16, 1981)

    "You don't have to be straight to shoot straight."
    — Senator Barry Goldwater

    "I believe in the American tradition of separation of church and state which is expressed in the First Amendment to the Constitution. By my office — and by personal conviction — I am sworn to uphold that tradition."
    — Lyndon Johnson (1908-1973), 36th U.S. President, in The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

    "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."
    — President Theodore Roosevelt

    "I hold that in this country there must be complete severance of Church and State; that public moneys shall not be used for the purpose of advancing any particular creed; and therefore that the public schools shall be nonsectarian and no public moneys appropriated for sectarian schools."
    — Theodore Roosevelt, 1915

    "The God of hell should be held in loathing, contempt and scorn. A god who threatens eternal pain should be hated, not loved; cursed, not worshipped. A heaven presided over by such a god must be below the meanest hell."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll (1833-1899) American politician and speaker. Known as "The Great Agnostic"

    "Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, in his 1898 speech "Superstition"

    "Superstition is, always has been, and forever will be, the foe of progress, the enemy of education and the assassin of freedom."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, ibid.

    "Ignorance is the soil in which belief in miracles grows."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, ibid.

    "Ignorance worships mystery; reason explains it; the one grovels, the other soars."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, in his speech "Humbolt"

    "Too much doubt is better than too much credulity."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, in his speech "How to Reform Mankind"

    "Every church that has a standard higher than human welfare is dangerous."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, The Truth Seeker

    "Do you not know that every religion in the world has declared every other religion a fraud? Yes, we all know it. That is the time all religions tell the truth — each of the other."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "Take from the church the miraculous, the supernatural, the unreasonable the impossible, the unknowable, and the absurd, and nothing but a vacuum remains... Religion has not civilized man — man has civilized religion."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, in his speech "The Ghosts"

    "Heresy is a cradle; orthodoxy is a coffin."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, in his speech "Heresies and Heretics"

    "This crime called blasphemy was invented by priests for the purpose of defending doctrines not able to take care of themselves."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "To hate man and worship God seems to be the sum of all creeds."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses, 1879

    "Whenever a man believes that he has the exact truth from God, there is in that man no spirit of compromise. He has not the modesty born of the imperfections of human nature; he has the arrogance of theological certainty and the tyranny born of ignorant assurance. Believing himself to be the slave of God, he imitates his master, and of all tyrants the worst is a slave in power."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "It is contended by many that ours is a Christian government, founded upon the Bible, and that all who look upon the book as false or foolish are destroying the foundation of our country. The truth is, our government is not founded upon the rights of gods, but upon the rights of men. Our Constitution was framed, not to declare and uphold the deity of Christ, but the sacredness of humanity. Ours is the first government made by the people and for the people. It is the only nation with which the gods have had nothing to do. And yet there are some judges dishonest and cowardly enough to solemnly decide that this is a Christian country, and that our free institutions are based upon the infamous laws of Jehovah."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, Individuality, 1873

    "The Old Testament filled this world with tyranny and injustice, and the New gives us a future filled with pain for nearly all of the sons of men. The Old Testament describes the hell of the past, and the New the hell of the future."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "If a man would follow, today, the teachings of the Old Testament, he would be a criminal. If he would follow the teachings of the new, he would be insane."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "When I became convinced that the universe is natural, that all the ghosts and gods are myths, there entered into my brain, into my soul, into every drop of my blood the sense, the feeling, the joy of freedom. The walls of my prison crumbled and fell. The dungeon was flooded with light and all the bolts and bars and manacles became dust. I was no longer a servant, a serf, or a slave. There was for me no master in all the wide world, not even in infinite space. I was free — free to think, to express my thoughts — free to live my own ideal, free to live for myself and those I loved, free to use all my faculties, all my senses, free to spread imagination's wings, free to investigate, to guess and dream and hope, free to judge and determine for myself ... I was free! I stood erect and fearlessly, joyously faced all worlds."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, 1896

    "For ages, a deadly conflict has been waged between a few brave men and women of thought and genius upon the one side, and the great ignorant religious mass on the other. This is the war between Science and Faith.
    "The few have appealed to reason, to honor, to law, to freedom, to the known, and to happiness here in this world. The many have appealed to prejudice, to fear, to miracle, to slavery, to the unknown, and to misery hereafter.
    "The few have said, Think! The many have said, Believe! The first doubt was the womb and cradle of progress, and from the first doubt, man has continued to advance."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "All religions are inconsistent with mental freedom. Shakespeare is my bible, Burns my hymn-book."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "It may be that ministers really think that their prayers do good, and it may be that frogs imagine that their croaking brings spring."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, Which Way? (1884)

    "All prayers die in the air which they uselessly agitate."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "Infidelity is liberty; all religion is slavery."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "With soap, baptism is a good thing."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "The church has always been willing to swap off treasures in heaven for cash down."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "All that is necessary, as it seems to me, to convince any reasonable person that the Bible is simply and purely of human invention — of barbarian invention — is to read it. Read it as you would any other book; think of it as you would of any other; get the bandage of reverence from your eyes; drive from your heart the phantom of fear; push from the throne of your brain the cowled form of superstition — then read the Holy Bible, and you will be amazed that you ever, for one moment, supposed a being of infinite wisdom, goodness and purity, to be the author of such ignorance and of such atrocity."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "Eternal punishment must be eternal cruelty, and I do not see how any man, unless he has the brain of an idiot, or the heart of a wild beast, can believe in eternal punishment."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "It has always seemed to me that a being coming from another world, with a message of infinite importance to mankind, should at least have verified that message by his own signature. Is it not wonderful that not one word was written by Christ?"
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, The Gods, 1872

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

    "The first step is for man to cease to be the slave of man. The second, is to cease to be the slave of the monsters of his own creation, the ghosts and phantoms of the air."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "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.'"
    — Robert G. Ingersoll

    "The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to try to make others so."
    — Robert G. Ingersoll, in his speech "The Limitations of Toleration"

    "Atheism, properly understood, is no mere disbelief; is in no wise a cold, barren negative; it is, on the contrary, a hearty, fruitful affirmation of all truth, and involves the positive assertion of action of highest humanity."
    — Charles Bradlaugh, "A Plea for Atheism," Humanity's Gain from Unbelief (1929)

    "Let me tell you that religion is the cruelest fraud ever perpetrated upon the human race. It is the last of the great schemes of thievery that man must legally prohibit so as to protect himself from the charlatans who prey upon the ignorance and fears of the people."
    — Joseph Lewis, American Freethinker

    "Atheism rises above creeds and puts Humanity upon one plane.
    There can be no 'chosen people' in the Atheist philosophy.
    There are no bended knees in Atheism;
    No supplications, no prayers;
    No sacrificial redemptions;
    No 'divine' revelations;
    No washing in the blood of the lamb;
    No crusades, no massacres, no holy wars;
    No heaven, no hell, no purgatory;
    No silly rewards and no vindictive punishments;
    No christs, and no saviors;
    No devils, no ghosts and no gods."
    — Joseph Lewis, in his 1930 speech "Atheist Rises Above Creeds"

    "The Old Testament is responsible for more atheism, agnosticism, disbelief — call it what you will — than any book ever written; it has emptied more churches than all the counterattractions of cinema, motor bicycle and golf course."
    — A.A. Milne

    "If you must believe in anything, believe in yourselves, in your senses, in your minds. To accept a religious creed is to accept another mind in place of your own and generally contrary to your own. When religious belief comes in brains go out"
    — Marrila M. Ricker (1840-1920)

    "No actual tyrant known to history has ever been guilty of one-hundredth of the crimes, massacres, and other atrocities attributed to the Deity in the Bible."
    — Steve Allen

    "It is not hardness of heart or evil passions that drive individuals to atheism, but rather a scrupulous intellectual honesty."
    — Steve Allen

    "I think that the United States is heading in the direction of theocracy. The problem is that we let religious people say stunningly false things and we consider it rude to question those beliefs. But we should be shunning those people. If that sounds intolerant, that's the point. I'm not tolerant of suspending reason."
    — Brian Flemming, director of the documentary movie, "The God Who Wasn't There"

    "All religions are the same — basically guilt, with different holidays."
    — Cathy Ladman

    "When religion and common sense collide, common sense always loses."
    — Tom Faller

    "People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them."
    — Dave Barry

    A religious war is like children fighting over who has the strongest imaginary friend.
    — unknown

    "Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger."
    — Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

    "Theology asserts propositions that cannot be proven true; ideologues hold stoutly to a worldview despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality. When ideology and theology couple, their offspring are not always bad but they are always blind. And there is the danger: voters and politicians alike, oblivious to the facts."
    — Bill Moyers

    "The virgin birth, understood as literal biology, makes Christ's divinity, as traditionally understood, impossible."
    — Bishop John Shelby Spong

    "The miracle stories of the New Testament can no longer be interpreted in a post-Newtonian world as supernatural events performed by an incarnate deity."
    — Bishop John Shelby Spong

    "The view of the cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the world is a barbarian idea based on primitive concepts of God and must be dismissed."
    — Bishop John Shelby Spong

    "Prayer cannot be a request made to a theistic deity to act in human history in a particular way."
    — Bishop John Shelby Spong

    "The hope for life after death must be separated forever from the behavior control mentality of reward and punishment. The Church must abandon, therefore, its reliance on guilt as a motivator of behavior."
    — Bishop John Shelby Spong

    "If the resurrection of Jesus cannot be believed except by assenting to the fantastic descriptions included in the Gospels, then Christianity is doomed. For that view of resurrection is not believable, and if that is all there is, then Christianity, which depends upon the truth and authenticity of Jesus' resurrection, also is not believable."
    — Bishop John Shelby Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? p. 238

    "Jesus is a mythical figure in the tradition of pagan mythology and almost nothing in all of ancient literature would lead one to believe otherwise. Anyone wanting to believe Jesus lived and walked as a real live human being must do so despite the evidence, not because of it."
    — C. Dennis McKinsey, Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy

    "I think the fault is more with historicists who have stubbornly failed to develop a good theory of historicity. By simply resting on the feeble laurels of prima facie plausibility ('Jesus existed because everyone said so') and subjective notions of absurdity ('I can't believe Jesus didn't exist!'), the existence of Jesus has largely been taken for granted, even by competent historians who explicitly try to argue for it."
    — Earl Doherty, The Jesus Puzzle

    "The Gospel story, with its figure of Jesus of Nazareth, cannot be found before the Gospels. In Christian writings earlier than Mark, including almost all of the New Testament epistles, as well as in many writings from the second century, the object of Christian faith is never spoken of as a human man who had recently lived, taught, performed miracles, suffered and died at the hands of human authorities, or rose from a tomb outside Jerusalem. There is no sign in the epistles of Mary or Joseph, Judas or John the Baptist, no birth story, teaching or appointment of apostles by Jesus, no mention of holy places or sites of Jesus’ career, not even the hill of Calvary or the empty tomb. This silence is so pervasive and so perplexing that attempted explanations for it have proven inadequate."
    — Earl Doherty, ibid.

    "The general root of superstition is that men observe when things hit, and not when they miss, and commit to memory the one, and pass over the other."
    — Francis Bacon, in 2000 Years of Disbelief by James A. Haught

    "Atheism leaves a man to sense, to philosophy, to natural piety, to laws, to reputation; all of which may be guides to an outward moral virtue, even if religion vanished; but religious superstition dismounts all these and erects an absolute monarchy in the minds of men."
    — Francis Bacon

    "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." (Matthew 22:21)
    — Jesus, mythical founder-figure of the Christian religions

    "You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things."
    — St. Paul, Romans 2:1

    "Today, almost half a century after the publication of the Encyclical [of Pius IX], new knowledge has led to the recognition in the theory of evolution of more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory."
    — Pope John Paul II, revising Pius IX's Encyclical, Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 10/28/1986, quoted from Has Science Found God? (2001)

    "The problem with intelligent-design theory, is not that it is false but that it is not falsifiable. Not being susceptible to contradicting evidence, it is not a testable hypothesis. Hence it is not a scientific but a creedal tenet — a matter of faith, unsuited to a public school's science curriculum."
    — George Will

    "In India, as elsewhere in our darkening world, religion is the poison in the blood. Where religion intervenes, mere innocence is no excuse. Yet we go on skating around this issue, speaking of religion in the fashionable language of 'respect.' What is there to respect in any of this, or in any of the crimes now being committed almost daily around the world in religion's dreaded name?"
    — Salman Rushdie, author

    "If you think you've got an inside track to absolute truth, you become doctrinaire, humorless and intellectually constipated. The greatest crimes in history have been perpetrated by such religious and political and racial fanatics." — Saul Alinsky

    "When you once attribute effects to the will of a personal God, you have let in a lot of little gods and evils — then sprites, fairies, dryads, naiads, witches, ghosts and goblins, for your imagination is reeling, riotous, drunk, afloat on the flotsam of superstition. What you know then doesn't count. You just believe, and the more your believe the more do you plume yourself that fear and faith are superior to science and seeing."
    — Elbert Hubbard, lecturer, author, printer

    "I believe in an America where religious intolerance will someday end ... where every man has the same right to attend or not attend the church of his choice."
    — John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) 35th U.S. President, address to the Ministerial Association of Greater Houston, 1960

    "I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute — where no Catholic prelate would tell the president (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote — where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference — and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the president who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.
    "I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish — where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source — where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials."
    — John F. Kennedy, ibid.

    "I can't take my Catholic belief, my article of faith, and legislate it on a Protestant or a Jew or an Atheist. We have separation of church and state in the United States of America."
    — John Kerry

    "People who believe they are acting with the mandate of God, who see others who don't share their beliefs as inferior in the eyes of God, make dangerous leaders. Just ask Osama Bin Laden."
    — Ron Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan

    "I find that most deism, and certainly most theisms take a fairly narrow view of the universe, and most people’s views of God or gods seem to be rather impoverished. The universe itself, the physical world that we can perceive with our senses and grasp with our minds, seems to be far more wondrous than most people's conceptions of a deity."
    — Ron Reagan

    "We in the United States, above all, must remember that lesson, for we were founded as a nation of openness to people of all beliefs. And so we must remain. Our very unity has been strengthened by our pluralism. We establish no religion in this country, we command no worship, we mandate no belief, nor will we ever. Church and state are, and must remain, separate. All are free to believe or not believe, all are free to practice a faith or not, and those who believe are free, and should be free, to speak of and act on their belief."
    — President Ronald Reagan, during the 1984 presidential campaign

    "We will be a better country when each religious group can trust its members to obey the dictates of their own religious faith without assistance from the legal structure of the country."
    — Margaret Mead (1901-1978) American anthropologist, Redbook magazine, 1963, from The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

    "Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people's business."
    — Jesse Ventura, former governor of Minnesota, in Playboy magazine, November 1999

    "No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle unless that testimony be of such a kind that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavours to establish."
    — David Hume, Of Miracles, 1748 pp. 115-116

    "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence."
    — David Hume

    "A wise man... proportions his belief to the evidence."
    — David Hume

    "[priests are] the pretenders to power and dominion, and to a superior sanctity of character, distinct from virtue and good morals."
    — David Hume, Essays, Moral, Political and Literary, 1741

    "Superstition is an enemy to civil liberty."
    — David Hume, ibid.

    "Examine the religious principles which have, in fact, prevailed in the world, and you will scarcely be persuaded that they are anything but sick men's dreams."
    — David Hume, In The Natural History of Religion

    "The Christian religion not only was at first attended with miracles, but even at this day cannot be believed by any reasonable person without one."
    — David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, 1748

    "Moral and ethical individuals would remain moral and ethical were they to wake up tomorrow and decide they no longer need their imaginary friends."
    — Carol Smith

    "The basic ideal of Christianity, that of an all powerful father-figure demanding a blood sacrifice before he can change his own mind about whether or not to torture his own creations for eternity has never struck me as a model of ethics or morality."
    — Louis Cypher

    "I do not believe it right for one group to impose its vision of morality on an entire society."
    — Nelson Rockefeller (1908-1979) Governor of New York (1959-1973), U.S. vice-president (1974-1977), Veto Message, 5/13/1972. Rockefeller vetoed a bill to repeal New York's 1970 abortion law.

    "The Founding Fathers were neither passive, death-worshiping mystics nor mindless, power-seeking looters; as a political group, they were a phenomenon unprecedented in history: they were thinkers who were also men of action. They had rejected the soul-body dichotomy, with its two corollaries: the impotence of man's mind and the damnation of this earth; they had rejected the doctrine of suffering as man's metaphysical fate, they proclaimed man's right to the pursuit of happiness and were determined to establish on earth the conditions required for man's proper existence, by the 'unaided' power of their intellect."
    — Ayn Rand (1905-1982) American novelist and philosopher, For the New Intellectual

    "Anyone who knows history will recognize that the domination of education or of government by any one particular religious faith is never a happy arrangement for the people."
    — Anna Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) American diplomat, writer, and First Lady of the United States (1933-1945), letter to Cardinal Spellman, 1949

    "I'm an atheist, and that's it. I believe there's nothing we can know except that we should be kind to each other and do what we can for other people."
    — Katharine Hepburn (1909-2003) American Actress, "Ladies' Home Journal" 1991

    "Our Constitution was not intended to be used by ... any group to foist its personal religious beliefs on the rest of us."
    — Katharine Hepburn, Banned Books – Quotes

    "In view of the tide of religiosity engulfing a once secular republic, it is refreshing to be reminded by Freethinkers that free thought and skepticism are robustly in the American tradition. After all, the Founding Fathers began by omitting God from the American Constitution."
    — Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

    "As a historian, I confess to a certain amusement when I hear the Judeo-Christian tradition praised as the source of our concern for human rights. In fact, the great religious ages were notable for their indifference to human rights in the contemporary sense. They were notorious not only for acquiescence in poverty, inequality, exploitation and oppression but for enthusiastic justifications of slavery, persecution, abandonment of small children, torture, genocide."
    — Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., "The Opening of the American Mind," The New York Times, 1989

    "The term that best describes me now is 'secular humanist.'"
    — Charles Schulz (1922-2000) American comic artist: creator of "Peanuts" quoted in My Lunch with Sparky, 2000

    "By the year 2000 we will, I hope, raise our children to believe in human potential, not God."
    — Gloria Steinem, (1934-) American writer and political activist, quoted in Breaking the Last Taboo, 1996

    "It's an incredible con job when you think of it, to believe something now in exchange for life after death. Even corporations with all their reward systems don't try to make it posthumous."
    — Gloria Steinem

    "When I got untethered from the comfort of religion, it wasn't a loss of faith for me. It was a discovery of self. I had thought that I'm capable enough to handle any situation. There's peace in understanding that I have only one life, here and now, and I'm responsible."
    — Brad Pitt

    "I don't think any religion makes any sense and I think people who are into that are really getting duped, and I don't think Judaism makes any more sense than Christianity, and I don't think Christianity makes any more sense than Scientology. But here's a guy, L. Ron Hubbard, who told all his friends, 'Look, I'm gonna start a religion, 'cause I can't make any money as a science fiction writer.' I mean, he admitted that publicly! At least with Jesus Christ, you can't go talk to the guy."
    — Howard Stern, 5/18/2001, after his guest Leah Remini mentioned that she is a Scientologist

    "Why is that people are quick to label Roman gods and goddesses as myth seeded from lack of understanding, while entertaining their own theological beliefs that are based on the same fear and ignorance?"
    — Jae Marston

    "We have gone a long way toward civilization and religious tolerance, and we have a good example in this country. Here the many Protestant denominations, the Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church do not seek to destroy one another in physical violence just because they do not interpret every verse of the Bible in exactly the same way. Here we now have the freedom of all religions, and I hope that never again will we have a repetition of religious bigotry, as we have had in certain periods of our own history. There is no room for that kind of foolishness here."
    — Harry S Truman, 33rd U.S. President (1945-1953) quoted in The Great Quotations on Religious Freedom

    "I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell."
    — Harry S Truman

    "You know what an agnostic is, don't you? A cowardly atheist. And I'm an agnostic. ... You asked about the afterlife. Well, I can't take bets on it. Who's going to take my bet, you know? I, myself, don't believe in any afterlife. I do believe in this life, and what you do in this life is what it's all about."
    — Studs Terkel, Interview with Krista Tippett on "Speaking of Faith," American Public Media, 2004

    "So I'm sorry, I don't respect people who believe in religion. I was religious when I was a kid. We all had dumb stuff drilled into our head. It doesn't mean when you get to be an adult you can't drill it out. I tell you something else they drilled into my head when I was a kid, mercury in my cavities. We found out later mercury is so bad we shouldn't even eat it when there is a trace of it in fish. But it was drilled into my teeth. So when I got older, I had it drilled out. You can do the same thing with religion. To talk about this terrorism situation without talking about religion is like talking about AIDS in America without talking about homosexuality. You can do it; it will get you applause on Oprah; but it's not true."
    — Bill Maher on Larry King Live

    "Religion is insanity by consensus."
    — Bill Maher

    I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative. I think religion is a neurological disorder."
    — Bill Maher

    "There's a phrase we live by in America: "In God We Trust." It's right there where Jesus would want it: on our money."
    — Bill Maher

    "The plain fact is: religion must die for mankind to live."
    — Bill Maher, in his movie "Religulous"

    "Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It's nothing to brag about; and those who preach faith and enable and elevate it are intellectual slaveholders — keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned so much lunacy and destruction."
    — Bill Maher, ibid.

    "Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don't have all the answers, to think that they do."
    — Bill Maher, ibid.

    "Rational people, anti-religionists, must end their timidity and come out of the closet and assert themselves. And those who consider themselves only moderately religious really need to look in the mirror and realize that the solace and comfort that religion brings you actually comes at a terrible price."
    — Bill Maher, ibid.

    "If you belonged to a political party or a social club that was tied to as much bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence, and sheer ignorance as religion is, you'd resign in protest. To do otherwise is to be an enabler, a mafia wife, for the true devils of extremism that draw their legitimacy from the billions of their fellow travelers."
    — Bill Maher, ibid.

    "If you believe that the world is going to come to an end — and perhaps any day now — does it not drain one's motivation to improve life on earth while we're here?"
    — Bill Maher, ibid.

    "When I hear from people that religion doesn't hurt anything, I say, really? Well besides wars, the Crusades, the Inquisitions, 9-11, ethnic cleansing, the suppression of women, the suppression of homosexuals, fatwas, honor killings, suicide bombings, arranged marriages to minors, human sacrifice, burning witches, and systematic sex with children, I have a few little quibbles. And I forgot blowing up girls' schools in Afghanistan."
    — Bill Maher, in an interview with Don Imus on Fox, 11/1/2009

    "If you have a few hundred followers and you let some of them molest children, they call you a cult leader. If you have a billion, they call you Pope."
    — Bill Maher, April, 2008

    "We are a nation that is unenlightened because of religion. I think religion stops people from thinking. I think it justified crazies. I think flying planes into a building was a faith-based initiative. I think religion is a neurological disorder."
    — Bill Maher, fired from ABC for telling the truth

    "Read the Bible, because we need more atheists!"
    — Penn & Teller

    "Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-O and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have."
    — Penn Jillette

    "I've seen some preachers on TV in a shirt and a tie and a vest. They say to send your money to the Lord — but they give you their address."
    — Hank Williams, Jr, "The American Dream"

    "The bible contains six admonishments to homosexuals and 362 admonishments to heterosexuals. That doesn't mean that god doesn't love heterosexuals. It's just that they need more supervision."
    — Anon.

    "Life in Lubbock, Texas taught me two things. One is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell. The other is that sex is the most awful, dirty thing on the face of the earth and you should save it for someone you love."
    — Butch Hancock

    "Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is."
    — Mahatma Gandhi

    "Curtailment of free speech is rationalized on grounds that a more compelling American tradition forbids criticism of the government when the nation is at war... Nothing can be more destructive of our fundamental democratic traditions than the vicious effort to silence dissenters."
    — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    "Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."
    — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."
    — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    "He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it."
    — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    "If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground."
    — Frederick Douglass, (1818-1895)

    "When people expect God to plan their lives for them, and protect them, they tend to lose their motivation to guide and control their own lives."
    — Charles W. Faulkner

    "Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning."
    — Bill Gates

    "When talking about unicorns, minotaurs, or compassionate conservatives, one does not normally have to prove their non-existence; the mere lack of any evidence is sufficient reason not to believe in any of them."
    — Peter Stone

    "The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself."
    — Richard Francis Burton, explorer and writer (1821-1890)

    "Those who get instructions directly from the Almighty are twice blessed. They get their orders from the Highest Authority, and the orders are always to do what they would have done anyway."
    — Harley Sorensen, on SF Gate

    "You can tell you have created God in your own image when it turns out that he or she hates all the same people you do."
    — Anne Lamott

    "Say what you will about the sweet miracle of unquestioning faith. I consider the capacity for it terrifying and absolutely vile."
    — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

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

    "There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds."
    — Anne Nicol Gaylor, FFRF founder

    "Why would an all-powerful god become flesh in order to sacrifice himself to himself so that his creation might escape the wrath of himself? Couldn't this god, in his infinite wisdom, come up with something a little more efficient?"
    — Omphaloskeptic2[at]aol.com

    "What is the purpose of prayer? What can a finite being on Earth possibly tell an omnipotent, omniscient, Universe-creating deity that he/she/it doesn't know already? If prayer actually worked, the Pope would live forever."
    — Infidel Guy

    "Religion is based on dogma and belief, whereas science is based on doubt and questioning."
    — Jerry Coyne, professor at the University of Chicago

    "Religion isn't a search for truth, but a search for confirmation of what you were taught, what you want to believe, or what you find emotionally fulfilling."
    — Jerry Coyne, Faith vs. Fact

    "The biogeographic evidence for evolution is now so powerful that I have never seen a creationist book, article, or lecture that has tried to refute it. Creationists simply pretend that the evidence doesn't exist."
    — Jerry Coyne

    "Religion is a byproduct of fear. For much of human history, it may have been a necessary evil, but why was it more evil than necessary? Isn't killing people in the name of God a pretty good definition of insanity?"
    — Sir Arthur C. Clarke

    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
    — Sir Arthur C. Clarke

    "One of the great tragedies of mankind is that morality has been hijacked by religion. So now people assume that religion and morality have a necessary connection. But the basis of morality is really very simple and doesn't require religion at all. It's this: "Don't do unto anybody else what you wouldn't like to be done to you." It seems to me that that's all there is to it."
    — Sir Arthur C. Clarke, in "Free Inquiry" (Vol 19 No. 2)

    "Religion is the most malevolent of all mind viruses."
    — Sir Arthur C. Clarke

    "The greatest tragedy in mankind's entire history may be the hijacking of morality by religion."
    — Sir Arthur C. Clarke

    "Science can destroy religion by ignoring it as well as by disproving its tenets. No one ever demonstrated, so far as I am aware, the nonexistence of Zeus or Thor — but they have few followers now."
    — Sir Arthur C. Clarke

    "If there are any gods whose chief concern is man, they can't be very important gods."
    — Sir Arthur C. Clarke

    "Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction."
    — Blaise Pascal

    "I'm not convinced that faith can move mountains, but I've seen what it can do to skyscrapers."
    — William Gascoyne

    "When one person suffers from a delusion it is called insanity; when many people suffer from a delusion it is called religion."
    — Robert Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

    "Religious mysticism is intellectual garbage. It’s a vestige of the old superstitious Dark Ages when nobody knew anything and the whole world was sinking deeper and deeper into filth and disease and poverty and ignorance. It is one of those delusions that isn’t called insane only because there are so many people involved."
    — Robert M. Pirsig, Lila: An Inquiry Into Morals

    "Religion. It's given people hope in a world torn apart by religion."
    — Jon Stewart

    "Islam is the enemy of science, of freethinking, of reason and of human rights. It acts as a powerful brake on the advancement of civilization."
    — Dr. Ali Sina, in his review of Why I Am Not A Muslim

    "The emancipation of the mind from religious superstition is as essential to the progress of civilization as is emancipation from physical slavery."
    — Culbert Olson, former governor of California

    "America wasn’t founded as a theocracy. America was founded by people trying to escape theocracies. Never in history have we had a Christian theocracy where it wasn’t bloody and barbaric. That’s why our Constitution wisely put in a separation of church and state."
    — Rev. Gregory Boyd, Woodland Hills Church, Maplewood, MN

    "Science is and should be seen as “completely neutral” on the issue of the theistic or atheistic implications of scientific results."
    — Father George Coyne, director of the Vatican Observatory, 1/31/2006

    "The present custom of orthodox Christendom, in packing their sins upon the back of a God, is just the same substantially as that of various heathen nations who were anciently in the habit of packing them upon the backs of various dumb animals."
    — Kersey Graves, Sixteen Crucified Saviours

    "There is no shortcut to intellectual honesty. Atheism requires sacrifice — in that you sacrifice the illusion of immortality and the sense of transcendent purpose. But, religion requires the sacrifice of critical thinking, self determination, your time, your money, and logic."
    — Kate, on atheistempire@yahoogroups.com

    "The mind gives meaning to anything, but the meaning it gives is meaningless."
    — J. Krishnamurti

    "Abandon the search for God and the creation and other matters of a similar sort. Look for him by taking yourself as the starting point. Learn who it is within you who makes everything his own and says, 'My God, my mind, my thought, my soul, my body.' Learn the sources of sorrow: joy, love, hate ... If you carefully investigate these matters you will find him in yourself."
    — gnostic teacher Monoimus

    "Basically we are chimpanzees with about two percent more intelligence and a little less hair."
    — Ted Turner

    "The trouble with born-again Christians is that they are an even bigger pain the second time around."
    — Herb Caen, "The San Francisco Chronicle"

    "All it takes for America to become a theocracy is for nonbelievers to do nothing."
    — Judith Hayes, The Happy Heretic!

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."
    — Edmund Burke

    "If faith cannot be reconciled with rational thinking, it has to be eliminated as an anachronistic remnant of earlier stages of culture and replaced by science dealing with facts and theories which are intelligible and can be validated."
    — Erich Fromm, Man for Himself (1947)

    " ... it is because one can build a compelling set of arguments — informed by science and thoroughly compatible with it — that to believe in anything despite the complete lack of evidence is, in fact, irrational."
    — Dr. Massimo Pigliucci

    "Humanity has the stars in its future, and that future is too important to be lost under the burden of juvenile folly and ignorant superstition."
    — Isaac Asimov

    "I expect death to be nothingness and, for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful to atheism."
    — Isaac Asimov, "On Religiosity" in "Free Inquiry"

    "When I die I won't go to heaven or hell; there will just be nothingness."
    — Isaac Asimov, on Bill Moyers' TV series "A World of Ideas"

    "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."
    — Isaac Asimov

    "I must say that I stand amazed at the highly intelligent people who have taken so much of the Bible so seriously."
    — Isaac Asimov

    "Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived."
    — Isaac Asimov

    "I would not be satisfied to have my kids choose to be religious without trying to argue them out of it, just as I would not be satisfied to have them decide to smoke regularly or engage in any other practice I considered detrimental to mind or body."
    — Isaac Asimov

    "I am prejudiced against religion because I know the history of religion, and it is the history of human misery and of black crimes."
    — Isaac Asimov

    "[I]f I were not an atheist, I would believe in a God who would choose to save people on the basis of the totality of their lives and not the pattern of their words. I think he would prefer an honest and righteous atheist to a TV preacher whose every word is God, God, God, and whose every deed is foul, foul, foul."
    — Isaac Asimov, I. Asimov: A Memoir

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

    "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.’"
    — Isaac Asimov

    "The scientist believes in proof without certainty, the bigot in certainty without proof."
    — Ashley Montagu, anthropologist

    "Imagine encouraging a child to participate in such 'twisted' rituals and worshiping of tortuous crucifixes and such like this from birth. No wonder we have so many hateful and sadistic people in our society."
    — Brent Allsop

    "Regardless of whether or not you belong to a majority religion, in the United States you may not impose your theology on civil law."
    Lori Lipman Brown, former director of the Secular Coalition for America

    "So many gods, so many creeds, so many paths that wind and wind, while just the art of being kind is all the sad world needs."
    — Ella Wheeler Wilcox, poet (1850-1919)

    "Fear of serious injury alone cannot justify oppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears."
    — Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, 1927, Whitney v. California

    "God and Country are an unbeatable team; they break all records for oppression and bloodshed."
    — Luis Buquel

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag, carrying a cross."
    — unknown (NOT Sinclair Lewis)

    "Even the weakest disputant is made so conceited by what he calls religion, as to think himself wiser than the wisest who thinks differently from him."
    — Walter Savage Landor

    "It is one thing to show a man that he is in error, and another to put him in possession of truth."
    — John Locke, English philosopher

    "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."
    — Upton Sinclair

    "A Christian is a man who feels repentance on a Sunday for what he did on Saturday and is going to do on Monday."
    — Thomas R. Ybarra

    "I can not imagine a God ... made happy by my getting down on my knees and calling him 'great'."
    — Susan B. Anthony

    "The religious persecution of the ages has been done under what was claimed to be the command of God. I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires."
    — Susan B. Anthony, 1896

    "My religious superstition gave place to rational ideas based on scientific facts, and in proportion as I looked at everything from a new standpoint, I grew more happy day by day..."
    — Elizabeth Cady Stanton

    "Only those who have lived all their lives under the dark clouds of vague, undefined fears can appreciate the joy of a doubting soul suddenly born into the kingdom of reason and free thought."
    — Elizabeth Cady Stanton

    "I view it as one of the greatest crimes to shadow the minds of the young with these gloomy superstitions, and with fears of the unknown and the unknowable to poison all their joy in life."
    — Elizabeth Cady Stanton

    "The Bible and the Church have been the greatest stumbling blocks in the way of women's emancipation."
    — Elizabeth Cady Stanton

    "The bible teaches that women brought sin and death into the world. I don't believe that any man ever talked with god. The bible was written by man out of his love of domination."
    — Elizabeth Cady Stanton

    "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, creator of Star Trek

    "Kill a man, and you are an assassin. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill everyone, and you are a god."
    — Jean Rostand

    "There was a time when religion ruled the world. It is known as the Dark Ages."
    — Ruth Hermence Green, 1980

    "Not the church, not the state, women must decide our fate."
    — Cleo Fellers Kocol's favorite chant while protesting for equal rights

    "This agency stands flat-footed upon the ground, and there it must remain. The world is big enough for us. No ghosts need apply."
    — Sherlock Holmes in "The Adventure of the Sussex Vampire"

    "The Christian take on Hellfire seems less dramatic than the Muslim vision, which I grew up with, but Christian magical thinking appeals to me no more than my mother's angels and djinns."
    — Ayaan Hirsi Ali, in her essay "How (and Why) I Became An Infidel"

    "Religions survive mainly because they brainwash the young."
    — A.C. Grayling

    Inculcating the various competing — competing, note — falsehoods of the major faiths into small children is a form of child abuse, and a scandal."
    — A.C. Grayling

    "Let us challenge religion to leave children alone until they are adults, whereupon they can be presented with the essentials of religion for mature consideration. For example: tell an averagely intelligent adult hitherto free of religious brainwashing that somewhere, invisibly, there is a being somewhat like us, with desires, interests, purposes, memories, and emotions of anger, love, vengefulness, and jealousy, yet with the negation of such other of our failings as mortality, weakness, corporeality, visibility, limited knowledge and insight; and that this god magically impregnates a mortal woman, who then gives birth to a special being who performs various prodigious feats before departing for heaven. Take your pick of which version of this story to tell: let a King of Heaven impregnate — let's see — Danae or Io or Leda or the Virgin Mary (etc., etc.) and let there be resulting heaven-destined progeny (Heracles, Castor and Pollux, Jesus., etc., etc.) — or any of the other forms of exactly such tales in Babylonian, Egyptian, and other mythologies — then ask which of them he wishes to believe. One can guarantee that such a person would say: none of them."
    — A.C. Grayling

    "I most emphatically think that the world would be a far, far better place without religion. There are various reasons why conflicts arise between people, but the single greatest one is religion: and given that religions are antique sets of superstitions and non-rational beliefs, it is a tragedy of the first order that they still cause such immense suffering and difficulty in the world."
    — A.C. Grayling

    "What do you think science is? There's nothing magical about science. It is simply a systematic way for carefully and thoroughly observing nature and using consistent logic to evaluate results. Which part of that exactly do you disagree with? Do you disagree with being thorough? Using careful observation? Being systematic? Or using consistent logic?"
    — Dr. Steven Novella

    "Questioning our own motives, and our own process, is critical to a skeptical and scientific outlook. We must realize that the default mode of human psychology is to grab onto comforting beliefs for purely emotional reasons, and then justify those beliefs to ourselves with post-hoc rationalizations."
    — Dr. Steven Novella

    "Creationists argue that natural selection is only a negative process, and therefore cannot create anything. Chopra argues that skepticism is only a negative process, and therefore does not lead to knowledge. Both are wrong for the same reasons. They ignore the generation of diversity and new ideas upon which natural selection and skepticism act. Weeding out the unfit is critical to both – natural selection allows evolution to proceed, and skepticism allows science to advance."
    — Dr. Steven Novella

    "Needless to say, since the income of the priest class is totally dependent on their continued ability to sell invisible goods to suckers, they praise and glorify faith to the skies, complimenting people on how much of it sthey have. If it weren't for faith, they'd be out of business, and they know it."
    — Richard Russell

    "Popular religion is a coping mechanism for the anxieties of a dysfunctional social and economic environment."
    — Gregory S. Paul, author of "The Chronic Dependence of Popular Religiosity upon Dysfunctional Psychosociological Conditions"

    "Materialism is the worldview or term describing application of reason, science and the human experience in understanding the world around us and in making decisions or living our day-to-day lives, as opposed to faith, dogma, prayer or superstition, etc. As materialists we conclude there is no god or higher power and we therefore declare ourselves to be atheists or people who live without theism or religion. Modern materialism is rooted in the work of the pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Democritus (460-370 BCE), who is also known as the Father of Atomic Science. Antonyms to materialism are spiritualism or immaterialism; the worldview of materialism is not to be confused with consumerism. Atheism is a conclusion, not a religion or ideology."
    — Larry Darby of The Atheist Law Center, in a letter to Alabama Gov. Bob Riley, 1/22/2005

    "Don't compromise yourself. You're all you've got."
    — Janis Joplin

    "We live our lives for our life's sake, rather than for illusions about rewards and satisfaction after we're dead."
    — PZ Meyers

    "For those who may not find happiness to exercise religious faith, it's okay to remain a radical atheist; it's absolutely an individual right, but the important thing is with a compassionate heart — then no problem."
    — Dalai Lama, 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner, b. 1935

    "I don't believe in heaven and hell. I don't know if I believe in God. All I know is that as an individual, I won't allow this life — the only thing I know to exist — to be wasted."
    — George Clooney, profile in Washington Post, 11/28/1997

    "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind."
    — Dr Seuss

    "Imagine there's no heaven,
    It's easy if you try.
    No hell below us,
    Above us only sky.
    Imagine all the people, living for today...
    Imagine there's no countries,
    It isn't hard to do.
    Nothing to kill or die for,
    And no religion too."
    — John Lennon, "Imagine"

    Physics and Cosmology

    "All of science is built on territory once occupied by gods. Is there some boundary at which science is supposed to stop?"
    — Bob Park, professor of physics and former chair of the Department of Physics at the U. of Maryland

    "We could call order by the name of God, but it would be an impersonal God. There's not much personal about the laws of physics."
    — Stephen Hawking, Reason magazine, April 2002

    "What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science. In that case, it would not be necessary to appeal to God to decide how the universe began. This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary."
    — Stephen Hawking, Der Spiegel, 1989

    "One does not have to appeal to God to set the initial conditions for the creation of the universe, but if one does He would have to act through the laws of physics."
    — Stephen Hawking, Black Holes & Baby Universes

    "As recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."
    — Stephen Hawking, The Grand Design, p. 180; for more of his quotes, see wikiquote

    "The theory of quantum electrodynamics describes nature as absurd from the point of view of common sense. And it agrees fully with experiment. So I hope you can accept nature as she is — absurd."
    — Nobel laureate physicist Richard Feynman

    "It is now becoming clear that everything can — and probably did — come from nothing."
    — Robert A.J. Matthews, physicist, Aston University, England www.nanogallery.info

    "Space and time both started at the Big Bang and therefore there was nothing before it."
    — Ask an Astronomer, Cornell University

    "Some physicists believe our universe was created by colliding with another, but Kaku [a theoretical physicist at City University of New York] says it also may have sprung from nothing."
    — Scienceline.org

    "Even if we don't have a precise idea of exactly what took place at the beginning, we can at least see that the origin of the universe from nothing need not be unlawful or unnatural or unscientific."
    — Paul Davies, physicist, Arizona State University, “What Happened Before the Big Bang?”

    "Assuming the universe came from nothing, it is empty to begin with... Only by the constant action of an agent outside the universe, such as God, could a state of nothingness be maintained. The fact that we have something is just what we would expect if there is no God."
    — Victor Stenger, Prof. Physics, University of Hawaii, author of God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist

    "Nature is capable of building complex structures by processes of self-organization; simplicity begets complexity."
    — Victor Stenger

    "In fact, current cosmological observations indicate that the average density of matter and energy in the universe is equal, within measurement errors, to the critical density for which the total energy of the universe was exactly zero at the beginning."
    — Victor Stenger, in “A Scenario For a Natural Origin of Our Universe”

    "Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings."
    — Victor Stenger

    "The answer to the ancient question ‘Why is there something rather than nothing?’ would then be that ‘nothing’ is unstable."
    — Nobel laureate physicist Frank Wilczek, “The Cosmic Asymmetry between Matter and Antimatter” — Scientific American vol. 243, no. 6 (1980)

    "Few people are aware of the fact that many modern physicists claim that things — perhaps even the entire universe — can indeed arise from nothing via natural processes."
    — Mark I. Vuletic, “Creation ex nihilo — Without God” (1997)

    "Relativity. Gravity. Quantum Electrodynamics. Evolution. Each of these theories is true, whether or not you believe in them."
    — Neil deGrasse Tyson

    "The good thing about science is that it's true whether you believe it or not."
    — Neil deGrasse Tyson

    "Thermodynamics, correctly interpreted, does not just allow Darwinian evolution; it favors it."
    — Ludwig Boltzmann, physicist; created kinetic theory of gases

    "Under certain conditions, matter inexorably acquires the key physical attribute associated with life."
    — Jeremy England, Prof. of Physics, MIT


    "If it turns out that there is a God, I don't think that he's evil. But the worst that you can say about him is that basically he's an underachiever."
    — Woody Allen

    "To YOU I'm an Atheist; to God, I'm the Loyal Opposition."
    — Woody Allen

    "When we talk to God, we're praying. When God talks to us, we're schizophrenic."
    — Lily Tomlin

    "Talking to god is crazy. Hearing god is schizophrenia. Acting on it is insanity."
    — Robert Patterson

    "When one guy sees an invisible man he's a nut case. Ten people see him it's a cult. Ten million people see him it's a respected religion."
    — Richard Jeni

    "... if anyone in this audience believes that God made his body, and your body is dirty, the fault lies with the manufacturer."
    — Lenny Bruce

    "The only good thing to come out of religion was the music."
    — George Carlin

    "I would never want to be a member of a group whose symbol was a guy nailed to two pieces of wood."
    — George Carlin, in the album "A Place For My Stuff"

    "I have as much authority as the Pope, I just don't have as many people who believe it."
    — 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

    "Something is wrong. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, crime, torture, corruption and the ice capades. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed. This is not what you expect to find on the resume of a supreme being. It's what you expect from an office temp with a bad attitude."
    — George Carlin

    "In the Bullshit Department, a businessman can't hold a candle to a clergyman. 'Cause I gotta tell you the truth, folks. When it comes to bullshit, big-time, major league bullshit, you have to stand in awe of the all-time champion of false promises and exaggerated claims: Religion. No contest. No contest. Religion. Religion easily has the greatest bullshit story ever told.

    "Think about it. Religion has actually convinced people that there's an invisible man — living in the sky — who watches everything you do, every minute of every day. And the invisible man has a special list of ten things he does not want you to do. And if you do any of these ten things, he has a special place, full of fire and smoke and burning and torture and anguish, where he will send you to live and suffer and burn and choke and scream and cry forever and ever 'til the end of time!

    "But He loves you.

    "He loves you, and He needs money! He always needs money! He's all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can't handle money! Religion takes in billions of dollars, they pay no taxes, and they always need a little more. Now, you talk about a good bullshit story. Holy Shit!"
    — George Carlin, on "Politically Incorrect" 5/29/1997

    "Praying is begging for an unseen deity to alter the laws of nature for someone admittedly unworthy."
    — George Carlin, on his website

    "What's the point of fucking praying in the first place? If God has a divine plan, what's the point of praying? If what you want is in the divine plan, you will get it anyways... and if it's not, you won't get it because it's not in the divine plan."
    — George Carlin, Here are more of his quotes.

    "I do not believe in God. I'm an atheist. I consider myself a critical thinker, and it fascinates me that in the 21st century most people still believe in, as George Carlin puts it, 'the invisible man living in the sky.'"
    — Seth Macfarlane, Steppin’ Out Magazine, 10/18/2007

    "Once you become aware of the gulf between what people profess to believe and how they actually behave, it's hard to take any of it seriously."
    — Pat Condell, Time Out London, magazine interview, 2006

    "Religion disapproves of original thought the way Dracula does sunlight."
    — Pat Condell

    "The actions taken by the New Hampshire Episcopalians (inducting a gay Bishop) are an affront to Christians everywhere. I am just thankful that the church's founder, Henry VIII, and his wife Catherine of Aragon, and his wife Anne Boleyn, and his wife Jane Seymour, and his wife Anne of Cleves, and his wife Katherine Howard, and his wife Catherine Parr are no longer here to suffer through this assault on traditional Christian marriages."
    — Betty Bowers, America's Best Christian, of Landover Baptist Church

    "Atheist n. A person to be pitied in that he is unable to believe things for which there is no evidence, and who has thus deprived himself of a convenient means of feeling superior to others."
    — Chaz Bufe, The American Heretic's Dictionary

    "It's hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning."
    — Calvin, "Calvin & Hobbes"

    "Don’t ya know what faith is? Faith is when you believe somethin’ that nobody in their right mind would believe!"
    — Archie Bunker

    "Suppose we've chosen the wrong god? Every time we go to church, we're just making him madder and madder."
    — Homer J. Simpson

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